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January 17, 2007

Open Thread 79
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:06 PM *

I drink so much coffee, ‘til I grind it in my sleep
I drink so much coffee, I grind it in my sleep
And when it get like that, you know it can’t be beat.

Comments on Open Thread 79:
#1 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:28 PM:

To quote an friend who is an old Marine, if the coffee can't sit up in the mug and slap you, it isn't really worthy of the name of coffee.

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:30 PM:

I want it to float a ship. What kind of ship depends on my mood that day. (Actually I drink tea. No sugar, strong.)

#3 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Anybody here ever been to a press check? Ever had printer's coffee? That stuff needs to be CHEWED. Plus, it has lovely notes of ink in its heady aroma...and it is best quaffed at 3 a.m.

Good times. Kinda.

#4 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:33 PM:

Aaahhh, coffee.

As long as this is an Open Thread: Safari and Vanity Fair Do Not Play Well Together; I've had to use Firefox. (For those of you interested in Mob Studies, there is a fascinating article on Arnold Rothstein by Nick Tosches; I will dredge up the URL once I've pulled up Firefox.)

#5 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:44 PM:

One time, way back when, my family went off on a week's camping vacation, and no one remembered to unplug and empty the electric coffeepot that still had a good half-pot or more simmering away.

Got back from vacation, and found that the contents had condensed down into a thick syrup, about a cup's worth. Waste not, want not, so Dad poured it into a cup and added a splash of evaporated milk.

(This was before Coffee-Mate or other artificial creamers, so in lieu of real cream, one used evaporated milk, from a can punctured on the far side with a church key to make a pour spout.) (The topic of "church key art", using a can opener to cut cans into decorative or useful items, is one for another post.)

That splash of milk hit that coffee, sank briefly, then floated to the top, curdled into a twisted lump.

But since Dad had been a Navy guy, he drank it anyway.

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Speaking of Vanity Fair, D @ 4...

Every time my wife goes to James Wolcott's site (*) from her computer (which runs on Windows XP), it starts displaying its contents then it shuts her Internet Explorer session completely. I don't know if there's some IE setting that needs to be changed. Or maybe it's something in her Norton Internet Security. This started when his column moved back to Vanity Fair's site.

Any ideas?

(*) http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/blogs/wolcott

#7 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:48 PM:

OK. Here it is.

The Wolcott piece (see previous post) was pretty good, too. Vanity Fair's long essays would lead me to subscribe, if the rest of the mag were not instant recycling--several months ago they ran an article on the early history of surfing; there really was a Gidget.

#8 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:54 PM:

I like my coffee black. Like my humor.

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Thanks, D... I'm curious about whether or not that link will make my wife's Internet Explorer act up too. Now on to yet another cup of coffee.

"Real programmers drink real coffee."

#10 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Serge @ 6:

I suspect some kind of weirdness in their HTML, but I haven't looked at that yet (it doesn't shut down Safari; it just mucks up the screen display). Security software might be the problem, though.

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:59 PM:

One thing I noticed, D, is that, while I have no problem getting to Wolcott from my own computer, I can't cut/paste the text into an email for later reading.

#12 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Can I cut you a slice of coffee, Sergeant?

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Steve... Remember Ava Gabor's coffee on Green Acres?

#14 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:05 PM:

#9: You're welcome.

#5: I had to laugh. (I remember evaporated milk and the wadded-up wedges of waxed paper one inserted in the church-key holes, but the last time I used it [not counting Vietnamese coffee], it was Not As I Remembered.)

#15 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:09 PM:

You're not drinking enough coffee, if you can still sleep.

#16 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:13 PM:

OK, so when I pull up "View Source" I get what I would get if it were displaying properly.

Perhaps the Javascript (pardon the pun) is creating the problem.

Oh, and #8: *Snort*

#17 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Serge, as I remember it was somthing akin to sludge. But it's been a while.

#18 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:14 PM:

D (#4), I can read Vanity Fair just fine with Safari. What happens when you try?

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Steve @ 17... Eva Gabor's coffee was indeed akin to sludge - with cool molasse thrown in, I'd say, from the way it reluctantly crept out of the coffee pot.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:17 PM:

D @ 16... "view source"? Forgot about that. I'll try it tonight.

#21 ::: Q ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:25 PM:

The first cup of coffee recapitulates phylogeny.

#22 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:31 PM:

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning.
It is by caffeine only I set my mind in motion.

One variant, at least.

#24 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Avram @ 18: I get the Vanity Fair banner in mid-page with the page's bottom off to the right. There's an east/west scroll, but no north/south. If I play with it, I sometimes get more, but that's always the screen I get.

(In William Kienzle's mysteries, Father Koesler's coffee repelled hardened policemen.)

#25 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:38 PM:

Just wandered over to the break room to do some research.

There are six airpots there, of which only one or two (Sumatran and Columbian) are filled on a regular basis.

Occasionally someone makes a pot of Decaf; a little less often, someone gets bored and brews one of the flavored coffees.

There are three types of "pre mixed" non-dairy creamer, plus one or two types of the powdered stuff. This muck is essentially edible tempera paint; fortunately, there is a dispenser with one of those little buckets of Half & Half.

Three types of sweetener.

A dozen types of tea. Hot cider and hot chocolate mix up in the cabinets.

Two posters asking people who've emptied a pot to make a new one. I created one of them:

If you use up a pot of coffee, please make a new one.

Click here for the image

Or we send the clown after you

#26 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:44 PM:

(This is a decaffeinated post.)

I'd like to spend Saturday at Boskone with a small group of local friends that includes a 3-year old. The logistics of commuting to the con all look workable, except for the problem of "where can the child nap in the early afternoon?" Are any of you Boston fans with young children (or limited stamina) facing similar problems, so this is a solved problem I just don't know about? Or are you traveling from afar, and you have a quiet hotel room, part of which you can lend or sublet to a small napper and a supervising adult?

We can offer baked goods, a soft sculpture dragon, or cash. Without the nap, we don't expect a halfway-civilized preschooler in the late afternoon and evening, so this is really important. We're trying to avoid the level of profound exhaustion that lets a person fall asleep in a crowded consuite or elevator lobby, because this particular child goes through hours of being short-tempered and unhappy on the way to being that tired.

#27 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Stefan @ 25: I may need to borrow that image for a sign exhorting my offspring to clean up their room. Perhaps simply printing and framing it would do--then I could threaten to bring it out and hang it on the wall whenever their living space slips below minimal hygienic standards.

*residual shudder*

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Redmolly, if you want to scare the kids into cleaning up, get a poster of Tim Curry as the evil clown from Stephen King's "It".

#29 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:01 PM:

About 3 weeks ago my body started reacting really strongly to my one morning coffee (true, it was Peet's French Roast)-- jitters, etc. I tried half-decaf, half-caffeinated -- same old, same old. So I switched to decaf. I miss the caffeine, I gotta say, but it's not too bad. And it means that I can now have a cup of java in the evening without worrying about whether or not I'm going to be able to fall asleep...

#30 ::: Lucy Huntzinger ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Flavored coffee is an abomination. I say this having recently tried Godiva chocolate coffee.

#31 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:06 PM:

15 years ago I worked for a local coffee roaster/manufacturer. We sold a ton of flavored coffees (chocolate, macadamia nut), but we occasionally misfired. For a while there we had a pallet of Lilikoi-flavored coffee sitting in the warehouse. Worst taste imaginable.

#32 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:11 PM:

What the heck is Lilikoi? Koi, like the fish?

#33 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Another decaffeinated comment: a friend of mine was looking for genre titles that deal with or mention what philosophy/social theory/etc look like in the future, and I couldn't think of anything off the top of my head. Does anybody have some ideas?

#34 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Looking for a picture of one of those old evaported milk can openers, the ones that made a spout in the old round-edged cans, I found instead a company that sells post-WWI reproduction military rations for re-enactors and historical displays. Apparently, they contain real edible food. The WWII instant coffee ration contains about 1 ounce, which they claim is "enough to keep caffeined up for an entire weekend." Don't know about that. I think one ounce of instant makes about 5 cups, which is not enough for me on a weekend.

Still haven't found the spout-making can opener (though I could go home and find mine), but I found a number of other styles on e-bay.

Now I think I'll open my fresh can of Jittery Joe's coffee (sundown blend, ground Friday) and inhale. Ahhhhh... It's off to the coffee pot.

#35 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:19 PM:

#26: According to Boskone's list of area hours, their babysitting facilities are available from 12:45pm to 5:15pm on Saturday afternoon. I've never been to Boskone. (This will be my first year going.) So I don't know any more than this. Sorry.

If you're planning on getting a Boskone membership for your child though, this looks like an option.

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:27 PM:

"...Marvel Studios announced today that it has signed on Academy Award® winner Gwyneth Paltrow to join the cast of the highly-anticipated summer 2008 event film Iron Man. Paltrow will take on the role of Virginia "Pepper" Potts, personal secretary and confidant to Tony Stark aka Iron Man. The film is slated to hit theaters May 2, 2008. (...) Paltrow joins a star-studded cast for Marvel Entertainment's first self-financed and produced feature film, which also includes Oscar® nominees Robert Downey Jr. in the title role and Terrence Howard as Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes, Stark's best friend. Jon Favreau is set to direct..."

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? What's next? Will Ferrel as Captain America?

#37 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Xopher, it's a fruit. Yellow Passion fruit, to be exact. Tastes good on a plate with mango and papaya, tastes awful as a coffee flavor.

#38 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:31 PM:

AH. Thank you. Yes, coffeeizing that sounds like a waste of good fruit. *ducks hail of Starbucks™ cups*

#39 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:32 PM:

I tend to have expensive tastes where it comes to coffee. On our honeymoon Marilee and I bought a pound of Wallensford Estate Blue Mountain from Capricorn Coffees in San Francisco -- for $30. This was more than 25 years ago when the quality of Blue Mountain had not been affected by the push for quanitity to ship to Japan. We stretched that pound for months and gave the last bit to a friend who opened the first coffee house of some quality here. He brewed it for himself -- and we never had to pay for coffee again at his shop. (Capricorn had been the only source of the real stuff on the west coast for some time. To their credit they stopped importing Blue Mountain once the quality dissappeared. They are worth a visit south of Market, especially if they are roasting at the time.)

On the other hand, my ancestors were merchants, ranchers and railroad men in and around San Antonio. While railroad coffee had a strong reputation (as thick and black as axle grease) boiled trail coffee is what I heard about, and finally experienced. (Drink seems inadequate.) Fill up the traditional four quart tinware coffee pot with cold water and place on the fire. When it boils dump in a level double handful of ground coffee, and bring back to a boil. An eggshell is a traditional addition at this point as well. (The traditional brand of course is Arbuckles Ariosa and there is a company that claims to have brought it back, but you can use the corporate descendant of Arbuckles -- Maxwell House.) Move to near but not on the fire, throw in a little cold water to help the grounds settle, and wait a couple of minutes. Powerful stuff.

Remember, pour carefully so the grounds don't get stirred up, and you don't want to drink this to the last drop. The last cup or so in the pot is perfect for helping put out the cook fire, or for taking the hair off cowhide.

#40 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:33 PM:

#27: Go ahead and use the picture for personal use.

I'm seriously thinking of doing a little photoshop work to make it look like the stuffed clown in actually gripping the knife in its hand, then making a commercial "make the coffee" poster.

I have another version of the poster using a different photo, one that used to be up on Lilek's newspaper photo archives site. It shown an OLD clown. A really scary wrinkled decrepit clown of the sort that makes wee kids challenge the carrying capacity of their Huggies.

#41 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Decaffeinated, I think: the current Google ads I'm seeing on the front page, and where else could you find this set?

Top Agents Seek Authors
Hottest New Sock Yarn
Premium Russian Yarns
Usborne-Books.com (USA)
Free Sam Hamster Cage

and the 'see more ads' ads:
Self Publishing
Publish My Book
How to Publish a Book
Sock Yarn Patterns
Alpaca Yarn

#42 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:45 PM:

re @23: a picture of The Forbidden Starbucks. 'at least there is not one at the Cappusin Monastery. Yet.'

Lizzy L @29,

Consider switching to decaf. tea, or a low-caffeine green tea: it is darn good for you. (look up EGCG or Theanine in Pubmed. Coffee just doesn't have results like "Green tea extract reverses the despair behaviour in reserpinised* and diabetic mice")

* depressed mice, given the depressant reserpine.

#43 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 02:58 PM:

If you haven't looked at Chris Clarke's Completely Innocent Photoshop™ Tutorial, honest, you really should.

#44 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:13 PM:

@Mark (#33):

A.E Van Vogt's The World of Null-A ?
Assimov's Foundation ? (I'm thinking psychohistory, but it's been so long since I read the thing I don't really remember)
Barjavel's The Ice People ? (I'm stretching a bit here, all right, this is a past futuristic society)

@Claude Muncey (#39):

Woohoo ! A way of making coffee I haven't tried yet. Thanks a lot for that.

Anyone here besides me ever been diagnosed with caffeine overdose ?

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Caffeine overdose, MD(squared)? I know I get a slight headache if I go without caffeine over the weekend.

#46 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:23 PM:

Serge @ #36 re: Iron Man

At least Robert Downey Jr. can act. And Jon Favreau is enough of a geek that I am inclined to trust him. For now.

I'm still wondering about the Star Trek XI rumors. Here's the latest blurbs, if you're interested.

SciFi Wire
Entertainment Weekly
IMDB Star Trek XI

#47 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Diagnosed? No. Up all night grinding my teeth and listening to my heart gallop wildly, convinced that I was going to die to the point of writing a farewell letter? Yes.

And yes, I have a four-pack of Red Bull and a four-pack of Rockstar Juiced in my fridge...

#48 ::: harthad ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:32 PM:

While living in southwestern Louisiana, I worked in an office that employed a mix of native Louisianans and out-of-state transplants like myself. I could always tell when one of the natives had made the pot of coffee that morning: even if held up to a strong light, the brew would be opaque. Transplants made translucent coffee, much to the disgust of the natives.

The only brand I ever drank while there, whether in the office or in homes or in restaurants, was Community Coffee. I don't know why the grocery stores bothered selling any other brand. It was good, though; I missed it after I moved away.

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Thanks for the Star Trek links, Tania. From the looks of it, it won't be a reboot of the whole thing. I'd have prefered if they had take that approach. It certainly didn't hurt James Bond any.

As for Downey Jr.... You're right. Let's see what he does As for Favreau, he is a comic-book lover so he's less likely to screw up. If he does, that won't be on purpose. (Must have been interesting, having him, Ben Affleck and Michael Clark Duncan together in Daredevil, what with all three being comic-book people.)

#50 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Oh, and coffee. I'm not the greatest coffee drinker. Love the smell, but I don't drink it very often. What I don't understand is the mocha appeal. Blech. I like chocolate. I don't dislike coffee. But together - yuk. I know I'm in the minority here, but does anyone else experience this?

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:37 PM:

Coffee and mocha, Tania? I'm with you.

#52 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Yup, diagnosed. Trembling + Nausea + Slight aural hallucinations + Inability to stop thinking. At first the doctors tought I was on (other kinds of) drug. It seems it was just the result of lack of sleep/insufficient eating and lots, lots and lots of very strong coffee over a very short period of time (that's where trying to get an education when you have two jobs can get you).

I just realised the "²" character isn't on qwerty keyboards. Damn... talk about pestering people without realizing.

#53 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:51 PM:

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moves "Doomsday" clock forward by two minutes to 11:55.

#54 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Coffee + a pinch of chocolate made in a depression coffee maker with Evian water can save some arabicas if they've been held on for too long and have become a bit too sour because of oxidation.

Anyway, I wouldn't really to mix the two in any other way to tell the truth.

Generally, toying around with different type of waters can be pretty rewarding (very strong tar pit like robusta + Hepar via an espresso pot is an experience in itself, though I wouldn't necessarily recommand it)

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:55 PM:

MD² #52: but they can type it with ²

#56 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 03:59 PM:

MD² (44): New ways to brew coffee, eh? Have you tried the Toddy Cold Water Coffee System? I got one for Christmas. Basically, you combine a whole pound of ground coffee with nine cups of cold water and let it sit for 12 hours. Then you drain off about five cups of highly concentrated, low-acid coffee extract. To make a cup of coffee, you combine three parts hot water with one part extract.

Because the extract is so low in volatile acids, it'll keep up to two weeks in the fridge with no loss in flavor. It tastes better than automatic drip (IMO), and it's great for coffee-on-demand, a cup at a time. It's so low in acid, I notice I no longer get the sour stomach that lets me know when I've had too much coffee. Sure, it can't compare to, say, real espresso, but for the morning eye-opener I really like it.

The actual process is a bit more involved than brewing a pot in the Mr. Coffee, but you only have to do it once a week or so.

#57 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Stefan Jones @25: [I created this poster] asking people who've emptied a pot to make a new one:
      If you use up a pot of coffee, please make a new one. Or we send the clown after you

This reminded me of this BoingBoing post where posters were placed to remind people to contribute to the coffee fund. When the poster had eyes, contributions went up.

#58 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:18 PM:

I'll confess to flavored coffee here, which I just made. You see, somebody left some Godiva Vanilla Hazelnut coffee on spouse's desk sometime during the holiday festivities, and it made its way home before anyone figured out it was coffee, not chocolate. So I, who can occasionally tolerate such stuff, am using it for afternoon coffee during this icy period, accompanied by panforte. (Normally this time of afternoon would find me at one of several coffeehouses, medium-size latte at my side.)

I get bulk Italian Roast coffee and use it in the expresso machine (the type Starbucks sells but not bought from them) for breakfast lattes. I tend to make them a bit strong (quantity of beans, *and* amount of coffee vs milk).

On the mocha front: nothing better for studying Latin than a large mocha made with Guittard chocolate and lots of whipped cream. Too bad the purveyor turned into a Diesel store some years back.

#59 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:21 PM:

I cannot believe I actually typed "expresso". The fact that the x is just below the s is absolutely *no* excuse. And then that I missed it on preview. (Abases self yet again.) Espresso, espresso, espresso ...

#60 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Howard Peirce (#56):

Rooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhh ! I need to get myself one of those. Just for the insterest of experimentation, of course.

Thanks a lot.

#61 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:30 PM:

joann (#59): "expresso" is what American tourists abroad ask about when trying to get on a faster train. (I'm re-watching Amazing Race 2 on GSN while waiting for All-Stars to start....)

#62 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Joann: You were being influenced by the French construction "café express." Weren't you, now?

I haven't been on the Drag in too long--I don't remember what turned into Diesel. Then again, I've never forgiven Strfcks for destroying Les Amis.

#63 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:36 PM:

TexAnne: Quack's. As to French influence, the Italian is supposed to be a *lot* stronger these days.

#64 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:38 PM:

Coffee. Ugh. Only in the past couple years have I been able to walk into a coffeehouse without immediately wanting to hurl (which is a good thing, since my job now involves sitting in coffeehouses for hours at a time, several evenings a month). To me, it smells like a skunk just let go right underneath my house.

I can't eat or drink anything that has even a hint of coffee/mocha flavoring in it ... and woe to the person who ever tries to serve me tea made in a receptacle that was ever used to make even half a cup of coffee.

(Yeah, kinda sensitive here. I wish I knew why.)

But tea ... ah, tea. Preferably Earl Grey. Hot. And don't try to put anything in it, either. Steep it until the spoon starts to dissolve.

*sips day's 5th cup of tea*

#65 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:40 PM:

My stepdad says, "Expresso." When I called him on it, he challenged me to look it up. Every single dictionary I've found lists both "expresso" and "esspresso" as being correct. But he's the only guy I know who says "expresso."

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Useless coffee rambings:

I was amused to learn that the Dutch term for cafe latte is koffie verkeerd, which literally means "wrong coffee". They like it darker. (Though, more and more, it's just "latte" now, apparently.)

If Latin studies are aided by mocha (and I agree with joann that they are - I made it through a BA in Latin on Sufficient Grounds mochas), then Greek is only possible with strong espresso. I tried both, and disliked both.

And this thread reminds me of the year that my mother gave up coffee for Lent. None of the rest of us in the house gave up anything - we were suffering enough.

#67 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Joann: Ugh. I knew Quack's was closed (O their black beans and rice!) but I didn't know what the space had become. What a cryin' shame.

Sock yarn pimpage!--Blue Moon gave their sock-club subscribers a free skein in the December shipment. One-offs, irreproducible accidents, small lots...I got cabin fever today and started Yet Another sock with mine. It's gorgeous. They couldn't have picked a better colorway for me if they'd known me personally. I'm doing a plain old round-and-round, no fancy patterning to take away from the beautiful colors. (Join ussss, Tereeeessssaaaaa...joiiiiin usssss....)

#68 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:51 PM:

A moment of silence for my dad's coffeehouse, Roadrunner Coffee of Lockeford, California, which closed its doors December 28th after a nine-year run.

On the bright side, though, my parents now have sufficient custom-dark-roasted coffee beans stashed in their kitchen cabinets to see them through a year of two-pots-a-day drinking habits.

#69 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:52 PM:

the list of sidebar ads reminds me of what Froogle (Google's mail-order-search thingy page) does. It gives you a randomly generated list of things that can be searched for.

So when I read it it gives me visions of dangerous Rube Goldberg contraptions involving fleecelined ferret hammocks, creme brulee torches and explosion-proof refrigerators.

Funny how the Google sidebar comes up with amazing non sequiturs sometimes.
(Identification tags for fish)

#70 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:00 PM:

Coffee.

Sigh.

Back when I was young and strong and found sleep to be a waste of time, I started the day with the entire contents of a seven-cup stovetop espresso maker. Drank office drip all day. Had another pot of espresso with brandy (or, in summer, mineral water, milk, and brandy) after work.

I'm told these habits are not unconnected with my current regime of anithypertensives, but it was fun while it lasted.

#71 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:05 PM:

always follow the ways of Zen and have another expresso.

--Shel Silverstein

#72 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Meredith (64): I'm with you on the coffee. I hate the smell, and I don't like coffee-flavored *anything*. (Coffee-flavored ice cream is the only kind of ice cream I won't eat.)

We part company on the tea, however. I can't stand tea, either. Makes it hard to be social sometimes.

#73 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Abi #66: And this thread reminds me of the year that my mother gave up coffee for Lent. None of the rest of us in the house gave up anything - we were suffering enough.

Good heavens. Shouldn't there be some complementary church festival in which you assign yourself additional (non-papal) indulgences? I would have recommended double celebration that year for all concerned.

#74 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:12 PM:

RedMolly, I think I may have been in your folks' pplace. Either way, a damned shame.

#75 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:18 PM:

TexAnne #67:

They held off closing Quack's until two months after I'd handed in my diss, so there's that in their favor.

If you were ever even able to get a cup of coffee at Les Amis, you're clearly luckier than I ever was. Stuff just did not appear for me, be it waitstaff, what I ordered, or anything else.

#76 ::: Iain Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:39 PM:

I used to drink so much coffee. Then, about 18 months ago, I gave it up. I've never felt better, and my driving has markedly improved.

#77 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Coffee? Not if there's proper tea available. Which there rarely is, because proper tea is theft.

#78 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Joann #75: I went with long-established regulars--they may have started going in the early 80s. But Quack's was where my heart was, for obvious geographical reasons.

Aw, now I'm all homesick!

#79 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 06:18 PM:

in the pale light no shadows can be seen
the sun is densely wreathed by a thick cloud
only the music seems alert and keen

with little wind the thin trees do not lean
against each other in their little crowd
in the pale light no shadows can be seen

this weather is the kind that aches the spleen
we pass each other with our bodies bowed
only the music seems alert and keen

not noble but submissive is our mien
on this dull day a fool could not be proud
in the pale light no shadows can be seen

even the grass has turned a pallid green
this day we feel was made to wear a shroud
only the music seems alert and keen

the lethargy's not abolished by caffeine
constricted are the limits of the allowed
in the pale light no shadows can be seen
only the music seems alert and keen

#80 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 06:31 PM:

And many thanks to the Viable Paradise folks for providing morning coffee-and-bagels-and-Danish at the Arisia consuite on Sunday. I got to meet Jim McDonald in person, yay!

#81 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 06:48 PM:

I recently ran across an old Hills Brothers can in my garage with the corporate-logo-guy wearing a turban. I'd forgotten about the walking turban guy, even though I remember him well from my childhood because my parents were loyal Hills Bros. drinkers. I buy whatever's on sale, and that, many times, is Hills Brothers, sans turban guy. Any idea when he left the building? I've speculated to my wife that it was around 9/11, but can't say for sure because that that time, Folgers was usually on sale.

Also Tania @ 46 brings up something juicy with the Star Trek update. Though glad to see a return of the franchise, I was hoping they'd bring back my buddy Picard and the Next Generation crew.

#82 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 07:13 PM:

NYaAAAHHHHHH! Please, give me strengh!

Last week, in a moment of weakness, I reinstalled Civilization III & various upgrades and patches on my PC. It hadn't been there for over a year.

Started and quit several games before getting a really good set-up. Worked things up to a really strong position over the course of several days, until last night, when the Indians invaded with overwhelming force. Spent an hour conducting the first turn of the war, which didn't go too badly, but after saving my position for the night realized I could do better. (Using my Knights to destroy his rail lines and roads to prevent reinforcements from coming over the border.) Of course I had saved at the beginning of the war, and could play it over again...

In a fit of resolve and self-disgust I un-installed the game, erased the directory it was in, and emptied the windows trash file. Went to bed feeling good.

Now I want to play again.

F**k.

There really needs to be a 12 Step meeting for these things:

"Hello, my name is Lyle G., and I'm a 4xAholic."

"Hello Lyle!"

"I once spent fifteen hours playing Masters of Orion II. I wore adult diapers and went through three two liter bottles of Diet Mountain Dew and a box of Little Debbie Chocolate Star cakes."

"I hear you man. We've all been there."

#83 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 07:15 PM:

ChrisClarke--thanks. Times are rough for ye olde coffeehouse just down the highway from ye olde Starbuck$. Makes my heart hurt to hear my dad--a small-l libertarian and big-C Contrarian--declaiming on the absolute right of large corporations to come in and squish his business if they want to.

#84 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Mark @ 33
Try Cory Doctorow's Down and out in the Magic Kingdom or Eastern Standard Tribe
, Charles Stross' Accelerando, or Elizabeth Bear's Carnival or her Jenny Casy novels, or maybe Sher S. Tepper.

#85 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 07:47 PM:

To make a cup of coffee, you combine three parts hot water with one part extract.

I'd be tempted to chug the extract, especially first thing in the morning.

Then I'd die horribly of the ensuing intestinal complications, since I love coffee but it does not love me back.

#86 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 07:56 PM:

I could never get the hang of coffee. Some time ago, I had to go to Israel for work and it turns out that Mountain Dew hasn't civilized that part of the world yet, and the only stuff they had at the office was an automatic coffee machine that can make a bunch of different coffee flavors, so coffee it was. All the text was in Hebrew. Every time I needed caffeine, I'd go push a random button. Even if I dind't like the first sip, I'd try to finish the cup, just in case the flavor "grew" on me. The fourth button down from teh top wasn't too bad. No idea what flavor it was. But when forced into the situation, I can do coffee.

I switched back to Mt. Dew as soon as I got back, though.

#87 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:00 PM:

Oh, and could someone explain what the "tragic" knowledge was and what the "farce" was? Maybe I haven't had enough Mt Dew.

#88 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:05 PM:

Ah, at last, a new Open Thread.

Back on Open Thread 77, as 2006 was winding down,
Bruce Adelsohn
at #294 introduced us to the terrors of the Planet Rock Album Quiz


A few of us here (I see Tim Walters, Rikibeth, abi, otherdeb, and myself) kicked it around a while, but then the thread moved on to other topics, and then it died out, as all threads must.

Well, I told my old college-radio buddies about the Planet Rock Album Quiz.

And one of my friends ran with the idea:

All the people I work with got hooked on the Planet Rock album quiz, but they all had the same reaction: too much Heavy Metal, and not enough ’80s bands. I took this as a challenge, and so here's the 1980s (give or take a few years) version of the quiz. See how you do:


Danny’s New! Improved! Version of the 'Album Quiz'.


I found it to be even more maddening than the original.

#89 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Okay, Fragano. It's on.

My fuel is coffee, made in Cuban style.
The Cubans start their coffee-training young,
With sugared milk (we're also sucro-philes)
And just a drop of kaff to train the tongue.
Then, as the years go by, the drink is changed.
The milk decreases, dwindles, and is gone.
But with the milk more coffee is exchanged,
Increasing in its darkness and its brawn;
So dense that even light cannot escape,
So rich that old King Solomon would blush,
As strong as Kal-El in his scarlet cape
And smooth and pure as is the driven slush.
The training ends. Thus are the Cubans made:
With azucar and cafe, weapons-grade.

#90 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Stefan Jones (#82)There really needs to be a 12 Step meeting for these things.

There is.

Greg London (#87) Oh, and could someone explain what the "tragic" knowledge was and what the "farce" was?

From what my meager english could gather: Tragic = B. Senior's realisation, farcical = B. Junior's (non)-raction.

Hum.

#91 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:36 PM:

I am curious to know how long it will take the assembled company to recognize the source of the following set of instructions:

Don't oil the escapements. The oil will surely get on to the matrices.

Don't put oil in the magazine. In other words, don't be foolish.

Don't attempt to remove a magazine without first inserting the locking bar. If you do, the matrices will spill on the floor.

Don't forget to close the cover on the lower magazine before starting to remove it. The matrices may run out.

Don't force the first elevator when a tight line prevents its dropping out enough to release the vice automatic. Ruined matrices will result, and a "squirt" is bound to follow if you do.

Don't abuse the machine when it balks or stops or fails to function properly. It is because you have neglected something, or something has broken. The machine is the most reasonable thing in the world, no matter how unreasonable it may seem.

Don't forget that the machine always does the best it can, in view of the treatment it receives.

#92 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:40 PM:

Will A #89: Tomo nota de tu café cubano y, aunque mi te es chino, mi respuesta se escribe en inglés:

Bach sang of coffee, for he music made
and that swift jangly rush hit a right note;
I write of tea, for my less urgent trade
allows me on the slow warm rise to dote.
Caffeine's in both, we know that to be true,
and in both gives us that aura of power,
but tea is better, that's the honest view,
although its making takes up half an hour.
Teas that are green, or black, or even white,
teas full of flavour, teas with tang and nerve,
teas with an attitude, teas with a real bite,
these from my regular course will make me swerve.
I hold that we can't judge a people free
unless over harsh coffee they praise tea.

#93 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:46 PM:

Stefan - that's a coincidence, I found my copy of Master of Orion II while tidying up yesterday. In fact it's right behind... sorry, it's calling me. I'll be back when I've found out what it wants.

#94 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:52 PM:

I played CivIII once. I started sometime about mid-morning, figuring I'd get started and then get some breakfast. And then I was going to get some lunch, after the next turn. And then it occurred to me that it was a bit late for lunch, but I really should get some dinner pretty soon. That shifted to thinking that I really did need to eat dinner at some point, and I think it was somewhere well past midnight that I came to the conclusion that I needed to get something to eat, get to sleep, and never play Civ ever ever again.

#95 ::: Awesome Lies ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 08:55 PM:

Brooks Moses@91: a linotype machine?

#96 ::: grndexter ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:01 PM:

Stefan Jones:
In Re the Clown - Photography lesson #8. When using a flash, be thou aware of reflective surfaces behindeth the subject that will bounceth the flash back into the lens and make thee sore angry after the film cometh back from the processor.

:-D

#97 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:03 PM:

I don't like coffee. I'm not fond of chocolate. But Darjeeling tea, that I love.

#98 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Awesome Lies @ 95:
I think you're right.

#99 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Awesome Lies (#95): Well, that was certainly rather fast!

Yup. I picked up a copy of the Linotype Instruction Book (1925, Mergenthaler Linotype Co.) at a used-book store a few days ago, and have been gleefully reading through it to see how all the various bits worked. It's simultaneously considerably more complicated and considerably less complicated than I had imagined.

And I keep tripping over bits of writing in it that I want to quote at people, too. For instance:

The mold is made of special steel, very carefully case-hardened and ground. It has to be made with very great accuracy in all its dimensions. Screwdrivers, or other instruments of the kind should never be used around the mold, except to tighten or loosen screws.

#100 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Tea may also have anti-ovarian cancer properties. (Very important to me.)

I like plant coffee. I used to travel to chemical plants for work, and there was always coffee available, even if it had been sitting on the warmer for hours.

And Community Coffee is awesome! We're coming to the end of the 3 lbs. from 1999....

#101 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:35 PM:

Two Septembers ago, I watched from a distance as the calamity in New Orleans unfolded. I read with horror the posts here about that awful event, and I still feel sorry for the displaced and stricken residents of that city.
***nevertheless***
Go Bears! I hope they crush the Saints Sunday.

#102 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:52 PM:

And now, the low road...

There once was a cuban named Will,
Whose Spanish was virtually nil,
Though his verse was alright,
And with it he did fight
O'er his favorite caff'nated swill.

His opponent was worthy Fragano,
And their poems went mano a mano.
It was leaves vs. beans.
It remains to be seen
When the gorda will sing in soprano.

Because tea is a blessing, it's true.
It's contemplative. Raises IQ.
But when deadlines arise,
Then there's no compromise
And I needs me some stronger voodoo.

Your drink may have powerful chi
It is virtuous stuff, I agree.
But I will not be swayed.
Coffee must be obeyed,
And I'm just not as loyal to tea.

#103 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Bill (85): I'd be tempted to chug the extract, especially first thing in the morning. Then I'd die horribly of the ensuing intestinal complications, since I love coffee but it does not love me back.

Bill, I hate to be a gadget evangelist, but the Toddy coffee extract has next to no oils or acids in it. That's the stuff that rots your gut. The first time I made the extract, I thought the coffee tasted so good, I had more. And more. And more! Finally it dawned on me that I was bouncing off the walls talking a mile a minute, and I realized it was because I usually stop drinking coffee when my stomach starts to turn.

The little booklet that came with it has a recipe for "Toddy espresso," which is basically the extract, heated, served in a demitasse. So it probably won't kill you. But I'd rather hold out for a real espresso with a nice crema.

I looking forward to summer, and pouring it over crushed ice with a bit of cane syrup -- and maybe some rum.

#104 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 10:19 PM:

With apologies to the Memphis Jug Band--

Caffeine habit's mighty bad
It's the worst old habit that I ever had
Hey, hey, come and take a sip on me.

I went to Mr. Kroger's on a spree
Saw a sign on the window says, "No more tea."
Hey, hey, come and take a sip on me.

If you don't believe caffeine is good,
Ask Alma Rose back in the woods.
Hey, hey, come and take a sip on me.

I love my whisky and I love my gin,
But the way I love my coffee is a doggone sin.
Hey, hey, come and take a sip on me.

Since caffeine went out of style
You can catch 'em drinking Red Bull all the while
Hey, hey, come and take a sip on me.

It takes a little coffee to give me ease,
Strut your stuff long as you please.
Hey, hey, come and take a sip on me.

#105 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 10:22 PM:

xeger #22: I can't get the image of Brad Dourif reciting your lines out of my mind.

#106 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 10:36 PM:

Will A #102:

Tea is the drink that more than merely cheers
but doesn't make you drunk or falsely proud,
it speaks in whispers but its voice is loud
yet unlike coffee does not end in tears.
To win approval of one's friends and peers
never requires the plaudits of the crowd
but a strong sense of what should be allowed,
and mugs of tea till it comes out your ears.
Coffee made strong will give men heart attacks,
its bitterness could rival that of gall
and heartburn is its truest consequence.
So give us tea, and be neither slow or lax,
for coffee's pleasures are so quick to pall;
tea is the drink for all folk of good sense.

#107 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 10:44 PM:

I was listening to the BBC World Service show "The World Today" while driving home from work tonight. They had a story about a phenomena in rural India of having theaters produce plays about current news. The play they were covering: "Saddam at the Gallows."

Unfortunately, I can't find the exact story on the BBC website, but I'll summarize. Saddam is played as a folk-hero and martyr. Apparently the actor playing him has a remarkable resemblance. They did a bit of an interview with the actor. One line that jumped out at me:

"Saddam was ruthless. He killed and tortured. But he did it for the good of his country. Just like George Bush."

There are apparently three different theater companies touring with "Saddam" plays (that the BBC knew of), this one started the story way back when Saddam first took power.

#108 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 11:27 PM:

#90 Civanon.com is, of course, a clever marketing site by Firaxis.

#96: We were not in "professional photographer" mode when we took that photo. I have a variant made with the clown peering through pebbled glass that is even scarier, but the knife is hard to make out. And another, made without a flash, that shows the sillhouette of the clown behind the pebbled glass. What I linked to was best for my purposes.

#109 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Fragano #106

I sing of drink that vim to vigor gives,
Its dark substance the stuff of arete
And drinks of lesser strength must now give way
For none can this oppose and after live.
I sing of coffee. It came first to earth
Rectangular, out of the frozen void,
Its influence among the apes deployed.
The caffeinated obelisk gave birth
To this world's howling band of sapiens
Who bonked the lesser apes upon the head
With reimagined bones as deadly tools.
Pay heed to this, dear citizens and friends.
Less caffeinated apes were left for dead
By those the coffee-obelisk did school.

#110 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 11:36 PM:

wrt the Coffee Toddy gadget, in posts 103 and previous: the gadget itself is not strictly necessary for the process, though it does simplify the filtration. Every so often, though not recently enough for me to remember the proportions offhand, I buy a can of ground coffee (or bag of whole beans if I'm feeling energetic enough to feed them through my small hand-cranked coffee mill) and promptly submerge the contents in a pitcher of cold water for some introductory stirring and an overnight soak. The next day, I decant off as much liquid as possible without disturbing the grounds, and then pour the whole mass of grounds into a jelly bag or a cheesecloth-lined strainer to drip dry.

(Wring out the jelly bag or cheesecloth with some water beforehand. Also, it can be a good idea to filter the initial supernatant anyway, before the entire mass of grounds dumps in.)

The concentrate is wonderful as a minor addition to a glass of cold milk. Or to a glass of ice water with some condensed milk stirred in. (Mix the condensed milk with a small amount of water first, before adding the ice and filling the glass.)

Strangely, it's made me think of coffee as a mainly summer beverage; in winter, masala chai concentrate is more the thing. Definitely time to make another batch of that.

#111 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:08 AM:

Feast on wine or fast on water
And your honour shall stand sure
God Almighty's son and daughter
He the valiant, she the pure;
If an angel out of Heaven
Brings you other things to drink,
Thank him for his kind intentions,
Go and pour them down the sink.

Coffee is the Arab's pleasure,
That the Prophet has allowed,
Drunk with quite excessive leisure
While the talk gets wild and loud.
Coffee-house discourse is bitter,
Like the liquid, sharp and hot,
Acid, frothy, dark. Is it a
Happenstance? No, I think not.

Tea is like the East he grows in,
A great yellow Mandarin
With urbanity of manner
And unconsciousness of sin;
All the women, like a harem,
At his pig-tail troop along;
And, like all the East he grows in
He is Poison when he's strong.

Tea, although an Oriental
Is a gentleman at least,
Cocoa is a cad and coward
Cocoa is a vulgar beast,
Cocoa is a dull, disloyal,
Lying, crawling cad and clown,
And may very well be grateful
To the fool that takes him down.

As for all the windy waters,
They were rained like tempests down
When good drink had been dishonoured
By the tipplers of the town;
When red wine had brought red ruin
And the death-dance of oour times,
Heaven sent us soda-water
As a torment for our crimes.

- Chesterton, with additions.

#112 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Julie (110): I can certainly see where you're right, but I probably would never have attempted the process without the rig and the written directions. When I first saw it online, I thought it was fairly cheap, but when I actually got the device, I realized it was a bit overpriced for what you actually got. My inner engineer began redesigning the thing as soon as I got hold of it. (I'd like a ball-cock spigot instead of a rubber stopper, and a permanent gold-plate-on-nylon fine mesh strainer instead of that nylon scrubby filter that comes with it, at the very least.)

I wonder if you couldn't put moistened coffee in the damp cheesecloth, tie it off, and immerse the whole thing? Then you could remove the mass of grounds in one go.

Also, I have learned a new word -- supernatant -- for which I thank you.

The proportions I'm using are 9 (8 oz) cups of water to 1 pound of coffee, although I find you have to adjust that for dark roasts, which weigh less per unit volume. I'm having tremendous fun with it right now, but I suspect that with time I'll go with different preparations for different purposes.

OTOH, my sister's Christmas present was one of those hideous coffee-pod one-cup brewers, which are an abomination, even worse than cartridge razors.

#113 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:47 AM:

I wonder if you couldn't put moistened coffee in the damp cheesecloth, tie it off, and immerse the whole thing? Then you could remove the mass of grounds in one go.

I think tying off the cheesecloth might compact the grounds enough to significantly reduce their combined surface area. Not that there's all that much convection going on overnight anyway, but it probably needs all the help it can get-- it's a deliberately inefficient extraction, after all.

A preliminary tie-off presents other problems as well-- you'll either have to scrape a nasty, gritty, messy pile of damp coffee grounds onto the also-damp cheesecloth to start with and then wrestle the entire mass into your container of choice, or neatly tie off the dry grounds inside dry cheesecloth and then hope the cheesecloth doesn't rupture as the grounds expand from liquid absorption.

I suppose the natural extension of this method would be to line the pitcher/bowl with cheesecloth before adding anything else, so the grounds are loose and swimmy overnight but in the morning, the cloth's sides can be gathered together to pull out the grounds in one go. (Potential drawbacks: capillary action wicking up liquid and dripping it out around the edges, or losing the edges down inside the container.)

However, you still end up with a final phase of waiting for the grounds to finish dripping out. It's jelly bags for me; they're fine-meshed, washable, and have cute little tripod stands. (Illustrative link mainly chosen on the basis of Google topness; I bought mine from Orchard Supply Hardware.)

#114 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:04 AM:

Madison Guy @ 23 & Katharine @ 42 - I bought a coffee in that very Starbucks. It's really odd seeing such a thing in the middle of the Forbidden City. I have the receipt in my photo album because it really does have "Forbidden Starbucks" printed on it.

#115 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:51 AM:

Greg (87): Others may have different views, but here's my take. Jeb was the great hope of the Bush dynasty. George junior was not originally being groomed for the presidency -- he was the black sheep up until Neal started screwing those Bangkok hookers -- but one thing led to another in 1999, and meanwhile Jeb was ensconced in Florida. When Jeb lost the gubernatorial election in 2006, it essentially meant the end of the Bush dynasty. Bush was crying because because Jeb, the good son, accepted defeat with equanimity, while George Jr, in the White House on his second term, is a petty, vindictive father-hating prick and the most reviled president in the history of the Republic. G. H. W. Bush's tears were his public recognition that the House of Bush is done for. That's the tragedy.

The farce came when the audience started to applaud Bush's emotional outburst -- farce because he wasn't crying out of pride for Jeb, he was crying for himself out of self-pity. Jeb stepping onstage to say, "There, there, it's all right," took the whole thing right off into the realm of abject humiliation. I found it painful to watch, yet fascinating, like the fourth act of a classic tragedy. It's like something out of Aeschylus*.

But that's just my take on it, perhaps because I'm trying to fit it all into a dramatic narrative that ends with W. in a psych ward in chemical restraints.

* I know we're all SF fans here, but I googled "Atreides" to get the correct name and spelling of Aeschylus, and all I got were references to Dune. I find that disheartening. Also, everyone should read Aeschylus's House of Atreides trilogy. And then post about it, with lots of links.

#116 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:57 AM:

Sorry. The House of Atreides trilogy is more properly known as The Oresteia. Stupid, unreliable memory. Everyone go read it. You'll never misuse "Cassandra" again.

#117 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:12 AM:

@ Howard Peirce & Julie L.(100-112-113)

I was actually contemplating experimentations with a French press to try out that process.

#118 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:37 AM:

Julie L. (#113): It's not just actual surface area as such; having the grounds closely packed together means that it only requires extracting a little stuff to get the water next to the grounds up to a fairly high concentration, and that inhibits further extraction while the stuff slowly diffuses out into the outside water. You end up with an "effective surface area" that's less than the actual wetted surface area of the coffee grounds.

#119 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 04:44 AM:

I go to bed feeling wrecked, and wake up to this? Here is a tripartite answer, three forms of the same poem:

The two contenders joust with poetry:
A caffeine-fueled SF sonnet slam.
Fragano takes the part of honest tea
And Will is coffee's advocate. Hot damn!
The verses fly. Will has the grounds to show
His drink produces forceful, urgent verse.
Fragano's meditative sonnets go
To prove that tea makes poets none the worse.
Now me, I drink them both, but take up arms
Against the two as well, if they're not bought
From sources where the people on the farms
That grow them are rewarded as they ought.
So write your verse and drink your drinks, you two,
But just make sure it's Fairtrade when you brew.

- o0o -

You're talking of coffees and teas
And missing the wood for the trees.
Whichever you choose,
The growers still lose
So make it all Fairtrade, guys, please?

- o0o -

Both coffee and tea
Taste much better without the
Salt of tears added.

#120 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 04:58 AM:

I've recently discovered that my sonic screwdriver does a dandy job of charging up anything glow-in-the-dark. One second's application gets a nice bright glow.

Howard Peirce@115: I read the Oresteia in translation some years ago, and I agree: wonderful stuff. I plan to read it in the original sometime moderately soon. (Not this year, though; this year is for the Odyssey.) Also excellent: Euripides' The Bacchae.

#121 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 05:07 AM:

The eighth line of the sonnet above should be:

"To prove that tea leaves poets none the worse."

Time for more of one or t'other to get the brain going.

#122 ::: Awesome Lies ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 05:41 AM:

Brooks Moses@99 - as it happens, I was reading our host's musings on linotype machines just the other day. I got to the bit about them squirting hot lead everywhere and suddenly felt very grateful to the inventors of Quark XPress and RIP processors.

#123 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 05:48 AM:

If I can be presumptuous enough to add another blues, this one is an adaptation of one of mine called Vanilla Pudding Blues (which was just a lumping together of a string of clichés, but never mind) and the move from something you eat to something you drink robs it of some of the obviousness...


Sweet Black Coffee Blues

I can drink it in the morning
I can drink it late at night
Your sweet black coffee, baby
Sure does taste just right

I can drink it in the bathtub
I can drink it on the Stairs
Your sweet black coffee, baby
I can drink it anywhere

Sweet Black Coffee, Sweet Black Coffee
I got the Sweet Black Coffee Blues

Well, you can keep your herbal teas
Your milkshakes and colas, too
The only beverage that I'll drink
Is sweet black coffee made by you

Well I like to sip it real slow
And roll it round my tongue
And when I've finished drinking
I've got to get me another one

Sweet Black Coffee, Sweet Black Coffee
I got the Sweet Black Coffee Blues


Your sweet black coffee, baby
It don't taste like any other
Even though you know I know
You got that recipe from your mother

Well I can drink it from a mug
Well I can drink it from a cup
I'll drink it off your body, baby
That coffee really gets me up

Sweet Black Coffee, Sweet Black Coffee
I got the Sweet Black Coffee Blues


You can cover it in whipped cream, baby
You can sprinkle on Chocolate too
I'll just spoon them out the way
To get to the coffee made by you

I drink it all the time girl
I can drink it by the pot
But if you ever run out, baby
I'll find someone else who serves it hot

Sweet Black Coffee, Sweet Black Coffee
I got the Sweet Black Coffee Blues

#124 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 05:56 AM:

As tea is but glorified hot water,
Coffee must be had, for real programmers.

I'll say, for me
I blame abi
For this converse
Only in verse

#125 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 06:33 AM:

"A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems" -- Paul Erdos.

#126 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 07:58 AM:

An overly dramatic pantoum:

Your coffee can open your eyes.
The finest Arabica bean,
Is grown where the morning sun lies
On mountainsides covered in green.

The finest Arabica bean,
The delicate Indian leaf,
On mountainsides covered in green
Is grown amid hunger and grief.

The delicate Indian leaf
To go in your afternoon tea
Is grown among hunger and grief
Of people whom you never see.

To go in your afternoon tea:
That dollop of pain in your drink
Of people whom you never see.
Before you enjoy, stop to think.

That dollop of pain in your drink
Is grown where the morning sun lies.
Before you enjoy, stop to think.
Your coffee can open your eyes.

#127 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 08:09 AM:

Genius, abi. You should write this stuff down. Er, you know what I mean.

#128 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 08:13 AM:

ajay @127
Thanks. I think I did better with my first pantoun than I did with my first villanelle.

I confess - I have actually sent three SF sonnets to Asimov's. I blame Serge and Fragano.

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 08:45 AM:

abi @ 129... I blame Serge and Fragano.

Your Muse shall now pretend
You didn't bite its hand.

#130 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 09:20 AM:

My muse's hand is safe, to date,
Despite the statements he has made
I bite, by preference, chocolate
And that, when possible, Fairtrade.

(Just keepin' the theme)

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Which reminds me, abi, that I should soon have my first cup of instant cocoa, but first, a cup of joe. (No joementum. Too bitter.)

#132 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 10:00 AM:

I'll probably sound like a fussy old grouch for mentioning this, but during each of our last two cold winters I've made the mistake of downing huge amounts of coffee and tea -- until their diuretic effect diluted my prescription medicine and some very unwanted symptoms came back. (My coffee is decaf, so tea was probably the main culprit. And I don't think multiple coffee yogurts were to blame either, since I max out at three on days when I really crave the stuff.)

Maybe a switch to decaf tea would help. Till then, I'm cutting down on the stuff.

#133 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 10:01 AM:

In the middle of all this, I commend to you tan Onion AV Newswire post about Simon & Shuster's online-vote experiment.

Even with so few comments, a spot-the-cliche drinking game would still be very, very dangerous. Put down the wine bottle before reading, lest ye be tempted.

#134 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Actually, what I've been drinking rather a lot of lately is rooibos tea. I contracted the habit while working with a South African about 7 years ago, managed to kick it for a while, and then found a box of rooibos and orange in the local Lidl. So I'm back into it.

(No, it's not addictive. I just like the taste.)

#135 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 10:14 AM:

So...I wasn't the only one listening to Lucille Bogan this week?

I suspect Margaret Carter didn't really need grease in her frying pan, either.

#136 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Mmmm rooibos.

Sorry. Carry on with the substantive commenting.

#137 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:34 AM:

I could never really get into Civ3. It felt like someone had read too much Jared Diamond, designed it and forgotten that they were supposed to be making a game, not a simulator.

In a game, y'see, the players often prefer to believe that their actions have some influence on the outcome of said game.

It may very well be that in actual history, the Europeans were doomed to succeed no matter how they tried, and people who lived on other continents were doomed to fail for pretty much the reasons Diamond sets out (or, then again, it may not); but that doesn't make for a very interesting game.

All of which is just to say that if you're in the Iron Age with no iron, and no horses either, you are unlikely to survive long enough to discover that you also haven't got any saltpeter. (The idea of needing a particular technology in order to know what a horse is is quite ridiculous in its own right, of course.) On the other hand if you have those resources and your opponent has not, winning provides all the enjoyment and feeling of accomplishment that comes from beating up a 3-year-old. Overall this is a large step backwards in gameplay and enjoyability from Civ 2, where the influence of geography was much more moderate compared to the importance of players' actions.

In order to avoid worsening your addiction, I shall not mention Dominions 3: The Awakening, a game far more addictive than any version of Civ could ever be.

Oops.

#138 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Juan Valdez's
defunct
who used to
ride a dirtrough-brown
burro
and drink onetwothreefourfive cupsjustlikethat
Jesus
he was a bitter man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your redeyed boy
Mister Coffee

-- with apologies to e. e. cummings


Also, I'd heard the eggshell trick for disembittering* coffee elsewhere. Does anyone here know if and how it works?


* It's a perfectly cromulent word.

#139 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:50 AM:

abi...how to put this. I've gone from thinking of you as a jolly internet pal to being quite intimidated and impressed. I don't dare contribute my humble efforts lest comparison be invited.

Foolish, I know. But the last poetic attempt I made was an innocent little couplet, which touched off a veritable firestorm of couplet-capping; I may have brought the kindling, but you lit the flame, and whole threads were consumed.

Should we ever meet, I have no doubt I should feel moved to follow R. A. MacAvoy's instructions for a full prostration at your feet.

Unless we're, like, in a parking lot or something. Then I'll wait until we're inside.

#140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:58 AM:

MacAvoy herself suggested that you should prostrate yourself at abi's feet, Xopher?

All hail abi!!!

#141 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:00 PM:

All hail abi!!!

So say we all!

#142 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Will A #109:

I plan my next class on good Master Kong
with the fine aid of a large mug of tea,
my thought and planning had been all at sea
but with the warming cup I find my song.
Had it been coffee, all would have gone wrong
my mind would have been hasty and not free,
out of my thinking would have come no tree
of knowledge, shaped perfect and strong.
The warming spirit that the soul revives,
that comes to us from out the mystic East,
gives us assurance to both think and act;
from its kind impulse all that's good derives,
it is the guardian sprite at every feast
and leads us always towards truth and fact.

#143 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Abi #119:

Abi, when it is time for you to bake
a little something for some celebration
remember, if you will, the situation
of those who grew the spices that you take.
Those who love fair trade often only make
their choices about drinks, no cerebration
is needed, yet I have the strange sensation
they don't think of what goes in the cake.
The hard, dull work of reaping all that spice
done for low wages (or, in my case, none)
gets no attention from the cognoscenti;
they don't think of the effort or the price
of all that sweating under tropic sun;
those who earn so little should get plenty.

#144 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Abi's work puts all others in the shade. I'm always amazed and impressed, and I hope the editors of Asimov's are too.

#145 ::: Dana ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Thoughts on HBO buying the rights to George Martin's Song of Fire and Ice Series? I have to say I'm excited.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117957532.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

#146 ::: Jae Walker ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Ah... coffee!

If it ain't good enough to drink black, it ain't good enough to drink!

Me

#147 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Trying to get SF and tea into a ballade.


we travel in our minds beyond the stars
the planets circle fast in the mind's eye
in our imaginations we see the scars
of damage made by beings above the sky
of this we're certain for we cannot try
with our bare hands to keep our planet free
we sip from our small cup we wail and cry
and then we get our strength from honest tea

we've sailed a distance seen the ghostly spars
of flying dutchman that is sure no lie
we've watched the light of that red planet mars
and wondered if we could in its air fly
the dreams of burroughs those we cannot buy
with barnes or robinson we might just agree
someone will get there we're certain by and by
and then we get our strength from honest tea

each day the lone commuters in their cars
think as they watch the same old roads go by
of those who're telling stories in the bars
and trying to see through ray bradbury's eye
the martian stories as if from on high
from cluttered minds they now clear the debris
to mars they'll go they know the reason why
and then we get our strength from honest tea

prince or princess when you the future spy
from your high place in the great tall world-tree
with our aspirations you will soon ally
and then we get our strength from honest tea

#148 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Fragano @ 147... Metaphorical hats off.

#149 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:04 PM:

In order to avoid worsening your addiction, I shall not mention Dominions 3: The Awakening, a game far more addictive than any version of Civ could ever be.

Hail, fellow spirit!

... I find that I run into attention span deficit when the midgame comes around.

I have to say that a game where the spider-riding prophet of Me dies of a disease, AND THE SPIDER KEEPS ON PREACHING, is absolutely endearing.

That game, I got into a senseless war with Jotunheim while our neighbors grew large and crushed us... alas.

I am doing much better with my technologically clever Dryads and Minotaurs.

#150 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:13 PM:

It's two months since Mostafa Tabatabainejad was tasered by UCLA Police.

According to the report in The Register, he is now suing the University, the Campus Police, and the two Police Officers involved.

But get this:

UCLA's acting chancellor Norm Abrams said the university was "pursuing an independent investigation along with an internal campus police department probe". He said in a statement: "Shortly after the incident, I urged everyone not to rush to judgment and to let the investigations take their course. We regret that Mostafa Tabatabainejad has filed a lawsuit at this time."

It's been two months. I bet you really do regret this is going to be settled in court.

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:14 PM:

I think I once saw a trio of monkey statuettes that did an interesting variation on the familiar see/hear/say-no-evil theme. This trio used China's Monkey King, where the one with a hand on his eyes was peeking between his fingers, the other had a hand slightly cupped over one ear, and the third was sticking his tongue thru his fingers.

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever seen anything like that? Or did I imagine this in a dream?

#152 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:38 PM:

Serge # 148: Thank you!

#153 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Serge, I know I've seen it. I don't recall where, though.
Maybe a cartoon?


#154 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:42 PM:

It might have been a cartoon, Tania.

#155 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Xopher @139

1. quite intimidated and impressed
Now you know how I feel about your puns.

2. I don't dare contribute my humble efforts lest comparison be invited.
I just wrote a whole screed on being intimidated by the phantoms of other people. Short version: dare.

3. the last poetic attempt I made was an innocent little couplet, which touched off a veritable firestorm of couplet-capping; I may have brought the kindling, but you lit the flame, and whole threads were consumed.
That's either both your doing and mine, or neither. I can't see any construction that leaves you in the clear and me somehow taking credit.

#156 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Fragano:

I rarely cook with spices - I'm more of a chocolate baker. (Yes, fairtrade). It's hard to obtain fairtrade sugar, which I would like to.

Overall, I reckon that every pound I spend on ethical products is better than spending it on unethical. I can't get all good stuff, but all the goods stuff I get helps. And the drinks are where I can easily source them (all the major supermarkets carry them).

And that is a very good ballad you've got there, after a sequence of very entertaining sonnets. You guys set the bar high for late entrants!

#157 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Re: "expresso"

The only person I know that says "expresso," besides the ENTIRE FREAKING STATE OF OHIO, is Sandra Lee of the dreadful "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee," aka TheCrazyDrunkLady.

Like nails on a chalkboard every. Single. Time. Yet, I cannot look away...

#158 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:03 PM:

Fragano -- have you ever tried Lapsang Souchong? It's one of my favorites!

#159 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Lori @ 158

It makes a very nice sun tea - less smoky, just enough to be interesting.

#160 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Lapsong Souchong is my foggy-day tea, because of some weird association I have between it and San Francisco. Hmm, it's foggy out ...

#161 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:25 PM:

abi #156: I agree with you on ethical purchasing. Farmers and farm-workers in the developing world get a really raw deal.

Thanks for the compliments. I am always in awe of your work (I haven't yet dared a pantoum, and am not sure I could carry one off).

#162 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Lori Coulson #158: Yes, I have. My preference, though, is for Earl Grey.

#163 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Fragano @161
I actually found a pantoum easier than a villanelle, which surprised me. I think it's that you only re-use each line once, so it only has to serve two stanzas. It's a great way to progress slowly through a narrative.

#164 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 02:52 PM:

abi #163: I understand. One day, I'm sure, I'll over come my fear.

I've tried a couple of different things lately, like this.

#165 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Fragano, it's not so good if you're a farmer in the developed world. The whole system seems rigged to give the end user cheap food

#166 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 03:23 PM:

On the topic of rooibos, now that it's come up: I've recently grown fond of loose teas and invested in a rooibos sampler, which is overall proving quite tasty. But even after swappin to a very fine-mesh single-cup filter, the rooibos grains inevitably get into the tea, because the darn things are small and thin enough to slip through just about anything. How do other rooibos-drinkers keep that stuff out of their tea? If it comes down to the choice, I'll live with a few grains over swapping to tea bags, but I have the faint hope that there's a Clever Trick everyone else knows which I simply haven't discovered yet.

#167 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 03:26 PM:

I wonder if there's a relationship between the Open Thread opening post and the amount of time (or posts) it takes to turn into verse combat.

#168 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 03:44 PM:

In the spirit of openthreadness, I'd like to offer this. 'This' being the 1924 dictionary of Manx dialect -- extremely entertaining when you read the sample sentences out loud: He's got no Manx ; he's on’y got the Baarl, and fine he can twiss it on his tongue.

#169 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Dave Bell (150), thanks for bringing up the UCLA taser incident again. It's important, and I know how easy it is to forget things in the constant rush of fresh oncoming outrage. I'm glad the student is suing...I just hope the court makes the situation more open instead of trying to impose gag orders all around.

#170 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Diatryma - I think of it more as "Bardic Challenge" than "Verse Combat." Other options that spring to mind

Stanzaic Standoff
Doggerel Dare
Prose Provocation
Rhyme Trials

I'll quit now.

#171 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Dave Bell #165: Depends where you are in the developed world. American farmers have been the beneficiaries of some amazing subsidies. And, over in the EU,the CAP seems to have made French farmers happy. (Of course, as two friends* of mine once wrote, farmers tend to be pessimists convinced they'd go under if bank managers didn't have soft hearts.)**

* Strictly speaking, one friend and one acquaintance.

** John Morris (John Hearne & Morris Cargill), Fever Grass.

#172 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Fade Manley #166: I find that this item works perfectly.

I get it from teavana (www.teavana.com, if you don't have a store nearby), which is where I get loose rooibos tea (and many other teas, I hasten to add).

#173 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 07:38 PM:

#115: Howard, thanks. I couldn't stomach watching the video. I tried three times, got to the point where Senior starts weeping and wanted to vomit chunks. I can't stand him to begin with. And seeing him crying just made want to hurl. THanks for 'splaining it to me.

#174 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 07:43 PM:

I'll just toss off a couple lines in blank
To say the poet abi is sublime;
May all submitted poetry see print.
Likewise I here salute Fragano's verse
(Especially in hundred-forty-seven,
A tea-soaked ballade of ethereal void.)

#175 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 07:56 PM:

of tea and coffee it's not hard to rhyme
but blank verse is a challenge i'll not take
instead to keep things at the very prime
i'll wander off and beside some peaceful lake
will contemplate the consequence of crime
as long as everything is fine and jake
and in ottava rima will write verse
that's clear direct and not so very terse

will a's convinced that coffee is the best
and i'm an advocate of finest tea
abi for fair trade has made good protest
yet from the word-fight she will hardly flee
we enter into combat with great zest
for in this place such things can come to be
it's been a pleasant way to spend some time
engaged in a fun contest all in rhyme

#176 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:05 PM:

We went to see A Night at the Museum (slow, saccharine, and unbelievable, IMO), before which there was a trailer which after rather too long I identified as "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" -- only to see a few seconds later that they were calling it The Last Mimzy, apparently turning the abstract schooling ]toy[ into a stuffed rabbit (the aforementioned Mimzy). Does anyone know a reason to expect this will be any good? (I vaguely remember hearing, possibly here, that the Padgett was being filmed, but no details.)

#177 ::: fliptopjay ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:12 PM:

Sonnets to the left of them,
Sonnets to the right of them,
Into the Making of Light
Wrote the Sensawonder'd...

#178 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:36 PM:

Speaking of drinks to start the morning with, I saw a new ad today on TV for Sunsweet PlumSmart. They're clearly afraid of calling it prune juice.

#179 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 03:43 AM:

Re HBO and the Martin books: I'd be more optimistic that they'd do a good job if they demonstrated attention to detail...such as, y'know, getting the name of the series right.

#180 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 04:07 AM:

Fade Manley (#166), asked about how to keep small rooibos leaves in tea filters. I use t-sacs, tea bags I fill with loose tea as needed. Several of the local tea stores sell them. Here's a picture. http://shop.jaxteacompany.com/index.php?cPath=63_65&gclid=CIGBjYWQ7IkCFRyVFQodBlayKA

#181 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 05:03 AM:

Chryss said (#157):
The only person I know that says "expresso," besides the ENTIRE FREAKING STATE OF OHIO, is Sandra Lee of the dreadful "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee," aka TheCrazyDrunkLady.

Well, Mark Knopfler used "expresso" back in 1980 (viz., the song "Expresso Love" from the Dire Straits album "Making Movies").

#182 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 09:27 AM:

Tania (#170) -- there's also parodies of genuine poems/poets, like the cummings example above. Those add to the fun. (No attempts myself this time, since it's review-writing week and I also have a lot of tennis to watch.)

#183 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 09:54 AM:

I drink tea. To the point where I will go through two or three small pots of it per day (I have two small glass teapots with mesh filters, which I use to make my own tea at home). I'm also fussy about the tea I drink these days - Fairtrade tea all the way (once I've used up the existing Twinings and Liptons, that is). I prefer tealeaves to teabags, so I can't be a true Marxist [1], and I'm fond of scented teas (which is why I have so much Twinings, and why I'm glad to find the Clipper brand Fairtrade tea leaves in Earl Grey available in my district)

I love the smell of coffee, but it doesn't like me. About the only coffe-like thing I can drink is by a mob called Jarrah - they do a sort of instant coffee mix thing where they take the sweepings which escaped the notice of International Roast, and mix them with flavour extract, powdered milk and powdered sugar, so that you have a "just add hot water" version of bad coffee. There are two flavours I like - the Vienna (coffee and cinnamon) and the Barvarian (coffee and hazelnut), and in both cases they're only palatable if I add another 2 teaspoons of sugar to the mug. These aren't Fairtrade (but then again, they're hardly coffee either, and I don't plan on buying any more after I've used up the current lot) which is a pity.

If I go into somewhere like Starbucks or Gloria Jean's, I'm more likely to order a hot chocolate (in winter) or a chocolate slushywhatsit (in summer). At least those they can't stuff up too much. I've never yet figured out how they managed to ruin a perfectly simple cup of black tea, but somehow, they do it. Possibly because they wait for the teabag to leap out, rather than removing it prior to the tannin levels reaching leather preservation point. However, at home I have fairtrade Hot Chocolate mix (Green and Black's brand - keep an eye out for it) and I've also purchased some Fairtrade cocoa.

For Fairtrade tea, coffee and cocoa, if you're Australian, look either in an IGA supermarket (they tend to have a wider range than the two big chains - even in the ones which used to be Mum and Dad corner shops) or in the Oxfam shop(s) in your city. Failing that, there's a number of the Fairtrade suppliers which have internet sites, which means you've a chance of ordering it direct from the suppliers, and avoiding another link in the pricing chain.

[1] True Marxists use teabags, because all proper tea is theft.

#184 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Meg Thornton #183: Shouldn't it be true anarchists use teabags &c. After all, it wasn't Marx who said that property is theft, but Proudhon who declared that 'la proprieté c'est le vol'. (Or was it, 'c'est le vol-au-vent'?)

#185 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Wake up! Coffee in cups    at the cusp of the morning,
hot and steaming    in the hands of workers
awaiting in cubicles    and windowless offices
the mid-day moment,    their time for meals
and personal errands    and other business
best not engaged in    under the boss's eye --
coffee alone it is    that carries them onward.

#186 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Coffee in rowlock rhythm?

#187 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Meg Thornton #183: Coffee shop tea is generally awful because either:

- The water isn't boiling
- The water is boiling, but it has been so since the machine was switched on at 5am this morning.

Neither of which make for a good cuppa. Which reminds me - must go and put the kettle on...

#188 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:04 AM:

The coffee places I've gotten tea from get the hot water from the espresso machine, put the teabag in (usually) and hand it to you.

#189 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:17 AM:

I fear to enter this, the duel of wits
As underarmed as I believe I am
My tea and coffee lore is scattered bits
My sonnets never form Petrarchian.
I fear to say that I began with tea
That vended from a scary dank machine
It was both functional- and nearly free
And I was sore in need of that caffeine.
From this grim start, I've learned a little taste
But still I take my barbarisms strong
Six hours steeped? But still... I shouldn't waste
The drinking's short, although the brewing's long.
Someday I may refine my lingual sense
Till then, I sip my tea with diffidence.

#190 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:34 AM:

There are times that it seems that most of my fellow Americans are intent on proving Proudhon's other assertion, that proper tea is impossible.

#191 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Mmmmmmhhh...

Thinking that proper tea is vol-au-vent may be part of the problem.

#192 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:52 AM:


Assembled masses dance and shout "hooray".
The trumpets blare. The church bells start to chime,
As we delight in one more gift of rhyme.
Another writer coming out to play!
Like him, we doubt that our poetic voice
Is adequate to match the standards set
By those who came before. But let's forget
Our worries for the moment, and rejoice.
And as for content, I have drunk such tea
As Sandy has described, with powdered chalk,
(They called it milk. The lied.) So now I baulk
When someone offers office drinks to me.
May Sandy write the way he drinks his tea:
With courage, optimism, honesty.

#193 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Vicki #190:

Are you thinking of the abomination of the little metallic pot? The one that can't keep water hot? The one that is deliberately designed to spill as much water as possible?

#194 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Marilee #178 -- PlumSmart is not actually prune juice, as it's made from fresh plums (and probably some other juices, as it's described as "100% juice", not "100% plum juice". If it's made from dried plums, the FDA says it still must be labeled "prune juice".

Five years ago the California Dried Plum Board (formerly known as the California Prune Board) won a years-long struggle with the FDA to be allowed to label dried plums as dried plums instead of (or in addition to) prunes, although dried plum juice must still be labeled prune juice.

And in related news, California Governor Schwarzenegger has proclaimed January 2007 as California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month. Really.

#195 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Faren @ #182 - True! I have a new appreciation for William Carlos Williams after lurking here.

#196 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Vicki @190:

I must respectfully disagree. After all, the American Revolution began, more or less, with a demonstration of Proudhon's third assertion: Proper tea is liberty. (In this case, the tea was most properly resting on the bottom of Boston Harbor).

#197 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 02:32 PM:

There's no duel here, although we all are wits,
so welcome, Sandy, to the rhyming crowd;
we're raucous, boisterous, always a little loud,
but heaven knows we do what sense permits
and no more than that. We'll occasionally blitz
on tea and coffee, and, frankly, we're allowed
to rhyme our hearts out, keep our heads unbowed
in this place (better than any beaches in St Kitts).
It doesn't matter whether you drink tea,
or even coffee (I'll concede that much),
as that you bring some friendship to the table.
With humour, sense, and kindness we make free
this is a place where we can leave the hutch
(or workplace) and find freedom through the cable.

#198 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 03:05 PM:

I haven't owned a boat for years. (If I've ever owned a "boat"- inflatable and 9-volt powered motor.)

But I'd buy a spider boat. The 21st century flexes onward.

#199 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 03:41 PM:

David @ 179, I wouldn't be surprised if HBO were going for a simplified title because of possible trademark confusions. Plus, just "Fire" is way punchier and easier to market.

I think they could do a good job of it.

In other TV news, anyone else planning to watch The Dresden Files Sunday? There's potential there...potential for greatness and potential for travesty.

#200 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 04:49 PM:

I'm more confident in my versifying than I am in my taste in tea... but the parallel was too good to leave lying there. (How bad IS it to drop a teabag into cold water and throw it in the microwave for two minutes?)

I'm looking forward to Dresden's premiere
(I've started a good friend on the real books)
One part anxiety, one part suspire
They've got a light, fun source to mine for hooks.
Though Bob the skull they gave a human face...
the concepts and the lightness could survive.
But when they freehand draw, instead of trace
The qualities that worked? They may not thrive.
I'm barely fit to judge- I watch TV
For less than fourteen hours in a season
So if even if they get applause from me
It hardly indicates that watchers are a-cleavin'.
So free of guilt, I'll sit and watch and snark
The worst case is, the screen goes quiet and dark.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Anybody seen Pan's Labyrinth yet?

#202 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Very nice, Sandy B.! FWIW, I generally heat the water in the microwave first, then let the tea bag steep. No idea why...just what I've always done.

#203 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Skwid @ 199, I think what David is referring to is that the article calls it "A Song of Fire and Ice" when the series is "A Song of Ice and Fire"; however

David @ 179 this is most likely a mistake by the Variety article, rather than by HBO: Scifi.com seem to have the correct title (it reads like it's written from the same press release).

People all over GRRM fan boards are shouting all kinds of ill-informed things about this, and since I'm as ill-informed as the next fan, I think I'll go over and do some shouting myself.

#204 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Speaking of tea and Fluorospheroids* having opinions, I want a better kettle. My current one has a wimpy whistle and a habit of splooshing boiling water everywhere.

*Fluorospherites? Fluorospheridians?

#205 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:08 PM:

TexAnne @ 204

I'm spoiled. I bought a Russell Hobbs electric kettle several years ago. It doesn't whistle, but the switch pops up audibly when it shuts off. (All it does is boil water. Fill kettle. Put lid back on. Push switch down, wait till it goes 'snick'.)

#206 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:18 PM:

The Particled molecular jewelry, though charming, only differentiates carbon from generic heteroatoms[*]; there's no obvious visual distinction between oxygen and nitrogen etc.

[*: any element that isn't carbon or hydrogen in an organic (i.e. carbon-based) molecule; afaik there are no bicuriousatoms, alas. Longer technobabble/punditry firmly quashed about trans-atoms in double bonds etc.]

#207 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Skwid @ 199:

I am cautiously optimistic about the Dresden Files. On the one hand, it is the SciFi Channel, purveyor of schlocky horror movies, but on the other hand, they did a decent job with Eureka (which comes back this summer for a second series), so, yeah, cautiously optimistic.

Anybody going to ConDFW this year? Emma Bull & Will Shetterly are GOH, and Steven Brust is coming back (as are many other most excellent authors, artists and others).

#208 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:33 PM:

Eureka, Sharon M? Yesssssss!!! I thought I was the only person around her who loves that show. ("Why don't you just call it a death ray?")

#209 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Serge @ 208

It's an interesting show. I hope the second season is as good as the first: it was so much fun watching the plots take a sharp turn somewhere in the middle, so the beginning of the episode was seen from the other side, so to speak. (I wonder what's going to happen to Stark?)

#210 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:39 PM:

P J... What I like about Eureka is that it is so full of the joy of living. Really. Take a look again.

#211 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 07:53 PM:

TexAnne (# 204) -- "Fluorospheroids" would go nicely with our hosts in their roles as "Toroids", which always reminds me of their CafePress merch with the giant orange blob menacing the Flatiron Building, as in:

http://www.cafepress.com/nielsenhayden.11002814

Also, I know that several of us are fairly spheroid, though the Fluorosphere contains all shapes and conditions of, er, Humanoids.

#212 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 07:58 PM:

My wife found this link to YouTube, where one Neal Gladstone merrily sings:

"I'm a liberal."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOpTAL50bl8

#213 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 08:19 PM:

To go with the Candy layout, here's Settlers of Catan cupcakes.

#214 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Tracie @ #194, does the Gubernator's declaration include the phrase "It's a warrior's drink?" Because with faux Klingon's in the White House, there should be real ones in declarations relating to prune juice.

#215 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 09:18 PM:

(Draws bead, shoots errant apostrophe, which did not appear until I hit "post", I swear!)

#216 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Serge, I do most love Sincerely"Eureka" possibly because it steals from books (Shockwave Rider, Ecotopia)rather than other TV shows. Proper tea is theft, but SF TV is theft squared.

#217 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 12:18 AM:

About Eureka, JESR... I've never read either book, but, yes, if one is going to steal, one should steal from the best - although the best being stolen might disagree.

As for how science and its practicioners are depicted in the show... Not being a scientist, I don't feel the urge to throw things at my TV set. Besides, hey, this is TV. One thing I do wish they'd get rid of is Matt Frewer's atricious Aussie accent.

Speaking of how scientists are portrayed in movies and TV... I've always liked the way Gene Barry did it in War of the Worlds. Anybody else has an opinion on that subject?

#218 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Stumbled upon that, and thought that some computer geek gardeners around here might like it.

#219 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 03:55 PM:

I don't drink coffee or tea, but this morning's wake-up was a spot of dynamite as we made a small civic festival out of imploding our coliseum. We all took over a convenient parking garage, the city provided coffee and - supposedly - a band, though I never got to the roof level to hear it. People brought their families. As the sun rose it was visible under the remaining bits of the gutted coliseum - they'd already taken out the actual arena, so the implosion was mostly about bringing the rooftop parking garage to the ground for disassembly. Most of us cheered for random demolition workers while a set of bereaved hockey fans wept and waved signs. I ended up by chance next to someone who'd been there on its opening day 30-odd years ago. We reminisced, though I didn't have much to add, since I'd only been there once, to hear Billy Joel back in 1986ish. (And that says everything about why we were knocking it down.) The running joke was that the implosion party was the biggest crowd the coliseum had ever attracted.

The implosion itself seemed well-done, not that I know anything about implosions. There was a series of flashes, then some impressive booms, then all the layers collapsed more-or-less whole to the ground. I had a moment of associative horror then, and as a huge cloud of dust boiled up and rolled toward us. But the cloud dissipated quickly, and the sun was shining over the layer-cake pile of parking garage with one crazily angled light pole sticking up from the top like a raddled daisy.

It's going to be strange coming into my city by highway now, without the big landmark that's always been the "five more minutes to home" symbol.

#220 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 06:07 PM:

Serge (#201): Anybody seen Pan's Labyrinth yet?

If it reaches Prescott at all, that may be months away. ("The Last King of Scotland" only now reached town.) But I'm dying to see it! There's a review in Locus Online.

#221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Faren... Pan just made it here to Albuquerque so don't feel too abandonned. We're about to go see it in a couple of hours. Its overall approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 93%, which is one of the highest I've ever seen there, next to Casino Royale. Well, the director is Guillermo del Toro, who obviously loves working within fantasy, as HellBoy showed. (Did I ever tell you of that small Arizona town I drove thru a few years ago, where the tiny theater showed both that movie and The Passion of the Christ?)

#222 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Which drink I prefer, I'm sure you can tell from my handle. My poem, however, takes no side.

Sestina: Drink

And who would write, to praise her favored drink
Whether cocoa, tea, or coffee, brown or green or black
A soporific toddy, or a waking brew
Given as a gift, or purchased, or in trade
Obtained, from old and well-loved friend
Sings from her heart, of what does cheer her day.

A ritual it is, a rite to start each day
With making, pouring, quaffing of a drink
Or in a cafe, speaking with a friend
Cool and collected, dressed in black
Discoursing now of politics, now trade
Now art, while sipping steaming brew.

Yet other times demand another brew
An alcoholic one, best supped at end of day
When beans and leaves for grapes and malt we trade
And Milton bid adieu as we do drink
Together, quick or lazy, white or black.
All beverages can help to make a friend.

But some are made by those who are no friend
To those who grow the plants for them to brew.
Their wallets full, their hearts yet glower black
And misery attends their farmers through the day.
Therefore, when picking out one's drink
'Tis Justice sends the word to buy fair trade.

Now some will claim, our souls we trade
When first we make caffeine our friend.
They say we will do anything to get our drink
And of addictivenesss accuse the brew.
That is true, but still to us a day
without caffeine is very, very black.

When waking brings a night still black
And people rise, to work their living trade
And dress themselves, and contemplate the day
With grumpy minds, that call none yet a friend
Heat up the water, make the boiling brew
Put all disputes aside, and sip your favored drink.

ENVOI

For that same drink, howe'er the sky is black
Will good thoughts brew, as you take up your trade
And be a friend, throughout the weary day.

#223 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 07:23 PM:

coffeedryad @222

That's wonderful.

#224 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 07:24 PM:

Coffeedryad #222: Lovely!

#225 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 08:56 PM:

The USPS jumps on the knitting bandwagon--go to the very bottom.

#226 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 10:18 PM:

Almost saw "Pan" today; saw "Letters from Iwo Jima" instead, on the grounds that I'd watch the "must-see but a bummer" film first.

("Letters" was well produced and well acted and moderately gripping, but definitely a bummer. Eastwood is making WWII movies shorn of all comfortable BS. Having seen "Flags of our Fathers" first was a plus; it is neat seeing how the stories interact.)

#227 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 11:10 PM:

ex-FEMA knucklehead Brown is playing the blame game now.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070120/ap_on_re_us/katrina_brown

Says it was all politics.

Someone, I think it was Jon Stewart (but maybe not), had a great shpiel during Katrina showing all these republicans saying crap like "now is not the time to be playing the blame game", like half a dozen clips, followed by most of those same knuckleheads blaming the mayor, the residents, the state, and anyoen else they could think of. Complete hypocrites.

I tried googling for it, but haven't been able to find it. If this rings a bell with anyone and they know what show this was on or anything that would help a google search, I'd appreciate it.

#229 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Faren/Serge: somebody is playing strange games with Pan's Labyrinth; Boston would seem an obvious market, but it only reached here 8 days ago. I thought it was scheduled for 15 December \somewhere/; can anyone report when it actually opened to a real audience, as opposed to some token to make it eligible for this year's awards?

#230 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 11:28 PM:

Re Dresden Files
Jim Butcher likes it. A lot.

#231 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 11:46 PM:

Chip - according to the always reliable wikipedia had limited US release on December 29th, and went into nationwide release yesterday. If it comes here at all, it will go to a local bar that has a theatre in the back. Beer, bar food, and a film. It's a good combination!

#232 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 11:48 PM:

Data point:

"Pan" opened up in Portland yesterday, in the large prestiege indie theater on the edge of downtown . . . and in at least one very ordinary suburban multiplex theater, which happens to be the one closest to me.

#233 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:07 AM:

re: Eureka

It has a nice ensemble cast, with several more-than-2-dimensional characters. The episodes stand alone nicely, but watching all of them in order gets you a nice season-long arc.

And the science is most fictional, in the fun way - death rays! giant bio-engineered plants! time travel! home of the future! It's a fun show, and Sharon-Bob says check it out.

#234 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:18 AM:

In the Baltimore area, Pan's Labyrinth opened Friday at one art theatre and five multiplexes. It's being promoted on HBO and had a big ad run on ER Thursday night.

We saw it Wednesday night at a promotional preview, and it is so good. Probably the best fairy-tale film since Cocteau. Brutal at times; Ann closed her eyes during some of the violence but then had to open them again to read the subtitles. (We saw it at a multiplex, not the art theatre, and some in the crowd were very unhappy at being suckered into a film with subtitles.)

There are two parallel stories, a war story (1944, post Spanish Civil War) and a fantasy story, and they intertwine in fascinating and disturbing ways. It's a dark film, both physically (it almost all happens at night or underground) and psychically.

I loved it. I don't want to say much about it -- not even the debate that Ann and I are still carrying on about one of its major aspects -- but, my god, it is certainly one of the very best fantasy films ever made.

I have seen people online bickering about how literal some of the scenes can be read, but its ambiguities are some of its best aspects. Some things only work if you see it as a traditional fairy tale, and other things only work if you look at it from a realistic point of view. Lots of things work both ways.

I enjoyed watching it, and I have loved thinking and talking about it.

#235 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:33 AM:

I don't usually ask things like this, but.

I've had very long, boring periods at work lately interspersed with high levels of being busy.

We're allowed Internet access as long as we don't stream video or radio and things like that that use huge amounts of bandwidth.

Somewhere in one of the (I think) author links I saw a reference for a word processor that basically is just a text typer/editor (as opposed to Word), it turns the viewscreen into a green or orange text/black background text editor for writing.

Because I was at work and one of the total Shall Nots is downloading anything, i just went to myself, that's cool and I'll catch it later at home.

Now I can't remember where I saw it.

Can anyone help? Thanks!

#236 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 02:08 AM:

Paula - a quick look (I'm hunting for windows version) find a Mac product called WriteRoom. I'm sentimental about the green and orange on black screens. Of course, it's easier on the eyes, too.

Is this it?

#237 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 02:10 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @235: Somewhere in one of the (I think) author links I saw a reference for a word processor that basically is just a text typer/editor (as opposed to Word), it turns the viewscreen into a green or orange text/black background text editor for writing.

I had seen something like that too, and was able to find it again on MetaFilter (fortunately, it was where I thought I had seen it). DarkRoom (for Windows) is shown as a black screen with green type. The MetaFilter thread (Write without distraction) mentions other editors, too.

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Saw Pan last night. Very interesting, and as he already showed in mimic, del Toro has a thing for big chittering and skittering bugs. But, should you currently be having a bout of the blues, you might want to hold off.

#239 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 11:54 AM:

There's one thing I hope that Eureka never does again is have the sherriff's daughter be in a play put together by the town's school. She was, to put it mildly, absolutely atrocious as Puck, thus proving that some people should never be allowed anywhere near Shakespeare. It was neat though to see her leave the stage by taking off with a rocket backpack.

#240 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 12:10 PM:

So here's a somewhat random question for the Fluorosphere:

This BBC News article (see also this Washington Post article) mentions a report done by a Russian academic which estimates that somewhere between one-quarter and three-quarters of top Russian government officials are former KGB/FSB members.

Which is certainly disturbing, and not a good thing for Russia (and a dramatic contrast with most Eastern European countries, where the general idea has been to prevent former spies from holding high positions)... but I can't help wondering: what do you call a government run by spies?

All I can come up with is "espionocracy," which kind of rolls of the tongue nicely, but is really an improper French-Greek hybrid. Is there an appropriate ancient Greek word for spy?

#241 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:08 PM:

I saw Pan's Labyrinth a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. My roommate had the same comment as Serge about the skittering bugs though (she's not a fan of skittering bugs). I'm going to see it again, although maybe after I see a "fun" movie in the theatres; don't get me started on the idiotic release schedule, oscar-baiting, etc. etc. I work in The Industry and I think it's a load of nonsense.

And since this is an open thread, does anyone here know anything about basic plumbing? I live in an apartment and on thursday my tub started draining incredibly slow. Then on Friday the toilet started acting up; more slow draining after the flush. I tried drano-ing the tub and plunge-ing the toilet, but to no avail. I'm wondering if a $30 investment into a snake/plunger do-hickey will keep strangers from having to get intimate with my bathroom (and me from having to take another unpaid half day off work.)

#242 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:20 PM:

nerdycellist... I thought that Pan's weird schedule was to allow it to qualify for the Oscars. I'm not sure what award it could be nominated for. Best slashing of a villain's mouth open, followed by said villain stitching his cheek closed all by himself? I must say that the faun looked pretty neat, although I wouldn't want to meet him on a dark and rainy night (of which the movie had quite a few).

#243 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:20 PM:

nerdycellist #241, I have had serial plumbing misadventures over the past week or so, but they were all of the leaky faucet/valve variety. It sounds like you've got a pipe problem. I'm not sure the two problems you cite are related. A snake for the tub might be a good idea, but check the drain to be sure you don't have a cross-type filter thing which would prohibit any snake from getting fully into the pipes before you buy one.

As to the toilet, I'd check the float valve inside its tank. Those are easily and relatively cheaply replaced; just ensure that you've got the water valve below the tank (the one that has a flexible pipe going into the wall) turned completely off. The way to test is to turn it off and flush; if no water runs into the tank, you're fine. There's a gasket inside that valve which may not be working properly, in which case you might have a disaster (see here for my experience).

If it does continue to pump water through, turn the water off at the street side (for multiple apartment building uses, see the building supe if there is one).

#244 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Yeah, Like several other "prestige" projects, Pan was released in a handful of theatres at the end of December to qualify for awards season. Like "Children of Men", which has been getting all kinds of oscar buzz from the critics but has been roundly ignored by it's own studio, in a fair world it would seriously be considered for awards - but hey, they gave LOTR awards a few years ago. No other SF is worthy of awards, you know. (not enough victimized women and Whitey Saving the Day I guess).

I get cranky that anything popcorn-worthy is crammed into the summer, and anything "serious" is released at the very end of the year. Even in LA the release may only be one theatre and we have to wait a few weeks to see the Arty stuff. It's why even though I'm not the world's biggest Harry Potter buff, I enjoy the years the movies come out: it means I can spend a christmas in a theatre watching magic, pretty british scenery and Alan Rickman.

The toilet thing is not a flap-seal issue (have had that before) and I can't figure out how to get the drain stopper out of the bathtub drain to snake, so I guess I'm going to have to call the LL, take time off work, and possible prepare myself for lectures from strangers about toilet paper usage. Ugh.

#245 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:47 PM:

#241 ::: nerdycellist wondered:
And since this is an open thread, does anyone here know anything about basic plumbing? I live in an apartment and on thursday my tub started draining incredibly slow. Then on Friday the toilet started acting up; more slow draining after the flush. I tried drano-ing the tub and plunge-ing the toilet, but to no avail. I'm wondering if a $30 investment into a snake/plunger do-hickey will keep strangers from having to get intimate with my bathroom (and me from having to take another unpaid half day off work.)

You mentioned that you live in an apartment - I'm presuming that none of your neighbours have mentioned having issues as well? I'd be somewhat surprised if the plumbing wasn't combined at some point, and that'd certainly help figure out where to target...

Beyond that, it's probably worth trying one of the enzymatic drain cleaners - usually overnight works best - I've had them work when draino didn't.

#246 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:57 PM:

nerdycellist... magic, pretty british scenery and Alan Rickman

Ever seen Rickman in 1991's truly madly deeply? Highly recommended, and you get to see him play the romantic lead, for once.

#247 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Serge, again, @239, that's actually a favorite episode at my house, due to the younger offspring being a complete theater geek (she's a Technical Theater major now, and put in some inhuman number of hours doing tech in her high school drama department over four years) and the elder playing Bottom in his high school's production of MND. The director, in particular, was much appreciated in the "it's funny 'cause it's true!" way.

However, my favorite character is Fargo, and his Buffygeek-ism.

#248 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 02:27 PM:

There's getting to be a lot of Kipling out from Project Gutenberg, but it's either been out of copyright in the US for a while, or appeared in the last few days.

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 02:44 PM:

I liked that episode of Eureka too, JESR. I'm not sure if the girl's rendition of Puck was bad because she was told to do it that way, as I think you suggest. But, like I said before, her rocket-propelled exit was pretty neat.

Did they ever tell what the dog's name is? Sirius, maybe?

#250 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 03:36 PM:

One of my favorite newspaper columnists, Neva Chonin, has done an interesting column about "Children of Men" here. There are spoilers involved, but without giving away too much she successfully points out that between the book and the movie women ended up invisible. If you're not worried about spoilers or have seen the film I suggest you give her column a look.

#251 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Dave @ #248

I'm looking for a keyword-searchable collection of e-Kipling. Project G. doesn't seem to be it, unless there's a search-the-texts function I am missing. Any ideas?

(I'm working on planning for a ball celebrating the centennial of Kipling's Nobel.)

#252 ::: Sajia Kabir ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Re : Children of Men
(The details mentioned in Chonin's column don't seem to be much of a spoiler, though I haven't seen the film yet).
I'm all for having more movie characters of color, but what's the progress in having the mother-to-be switched from a strong woman to a dependent woman of color relying on a white savior? They could have easily had made the ex-revolutionary pregnant woman of the book into a woman of color, if they were wanting to be diverse.

#253 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Susan, why not download all the e-texts and set up a website, which can then have a "search this website" link to Google?

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 04:43 PM:

So, in Children of Men, they changed the book's cause of infertility being with men, to the movie's being with women? It may be that they changed the cause because they didn't want the audience to think that the hero suffered from an affliction almost as bad as being unable to get it up (and, please, my sarcasm subtroutine is fully engaged here). Anyway, I mentionned this to my wife the writer and she pointed out another possible reason. I'm assuming here that the book and the movie have the same overall plot of having to take this pregnant woman where people can figure out why she can be pregnant. If the cause of infertility is with men, why didn't they instead look for whoever had sex with the woman?

#255 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 05:50 PM:

Thanks!!! Write Room is it. Y'all are the best.

#256 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 06:06 PM:

In case you might want to be reminded, tonight PBS is showing Part One of a new adaptation of Jane Eyre.

In the same vein, on Friday night, Turner Classic Movies is having two premieres. One is Billy the Kid vs Dracula, the other is Jesse James vs Frankenstein's Daughter.

#257 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:22 PM:

And this afternoon, TCM had Breakfast at Tiffany's!

#258 ::: Missy K. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:25 PM:

Howard Peirce, way back @ 115: "When Jeb lost the gubernatorial election in 2006, it essentially meant the end of the Bush dysnasty."

Your theory is fine, except that Jeb Bush didn't lose the 2006 election, he just wasn't allowed to run. Florida has a two-terms-and-you're-out rule for the governor, one of the few smart political things the state has done recently.

#259 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Marilee... On Friday night, after those two westerns that'd make Joe Lansdale proud, TCM is showing a fantasy movie worthy of Neil Gaiman's imagination, 1942's The Devil with Hitler: "If he wants to keep control of Hell, Satan has to get Hitler to perform a good deed."

#260 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:38 PM:

Just saw "Pan's Labyrinth."

Definitely a dark film, but appropriately dark. Very southern european. I was maybe 1/3rd of the way to misting up as the credit rolled.

Only disappointment: I wish there was perhaps one more fantasy / quest sequence, because they were so well done.

Not that the rest of the film wasn't. The Captain was one nasty piece of work, and Mercedes was a true hero.

After watching "Children of Men," "Letters of Iwo Jima" and "Pan" on three of the last four weekend-days, I'm really in the mood for something fun and silly.

#261 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Re:#249 (You don't ask much, Serge... I've gained a whole lot of Eureka bookmarks, and still had to ask the brain trust at S3) The dog on Eureka is called "LoJack." He's one of the resemblances to the town of geniuses in Shockwave Rider.

#262 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Stefan Jones, there's few things more silly and funny than Borat in Thirty Seconds as Acted by Bunnies.

http://www.starz.com/features/bunnyclub/borat/index.html

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 08:32 PM:

So, that's Eureka's reference to Shockwave Rider? Thanks, JESR.

Speaking of references... I'll probably try the new season of Heroes tomorrow. I never could get into the original episodes, for some reason. This time, they have a new character played by Christopher Eccleston, as an invisible man named... what else?... Claude Rains.

#264 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 08:53 PM:

A lot of Shockwave Rider is centered around various government/industrial programs which aim to control and exploit exceptional humans; there is also a genetic engineering program that produces genius dogs. There's an enclave of researchers in a small town (not as cozy as Eureka) on the redwood coast which has a checkered history with the powers that walk the land.

Also, now that I think of it, the hero of Shockwave Rider could have easily grown up to be Henry.

#265 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 09:29 PM:

JESR... Now I'm going to have to get a copy of Shockwave Rider. I presume that, since it was written by Brunner, it's not particularly humorous though. Right?

#266 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Made a move on cold brewed coffee, using a huge french press sitting in my coffee pot collection I thought I'd never have to use.

Was worth the try, it's nice.

But not as much as I hoped from description. I think I'll stay with espresso pot in the morning, vacuum for day, and french press for evening/night.

Haven't dared "boiled trail coffee" yet. But I have to.

#267 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Well, as Brunners go, it's quite optimistic and rather witty; as funny goes, it's not Pratchett (or, to be honest about my own reading habits, rather than my daughter's, it's not Tom Robbins, either).

#268 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 09:49 PM:

Serge, it's funnier than you'd think. (I like the description of stuff as 'furnishing the mind'.)

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 09:56 PM:

JESR and P J... Duly noted. I doubt Shockwave Rider is still in print, but there are used-book stores.

#270 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 10:01 PM:

I never could get into Eureka. Not that it was a bad show, but that it was an OK show that I didn't feel like commiting ongoing brain-share too.

#271 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 10:03 PM:

So what's the verdict on The Dresden Files? I totally forgot to watch it, probably because I wasn't thrilled by the first book.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 10:08 PM:

Well, Stefan, there are some people who swear by Buffy and I never could get into it. That's the way it is. To each his/her tastes... (Sure would have made my high-school life easier if if my 'fellow' students had had that attitude.)

#273 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Dresden Files!

I likes it. It's not the book(s), not that it could be, but it has a nice inspired by vibe. There's a little backstory, with lots left unsaid, but I have a preference for stories that just drop you into a world.

(And TexAnne - it's playing again at 10 central.)

#274 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 10:29 PM:

Serge, I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks that about Buffy. I don't mind watching the few episodes that people have thought good (like the musical), but I just couldn't get into it. (and I have a few friends who are scarily into it, like one who is all-Buffy all the time, she watches the DVDs constantly...)

#275 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 11:18 PM:

RE Buffy and other smart, continuing shows: There's more than the matter of taste . . . there's the committment involved.

And speaking of committment . . . THANK YOU Sharon M. You mention that "Dresden Files" was playing made me go set my MythTV to record it for sampling sake, and I saw that "Battlestar Galactica" was playing tonight. That is the one show I'm devoting brainshare to.

#276 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Shockwave Rider is one of the few John Brunner books still in print, along with The Sheep Look Up and, of course, Stand on Zanzibar.

I can accept the idea that good people might not fall for Buffy; I'm married to one. And commitment to complex continuing storylines is not the only matter which might discourage people; I didn't watch it until the last season, (and then spent hours every day catching up with the story) just because of the whole "teenager" aspect.

#277 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 11:52 PM:

I had to choose Buffy as an example. That's the part where old-time actor George Sanders would say in his inimitable manner:

"What have I wrought?"

#278 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Stefan mentionned Galactica. Does anybody, male or female, have any idea why female Cylons find Baltar so attractive? Yes, like I said, to each his/her own tastes...

#279 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 275:

You're welcome! I've had variable access to cable and/or network tv over the years, I have no tivo (or equivalent), and regular schedules != me. And this is why I love Netflix.

There are series I'd never even *heard* of that I'm really enjoying. And the beauty of the commercial free multiple episodes on a disk concept needs no elaboration.

I saw some episodes of Buffy, and it's in my queue for further viewing. My veeery long queue, which I wish Netflix would let me categorize by format (move, series) and within format by genre. Also I'd like a pony.

#280 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:48 AM:

Sharon M... Also I'd like a pony.

As for myself, I'd like the complete DVD collection of 1983's TV series Wizards and Warriors. On the other hand, if I were granted that wish, my wife would divorce me rather than have it on while she's around.

#281 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Abi and Fragano: thank you very much! I've been meaning to try my hand at one of those for a while; it was nice to have the opportunity in this thread.

Re: _Shockwave Rider_, it's Brunner, sure, but far far lighter than _The Sheep Look Up_ or _Stand On Zanzibar_. More like _Polymath_, I'd say, but with less Competent-Male-Hero-Saves-The-Day in.

#282 ::: janine ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 10:22 AM:

It snowed in Tucson last night. As of 8:22 am, there's an inch or so on the ground.

#283 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 11:30 AM:

way upthread:

with faux Klingon's in the White House

I don't think they even qualify as faux Klingons. Can you imagine any of them saying, "It is a good day to die," and, y'know, meaning themselves?

PS. I adore my electric kettle. And I just recently figured out that I can put my teamug in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, instead of trying to pre-warm it with hot water.

#284 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:11 PM:

janine @ 282... Same here, in Albuquerque. And cold. Meanwhile, I understand that Minnesota has barely any snow. So much for Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.

#285 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:14 PM:

The White House is clearly populated by Ferengi.

Like Serge and Paula, I've never been a fan of the Buffy show (loved the movie, though...), but I enjoyed The Dresden Files very much last night. Not perfect (I very much miss the basement apartment and WhereTF is Mister, anyway?), but most of the changes I can happily accept as necessary or advantageous for the medium translation.

And BSG was thought-provoking, as usual. I was stunned when Baltar turned out not to be Gur Pubfra Bar. I really thought that was a gimme.

Heroes tonight! I think I would watch this show even more devotedly if they focused exclusively on Hiro's plotline, but I think the vast majority of its viewers would disagree with that preference entirely.

#286 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:19 PM:

The White House is clearly populated by Ferengi.

Uh, doesn't that mean Laura Bush doesn't wear clothes?

(shudders)

#287 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:20 PM:

I caught part of Queen of the Damned on TV on Saturday night. I think it got trashed when it came out, and just can't figure out why. Maybe it has to do with the titular QotD having a tendency to tell people:

"Join me, or... die..."

#288 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Skwid... It looks like they're lining up Starbuck to hold that position instead of Baltar. Not sure that's a good thing. (Shades of Return of the Jedi's Emperor repeatedly saying "It is your Destiny.")

Well, we'll see how that goes. I'm glad that the Galactica finally started looking for Earth. Now, if they could stop having Six stop wearing those sexy outfits that just make her look even more freaky...

#289 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Skwid #285: BSG is too good for that. If something's a gimme it generally won't happen. In fact, if they'd made Baltar Gur Pubfra Bar, I'd have been very disappointed. And in my opinion it's still not clear who IS.

It did not surprise me that Q'Naan'f jubyr zbqry jnf obkrq, however. They've been leading up to that for a long time.

#290 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:52 PM:

The whole thing with Starbuck's paintings was really, really cool, I thought. Can't wait to see where that goes.

Can't agree more with your second point, Xopher. Long time coming.

#291 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:53 PM:

The fact that Baltar pretty much had himself convinced he was Gur Pubfra Bar would be enough to convince me that it was out of the question. He's too much of a buffoon (or Trickster figure, if you will), IMO.

Okay, y'all: Firefly or Battlestar Galactica? Me: BSG, hands down.

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Not that one excludes the other, but I'm for Firefly. For many reasons, one of which is that it doesn't have Baltar onboard. And Morena Baccarin is much prettier. (Never could understand what Cylons find so attractive about Baltar.)

#293 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:04 PM:

The White House is clearly populated by Ferengi.

Not Ferengi. Pakleds. But they think they're Ferengi.

#294 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:06 PM:

Serge: maybe he's the human male they can get? And since all the Cylon males are physically repulsive (well, except the Leoben model, and they're crazy), I think it's understandable.

#295 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:07 PM:

#293: Pakleds who think they're Ferengi pretending to be Klingons.

#296 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:08 PM:

Firefly. If for no other reason than Captain Tightpants. MrrrrrrOOOOWWWW.

#297 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:10 PM:

I guess that if Cylons have to choose between Baltar and Dean Stockwell...

#298 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Exactly.

And I'm pretty sure that gur Svany Svir Plyba gung Q'Naan fnj jnf fbzrbar fur zrg ba Arj Pncevpn, aren't you? Because she said "I'm sorry."

#299 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:52 PM:

BSG is the easy choice, here. Firefly was clever and its cancellation before it hit its full stride is a crime, but its entire run contained about as many moments of blow-your-mind, I-can't-believe-TV-can-be-this-good as, say, any three given BSG episodes.

Also, while Jewel Staithe entrances me and Christina Hendricks could probably have my soul just by asking nicely (Baccarin and Glau do little for me), BSG's Lucy Lawless, Grace Park, Katee Sackhoff, Tricia Helfer, and Kandyse McClure (my favorite) make for an ensemble of hawtness that would be difficult to beat.

#300 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Xopher @ 298, my thought exactly.

Also, "Q'Naan" sounds like an Indian Flatbread dish especially made for semi-omnipotent non-corporeal entities.

#301 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:58 PM:

So, you're telling me I need to watch the new battlestar galactica? My list of "stuff I must watch" is getting fricken long.

#302 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:59 PM:

Or like the holy book of a bread-worshipping Middle Eastern religion.

#303 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Knew I shoulda put '#300:' in front of that...

Greg, don't just start watching it now. It will spoil some early surprises for you. Get the miniseries on DVD; if you like that, you'll like the series too.

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:11 PM:

What, no fans of BSG's Mary McDonnell?

#305 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Greg @ 286 - Barbara Bush, too. (tectonic shudder)

#306 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Writers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have just posted on their site the first chapter of new novel "Fledgling".

#307 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Get the miniseries on DVD

Wait, so, if I want to catch up with the BSG series, I need to start by watching a mini series first? Not year 1 of the series playing now? Is the miniseries like a prequel to the regular series?

Yes, I live under a rock.

#308 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:39 PM:

Re: Firefly vs BSG: I really, really, prefer humor to unrelieved gloom, so, Firefly all the way. Also points to Firefly for one of the best marriages in genre television.

My husband is a big fan of Mary McConnell's character, for the record.

Me, I'm sort of disappointed that D'Anna seems to have been the Cylon version of the Edsel.

#309 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:39 PM:

The miniseries isn't a prequel exactly, but it does establish the situation and lay the groundwork for the series. It's also the first chronologically. Don't watch any introductory material, or read the DVD box in case of spoilers. There are some things in the miniseries that are MUCH more fun to figure out for yourself than to be told.

#310 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:42 PM:

I'm a big fan of Mary McDonnell, and the character is well-drawn, but I no longer think of her as one of the "good guys." She's too racist (yes, I'm a Heloite).

#311 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:42 PM:

JESR... Unrelieved gloom is the main reason why my wife has stopped watching BSG. Nobody on the Galactica seems to have heard of the concept of gallows humor. Like I once said in an earlier thread, imagine Law&Order's Brisco on that ship.

#312 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:46 PM:

What exactly happened with Roslin and Helo, Xopher? I know I missed a couple of episodes.

#313 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Serge - Sheldon discusses angst on BSG and again.

We rent or borrow each season as they become available, and enjoy them. And I'm with Serge, I don't get the appeal of Baltar. Then again, I found Ted Raimi as O'Neill on SeaQuest to be attractive, but couldn't stand him as Joxer in Xena.

#314 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Serge @311
I'm with your wife. My husband watches it and put the headphones in. Real life in winter is enough of a downer without adding such unrelieved gloom in my fiction.

If I want to watch a story arc crash into despair, I'll do it with Blakes Seven. Then at least I get Avon's wit and unintentionally funny special effects. (Explosions in space where the smoke rises and the debris falls. You can't beat that.)

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:06 PM:

abi... Ah yes, good ole Avon. It'd be interesting, having him onboard the Galactica and watching the sparks fly. Of course, He probably would quickly wind up with everyone ganging up on him and shoving him out thru an airlock and in his birthday suit.

#316 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:06 PM:

#184: Fragano (God, I'm behind, and I hope no one's already mentioned this): Anarchists don't use teabags, they put the leaves loose in the pot.

Read Orwell's essay on making the proper pot of tea if you don't believe me. But that might be more British than purely anarchist. I have no idea how they treat it elsewhere.

#317 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Tania... I love the cartoon, especially the part about Starbuck having 300 reasons to be unhappy. As for Apollo, he has one single reason to be unhappy and we know who that is.

#318 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:10 PM:

I don't really think of BSG as unrelieved gloom, mostly because Baltar makes me laugh. Firefly was actually too silly for me. (For comedy, I prefer "Scrubs".)

#319 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:13 PM:

#278 Serge "Stefan mentioned Galactica. Does anybody, male or female, have any idea why female Cylons find Baltar so attractive? Yes, like I said, to each his/her own tastes..."

He's a good listener?

#320 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:17 PM:

#278

Crazy is always hot.

For a little while, anyway.

#321 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:17 PM:

http://www.journalfen.net/community/fandom_wank/1044872.html?mode=reply

Or, even better, Munch, in any of his incarnations (what's another crossover to that character?). Or Lindsey from Arrested Development as a Cylon. But I never underestimate the power of authorial intent to beat the inherent comedic power from an actor (Lucy Loveless in BSG proves that already).

I am, at the moment, convinced that there are no live good guys left on BSG, minus poor tortured Helo himself. So I'm very glad for Heroes starting over tonight, for Eureka having a second season pick-up, and even for the pale brew that is Bones.

#322 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Well, yes, I forgot to press command c and quote Serge on Lennie Brisco; that link, by the way, leads to a Fandom Wank discussion of Star Gate, where one of the SGA showrunners calls the fans lemmings.

Sorry about that, but when one packs links all over the internet all day, like an ant with sugar thses things happen.

#323 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:23 PM:

JESR... You don't think Apollo is a tortured good guy? No matter what, it was heart-breaking to see how they finally had Starbuck admit to Apollo what he means to her. Too bad they had to literally beat the crap out of each other to get there.

#324 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:24 PM:

Serge @315
I would pay good money to see Avon on BSG, so that he could turn to Adama and say, "I'm not stupid, I'm not expendable, and I'm not going."

Or, to President Roslyn, "As far as I am concerned you can destroy whatever you like. You can stir up a thousand revolutions, you can wade in blood up to your armpits. Oh, and you can lead the rabble to victory, whatever that might mean."

(Both actual Blakes Seven quotes, of course.)

#325 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:27 PM:

abi... "I'm not stupid, I'm not expendable, and I'm not going."

Heheheheh...

#326 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:43 PM:

I'm pretty anti-Apollo, tending to see him as a self-indulgent pretty boy.

Although I appreciate what he does for a small wet towel.

#327 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Like others have commented, I frequently laugh at Baltar and Baltar's Six. Colonel Tigh and Starbuck are also occasionally good for a laugh.

I don't feel the show is oppressively dark, although some particular episodes certainly are. The show as a whole has uplifiting themes of hope, faith, familial love, honor, and convictions in the face of moral ambiguity (both questioning unjust convictions and holding just ones in the face of adversity). These are positive strengths which are very difficult to portray in the medium, and they are played so well that they far outweigh any episodic angst one must endure, IMNSHO.

OTOH, my opinion of Farscape (to bring in yet another oft lauded show) was, in a nutshell: "Soooooaps iiiiin Spaaaaaace - Now with muppets!"

TTDV.

#328 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Tempting to start up another bardic conflict on BSG vs. Firefly. Maybe next time. For now, I've got some casting trivia to tie together the Pan's Labyrinth and Buffygeekism threads:

Doug Jones, the actor underneath the faun and the pale man makeup, also played the tallest Gentleman in Buffy's Hush. He introduced Pan's Labyrinth on opening night hereabouts. A fine mime, that fellow.

#329 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Serge #312: Jryy, svefg fur gevrq gb unir uvf certanag tveysevraq guebja bhg na nveybpx, whfg orpnhfr fur jnf n Plyba. Gura fur pbbxrq hc n fpurzr gb qrsenhq uvz naq uvf jvsr bs gurve onol, yrnivat gurz gb tevrir bire n fhofgvghgr pbecfr. Naq fur jnf cerggl haercragnag jura sbhaq bhg. Gung'f jul V qba'g guvax bs Ebfyva nf bar bs gur tbbq thlf nal zber.

And if Helo's a good guy, so is Athena, yes?

#330 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Xopher @ 329... Got it. I'm more bugged by her issueing a directive about measures to increase humanity's ranks.

#331 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Skwid, I am struggling with the concept of anyone preferring BSG over Farscape, especially on the basis of Farscape being soapy.

BSG is more of a soap opera than Grey's Anatomy, even, and I say that as a person who skipped about half of high school to catch critical episodes of "Another World."

#332 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 05:43 PM:

#330: That too. She at least felt guilty about that, though.

#333 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Jack Ruttan #316: I rather think it's an English (or British) thing. I don't use teabags myself.

#335 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:02 PM:

wait a sec. Battlestar is a soap opera? If so, I think I'll invest my DVD rentals elsewhere.

Please advise...

#336 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Greg, there are those who think any drama series with multi-ep arcs is a soap opera. It's been getting a little soapier lately with some marital infidelities, but I don't think it's completely saponified just yet. Watch the miniseries and see what you think.

#337 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:20 PM:

There are days when BSG feels like Dallas in space, with a side of Dark Shadows. But, in truth, I was (possibly over-)reacting to the vile canard against Farscape.

#338 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:24 PM:

Begone, vile canard!

#339 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:43 PM:

But the duck* wants to stay!!

*it always kills me when Daffy Duck uses 'canard'

#340 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:44 PM:

*canard exits quacking*

#341 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:45 PM:

#340: ...pursued by a bear.

#342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Ludwig von Drake can stay.

#343 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Huh oh... I hope this duck talk doesn't mean we're going to engage in foul punning.

#344 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Missy K, #258, yesterday's WashPost had a piece on how Jeb was supposed to be president now titled What Would Jeb Do?

Serge, #278, he's the only human who will have sex with them.

Laurence, #291, Firefly

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 08:43 PM:

Maybe, marilee, but Cylons sure aren't very picky. Of course, as Xopher pointed out, they don't have much choice. Anyway, the thing that irritated me the most about Baltar from the very beginning is that he was acting like he was bonkers and people didn't seem to notice. By the way, that actor was also in the Jason and the Argonauts of a few years ago and he acted the same way in there too. He pretty much made me miss John Colicos's Baltar.

#346 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Nancy C@334 (a momentous number in itself): hmmm, obviously Orwell was Sen no Rikyū in a previous life.

BSG v2 has always seemed to me over-produced and under-scripted; I can only tolerate it in small doses.

#347 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Um, I kind of have a shameful tendre for Baltar. I know not why. I am usually much more attracted to large, hulking, basically decent men (such as Titus Pullo, on Rome) and less to small hairy *evil* ones. I do have to say I've given up on BSG. After the first ep or so of the season, when I realized that every female chararcter (except Mrs. Tigh, who was a hoor) was defined by her relationship with babies. Sorry, not why I watch sci-fi.

So anyway, Firefly and Farscape yes! I do enjoy the silly, so long as females get to behave as humans (or whatever their alien race is). I did catch the first Dresden Files and liked it well enough that I will probably continue to watch it. No one pissed me off, one of the Canadian actors playing a cop used a reasonable Chicago accent, and I really do enjoy Terrance Mann. Probably not like Titus Pullo or Baltar, but you never know.

#348 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 11:54 PM:

In Firefly vs. BSG, I'm for Firefly. I didn't like the BSG miniseries, though I do intend to try the series at some point. Firefly (with the exception of one episode) was just good.

Firefly hits that same spot that Star Wars did, back when I was a kid. It's a universe that I want to play in. Farscape was good, and visually very nice - it did spend a lot of time on how these people dealt with each other, but I wouldn't call it a soap opera.

#349 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Shifting television series a bit:

On HEROES, I think I've figured out who Claire-the-indestructible-cheerleader's biological father is:

It's Jack Bauer. No matter how often or how badly that guy gets shot, stabbed, beaten, tortured, etc., he's going full tilt again one or two commercial breaks later.

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:15 AM:

nerdycellist... Baltar, a basically decent man? Except for the part where he actively contributed to the near-total extermination of Humanity. I don't know what he could do to redeem himself for that. Anyway, I am happy to see that the BSG's crew is finally able to do something active, namely having stories where they are finding a way to Earth instead of their constantly being chased. Sure, they have little choice, but none of them have considered what'll happen when they get to an Earth even less prepared than Caprica, with a bunch of Cylon ships hot on their heels.

#351 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:35 AM:

I haven't managed to watch any Battlestar Galactica yet, but to whoever chose Firefly because of dreamy Nathan Fillion, a-frickin'-men. That whole show had the most attractive cast, ever.

And I can't remember the last time I've had a more extreme "Holy crap, you're incredibly right" moment than Skwid's Ferengi comment at #285. Wow.

#352 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:35 AM:

Maybe it's just me, but every time I see that Hillary ad on the right side of ML's front page, I keep thinking I'm looking at StarGate's Samantha Carter. Teal'c and Jack O'Neill in the White House sounds like an interesting idea.

#353 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Serge #352: Teal'c as Secretary of Defense, perhaps?

#354 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Baltar, a basically decent man? Except for the part where he actively contributed to the near-total extermination of Humanity.

Not to defend Baltar, who is a squid of a man, but he didn't know what he was doing. He thought he was committing a minor peccadillo to get into the pants of a hot blonde; he had no idea about the whole end of humanity thing.

He has since done other things which make him morally bankrupt, but letting Caprica!Six into the defense computers would have been a very minor sin indeed if she'd been what he thought she was.

#355 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Carrie @ 354:
A-hem.

#356 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Six, a hot blonde? Ewww...

#357 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:09 AM:

but to whoever chose Firefly because of dreamy Nathan Fillion

Am I the only one who found the actor decorative but the character so annoying that it was an active turnoff?

Give me Wash any time.

#358 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Fragano @ 353... Teal'c as Secretary of Defense, perhaps?

Or maybe as Press Secretary.

#359 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:16 AM:

#355, you are not a squid, you are a Skwid. Different animal.

#360 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Susan... Heck, any spaceship pilot who, like Wash, passes time by having two action-figure dinosaurs duke it out on his dashboard has got my vote.

#361 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:29 AM:

Susan #357: Am I the only one who found the actor decorative but the character so annoying that it was an active turnoff?

Aw, c'mon, Mal meant well. And he was seriously dreamy.

Give me Wash any time.

Well, heck, give me Wash any time, too! Or Simon. I'd take Jayne in a pinch. Hell, give me Zoe, River, Inara, or Kaylee. What a bunch of pretty people.

#362 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Serge #358: That would make press conferences interesting.

#363 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Serge, I wasn't saying Baltar was a decent man; I think he's a weasel and am disturbed that I'm somewhat attracted to him, as my type skews Decent.

Nothing against Cap'n Tightpants, but I think I do love Wash just a tiny bit more.

#364 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Indeed, Fragano. Then again Teal'c would probably quickly get moved to another job. Imagine a Press Secretary who actually answers questions, and truthfully.

#365 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Sidenote from a tennis fanatic: If anyone else out there stayed up late to watch Australian Open tennis shown live yesterday (till midnight AZ time, an hour earlier for West Coasters, way late on the East Coast), they could have winced and delighted in a massive session of punning from one of the commenters during the Serena Williams match, in advance of the Andy Roddick/Mardy Fish match that came later. Mostly "fish" jokes, of course, though Serena and her excellent Israeli opponent Shahar Perer (sp?) also came in for some name punning. A fun late evening for me, at any rate!

#366 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Zoe: "Captain, requesting permission to have my husband tear off my clothes."
Wash: "Work work work."

#367 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Serge #364: That would be interesting, to say the least.

#368 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 11:36 AM:

354: letting Caprica!Six into the defense computers would have been a very minor sin indeed if she'd been what he thought she was.

I should probably watch the miniseries soon, just to see it before I read it. That said, I'd say I have a very different view on revealing state secrets. I love my wife and all, but I wouldn't be giving her the launch codes for the nuclear missiles or the deactivation codes for the space shields.

Even if she had good intentions, it could endanger her.

#369 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 11:47 AM:

357: Nathan Fillion

Am I the only one who found the actor decorative but the character so annoying that it was an active turnoff?

My wife seemed to appreciate the scene where he was left in the desert, naked.

What annoyed you about the character?

Personally, I liked him. My favorite character was probably Jayne, though.

Hm, actually, if I bin the characters, they end up in three categories, like, neutral, dislike. Most of the characters were "like". The shepard and River, I was neutral about. And Simon was probably the only one in the "dislike" category.

#370 ::: Adam Stephanides ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Mark @ 33: The one that springs to my mind is "In Blue" by John Crowley, but it's a difficult story to understand. (In fact, I don't.)

On another topic, I checked out the Amazon page for the book discussed in the "Rave Reviews for Sale" article on the left sidebar, and the parts written by the author himself (as opposed to the "New York Times reviewer") are barely coherent. And yet the book was ranked #5556 in sales, which means that someone is buying it. I was mystified until I realized that these sales must be due to the article itself, from people who either wanted to view a train wreck or actually thought that the book sounded good.

#371 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Greg London #369: My wife seemed to appreciate the scene where he was left in the desert, naked.

Oh my, appreciate, yes.

#372 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:03 PM:

...I'd say I have a very different view on revealing state secrets. I love my wife and all, but I wouldn't be giving her the launch codes for the nuclear missiles or the deactivation codes for the space shields.

The following is in the first roughly half hour of the miniseries: Baltar was having an affair with a woman who was, unknown to him, a Cylon agent. She told him that she was working for a defense contractor or somesuch and wanted to get into the defense computers to steal a march on her competitors. He arranged for this to happen (I misremember whether he gave her the codes or just logged her in himself). Since she was a Cylon, what she actually used the access for was to allow the Cylon fleet to bombard the various planets of the Colonies without warning.

Even if she had good intentions, it could endanger her.

Since the woman was asking for the access, one must assume that she, a reasonable adult, was willing to accept the risk. Baltar is not the kind of guy who would worry his head over whether he should expose someone else to that sort of risk even if they asked for it, an attitude he would no doubt justify by prating about "Who am I to tell a person what risks she can handle?" and whatnot--callousness dressed up as dislike for condescension.

There are a lot of directions in which Baltar's act can be bad; all I'm saying is that "knowingly facilitating the destruction of the human race" isn't one of them. If Six had wanted the access for the reason she claimed she did (and that Baltar believed she did), there would have been very little badness caused by Baltar's actions.

We can but hope that Baltar has learned that they're called "state secrets" for a reason, but his subsequent behavior makes this unlikely. He's a slime.

#373 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:33 PM:

I think Ben Browder as John Crichton out-hots anyone on any of the other shows we've discussed. Partly it's the character, a folksy genius with a sense of humor about pop culture; I'm a sucker for that (shut up, ethan).

But mostly it's the very callipygian Ben Browder himself. Especially after he starts wearing black leather all the time (which he did because he discovered that he didn't get hurt as often or as badly doing the action scenes when he was wearing it).

I have been known to declare that the unit of masculine callipygy is "the browder." Ben, of course, has 1 browder; no one else has more than 750 millibrowders.

#374 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:38 PM:

Not even Tahmoh Pennikett, Xopher?

#375 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:47 PM:

I share Helo's philosophy. That doesn't mean I think he's the hottest. I'll take Jamie Bambir over him, actually. But remember, it's the character as much as the actor...Helo is married. So is Apollo, though gung frrzf nobhg gb raq.

Leaving aside attachments, though, John Crichton has an incredibly sexy personality. Masculine yet warm, brash yet humble, confident yet...well, confident. Makes me go all tingly inside.

Also, there aren't a lot of butt shots on BSG. Not enough, anyway.

#376 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Ugh. I didn't look carefully enough at the preview. Just 'character' should be in italics. Sorry.

#377 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Xopher... I'll take Jamie Bamber over him

I think there's a joke somewhere in there.

#378 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 12:53 PM:

I'll take Jamie Bamber over easy. Or over my knee. Or over a barrel. Or [censored].

#379 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Since the woman was asking for the access, one must assume that she, a reasonable adult, was willing to accept the risk.

Since she was asking for access, one then must assume the potential that she has other motives.

If she was dangling herself like a piece of bait before him, all the more reason to doubt her intentions.

I can't sympathize with his situation at all.

#380 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 01:27 PM:

#329: after all that, I expect Cthulhu to show up.

#381 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Xopher, I am shutting up.

I've never seen, and kind of only vaguely even heard of, Farscape, but a quick perusal of the Superhighway reveals a certain swooniness to this Browder fellow, in photographs at least. Man oh man does the punctuation in that sentence seem off to me.

#382 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Oh, and

"Cu'atyhv ztyj'ansu Pguhyuh E'ylru jtnu'anty sugnta!"

#383 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Where, oh where, is the love for Shepherd Book?

Xopher, the thing I most hold against SG-1 is that they've made Ben Browder boring.

#384 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 01:53 PM:

JESR... On the other hand, StarGate gave Claudia Black the chance to show how goofy she is. She's the only reason I still bother.

#385 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Serge, my dedication to Claudia Black is well known but I thought the "John Quixote" episode of Farscape gave her goofiness free rein, what with the southern accent and the lisp. That episode also proves that Ben Browder has a better grasp of dialog and pacing than the entire SG writing staff.

(Deletes two hundred word rant on the standard SG-1 plot,four acts of pointless exposition and technobabble then WHAM! God jumps out of the box, etcetera and so on.)

#386 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 02:16 PM:

JESR... I must confess I missed that episode of FarScape. I pretty much dropped out after Scorpius showed up and when Chrichton started resorting a bit too much to shouting. Yes, yes, he was crazy.

#387 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 02:38 PM:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/23/cialeaktrial.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Watergate II, with more scum, slime, and lies, and cockroaches...

#388 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Paula @ 387:

Don't forget the entertainment of watching them blaming each other for their problems. Or, as someone at Firedoglake put it, someone being thrown under the bus just when it loses its wheels.

#389 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Serge @384: [..] StarGate gave Claudia Black the chance to show how goofy she is.

I like that bit they did when she was taking a psych evaluation:

[ Reading question ]

"You are walking in the desert, and you see a tortise on its back. You do not help it. Why?"

[ Chews pencil. Writes ]

"Because... I.. am.. also.. a tortise."

#390 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 03:11 PM:

P. J. @388:

I want the lot of them excised from the US Government and any position except inmate in federal prison, serving hard time and with enormous fines... let their families enjoy the lifestyles of the subminimum wage healthcare-bereft residents in lousy neighborhoods with inadequate insulation and dubious plumbing....

#391 ::: Steff Z ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:06 PM:

back to #357 et seqq.:
yeah. Wash.
Another vote for the inate hotness of the goofy-but-highly-skilled.

#392 ::: Steff Z ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Eeep. I mean "innate" of course.

#393 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:13 PM:

"Because... I.. am.. also.. a tortise."

now THAT is funny.

#394 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:14 PM:

ethan #381: Rent the first few episodes. You won't be disappointed. If you think he's swoony in stills, just wait 'til you see him in motion.

JESR #383: I don't find him boring even on SG-1. But I have a very constant nature, to my consistent detriment! As for rants about SG-1...you should see mine about how even their math is wrong. It requires two-inch steel cable to suspend my disbelief for this show. But I still watch, even though I think they jumped the shark when they introduced the Ori.

Idea for crossover episode: A small child comes through the quantum mirror (or through the gate, mysteriously). He says his name is D'Argo Sun-Crichton, and that there are monsters after him. Shortly thereafter, in come Daddy and Mommy. Wackiness ensues.

I'd love to see Browder play both Crichton and Mitchell in the same episode; still more to see Black play her two characters, who contrast MUCH more sharply.

Anybody want to write the script /a/n/d/ /w/e/'/l/l/ /s/p/l/i/t/ /t/h/e/ /m/o/n/e/y/?

#395 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:19 PM:

Could you toss Baltar into this, Xopher? And I do mean toss, very forcefully.

#396 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:24 PM:

I dunno, Serge. I was kind of thinking Tricia Helfer should appear on SG-1 as a Jaffa.

#397 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:26 PM:

No, no, no, Xopher... Virginia Hey.

#398 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:29 PM:

No, no. Virginia Hey has to come in as a Prior(ess). I'd like to see Gigi Edgely play a Wraith, though.

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Gigi, ouioui, Xopher... About Virginia Hey, did you know she was in 1982's Road Warrior?

#400 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Gigi would make an awesome wraith; she was the scariest pixie ever.

All this crossover talk makes me wish I could find a unified link for a SGA/Eureka crossover I read, which starts with Fargo hiding under his desk and whimpering, as any ex TA of Rodney McKay's would probably do.

SGA: the fic is better than canon!

(It's in the 50s outside, and not raining, so I am catching up on pruning that should have been done in August. Some days I'm really sorry I'm so good at growing great big roses).

#401 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 05:58 PM:

JESR #383: I don't find him boring even on SG-1. But I have a very constant nature, to my consistent detriment! As for rants about SG-1...you should see mine about how even their math is wrong. It requires two-inch steel cable to suspend my disbelief for this show. But I still watch, even though I think they jumped the shark when they introduced the Ori.

The only thing that really caused my disbelief to crash when watching Firefly was the one "marooned in space with air running out" episode, because making space travel -- and the whole issue of where everything was -- plausible or coherent (or even consistent) was clearly something Whedon and company weren't the least bit concerned about.

(Well, that and the space station that had no traffic control, collision sensors, or even radar, so that random ships could crash into it whenever they wanted.)

#402 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 06:03 PM:

None of that ever bothered me about Firefly, Peter, even though it normally would have. That's probably because I liked the feel of the whole thing, and the characters, and the premise that they were putting together a family that was better than what they were born in.

#403 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 07:03 PM:

Serge (#402): Well, the fact that I quite liked the feel of the whole thing -- and the characters, and the dialog, and so forth -- is what kept things like what I mentioned from poisoning the show as a whole. (I just can't buy that one episode, because I can't believe they're in any real peril. The other problem is that the peril depends partly on a breakdown of technology, and the technology of Firefly is hopelessly inconsistent as well.[*])

Of course, my problem is that I'm an astronomer, so I tend to twitch involuntarily when people can't be bothered to get space-related things even remotely right, even though I know (intellectually) that I shouldn't let it get in the way of my enjoyment of the story.

[*] For example: it's the twenty-whatever-th century, and they can travel easily between the stars/planets/moons/whatever, and yet the doctor is restricted to mid-20th Century medicine?

#404 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 07:17 PM:

abi @ 314

*grin* Ah yes, good old BBC "wobbly sets" science fiction, where you get to see special effects which are done on a very low budget. I just purchased the fourth season of Blake's 7 recently, and got quite a giggle out of the episode "Traitor". It appears when Liberator exploded at the end of season three, the contents of the wardrobe room fell onto Helotrix - Tarrant winds up wearing one of Avon's old tunics, and I spotted at least another two of Avon's, two of Vila's and one of Blake's tunics on the various Helots. Best laugh of the entire series (Servalan - sorry, *Sleer* was responsible for annexing the costume budget, it seems).

Quite frankly, Avon was a *wonderful* creation. All sci-fi series really need someone as intelligent, cranky, grumpy and snarky as Avon, if only to throw the sheer unrelieved heroism of most lead characters into hideous relief. Some of his lines are absolute triumphs.

#405 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 07:26 PM:

You guys do know that SG1 is ending this summer? There's still SG: Atlantis, and probably a new one, though.

#406 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 07:42 PM:

I learned about Firefly here, actually - went off and bought the DVDs; and someone here gave my wife and daughter tickets for one of the preview showings of Serenity (shout-out for Kate: thanks again!).

I liked it well enough, better than most of what's on tv, certainly, and would have liked to see more of it than was made... but

a) I'm discomforted by Mal's ethics and b) even more discomforted that everybody in Firefly fandom seems to be too busy cheering for him to be much concerned about it.

He's been forced to the wall by large-scale economic and political forces...and we see him begin crossing the line... and the show seems ambivalent about this.

This being action-adventure TV, I was left wondering if we're being told that criminality is OK if it's being done by Good Guys. I was left uncomfortable by that sort of moral reasoning, mostly because I couldn't figure out just what reaction Joss was attempting to elicit. (Presumably, given more scope, some of this ambiguity would have been resolved.)

#407 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Marilee, not to mention two TV movies to tie up the SG-1 story, and a development deal on a third Stargate-verse series (and David Hewlitt's half-hour SF comedy, not SG related).

About the moral ambiguity of Malcolm Reynolds: in the larger context of the 'verse, where the government has used the population of whole planets for drug experiments, and stolen River and messed with her mind, and even the preacher has a dark past, it's not as if there's an unambiguous morality anywhere- except in Inara's guild, and that's been a matter of a certain amount of fannish angst.

After a bunch of years thinking about the Whedon mind, I have come to believe that the Larger Message is the one that gets said midway through the run of Angel: "if nothing you do matters, all that matters is what you do."

#408 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 08:46 PM:

JESR @407: [A] development deal on a third Stargate-verse series [..]

I first parsed that to mean that all the dialog would be in meter and rhyme.

An odd notion; I don't know why my brain suggests such things.

#409 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:00 PM:

"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by our Sun-God Ra...."

(I haven't seen any Stargate except for the original movie.)

#410 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:09 PM:

OLPC again, a discussion of philosophy and content. It seems clear the intention is to make the third world adopters an educational lab, and damned if I think it's ethical to do so. I Have A Bad Feeling About This.

#411 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:12 PM:

Peter @ 403... Yes, I do have to take my brain thru major contortions to accept some if not most of the premises of Firefly, but it gives me something in exchange. As for Mal's ethical shortcomings...

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me
Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me
There's no place I can be
Since I found Serenity
But you can't take the sky from me...

#412 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:12 PM:

#407 ::: JESR I was left uncomfortable by that sort of moral reasoning, mostly because I couldn't figure out just what reaction Joss was attempting to elicit.

My guess is that uncomfortable ambiguity was the intent. Joss tells a whole lot of hero stories that call hero stories into question.

Zoe: Want to know the definition of a hero? Someone who gets other people killed.

#413 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:13 PM:

Peter, I am not an astronomer, but I am bothered by the fact that Firefly occurs all in one solar system. Somehow, that just doesn't work for me.

As for Mal's ethics, I'd guess that he does not feel obligated to obey the rules of a government he rebelled against, lost to, and feels is illegitimate.

#414 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Oh, I get that Mal's ambiguity is probably deliberate. And real life is full of complicated choices, too.

As for Mal's ethics, I'd guess that he does not feel obligated to obey the rules of a government he rebelled against, lost to, and feels is illegitimate.


Well, there's that.. but Mal is not just a defeated rebel - he's also turning himself into an armed bandit. And we're rooting for him.

#415 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 11:12 PM:

The Dresden Files Episode 1 is up on iTunes as a free download this week. If anyone here is an iTunes user...

Yeah. I seem to be subscribed to a lot of podcasts. I don't have a problem. I could stop at any time.

#416 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 11:36 PM:

a) I'm discomforted by Mal's ethics

erm.

he's also turning himself into an armed bandit.

In the train job, he stole medicine and then gave it back when he realized it was needed or people would die.

He's hauled cattle, which I believe was owned by the man who paid him to haul, the illegal part was the private owning of the cattle, or something. Didn't quite get if there was anything illegal there, or if he was just trucking.

He stole meds from a government hospital, and it was sufficiently explained that supplies there would be suficient that no one would die if they cleaned out a few cabinets.

They salvaged supplies off a ship, which turned out to be government food, which turns out to be illegal in that universe, and had to sell it under the counter.

I can't remember the details of the "bank job". That may have been banditry. But all other cases of unrepentant banditry appear to be stealing from, or in some way sticking it to, the government. And given planet wide government experiments, and the sort of torture they did to River, the government in that universe is Evil (tm).

I may be projecting onto Mal here, but he seems to be of Lawful Good alignment. And Mal's in a world where those who make the Law are evil. And given those circumstances, Mal rightfully choose Good over Law, and has to deal with it. At one point, I think Mal said something to the effect of they're out in the dark with no rudder or something. Law would give him steerage, but it's implemented by an evil government. So, he feels like he's blowing in the wind.

But at least in the bits we've seen so far, Mal tries to follow the Good.

#417 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 01:24 AM:

Greg London:

I lack the attention span to be an obsessive fan, but my impression was that each time out, Mal's capers were getting more serious, the rationales to justify the thefts were getting more strained... he was pushing the limits each time, and was millimeters from crossing over. I found that tension uncomfortable. (Especially when everyone else seems to be rooting for him.)


#418 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 02:55 AM:

I wasn't obsessing, I just happened to watch all the episodes over the course of a single weekend. (didn't see them on TV, saw the movie, liked it, bought the DVD for the series, watched them all at once.)

I didn't get that impression of Mal. Character-wise, he's a sort of Robin Hood archtype. He'd be lawful good, but the Law got taken over by the evil government, so now he's Chaotic Good.

He robs from the evil government and uses it to help himself and others like River and her brother. And when he finds out he robbed from the poor (the medicine from the train robbery), he gave it back to the poor, risking getting arrested in teh process.

He's probably a little more edgier than Robin Hood, but I think that's probably the closest archetype for his character.

#419 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 08:58 AM:

As for myself, I've always been a sucker for stories where a misfit joins the crew of a spaceship, and in the process finds a Home. I've read Cherryh's Merchanter's Luck (*) and a few other things. Does anybody have any other suggestions, modern or not?

(*) I know, I know, in that case, the captain is the misfit, whose only Home almost gets taken away by his crew.

#420 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 09:27 AM:

I can't sympathize with [Baltar's] situation at all.

I kinda can, but only in the way that makes me want to smack him, because everything you say about Six having motives Baltar might not know about is completely true. Baltar's very, very smart, and like many smart people the idea that he could be wrong is alien to him. Once he thinks he's identified Six as being just as venal as he is, he decides he's got her number (er, no pun intended) and stops looking, because he's smart and he can't be wrong.

He still didn't intend anything like what happened and is horrified when it does, and if he'd been doing what he thought he was doing it wouldn't have been a bad thing except in the stuffy governmental way. That's all I'm saying. Intentions do count, though admittedly in this case even intending to end poverty or find a cure for cancer wouldn't have been sufficient mitigation. :)

#421 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Geez, for a non-watcher of these shows, the latest discussion is starting to sound like a Soap Opera Digest fan forum!

But getting back to the subject of masculine eye-candy, anyone with a love of jutting butts can only regret this is no longer the era of tight-shorts tennis. (Yes of course, I had to mention tennis again here, even with no takers on the previous remark.) These days most of the guys are wearing droopy drawers, but with tank tops in vogue there are plenty of biceps on view [ditto on some of the women!]. And the occasional in-match shirt change can be fun too, even for a hormonally-challenged crone.

While sex appeal is only part of the lure of tennis -- elegant motion, good reflexes and quick thinking also play their part -- it can add to the fun.

#422 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Faren, did you agree with Eva Green's comment to Daniel Craig's James Bond about his tush in Casino Royale?

#423 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:53 AM:

Faren @ 421:

There's more than one reason why some football players are called 'tight ends'. Think of Jerry Rice.

#424 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:55 AM:

From Baltar to butts...

#425 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Faren - I'm not a bum girl, I like shoulders. So, yes - I like the occasional shirt change in a tennis match. And swimming...Now that is a sport I can watch strictly for the eye candy. Tasty eye candy.

#426 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Oooh, tennis men, Daniel Craig...

#427 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Tania (#415) said:
The Dresden Files Episode 1 is up on iTunes as a free download this week. If anyone here is an iTunes user...

Oh, thanks... like my poor laptop's hard disk wasn't full enough already ;-) (Since I don't live in the US, this is about the only way I can watch such things.)

#428 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 02:06 PM:

PNH: extra 'of' in the "German Freethinkers" Sidelight.

#429 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 02:17 PM:

#421

Elegant motion? Good reflexes? Quick thinking?

That is my definition of sex appeal.

#430 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 02:59 PM:

As a representative of non-pinhead Texans, thanks for the "Freethinker" Sidelight, Patrick. If Comfort weren't way, way far away I'd make a pilgrimage and lay some flowers down. Oh, and Rory Harper? Should you find your way over here, you can bite my Son of the Texas Revolution ass.

(Never heard WoNA used in anything other than jest)

#431 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 05:01 PM:

{sigh}

It is amply obvious to me that y'all live in areas where the weather is crappy, and have, therefore, no reason to step away from the computer and take care of gardening chores left undone far too long.

I'm never going to catch up on any of this, but I'd like to report that one can now walk under the hazelnut bush.

At least one of them.

On its east side.

If you duck a little.

#432 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 05:10 PM:

How much ducking, JESR? And how tall is this person supposed to be, when in a non-ducking physical state?

#433 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 05:53 PM:

I'm 5'6" and must only duck a little.

Cutting a 3" diameter branch with a pruning saw is good exersize, but a rotten way to maintain a hedge planting.

The ratio of sitting and having a nice glass of water to cutting branches off of things (the quince tree is now less messy and no longer blocks access to the Russell's Cottage Rose) has passed 1:1 and is dropping fast.

#434 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Meanwhile, JESR, I have one big bush in the backyard that, come Spring, will become intimately acquainted with my saw. Even last year, its own weight was making it tilt away from the house. When Albuquerque went thru that freaky snowstorm during the Holidays, the weight of the snow made it tilt even further away. It's all melted away now, but the bush hasn't sprung back one bit. So, if pruning doesn't help, well, I have a pickaxe with the bush's name on it.

#435 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 06:27 PM:

JESR @431,

No, because as of today in my yard you can walk under the date palm tree without getting scratched. It doesn't ever get hot here, but if it did, under the palm would always be deep dark shady cool*.

However, you will likely lose an eye if you walk there, due to the many branches now cut at arm-height.

I've been testing all my pruning equipment and saws to see if any work well on palm branches.

None do.
Swearwordy fibrous thick stems, some almost as thick as my fist in cross-section. I'm now eyeing power tools. Perhaps the reciprocating saw. Probably not the Dremel, because even the metal cutting tips might not be strong enough for the plasteel-carbonfiber-neutronium strong palm branches.

* But we don't need shade, therefore the need to find a tool that works. The other current features of the yard are a lush carpet of Oxalis pes caprae (aka Rancid Buttercup, O. pestilence) and several giant aloes (aka Ouch). Luckily for the latter, I've found a local nursery that'll take them for trade. Unluckily, this requires digging up 3-foot diameter sea urchins.

#436 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 06:34 PM:

I don't remember what my father used when trimming the fronds on the palm-that-came-with-the-house (aka the palm that was trying to kill the power drop). I think it might have been his bow saw.

Have you tried a tungsten carbide rod saw blade in a hacksaw frame? Or something designed to cut green wood?

#437 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Serge, I actually have a friend in Albuquerque who retired from landscape contracting in Maine, but I will refrain from trying to make connections as I'm pretty sure there was a reason she got out of that business.

Me... things went to hell last year, and actually the year before that, too, so that things I should have taken care of with a soft pinch are now the subject of wistful longing for chainsaws.

#438 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Kathryn, the name of that Oxalis bodes no good.

I've seen people struggle enough with the whimpy windmill palm to know that, as much as date palms are filled with all sorts of virtues, I'd not take one on for a bet. My advice for young gardeners would include taking a pruning saw to any sort of shrub or tree with branches more than a half-inch in diameter and seeing what it's like before they commit to ownership. By that measure, I'd have a lot more magnolias and a lot fewer plums, cherries, and peaches.

My solution to the hardest cuts, of course, is to hand the saw to my 20 year old son, but he'll move away eventually (if providence is kind) and then I'll have to come up with a better solution soon.

#439 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 08:15 PM:

JESR @ 437... Things landscapy went to hell last year? That's pretty much the way it was for me too. I had two Projects from Hell at the office (one still burning quite hot) and there basically wasn't time for the backyard. And the weeds grew and grew and grew. I was finally able to pull most of them by autumn, but not all of them, by the time the weather became too cold.

#440 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 08:47 PM:

I figued that with all the gardeners on here, somebody might be interested:
(I go every year. It's fun, and for a good cause.)

http://www.gardenandflowershow.com/home.html

#441 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 09:08 PM:

Serge and JESR 437-39,

Sympathy on the lost landscaping year: that happened for me too. The previous owner was ill for a few years, followed by 18 months of an empty house, and then for the past year my life's been a few hours short of a full clock. All that neglect has to be addressed before I can do my own gardening. At least it didn't become a jungle: in part because the oxalis keeps anything else from growing. Still, I've taken out a few small trees that could have been hand pulled when seedlings years back.

On oxalis- those are my names for it. Nasty bulblet-producing weed that it is, it gets worse if you try to dig it out. I'm not into gRoundup, and the climate here isn't conducive to solarizing the soil (plus I have a colony of slender salamanders to protect). So all I can do is try to starve the oxalis out by scything off the stems.

#442 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Serge, two springs in a row, actually- not conflicts with projects, just with my physical abilities: year before last I gave myself a third-degree burn on my foot, which was a problem until it healed; last year I managed to ass-toboggan down the back steps twice in the same week and couldn't actually bend or lift, or stretch, much. This is in conflict with the kinds of roses I grow- huge climbers,like Long John Silver, and modern shrubs, like Darlow's Enigma, and damasks, like Ispahan. I've spent more time pruning and tying in those three this week than in the past two years- and Ispahan still has probably twice as many canes as it should, Darlow's Enigma needs some structual props, and I haven't even touched the three-year-old Brenda Colvin, since I don't yet own the ten-foot 6X6 post which is the next stage in its training.

I have a little problem with roses the way Janis Joplin had a little problem with heroin.

#443 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:12 PM:

kathy from Sunnyvale... my life's been a few hours short of a full clock

May I steal that expression from you, Kathy?

#444 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:13 PM:

JESR... I have a little problem with roses the way Janis Joplin had a little problem with heroin.

That sounds like a good opening line for a story of the seedy world of gardening, with a detective named Phillip Marl-hoe.

#445 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Serge, I should suffer loss of points for quoting myself, though- I first used that line on the Prodigy gardening boards, in 1991 or so. I've just been unable to improve on it (or break my addiction to roses, especially old ones with strong scents).

#446 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 10:35 PM:

Kathryn, love those salamanders. I'm much too dry here (sitting as I do atop a glacial lacustrine sand dune) for salamanders; I've got Pacific Chorus Frogs, garter snakes, and toads to worry about, so I'm spray free.

Or have been; the combinbation of the domesticated thug Geranium "Claridge Druce" and creeping buttercup has driven me to the brink of herbicide.

#447 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 11:09 PM:

JESR,

If I may pick your brain:

I live in Buffalo, NY, which is a zone 5b. I was given a rose book for Chrismas 2005, with a pledge to put in the garden. (Yes, he promised me a rose garden.) I would very much like flowers with scent. What should I plant?

If not, just consider me very jealous of your roses.

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 11:27 PM:

JESR @ 444... Well, there's nothing wrong with quoting oneself. By the way, after burning your foot one year and falling down the stairs the year after that, you'd better be careful this year.

#449 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 11:50 PM:

JESR, #431, I own a condo, so I don't do gardening. Of course, when I owned houses, I didn't do much gardening either. I was willing to prune, but I didn't weed or plant.

#450 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Nancy, there's two reblooming, very fragrant, extremely hardy, old fashioned roses which I recommend to anyone in more northern areas: Rose de Rescht, which is a deep rose-red, attar of roses scented Portland rose, and Stanwell Perpetual, which is pale pink, rosewater scented, and is a sport of the Scotch briar rose. Neither takes a lot of pruning, nor any spraying at all, and they have a nice presence in the garden.

I think Antique Rose Emporium still carries both of them; Heirloom has gotten spotty on the availability of old roses. There's a NE rose vendor whose name escapes me, too.

Then there's the Explorer Series of roses, which were developed in Canada;John Cabot is very nice, I hear,although I haven't grown that one.

#451 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 12:01 AM:

Serge, I can but hope.

#452 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 01:13 AM:

#435 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale cursed:
Swearwordy fibrous thick stems, some almost as thick as my fist in cross-section. I'm now eyeing power tools. Perhaps the reciprocating saw. Probably not the Dremel, because even the metal cutting tips might not be strong enough for the plasteel-carbonfiber-neutronium strong palm branches.

I'm still absolutely chuffed with this saw from Lee Valley, which I've used for far too many things, including zip-tieing it to the end of a painters extension pole for tree pruning branches up to 5-or-6" in diameter. After all of that, and green wood, it _still_ cuts plywood cleanly. Wonderful thing!

#453 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Serge said (#444):
That sounds like a good opening line for a story of the seedy world of gardening, with a detective named Phillip Marl-hoe.

Sounds more like a Sam Spade story to me.

#454 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 01:48 AM:

(Ignores puns for the shiny, shiny goodness of that Japanese saw. I haven't bought a new saw for months, at least).

#455 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 02:02 AM:

Peter @#453- I'm thinking a romance about a perennial rake and the protagonist's attempts to cultivate him.

#456 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 02:24 AM:

Peter said (453)
Sounds more like a Sam Spade story to me.

No, more modern than that. Perhaps a Grew Grafton: "C is for Corm", "F is for Fungicide"...

Xeger,
2nd the motion to declare that saw shiny. By the way, if you happen to be carrying that saw and walking by a palm branch, could you test it out? If your neighbors don't have one, try the local botanical garden. I'm sure they won't mind.

mmmmm, saws. Having recently rediscovered how good it is to have a very, very sharp and strong and wellfit kitchen knife, I'm tempted by that saw.

#457 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 03:01 AM:

Kathryn of Sunnyvale said (#456):
No, more modern than that. Perhaps a Grew Grafton: "C is for Corm", "F is for Fungicide"...

More modern? So... nothing with Nancy Grew? Or Auguste Lupin?


tania (#455):
Ouch. Ouch. (And I missed "perennial" on the first read-through...)

#458 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:24 AM:

Have you never heard of the seminal gardening mysteries by Arthur Conan Soil?

#459 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:47 AM:

Serge - ::groan:: Your mind is a fertile place where these things take root.

Here's a funny picture on Wonkette. I think it will amuse a few people.

#460 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:53 AM:

Let's not forget Hercules Poireau.

#461 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:59 AM:

Have you never heard of the seminal gardening mysteries by Arthur Conan Soil?

You mean the stories of Hemlock Hoelmes?

#462 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 08:19 AM:

No, Peter, but I have heard of Agatha Christree's Miss Maple.

#463 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 08:34 AM:

#456 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale wrote:
Xeger,
2nd the motion to declare that saw shiny. By the way, if you happen to be carrying that saw and walking by a palm branch, could you test it out? If your neighbors don't have one, try the local botanical garden. I'm sure they won't mind.

Tempting... but I suspect unfortunate comments from the owners of the botanical gardens ;)

mmmmm, saws. Having recently rediscovered how good it is to have a very, very sharp and strong and wellfit kitchen knife, I'm tempted by that saw.

Speaking of tools that tempt, I really need to get one of the lovely bear claws that Berkeley's Hida Tools makes, again. One of the level best all around garden tools I've ever had - and unfortunately lost to mov[ing|ers].

#464 ::: kelek ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 09:06 AM:

On the proper use of commas, in a racially charged context.

Offtopic discussion here.

#465 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Thanks, JESR!

I will look for those roses. I was planning on buying Canadian, on the theory that the plants will be used to the climate, at least, if they didn't find the weather here positively balmy.

#466 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 09:47 AM:

kelek @ 464, thanks for the reminder of why I don't read PVP anymore, and why I never went near their forums when I did.

#467 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 09:59 AM:

"If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing."

- the narrator of MythBusters during yesterday's episode where the gang went to Moffet Air Base's BIG zeppelin hangar to prove it is possible to fold a square piece of paper more than seven times, provided said sheet is 200 feet on each side, and provided that you have a steamroller with you.

#468 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Oh, hey, Xopher: way back...here you told me to see Eyes Wide Shut and pay attention to the way people react to L. Ron...er, I mean Tom Cruise's character.

Well, I saw the movie, and first of all, goodness gracious. I recently went through a long period of watching movies and reacting each time with pretty much just a "meh," to the point where I was starting to be afraid that I just didn't particularly care for movies anymore. Which terrified me, because movies are one of the few things I'm really passionate about. Then I saw Children of Men and one reason I'd be willing to seriously fight anyone who makes fun of that movie is that it broke that long streak; I responded strongly to it and I started to think that maybe I was OK. Watching Eyes Wide Shut makes me positive. DAMN that's a good movie. Why did everyone hate it?

OK. For another thing, I'm curious about what you said in the post I linked to. Did you mean just the way all the characters react to him sexually, or is there more to it that I'm too dense to see?

Also, that was totally the Illuminati. Was that not the Illuminati? That was the Illuminati.

#469 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Serge (way upthread) -- haven't seen the Bond movie. As for your comment on "the seedy world of gardening", for the British version see PBS series "Rosemary and Thyme" (which has Peter Lovesey as a consultant). Of course, it does lead me to question the wisdom of anyone who hires this gardening duo, since someone *always* dies after they show up! (I'm not so sure about their design sense either, but the show's opening credits are gorgeous.)

#470 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Neil Gaiman has pulled another magic trick on me.

Yesterday, I dropped by the comics store, and, after a delay of months, there was the 6th of his 6-issue miniseries, The Eternals. I find myself reading thru, racing to the end, wondering if the Dreaming Celestial was going to flatten San Francisco and then the rest of the world. I get to the last image and... and... it said 'to be concluded'.

Huh?

I looked at the cover. It said this was the 6th of a 7-issue story. This is the first time I've seen a mini-series transform itself into a longer one before my very eyes.

Hats off to the magician.

#471 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Faren @ 469... Your comment about "Rosemary and Thyme" reminds me of the "Monk" episode where his new lady partner asks about the tendency of people dying when he's around. She jokingly asks if he's the Prince of Darkness, but he urges her not to say that because that's how rumors get started.

As for the Bond movie... Go see it. The last one I had seen was Goldeneye, which was so-so except for Sean Bean being in it. This one's good. And this is the first movie where my wife actually liked the character of Bond. And there's no naked lady dancing in the opening credits.

#472 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Nancy C @ 466

High Country Gardens has John Cabot. They prefer you order plants in multiples of three, but you might want to try the hardy rose collection, which is four varieties.

#473 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Watching Eyes Wide Shut makes me positive. DAMN that's a good movie. Why did everyone hate it?

Ew. Uh. Hm. Well. I didn't like it. Actually, I think it might be up there as number 2 of all time worst movies for me (with "Mars Attacks" beating it out by a narrow margin).

Top ten reasons I didn't like Eyes:

10: every advertisement for movie used the "Baby done a bad bad thing" song by Chris Isaak. (A song I really like.) Ninety percent of the movie soundtrack consisted of a guy sitting at a piano going ping ... five seconds of silence ... ping.

9: the "out-of-whack" event for Tom's character happens when he and his wife are getting high and his wife says she fantasized about some guy one time. Good lord, man, get a grip.

8: Tom Cruise, who has played a sexually aggressive male in most of his movies, can't seem to bring himself to do the deed.

7: In a party where everyone shows up in limos and he shows up in a taxi, why does he still get through the front door?

6: When they unmask him at the party and the woman "sacrifices" herself, so they let him go. If Tom's knowledge of the party is a threat, it's a threat. boinking some chick won't change that.

5: woman ends up dead after "sacrifice". Tom thinks its foul play. But if Tom's the problem, why would they kill her? Unless they're idiots.

4: My GAWD is this a slow movie.

3: Tom investigates death of sacrifice girl but is warned of powerful people who don't want him looking. He stops. End of that story thread. Apparently it wasn't important. Why was it in the movie.

2: The movie could perhaps be summed up as a "banging shutter" plot. There's a noise. People are scared. go investigate. its a banging shutter. In this case, the "banging shutter" is Tom's wife's drug-induced admission that she had a fantasy about another man. And then nothing happens.

1: And to those who talk about the story being a dream from the point after they get high, wow, so the last line is "And then he woke up."

#474 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Eyes Wide Shut is the least sexy movie about sex ever made. And despite Greg's clear insanity (Mars Attacks is brilliant), I agree with every point he makes above.

That said, I'll watch the first five minutes of that movie any time I happen to see it on premium cable.

#475 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 11:35 AM:

despite Greg's clear insanity

Hey!

;)

#476 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 11:39 AM:

Greg and Skwid-

That was exactly my reaction. I also remember thinking that anyone who thought the sex in that movie was erotic, edgy, or shocking hadn't logged much time on the Web.

#477 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 11:39 AM:

I'll watch the first five minutes of that movie any time

I can't remember. What happens in the first five minutes? The only good thing I recall about that movie was Leelee Sobieski was awesome. I was more interested in her five minutes of screen time than Tom running around for an hour.

#478 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Skwid #474: "Eyes Wide Shut is the least sexy movie about sex ever made."

And that would be bad, if it had been meant to be sexy. It wasn't.

I could go point-by-point through Greg's list at #473 and say why I think each one is dumb, but he's entitled to his opinions, no matter how much I disagree, and no matter how gratingly he expresses them.

#479 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Sigh. I just saw this: http://www.emergencykindness.net/

Emergency Kindness is shutting down, due to lack of funds.

#480 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Before anyone even responds, I wanna give a big "whoopsy" and "sorry for the snippiness" for my remakrs at #478. I fell victim to that "Expressing unfelt rage on the internet is fun!!" syndrome I always tut-tut in others.

#481 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Purely gratuitous, but I had to share that find.

#482 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:58 PM:

I'll just say this: EWS is not about the plot. The plot is a convenient framework upon which Kubrick hangs the things that make it valuable.

And if you don't see that...I can't explain it. Nothing wrong with you. But you either get it or you don't.

#483 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:06 PM:

ethan...Lrf, rirel punenpgre va gung zbivr ernpgf gb uvz frkhnyyl. Gung vf, gurl nyy jnag gb shpx uvz (va gur urgreb frafr bs "unir frk jvgu," abg gur zber fcrpvsvp tnl frafr). Naq rnpu crefba ernpgf gb gung hetr va uvf be ure bja vaqvivqhny jnl. Gur fravbe qbpgbe ol gnxvat uvz haqre uvf jvat; gur ubgry pyrex ol syvegvat funzryrffyl; gur tnat bs qehaxra sengoblf (zl snibevgr, naq gur bar gung znqr zr abgvpr) ol pnyyvat uvz "snttbg" naq ebhtuvat uvz hc. Gung vf rknpgyl ubj vzzngher fgenvtug znyrf ernpg gb srryvat frkhny qrfver sbe bgure znyrf (ng yrnfg barf gurl qba'g xabj).

#484 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:07 PM:

WOT: Is it terribly immature of me to be amused by the fact that 'sex' rot13s into 'frk'?

I suppose it is. Luckily, I don't care.

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:09 PM:

MD²... How dare you ruin the pleasures of my youth? Tintin shooting zee Batman? Heheheh...

#486 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:27 PM:

Serge #485: At least he didn't link to the Tintin comics that...er...wuzzisface, the guy who made The Sexual Lives of the Belgians...Jan Bucquoy. At least he didn't link to the ones he made.

Xopher #483: Ahh. OK. I'd gotten halfway, I just hadn't made the interesting conclusions. Looking at the bit with the fratboys through that lens somehow hadn't occurred to me, even though it should have been the most obvious. ...And I've been staring at the cursor for nigh on five minutes now trying to put into words what I want to say next, and I just cannot, for some reason. You know. Right?

#487 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:45 PM:

The plot is a convenient framework upon which Kubrick hangs the things that make it valuable.

I hadn't heard it put that way before. If I could tweak it ever so slightly to:

The plot is a convenient framework upon which Kubrick hangs the things that he finds valuable.

Then I could agree with the statement.

Hm, thinking about Kubrick films now. Must go to IMDB for a bit....

#488 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Back to Pan's Labyrinth...

I feel sort of unsophisticated, or something.

I didn't enjoy the movie, even though it was mostly very well done, because nothing good happened in it. Ever. At all. To anyone.

I hope that's not a terrible spoiler.

#489 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Greg, I meant the things I find valuable. Kubrick may have been in love with the plot, for all I know.

#490 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:51 PM:

ethan @ 486... And this probably involves old sailor Capitain Haddock. Thanks for sparing me.

#491 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Sandy B: unfortunately it IS a terrible spoiler. I was going to see it in the theatre, and now I'll wait for it on DVD, so I can cry in my own bathroom.

Not sure that's not a good thing, but I'm also not sure how you could think that telling people "it doesn't end happily" might not be a spoiler.

#492 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 05:56 PM:

ethan 486: Yeah. I do know. It took me several days after I saw it to figure out what it was that I liked about it, and much longer than that to put it all together in a way I could describe in words, even to the extent I have, which isn't that much.

#493 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 06:29 PM:

I think the statement that "nothing good happened to anybody, ever" could be debated.

However, I don't think there's much room for debate in "It's a Guillermo Del Toro movie; expect bleakness." But that's no more spoilerish for Pan's Labyrinth than it is for The Devil's Backbone or Cronos.

#494 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 06:33 PM:

I just saw Pan's Labyrinth myself, and I have to say, I found myself responding FAR more to the real-world stuff than to the fantasy elements. Both the content and the general appearance of the fantasy sequences seemed a bit snoozy and underdeveloped to me. Not sure why. But the "post"-civil war Spain, I thought, was brutal and beautiful.

I agree with Xopher at #489; the non-plot interested me, whether or not it was what interested Kubrick. Then again, I suppose it might be in my nature to respond to formlessness like that. I talked about Solaris here, which was similarly glacial in pace, and a lot of the movies I like are similar. Then once again, a lot of the movies I like are also about James Bond.

#495 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 06:35 PM:

Xopher... When we originally talked about the movie, I suggested not to go see Pan if one is having the blues. As for del Toro movies always being bleak, that doesn't include his Hollywood work, of course. (Me, I'm looking forward to his animated sequel to HellBoy. It'll tide me over until he's done with the live-action sequel. Ah, Selma Blair...)

#496 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 06:37 PM:

ethan.. Tarkovsky's original Solaris, right?

#497 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 06:54 PM:

MD-carré(e): Waouh! That cheered me up no end!

#498 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 07:40 PM:

@TexAnne: Glad you liked it (and you too Serge).

You just made me realise that having a pseudonym who reads as "aime décarrer" might not be the best way to fight French stereotypes. Not that anyone will notice.

ethan (#486): Damn. Had forgotten about Jan Bucquoy. It will take years now for my mind to feel a little less soiled again.

Good.

#499 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 07:44 PM:

Sidelights race condition! Thank you, Tom Whitmore.

#500 ::: kelek ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Skwid @ 466

Sorry about the eye-burning quality of...
of...
well, of whatever that is in PVP. (What is it about that strip, anyway? I can't find the right word.)

The intent was to engage our better selves in a discussion of the relationship between punctuation and humor.

#501 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 08:52 PM:

OMG! did I just manage to hit both Sidelights and Particles with one article?

Feeling highly honored here!

#502 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Aaargh! That's exactly what you did, and Patrick posted his first. So full credit to you -- but the extra version has now disappeared from Particles.

Good piece, that. Thanks again.

#503 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:39 PM:

Does anyone know why Blogger i/s/ /s/u/c/h/ /a/ /p/i/e/c/e/ /o/f/ goes to such elaborate lengths to keep you from indenting? I have a poem stanza that I want to look like this:

My cocoon looks just like me, but
In those eyes there is no light;
          (Because I sent the light away,
In those gestures, no power;
          And focused all my power on the one,
In that face, no motion.
          The only one who made me move.)

...done with  s to space over. Blogger takes the  s out and replaces them with spaces in the code to force the lines flush left. Blockquote won't do, obviously. I even tried beginning those lines with '|' and it took that out, which I'm not sure I believe even though I just saw it.

It doesn't even wait for you to publish before taking out the  s. Put them in in HTML, switch to Compose, back to HTML, they're gone.

Why does Blogger suck in this way? And is there any way around it?

#504 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 09:28 AM:

I've seen a number of posting forms exhibit that behavior, Xopher. I think it's a kludge to prevent nbsps and similar formatting tricks from breaking insufficiently sophisticated page layout code, possibly a legacy no longer even needed but necessary at some point.

#505 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Canadian roses from Vancouver are not likely to be all that winter hardy for more eastern regions of the continent that get ice and snow and spend much time below freezing... Not all of Canada is in Zone 6 or colder!

(I always meant to get to Nor'east Roses but then it got sold to people in California and they moved the entire operation of miniature roses and growing them from Rowley, MA, out to California... I waited too long...)

#506 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Xopher, blogger sucks in a lot of ways, and I'm at a loss to explain them. She's a cruel mistress, or something.

And Serge #496, Christ, yes, Tarkovsky's original. The Soderbergh version is so weirdly awful that I feel like he must have done it on purpose, and if I could only figure out why I would be at piece, or something.

#507 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 11:44 AM:

etan @ 506... I figured you had to be talking of Tarkosky's Solaris. I just wanted to make sure. Having seen both versions was frustrating to me. I'm one of those who wanted to tell Tarkovsky to get on with it, and I thought Soderbergh might tighten things up a bit. Unfortunately, it also threw out some of the original's best images, like the planet making it rain inside the house's simulacra because it didn't really understand what rain is.

#508 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Speaking of coffee, I retrieved my 'Kansas Home Cook Book'. There's a recipe for 'Syrup of Coffee':
"Put a half pound of ground coffee into three pints of boiling water; boil down to one pint, cool and drain off the liquid into a clean stew pan, put it on the fire again, and, when boiling, add white sugar to make it the consistency of syrup; when cool, bottle and seal. When wished to use, put two teaspoons in a coffee-pot--pour on one quart boiling water."

#509 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Bwahahahaha, I just noticed that at #506 I said "I would be at piece" rather than "at peace." What a fool.

Serge #507, my main problem with Soderbergh's version is that his main interest seemed to be telling a dull love story through flashback, and any of the philosophical and science fictional ideas were just incidental. Which, you know, love stories are fine, but not boring ones with pointless SF trappings. And you're right, it was one of the least visually interesting movies I can think of, which is odd considering that Soderbergh is such a visual director.

I can't agree with you about wanting Tarkovsky to get along with it, but I can understand that reaction.

(MD)(MD) #498: Have you seen The Sexual Lives of the Belgians? I loved it, but even thinking about the scene where he's talking to the camera about women he's been with, all the while stuffing his face with french fries and getting positively covered with mayonnaise, makes me want to yak.

#510 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 03:22 PM:

ethan, if you're going to expand MD², it would be MDD or DMD. Your expansion reduces to (MD)² or M²D².

And that second one sounds like a droid. "EmmtooDeetoo, have you seem The Sexual Lives of the Belgians?"

#511 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 03:35 PM:

And meanwhile, the Hindu pantheon a la Sanrio.

#512 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Oops, you're right. Oh good lord, I'm actually, physically blushing. How useless!

#513 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Quick! Take a picture!

I love pictures of guys blushing.

#514 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 12:59 AM:

In case any of you have any cute receptors left after the panda particle, video of the squeaking baby tiger kitten at the local zoo: tiger video and here.

#515 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 07:21 AM:

#511: Hello Kali?

#516 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 07:46 AM:

Julie L. 511: Death, death, DEATH to Sanrio! Ick. I wonder if they have Christian icons depicted in this way, with a cute little Jesus nailed to a cute little cross with cute little nails?

#517 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 08:04 AM:

I think I'll stick with the traditional Ganesha statuette that my Indian co-worker is going to get me. I told her that the Lord of Auspicious Beginnings, and Remover of Obstructions would be appropriate for yours truly to keep in his office after spending 2006 on two Programming Projects from Hell. (And yes, I made it very clear to her that I intended no offense, but that I also valued the symbol.)

#518 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 08:15 AM:

Those wacky Hindu god depictions have been mentioned on and off at BoingBoing; the artist is apparently an animator at Pixar, and this is a personal side project. (Since he actually has a Hindu background, the odds of him producing similar Christian/Voodoo/Pagan images aren't high. Though I admit the idea of, say, Norse gods done that way has a certain bizarre appeal.)

#519 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Serge 517: If you like, I can point you to some instructions for daily devotions to Ganesh-ji, which I have made part of my own routine. (I know you probably don't "believe in" Ganesha, but a. you don't have to believe in a god to pray to one, and b. you obviously connect with his energy, and want more of it in your life, which the devotions will help with, whether or not you believe in the god, or even the devotions themselves.)

I've done the simplest one for years: set up the Ganesh-ji image; set a sweet before it; burn sandalwood incense; say "Om Ganeshaya Nama" 108 times*; eat the sweet. The more complicated ones are actually shorter, but involve reciting a bunch of Sanskrit which at this stage I still have to read.

*Easiest way to get this right: get a traditional mala. Those strings of beads with a tassel on them? Those are malas (108** beads plus the tassel bead or "guru bead;" don't count on that one when you do the puja). For Ganesha sandalwood is best. They're not that hard to find. The first time I did it I had no mala; I looked around for something I had 108 of, and wound up using $10.80 in dimes! The puja was quite successful, even though I also forgot the sweet.

**I don't know why 108 is the sacred number in Hinduism. I've long suspected it has to do with the fact that it's 2²×3³, but that's idle speculation on the part of a mathemystic neo-Pagan.

#520 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 08:30 AM:

Peter 518: It's comforting to know that it's a Hindu being irreverent rather than some Japanese guy being culturally insensitive. I still find the depiction of Kali-ma distasteful, but I'm pretty sure Ganesha won't mind...if you had an elephant's head, would you take yourself too seriously? He doesn't!

I take back my angry response, which was made in ignorance of the facts.

#521 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 08:39 AM:

If you like, I can point you to some instructions for daily devotions to Ganesh-ji

Xopher, if that's an open offer, I'd very much appreciate the information. My e-mail address is as given; just correct the obvious misspellings in the part after "@."

#522 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 08:43 AM:

Xopher @ 519... I did tell my co-worker that I am not a follower of Hinduism, nor that I am planning to convert, but that I like the symbolism, and I'm big on symbols. I've printed your suggestions about the proper care. There are some that I won't be able to follow, since Ganesha will be sitting in my office, and burning anything might set off the smoke detector. Thanks again. I very much appreciate.

#523 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 08:46 AM:

By the way, Xopher, have you read Ian McDonald's novel River of Gods? It's set in India in 2047, where AIs collide and fuse with the mythology.

#524 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Xopher (#520): For what it's worth, there's a 2005 post on the book at the desi-related group blog Sepia Mutiny which opines that "... any kid-safe interpretation of Kali is bound to cross the line into kitsch."

(Most of the commenters seem to like the depictions.)

#525 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 11:08 AM:

David Edding's office burned down!

Details

#526 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Sorry to hear of the fire, although it could have been much worse. No one was hurt; even the bulk of his archived work escaped. Hopefully the wound to pride does not fester (I could imagine that it might).

Re: Hindu mythology.

My introduction to Hindu mythology (about 30 years ago) had been reading Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light. It inspired me to go to the library and read more.

For years I could find second hand copies of 'Lord of Light' any time I looked in a Salvation Army. I often bought an extra copy so I could pass one along; gave one to one of my high school teachers, and another later to a teacher in art college.

So I know we have taken a whack at the silliness of Sean Connery in Zardoz, but considering his role in the movie, his black ponytail and moustache, and that he dressed in red; should we take him to be Yama (the Hindu god of death)?

#527 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Ahem, Rob... I for myself have never taken a whack at Sean Connery over his accoutrement in Zardoz, and not just because he'd have whacked me back hard. Of course, I also enjoyed The Core, so what does that say about my tastes in movies? (Don't answer that question.)

#528 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 12:40 PM:

That being said, Rob... As for the idea of non-Indians playing Indian gods, have you ever seen Peter Brook's 6-hr version of the Mahabharata?

#529 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Serge (#528):
Wow -- I hadn't thought about that film for years. One of the most astonishing things I've ever seen (spread out over three nights on PBS, back in the early 1990s); I need to go find it on DVD. Thanks for reminding me of it!

Some stills from the film, for those who never saw it.

#530 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Peter @ 529... You're welcome. The DVD has been out for about 3 years now. Here's another link:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097810/

#531 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 01:43 PM:

#529: Is it me, or is there a microphone hanging in this shot on the left and some electrical cabling hanging on the right?

#532 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Last week Bush issued a White House order which essentially takes over direct operation of all Federal agencies. It also seems to bar them from enforcing any new legislation or regulations except where they get approval from the White House that it is a response to a "market failure".

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/01/20070118.html

Some explanation of these wording changes here:
While you were sleeping (Bush took over the Government)

This seems like something we should be aware of, to put it mildly. I guess this is Bush's new spirit of bipartisanship - order the Federal government not to do anything the Congress tell sit to.

#533 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 01:56 PM:

As for the idea of non-Indians playing Indian gods, have you ever seen Peter Brook's 6-hr version of the Mahabharata?

No, I can't say that I have. Good? Or an example of non-Indians playing Indian gods and looking silly?

I took a risk once, and went to see 1900 (aka Novecento) when it was playing at the Dryden auditorium; advertised as a 4-hr film*. Just before the film started, they announced that they had been able to get a copy of the 5-hr director's cut, which was what they would be showing.

Fortunately, it was an engaging film, and only dragged in the last half-hour.

With the development of the Indian film and CG industries, it would be interesting to see a mini-series production of 'Lord of Light'; I'd like an American hand in that production to keep it from becoming Bollywood-silly. It would be nice if it could be done without offending Hindu sensibilities, and involving Indian talent from the start seems like it would be the way to go. You'd have the advantage of Indian locations too. No, I don't think anyone is actually working on this; it's just my fantasy of a film production.


* The risk is, I am not going to leave once the film has started. I once sat through a 4-hr film that bored me in the first five minutes and did not let up.

#534 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Silly, Rob? One might think so when the cast is European (a young Ciaran Hinds as Ashwattaman, for example), African, and Japanese. But it works.

#535 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Silly, Rob? One might think so when the cast is European (a young Ciaran Hinds as Ashwattaman, for example), African, and Japanese. But it works.

... and Indian, and Caribbean, and ... (it's an astonishingly international cast, really).

I agree with Serge -- it works.

(As a side note: only a couple of the characters are "gods" -- e.g., Krishna; most of them are humans.)

#536 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 07:53 PM:

This is more a cultural than a theological question, but I don't know where else to ask it:

There are branches of Protestant Christianity, or significant numbers of people in some branches, who behave as though the End of the World is a consummation devoutly to be wished, and in fact something to be worked for. Is this desire to blow us all up so that they can get to heaven something that also turns up among Mormons?

I say it's a cultural more than a theological question because I'm not aware of any significant sect that explicitly teaches "it is your duty to start a world war in the Middle East," but there seem to be people who are eager to immanentize the eschaton by so doing.

#537 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Rob@533: why should it be necessary not to offend Hindus? The book is specifically about people who use technology to assume the personae of Hindu gods (rather than, say, superheroes); what we see is what happens when people are given too much power to go along with their imagination. The ]real[ Hindu gods aren't involved.

#538 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 09:20 PM:

Hmm. CHip (537), I see what you mean, but may I suggest that "why should it be necessary not to offend Hindus?" might not have been the best way to start? That sounds like you think it's OK to offend Hindus, though the rest of your post makes it clear that's not what you intend.

I'd be more concerned about offending Buddhists, actually.

#539 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 10:03 PM:

CHip @537: why should it be necessary not to offend Hindus?

Well... it would be nice not to. We might hope they wouldn't take offense, but we've seen Christians ready to picket 'Life of Brian' because it was assumed sight-unseen that it disrespected Jesus. I have no idea whether Hindus are typically so thin-skinned, but we might assume that some are. It would be nice to have an answer for them (much as Peter Jackson was able to answer Tolkien fans).

#540 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Vicki @536: I can't answer for Mormons, but this is an issue (people who are eager to immanentize the eschaton with a world war in the Middle East) which bothers me too. I have a book in the box library ('The End of the World' by ? & ?) which does a set of one and two page synopses of 'End of the World' cults from 67 AD onto UFO cults of the modern day. This is obviously a theme throughout history, and a part of our world. I wish people working to make it real would read some of this stuff. If they persist in that work, I hope Philip Jose Farmer will construct a Hell to put them into.

#541 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 10:32 PM:

As I recall, the mormons I grew up with and around weren't particularly interested in causing the world to end so much as they were very proud of being prepared for the second coming; they "knew" it would be soon, and were pretty proud of their 2 years worth of food storage, especially knowing that the gentiles would be all unprepared for the second coming. (was there some joke about the "24 hour" food supply - e.g. the gun?)

So not so much trying to screw the world up so much as to hasten the end of it, but more of an off-putting anticipatory schadenfreude about the whole thing.

#542 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 11:22 PM:

ethan@509: I've seen it, but can in fact hardly remember anything about it.
Generally, if it's older than three weeks, do not expect me to remember anything, my brain is wired in strange ways (if at all). Pieces of info come and go and I have no control over them. There's a character in a book by Orson Scott Card (a glance at my library tells me it's Wyrms) which is quite like me: can't really remember anything but the place where the needed info has been put down.
I can astonish my librarian friends by going into their library, walk straight to the not read for years book I know I need, open it seemingly randomly and find the bit of info I'm looking for. Yet often I can't even tell you the title of the book or the name of the author.
Everytime they move everything around I loose a part of my brain.

The internet and search engines have probably saved my life.

[Sorry, longer than expected explanation and next to useless to boot.]

Serge@517: Ganesha [...]Lord of Auspicious Beginnings, and Remover of Obstructions.

Everytime I read this one I can't help but think about a book I read for a paper I did on tantrism. Around four obsessive pages on the size and specificities of the genital organs of elephants (male AND female, and why both can be confused by the ignorant), their practices, and the impact they can have on people, is the best introduction I can think of on the sexual coding of religious imagery.

For Xopher: 108.
In buddhism, I've often seen this described as the number of failings/afflictions/defilements (after a quick googlin' around it seems this last one might be the most used translation in english... strange how tranlations of the religious vocabulary can color things; see "éveil" in french for "enlightenment" in english)which can prevent you from reaching enlightenment.
If you're trying to reach for deeper knowledge in hindusim, a quick detour via bouddhism (especially those branches touched by tantrism) can prove invaluable. As I'm sure you know.

Also stumbled upon this while looking around.

I'd be more concerned about offending Buddhists, actually.

I concur. Some private event in Korea have taught me those pacifist monks can sure be mean brawlers.

I have no idea whether Hindus are typically so thin-skinned, but we might assume that some are.

Indeed.

#543 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 11:42 PM:

And that second one sounds like a droid. "EmmtooDeetoo, have you seem The Sexual Lives of the Belgians?"

Inquiry: How could a meatbag such as you identify my true spambot nature ?

#544 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 12:45 AM:

Rob, #526, I was first introduced to Hindu gods when I was eight and dreamed many nights in a row that I was Kali out on a pier. I had to look her up to find out what I'd become.

#545 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 02:06 AM:

Marilee, that's an interesting notion. Had there been something that inspired the dreams? Or had you been having dreams, and later found something that seemed to match in books you read (...oh, so that's who that was).

Reminds me of another of Zelazny stories. In Isle of the Dead, his protagonist has taken up an alien religion. It is not a matter of professing belief; he has to wait until one of the gods of their pantheon selects him. While this does happen for him, he is skeptical whether these gods are 'real'. They prove to have more power than he expects.

To Die in Italbar shares the same background; but the Wikipedia entry for it is only a stub.

#546 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 04:50 AM:

Xopher said (#519):
**I don't know why 108 is the sacred number in Hinduism. I've long suspected it has to do with the fact that it's 2²×3³, but that's idle speculation on the part of a mathemystic neo-Pagan.

The (one) brief explanation I remember hearing when I was in India was that 1 + 0 + 8 = 9; and 9 is, as we all know, one of the Deeply Meaningful Small Integers. (And, as you pointed out, 9 times 12 = 108). This page has some suggestions, though it's a mish-mash of possible reasons for significance and examples of significance.

The Wikipedia page on 108 points out that the characteristic you mentioned means that it is a "hyperfactorial" (which I'd never heard of before); "2²×3³" can be expanded to read "1¹×2²×3³". It also has several other interesting/pointless examples of 108 things (the number of Penelope's suitors in The Odyssey! the number of minutes Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth! etc.).


As an aside, I was rather croggled to discover that, yes, Wikipedia actually has individual entries for each of the numbers between -1 and 200 (and for most of the numbers between 200 and 300, as well).

#547 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 08:20 AM:

I saw The Painted Veil last night. It starred Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, who both produced it. Very good. And sad.

#548 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 08:36 AM:

MD² #542 "can't really remember anything but the place where the needed info has been put down"
O Lord, O Lord, yes! O, pain too. After several years of my living with & caring for my surviving parent in our old family home, she died & I had to arrange people to do a fast pack-up of everything in the flat while I was in hospital, 'cos I had to move out. Now all of it, including many of my things, is in boxes filling a shipping container and whenever I remember something I need or could use or would like, I can still visualize just where it used to be. But in what box now? In which part of the container? No idea.

Then there's the way they re-shelved nearly everything in the library at work a year or so back. I used to be able to put my hand precisely on every report series, even the old obscure ones down in dark dusty corners of L-space, but I'm still a bit lost now. P'raps if I'd been able to work more since, I'd have re-memorized it all.

#549 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 09:52 AM:

NSFW knitting. (Nearly as bad as disco.)

#550 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Emdeetoo 543: Inquiry: How could a meatbag such as you identify my true spambot nature?

Why do crypto-spambots always assume that no one else is a crypto-spambot?

#551 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Peter Erwin @ 546
"51.
This appears to be the first uninteresting number, which of course makes it an especially interesting number, because it is the smallest number to have the property of being uninteresting."
- David Wells, Curious and Interesting Numbers

#552 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 12:50 PM:

O.K.: I've spotted a gap in Wikipedia's info on Jabberwocky and have tried to correct it, but I'm not sure I got it in right. In "References in Popular Culture" it should say:

" * In the 7/16/1970 to 7/23/1970 sequence of Dan O'Neil's comic strip Odd Bodkins, Fred Bird, Hugh, and 5$Bill O'Brady escape Hell in the year 10,1970 a.d. via motorcycle and are attacked from the air by a Bandersnatch identified as a "Jabberwocky." They are saved by the Batwinged Hamburger Snatcher, who drives off the Jabberwocky from the air and then (it is implied), kills it off-panel. 12"

And in Notes it should say:

"12. O'Neill, Dan. (1973) The Collective Unconscience of Odd Bodkins ISBN 912078-33-2"

Can Someone Who Knows Wikipedia look this one over and make sure I didn't screw it up? Thanks!

#553 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Rob, #545, I assume I'd heard of Kali somewhere. I read voraciously starting at three. I think what triggered the dreams was that when I was eight, my mother went into what was (in hindsight) clinical depression. I started doing the cooking, cleaning, laundry, making lunches, grocery shopping, getting the dry cleaning, doing taxes, balancing the checkbook, etc., etc,. (some of those with the help of a neighbor and her car) when I was eight.

#554 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 06:05 PM:

Marilee... Sorry for what happened to your mother.

#555 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Oops, my screwup. 12,440 a.d.--I think I've got it fixed.

#556 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 07:40 PM:

If anyone out there has an urge to check out the spoof movie "Epic Movie," don't bother.

Really briefly: It's a take-off on "Narnia," with goofs on maybe a dozen other movies woven into it, including "Nacho Libre," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "X-Men," and "Snakes on a Plane." It uses never-been and (mostly*) third-rate actors and cheap but surprisingly un-shabby special effects.

It's really no worse than mediocre, but there are so many really good movies out there right now that there's really no excuse for seeing it. The gags are "MAD TV" quality at best; in other words, fun, but nothing you'd want to pay for.


* Fred Willard earning a mortgage payment in the most embarassing way possible; Crispin Glover playing Willy Wonka to pay for a prescription for whatever keeps him from rocking back and forth and smearing poop on the walls.

#557 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 09:03 PM:

Well, my favorite sub shop in Seattle, the last of a local chain, is now a Mediterranean Grill which is clearly just what we need in the U district. (I'm trying hard not to wish instant bankruptcy on the folks that bought it and remade it, but it's not working very well.) Well, they had a good long run of it: Gilly's Giant Submarine Sandwiches around the time of the world's fair, changing to Zilly's about 15 years ago. I feel like taking an ad out in the Seattle Times and the Seattle P.I. to find out where they got their bread and cheese from. Now all we have around here are national chains, God rot 'em.

#558 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 11:27 PM:

If it's not too late to jump in on the open thread with a new question...

I'm starting a new sf/horror zine called Yog's Notebook (yogsnotebook.com) and I'm attempting to find places to post the call for submissions. I read several writers' blogs, but I'm not sure what the main places are that sf writers (published or aspiring) go to look for that sort of thing. Any recommendations? Thanks.

#559 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 02:25 AM:

Audrey - I am not a writer, nor do I aspire to be one. I am a reader, and I've seen requests/announcements in SFWA Bulletin, a recent letters page in Locus, and a few other places that escape me right now. Good luck!

#560 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 03:05 AM:

Does anybody have a copy of Asimov's's January 2007 issue they'd be willing to part with?

#561 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 04:13 AM:

john @ 551 (And how did you manage to get "51" into your post number? That's awfully mysterious, if not downright suspicious...):

Aha -- maybe that's the reason for "Area 51"...

#562 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 09:21 AM:

Six degrees of separation from David Strathairn...

I once met George Takei.
Takei worked with Leonard Nimoy.
Nimoy was in Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Kaufman directed The Right Stuff, in which Fred Ward played Gus Grisson.
Ward was in Tremors with Kevin Bacon.
Bacon was in The River Wild, opposite David Strathairn.

From him, we get to, among others, Kevin Kline, Russell Crowe, George Clooney, and from them to...

#563 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Er... I know a man who met Bill Clinton who (as a young boy) met John Kennedy who knew Joe McCarthy who appears (in archive footage) in "Goodnight and Good Luck" with David Strathairn.

#564 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 10:01 AM:

ajay... When I worked at the Gap (rhymes with 'crap'), my carpooling pal (*) had a private tour of Air Force One and met Bill Clinton.

(*) whose brother at the time was the Marine Corps's representative to the White House.

#565 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Serge: His brother at the time? What did they do, get a divorce? ::ducks::

#566 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 10:13 AM:

TexAnne... As the Three Stooges would say: Wise guy, eh?

#567 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Among the trailers that ran before Pan's Labyrinth yesterday afternoon, there was a quite crazed one (starring Jim Carey, of all people, but evidently supposed to be serious horror) about the number 23. Has anyone else seen that one? I was giggling by the end of it.

As for the film I came to see, I ended up liking the general acting slightly better than the fantasy effects, but enjoyed the "Hispanic" florid gesturings of Pan -- even if he was played by the only Anglo actor in the bunch -- and the echoes of Goya.

#568 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 10:49 AM:

I saw the Jim Carey trailer too, Faren. I don't really go for horror, so I'll probably pass. I much enjoyed the movie I saw after the trailer, The Painted Veil. After seeing Edward Norton in The Illusionist, my wife and I are now taking notice of whatever he's associated with.

#569 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 10:56 AM:

This is apropos to absolutely nothing, but this is an open thread.

Anyone know what version of Moveable Type our hosts are using? I've discovered a bizarre bug in the comment previewing, and I'd like to report it to Six Apart, but before I do that I thought I'd set up my own installation and reproduce the bug in a known environment so that I can give SA all the technical details they might want.

The bug is this: write a short comment, then at the end of the comment place an unadorned less than sign (<). Then hit "Preview". Then hit "Preview" again. And again. Now look at your comment.

#570 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 11:18 AM:

re: Lord of Light miniseries: the Hindu god portrayal may or may not be controversial in India, but the fundamentalist Christian zombies would cause a few raised eyebrows in this country ...

(and, in my unwritten sequel, the popular resistance takes out all three god factions )

#571 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Jon Meltzer 570: the fundamentalist Christian zombies would cause a few raised eyebrows in this country

It took me several parse attempts to realize you meant the fundamentalist Christian zombies in the book.

#572 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 12:13 PM:

My favourite "degrees of separation" story comes from Simon Jenkins, writing within the last ten years:

“A man of my acquaintance was addressed, when a child, on the subject of Oliver Cromwell. The speaker was a lady of 91. She told him sternly never to speak ill of the great man. She went on: “My husband’s first wife’s first husband knew Oliver Cromwell – and liked him well.” It was an admonition my friend has not forgotten."

#573 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 12:36 PM:

ajay (#527):
Good Lord. That would seem to require some really strange marriages (80-year-olds marrying 15-year-olds?)...

Re David Strathairn:
Hmm... I know Nicholas Griffin, who co-wrote the screenplay adaptation of Matchstick Men and visited the set several times;
Sam Rockwell starred in Matchstick Men;
Sam Rockwell and David Strathairn were both in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Is there a particular reason for David Strathairn? He's actually one of my favorite actors, so I'm not objecting; I was just wondering...

#574 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Peter... I thought of Strathairn because he's one of those actors who've been around for some time, do a good job, then they get a role where people finally really notice them.

#575 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Serge - I worked to make it six, how's this look?

I used to work with Nick Hughes
Who is the son of Ted Hughes
Who wrote the Iron Giant*, voiced by Vin Diesel
Who was in Saving Private Ryan with Matt Damon
Who was in Ocean’s Eleven with George Clooney
Who was in Good Night, and Good Luck with David Strathairn

*Mr. Hughes' story is titled The Iron Man, but it's the book the movie is based on

#576 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 01:18 PM:

That definitely works, Tania. Speaking of Saving Private Ryan, did you notice that the wrong private Ryan was played by Firefly's Nathan Filion?

#577 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 01:35 PM:

(Because it seemed inappropriate to make this comment in the original thread.)

Over in the Haifa Street thread there's a discussion about the vulnerability of helicopters to ground light weapons fire. Dave Luckett made a comment that included the line stationary when engaged in their employment. So,

When a chopper's stationary in its employment
(Its employment)
In the spreading of our righteous Awe and Shock,
(Awe and Shock)
Its capacity for unpow'red redeployment
(Redeployment)
Is as great as that of any airborne rock.
(Airborne rock)

#578 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Serge - No, I didn't notice that. But he's the one with the grammar schools brothers killed (not) in action, right?

#579 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Yes, Tania, and even in that very brief scene, Filion managed to convey a lot of goofiness.

#580 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 01:55 PM:

#571: uh, yeah.

LoL's colonialism debate (continue to exploit vs train the people for independence) is a 1960s reflection, but having fundamentalist Christian zombies as a third force, that the other two ally to oppose ... that's SF prediction.

#581 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Sidebar ad:
"Square Knitting Needles
Easier on your hands. Ergonomic. More uniform stitches. Handmade."

Yeah, right.
There's a reason why needles are round, rather than square. Several centuries of experience is part of it.

(Jacket is up to neck ribbing. Hood next.)

#582 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Mez@548: Allright, there must be more of us around.
Let's find the secret society with properly reworked tool sets for that condition. ^_^

EXE-Offer @550: Why do crypto-spambots always assume that no one else is a crypto-spambot?

Observation: it is a perfect predator's nature to assume everyone else is a victim, and this unit is perfect. As a predator.

Of sort.

Daniel Martin @569:

Sorry can't answer your question, but I can confirm this happened to me a couple of times. I thought it was a problem with my non-unicode postings, as often is, so I haven't really checked into it.

#583 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 07:23 PM:

(I'm not sure how we started playing "Six Degrees of David Strathairn", but, OK. I'm game.)

According to The Oracle of Bacon, David Strathairn has a Bacon Number of one.

My own Bacon Number is two.

Therefore, my Strathairn Number is no more than three. (IF there is a more direct link that bypasses Mr. Bacon, my SN might actually be two, but this is still a topic for additional research.)

Further: if a connection through Making Light counts, then everyone here therefore has a Strathairn number of no more than four.

#584 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 07:31 PM:

Right.
A minute with IMDB shows that I DO have Strathairn Number of two.

So, if ML counts, then everybody here has a SN of three.

#585 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Bob Oldendorf... And what is your Einstein Number? Mine is Two because the parents of my youngest sis-in-law's hubby were Jews who left Austria in the Thirties and they knew Albert. Oh, and they were on Hitler's Ennemy List.

#586 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 07:56 PM:

JBWoodford, I wondered if anyone would notice the half-allusion. Silly me, I was forgetting where I was.

Peter Erwin: correction noted. Was there no overlap of personnel, though, between the insurgents fighting the Soviets and the Taliban, which became the government (for some values of the word "government") afterwards?

#587 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 08:38 PM:

Serge #585: And what is your Einstein Number?

I had an uncle (long deceased) who used to claim to have bumped into Einstein fishing in the Adirtondacks. So (...if true...), then "two".

(My fallback: I had professors who I assume must have encountered him.)

And before you ask, I have an ex-roommate who has an Erdos number (I'd have to ask him just what it is, though).

#588 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Bob Oldendorf... Shall I come up with my Orson Welles number? It's Two. When the mother of my sis-in-law's hubby died, they found in her affairs some letters that Orson Welles had written to her.

#589 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Serge: you win.

#590 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 09:51 PM:

i was in a room once with the dalai lama, so if this forum works, you may all have a dalai lama number of two.

(i don't know if that's that odd, though; he gets around.)

#591 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 09:55 PM:

Bruce, #557, when I was there 72-73, there was a place that started with King that I liked. Now I can't remember the rest of the name.

Audrey, #558, I always think of Jim when I see Yog. Also, the text at the bottom of the picture is missing a verb.

Serge, #560, you're too late. I already gave it to the library.

#592 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 10:38 PM:

Marilee @ 591: Is there? I'm not seeing it... It's straight out of my copy of The Lurker at the Threshold, so any strange grammar can be attributed to August Derleth or his editor. I think Metallica had a slightly different version, though.

#593 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:42 AM:

Do I really win, Bob Oldendorf? I think that marilee's dalai lama Number of Two forces me to concede. Hats off, marilee.

#594 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:43 AM:

Marilee @ 591 (about your copy of the January 2007 issue of Asimov's) ... I already gave it to the library.

Drat.

#595 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 07:21 AM:

More degrees of separation silliness:

I have one degree of separation to HM Queen Elizabeth, and two degrees of separation to Kaiser Wilhem and Louis Armstrong. Actually, the second may also follow from the first - I'm not sure.

#596 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 07:39 AM:

two degrees of separation to Kaiser Wilhem and Louis Armstrong. Actually, the second may also follow from the first - I'm not sure.

Boy, that's a conversation I'd like to have heard.

"The All-Highest vould like to know vat Jazz is, Herr Armstrong."
"Man, tell him if you have to ask, you'll never know."
"Vas?"

#573: it is indeed a fairly odd chain of events. See Crooked Timber here, comment 37:http://crookedtimber.org/2006/04/04/reaching-into-the-past/

#597 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 07:42 AM:

Ajay: That's what I get for typing whilst doing many other things. I meant rather that Queen Lizzie and the Kaiser might have met.

I like your version much better though.

#598 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 07:46 AM:

My degree of separation to Charlton Heston is One. Same number as with Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

#599 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 07:57 AM:

And I have a Two to Xena, Warrior Princess, because I once met Bruce Campbell, aka Autolykos, Prince of Thieves.

#600 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 07:57 AM:

Jakob: yes, I was deliberately misunderstanding you. However, it reminds me of "Eastern Approaches" (the Greatest Book About Politics Ever Written) which describes the author's arrival in Moscow as a diplomat in the late 1930s:

"Until recently, jazz (or Dzhaz) had been officially frowned on as a product of the decadent West. Now, however, possibly as part of a policy to encourage the growth of the population in order to boost the Soviet Union's military potential, Dzhaz was not only accepted but encouraged; and a State Dzhaz Band had been formed, whose leader, it was rumoured, received a higher salary than Stalin himself."

Stalinist Dzhaz. I wonder if any recordings still exist?

#601 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 08:14 AM:

Dunno if I should jump in on the degrees of separation thingy... but...

I have one degree of separation from...

The Queen... Harry Belafonte... Kurt Waldheim... Leon Trotsky... Bob Marley... Fidel Castro... Nelson Mandela... Indira Gandhi...

#602 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 09:01 AM:

I have one degree of separation to... Newt Gingrich.

#603 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 09:21 AM:

Fragano #601: a *live* Leon Trotsky? You know, you're much older than you look...

Pray do elaborate.

#604 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Fragano probably keeps a portrait of himself in a locked room, Jakob.

#605 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Dave Luckett said (#586), crossing over from the Haifa Street thread:
Peter Erwin: correction noted. Was there no overlap of personnel, though, between the insurgents fighting the Soviets and the Taliban, which became the government (for some values of the word "government") afterwards?

Probably some, inevitably; but the mujahideen who fought the Soviets then fought the leftover Soviet-installed government, and when that was overthrown (1992), they started fighting each other. So when the Taliban showed up (around 1994), they were attacking the quarreling mujahideen warlords. (The prospect of someone -- no matter how crazy, fundamentalist, or simply inexperienced -- putting an end to the anarchy and civil war explains a lot of the Taliban's initial success and relative popularity.)

Of course, once the Taliban started making headway, various groups of mujahideen began defecting to them, so by the late 1990s their makeup probably did include a number of former mujahideen.

#606 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 09:43 AM:

I'm trying to guess what the common factor is - I'm guessing Fragano met some well-travelled chap (call him X) who had met all of them. Let's see, some fairly senior person to have met Trotsky before his death in 1940 - it wasn't Chip Bohlen or George Kennan, by any chance?

#607 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 09:55 AM:

I have obviously misunderstood the numbering system here - if I've met someone then I would say I have one degree of separation from them. If I have got the convention wrong, feel free to adjust my numbers. (Yes I am having an exceedingly productive day at work - what makes you ask?)

#608 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Since this is an open thread:

I was going through the archives of a blog I like, and came across this gem:
Airports as initiatory quests.

I thought it would be appreciated here.

#609 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Jakob #603: No, the one who died 16 years before I was born.

Serge: While I'm no Dorian Gray, I do know a Dorian Brown.

#610 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Jakob #603: My connection to Trotsky is that I met C.L.R. James (1903-1989), who met Trotsky in 1938 (James went to Mexico to discuss the specific situation of black Americans with Trotsky on behalf of the SWP).

#611 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Ajay #606: The common factor for all except Trotsky (and there's still a connection), is that the degree of separation was the late Michael Manley (and I met C.L.R. James at an event hosted by Manley).

#612 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Years ago I met John Diefenbaker (prime minister of Canada 1957-63) at a country fair in Saskatchewan. I figure that has to get me close to a lot of interesting people (it puts Marilyn Monroe at three).

#613 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:56 AM:

Jakob 607: My understanding was that each person between you and the target person counts as a degree of separation. If you've met someone, you're not separated from them at all, therefore you're zero degrees of separation from them. The reason people play Kevin Bacon is that he's such a versatile actor, and has worked so much, that many, many actors have been in movies with him; he is zero degrees of separation from everyone he's worked with.

I am zero degrees of separation from both Clintons, Lauren Bacall, and Krzysztof Penderecki. That's about it though.

#614 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:58 AM:

I sang in a concert where Al Gore did the narration for Lincoln Portrait. I'm not counting that, because they didn't let us lowly chorus members meet him, and IIRC we were never on stage with him.

#615 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Wow, Lauren Bacall, really?

#616 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:03 PM:

Ajay #606: The common factor for all except Trotsky (and there's still a connection), is that the degree of separation was the late Michael Manley (and I met C.L.R. James at an event hosted by Manley).

#617 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:08 PM:

ethan 615: Yep. Same party as the Clintons. I told her that if she's on screen I never even look at Bogie. She said "Good!" and laughed heartily.

#618 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Xopher (#613):
I'm pretty sure the standard definition is that each "step," from one person to the next, counts as a "degree of separation." (See, e.g., the Wikipedia entries for Six Degrees of Separation and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.) So the only person with zero degrees of separation from you is yourself.

(Similarly, someone who actually co-authored a mathematics paper with Paul Erdős has an Erdős number of 1, not 0.)

#619 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Xopher: I'd always read it as being separated from someone by virtue of not, well, actually *being* them. Heh.

Swerving back onto a previous subthread: has anyone here tried using an aeropress to make coffee? I've heard good things about it, but as a very occasional coffee drinker I'm a little leery of spending the £25 it costs on this side of the pond if I'm not going to use it often. It does sound ideal for the odd after-meal cup, which is what I'd mainly use it for. Also: can one freeze ground coffee? I never get through a pack quickly enough for it not to go stale.

#620 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:16 PM:

One degree of separation from Reagan, both Bushes, and Julia Child, and there are at least two routes to Bush sr. There's also one degree of separation to the space shuttle and the Hubble telescope.

#621 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:17 PM:

I've got zero degrees of separation from you folks right here, and that's about it. Not that that helps any of you much, but there you have it.

My wife, though, she's run into a whole bunch of famous people.

#622 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 12:20 PM:

One of the Aerospace Corporation people I knew, corresponded with Mountbatten...

#623 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Can we all standardize our usage of "degree," please?

Preferably to what Peter Erwin describes in 618, since that's the only one I've ever seen prior to this thread?

Criminy.

#624 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 02:50 PM:

The University of Virginia has The Oracle of Bacon where you can find the degrees of separation between Bacon and others.

I have a Bacon number of 3 via a singer named Steve Lively. So it goes Kevin = 0, Richard Kind = 1, Steve Lively = 2, thus by having a personal connection to Steve, me = 3.

One of my personal favorite degrees of separation is that I got to meet Chuck Yeager. You are welcome to claim a Yeager # if you'd like.

#625 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Any standard is better than no standard. As the only Zeroist who's expressed himself here so far, I yield to the prevailing Oneist sentiment.

So I'm ONE DOS from the Clintons etc.

#626 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 02:55 PM:

My Yeager claim, Dawno? Me to George Takei, to Leonard Nimoy, to Philip Kaufman, to Yeager. Baaaah... Not as good as your claim. I bow down.

#627 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:03 PM:

But Serge, you've met me - so your Yeager number is 3! Much shorter.

#628 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:06 PM:

True, Dawno. Meanwhile, I once met the last human to walk on the Moon. Rather, I once sat right behind Harrison Schmitt at a conference. Does that count?

#629 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:11 PM:

My Yeager - not as good - the husband's uncle Larry* to Yeager


*Oddly enough, the husband's** uncle Larry graduated from Westwood HS in 1972, so he might have had some with TNH.

**I also have an uncle Larry, hence the designation. My uncle Larry looks like the drummer in the cheesy Apache video on the other thread.

#630 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Serge, my personal standard is "meaningful contact". I had the opportunity to actually engage Yeager in conversation because he worked with my father. Conversely, I have been to a number of Star Trek conventions and briefly rubbed elbows with a number of the actors, but I don't claim contact with, say, Rene Auberjonois because he walked past my table at the Quark's Bar event and said "Hi".

#631 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Me at #629

Some CONTACT/OVERLAP with TNH. yikes. ulp. Drat my job and the way it distracts me.


#632 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:19 PM:

You're right, Dawno. In that case... From me to you to Yeager, who was at the 1983 worldcon in Baltimore, on a panel that included Dennis Quaid, Scott Glen, and Gordo Cooper. The latter leads to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.

#633 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Assuming that I'm zero degrees from myself alone:

I'm two degrees from the entire Warren Supreme Court, just to cover a different branch of government.

#634 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:50 PM:

I once met Bigfoot. He's dead now, and I don't think he'd have remembered me - I was just a kid, and it was a big party.

#635 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:59 PM:

::genuflects:: to abi

#636 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:02 PM:

Sandy, when you mentioned government, it reminded me that I took a number of classes in college from Dr. Charles McCall who was Director, Editorial Staff Research Office, at the White House during the Ford administration. I hadn't thought of it before, but that puts me 2 degrees from the late President. Dr. McCall occasionally talked about his work and the people on Ford's speechwriting team. I wish I could recall what he said, but that was back in the late 70s and I barely remember what I was told last Tuesday.

#637 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Tania... abi made up that Bigfoot encounter. I think. Hmm... I'd better genuflect too, just in case.

#638 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:26 PM:

The "Zompist Phrasebook" had me LOL. Especially since some of those translations are, um, greatly paraphrased.

#639 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Serge,

It depends what I meant.

There was a man known as Bigfoot, mostly due to his enthusiastic involvement in a number of escapades. Most famously, he claimed to be, or know who was, the guy in the fur suit at Bluff Creek.

I met him at a barbecue in the mountain country where I spent many of my childhood summers.

#640 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Then, abi, I was correct in genuflecting before you.

#641 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 05:08 PM:

P J Evans (#638):
Yes. I love the fact that about 85% of it is straight-faced, correct translations, to the point of even translating the "Polish" joke into more appropriate nationalities for the other languages... and the rest of it is hilariously and subversively wrong.

#642 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Peter Erwin #641: Providing, of course, that Bavarian is a nationality.

#643 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Fragano (#642): Well, yes, I was being a bit loose in my terminology...

... though historically it's sort of true (Bavaria was the last German state to join Bismarck's empire), and even today Bavaria tends to go its own way more than other German states. It's occasionally described as "the Texas of Germany," but it's probably more distinct from the rest of Germany than Texas is from the rest of the US. There are even references to the concept of "Bavarian citizenship" in the Bavarian constitution, though this apparently has no practical implications.

#644 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 08:00 PM:

Another coffee-brewing method/gadget which I thank has been hitherto uninvoked is the small metal hat-like drip filter for making Vietnamese-style espresso. They're available for a few bucks in Asian grocery stores. NB: if you wash them by hand, beware of any little pointy bits that may stick up inside the bottom, as they can rip through unwary fingertips right quick.

#645 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 08:01 PM:

(Er, *think*, not thank. Though its results can be pretty spectacular at causing one's eyelids to levitate.)

#646 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Vietnamese-style espresso: if you're really going for a chicory + coffee mix, I'd generally advise a 1/3 chicory 2/3 coffee ratio (same if you're making it with a french press with a relatively medium grind). Do not use pre-sugared condensed milk uless you're like my father and can put four sugars in one cup (yuk).

Be warned that this is not coffee you'll be drinking.

Pure chicory can also be done, but I personally don't advise it (yet who knows ? Might be to your liking). I've often seen it considered the "poor man's coffee".

The aeropress isn't really a necessity if you're already correctly equipped. I own one and it's nearly never used. Make of it what you will, I guess.

I've been fascinated for some time by that "Six Degrees of Separation" game.
First, as a cultural game, what does it produce/mean/what is its effect/where is it going (depending on your game terminolgy)?
Then, on a purely practical point of view, how tenuous can the link connecting two persons actually be (I've seen some very different takes on this) ?

#647 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 10:01 PM:

First, as a cultural game, what does it produce/mean/what is its effect/where is it going (depending on your game terminolgy)?

Well, it makes people realize how just tight the network of society is. "Six degrees" doesn't sound like much, but it encompasses a good deal of the world.

Then, on a purely practical point of view, how tenuous can the link connecting two persons actually be (I've seen some very different takes on this) ?

Milgram's original "Small World" problem was supposed to limit it to people you are close enough to impose an inconsequential favor upon: "Could you hand this envelope to someone headed toward the addressee?"

The "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" version of the game is simply one of collaboration - people who worked on the same project, or are in the credits together (whether or not they even were on the set on the same day). Most people's definitions involve some sense of "having met" the linking person.

#648 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Since I had no luck finding someone who'd be willing to part with her/his January 2007 issue of Asimov's (*), I suppose it'd be even hopeless to hope that someone has a spare copy of the December 2006 issue of Realms of Fantasy.

(*) Yes, Marilee, I mean you.

#649 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 10:38 PM:

@Bob Oldendorf: that's not exactly where I was going, but I guess I wasn't really clear (not at all, even).

What I'm pondering upon is what that kind of boasting (and doubly so) retro-potlach more-or-less-built-upon-(a)-particular-model(s)-of-the-fabric of-society game tells us about the people/cultures that play(s)/spawned it.

Thanks for the info complement.

#650 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Serge at 628,

Surely the last man on the moon was Gene Cernan? (I have a Cernan number of 1, but he's Slovak, so by definition I can't have a number higher than 3.)

#651 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:08 PM:

Juli... Hmmm... I think Cernan was the commander of that last Moonshot, and that Schmitt came out after him. Not sure though. Anyway, the thing that struck me about the latter is that he was short. Then again, were any of the pre-shuttle astronauts on the tall side?

And speaking of the shuttle, Sunday was the 21st anniversary of Challenger's destruction.

#652 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 11:19 PM:

Serge,

Cernan's autobiography is entitled "The Last Man on the Moon," which might be conclusive. (Or not.)

Cernan is about my height, so probably on the short side for a man. I would imagine that small was a plus when dealing with capsules.

#653 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 12:08 AM:

My degree of separation from Adolf Hitler is 2; I delivered Jesse Owen's office mail for a while in my early years with the Postal Service.

(The legend is that Hitler refused to shake hands with Owens at the 1936 Olympics, but Owens himself stated that Hitler rose to his feet and waved at Owens as he passed by.)

#654 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 01:06 AM:

MD² - I like to think of it as a way of showing how small the world is, more than bragging. Of course, having a connection to one or two well connected people makes the game too easy. I like difficult games.

#655 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 03:58 AM:

As for myself, I see the 'degree' thing more as a way to test my memory.

#656 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 04:01 AM:

Juli Thomspn @ 652...

Below is what I found about Schmitt. My assumption is that Cernan, being the boss, stepped out first. But I'm probably wrong. Wouldn't be the first time, won't be the last.

"...On his first journey into space, Dr. Schmitt occupied the lunar module pilot seat for Apollo 17 -- the last scheduled manned Apollo mission to the United States --which commenced at 11:33 p.m. (CST), December 6, 1972, and concluded on December 19, 1972. He was accompanied on the voyage of the command module "America" and the lunar module "Challenger" by Eugene Cernan (spacecraft commander) and Ronald Evans (command module pilot). In maneuvering "Challenger" to a landing at Taurus-Littrow, which is located on the southeast edge of Mare Serenitatis, Schmitt and Cernan activated a base of operations facilitating their completion of three days of exploration..."

#657 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 04:02 AM:

(Oops. My apologies for misspelling your family name, Juli.)

#658 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 04:04 AM:

Audrey, #592, you're right. I read the last word as "life."

Serge, #593, that was miriam. I don't think I've been mixed up with a miriam before, but Mary Kay and I used to remind people that I have dark hair and she's a blond.

Serge, #648, I don't like most fantasy and don't have any Realms of Fantasy. If you'd asked earlier about the Asimov's....

As to degrees of separation, does it count to talk to them on the phone for an hour and type to hundreds of people as if you were them? If it does, I'm one degree from a fair number of celebrities, including Patrick's bad boy R.U. Sirius (he was very boring).

#659 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 04:17 AM:

I know, Marilee. I wish my timing had been better with that Asimov's request. There probably is a place that sells recent issues of various mags since the mags themselves don't. Well, I'll do some googling when I fully wake up.

As for the 'degrees'... If phone conversations count, one local journalist that my wife knows once did a phone interview with Hugh Jackman (who is as nice as his reputation says he is).

#660 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 08:58 AM:

The "Zompist Phrasebook" had me LOL. Especially since some of those translations are, um, greatly paraphrased.

"Je parle francais comme une vache espagnole."

Zompist has all sorts of good stuff on his site, including the Language Construction Kit.

#661 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Cooper was a guest at a Dining-In of the units I was a member of had, so I met Cooper.

Bill Clinton is a friend of a distant relative who is heavily involved in New Hampshire Democratic Party politcs, the then-President wanted to come to her husband's funeral but she said no because she didn't want the funeral turning into a media circus.

I knew an MIT executive who had been a former head of the Ford Foundation and Presidential Science Advisor, and my political science professors had been consultants sent worldwide as ex-officio ambassadors relaying messages between e.g. Soviets and Chinese who were not directly talking to one another, but would communicate via visiting US university professors.... Lincoln Bloomfield used to tell John Foster Dulles stories, none of them showed Dulles in any positive fashion.

Pancho Barnes was known by some military retirees I knew; I suspect I may have had a more direct connection to e.g. Yaeger than that (or not, who knows...)...

Who else? Oh, Theresa Renner is a diplomat, and there's another fan who's a retired diplomat. They've dealt with a lot of politicians...

Through several different people I'm two or even one people away from a lot of Nobel Prize winners of the first half of the 20th century.. and on second thought, I attended lectures by Heisenberg and Pauli...

#662 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Back in 1977 (?), I visited my friend the Mountie in Ottawa. On more than one occasion, he served as bodyguard for Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

#663 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Frisbie had a story about his father going to Sikorki's lectures on helicopters - but he said his father never really believed helicopters flew.

#664 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 06:20 PM:

#660 Carrie S.: "Je parle francais comme une vache espagnole."

The phrase book had me laughing too, but that particular translation just knocked me for six: my French teacher taught it to us in rural New South Wales in the 1960s and I've always thought it was his idiosyncratic invention. when I've tried it out with French speakers, carefully pronuncing "vache" as "bache", they've generally looked at me with incomprehension (perhaps because it's accurate). I'm thrilled to discover that Spanish cows are as idiomatic as Italian footballers and Yankee drunks.

#665 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 07:15 PM:

R.I.P. Molly Ivins

Damn.

I hope her shade spends a few weeks in D.C., making the Shrub soak his pajamas.

#666 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 09:21 AM:

And exactly ten years ago today, San Francisco's columnist Herb Caen passed away.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/e/a/1997/02/02/NEWS13549.dtl

#667 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Re the "Panda Overlords" particle:
Good ideas I have had in the past year

(See item 5)

#668 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 01:17 PM:

Re the "Panda Overlords" particle:
Good ideas I have had in the past year

(See item 5)

#669 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 03:07 PM:

Remind me to be elsewhere when this hits the silver screen...

"...Legendary film producer Dino De Laurentiis says he is updating one of his classics, Barbarella. He produced the 1968 original, starring Jane Fonda. (...) De Laurentiis is quick to say the new film is "not a remake of 'Barbarella'" but "a completely new 'Barbarella.'" He added that the new film will have "love, sex, adventure." (...) De Laurentiis said that the script is being worked on now, but no one has been selected to play the title role yet..."

#670 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 03:13 PM:

I did a quick scan through http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2007/01/19/joe-quirk-author-singularity-sociobiology-sex

It seems deserving of a Used Tampon Award....

1. When it comes to business, Kurzweil has lost a lot of money for other people I think. He started at least three businesses named Kurzweil something of other which had to be bailed out by being bought... I think that the investors did not do well (Kurzweil Music, Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, and some other Kurzweil business). He's a better marketeer than businessman, on second thought, he kept being able to persuade people to put their money into his ideas...

2. There are such things as female geeks (no, of course I wouldn't know about such things sarcasm). I tend to get quite irritated, shrill even, when some arse points out how femmy his female is and therefore ignores that "geek" is NOT sex-linked merely because he has chosen a femmy female and apparently chooses to remain intentionally ignorant... perhaps slamming over the head with the volumes of books relating to that series that originally was published by Ace I think it was and later by Tor that included the Emma Bull elf or half-elf character covered with eau de motor grease scent, is in order.... Yes, the character is fictional, however, I have know real-life women of that ilk (e.g., "Ellen the Bimmer" from my dormfloor in college).

3. There are male homo sapiens who are technologically and/or mathematically completely inept. One math aliterate e.g. is J. Michael Strazinsky (spelling) who developed and wrote most of Babylon 5, when math got mentioned on the Babylon 5 Round Table on GEnie, he reacted as an extreme mathophobe.

4. Kurzweil graduated from MIT back when under 10% of the applicants allowed into MIT were female. The undergraduate percentage of women is something like 40% these days, not under 10%, and the last class that was under 10% was the Class of 1974--and that was more than a full generation ago.

#671 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Does anybody here know much about planes of the 1920's? My wife needs to know various things about how they work. (Write to the email found in "view all by" and I'll pass this on to her.)

Thanks.

#672 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Re: Clifton Royston @ 668:
There's something about "extra-virgin baby oil" that makes me crack up instantly. Nice.

#673 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 04:46 PM:

in re Barbarella: I hope they offer the part of deranged evil mastermind Durand Durand to Milo O'Shea again. I know he's old now, but what an Evil Laugh in the original.

#674 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Serge - I'm passing along your query to the spouse's uncle. He's a contributer to Air and Space, and their ex-webmaster. He probably doesn't know himself, but will know someone that does. That six-degrees thing might come in useful!

#675 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 05:49 PM:

BARBARELLA! I LOVE BARBARELLA!

Whew, OK. Somehow I can never get over getting excited when anyone mentions that word.

I'm gonna try to keep from forming any opinions about a new movie until there's actually solid information about it. And even then, I'll try hard not to opinionate until I see it.

#676 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Thanks, Tania!

#677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Did you intimate that you love "Barbarella", ethan? As for myself, I feel no compunction opinionating about any movie produced by legendary (*) Dino de Laurentiis. Remember the movie version of Dune? And those ghastly Stephen King adaptations (**) of the Eighties?

(*) Is that what they call Dino these days? I have a few cruder words in mind.

(**) ghastly, yes, except for The Dead Zone (Yes, Xopher, yes, yes, yes.)

#678 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 06:07 PM:

DeLaurentiis (capitalization and spacing is probably wrong) also made Blue Velvet. And Army of Darkness. And, OK, sure, not much else that was any good.

#679 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 06:08 PM:

in re Barbarella: I hope they offer the part of deranged evil mastermind Durand Durand to Milo O'Shea again.

I think it was "Duran Duran". Hence the band.

#680 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 06:12 PM:

ethan... Dino also produced 1980's Flash Gordon, so there may be hope.

#681 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 06:32 PM:

I thought David Lynch made Blue Velvet.

#682 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 07:22 PM:

Xopher #681: You're right. It was the first film he made with Kyle MacLachlan.

#683 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 07:46 PM:

It's the 21st century.

Because of that, I'm annoyed to have my knowledge confirmed that the treatment for ordinary food poisoning isn't any different from what it was 30 years ago. 30 years ago is in the last century. Is the current treatment even any better than what they had at the turn of the previous century, assuming one doesn't need the hospital or IV fluids? No, not really.

The faintest hints of wrongness start up, and all I can do is send someone out for the blanded rice cereals and premixed dehydration fluids I know I'll need later.

You'd think, it being the 21st century and all, that I'd be able to do more than that. Nope.

Spent all yesterday recovering, difficult given that someone seemed to have turned gravity up to 1.4 about my house. I couldn't even read: I could feel each photon striking like a little spear. Ouch.

Bleh. Will gladly trade in 20 years of rocket packs to avoid this illness again.

#684 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Xopher, I meant Dino produced it, not made it. I would never deprive David Lynch of credit for anything. Sowwy.

Fragano, in college I had a friend with whom I would regularly watch all of Twin Peaks, about twice a year (once we watched seventeen episodes without stopping, after which we both felt very peculiar indeed.) Anyway, part of the ritual was that, in the opening credits, when Kyle MacLachlan's name came up, one of us would say "Kyle MacLachlan!" and then the other one would say, wistfully, "He's so dreamy."

#685 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 08:28 PM:

MD^2, #646 wrt Vietnamese-style espresso: Be warned that this is not coffee you'll be drinking.

Is this in the sense of "This is not coffee you'll be drinking, but rather some entirely different beverage", or "This is not coffee you'll be drinking, but rather coffee you'll be lying down and avoiding"?

Fragano Ledgister, #682 wrt David Lynch and Blue Velvet: You're right. It was the first film he made with Kyle MacLachlan.

Other than Dune two years before, though certainly some people consider that version eminently or even compulsorily forgettable. Despite Sting's wacky blue Speedos.

#686 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 08:44 PM:

ethan #684: For some reason, possibly connected to having seen both Dune and Blue Velvet I gave Twin Peaks a miss. (As I recall, there were a few avid fans in the grad department I was in. Including one person who also had a Mary Worth fetish.

#687 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Julie L #685: Mea maxima culpa. For some reason I reversed the films in my mind (and I saw them in the order Dune and Blue Velvet. The former on the big screen, the latter as a video (because I'd read an article in a sociology journal contending that it was the quintessential post-modern film). My mental image of MacLachlan in Blue Velvet is as being younger than in the travesty of Herbert. I shall now turn myself in to the men in white coats to be taken away to the home for the irremediably senile.

#688 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 03:07 AM:

My mental image of MacLachlan in Blue Velvet is as being younger...

Sigh...yeah...

#689 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 06:29 AM:

A Mary Worth fetish, Fragano?

As for Kyle MacLachlan, the last thing I saw him in was the TV movie The Librarian, where his last line was "The power of the Spear is mine!" before he got squished flat by the top of a pyramid.

#690 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 06:35 AM:

Kathryn @ 683... Will gladly trade in 20 years of rocket packs to avoid this illness again.

You can fly, but you can't hide. This lame update of the old movie line now being out of the way, I hope your recovery is complete by now. Food poisoning is no fun.

(By the way, did you figure out why neither of us could access ML last night?)

#691 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 07:42 AM:

"I've got cat claws in my butt!"

Not only does today's page of Girl Genius have Agatha clinging to an airship's ladder, but she has Krosp the Cat hanging on to her derriere.

Talk about stories that end with cliffhangers.

http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/cgi-bin/ggmain.cgi

#692 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 07:47 AM:

Serge: have emailed you regarding aeroplanes.

#693 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 08:31 AM:

I wonder if I might ask any of the numerous Latin scholars on this list to translate a short English phrase into Latin?: "The sons of the she-wolf" is the phrase.

Thank you. Normal service will now resume.

#694 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 08:36 AM:

DaveLuckett at #693: Filii lupae should do it.

#695 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 08:38 AM:

Dave Luckett said (#693):
I wonder if I might ask any of the numerous Latin scholars on this list to translate a short English phrase into Latin?: "The sons of the she-wolf" is the phrase.

Not that I'm really a Latin scholar, but I would guess something like:

"filii lupae"

#696 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Serge #689: Indeed so, she read it religiously and talked about it quite a bit. I found that odd.

#697 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 09:22 AM:

Incidentally, if you're thinking of Romulus and Remus, remember that they were, of course, merely the foster-children of the she-wolf. The Latin for which is, bizarrely, alumnus. So "alumni lupae" would be better.

#698 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 09:44 AM:

Thank you very much. It's for a book, you see. Not about Latin grammar, of which I am ashamed to say I know almost nothing. (I did know the word for son, and for wolf, but it was the thingies on the end that defeated me, as always.) Thank you again.

ajay, I quite take your point, which is of course accurate, but the usage is meant to be rhetorical and poetical, so perhaps the speaker would mean the phrase allegorically rather than literally.

#699 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Serge: I probably have the December Realms of Fantasy, but I am possessive of my back issues of magazines, so you'd have to give me a good reason to send it to you. (Why not just order a copy from the publisher?)

I will never catch up on this thread, never, but I've got only one degree of separation from Brian Blessed, Paul Giamatti, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, most of the cast of Trek Classic, and ninety-nine members of the Senate.

I have only one degree of separation from Dubya.

(Oooh, actually there's another route, too, with one or two degrees, which involves vomiting rather than kissing. That's more fitting, I suppose.)

#700 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Brian Blessed, Susan? That has nothing to do with Flash Gordon being one of your guilty pleasures, is it?

As for Realms of Fantasy... I know the feeling. I did go to their web site, but I saw nothing about how to order back-issues. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place on the site. Maybe I should buy the latest issue on the newsstand and see if it has something about that. Or maybe I could say prettypleasewithsugaronit and promise that I'd take very good care of your copy while it's in my possession.

#701 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Serge: I can look and see if there's anything about ordering back issues in the latest issue, since I know exactly where that is.

Saying you will take good care of my copy is a good start, but why do you want it in the first place? You have to motivate me to spend time tonight locating it, as opposed to, say, spending time tonight locating a piece of lute music from 1536 or going to hear Whisperado.


#702 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Susan... That issue of Realms of Fantasy was reviewed in Locus and it sounded interesting. But I can wait until you have found that piece of lute music from 1536. Seriously though... I'll do a bit more digging and, if my research still ends in abject failure, I may ask you again. Thanks.

#703 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Dave Luckett @698:
Interestingly enough, lupa was also a term for a female prostitute. It's often theorised that R&R were actually* fostered by a lady of negotiable virtue rather than a wolf.

--------
* Assuming that the story is true enough that they existed at all, of course.

#704 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Abi #703: Of course they existed. Romulus founded Rome. Remus moved to Georgia as a slave and told stories about Frater Cuniculus to Joel Chandler Harris.

#705 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 06:11 PM:

I thought they were like Vulcans, but not? Now I'm all confused.

#706 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 07:18 PM:

I couldn't get to ML about 9pm ET last night, either.

Kyle MacLachlan is in Desperate Housewifes although not in particularly dreamy mode.

#707 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Marilee #706: Speaking as someone who only just finished watching season 2 of Desperate Housewives and am resigned to being one season behind with that show, I have this to say to you: LALALALALALALA I'M NOT LISTENING LALALALALALA!!!

I did gasp, really really loud, when he showed up in the movie theater with Susan, though. And then when he showed up a few episodes later. And again. And again. I'm excited for season 3. So Don't Ruin It For Me.

#708 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 08:39 PM:

ethan @ 707... I did gasp, really really loud, when he showed up in the movie theater with Susan

So that's what Susan was doing when we were worrying about her lack of postings on ML right after someone broke into her place. What? Oh. Nevermind.

#709 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2007, 01:36 AM:

Serge @ #691:

That link's going to be out of date in a couple days.
When linking to a specific instalment, it's better to use the permanent url, as for instance:

http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/cgi-bin/ggmain.cgi?date=20070202

#710 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2007, 11:56 PM:

On the Cernan/Schmitt issue, I suspect that Schmitt was the last person to step on to the Moon, but Cernan was the last person to step off of it. Your definition of "last man to walk on the moon" may match one or the other of these.

Degrees of separation: I think I have two independent sets of paths to the Dalai Lama, at two degrees each. (Two groups of people who have met both him and me, but who may not have met each other.) Allowing one non-movie connection to get things started, I'm no worse than a Bacon or Strathairn number of 3 (and a Jerry Garcia number of 2 through the same person).

I would be completely unsurprised to find someone here with an Erdös number less than 3.

#711 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2007, 12:09 AM:

Paul A @ 709... Thanks. I should have thought of it, especially as it is my self-appointed mission to make as many people notice the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne. (I asked Kaja Foglio if she thinks that it'd be appropriate reading for my 10-year-old nephew. Our conclusion is I'd better run it by his mom first.)

#712 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2007, 12:11 AM:

Christopher Davis @ 710... You're right about Schmitt and Cernan. How about this? Schmitt was the last human to have landed on the Moon.

#713 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2007, 09:17 AM:

As for myself, I feel no compunction opinionating about any movie produced by legendary (*) Dino de Laurentiis.

Hey, don't diss Conan!

I watched it over the weekend. It's a surprisingly good film, especially with the minor changes made for the DVD edition I have.

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Carrie S... I personally prefer the second Conan movie. Heck, it's got Grace Jones. And Sarah Douglas in her evil-Queen mode. What more could one ask for?

#715 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2007, 10:21 AM:

I personally prefer the second Conan movie. Heck, it's got Grace Jones. And Sarah Douglas in her evil-Queen mode. What more could one ask for?

Serge, dude...I just don't know how to take that. Having watched them both within the last 24 hours, all I can say is that if you prefer Destroyer to Barbarian, you and I have very, very different tastes in movies.

It's not even that Destroyer is bad, as sword-and-sorcery flicks go. It's just that Barbarian has, you know, symbolism and character growth and a plot that's not completely on rails. Which is to say that if B didn't exist, I'd like D. But it does, so I don't, despite Grace Jones* and the very nice bit at the end when Conan walks out.

*: "WARM...leatherette"

#716 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2007, 10:29 AM:

Yes, Carrie S, but Barbarian had James Earl Jones wearing that stupid wig. True, it did have Max von Sydow. (When I grow old - as in older than I am now - I want to look like him. And I want that voice of his, which sounds like two blocks of granite rubbing against each other.)

Oh, and I loved The Core. So, what does THAT say about my movie tastes?

#717 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2007, 10:57 AM:

...but Barbarian had James Earl Jones wearing that stupid wig.

Not the best bit of costuming ever, no, but it did have a point, just like the blue contacts he was wearing. Also I have to dislike any film which thinks a weasel of a man doing a bad Peter Lorre impression is any sort of replacement for Subotai.

I think that what bugs me about Destroyer is that it doesn't feel real, which Barbarian really kinda did.

#718 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2007, 11:02 AM:

I did like the bit where James Earl Jones hypnotized a snake into a stiff straight shape, and used it as an arrow against Conan's girlfriend. As Mad Magazine's parody pointed out, it gives a whole new meaning to bow & arrow.

#719 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Ooooooooh, Grace Jones! Right now I'm going to dance around my house to her version of "Ma vie en rose" and it's going to be great.

#720 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 10:54 PM:

Tania & Serge (654-5):

Serge memory/capacity to link is part of the double-bragging (the other part being the social connections themselves). Note that bragging is the form of the game, not its aim. At least I think so.

Let's put it that way: the take by Japanese game devellopers on video game RPGs generally values experience points hoarding over skill devellopment. You could say it is a processorial equivalent of the so common in post-meiji Japan (maybe even before, but I do not dare go further in time) narrative trope of the hard-working common man beating the unstable genius (Musashi/Kojiro would be the best known exemple I guess): dedication to one's task is more important than overall skill.

You can take the original shoot'em-ups' peripheral competion, self-centered aimless violence (masochism even) as the product of an ultra competitive society that had outgrown it's use for some forms of actual violence and forced internalization, I guess something of an equivalent of the lone self-destructive violent hero (Vigilante type heroes; The Punisher ?).

[Those exemple, especially the second, aren't great, but I hope they'll help understand what I mean]

I don't know where to put the "Six Degrees of Separation" game when I try to read that way.

I like to think of it as a way of showing how small the world is[...].

Cynical me thought for a second: the world's the same size in the end, it's just that you've been proven the prison's wire mesh is far tighter than you ever dared to fear.

Julie L.@685:

Sorry for late answer. I do like the chicory + coffee mix myself (yet revile pure chicory), it's quite nice, and I think sometimes even better than pure coffee, especially when accompanying some chocolate spritz.

It's not coffee in the sense that it tastes different enough that purists will reject it altogether.

Writing about The Punisher on this blog, I just had the vision of a comic book cover: Theresa in a skull t-shirt, a gun in one hand, a pen in the other, sitting in front of a wood table reading about citrus on a laptop. Title: The Publisher.

Sorry.

#721 ::: Alyssa Huntzinger ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 12:18 PM:

I love coffee it keeps me up and running!

#722 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Clifton @723:

Thanks for the heads up.

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