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February 14, 2007

Open thread 81
Posted by Teresa at 08:33 AM *

And whan this werk al brought was to an ende,
To every foul Nature yaf his make
By evene acord, and on here way they wende.
And, Lord, the blisse and joye that they make!
For ech of hem gan other in wynges take,
And with here nekkes ech gan other wynde,
Thankynge alwey the noble goddesse of kynde.

But fyrst were chosen foules for to synge,
As yer by yer was alwey hir usaunce
To synge a roundel at here departynge,
To don Nature honour and plesaunce.
The note, I trowe, imaked was in Fraunce,
The wordes were swiche as ye may heer fynde,
The nexte vers, as I now have in mynde.

“Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast thes wintres wedres overshake,
And driven away the longe nyghtes blake!
Saynt Valentyn, that art ful hy on lofte,
Thus syngen smale foules for thy sake:
Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast thes wintres wedres overshake.
Wel han they cause for to gladen ofte,
Sith ech of hem recovered hath hys make,
Ful blissful mowe they synge when they wake:
Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast thes wintres wedres overshake,
And driven away the longe nyghtes blake!”
And with the shoutyng, whan the song was do
That foules maden at here flyght awey,
I wok, and othere bokes tok me to,
To reede upon, and yit I rede alwey.
I hope, ywis, to rede so som day
That I shal mete som thyng for to fare
The bet, and thus to rede I nyl nat spare.
Comments on Open thread 81:
#1 ::: Christian Severin ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:44 AM:

I'm just waiting for the cries of "so much for global warming!"...

#2 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:06 AM:

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Here in Toronto it's actually not so bad. The bulk of the storm seems to be passing to the south: we've had some snow -- maybe four inches at most, with another two to four expected today -- and a good deal of wind-drifting, but nothing excessive.

#3 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:07 AM:

When it's cold (say, 8 degrees F), snow is very dry.

On one hand, this makes it relatively light and easy to brush off of things. (Clearing a path from the backyard gate to the driveway was more like sweeping than shoveling. Actual shoveling was needed for the driveway, however, as that's not sheltered by a pine tree.)

On the other hand, it doesn't pack worth a damn and it *squeaks* under my boots in a way that sends shivers up my spine.

Roughly 6" and counting in the Albany NY area, and staying home today because it's supposed to get *really* nasty later,

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Did you know that Monday was the 198th birthday of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln?

#5 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:21 AM:

We had a thunderstorm last night down here, along with a lot of wind.
This morning it's trying to snow, but no matter how hard the little flakes try, the ground is still too warm.
We're very busy counting our blessings--no night-time tornadoes and no blizzards.

#6 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Of interest to Massachusetts-area Making Lighters:

Old Norse Reading Group, at the Higgins Armory in Worcester.

#7 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:44 AM:

#6-Thank you Alex for letting us know. We're members and that sounds interesting.

Poor Ezra didn't like bad weather it seems but there was much rejoicing in our home this morning. Snow Day!

#8 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:46 AM:

The big snow hasn't hit Arlington, MA yet. I look out my window and it is, at most, snowing lightly. We had an inch or two of overnight accumulation.

However, I'm working from home today anyways.

#9 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:56 AM:

We're supposed to get some flurries down here in Big D, too, sometime this afternoon/evening, but no accumulation. Last time it snowed, a couple of weeks ago, it was coming down heavy enough to severly limit visibility, which was definitely odd for this area...but also kind of fun!

I like it when snow visits, but I'm happy it doesn't live here.

#10 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:12 AM:

Meanwhile, in inland New South Wales ...

"The taps spluttered, shuddered then ground to a halt yesterday in the town of Lake Cargelligo, near Condobolin.
In sweltering conditions reminiscent of sub-Saharan Africa, the local school was shut down and a hospital forced to revert to emergency supplies as Lachlan Shire Council battled to restore water to the town's 1300 thirsty residents ... Up to 12 small communities in country NSW were presently carting in water, a spokeswoman for [the Water Utilities Minister, David] Campbell, said."

#11 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:41 AM:

I got off the train yesterday evening to the view of a spectacular partial rainbow: double, and with noticeably multiple bands in the primary bow. It lasted at least fifteen minutes, too.

On the other hand, you could just about drink all the rain we've had so far this winter.

#12 ::: Scott D-S ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:54 AM:

We got 12+" of powder here yesterday in Champaign, IL, supplemented by 40MPH gusts. Beautiful day today, with the sun shining and the wind down from yesterday's blizzard, but it's the second day of cancellations for schoolkids of all ages around here (including the U of I and the community colleges my wife and I work at).

Mitt Romney declares and we get a blizzard. Coincidence? I think not... ;-)

#13 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:12 AM:

A trickle of wettish snow here in Colorado yesterday, further substantiating the universal law that It Always Snows Right After I Wash My Car. Today: cloudless sky, fresh snow glittering in the shadowed crevices of the Grand Mesa, a hint of green on the winter-brown grass. If those idiot crocus bulbs start sprouting now, they'll be decapitated when the next storm roars through here in a week or so.

#14 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:15 AM:

The original version or this post was possibly more suited to mockingbird nesting season. (That was my first thought.)

I hope the snow is light and melts soon.

#15 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:16 AM:

With all the talk of snow and sub-freezing temperatures here, it would probably be mean of me to mention that I spent last Sunday morning here in central Arizona putting new pepper, tomato and eggplant seedlings into the veggie garden, along with seed for carrots, lettuce and fennel.

(Yeh, there's still a chance that we'll have another bad cold snap like the mid-20's one we had last month that wiped out the established peppers, tomatoes and eggplant even though I covered them at night. But unlikely enough that replanting is worth the risk. Besides, I couldn't stand the sight of all that bare dirt.)

#16 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:19 AM:

I wish it were snow. Sleet HURTS.

#17 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:20 AM:

I miss snow. Although we're finally getting some rain and fog, after a couple of months of pleasant, but decidedly unseasonal, weather. I know I could drive a few hours and see snow again, but it's not the same as looking out my apartment window and seeing the Upper West Side under a three-inch cover of white. Sigh.

#18 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Christian #1: There was a comment to that effect yesterday at John Scalzi's Whatever, but not knowing the poster in question I couldn't gauge whether it was meant sarcastically or not. No one answered it, either.

Here 15-minutes-metro-ride NW of Washington DC, the snow/ice is ankle-deep in places, but I couldn't check the depth everywhere because there were stretches of snow that I wouldn't sink in, or even make a bootsole impression. I felt like a half-elf (it happened about half of the time during my morning walk). I'm at the University of Maryland, and the campus has been closed since 2 pm yesterday, to remain closed today. It still feels sorta wimpyish, black ice and all, after seeing pictures of Ohio and Michigan---I think we could have opened by the afternoon, but who am I to judge?

#19 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:57 AM:

For my part, I'm relieved that we're finally getting some winter. Not that I'm going out in it, mind you...

#20 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:57 AM:

Ice storm warning all afternoon here in coastal CT, and a very loud mix of ice and sleet has been hitting the windows since about 5 this morning (not very conducive to sleep, that).

I hope it changes to wet rain on schedule this evening, I have a date with my sweetie at a restaurant I've been really looking forward to trying!!

(Happy Hallmark Holiday to all...)

#21 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:00 PM:

In another venue, the question of whether "Ides" is singular or plural came up. And a perspicacious person opined that it would be hard to find another place where such a question generated more than three responses.

I, of course, pointed them towards this place.

Personally, I hold that it can be either, rather like "sheep".

#22 ::: Pat Kight ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Bruce at #14: It's not nice to gloat. As my friends elsenet reminded me after I posted this, elsenet, this morning.

Mid-50s here in Western Oregon, and spring is coming on fast ...

#23 ::: Pat Kight ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Make that Bruce at #15. I need new glasses.

#24 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:16 PM:

And now for the all-important pre-Boskone weather report.

Looks like about two-three inches outside; the stuff is still coming down, and it's a bit windy. The streets are sloppy and half-plowed, but nothing unusual for a Northeastern winter. There's a possibility that the snow may change to rain later today and then the whole mess will freeze over tonight.

But the downfall is supposed to stop by tomorrow morning with clear thirty-degree temperatures expected on Friday and Saturday.

#25 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:22 PM:

#21: "Ides" is singular. The plural, of course, being "Ideses." ("Beware the Ideses of March and April!" Excellent way of hedging one's oracular bets.)

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:28 PM:

Ah, snow... When it doesn't remind me how much I dislike it (a sentiment reinforced by its causing my minivan's front-left corner to become acquainted with a streetlight this morning), it reminds me of the last Christmas, as represented by this YouTube short.

"Go, robot, go!"

#27 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Here in the Albany area, I think the storm that was coming up the coast (as opposed to the storm that was coming across the land) has arrived, as the flakes are now noticeably bigger and fluffier. Also swirling prettily, at least if you're inside and don't have to go outside except to keep the driveway clear and walk the dog.

#28 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:30 PM:

"Ides" is plural in Latin and presumably in English too - "The Ides of March are on the 15th".

In an early and discarded version of "Macbeth", Macduff's army advance on Dunsinane holding sheepskins over their heads in order to disguise themselves as a flock of animals. This is foreshadowed by one of the three witches warning Macbeth to "beware the March of 'ides!"

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:32 PM:

ajay... Boo hiss!

#30 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:38 PM:

Ooo...Master Geoffrey hath a poem makiþ mencioun of Seynt Valentines day! Woot!

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Drat. I should have left the original line up, and added the excerpt from the Book of Seint Valentynes Day of the Parlement of Briddes after.

#32 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Speaking of medieval age languages, Teresa, anyone seen this yet?

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

Hilarious....

#33 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 01:07 PM:

John @ 32 Ahhh the Introduction of the Book! Very clever little skit.

Well since it's an open thread I'll pimp my own You Tube response to writer reality shows (scams)...

-=Jeff=-

#34 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Pat Knight @22, I'm not trusting the weather, as mild and pleasing as it might be. Last February we also had mild temperatures and sweet breezes when the Crocus tommasiniana and Iris reticulata were in bloom, and then in March the freezing rain fell and killed the flower buds in the camus and the bearded iris.

Growing old in Cascadia is a matter of suspecting the weather is out to get me, with personal intent.

#35 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Can I have all y'all's snow? We're 20+ inches short here in the northlands, and they're talking drought for the spring planting season. Everyone else has this nice fluffy stuff, all we have is cold, cold, and more cold. Makes me want to move south again, where I might occasionally see snow.

In medieval language reports, I got to use this quote from Rabelais this week in a paper: "For the codpiece is the principal and most especial piece of armour that a warrior doth carry; and therefore do I maintain even to the fire (exclusively, understand you me), that no Turks can properly be said to be armed men, in regard that codpieces are by their law forbidden to be worn."

I love my field.

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 02:17 PM:

I've seen photos from Cascadia of a rose garden in full bloom that's been hit by an ice storm.

#37 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 02:22 PM:

I'm not a fan of cold weather. I did my time in Iceland as a Navy Brat for three years...I've seen enough white-outs to last everyone on the Making Light forums for their lifetimes. When I joined the Navy I made sure to pick tropic and sub-tropic duty stations. This is my first winter in about thirteen years. Fall was nice, seeing leaves change colors again was distracting. But I've had my share of winter weather here in the great state of OK. I have one set of pictures of horses running in snow---that's good enough for my quota. Please bring Spring.

#38 ::: amb ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 04:10 PM:

JESR @ 34 Thanks for the Cascadia reference. Growing up on Vancouver Island, the term 'Pacific Northwest' just seemed wrong. If only the freezing rain would take care of the Scotch broom.

#39 ::: Aaron Pogue ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 04:43 PM:

JKRichard @ 37, not enough snow to mention, but it's been a COLD one today, hasn't it?

Surprised to see another Oklahoman on Making Light. I mean, I personally know two others who read it as much as I do, but we're not the ones who speak up.

#40 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 04:47 PM:

Teresa @ 36, I've lost the first set of rose buds to hard freezes in April. The lemon lilies I need for Memorial Day often end up put under blankets at night. My 21st birthday (in early May) got up to 90F and my 22nd was spent huddling from the snow, at Grayland beach. And the first killing frost of the fall has been as early as Labor Day and as late as Thanksgiving. It makes one a little jumpy and distrustful.

amb, I tend to say "Northwest Coast" by preference, and include everything from Monterey to Yakutat, or "Cascadia" to include the inland. And nothing will kill off Scotch Broom, at least not the species stuff descended from the seeds Arthur Menzies sent to David Douglas in the 1830s, that got planted simultaneously at Ft. Victoria, Ft. Nisqually, and Ft. Vancouver (Hudson Bay Company forts, not military ones). The whimpy stuff the highways beautification people put in in the fifties is another matter- it doesn't like shade on its new growth, or dry winters. (I've got family photos from before WW2 with broom filling in all the unploughed ground, and it pains me when people assert that Cytisus scopularius was introduced by the DoH).

#41 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 04:48 PM:

Still snowing in Albany. Car dead in driveway. Yours Truly staying in house. Thank goodness for modern heating!

#42 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 05:47 PM:

Got home through the slush, soaked with a sinus headache. Not a bad day to make Bacon and Egg soup.
;)

#43 ::: amb ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 05:48 PM:

JESR @ 40 An inordinate number of misguided folk washed ashore at Victoria - originally named Fort Camosun after the camus, as you likely know. And people wonder why we were stuck behind the Tweed Curtain for so long. Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant is remembered for starting to clear the 'bison' from Cattle Point, the animals in question being some of the cattle for which the point was named.

#44 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 06:24 PM:

It's my contention that the real unifying political fact of this area is the lingering strangeness left from the Hudson Bay Company in its last throes of Victorian missionary zeal. There were some strange sorts in that last generation of factors, and its sad there's not more popular writing enlarging on the ways in which they tried to reform the natives and the landscape.

#45 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 06:39 PM:

Mr. Farrell @#42, I thought you had to be kidding. I have never heard of such a thing. A quick Google for Bacon and Egg soup gives me this recipe from this very locale.

I shoulda known.

#46 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 07:00 PM:

For dessert, you can follow that bacon-and-egg soup with bacon-and-egg ice cream.

#47 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 07:11 PM:

A question: where do you buy "best bacon"? My mother-in-law has been at a loss shopping for ham, rashers and other pork products when visiting the US of A, and has been told that Trichinosis severely limits what's to be found uncooked.

In my own very limited experience, US ideas of bacon are so streaky that they are just lumps of fat with a faint hint of meat marbled through them. Nothing like an Irish back rasher

Galtee used to post an entire Irish breakfast to America (for a reasonable commission), until we had an outbreak of foot and mouth some years ago. Rashers, sausages, black and white pudding; add a few fried eggs, mushrooms, some buttery toast and mugs of milky tea. The perfect Sunday hangover cure, and 1500% of your recommended daily fat intake.

#48 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Linkmeister, yep. Try the recipe. It's worth the work.

:)

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing, am I the only one who wishes that members of happy couples would stop wishing us unhappily single people a Happy Valentine's Day?

It's not gonna happen. If you're unhappily single and you have a good day on February 14, it's despite VD (pun intended) not because of it. Even being happy on this day is not the same as having a Happy Valentine's Day; for a single person, it generally means you've successfully ignored it.

I mean, I don't really object to y'all giving each other stylized scrota as love-gifts, or all the roses, or any of that shit. Just don't get in my face with it, please.

I know intellectually that these people mean well. It still feels like they're gloating.

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:10 PM:

Yes, I had a deeply rotten day today, not that anyone asked. The weather was the good part...it got worse from there.

#51 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:13 PM:

I'm in NoVA about an hour south-west of DC and we had an inch of snow and two inches of sleet overnight. The shovelers didn't shovel the striped bit next to my handicapped spot, so even if I thought I should go out today, I couldn't*. (I emailed management but I don't think they made it in today.) The weather was just above freezing with a clear sky long enough that there was some slush but it's already refrozen.

*Not just the sleet, but my left leg cramped every muscle last night so I had to take more flexeril and am still not alert enough to drive.

#52 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Xopher #49, #50: I sympathise. I got slightly drunk with three good friends and spent the evening putting the world to rights over some decent beer.
Women*.
Ha.
Who needs 'em?


*amend as appropriate

#53 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Niall--

It all depends on what part of the US your mother is visiting, but in my experience, wherever you go, there will be at least one high-quality specialty butcher serving the region. For the San Francisco bay area, that's Dittmer's. They've got rasher there.

Also, while all US bacon sold in general grocery stores is what's called "streaky" in the British isles, the less fatty meatier ones are Niman Ranch and the Canadian applewood smoked bacon they sell at Costco.

Xopher--

From my point of view, a single Valentine's day is a lot like it is when you're a kid--an excuse to buy yourself a half-price heart-shaped box of chocolates the day after. Far less stressful and fun on the whole than ones I've had when in a relationship.

#54 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:38 PM:

Xopher, in South Korea, I'm told, they have a Black Noodle Day on April 14th for people who didn't get anything on Feb 14th or Mar 14th (they have two Valentine's days, one for boys to give to girls, and one the other way), where they get together to eat black noodles. Because misery loves company, I guess.

#55 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 08:39 PM:

Xopher@49: Word.

When your toilet freezing and exploding is better than the other assorted suckitudes of the day....

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:12 PM:

Aconite, that sounds like it was one of those days that you can laugh about, after a year or so. (Hey, my mother declared Mother's Day a non-holiday after two or three that contained Incidents of varying degree. The year the neighbors' car backed across the (four lane) street and hit the house comes most immediately to mind.)

#57 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:49 PM:

I had my nicest Valentine's Day ever, I think -- going to a rare book store with someone I'm currently enamored of, and finding that they were having a high-level open-house with really nice food. And I got to introduce her to some of the absolutely best book dealers in the country. She'd taken other people there on dates; and she was the first person I took there as a date.

#58 ::: Nona ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 09:56 PM:

Here in Hyattsville, just over the border from DC, the trouble isn't so much snow on the roads, or black ice, as everyone's cars being effectively trapped by the passage of the snowplow. Lord only knows if I'll be able to chip my car free to get to work tomorrow-- I couldn't today, with the snow compacted into ice by the night's rain.

On the bright side, tomorrow we celebrate the year's first observance of Discount Candy Day. My favorite is the Festival of the Half-Price Cadbury Egg, but this one is nice too.

#59 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Interesting juxtaposition: There is a noticeable amount (2 inches or so) of snow on the roads at home in Queens, while the sidewalks are fairly well down to the pavement. But in Manhattan (on 57th St, at least, where I work) there was a good amount of snow remaining on the sidewalks, while the streets were pretty clear (except near the edges).

Meanwhile, in a sign of spring, pitchers and catchers have reported to MLB training camps. Happy New Year!

#60 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:07 PM:

So I wrote a couple poems (posted on my blog) and I'm eating ice cream with frozen root beer, one of my favorite things, and shortly I'll feel better.

Mostly because I'm going to bed soon.

#61 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:15 PM:

xopher (& everyone else),

i highly recommend today's "fresh air" (if you missed it, they have podcasts from the website): john waters' new valentine's album, plus some bonus willie nelson & postal history. i love it whenever john waters comes on (for one thing, he & terry gross are just so chummy). his show promoting his christmas album is the only podcast i've relistened to multiple times, & most want to play for friends when they're coming over to cook with me.

& i hate christmas, which should tell you that this show will make you happy even if you hate valentine's day.

unless you hate john waters. or terry gross. or willie nelson. or history, i guess.

#62 ::: sean Sakamoto ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Oh man, xopher. Is there any way I can wish you a Happy Valentine's Day and not make it worse?

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:34 PM:

sean 62: No, there isn't, but thanks for asking. The wish is appreciated.

#64 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:36 PM:

I thought I was linking to my blog, but I guess I was linking to my email address.

#65 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 10:56 PM:

Hey Tom at #57, congrats. (Was this the woman I saw you at the laundromat last week? ;)

Xopher, I recommend getting offensively drunk with rowdy friends in a romantic restaurant. It's worked for me!

#66 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:19 PM:

Aaron @ 39
From what I've read here there are a few Okies that have outed themselves. Not speaking up is simply not the Okie way. That or I just haven't lived in Oklahoma long enough to figure out the Okie way. Quite possible.
-=Jeff=-

#67 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:31 PM:

Xopher,

If you'd like to have a valentine, will you be mine? I believe in collecting quantities of cool people to be my valentine, regardless of whether I am attached, or they are attached, or even if they have vowed lives of celibacy in the Catholic Church. Because it sucks to be alone and lonely on Valentine's Day.

#68 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 11:43 PM:

Warren Ellis prefers to call this Horny Werewolf Day.

#69 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Sleep tight, Xopher, and may you have good dreams.

Here on the south coast of Ohio, we didn't get a lot of snow, and I didn't get out and measure it before the rain started to beat it down. By the time I got out and shovelled, I was dealing with a couple of inches of dense slush. It rained most of yesterday, sometimes freezing. We just got lightly glazed, thank God; nothing like the major ice storm we had 4 years ago. Snow flurries today.

#70 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 01:03 AM:

Here in Corvallis (OR) the snow's off the peak (Marys Peak) which means -- tah dah, it's time to put in the peas!! (Sorry to gloat, but we have bad winters too, y'know. A mild one is greatly to be enjoyed. We'll no doubt suffer for it in August.)

#71 ::: LarryB ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 01:28 AM:

Has anyone looked at the comments on Douglas Feith's horrible op-ed in today's WaPo.

There's a gratifyingly anti-Feith avalanche happening over there. I'm not surprised that the Post gave him a platform to speak from. I am surprised that they're leaving the comments in place. (I guess I've given up on the WaPo, in much the same way I've given up on the NY Times.)

#72 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Gack - that was me @71. Somehow my saved info got cleared from my browser. Go figure.

#73 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 03:07 AM:

Here's a new today,
Another birthday.
It's Galileo,
Yes, I must say so.
Sue B Anthony?
Yes, and hail Abi.

Her candles of time,
Not for me to chime?
Her candles of time,
Once a square, now prime.

#74 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 04:48 AM:

Serge @ 26:
Thank you! That was a delightfully silly video. At one point during the breathless explanation/runthrough I thought I heard him say something about "the dinosaur platform," but there didn't seem to be any follow-up, so I decided I'd just misheard something in an interesting way.

And then I thought, as they were starting the whole thing up, "Well, I won't be entirely surprised if there is a dinosaur platform somewhere in there."

And there was.

#75 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 08:00 AM:

Over on the Unaccountable Violence thread, Caroline notes that yesterday, all kinds of arguments seem to have been breaking out on and off the internet. Such things as the new moon and retrograde Mercury have been suggested as the cause.

I wonder if some people are suffering from Valentine's day stress.

It's a little late, but maybe (unhappily) single people should pick one of the other saints for February 14. For a variety of reasons, I go for St Cyril.

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Peter @ 74... You're welcome. Considering that the MBs obviously grew up on the same cartoons as yours truly, I always thought the grand finale should have involved an anvil being dropped on the dummy's head. Still, I loved the whole thing.

#77 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Neil #75 - am I allowed to say that's a methodical approach to it?

#78 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Xopher @ #49:
For me, Valentine's Day is irrevocably tagged as "the day my father thought was suitable to tell my mother he wanted a divorce", so it never really had the socially correct romantic aura for me. I've been ignoring it as a holiday the same way I ignore most holidays. I refuse to let Hallmark tell me that on certain days of the year I'm supposed to be upset about being alone.

I brought leftover candy hearts and pink cookies from a party last week (I have no problem cynically using holidays as marketing tools) to work and then sat in my office with the door locked and cried over things that have nothing to do with what day it is or the state of my love life.

#79 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Serge #73: The fact that your post is #73 is a coincidence, I take it?

Abi:

winterborn lady
snow blossoms for you today
felicitations

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Fragano @ 79... Complete coincidence. Besides, while 73 is a prime, the number before it isn't the square of two other numbers.

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Susan @ 78... Sorry to hear about that.

#82 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 12:12 PM:

The Terry Eagleton particle's very funny - never have hands been waved so fast.

#83 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Ajay @ 82...Here, here! God sometimes works in mysterious ways, and it was just yesterday that I was having a discussion with a new atheistic acquaintance where I kept having to repeat "Just because I'm a Christian, doesn't mean I can't think!!"

The link has been forwarded on to appropriate parties, as I'm still laughing over the line "God is an artist who did it for the sheer love or hell of it, not a scientist at work on a magnificently rational design that will impress his research grant body no end."

#84 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 01:26 PM:

For abi:

another year dawns
bound verse freed, ideation
rooster crows with joy

#85 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 01:32 PM:

The Terry Eagleton particle's very funny - never have hands been waved so fast.

bummer. As I read it, all I kept thinking was "Hwhuh?"

#86 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 01:43 PM:

#21: Replying late on "ides" - my memory of high school Latin is nagging at me that the word "ides" is a rare special case in Latin - I think it is in plural form, but grammatically treated as singular. Any more current Latin scholar available to weigh in?

ajay @ #28: No, no! You're remembering it wrong. The witches' oracle mysteriously told Macduff and his troops: "Be, wear the 'ides amarch!"

This often gets confused with the Roman prophet's cryptic warning to Caesar: "Tilburnum wude ducum tu dum sine eium." The Latin is so cryptic as to have been opaque to Caesar, let alone modern readers, but we can piece bits of it together as "You are [something] of the war leaders of the Tilburnii while you [are] without [that one?]" It must have been intended as a warning against Brutus, but Caesar was still puzzling over the grammar as he went to that fateful encounter on the steps of the forum.

#87 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Serge, Fragano, Tania, thank you.

The day started with the most astonishing sunrise, descended into exasperation and near-farce, and has now begun to improve markedly.

The kindness of friends
Is light in darkness of
Wintertime. Thank you.

In Dutch, one says not that it is one's birthday (Vandaag is mijn verjaardag.), but that one is "yearish" (Vandaag ben ik jarig.)

I think that's cool.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 02:07 PM:

abi @ 87... I take it that the day's marked improvement coincided with leaving the office. That seems to happen to many people in spite of the fact that, thanks to the wonders of telecommuting, one is never far from the 'office'.

#89 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Niall @ 47, my sister carries some Irish meats (well, produced in the U.S. to Irish standards). Her store is Brits, in Lawrence, KS

http://www.britsusa.com/

However it does not look like she puts the frozen foodstuff on her Web site, you may have to call and ask about them.

She also may be able to hook you up with someone you can buy direct from.

#90 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Back at work in Columbus -- 6 inches of snow topped with a quarter inch of ice. Ohio State had its fourth snow day in 25 years.

The roads vary from slushy to packed ice. Few, if any, have shoveled their sidewalks.

One of the neighborhood hawks dropped by on Wednesday morning -- big bird, mostly grey.

My mother sent me _Shogun_ on DVD for Valentines. Since we were home, we watched the first two discs.

#91 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Re the Terry Eagleton particle:

Sean Carroll over at Cosmic Variance had some interesting things to say about Eagleton's review several months back.

The previous excerpt, which defined God as “the condition of possibility,” seemed to be warning against the dangers of anthropomorphizing the deity, ascribing to it features that we would normally associate with conscious individual beings such as ourselves. A question like “Does `the condition of possibility’ exist?” would never set off innumerable overheated arguments, even in a notoriously contentious blogosphere. If that were really what people meant by “God,” nobody would much care....
But — inevitably — Eagleton does go ahead and burden this innocent-seeming concept with all sorts of anthropomorphic baggage. God created the universe “out of love,” is capable of “regret,” and “is an artist.”

It's a lengthy post, but worth reading.

For my money, H. Allen Orr's review of Dawkins's book at the New York Review of Books was a much better take. Still, in the end, dismissive, but without being either abstruse to the point of obscurity or condescending to those who don't appreciate the sort of refined, lofty theology that Eagleton likes.

#92 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Serge @88
Actually, it showed slow but gradual improvement from about lunchtime. But leaving the office and coming home to the kids, a good meal, a nice wine, and chocolate cake (as well as Season 1 of Blakes Seven on DVD) really did up the average.

And the kind thoughts on ML helped.

#93 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 04:34 PM:

abi @ 92... Glad to be of service, ma'am.

#94 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Richard Dawkins does not believe in "Nonoverlapping magisteria" (NOMA), yes? The idea that science and religion answer different types of questions, are orthoganal to one another, etc? I must say I personally support the idea of NOMA. But it's a minor quibble.

He leaves no place for religion or spirituality, which would be considered a violation of Sun Tzu's rule to always leave your opponent a retreat, so they will take the retreat. If you completely encircle them, they will turn and fight.

#95 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Greg @94, Dawkins explicitly does leave room for spirituality, for suitable definitions of the term -- namely, an appreciation of the wonder and beauty of the Universe. But, no, he leaves no place for religion.

And they have been fighting atheists for a good long time; in point of fact, I would argue that it is the atheists who had been completely encircled in modern public discourse.

#96 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Dawkins explicitly does leave room for spirituality, ... an appreciation of the wonder and beauty of the Universe.

That's an ... interesting ... niche for him to allow. There's a part of me that wonders if he really doesn't understand spirituality (and by extension, religion) like the sidelight article accuses. It's a minor quibble for me. It's not like people are debating whether to teach NOMA in schools. I agree with the stuff he does where it matters. What he believes internally is his business.

I would argue that it is the atheists who had been completely encircled in modern public discourse.

Yes, they have. But Sun Tzu probably wouldn't object to that, since the religious massively outnumber the aetheists. Not that it makes it morally right, just reasonable tactics.

#97 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:32 PM:

In the past, you guys blogged about Wikipedia's "List of fictional expletives"

Well, Wikipedia just deleted the page.

Grab a copy off Google's cache if you want to preserve the content!

#98 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:11 PM:

I think Dawkins is interesting, not so much because of what he says, which isn't far from standard Carl Saganesque pop science, but because of his image as an Ogre of Horrible Bigoted Anti-Religious Atheism.

If you read his work, or even watch him on an Irish TV comedy show, he comes across as being as mild and reasonable an atheist as, well, as me.

#99 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:24 PM:

peter,

i also quite enjoyed the h. allen orr piece, & thought it probably all i needed to know about dawkins' book. but it might be because i'm on that side anyhow.

#100 ::: Vanessa ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:47 PM:

I stumbled across a new book on Project Gutenberg that I think will be of interest.

The Merry-Thought: or, the Glass-Window and Bog-House Miscellany

This is a collection of early eighteenth century graffiti, dirty poetry and insults.

The introduction:

The Original Manuscripts written in Diamond by Persons of the first Rank and Figure in Great Britain; relating to Love, Matrimony, Drunkenness, Sobriety, Ranting, Scandal, Politicks, Gaming, and many other Subjects, Serious and Comical.

Faithfully Transcribed from the Drinking-Glasses and Windows in the several noted Taverns, Inns, and other Publick Places in this Nation. Amongst which are intermixed the Lucubrations of the polite Part of the World, written upon Walls in Bog-houses, &c.

A representative poem and the location where it was found:

Says Sir John to my Lady, as together they sat,

Shall we first go to Supper, or do you know what?

Dear Sir John, (with a Smile,) return'd the good Lady,

Let us do you know what, for Supper's not ready.


Bridgnorth, at the Crown.

#101 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:59 PM:

P J Evans@56:
No. It won't. Really. But thank you for the thought; it was kind, and made my day a little better. I appreciate that.

#102 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 08:04 PM:

#97 Lis Riba: Here's where to check for deleted Wikipedia articles: the Wikipedia Knowledge Dump.

The thing I actually came by to link to is this batch of recordings by students at Dondero High School. So far I've only had time to check out the covers of "Three Cool Cats" and "White Rabbit" (sort of an animal theme here) from 1996, but they convinced me that the rest is probably worth dipping into. I don't want to give individual links -- some version of homeland security tends to hold my posts when I do that.

#103 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 08:58 PM:

more firefox fun!

every time a thread around here reaches about 180 posts, it crashes (well, locks up) my firefox. 160, ok, 200, ok, somewhere around 180, crashy. it's happening now with salwar kameez. it doesn't happen with any other blogs i visit.

anyone else? any ideas?

#104 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:52 PM:

Lis #97: Tanj!

#105 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:03 PM:

miriam beetle @ 103 - I get a similar thing, (Firefox 2.0.0.1, Mac OS X 10.4.8) and the status bar reads "waiting for pageads.google.com" (or something like that.) I just switch browsers and blame Google.

re: 97, Belgium!

#106 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:08 AM:

OK, so, it's 4 AM, and the brains a little bouncy-bouncy right now. Anyway, something just hit me from something I saw on TV earlier tonight. This ad comes on for the US Army. They do their thing and then fade to black with teh army logo and the phrase "Army Strong (sm)" below it. And several hours and whole lot of caffeine later, my brain just went "WTF?" I mean, aren't trademarks and service marks limited to a particular area? Meaning you could have Apple(tm) Music and Apple(tm) Computers? Who the heck is going to be in the same field as the US Army that they'd need to trademark the line "Army Strong"? I think they pretty much have a monopoloy on the whole "Army" market, at least in the US.

Must... sleep...


#107 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:16 AM:

#85: "Hwuh?" is about the only possible reaction. It's a sort of theological Chewbacca defence. The comedy is because it's so amazingly convoluted and nonsensical. I'm sure Eagleton is intelligent enough in IQ terms, but O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown.

#83: I really, really wouldn't use Eagleton as an example of how someone can be Christian and still think clearly.

Dawkins makes it clear in "The Blind Watchmaker" that he, like most religious people, regards "Does God exist?" as a question of fact of the same form as "Does the Matterhorn exist?" Eagleton comes out with, frankly, a load of doubletalk about conditions of possibility which boils down to "You can't ask whether God exists; that's a meaningless question, because given that anything at all exists, God-the-condition-of-possibility necessarily exists". Fair enough, as truisms tend to be. But it's worth pointing out that this puts Eagleton in a tiny, tiny minority of believers.

And, as pointed out above, he then goes on to say that his philosophical-concept God was none the less incarnate in first-century Palestine, and is capable of human-like emotions such as love - none of which, obviously, are necessarily attributes of the condition of possibility!

#108 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:14 AM:

OK, this seems like an open-threadish sort of question -- is there a Viable Paradise brunch or panel or something at Boskone this weekend? I thought I heard mention of it somewhere, but don't remember the details, and it isn't listed in the program guide. (Maybe it was only Arisia instead?)

#109 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:09 AM:

Latest Boskone weather: the snow is over and the skies are blue, but it's bitterly cold and sidewalks and streets are covered with ice. Yesterday there were many highway accidents, subway/bus failures, and airport delays. Drive and walk with care, and bundle up.


#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:37 AM:

This month on Turner Classic Movies, you can vote for the Movie Morlocks Choice Awards...

Today's theme, Most Memorable Hair Days. And the nominees are...

* Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall
* Fredric March in The Adventures of Mark Twain
* any cast member in Close Encounters of the Third Kind
* anybody in Logan's Run...

I'm voting for Logan's Run.

"Renew! Renew!"

#111 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:47 AM:

miriam beetle@103: Turning off Javascript works for me. YMMV, as I have several odd settings and don't know which of them might be interacting in what ways.

#112 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Eagleton on Dawkins reminds me of one of the standard techniques astrologers use to deflect criticism of astrology: "How do you know astrology doesn't work when you can't even cast a horoscope yourself?"

#113 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Re Eagleton on Dawkins:
Adam Roberts also had some interesting thoughts over at The Valve, mostly pointing out how strange some of Eagleton's argument is:

What is surely true, however, is that the world’s four billion or so believers-in-God don’t have recourse to any supersubtlety on the question. Surely for the large majority of them God exists in a straightforward way. And when Eagleton says ‘for Judeo-Christianity, God is not a person in the sense that Al Gore is’ he surely means ‘for a certain kind of theologian, God is not a person in the sense that Al Gore arguably is.’ There are of course currents of twentieth-century theology that develop this point. But in both the Judaic tradition (where, say what you like about God in the Torah, he’s a pretty lively character, with a face, backparts, a temper, and the kinds of interpersonal relationships that even Al Gore can manage) and most especially in the Christian tradition Eagleton’s position is spectacularly wrongheaded. The point about Christ is that, though still God, he was indeed a person; and moreover a person in pretty-much the sense that Al Gore is a person. It is this ‘personification’, in a strict sense, that enables the faith of many Christians.

The curious thing is that I don't know whether Eagleton is at all religious. He's apparently a long-standing Marxist "critical theorist," which sort of implies he's an atheist. But it doesn't require it (for example, liberation theology was partly an attempt to combine Marxism with Catholic faith), so I don't know if he's arguing from a position of genuine (if perhaps atypical) religous fatih, or just from some kind of aesthetic appreciation of abstruse theology for its own sake.

#114 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 10:28 AM:

On the topic of what religion means to whom, I offer http://fixedearth.com --- not just any kook site, but a kook site which is being actively promoted within the Georgia legislature. Watch amazed as evidence from the Bible completely falsifies the geosynchronous staellite concept!

Maybe not every believer is as naive as Dawkins seems to think, but there are certainly quite a few, and a few influential ones, in this country who are starkly (if selectively) literal...

#115 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:03 PM:

#108: Jules, the latest I heard was there's a VP thingy for brunch at the Con Suite on Sunday from 9am to noon.

#116 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Ah, cool. Thanks!

#117 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:25 PM:

The Wiener Dog of Infinite Justice, in the Particles, reminds me of Peter Berryman's lyrics for "The Dog of Time."

I love the Berrymans. And Peter not only writes songs, he writes about songwriting.

#118 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:52 PM:

I just saw a post from Ms. Yarn Harlot announcing a knitters' convergence in NYC on March 22. She's out to show the world just how big of a community (and market) knitters can be. I wish I could go.

#119 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Damn. Audrey @118 beat me to it. (My sock yarn and I are outraged.)

#120 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Audrey and TexAnne:

My jacket is disappointed. I'll explain the facts of life to it later.

#121 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:37 PM:

118, 120: Maybe we could get knit-friendly non-knitters to go in our places. And since our proxy knitters won't be knitting, they can hold protest signs. I'm One of Them and I Knit!

#122 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:38 PM:

Henry @77 (after 3 re-readings before a lightbulb appears above my head) Ouch.

#123 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Greg, #106, that's a servicemark and it's a new one. The services used to have something like All for One. That's not it, but that's the idea.

Management hasn't gotten anybody here to shovel, but I emailed the book group and a husband and wife came to shovel. It was going to take forever since it's frozen to three inches of ice, but one of my neighbors came over with a ice chopper and they made me a trail to my van. Then the husband started pounding the ice on top of the van and it came off in giant chunks. They've finished the windshield except one of my wipers is frozen and he wants to work on that more. If I can't get the van over the snowplow ridge, they'll come get me tomorrow so I can go to book group.

#124 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:31 PM:

TexAnne @ 121: I saw suggestions involving sending knit socks or other items to represent the people who can't be there. I think some kind of proxy knitter thing would be neat.

#125 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 06:12 PM:

I would love to send a proxy piece, because I doubt I will have the time or money to get down to the city myself.

#126 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:19 PM:

Sorry, nothing to add to the yarn discussion, but this little video called Don't Die Ding was just too cool to go without mentioning it.

#127 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Serge #80: But that's not the case if you write "73" backward, is it?

#128 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Abi #87: You're most welcome. Besides, I don't often get a chance to use the word 'felicitations'.

(Hmm. My birthday is the same as LBJ's. Not that anyone would be interested...)

#129 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Abi #87: You're most welcome. Besides, I don't often get a chance to use the word 'felicitations'.

(Hmm. My birthday is the same as LBJ's. Not that anyone would be interested...)

#130 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:57 PM:

FWIW, I had the same reaction to the Eagleton review as a number of commenters here. It didn't seem to me that Eagleton is engaging with rational argument about God's existence in any meaningful way - rather he seems to redefine the common meaning out of words (such as "God") when it seems desirable to make rational discussion of them go away, and then abruptly swap the standard meaning back so that he can make statements that religious people will nod their heads at. It's like the pea-under-the-shells game.

In that game the pea is never actually under the shell, and I'm not sure the meaning is ever in Eagleton's words either.

I am not an atheist (though I don't usually commit myself as much as to even say that) but my belief in God/the Void/whatever-you-wanna-call-it is personal and experiential, and I don't expect others to be persuaded by my own intensely personal experiences. I get all cranky when I read apparently sophistic arguments for the existence of God, whether Anselm's or Eagleton's. They seem to me designed only to persuade people who already believe, and what's the point in that?

#132 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:16 AM:

check out this beatboxing flute player

oh. my. GAWD.

That was fricken awesome.

#133 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 07:48 AM:

Whoa. Yeah. (Especially the unexpected detour.) Thanks for the testimonial, Greg; I probably wouldn't have clicked the link otherwise.

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Mary Dell @ 131... Thanks for the YouTube link.

Say... I've been looking on YouTube for the opening credit of 1972's Silent Running, to no avail. That's rather surprising because how many SF movies are there out there that begin with an original song by Joan Baez?

#135 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Bill Higgins @ #117:

Tbe Berrymans also have a small connection to fandom, via having done concerts at WisCon twice that I know of. I don't remember the first one very well, as it was in 1978, but the second one was only three or four years ago. They had the audience all clenching their teeth together and singing along on the refrain for "Gadeng Vadoo"...good times.

#136 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Appropos of not much at all, and at risk of reinserting a melodic ear-worm, I saw a television commercial which uses "Total Eclipse of the Heart". It's an ad for an automotive GPS unit. "Turn around ..."


R/
Duncan

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Marilee @ 137... Regarding that limo's situation... A snicker might be deemed unkind, but would a titter be acceptable?

#139 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 07:37 PM:

Teresa, I really liked your discussion of religion with Brother Guy @ Boskone.
A couple followup questions I didn't have a chance to chat with you about during the con:

You mentioned an image of the beloved in Song of Songs/Song of Solomon that took the metaphor literally. Do you have a link for that?

Also, I was particularly struck by your remarks on the unreality of religion in many works of genre fiction. Have you considered a short-story anthology focused on realistic religion in SFF, from the bake sale by Dionysians to the schism in the human sacrifice cult between those who insist upon universal donors v. the blood-type-agnostics to future Christian or Jewish sects?

In a similar vein, have you read Tanya Huff's short story "In Mysterious Ways" (collected in Stealing Magic)? It includes the god of minor conveniences, and what happens when you tick that diety off... Given some of your comments about what followers get from a religion, I thought you might appreciate it if you haven't already read it.

#141 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 10:13 PM:

I "found" a couple of pounds of stew meat at the back of the freezer yesterday. Wanting to make room, I defrosted it and looked up a slow-cooker recipe. I settled on "Beef Stifado," for which I had all of the ingredients but cumin and red wine. (I have them now.)

I thought I'd make a greek dinner out of it, and stopped by Trader Joe's for spinach pies and stuff grape leaves.

On the way out, I played the name of the main course over in my mind. One of those words that just sounds funny, like it should be meaningful.

I'm not sure if stifado should be:

* A fish soon to be battered and deep-fried into extinction by Red Lobster.

* A medieval torture.

* A service offered by Italian sex workers.

#142 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 10:24 PM:

Serge @ 138 - More like a teeter.

That's not too bad of a sharp crest for that neighborhood. Go a couple of blocks north and there are places where, when you stop at the corner, all you can see is sky. I imagine that it's the closest to being an astronaut I'll ever get.

#143 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 10:35 PM:

Ah, Larry, the steep streets of San Francisco.. .The late Herb Caen once said that San Francisco was a great city for walking because, when you're tired, all you have to do is to lean against the street's slope.

#144 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 11:15 PM:

Serge @ 143

It's hell on the ankles though. (I've walked up and down some of those hills. Next time I'll get hiking boots first.)

#145 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 12:19 AM:

General note to folks visiting SF. There's a bike map (PDF here) that shows the grades of the streets. Very handy for planning walks or bike rides. I bought a couple, cut out chunks by neighborhood so I could plan rides that would be challenging but that wouldn't require having ambulances follow me around.

If the limo driver in Marilee's post @ 137 had had one, we'd all have been spared a chuckle.

#146 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 02:01 AM:

As a child, I used to dream that we were driving through San Francisco, and the hills would rise in front of us like the sides of a bowl. We would go up and up, with the street ever steeper, till at last we would either slide back down or tip over onto the roof of the car.

#147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 06:13 AM:

abi @ 146... Sounds like, as a child, you were a rarebit fiend.

Meanwhile, on the Oakland side of the Bay, I've walked many times from Montclair all the way down to the Rockridge BART Station, and that's quite steep. Luckily, I've never had to walk back up, because, by then, public transportation is up and running. (I usually take a bus from the TransBay Terminal back up to Montclair. Be warned that the view from the top deck of the Bay Bridge is the surest way to fall back in love with the Bay Area.)

#148 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 07:41 AM:

Abi #146: Then slide almost all the way back up the previous slope? Then back again?

#149 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Serge (#147): That's quite a walk! I used to drive between those two points a lot when I worked full-time at Locus, but walking would have taken me hours, even downhill.

I spent my teens in a house not far from Montclair, and I came to like our hill -- good view too, even if the people across the street had it better. I'm back near the top of a hill now, and actually like the climb better than the descent, perhaps due to my stocky build (or sheer nostalgia?). And the views are great!

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 10:00 AM:

Faren @ 149... Actually, walking down from the Thornhill exit down to the Rockridge BART Station is a shorter distance than by car. That's why it takes me less than 1.5 hour to get there. It's a nice walk, but there are no sidewalks and, at 4am, one has to be concerned about drivers coming fast from behind one of the many street curves. Lots of neat houses along the way.

#151 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Once I realized that walking up hills really develops the glutes, I started thinking San Francisco might have my kind of eye-candy. Then I found out that hardly anybody WALKS anywhere there. What a waste!

#152 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 11:47 AM:

When I was a kid growing up in the SF Bay Area, those hills were the official family test of roadworthiness. Before you could borrow Dad's (manual transmission) car, one had to demonstrate the ability to pull up to one of those all-you-can-see-is-the-sky stop signs, come to a complete stop, and then go. This had to be completed without (a) losing your mind, (b) rolling back into the car waiting behind you, or (c) T-boning anything on your way through the intersection. Good times.

#153 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 11:57 AM:

Back in 1968, here is the exam one had to pass at the Steve McQueen School of Driving Around San Francisco.

#154 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Serge @ 153 - Did that test include the ability to hyperspace from one part of the city to another? There are certainly times when the ability to dematerialize on Russian Hill and rematerialize on Potrero would be very handy.

#155 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Aha! A nice piece in the SF Chron about the Bullitt chase, with a location breakdown at the end.

#156 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Larry @ 154... Nope. That hyperspace displacement was a requirement for Star Trek's The Voyage Home. If memory serves me right (and it doesn't always), it relocated the Monterey Aquarium to what looks like Tiburon.

#157 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Happy Lunar New Year!

As this is the Open Thread, here's my verse #2 for the New Year*

Lucky & Newberry are under attack
Anxious adults are starting to quack
“We must be strong,
Because it is wrong
To use the correct word for a nutsack”

*My Year of the Pig resolution - I have to write a piece of verse every day.

#158 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Xopher @151
Try UC Berkeley, where it's walk or cycle.

Andrew Willet @152
My dad had much the same rule, but there was a street in the East Bay he used. I went backward down that hill about six times before I mastered the uphill stop.

Serge @156
Somewhere north of the Golden Gate Bridge, yes. But the alternative was to have the characers drive to Monterey, and have you seen Kirk drive? (Hint: A Piece of the Action)

#159 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 02:56 PM:

More generally, on walking in the East Bay hills...I lived at the bottom of Oakland Avenue (past the intersection with Grand Avenue), and went to Piedmont High School, which is at the top. It's quite a steep hill to face in the morning, and my parents had neither the time nor the inclination to drive us up.

It was a lovely walk, sometimes. The rhythm of walking brought on a number of poems, and I loved seeing the trees and bushes I passed - each one a piece of the essential wildness that I so often missed when we were in the city.

Other times, it was an opportunity to perfect my hitchhiking skills, most often with the chemistry teacher who got me into fandom proper, or the charming guy I had a crush on for four years running.

My much younger sister got driven up every morning (she was much better at wheedling than I was). I often think that each individual convenience added up to an essential impoverishment, like sweets that taste good and don't nourish.

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Ah yes, abi, Captain Kirk's infamous driving style...

#161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Captain, you are an excellent starship captain, but as a taxi driver you leave much to be desired.

#163 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 03:42 PM:

abi: I lived at the bottom of Oakland Avenue (past the intersection with Grand Avenue), and went to Piedmont High School, which is at the top.

Well, somebody needs to say it:

MY walk to school was uphill both ways. (But you try to tell my kids that, and they won't believe you....)

#164 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Bob @163
...and we didn't even have feet!

#165 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Abi, you're lucky; I'm knee-deep in English-units-hatred right now. Pounds, feet, gallons-- they are dead to me.

#166 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Diatryma @165
'm knee-deep in English-units-hatred right now.
Why? It sounds like there's a story in there...

Pounds, feet, gallons-- they are dead to me.
Stone? Furlongs? Chains?

#167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 04:12 PM:

abi @ 161... If you're going to start quoting from Star Trek, someone could pass on the following advice to the Faux Klingons of the Bush Gang:

"Insufficient facts always invite danger, Captain."

Meanwhile, yesterday, while I was getting things ready for our tax guy, South Pacific was on Turner Classic Movies, and that's when the realization hit me that, thanks to Star Trek, I am only a few degrees of separation from Rodgers & Hammerstein... Or did nobody else recognize Bloody Mary's daughter as being played by France Nuyen, aka Elaan of Troyus?

#168 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 04:52 PM:

Serge @ 156, the received fanwank for every and all lack of realism in The Voyage Home is that it occurs in an alternative reality where Spock and Kirk could walk around SF and not be recognized by random people in the street.

#169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Is that what it was, JESR? I thought they were simply indulging the tendency of most movies to rewrite the Bay Area to suit their needs. At least, this science-fiction film wasn't set around the Bay just so that they could trash the Golden Gate Bridge.

#170 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 05:12 PM:

The latest issue of PHOENIX NEW TIMES has a longish article on one Laine Lawless, a radical anti-immigrant campaigner/provocateur whose background is not what one would expect from her activities:

But Lawless is the odd gal out, even in the screwy, cobbled-together world of self-made experts, Sunday soldiers, and putative patriots that is the anti-illegal-immigrant movement. The Bay Area transplant's a lesbian pagan, a former high priestess of a Dianic Wiccan outfit named the Sisterhood of the Moon. In fact, she once placed a hex on homophobic orange-juice-hawker Anita Bryant. And though both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have made hay linking her to neo-Nazis, she remains a pro-choice feminist in a movement fueled in part by high testosterone and backward, archconservative he-man values.

Her flag burnings in Tucson and Phoenix have made international news, drawn the denunciations of the Mexican government and local officials, and caused her to be reviled and ostracized by activists on both ends of the political seesaw. Yet, Lawless' oft-loony views and activities are belied by the spirited, well-read conversationalist who dreams of writing screenplays for Hollywood and whose psyche may be best explained by fan fiction she penned in tribute to one of her all-time-favorite TV shows: Xena: Warrior Princess.
#171 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 05:12 PM:

Oh, well, you know, fans are famous for making excuses.

On the other hand, I've yet to see a convincing in-canon explanation for why the same springboard-logged stump shows up next to the road on every planet in the Stargate universe, plus in the universes where Xfiles, Dark Angel, and Eureka occur.

And I'm still recovering from the hash "Grey's Anatomy" has made of emergency response in Seattle.

(Don't mind me, I spent way too much time yesterday trying to figure out when SciFi is going to start showing "Painkiller Jane." Not March 1, which is imdb's answer. It's making me cranky).

#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 05:30 PM:

JESR @ 171... I've yet to see a convincing in-canon explanation for why the same springboard-logged stump shows up next to the road on every planet in the Stargate universe, plus in the universes where Xfiles, Dark Angel, and Eureka occur.

You forgot to include Galactica's Caprica in the list.

As for the universe apparently being filled with British-Columbia-like planets... I remember an episode of StarGate where SG1 has stepped thru the Gate into yet another BC forest, and Colonel O'Neill makes a comment how it's a green universe Out There, and adds an SCTV "Eh?"

#173 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Xopher writes: "Then I found out that hardly anybody WALKS anywhere there. What a waste!"

That's changing. Parking supply is slowly declining, while demand continues at its normal growth rate. The new MTA organization expects to raise revenues without raising MUNI fares, and that means increased parking fees and fines (though, they won't say that openly yet).

And yeah, maybe most people don't walk the hills much, but I do. I routinely make the hike between West Portal and my home near the top of the tallest of the hills in the Black Ridge Range (south of the museums in Golden Gate Park). With a 30 pound toddler on my back.

Yes, I have to take a shower after a workout like that.

#174 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 06:48 PM:

j h 173: Well, I'll have to have a look. I was only able to spend a few hours in SF last time I was there; I've always wanted to visit longer.

On another topic: anyone know the name or author of a story set in Eden, where instead of blaming Eve, Adam tells God essentially to grow up? And they live happily ever after in Eden?

A friend of mine is looking for it for her stepdaughter.

#175 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 08:13 PM:

Your link to the post about the trip to the Baghdad morgue was a kick in the gut.

I didn't think I'd get a harder one so soon, but I did: After two months, Riverbend has just posted a new entry. It's... at some point there's no point comparing atrocities. I'll just say be warned before reading this:

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 09:06 AM:

Last night, AMC showed 1998's Elisabeth, with Cate Blanchett as you-know-who. I went "hey!" when I came across Christopher Eccleston as Norfolk, and I went double "hey!" when I recognized the assassin monk as Daniel Craig. Doctor Who and James Bond, together at last.

#177 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Xopher, that rings a bell. I'm pretty sure it's in Asimov's (?) 100 Greatest Short-Short Fantasy Stories. Or something like that. It ends with God saying, "On countless planets, I have slaves. Here, at last, I have My children."

I'd get up and look for the book, but I'm stoned on NyQuil right now. Email me if you need actual facts.

#178 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 11:20 AM:

I remember that one too.
Adam and Eve eat of the fruit, then successfully defend themselves from the angel sent to kick them out of the garden. When Gd asks them whether they intend to go against him, they refuse and then it ends with the line TexAnne quotes.

#179 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Found it!

"Final Version" by John Morressy

Collected in the anthology 100 Great Fantasy Short-Short Stories edited by Asimov.

#180 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 11:49 AM:

JESR@171: (Don't mind me, I spent way too much time yesterday trying to figure out when SciFi is going to start showing "Painkiller Jane." Not March 1, which is imdb's answer. It's making me cranky).

Painkiller Jane's on my "I'll try it..." list. I didn't particularly like the comic character, based on very limited exposure, but I expect the TV version to be totally different.

#181 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 12:38 PM:

Sandy, the pilot was pretty darned grand, although I doubt Eric Danes will be in the series. Good production quality, and apparently someone directing who wasn't totally satisfied if the actors just had all the words in the right order (see: entire Stargate franchise).

I will put this disclaimer: I am not a comics fan, and have found before, with "Birds of Prey" that this makes me prone to like stuff which drives comicsfen crazy.

#182 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 01:07 PM:

Fair enough.

News From Nonsequitiria: My "read a book a week on average" new year's resolution is going nicely. Two out of my last three have been Making Light regulars, and I am entirely happy with the experience... no,I'm not telling who. Because I want ALL you guys to write more books.

#183 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 02:48 PM:

While we're talking new books here, I was delighted to see Rebecca Ore's new book Time's Child on the shelves at B & N, and began plowing through it last night. Very good read so far. As compared to most fictional characters, Rebecca's characters always seem to have more canny commonsense, be a bit grittier and pricklier, a bit more like typical real people.

#184 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 03:29 PM:

TexAnne, Lis, thanks!

#185 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 03:37 PM:

In the commenters of Making Light all knowledge is contained.

#186 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 05:21 PM:

My friend Susan says

The title and era of story sound right, so I just ordered it. Hey, even if it's the wrong story, I'm bound to find a bunch of great ones in this anthology. Please thank the ML folks for me.
I herewith comply.

#187 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 07:09 PM:

Sandy, #180, I have never seen the Painkiller Jane comics, but I liked the pilot and plan to watch the series (at least until I don't want to).

#188 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:09 AM:

According to the SFTV guru of SFTV.org.Painkiller Jane is supposed to begin airing on April ^th.

#189 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Aha, an Open Thread.

Lately I have been eyeing those light alarm clocks -- the ones that awaken you by slowly brightening the room over half an hour or so, rather than the traditional approach of suddenly jarring you out of REM sleep with loud noises. They generally sell for at least $100. (1) Does anyone sell clocks like this for less than $50? (2) How hard would it be to build one cheaply? (3) These lamps need to be able to cover a continuous range of brightness, which in my experience means they need to use dimmer switches, which means they need to use incandescent bulbs. Is there a way to achieve the same effect while using a more efficient light source, like LEDs?

#190 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Eric, I have a weird fakey one of those from a clip-on desk lamp and a timer plug. I can't compare it to an actual light clock, but it does the job. The first couple mornings were brutal, and now I'm used to it.
But I also use it more because I found I wake up better with light than without, not because the alarm clock wasn't working-- I still have the regular alarm set for some time after the light comes on. Once it's light in the morning again, I expect I'll swap out the timer plug for somewhere else.

As far as building your own with the continuous range, rather than one bright blast, you'd probably be able to fake it with a number of timer plugs set slightly apart so the lights come on one by one.

#192 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Eric @ #189:

I achieve the same effect by the use of an ultra-efficient (and free) light source known as the sun. Take the curtains off your bedroom window and you can do likewise.

(Yeah, yeah, completely unhelpful, but irresistible...)

#193 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Adventures in dance reconstruction:

A graticula is:
1. a grate
2. a lattice
3. a torture
4. a basket
5. all of the above

Finally figuring that one out was so exciting I need a cigarette. And I don't even smoke.

#194 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 05:47 PM:

Susan @192
It's all fun and games until my SAD goes metastic. The sun wakes me beautifully at 4am in midsummer, and drags me protesting from my sleep at 8am in midwinter. Neither one is a good idea.

Dawn simulators, though, are. I love mine dearly. I don't know if I would have kept my job these past few years without it.

In terms of an inexpensive solution, the notion of multiple LEDs, going on one by one at regular intervals, is a very, very good one.

#195 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:06 PM:

abi @ 194, here in the States, we're going on Daylight Savings early this year, as a sort of half-hearted energy savings measure courtesy of Bush and the (former) GOP Congress.

Sunrise is now just after 7 AM here in Seattle, and they're going to push it out by an hour. Maybe I'll just try to put my workday on DST too. Waking up in the dark is what really messes me up in the winter. Maybe they'll change it back next year. :-/

At least they can't take away the two additional hours of daylight we've gained since the solstice.

**

Re: the Anthony Bourdain particle, I'm shocked to find that I actually agree with him at the 90% level. The comments are worth a read too.

#196 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Susan @192: the Sun is a more-or-less adequate substitute for dawn simulator lamps... except that since it's not user-configurable, we'd need to rejigger all our work and school schedules instead. I wonder if my family's employers and schools would all be OK with us starting our days about 90 minutes later? And it's not truly free, either. You know how much a clear view of the eastern horizon will cost you these days?

Diatryma @190, abi @194: Multiple LEDs, switching on one at a time. I like that idea.

Larry @195: How come I'm not hearing about the Daylight Savings Time adjustment messing up everybody's computers, a la Y2K? From where I'm sitting (in Honolulu), I always have to remember whether North America is 2-5 hours ahead (winter) or 3-6 hours ahead (summer) of Hawaiian Standard Time.

#197 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:34 PM:

Eric @ 196:

Actually, I was reading about the possibility of computers being messed up just this week. Try this one (I don't thinks it's the same one I was reading):

Daylight-saving change could confuse gadgets news.com.com/Daylight-saving+change+could+confuse+gadgets/2100-1041_3-5823792.html

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:35 PM:

My wife uses one of those lamp timers and she thinks it helps. On the other hand, our dogs usually start waking her up at about that time. So who knows which it is that actually wakes her up first. The lamp's advantage is that we don't have to let it out of the house to answer Nature's Call.

#199 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:39 PM:

Susan @ 193... A graticula is a blood-drinking cheese grater, right?

#200 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:45 PM:

Hey, Google Images just changed back to their old presentation! It's Coke Classic vs. New Coke all over again.

#201 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Susan 193. Or quite possibly Graticula, the cheesey vampire.

I, too, have been working too hard on my Kalamazoo paper, and I'm getting ... nay, I have gotten ... slightly loopy. Or loopier.

#202 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 07:11 PM:

Eric @ 196 - There are possible issues if your OSes are not up to date. (Hint - look for updates for your PDAs and smartphones too). Also, some devices like VCRs which use firmware may need to be switched twice.

The week of the switch, I'd be careful to mention the time of appointments in the body of your message just in case the recipient is using non-updated software.

Disclaimer - Anything I'm saying here is my own opinion and does not reflect the opinion or make any representation on behalf of my employer. (Whew!)

#203 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 07:19 PM:

Eric: Believe me, system admins are talking about it on mailing lists and such. Microsoft spammed a lot of their higher-end customers (and some annoyed non-customers) to tell them about it. It's been discussed on security mailing lists - are there any assumptions about DST in weird places in software which this may trip up? It's especially a problem for people running older software releases who don't want to upgrade for various reasons.

#204 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 07:55 PM:

I'm most pleased that we made our product new-DST compliant last year.

Now we just need to get all of our customers to upgrade.

#198: "The lamp's advantage is that we don't have to let it out of the house to answer Nature's Call."

Ah. It's circuit broken, then.

#205 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Stefan @ 204... Ah. It's circuit broken, then.

Ba-da-bing.

#206 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 08:25 PM:

susan,

I achieve the same effect by the use of an ultra-efficient (and free) light source known as the sun. Take the curtains off your bedroom window and you can do likewise.

unless, like me, you have a ground-floor bedroom facing the street. i would looove more sunlight, as i'm seasonally affected, but we've had a couple of peeping toms since we moved in.

#207 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 08:32 PM:

Tracie @ #201:

The scary thing is that this isn't actually for Kalamazoo, though it will be useful for that as well. I decided to put myself under reconstruction pressure by simply promising to teach particular dances on particular dates. Like, um, March 4th. The deadline pressure is spurring me to figure out stuff I've been working on off and on for years, plus a few other things that seemed related. This was a major hump to get over in the nonPhD nonThesis. I went out to dinner to celebrate.

#208 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 09:40 PM:

Duncan J Macdonald @ #136:

Tori Amos covers "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on one of her recent live albums...you can find it on Itunes. It's both hilarious and awesome.

#209 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Sorry sorry
JESR@171
correction from the sftv guru.
Painkiller Jane actually begins airing on April 13th not April 6th,accordint to a recent press release from SciFi Channel.

#210 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 06:10 AM:

And to completely change the subject--if you'll pardon a brief tangent--Happy Birthday, Jim Macdonald!

#211 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 08:20 AM:

Happy Birthday, Jim!

(Thanks for the tip, MacAllister.)

#212 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 08:37 AM:

Happy Birthday, Jim!

And btw, I read Land of Mist and Snow on the train home from Boskone, and loved it. More please!

#213 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 09:44 AM:

Happy birthday, Jim!

#214 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 10:37 AM:

The Bourdain particle actually made my opinion of him plummet from a great height. It's a viciously nasty piece, full of elitism, classism, and thinly-veiled misogyny.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Snobbery is bullying. The end of smugness and snark, however elegantly-phrased, passing for "critique" is a day that cannot come fast enough.

And: Being knowledgeable and well-travelled is not any excuse for acting like a dick.

#215 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Eric Sadoyama @189: It's been decades since I had played with the X-10 modules, but I believe they are still available through Radio Shack. A google-search on 'radio shack X-10 control module' returns 46,900 hits.

The lamp modules did allow dimmer control (yes, it did require incandescent bulbs), and you could program on/off times through a timer control, although I don't remember if you could program light levels. There had been computer interfaces provided for this system; perhaps that would give you more control (although leaving a computer running to function as your alarm clock does seem like overkill).

The individual lamp modules look like they might sell for $12-16. You can get a basic starter kit which has one lamp module and a control keypad for $20; but that wouldn't be enough to do what you want.

#216 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Nina @209, Yeah, I finally decoded the date for "Painkiller Jane" from a typically prolix and confusing press release from Skiffy which primarily addressed Star Gate matters. Took me a while, as I was distracted by the outrage eminating from the SGA fandom over the description of Sam Carter as "televisions favorite astrophysicist."

And Jim MacDonald! Happy Birthday!

Dan Layman-Kennedy: it is not misogyny to accurately critisize frightful people who happen to be female; it is misogynistic to refrain from expressing true criticism of Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee because they are women. Tony Bourdain says what the women of my household have been saying about the Food Network for the last two seasons.

#217 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 01:58 PM:

Dan @ 214 - Wow. The opinion you formed of Bourdain from that blog entry is the one that I've had all along. That's why I was surprised that I largely agreed with his opinions. I think misogyny is a very strong word to use, perhaps because, IMO, however snarky, his opinions of the various Food Network celebs are spot on. Have you ever seen Sandra Lee's program? Or Paula (Better Add More Butter) Deen?

I'm not quite as down on Rachael Ray as he is, maybe because I like her accent and think of the stuff she makes as practical last-minute weekday cooking.

Bourdain's piece is sharp and sarcastic, but, for me at least, fairly accurate. I'm not sure if it was in the article or the comments, but there was even a point that Bobby Flay is a great chef (I really like Mesa Grill, and it's still good after all these years) but he's kind of smarmy as a person.

Maybe I need to re-calibrate my misogyny meter? Did anyone else read that article that way?

***

BTW - Happy Birthday Mr. Macdonald. (And make sure you have that emergency kit handy - you never know what can happen around a birthday cake. Knives, fire, slippery goo. Scary stuff!)

#219 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Dan #214, Larry #217:

I didn't read it as at all mysogynistic. Elitist, perhaps, but elitism in the defense of good cooking is not at all a bad thing. I suspect it's what a geek does when zie gets into food: get all worried about technique, recipe history and all that.

Food Network has been getting seriously dumbed down and eliding the geek factor. There seems to be some "homeyness" trend going round; I notice that Cook's Illustrated responded by putting out Cooks' Country, but they still do rigorous testing of recipes and techniques in both magazines.

#220 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 03:01 PM:

216,217: It's possible I'm making too much of it, but I'm seeing an unpleasant sexist undertone in his backhanded compliment of Giada (Wow! She can actually cook!). It's a different, more condescending tone than the one he uses about the male chefs (about whom he is uniformly less unpleasant in general - though all his compliments are backhanded to one degree or another).

Yes, I've seen Sandra Lee's show; I find it personally more or less unwatchable, but for reasons that have nothing to do with the fact that her ingredients come from cans. Her personality grates on me, but yanno, that's my problem. Paula Deen's show is mostly not my thing, but I'm not offended by it, ffs. And her relatives that Bourdain's so contemptuous of? Those are my in-laws and the families of friends. I'm not going to pretend I have a lot in common with them, but venom about Southern and country culture is a kind of short-sighted bigotry particularly endemic in the Left, and it's time it fucking stopped.

Mostly, I am frigging done with this notion that food is only worth making by slow laborious process using only the very finest ingredients. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Alton Brown, even though I mostly like you.) I love cooking; I am a big fat guy from a big fat Eye-talian family, and I take joy in a lovingly crafted meal. But I also, a great deal of the time, have books to read and writing to do and music to play and family to spend time with and, oh yeah, a day job, and I don't have the time or the scratch or the energy to make everything a masterpiece. So I am solidly a Rachel Ray supporter, even if her bubbly enthusiasm doesn't always read as the most sincere. The notion that satisfying food requires neither arcane skill nor great investments of time is a cause I can get behind. According to Bourdain, this makes me some sort of unwashed idiotic junk-food addict. As far as I'm concerned, he can take his roasted goat and his still-beating cobra heart and blow me.

#221 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Maybe Bourdain needs to go read French Cooking in Ten Minutes, by Edouard de Pomiane.

#222 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 03:19 PM:

I'm not unbiased when it comes to Anthony Bourdain. But he's not a misogynist, he's a misanthrope. I appreciate that Bourdain calls it likes he sees it, and apologizes* for the times he's been an ass. Bourdain is brash, uncouth, blunt, opinionated, and articulate. I always appreciate that even if I don't agree with him, at least he's got an opinion and the spine to share it. Rather like the people here!

I agreed with most everything in his review. I've disagreed with other things he has said and written, because I'm willing to compromise in areas he's not. My brain editorializes with "Pull that stick out of your bum, Bourdain" and other comments along that line.

*He's said that he's been a jerk about Emeril, and has lightened up about "The Ewok".

#223 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 03:49 PM:

"Misogyny" was likely too strong a word; as I said, likely enough that there's something in his tone that pushed that button for me without any ill intent behind it, prickly little feminist that I am. I'm willing to believe that the subtext of "Giada's a good cook in spite of getting silly girl cooties all over it" is one I'm imposing unfairly. (Not that misanthropy gets any real excuse from me. And "I hate everyone but I will attack you in particular for being cutesy and frivolous" - well, it certainly buys into a certain amount of sexist bullshit even if it's not especially sexist itself.)

I stand by the rest of it, though. I have no problem with someone having contrary opinions. People interested in civilized discourse say things like "this doesn't work for me for x various reasons." (As folks largely do in the Fluorosphere - although I avoid the Donaldson discussions.) Bullies and jerks sneer and spit bile and get their fans to applaud them for being "blunt" and "brash." I remain unimpressed.

#224 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Disclaimer: we spent Monday watching the Bourdain marathon on The Travel Channel.

I'm more or less amused by the fact that it's the women who are finding Bourdain's opinions unexceptionable, and at least one man all et up with outrage over his rather mild snark (compared, say, with discussions my sister, daughter, and I get into over Martha, Rachael, Sandra, and others, which are frequent, vehement, and frequently obscene).

I can make easy food quickly without thinking too much about it: I was taught in the hard school of feeding teenage boys working long hours in the hot sun. I want to learn things I don't know, and, on The Food Network, the opportunities to do so have become more and more rare.

#225 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 04:24 PM:

Dan, I went back and reread Bourdain, and I really don't think he's being sexist. "Giada can cook!" has the subtext of "and none of the other so-called New Talent can! How'd she slip by the suits? Oh yeah, her cleavage. Bozos."

I think Bourdain's a jerk, but he also nailed my reasons for not watching the Food Network. Bring back Biba's Italian Kitchen and Taste! Down with the perky fake evil! I want to learn things, dammit!

And JESR, if you're gonna slag Rachael Ray, can I come over and help? I'll bring the beer.

#226 ::: Linda Daly ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 04:34 PM:

It's Jim's birthday?

Happy birthday! Here's to cake and good booze and much celebration -- and many, many happy returns.

Make a wish! You absolutely deserve one. Actually, you deserve several, so make a few of them. Cheers!

#227 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 04:37 PM:

I was in my local Borders a couple of weeks back and they had an edition of the 'French Chef Cookbook' in the sale shelves. Hardback, no less, and not from a remainder house. No pictures, but for under $10 it's a deal.

#228 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 04:42 PM:

TexAnne, I admit yours is a much more likely interpretation. I'm certainly happy to be wrong about that part of it.

So, Bourdain: Not a sexist. Still an asshole.

#229 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 05:30 PM:

JESR, I won't repeat here what I say when, say on Saturday, I go out to do some housework in the rest of the house, come back to my office, find I've left the TV on and that.... Semi 'ho'-made creature is on. EEEUW. And Rachel is too farking perky.

I agree with Tony's review of the FN,

#230 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 06:11 PM:

PJEvans #21:

Why does it seem like all de Pomaine's recipes start with "Boil a pot of water" even when the water never gets used, as near as I can tell? This is definitely one of life's little mysteries. (I should add that it takes more than ten minutes for my gas stove to bring any quantity of water over a cup to anything resembling a boil, so that the "10 minutes" thing is already toasted by definition.)

OTOH, his comments on table manners and the like still charm me, twenty years or so after I got the book.

#231 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Oh, my, I seem to have invoked the Way-Far-Back Machine! Try #221, instead.

#232 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Tex Anne, strangely enough, my husband's family had a bakery and brewery in Brenheim, up until Prohibition. So I'm all for good hand-made Texas beer.

It's Ms. Ray's voice, in tandem with her tedious perkiness, which gets all of us. That and the way she's prone to waste perfectly good ingrediants with just that much too much stuff; in general, we cook stuff which is more sophisticated, and faster, without being so fiddly.

#233 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 06:18 PM:

joann @ 231

It's so much easier with a microwave. Or an electric kettle. (I lived in an apt with a range like that. I'd boil the water in the kettle, then dump it in the pan on the stove.)

#234 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 06:19 PM:

JESR, I smack my forehead in delight. It had never occurred to me to wonder where "Brenham" came from, but I bet you're right. In celebration thereof, I'll bring you some Blue Bell. Or even better, some Shiner Bock ice cream, made fresh in Austin.

Dang, now I'm all hungry.

#235 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Dan @ #228 So, Bourdain: Not a sexist. Still an asshole.

Yup.

I admit to liking "blunt", because I spend too much time with people that expect me to be a mind reader, or to understand what they're trying to say without having to come out and say "it". Whatever "it" might be. Then they are disappointed because we aren't communicating well. Le sigh.

On a food/cookbook related note - has anyone here seen the Au Pied de Cochon cookbook? The illustrations are hilarious. I haven't cooked anything yet, but I'm enjoying the reading.

#236 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Tania, 235:

Well, there's blunt and there's blunt. I agree very much with your point that saying what you mean is a good thing. I draw the line at using it as an excuse to be as unpleasant as possible. I think some folks start to use it as a schtick, especially if they get good feedback for being funny. I find this distressing, though I realize this makes me a minority in the Age of Snark and Irony.

And I know I'm a dreadful old wet blanket. I have issues with taking delight in hating; I think it diminishes us and leaches joy from the world. And I'm afraid snobbery is a big old hot button for me, which is why this sort of thing winds me up more than it probably ought to. A preference is not a virtue is one of my credos. But I suppose I'm not really expecting to make any converts here.

#237 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 09:03 PM:

Happy birthday, Jim!

Had I known it was so near, I would have saved you an igor bar at Boskone...

#238 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Dan - you make good points, and I shall ponder upon them. I don't think a person should be blunt in a cruel way. Making a virtue of never telling a lie, thereby being a noxious ass, is wrong. My husband has problems with being very perceptive and conversely having all the tact of inherent in a box of washers. He means well...

Part of my wanting blunt was fueled by the audio conference I was held hostage in for three hours this morning. I was ready to start ranting like a crazy woman after the first forty-five minutes.

Snobbery and elitism sometimes put me off, but the one that makes my hackles rise is condescension. There are some few occasions where condescension is appropriate, but they are few and far between.

#239 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Miss Manners, I think it was, once remarked that "I only ever say what I really mean" is another way of saying "I am now going to insult you."

#240 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 07:28 AM:

McCOY: Jim, I think I liked him with a beard better. It gave him character. Of course almost any change would be a distinct improvement. What worries me is the easy way his counterpart fitted into that other universe.

KIRK: I always thought Spock was a bit of a pirate at heart.

SPOCK: Indeed, gentlemen. May I point out that I had an opportunity to observe your counterparts here quite closely. They were brutal, savage, unprincipled, uncivilized, treacherous -- In every way, splendid examples of homo sapiens, the very flower of humanity. I found them quite refreshing.

KIRK: I'm not sure, but I think we've been insulted.

McCOY: I'm sure.

#242 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 09:01 AM:

Tania 238: In re. condescension, I could not agree with you more. And you have my complete sympathy for your feelings post-conference; gods know I've sat through a enough meetings wishing that more of the subtext would just become text already.

Dave 239: Exactly. (The same principle applies, of course, to any statement that starts out "I know this isn't very PC, but...")

#243 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Larry #195: ... here in the States, we're going on Daylight Savings early this year, as a sort of half-hearted energy savings measure courtesy of Bush and the (former) GOP Congress.

This was announced at the time as "Turning the corner in the War On Darkness."

#244 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Daylight Savings: Oh, well, I need to get up earlier this time of year anyway. The chance I'll have to get a vet out for calving problems is a looming threat, and one wants to be next in line after the dairy farmers (who are all crazy. The dairy economy runs on federal price controls and functional OCD).

#245 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 12:27 PM:

In today's Wigu, Topato decides, on the spur of the moment, to write the "greatest work of literature in all of recorded history" with no writing experience. Perhaps his ms. is a candidate for PA.

#246 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 01:32 PM:

PJ Evans #233:

But a microwave always feels like cheating! I mean, I use it for frozen food; any other use involves frozen cooties. Or something.

But then, my last microwave lasted for 22 years, and only got replaced because husband wanted something that revolved, with a little more power.

#247 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 01:34 PM:

TexAnne #234:

Shiner Bock ice cream? Where do I find this? Or do I have to make it myself? (And is it really ice cream, or more of a sorbetish thing?)

#248 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 02:51 PM:

joann: Amy's, where else? Yes, it's real live delicious honest-to-God ice cream. Unfortunately they don't have it all the time...

#249 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 03:00 PM:

joann 2 246

Revolving would be nice. Except if (like the one here at work) the little wheels keep coming off the turntable.

My market has started carrying 'Taste of Thai' noodle meals, where you get the packets of ingredients in a takeout-type box, and then nuke them in the box. Three to five minute meals, and tasty too. 'Simply Asian' is doing them also, with soft wheat noodles instead of rice sticks.

#250 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 05:02 PM:

TexAnne #248: Amy's, where else?

Unfortunately, we don't like Amy's; the texture reminds us of spackling paste with lots of sugar in. Maybe I'll hunt up a recipe, or better yet, a recipe involving stout.

#251 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 06:19 PM:

Today on "To the Point" that bastion of uncorrected error, a nice professorial type with an English accent averred that Anna Nicole Smith had much in common with the "heroines" of Anthony Trollope's novels, notably Lizzie Eustace. He also described Trollope as "more respectable" than Dickens. This only proves to me that he hasn't read The Vicar of Bullhampton or The Belton Estate to name only the first two to come to mind, and that his definition of "respectable" is one I'd be hard pressed to support.

*gripe*

#252 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 07:24 PM:

Hey, what happened to the post before the Geek Test? (Please don't tell me I dreamed it. Dreaming an entire new Doctor Who episode is enough for one month.)

#253 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 08:55 PM:

Teresa, Patrick: I'm going to be at NY Comicon tomorrow.
I will, hopefully, drop by the Tor booth.

#255 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Baldrick (Blackadder)/Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows)

If this one doesn't already exist, it should.

The first pairing it generated was the Morgendorfer sisters; I'm willing to bet there are several stories in Quinn/Daria on AFF.net.

#256 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 10:01 PM:

The Corporation Name Generator is fun, too.

"Langley Instrument Business Apparel". Does your Langley Series 25a Airflow Meter need a three piece suit or will business casual do?

#257 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2007, 10:44 PM:

I keep seeing this commercial on SciFi for a "SciFi Pictures Original" (a subtype of "cheesy skiffy flick"), and the brag line is "from the mind of William Shatner."

That's really piling on the badness. But I guess it's akin to saying "out of nothingness."

#258 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2007, 06:17 AM:

Regarding the Anthony Bourdain particle: It occurs to me that, whatever you think of the man, Bourdain throwing down on the Food Network is much to be preferred over Bourdain throwing up on the Food Network...

#259 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2007, 09:52 AM:

It's not often that I get in ahead of Making Light's wondrous Sidelights and Particles, but I am quietly smug that the Ansible links page listed Under Torch Wood months before Patrick found it. OK, it's a British thing....

#260 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:38 PM:

I must admit, I don't see what's so awful about the video at the link "Why white people died out." No, that lead singer hasn't aged well, and yes, their hair and costumes make me think they go by "Candi" and "Marci" on weekends, but...

#261 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Responding to the "Why white people died out particle" ... But, dude, Neil Peart's telling us why white people will live forever, even when their triumph is all bitter with suck-ass immortality and shit.

Plus, Geddy so totally rocks the Ricky.

#262 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Xopher, the Rush video was actively painful. The sheer amount of slack time and the pointless repetitions were enough to make me start twitching. The most I can say in praise of Rush is that at their very best moments, they managed to sound exactly like mid-period Yes. However, I didn't become cataplectic until several minutes into the video, when they started portentously intoning rejiggered fragments of lines from Coleridge's "Kubla Khan". I swear, they outdid Spinal Tap performing "Stonehenge".

Dave: that's justifiable smugness. I'll settle for being mildly jealous that Patrick found it before I did.

#263 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:36 PM:

Re: the Rush video: Tuning those guitars must be... interesting.

Normally I am in favor of complex music, but that performance ('scuse me, I need a hot soapy shower)(Hot Soapy Shower w/eyeball disinfectant) caused me to dredge the MC5 up from memory to clear my palate. Um, tympanum. You know.

#264 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 07:36 AM:

I love the spelling reference. You should add hierarchy and deity.

Also, while "accommodate" is correct, if you ever want to find somewhere cheap to stay, googling "accomodation" and the name of the place often works wonders for discovering budget accommodation. I found this out by mistake, but it really works.

#265 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Thanks, Jo, for keeping this thread going, when it seems to be withering much quicker than usual while everyone discusses Serious Stuff elsewhere!

And just when I actually watched the Oscars, trying to tune out the tedium and notice things like Gore's "My fellow Americans" joke (as the music swelled), Melissa E.'s thanks to her wife, and the rampant internationalism....

#266 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 10:53 AM:

Oh my lord. You've probably all seen this...but...

http://www.masondixonknitting.com/archives/2007_02.html#001816

Check out the knitting mockumentary.

#267 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 12:14 PM:

That video mostly served to remind me how much I still love that era of Rush. (Mmm, A Farewell to Kings.)

Don't make me sic my big brother on you lot.

#268 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 01:03 PM:

It's probably my imagination, but, when last night's Oscars celebrated those who'd passed away, the applause seemed stronger when James Doohan came up.

#269 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 01:32 PM:

The Department of Peace:

http://www.thepeacealliance.org/

Who decides what is Societal Discord?

#270 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 02:55 PM:

(open thread revector, hang on to something)

So, I'm watching TV the other night, and they were talking about a "40 years of Star Trek" auction that the studio had at Christie's auction house. They were basically pulling out some of the cool stuff from the prop house and selling it.

Christies website for the auction

The TV show followed some of the items that sold pretty high. They had the model of the Enterprise D that was used for the TV show. The thing was like eight feet long or something. Christie's catalogue listed it in the potential range of 5-15 thousand dollars. It sold for half a million dollars. The original Enterprise A went for a quarter million.

Did everyone else know about this but me? i'm always out of the loop....

#271 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Teresa: The most I can say in praise of Rush is that at their very best moments, they managed to sound exactly like mid-period Yes.

Oooh, and ouch. I never want to get into a flame war with you. (I still number some bits of Yes among my guilty pleasures, but I'm quite aware of their shortcomings and pomposity.)

#272 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Re #264: I just noticed the collection of spelling referents. How long has it been there?

Normally I seem to store information in written form- that is, I don't read things out loud, in my head, I just read them. Also, I store foreign language bits visually. However, every time I see that list I start reading it aloud, mentally. It sounds like NPR.

... now my brain is making up spelling-bee style sentence fragments. "Delany. Without further delany." I fear for the future.

#273 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:37 PM:

Re the spelling reference:
I would add Cthulhu - I always forget the second H.

#274 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Speaking of Cthulhu, colossal squid caught.

#275 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 08:27 PM:

Greg, I knew about the Trek auction. There was an article about it in the WashPost.

#276 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 11:11 PM:

Ewww. My friend just told me he was eating wonton soup. I was startled, and said "you're eating MEAT?" because I thought he was vegetarian.

"It's cheese wonton," he replied. Mind you, this was over the phone, and he had to repeat himself several times, because what I was hearing made no sense.

I have never heard of such a thing. Dairy in Chinese cuisine is an abomination unto the culinary dieties (Hestia etc.).

Has anyone ever heard of cheese wontons before? I've never seen anything called a wonton that wasn't meat.

Wanton, yes. Wanton and cheesy often go together. But not wonton.

#277 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 01:24 AM:

Xopher: Yes, they're a bit of a cliché in "Pacific Fusion" cuisine. Frex, chèvre wontons served as an appetizer with a chili-apricot sauce. Entirely untraditional but tasty.

#278 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 02:02 AM:

Speaking of music, this fun animation of an instrument playing itself:

http://www.flixxy.com/animusic-resonant-chamber.htm

I couldn't even get through the Rush video.

#279 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Congratulations to Jo Walton, Nebula finalist! (Link in Sidelights.)

#280 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 09:09 AM:

Marilee: figures it was just me. Oh well.

Randolph: So, I'm watching that video without sound (because I just discovered there's something screwy with my headphones, but anyway), and there is something about it that creeps me out. Maybe the experience will be different once I get my headphones working again.

I have always wanted to learn how to run the various tools in a machine shop (mill, lathe, etc), but I couldn't justify the time and expense because I never had anything I really wanted to build. That would be an interesting device to try to construct.

#281 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Clifton 271: I dare not speak for all prog fans (for skiffy fandom is like unto a fluffy bunny love romp compared to some of the fractious, surly, triumphalist, and singularly humorless members of my musical tribe), but at least among the folks I get along best with, the pomposity is very much part of the point. I find over-the-top and bombast a useful corrective to self-conscious irony and studied sincerity; needless to say, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

I don't believe in guilty pleasures, though. The feeling that one ought to be ashamed of the things that make one happy is a nice way to make the soul die a little bit.

I'm-a go listen to "Limelight" now.

#282 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 09:27 AM:

Dan @ 281... I don't believe in guilty pleasures, though. The feeling that one ought to be ashamed of the things that make one happy is a nice way to make the soul die a little bit.

That's not quite how guilty pleasures work, Dan. A guilty pleasure is something that I know will have others roll their eyes (at best) upon finding that I enjoy it (*), to which my response (mental or physical) is "It gives me pleasure and it's none of your bleeping business that it does."

(*) For example, 1980's Flash Gordon. and 1976's At The Earth's Core.

#283 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 10:01 AM:

Working on my Hugo ballot. Remind me of any should-be-nominees that I've forgotten.

(I won't nominate if I'm not familiar with the work in question, but I am tremendously spacey about remembering any given year's greatest hits.)

#284 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Serge, that's certainly how it ought to work. My understanding of the common usage is "Something I am embarassed to admit I like." YMMV; I prefer your definition, natch, though still object to the word "guilty" - I'm reluctant to give even that much ground to naysayers. :)

#285 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Okay, this is annoying. AFAICT, I can't nominate Gordon van Gelder for an editor Hugo this year thanks to the long/short split.

Can't nominate him for his short-form work, since I haven't picked up an issue of F&SF all year so I've no idea how good it's been.

Can't nominate him for the Tiptree bio, which is what I sort of had in mind, since I'm not aware of three other long-form things he's edited in the last year.

Anyone want to tell me a good reason I'm wrong? I'd like to be wrong.

#286 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Xopher, plenty of Chinese restaurants in the US serve something called Crab Rangoon, also sometimes called Cheese Wontons. It's cream cheese and crab (or imitation crab meat, more likely), and maybe scallions, wrapped up in a wonton skin and deep-fried. Like fortune cookies, it's a "Chinese" dish that you won't find in China.

#287 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 11:28 AM:

Here's a case of the disgraceful and destructive medical neglect of prisoners--this is about Bill Wells, a fan some of you may know.

I won't discuss why he's in there. I don't have enough information to judge his guilt or innocence. But even assuming he's fully guilty and deserving of his sentence, the punishments he receives should be those prescribed by the law, not consequences of bureaucratic stupidity or personal malice. The letter which I received from him in November of 2006 says that the prison system is failing, very badly, to live up to that standard. I've known him long enough to have confidence that he would not make up this story.

The heart of it is a fairly simple matter. He has psychiatric issues; the fact that he's in that facility says that the prison system is aware of them. Because of these issues, he finds it impossible to eat with the other prisoners; but he is not allowed to take food back to his cell. This means that unless he can buy his own food in the commissary, he can't eat. His financial resources are limited; lately I've been sending him some money to help remedy this. His one recourse to avoid major malnutrition is to get himself put into solitary. He does get treatment for a while if his malnutrition becomes severe, but then the cycle starts over again.
The fix to this should be simple; let him eat in his cell. Surely that wouldn't cause a breakdown of the punitive system or let him feel he's living in luxury. But they won't do that.

He was allowed to eat in his cell in a previous prison--I don't know if what he's up against is an individual decision or policy of this particular prison.

He needs about $75/week to get commissary food.

Money for him should be sent to:

Federal Bureau of Prisons
Theodore Wells
12561-050
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001

The payment must be a money order -- no personal checks. Postal money
orders work fine. The money will be credited directly to his account,
rather than the money order being delivered to him, so don't enclose any
correspondence when sending money to that address.

Full information is at http://www.bop.gov/inmate_programs/money.jsp.

#288 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Dan @ 284... I prefer your definition, natch, though still object to the word "guilty" - I'm reluctant to give even that much ground to naysayers

Good point. The word guilty does let 'them' define the situation. I guess I still use it anyway because it's an easy short-cut.

#289 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Susan @ 283... Working on my Hugo ballot. Remind me of any should-be-nominees that I've forgotten.

Anything in the fine print that'd allow Making Light's nomination in the fanzine category, Susan?

#290 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Serge @ #289:
It's not clear to me that ML qualifies as a fanzine (the "issues" thing, and perhaps the "devoted to" bit, depending on how one defines "related subjects"), though I believe its denizens certainly qualify as fan writers.

3.3.12: Best Fanzine. Any generally available non-professional publication devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects which by the close of the previous calendar year has published four (4) or more issues, at least one (1) of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and which does not qualify as a semiprozine.

3.3.13: Best Fan Writer. Any person whose writing has appeared in semiprozines or fanzines or in generally available electronic media during the previous calendar year.


I'm a little bugged by the aura of award-for-dying, but Mike Ford would be eligible and strikes me as a very suitable nominee in the latter category. I will think about this - I have four whole days to ponder nominations.

#291 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Susan... Yes, do nominate Mike Ford as best fan writer.

Regarding the fanzines themselves... Yes, the issue requirement is a problem. I guess it's a matter of a minimum volume for a publication. Then again, if one were to print one month's worth of Making Light, it'd probably be way more than the equivalent of four issues. As for the 'devoted to SF' clause... Even when ML doesn't talk about SF, the latter permeates the site and is there even when we don't refer to it directly.

I think.

#292 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Going a bit sideways here for a minute:
Wonderful headline at the LA Times (the parts found were head and hand):

Body parts found in San Diego may be connected, police say

#293 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 04:16 PM:

The spelling reference of "Deity" reminds me of "Mr. Deity", a series of short videos on youtube, all linked to from the producer's site:

http://mrdeity.com/

They're pretty amusing.

There's also "God, Inc", also short and mildly funny. Office politics meets theology!

#294 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Greg, I think it's the biomorphic quality of the instrument that plays itself through the recording--the insectile fretboard fingers, the plant-like forms of the zithers, and the general sense of organisms in collision.

#295 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 12:53 AM:

By the way, Martian architecture.

#296 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 08:14 AM:

I saw a coming attraction over the weekend for a science-fiction movie called The Last Mimzy. It sounds like a very free adaptation of Mimsy Were The Borogove by Lewis Padget, aka Henry Kuttner and Catherine Moore, with its toy that is way more than a toy.

#297 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 09:11 AM:

Headsets are working. Yay!
That self-playing-instrument thingy sounds cool.
Yeah, when I win the lottery and retire to do all the does-not-contribute-to-the-gross-national-product things I want to do, I'd like to learn how to use machine tools and build one of those things.
It still looks a little creepy though.
;)

#298 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 09:26 AM:

Thank you, Patrick.

#299 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 09:48 AM:

A question for readers of the Dresden novels... In those, does Harry use a hockey stick as his magical staff? Also, is Bob the Ghost as funny in the novels as he is in the TV version? The last episode had a scene where Harry is watching a French movie with a lady friend, some French story about a man and a woman who love each other and who are betrothed but not to each other, and the lady is sniffling, but Harry is more interested in the popcorn bowl. Meanwhile, Bob is in tears.

#300 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 12:01 PM:

TNH's Particles are made literal today.

Brazil nuts concentrate alpha emitters. That's just one of the things physics students learn. Now the rest of you are in on the secret.

#301 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Serge @#299

I don't remember about the hockey stick, sorry.

Bob is very funny, but different, in the books. He's not a ghost, for instance, but an incorporeal air spirit with a disconcerting inability to tell the difference between right and wrong. He's obsessed with romance novels (for the hot sex) and with getting permission to get out of the skull to go corrupt the coeds at various institutions of higher learning in Chicago.

#302 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Speediest library service ever:

The National Library of Ireland

for receiving a first inquiry about a 300-year-old book last Wednesday and managing to locate it, copy it, and get the copies out the door by Thursday for me to receive yesterday (Tuesday).

Curing grief by shopping; received yesterday:
- photocopy of aforementioned 300-year-old book of dances

- nice comparative edition with translation of a couple of early 1600s English dance manuals in French (well, one manual and its preplagiarization)

- two books about Jane Austen's world which are laden with quotes and pictures (and completely free of footnotes or anything else scholarly that would help me track them down), both of which use the same cover picture (misdated by one), and both of which have errors and major omissions in their one page (each) of notes on dance (different errors, at least, but the same omissions)

- original 1879 dance manual from favorite antiquarian book dealer, which contains nothing I didn't already have (since I already had it in photocopy), but it makes me happy to hold it and, um, pet it

- really fetishy lace-up platform shoes with spike heels

My post office thinks I've gone insane; I don't usually get my mail in a bin.

#303 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Wandering around:

San Antonio: Monday-Wednesday next week. Is there anything non-obvious and interesting I should do in San Antonio?

Minicon via work sending me to conference: predictably, no-go from boss; maybe next year.

Readercon: under consideration. Suspect it is also a con full of the "right people" I'm not part of, and creeped out a little by the fact that the website makes it a Deep Dark Secret who actually runs the thing, but debating whether to go anyway because it's close, for once I can make the calendar work, and I can always bring a good book.

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Platform shoes WITH spike heels, Susan? That sounds, ah, interesting. And darn dangerous. (Also reminds me of the Bloom County strip where Opus the Penguin confessed to having dreams where Grace Jones uses him as a platform dance while she's wearing stiletto heels.)

#305 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Sarah S @ 301... Bob the Ghost with co-eds? That certainly is a change from the original. I think I prefer the TV version. As for the hockey stick, maybe the show came up with that because it's filmed in Canada. (As far as I can tell though, it hasn't been anywhere near the X-Files/StarGate/Caprica/Eureka redwood forest. Not yet anyway.)

#306 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Serge:
The platform cancels out the heels and actually makes them more comfortable and easier to walk in. I already had this pair in one color; now I have them in two colors. This was my reward for selling lots'n'lots of jewelry (enough to pay my property taxes) at my last show - a trip to The Shoe Guy to order Kewl Shoes.

#307 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Wait, the last wand I saw Harry wield was a drumstick (the kind drummers use on snare heads, not the piece-of-cooked-bird kind).

#308 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Xopher @ 307... The episode with the hockey stick was the one with the vampire lady. Maybe Harry uses whatever long wooden thingy happens to be handy at the time.

#309 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Susan @ 306... I guess the shoes are safe as long as you're not out on a mission as an International Woman of Mystery. Then again, I don't think her shoe-wear ever slowed Emma Peel down.

#310 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Oh, the ep after his drumstick got destroyed. I taped the one with the vampire lady and haven't watched it yet, so I'll have to put my hands over my ears, shut my eyes, and say "Bunnies! Bunnies! Bunnies!"

#311 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 02:23 PM:

(I found this in today's newsletter from the Annals of Improbable Research)

The judges have chosen a winner for last month's Exhibitionists
Progress Limerick Competition, which asked for a limerick to
honor the following study:

"Progressive Phases in the Group Therapy of
Exhibitionists," J.L. Mathis and M. Collins,
International Journal of Group Psychotherapy,
vol. 20, no. 2, April 1970, pp. 163-9.

The winner is investigator Joanne Leary, who wrote:

Therapists noted for treating
Those who would show off their seating
Have marked a progression
From urge to obsession
In all who attended a meeting.

And here is the latest from Limerick Laureate Martin Eiger:

In the first phase, the flasher denies,
Then accepts, then is angry, then cries.
Would the problem, some day,
Simply vanish away
If others averted their eyes?

Tiller vibration is the subject of this month's limerick
competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that
illuminates the nature of this report (which was brought to our
attention by investigator Tom Gill):

"Vibration Characteristics of Walking and
Riding Type Power Tillers," Bini Sam and
K. Kathirvel, Biosystems Engineering, vol. 95, no. 4,
December 2006, pp. 517-28.

(Will abi take up the challenge?)

#312 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 02:40 PM:

If you’re lucky your tiller will till
your whole garden, on plain or on hill.
And at the right elevation
with maxed out vibration
your tiller’s a clitoral thrill.

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Sarah S @ 312... That was... er... quick. And here's where to send your... ah... entry.

(Excerpted from their newsletter)

PRIZE: The winning poet will receive a (if we manage to send it
to the correct address) a free, and almost vibrant, issue of the
Annals of Improbable Research. Send entries (one entry per
entrant) to:

TILLER VIBRATION COMPETITION
c/o marca AT chem2.harvard.edu

#314 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Have you seen the music video for Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit", made out of old Trek footage? You ought to be able to find it by searching for "star trek" and "white rabbit" on YouTube.

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Speaking of YouTube, here's a tribute to Edward James Olmos, which starts with him as the Devil in Zoot Suit...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m47Fpw_NIcs

#316 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Serge #313

The three things a limerick should be: Fast. Funny. Filthy.

I'm not sure mine's all that funny, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad, as Meatloaf is wont to remind us.

#317 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:21 PM:

For Sarah S.--

A tiller while tilling her tilth
Had some thoughts that converged upon filth.
She'd shimmy and shake
In the farm machine's wake,
'Til her tiller had thrilled her, that sylph!

#318 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:28 PM:

Howard--

You're officially the best thing that's happened all day. I shall now recommence giggling.

#319 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:35 PM:

I'm sorry - I am just not in a limerick mood right now. (And I don't think I could match either of the two contenders already in place.)

#320 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Not totally OT:
One of my uncles referred to his tractor as a butt-vibrator (that is, it vibrated the tail-end). Having used a garden tractor myself, tractors do count as some kind of exercise machine.

#321 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:45 PM:

abi @ 319... Sorry to hear that.

#322 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Open Thread linking:

Argentina and Brazil have some fun with letters.

Or, if we're doing limericks:

Brazil and Argentina did play,
In typographical ad-spot melee.
The Argentines bragged their footie
Would claim all Brazil's booty,
But instead they got kicked in the "a."

#323 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Serge, as you well know only a putz
would ride on a tiller, since nuts
both get a pounding
(though there's no real grounding)
and one gets such a rush in the guts.

#324 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 05:47 PM:

Feragano...

Schmucks are idiots,
And so is the putz.
Diff'rence is, the putz's drivin',
So said actor Alan Arkin.

#325 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 06:06 PM:

Susan #303:

The most obvious unobvious thing for you is currently in limbo: the Hertzberg Circus Collection folded its tent and is now in storage.

But: the Witte Museum has an exhibit (closes March 18) of Roaring Twenties fashions.

Recommended: Schilo's Delicatessen, 424 E. Commerce Street (downtown a half block from the Riverwalk), with 2-layer cheesecake to die for.

If you have access to a car, the non-Alamo missions are well worth the effort, especially Mission San Jose and Mission Espada.

Wandering around the King William District is fun, and there was an article a couple months ago in the NYTimes (probably the 36 Hours thing) on the area just east of that.

#326 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 09:40 PM:

Joann way way back @230 -- de Pomaine has you do this because (a) it's so often useful to have hot water; (b) it gets you in the kitchen and started cooking before you have time to wimp out; (c) it takes a while to boil, so if you need it, it had better be started first; and (d) he says you can always use it for coffee after dinner if you haven't used it earlier. Coffee after dinner may not be your thing, (or mine, if I want to sleep), but it's very French.

#327 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 10:58 PM:

I don't remember if I plugged it yet, but my cousin's wife has a really nice cooking / meal planning blog:

http://cooking4theweek.blogspot.com/

#328 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 11:14 PM:

If a furrow's in need of attention,
A good tiller's a helpful invention;
The effects it produces
Can be put to more uses
Than the manual sees fit to mention.

#329 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 11:15 PM:

Per the guru of SFTV
"According to Robert Wolfe,the producer-"...you're more likely to see someone walking around downtown Chicago with a hockey stick than with a fancy wizard staff.""

#330 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 11:45 PM:

gonna be a long night here. Unless I take a Xanax. We've got at least two more hours of storms trained to hit us. The city didn't get tornados but there were some out south. It has hailed, it has lightning'd and it has poured/rained on and off. Right now it's raining steadily.

Glad I don't have to go out. Laptop is currently not plugged into anything, we have a wireless router and we still have power.

Sometime on the overnight it's supposed to snow (though it is NOT supposed to go below about 35 degrees).

Oooh, neat (or something like that), sounds like it is pouring and hailing again....

#331 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Paula @ 330-
Take all care..
so glad we were in Ft. Scott & KC 2 weekends ago and not this one...

#332 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Thanks, Nina. For updates see dragonet2 on LiveJournal.

If you're ever here and at a loss for things to do (I doubt it, if you know about Fort Scott...) drop me a note. I also enjoy meeting people face-to-face that I've 'met' here.

#333 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 01:27 AM:

So. Last time I was here I was making a big fat stupid deal of myself. I don't want to do that again, so I'm just going to crawl back with my tail between my legs and beg forgiveness for bad behavior and try to make as few ripples on re-entry as possible.

Especially to Patrick: sorry?

Y'all are too fun to give up. Also, I wanted to say that Avram's White Rabbit/Trek thing at #314 is hilarious.

#334 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 01:42 AM:

Ethan,

You mischaracterise the situation to your own detriment.

Welcome back. I've been hoping you'd return.

#335 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 02:02 AM:

ethan,

it's good to see you, you squirrely little gay jew, you!

(& i mean that in the nicest possible way, if it wasn't clear to everyone. & it is by way of a reference to an earlier conversation here. & it may have been a tiny bit funny, if i hadn't felt the need to disclaim it so much.)

#336 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 02:15 AM:

Paula - stay warm and dry. Best wishes.

ethan is back! Hurrah!

Writing verse every day is hard. In case I haven't mentioned it before - I bow down before abi and Fragano.

::genuflect::

#337 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 05:56 AM:

Welcome back, ethan!

#338 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 06:00 AM:

Pouring AND hailing, Paula? Whoopeedoo, eh?

#339 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 06:03 AM:

Nina Armstrong @ 329... "...you're more likely to see someone walking around downtown Chicago with a hockey stick than with a fancy wizard staff."

Tonight, on the SciFi Channel, Harry Dresden fights the Lord of the Rink.

"One puck to bind them all..."

#340 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 07:51 AM:

Ethan, happy to see your return (Serge already used 'welcome back').

Paula @330: We've got at least two more hours of storms trained to hit us.

I'd think if you had trained storms, they'd be instructed not to hit people's houses ;)

Hope you weathered the storms okay.

#342 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 11:19 AM:

re. 18thc particle:

I remember these things by the song.

#343 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 11:27 AM:

You see "All hail Prince Rupert" and you immediately think of which of the following:

- the English Civil War
- turn left and march to the wall
- Poul Anderson
- Canada

#344 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 11:35 AM:

P.N.Elrod wrote to my wife yesterday about some Absolute Write posts indicating that one of her novels had been posted on the web for free downloading. We have no idea which Susan Krinard novel it is that someone went thru the trouble of scanning.

I'm almost inclined to see that as a badge of honor.

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 11:40 AM:

Susan @ 343... "All hail Prince Rupert"

Where do we go to do that?

#346 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Oh, I get it, Susan. (I tell you, Folger's Instant Crap just doesn't work anymore.)

My answer?
None of the above.
I think of Rupert Everett.

#347 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Noted without comment:
Ohio Lawmakers Want Sex Predator Plates

(seen on N.Y. Times main page)

#348 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 01:24 PM:

joann @ #325:

Thanks for the tip on the exhibit at the Witte - hopefully I will be able to get there either Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoon.

I won't have access to a car, unfortunately.

#349 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 01:54 PM:

We've really got to work on English skills among customer service/sales scriptwriters. The meaning of "save", for example, usually considered to be the opposite of "spend" by normal people.

I called the phone company about something. They sensed a sales opp. They present purchasing cell phone service for $29.99/month as a way to SAVE MONEY! I ask if they will then take $29.99 off my normal phone bill. Long silence. Negative response. I ask if I should drop my normal phone service in favor of the cell. Flustered, negative response. I ask very politely how spending an extra $29.99/month is saving me money. Long silence. Hemming and hawing. I get bored and hang up.

(My normal phone service, including local, long distance, and broadband internet service, only costs me about $50/month - their definition of saving money is more than a 50% price increase!)

Phone service was so much better before we got Belled.

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 03:01 PM:

I just started reading Asimov's's 30th-anniversary issue and came across the following as Connie Willis reminisces about her association with the magazine:

"...Gardner Dozois told me I was never going to get a cover illustration for one of my stories unless I put some spaceships or dinosaurs in them..."

#351 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 03:04 PM:

ethan! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! ethan's back! The snark just hasn't been the same, and neither have the movie analyses and recommendations!

#352 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Aw, shucks, guys.

#353 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 04:34 PM:

w00t! Ethan's back! good to see you again....

#354 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 04:38 PM:

In honour of the spelling reference now included for our convenience, this poem.

We'd call our friend a Tolkien in minuscule,
except that he sees himself as a Gandhi;
we'd give him credit, it's our usual rule,
but he tells such fine stories when he's randy.

The new millennium seems a total bust
but we look for a new tale by Delany,
filled with excitement, envy, and some lust,
deeply sociological, we'd say, not zany.

There's no embarrassment, we tell you meekly,
in having written poems on Making Light;
it won't get you into Publisher's Weekly,
but on your web-page it will look just right.

An odd occurrence, that is what you tell of,
when you found the first edition of a book
written, it turns out, by the great Asimov
behind the chair in your old reading nook.

We'd accommodate you in our hierarchy
since you'd otherwise be the ghost at the feast,
but, since this is a Dahlian polyarchy,
you'd have to become a deity at least.

A pharaoh you are not, of that we're certain,
Teresa's mocked you for your petty pains;
you retire in indignation past the curtain,
your tears come down as moderate spring rains.

It's fortunate that you aren't like The Donald
and injure reputations for a lark,
you'd have to deal then with good Jim Macdonald
and its ten to one that he'd put out your spark.

#355 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Susan #343: I'd think of The Prisoner of Zenda as well as three of those.

#356 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Good to see you've returned, Ethan.

#357 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 04:48 PM:

Fragano @ 355... Except that Rupert of Hentzau wasn't a prince, much as he'd have liked to have the throne.

#358 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 05:07 PM:

I think the word I was meaning to use was 'entrained', the leading storm encourages the weather surges behind it to keep coming in the same direction. (what a party! I was up waaaay to late last night)

#359 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 05:11 PM:

What about weather serges, Paula?

#360 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Very clever, Fragano!

#361 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 06:49 PM:

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy(gasp)yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!

ETHAN's BACK!

And his front too! More importantly, his words!

*44 bars of Happy Dog Dance*

Fragano, Fragano, Fragano. Very good—but you misspelled Publishers Weekly.

#362 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Susan @ 343: You see "All hail Prince Rupert" and you immediately think of which of the following:

Yeah, it's Prisoner of Zenda for me too. I'm completely flummoxed by all of the presented options - I'm not even sure what the Poul Anderson connection is.

#363 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Susan @ 343: You see "All hail Prince Rupert" and you immediately think of which of the following:

Yeah, it's Prisoner of Zenda for me too. I'm completely flummoxed by all of the presented options - I'm not even sure what the Poul Anderson connection is.

P.S. Welcome back, ethan! I must have missed out on the fooferaw.

#364 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 07:25 PM:

You see "All hail Prince Rupert" and you immediately think of ...

Immediately? Walking in a clockwise circle, but soon thereafter marching into the wall. Or, if I'm feeling especially silly, holding my left hand next to my ear and looking sharply to the left ... Stone cold sober, too.

#365 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Ethan, #333 (half devil?) Welcome back!

#366 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Susan @ #343 - Canada. In my defense, I know why people would think of the others.

#367 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 08:15 PM:

Serge #357: But Rupert of Hentzau is such a princely name.

#368 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Abi: #360: Thanks.

Xopher #361: Eek!

#369 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Serge, @#296:

The Last Mimzy is indeed an adaptation of Kuttner's (and Moore's? — I know they collaborated on nearly every written work) Mimsy were the Borogroves, as noted on the movie's ImDB writer's page.

When I first saw the trailer for the film, I got down my copy of The Best of Henry Kuttner, and re-read the original short story. It's rather subtle, and perhaps a bit slow-paced. It feels a bit like a quiet horror piece, with themes of loss, abandonment, and the unknown. It would probably work well as a Twilight Zone conceived as a radio drama.

But I have zero expectations that the movie will have much in the way of the original story.

Random Hollywood Suit: "Hey, this has kids and toys! Lose the creep factor and make it kid-friendly, so we can make a mint!"

<eyeroll>

#370 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 09:27 PM:

Erratum in #369...

For "It would probably work well as a Twilight Zone conceived as a radio drama.", read:

It would probably work well as a Twilight Zone episode; I wonder if perhaps it was conceived as a radio drama.

#371 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 09:30 PM:

Tracie #364 -- one of the toys in Blade Runner?

#372 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Serge, I'm glad it's surging elsewhere (apparently they closed I-29 at the Iowa border this evening, the backlash of the storm front marching east (my NOAA weather online has a pretty picture of all the weather...).

The is a Very Strong front, a child died in Missouri, and a number of high school students died in Alabama, as well as others. It's getting to be the scary weather season....

#373 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 11:35 PM:

Paula @ 332-
glad you did ok-hope you continue so. Shouls have thought to drop you a line-definitely will next time-it was my SO's mother's 80th b-day-and a little goes a looong way(they're perfectly nice people,just think fandom is excessively odd).
Serge @ 339
Actually,that's the season-ending cliffhanger.

#374 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Xopher: I didn't mean to make you run out of breath. Good to see (?) you too!

Everyone at large, thanks again, and Clifton #363, I was trying not to make a fooferaw of myself again. Guess I'm just special.

#375 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 01:08 AM:

Striking, almost luminescent, photos:

NYC By Night

#376 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:13 AM:

#369: Must be a very free adaptation - I don't remember any "teenage cyborgs" in "Mimsy Were The Borogoves".

#377 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 06:38 AM:

Adaptions can be strange, sometimes.

Steampunk Star Wars

#378 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 06:46 AM:

Clifton Royston @ #363:

There's a Poul Anderson novel set during the English Civil War that features Prince Rupert as a central character. First thing I thought of, mainly because I have no idea what the other two options refer to.

#379 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 07:47 AM:

Paula @ 372... This has been a strange winter.

#380 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 07:51 AM:

Owlmirror @ 369... Yeah... I have the feeling that Kuttner and Moore will be spinning in their graves, when The Last Mimzy comes out. I wonder what they'd have thought of The Grand Tour, which used Vintage Season for a ho-hum time-travel story about averting a major disaster.

#381 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 07:55 AM:

It'd seem that Susan hasn't come back to shed light on the Matter of Prince Rupert.

In the meantime...

If you read "Evil does not wear a bonnet!", who do you think of?
a. Lady Catherine de Burgh
b. Doctor Doom
c. Mister Tinkles
d. Senator Palpatine
e. all of the above

#382 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 08:30 AM:

Speaking in terms of the dialect of English I speak natively, there's a difference between a bonnet and a hood. Bonnets are frilly and of lighter material, and more decorative than functional (except for sun protection and except for rain bonnets, which are really hoods—but I haven't seen one of those since the 70s); hoods are heavy and functional (except hoopalonde hoods, which are functional if they're worn hood style, and decorative if they're work coxcombe style—but I haven't seen one of those since the 14th Century!*), and can actually be warm.

Doom and Palpatine, therefore, have hoods, not bonnets. In fact imagining Palpatine in a bonnet ("In my Easter bonnet, with the ribbons on it, I'll be the only Sith Lord at the Easter Parade!") is very amusing.

*Well, the reconstructed 14th Century—I have one in my closet.

#383 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Susan @ #343: The phrase "Prince Rubert" makes me think of none of your choices; instead I think of The Prisoner of Zenda.

#384 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 08:53 AM:

Darn it, I meant "Prince Rupert".

#385 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Whereas my major association with "Prince Rupert" is King Crimson.

#386 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:19 AM:

Serge @ #381:

I think at least one person has caught each of the Rupert refs, but in full:

English Civil War - Prince Rupert, the historical personage

turn left and march to the wall - notable element in the 1651 dance "Prince Rupert's March", inspired by that Prince Rupert

Poul Anderson - his novel A Midsummer Night's Tempest, featuring that Prince Rupert and a cast of Shakespearean fairies

Canada - place which happened to be featured on the CNN website under travel yesterday under the banner "All hail Prince Rupert", which made me think of the former three references

#387 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:31 AM:

Susan @ 386... Ah hah!

#388 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:41 AM:

What's next, Xopher? The Sithster Bunny?

#389 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 10:56 AM:

Word of the day, with quote, that was forwarded to me:

omphaloskepsis (om-fuh-lo-SKEP-sis) noun
Contemplation of one's navel.
[From Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination).
Ultimately from the Indo-European root spek- (to observe) which is also the ancestor of suspect, spectrum, bishop (literally, overseer), despise, espionage, telescope, spectator, and spectacles.]

Today's word in Visual Thesaurus:
http://visualthesaurus.com/?w1=omphaloskepsis
-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"Readers whose main interest is literary how-to or criticism can look elsewhere, in places specifically dedicated to those matters. Doing too much of it here would smack of omphaloskepsis."
Stanley Schmidt; About Science Fiction; Analog Science Fiction & Fact (New York); Jun 2001.

#391 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Susan #386: Poul Anderson - his novel A Midsummer Night's Tempest, featuring that Prince Rupert and a cast of Shakespearean fairies

My copy, seen directly over my monitor, says just _A Midsummer Tempest_. I guess night had not yet fallen?

#392 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 12:58 PM:

In re: the Nous Sommes Desolés particle--the bag company is Tom Bihn of Seattle. I bought my current backpack from them after seeing that tag referenced on BoingBoing, but I'll buy my next backpack from them because of the fabulousness of the current one. They make great stuff.

#393 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 01:58 PM:

joann @ #291 - It's been many years since I read it, so I have undoubtably misremembered the title. Thanks for the correction.


I've just been slyly informed that if you go to YouTube and search "march penguins viral" you will see good things. Unfortunately, they filter out YouTube at my day job, so I can't indulge until this evening. Someone want to tell me if it's worth the bother?

#394 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Susan @ 393... Bwahahahahah!!! Yes, it's definitely worth watching.

#395 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Andrew #392:

Cool. The little laptop cozies may be just the thing, since my laptop is a couple of inches too small in every dimension for the cozy it's currently got.

#396 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Addendum: Andrew, would your bag possibly have the original English of those sentiments?

(I am, inter alia, surprised that "vote" is indeed cognate, but I suspect that their verb formations are a bit dodgy? TexAnne?)

#397 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 02:30 PM:

What's next, Xopher? The Sithster Bunny?

Bunnies aren't just cute, you know, like everyone supposes. They've got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses. And what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for, anyway?

#398 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Xopher @ 397... A few of those show up in our backyard every once in a while. The lawn has quite a few of their pellets around, and our youngest dog thinks they're candy. That makes us hesitate when he then wants to kiss us.

#399 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Xopher @397
Or maybe midgets.

#400 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Our backyard's bunnies are like this one.

#401 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Joann @ 395-6: No, the text is only there in French. (Of course, on a psychometric level, the bag is pretty well imbued with the sentiments by now. Dunno if that counts.) I made a point, when I bought the thing, of telling the nice person on the phone that the tag had been a selling point during the shopping process. They were pleased.

The backpack has little clips ready and waiting to anchor any of their laptop cozies into place, which is a nice feature. As soon as my current financial crisis is dealt with--anybody looking for a writer/editor type based in NYC? anybody? because I need a new gig, like, yesterday--there will be a tech upgrade, and a genuine Bihn laptop cozy to go with.

#402 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:24 PM:

joann, 396: Sorry, I can't hear you, I'm laughing at the penguin clip. *ahem* La grammaire sur l'étiquette des t-shirts est impeccable.

#403 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:27 PM:

TexAnne @ 402... Watching the clip, I kept waiting for Ian Holm to show up. After all, he played you-know-who twice in his long acting career.

#404 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:33 PM:

Serge: Yes, but they probably wanted to avoid the One Egg to Rule Them All jokes.

#405 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Susan #393: My favorite part is the giant seal. Judging from how hard I laughed when he showed up, I'd say comedy in general needs a lot more giant seals.

Xopher, abi: "I'm not exactly quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots, but there's something unnatural going on, and that doesn't usually lead to hugs and puppies."

#407 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 04:34 PM:

Doesn't everyone have an alligator, somewhere, somehow?

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 04:38 PM:

I don't, Susan, but I have a puppy who seems to think he is, the way he's been chewing at things. He seems to have a leather fetish.

#410 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 05:05 PM:

If anyone else on here knows how you can make an alligator want to bite a tuba, you were also listening to Morning Edition today.

#411 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 05:16 PM:

I don't need to make an alligator bite a tuba, but I do need to make an alligator hat. Two hats.

#412 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 05:21 PM:

The trick is not making the hat. The trick is getting the gator to wear it.

#413 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Susan, isn't it usually an alligator bag, rather than an alligator hat? Hats made from alligators would be uncomfortable, I'd think.

#414 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 05:37 PM:

I thought the hard part was getting the alligator to stop WIGGLING once you'd got it balanced on your head...

#415 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 05:52 PM:

Rub its belly.
Or is that crocodiles?

#416 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Well. There goes the food budget. A Trader Joe's opened between home and work.

No word on whether they have frozen alligator croquets.

#417 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 06:00 PM:

What would be the inverse of an alligator croquette? A crocodile gatorette?

#418 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 06:29 PM:

Hugo award nomination deadline question(s):

Is the deadline in 8 hours or 32 hours from the time of this post? Because "Midnight PST Saturday March 3" mostly says 8 hours to me, but not unambiguously, and I don't want to rush my final decisions if I don't have to.

And have you seen good discussions of potential nominees? If so, where? I know of the Hugonominee Livejournal discussion, but that's about it. I've got the Locus directory and my own list, but checking out discussions could be helpful (always a bit hard to remember stories read 14 months ago, vs 1 month ago).

#419 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Midnight is the end of the day. If they'd meant not to include Saturday, they would have said Friday.

#420 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 06:46 PM:

re: Hugo nominations and voting

I don't know if it is good discussion (I enjoyed reading it...), but Scalzi & co have had a few discussions in the last month or so.

#421 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 07:49 PM:

Abi #417: Either that or crocodile-flavoured Gatorade...

#422 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 08:05 PM:

And if Susan makes a coat out of a relative of crocodiles and alligators, will it be called a caimanteau?

#423 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 08:33 PM:

From today's NY Times

The Homophoner*

*yeah, I'll let other people make the obvious joke

#424 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:06 PM:

Recalling an old on-the-bus song from day camp:

Someone call the doctor
Someone call the nurse
Someone call the lady
With the alligator purse.

On a different topic, unfortunately Atlanta seems to have had a bus plunge. It's almost enough to disrupt the all Anna Nicole Smith, all the time coverage.

#425 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:21 PM:

I have now seen the march/penguins/viral YouTube clip. That was delicious. Esp. in French.

Alligator hats. Very difficult decision to make under time pressure. Is one embodying the alligator (scroll down to the bottom) or is it enough to simply wear the alligator?

This is a very important decision. It involves....tango.

#426 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:26 PM:

Kathryn @ #418:

Per Kevin Standlee, who generally knows, "one minute after 23:59 on March 3, 2007 in PST (GMT -8)." That would give you 32 hours from your post.

I have come up with a nice list evenly divided between people/things everyone will nominate and who will make the ballot and people/things no one else will nominate who will not.

#427 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Susan... Think anything from Realms of Fantasy might get a Hugo nomination? There's good stuff in there.

#428 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 10:34 PM:

Ha! The Secretary of the Army has been fired because of the Walter Reed mess! Now we just have to hope they actually do something as well as firing people.

#429 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 11:23 PM:

RE: YouTube "March penguins viral:

I'm sooooo glad I don't look at streaming video at work (they are pretty liberal about Internet usage, but I don't abuse it with that kind of thing).

Oh. my. farking. ghu. Really. Oh my little emperor. Yikes.

#430 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 11:30 PM:

RE: YouTube "March penguins viral:

I'm sooooo glad I don't look at streaming video at work (they are pretty liberal about Internet usage, but I don't abuse it with that kind of thing).

Oh. my. farking. ghu. Really. Oh my little emperor. Yikes.

#431 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2007, 11:44 PM:

Viral Penguins For the impatient

Yes, that was brilliant.

#432 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Larry Brennan #424: It was a case where an off-ramp from an HOV lane was not clearly marked.

#433 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 11:20 AM:

Larry @ 424... It's almost enough to disrupt the all Anna Nicole Smith, all the time coverage.

It was either that or Brittney Spears's shaving of her head.

#434 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 01:17 PM:

re the Nous sommes particle -- Those are Tom Bihn laptop bags. Awesome bags, Nice guy too. He had a lot of trouble finding a charity for giving away the proceeds of a bunch of shirts that he had printed up with that legend.

#435 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Larry Brennan #424: It was a case where an off-ramp from an HOV lane was not clearly marked.

#436 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Fragano - Do they know for sure that it was poor signage? Last I heard they were wondering about driver attentiveness and/or mechanical problems with the bus.

#437 ::: Niall McAiley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Everyone ready for the total Lunar eclipse? Starting soon...

#438 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 03:53 PM:

On the viral penguins ad, Canal Plus have got another one of those out now on French TV. It's the exact same structure only with Brokeback Mountain as the film being described/imagined, so instead of emperors swapping eggboxes you get an interspecies romance in a tent on top of a rollercoaster. Can't find a video of it online though.

#439 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 04:02 PM:

Spoke too soon: googling "canal plus mouton" did the trick. Here's a direct link, assuming I don't screw the tags up. (Crosses fingers.)

#440 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 04:20 PM:

Lunar eclipse in 15...

Meanwhile, I scored an execrable 37 in the 50 states particle. I used to have a very battered wooden jigsaw of the 48 states (it was old), and even though Rhode Island and some other teeny-weeny states had to share pieces, I could name all 48 back then.

In fairness, it's probably 35 years since I did that jigsaw. And nobody was timing me, either.

#441 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Larry Brennan #436: On that stretch it's apparently not clear what's ramp and what's HOV.

#442 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 04:32 PM:

The Earth's shadow is now visible on the moon...

#443 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 04:33 PM:

It's easier to name states if you have a map. I blazed through the first forty-nine, going in geographical order mostly, but I knew I'd have a hole in the Southeast. Except then I forgot Michigan and stared at the thing for seven minutes, racking my brain and mentally constructing a state puzzle because I had all the states I normally forgot.

#444 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 04:42 PM:

The moon now looks very strange. One hour to totality.

#445 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Alas, no lunar eclipse for me. Too far west. :-(

Re: States, I did it in 3:24 and probably spent about 15 seconds figuring out what I was supposed to do. Last state recalled, Iowa.

Now, if it were state capitals, I'd probably have run out of time.

#446 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Larry Brennan #436: On that stretch it's apparently not clear what's ramp and what's HOV.

#447 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 05:54 PM:

I dug daughter #1 out of her bed to see the eclipse, and she was a bit dazed, but she was happy to see the Universe doing its thing.

#448 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 05:57 PM:

My five year old son is too deeply asleep to be wakened.

#449 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Daughter #1 is eleven. The younger ones, six and two, are out for the count. No red moons for them.

#450 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 07:51 PM:

Fond as I am of sheep, I think the emperor ad is funnier.

#451 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 07:53 PM:

50 states in 3:37, but I'm a lousy speller. And a lousy typist.

#452 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 08:07 PM:

YouTube is such a great time-waster. Today's discovery: the cartoon version of Cher's song "Dark Lady". What on earth is Mme. Fifi doing with her free hand while flouncing back and forth to light candles?

#453 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Niall, it was overcast here: no moon, no eclipse.

#454 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 08:27 PM:

Also, a young Hugh Laurie in the Kate Bush video for Experiment IV (1985ish).

Looking at Cher's hair in some of her early 70s videos - or maybe it's a wig, or several wigs - I wonder if I can use rag curls to make mine do that. I probably don't have enough hair.

#455 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2007, 11:17 PM:

Ethan, I'm glad you're back.

#456 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 01:51 AM:

Niall #440: Teeny-weeny states, harrumph harrumph.

Patrick #455: Thanks. I am too. And I'm glad you're glad. And so on!

#457 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 02:18 AM:

ethan @ 456 - I recall driving up to Newport one weekend years ago and discovering that the speed limit on freeways in Rhode Island was 50. My theory was that since the state is so small, lower speeds would make it look bigger.

I suspect the speed limit has gone up since then. Still...

#458 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 03:44 AM:

Larry Brennan #457: I did once get a ticket from a Rhode Island state cop for going 65 mph on I95. At two in the morning. On Wednesday. But my theory is that he was just in a bad mood because it was two in the morning on Wednesday, November 3, 2004, and we still didn't know who won the election. I like to refer to that day as the Worst Day Ever.

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 07:53 AM:

Yesterday night was a weird movie experience. I saw The Astronaut Farmer. No, it wasn't weird because Billy Bob Thornton was its star. I was supposed to side with his character's dream of reaching space, but I kept thinking that if something went wrong, thousands of people would have been killed. And when something did go wrong and the rocket fell over and started zooming across the landscape, everybody was lucky that it did so away from the town.

#460 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 10:49 AM:

30 states in 10 minutes.

I was planning to claim that this was good going, considering that I am not now and never have been an American, but actually most of the states in the "You forgot..." list have me wondering how I missed them.

(Oklahoma. How the heck did I not think of Oklahoma?)

#461 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 10:59 AM:

I took 6 minutes and 59 seconds to name all the states. The one that held me up: Connecticut.

#462 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 11:41 AM:

I'm afraid I nailed the states test in 2'30", simply by visualizing the map of the US. Start with Maine at the upper right, and work down in, more or less, stacks.

This is particularly easy once you get past the Great Lakes, since for much of the rest of the map, the states really do come in tidy columns.

#463 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 11:44 AM:

That's what I tried to do, Patrick, but my mental map is screwy and Michigan is sort of up on its own. And why would you be afraid?
Now I'm wondering how I'd do with Canadian provinces, European nations, and capitals of everything. I used to know them all, but that was ten years ago.

#464 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Diatryma--I'll back you up on Michigan somehow not being in the right spot, because that's exactly the state I spent 7 minutes trying to remember, after mentally scanning through the states, north-to-south. I also missed Iowa after the first pass, but I could picture a spot near the Dakotas that I'd missed, so it only took me a moment to catch.

#465 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 01:25 PM:

I used the north-to-south "columns" method, east-to-west, like Patrick, took 4:30 to nail 47 of the states, another 3 minutes to figure out I'd forgotten Nebraska, and could not figure out what else I'd missed. It turned out to be Connecticut - how'd I miss that?? - and now I can't remember what the other one I missed is, so I'd probably miss it again if I tried again.

It's always interesting finding the limits on ones ability to enumerate ones own knowledge.

#466 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 02:34 PM:

#459: By coincidence, I saw "The Astronaut Farmer" yesterday as well.

Not a bad drama, but dang, folks, if you're going to do a drama rooted in real world engineering, get the facts straight!

Sorry, Farmer; your neighbors are right. You can't do it. Not without a lot of help from ignorant scriptwriters.

An Atlas missile runs on LOX and kerosene, not on some vague "high efficiency rocket fuel." And you need more than 5 tons of it. More like ten times that. And your barn would have burned down.

The "fall over and zoom around" sequence was so goofy that I thought at first that it was Mrs. Farmer's anxiety dream.

#467 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Diatryma @ 463: And why would you be afraid?

Patrick does not want it generally known that he is a slan. While he could easily deal with the resulting mobs with pitchforks and torches, it would disrupt Tor's smooth editorial operation.

#468 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Diatryma #463: Now I'm wondering how I'd do with Canadian provinces, European nations, and capitals of everything. I used to know them all, but that was ten years ago.

You could try Purpose Games. I'm awful at it (I usually get under 50% on the US states one) because spatial relations are incomprehensible to me, and the "memory" aspect of it for the ones I get wrong also doesn't work out so well for me.

#469 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Serge - John (the super spouse) had never seen Barbarella(!!?!), so we're watching it right now. The cheese factor is slightly overwhelming for me, but John seems to be enjoying it.

Oh. and I know another reason I don't like dolls. This movie.

#470 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Tania... I saw Barbarella only once years ago and its cheese factor was indeed rather impressive.

Ah, yes, the flesh-eating dolls...

#471 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Fontifier is cute, but when I can't read my handwriting more than a couple of hours after I write it, I don't think I want it on the computer!

#472 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 05:58 AM:

Identifont is useful but sometimes What The Font does the job more efficiently. Upload an image of some letters (it has to be fairly large type) and it goes hunting for fonts that match. I find (when it works) that it's more efficient than Identifont's long interrogations.

#473 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 08:51 AM:

Paul #472: A good chunk of my work involves identifying typefaces, and WhatTheFont is my primary tool that I use when stumped. Identifont is often more accurate, but it takes far longer, and if I can use WTF to get into the ballpark I can often make the last mile myself.

ObAddlFontLink: It's in German, so I'm not entirely certain, but this page seems to be a list of the 100 Best Fonts, as determined by designers. Note the link at the bottom right, which leads to a PDF of all of the capsules.

#474 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 11:50 AM:

It took me five minutes because I'm a really lousy typist, and it kept not accepting stuff--I was typing ahead. I confess to having sort of cheated; as a get-to-sleep maneuver a few years back I memorized all the states in alphabetical order. Still forgot Minnesota and had to visualize the map. I used also to have the state capitals memorized in alphabetical order, but I've forgotten it and would have to regenerate the list from scratch.

#475 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 01:09 PM:

I got 40 states in about 3 minutes, then plateaued. Oh well.

#476 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 04:32 PM:

A friend just shared this, I don't know how old it is - Dylan sings Seuss

#477 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 05:06 PM:

Tania #476: Oh, if only they were downloadable. "Green Eggs and Ham," for some reason, turns out to be exactly what I needed to hear right now.

#478 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Strike that; they are downloadable.

#479 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Pulp Fiction in typography.

Wow.

First time I watched it without sound (my wireless headphones just keep crapping out), and I could hear Samuel Jackson speaking the words in my mind anyway.

pretty cool.

#480 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 04:51 AM:

I got something like 40 states in something like 3 minutes, then spent the next 5 minutes racking my brains. I got to 49, but finally out-and-out blanked on Kansas.

#481 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 03:54 PM:

Yesterday's WashPost psych column says that when two asymmetrical armies/groups go to war, the smaller one almost always wins.

#482 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Read about Mike Ford's "Mirkwode" essay (The Fellowship of the Ring, as told by Bertie Wooster, standing in for Strider) in David Langford's appreciation - does anyone know where to find it?

#483 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 05:37 PM:

The "Hobgoblins" particle reminded me what always annoys me about Language Log...they don't allow comments. You're just supposed to drink from the font of wisdom that flows from their writers pens...or out of their asses, as the case may be.

The linked article is pretty good in general, but it makes a couple of absurd claims, like when it refers to "the punctuation of possessive plurals (where, however, no possessive s is pronounced)."

Children's. For one.

Today's lead article on that site claims that Ann Coulter didn't call John Edwards a faggot, because she said "It turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I'm kind of at an impasse — I can't really talk about Edwards."

She didn't say "John Edwards is a faggot," but there are more ways of killing a chicken than wringing its neck. I've been called a faggot many times, and what Coulter said IS calling Edwards a faggot. Use and mention really are the same thing in that kind of context.

#484 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 05:39 PM:

I found a PC, monitor, and keyboard left out by the dumpsters today. Obviously left out by someone moving or upgrading.

I grabbed it, planning on either giving it to a relative (if powerful) or to Goodwill (if mediocre).

It's mediocre, but in finding out I discovered that it has an intact Windows 98 install, with lots of personal information, including Christmas budgets and school papers.

I'm wondering . . . should I write a friendly note to the former owners (if I can figure out which apartment they're in) suggesting that they remove or erase their hard drive in the future?

Too nosey? Too preachy?

#485 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 06:05 PM:

Xopher said (#483):
The "Hobgoblins" particle reminded me what always annoys me about Language Log...they don't allow comments. You're just supposed to drink from the font of wisdom that flows from their writers pens...or out of their asses, as the case may be.

They tried having comments once, for a few weeks, but then gave up. I think they got annoyed by some off-topic rants, and decided they didn't want the headache of moderating.

The linked article is pretty good in general, but it makes a couple of absurd claims, like when it refers to "the punctuation of possessive plurals (where, however, no possessive s is pronounced)."

The thing I found absurd was the point when he decided to touch on the question of "one space or two between sentences?" -- since that isn't an issue of orthography or punctuation at all.

I do also think that he doesn't give enough credit to the possibility that maintaining consistency within a single work (article, magazine, or book, say) has the potential advantage of not confusing the reader. I certainly wouldn't want to read a story where the author (or printer) bounced back and forth between British and American rules for single and double quotation marks.

#486 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Stefan #484:

This is actually a dicey situation; once the throwers-out figure out what could have happened to them, they may start wondering if it did. Particularly given that you were able to do enough research to figure out who it was. Just send them an anonymous flyer for some computer-security outfit.

Me, I'm trying to figure out how heroic a set of measures I have to do on a bunch of 8-year-old floppy backups before they go, in a plain black plastic bag, into the landfill as part of a weekly garbage pickup. (IOW, *not* prominently displayed on the front porch.)

#487 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 06:35 PM:

joann @ 486

What you want, assuming the disks are still readable at all, is 'secure delete' or 'secure erase' software. Google 'software' and either of those terms and you'll get lots of hits. (I have, somewhere, an old DOS utility called 'nuke' that does a secure erase.)

What this does is multiple passes writing across the disk, all ones, all zeros, alternating ones-and-zeros (and reversing the pattern), and random ones and zeros. It might be possible to get information off the disk afterward, but it's at a level of difficulty that's beyond the reach of most people.

#488 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 06:45 PM:

Re: old floppy disks

How about putting them in an oven at low heat until they warp enough to be unreadable?

#489 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Joann @ 486: If you no longer have a drive that will take the floppies, peeling back the shutter and running a really strong magnet over them should make reading them more trouble than it's worth to anybody but the NSA or KGB. Or open the cases and snip the floppy part inside in half. Or do both. As long as it's not possible to simply pop them into a computer and read them off, you've made it not worth the trouble to any casual snoop or ID theft type.

#490 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 10:38 PM:

48 states in 10 minutes. Missed Iowa and Wyoming.
35 states in 3.5 minutes...
45 states in 8 minutes... and then called on the assistance of my wife.

I think it's pretty good for someone who never memorized a list, learned a song, drove cross country, or spent much time on it in school.

I went round the circumference [got a little stuck on the middle of the north side between Illinois and N.Dakota], also filling in the Obvious Known Adjacencies [i.e. did Vermont and New Hampshire at the same time, or W.Va and Va.] and then flailed around, filled in what I could of the far west and mississippi area, thought about what places I'd been and where I'd changed planes...

it was a very BUSY ten minutes.

I'd like to thank http://furious-george.net/ (at least eight years old, that site... yikes) for what education in American geography I possess.

#491 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Stefan @ 484: I think it's worth sending them an anonymous letter or postcard, if you can find their address on the computer, to let them know that you wiped their data but the next time they might not be so lucky.

#492 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 11:02 PM:

I finally broke down and had a go at it. Took me eight minutes. I couldn't for the life of me think if Minnesota, until some weird little link in the back of my brain kept whispering something about Minneapolis in '72.

But I beg indulgence. I don't live there. For extra credit, name the Australian states and territories.

#493 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 11:50 PM:

Dave, I went to a map to refresh memory. What does ACT stand for (it looks like a state unto itself)? Is it like the District of Columbia?

#494 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Paula: Australian Capital Territory. Yes, it's a bit like the District of Columbia, only a bit bigger in area, though not population. And it was caused by the fact that if we had either Sydney or Melbourne as a capital, we'd have a civil war almost before we had a nation to have it in.

#495 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 01:00 AM:

#491: That's what I'm tending toward.

However, finding the address would mean more prying.

I find looking at other's stuff to be very unseemly.

I hope to clean up the machine this weekend (it's literally filthy, full of icky gray clotted dust and mud), and install Fedora Linux.

#496 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 01:32 AM:

Cripes.

Just, cripes:

I asked him what was wrong, a question that I immediately knew was kinda dumb, I mean the guy is dying. He pointed to the TV which was looping video of young Marines in some city in Iraq kicking in doors and tearing up civilian homes. Women and children, frightened into silence stood by as these young Marines tore their homes apart and arrested their men. In a barely audible voice he said, "What have they done to my corps? What have they done?"

#497 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 07:55 AM:

I agree about the several annoyances of Language Log, but I thought the central point of the article was a very good one, which is that there's a mentality in which arbitrary, function-less "consistency" of usage is a good thing in and of itself. Obviously (as Peter Irwin points out in #485) one shouldn't waver randomly between British and American conventions regarding single and double quotation marks. Just as obviously, it's nuts to demand that authors who use restrictive relative "which" must always use it and never use restrictive "that." This kind of lunacy is the result of a deep-set belief that language is a variety of code. As the Language Log writer observes, "variability is not some pesky defect of languages, but a central feature of them." Way, way too many people--notably, a lot of people in our tribe--don't get this.

#498 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Hold on tight. I'm about to go all off topic again.

But, you all *do* know that the Girl from Auntie is using Cthulhu to count the rows in her knitting projects, don't you?

#499 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Has anyone written a novel which alternates between US and UK narrators, and has the appropriate spellings for each section? This'd be especially appropriate for an epistolary novel.

#500 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Justine Larbalestier's Magic or Madness has alternate spellings depending on the narrator. Some are Australian, some are American. It helped keep me anchored with who was talking.

#501 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Avram: on behalf of all the overwrought copy editors in the world, I am hereby issuing you the Black Spot.

#502 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 10:25 AM:

#467: It's obvious that Tor's editorial staff are all slans, and I guess that means Tom Doherty is Kier Gray.

Corroborating evidence: I happened to walk by David Hartwell's dealer table at Boskone. Now, he doesn't know me at all, but he "somehow" deduced that I had not yet renewed my subscription to NYRSF. Without my giving a name, too.

Should have checked for tendrils.

#503 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 10:47 AM:

The (minor) irony for me about that particular Language Log post is that the LL posters usually do a very good job of distinguishing between language use itself (e.g., grammar proper) and writing-specific issues like orthography and punctuation; mixing up the two is something they occasionally (and understandably) castigate the "language mavens" for doing.

So I was a little bit nonplussed when I saw Arnold Zwicky slide rather insensibly from discussing the punctuation into the whole "one space or two between sentences" issue, which (as I said) seems to me an issue of typography and design, not punctuation.

Patrick @ 497: As for relative "which" vs "that" -- oy, veh, you've just reminded me of a paper I submitted to the Astrophysical Journal, which came back from the copyeditor with every single instance of relative "which" converted to "that", apparently on the grounds that authors can't be trusted to follow the Chicago Manual of Style's fussy (and linguistically unjustified) rules on that subject correctly. Grumble, grumble, grumble...

And since we're actually on the topic of spelling, among other things, can I gently point out that my last name is spelled (or possibly spelt) "Erwin" rather than "Irwin"? (Admittedly, the latter is the more common spelling...)

#504 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 11:03 AM:

Stefan, I understand your concern (#495) about not wanting to pry for an address. An anonymous flyer about computer security is something you could send to everyone in the building (or everyone on the block) without targeting anyone in particular. It would probably be useful to people other than the ones who threw away the computer you just salvaged.

#505 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Why editors have no friends:

http://www.sarahleavitt.com/word/?p=137

#506 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 12:41 PM:

#496: heartwrenching.

#507 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Re floppies: I know about delete programs [*], I was just wondering if I really needed to do it, given that they would be hidden inside trash bags as part of a regular trash pickup that goes straight to landfill. AFAIR, there is nothing more startling on them than papers on Polykleitos and the like; they all date from at least eight years ago when I stopped using a Mac.

[*] We have used them in the past when donating old computers to schools.

#508 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 01:39 PM:

The year before last, I ditched boxes and boxes of 5.25" floppies. I wasn't worried about just ditching them, because most were either i) full of pirated or shareware games, or ii) wordstar files of old writing projects, or iii) mildewed and unreadable!

I ditched about 95% of my 3.5" floppies last year. Old versions of DOS and windows, rescue and setup disks for PCs I hadn't had for years, drivers for peripherals I'd thrown away, backup sets using obscure backup software. I boiled it all down to a few CD-ROMs which I made multiple copies of. Again, lots and lots of unreadable disks.

The dumpster I pitched it all in was full of really foul stuff and collected rain.

I really wasn't worried.

#509 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 02:03 PM:

joann @ 507:

If you want to make them really unusable, cut the 5" with scissors, and pop the cases (or the sliding covers) off the 3" ones. I'd recommend industrial-strength scissors, though. An industrial-strength degausser or tape eraser will also do, but they're harder to find.

#510 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 02:12 PM:

Sighted this morning on the back of a local vehicle...

"I am for the separation of Church and Hate."

#511 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 04:24 PM:

I lost it completely when I read a mystery by Andrew Greely. He refers to the Deity in alternating genders, either sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph.

I am still in pain, thinking about it.

#512 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Peter Erwin: Oops. I'm usually good about spelling people's names, except when I'm not.

#513 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Found Computer Follow Up:

A "Find" for the apartment complex road turned up nothing. Also, no documents newer than 2003. This was probably a closet computer, ditched during spring cleaning.

I just started a Linux install; the old contents are way gone by now.

Hmmm. Fedora just scolded me for being chintzy on memory. Deal with it, Fedora! I'm not putting any money into this box. You'll have to swap and like it!

#514 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 07:48 PM:

I hate hate hate hate business trips. I doubly-triply-especially hate them when they are to cities that used to host worldcons. Not only do I sit lonely and forlorn in my unshared hotel room in a hotel with no room parties, I wander around the streets sadly looking for the fans who were Just Here, Weren't They?

#515 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 09:14 PM:

I've been wondering if I should post a link here to last Sunday's (4th March, 2007) Speed Bump comic strip. Inspired by #505, I do so:

http://www.gocomics.com/speedbump/2007/03/04/

This will become time-inaccessible to non-subscribers in a week or so. To posterity, I mention it concerns an author signing books. Thanks, Dave Coverly; your work over the years has been enjoyable, even if I let my ucomics subscription lapse because of inbox fatigue.

#516 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Mez, I swear, the author in that cartoon is either Bob Shaw or his twin brother.

#517 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:20 PM:

I already have some Julie Benac jackets! I mostly wear them to cons because it's hard to justify wearing them to the post office or to take out the trash.

#518 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Erik (505), I went and had a look at the cartoons, and gently corrected them.

If anyone is throwing away computer equipment, I know of an excellent way to make sure no one will ever peel data off your hard drive: give it to me. I have no interest whatsoever in reading it. I'll disassemble it, use any magnets that turn up to stick things to my refrigerator, recycle the coils of copper wire into jewelry, and add the platter to the collection I've been amassing.

If you take a hard drive platter (the older sort, at least) and hang it up so it's only supported by the rim of its center hole, and then give it a good sharp tap with (say) a plastic pen, it'll chime like a bell, and hold the note like a tuning fork. I've been collecting platters in varying sizes with the idea of someday making at set of wind chimes from them.

#519 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:51 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden writes: "This kind of lunacy is the result of a deep-set belief that language is a variety of code"

Syntactic variability is a virtue of most programming languages, too.

#521 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 08:22 AM:

Susan @ 514... I know whereof you speak.

#522 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 08:29 AM:

Teresa @ 518...

I've been thinking of having my wife's old desktop cleaned up (in all meanings of the word) so that we could then safely donate it to a charity or a school, but the thing is almost 10 years old. I'm not sure anybody would want it. I'd send it to you except that the shipping costs would be rather prohibitive.

Speaking of recycling electronics the way you do... This reminds me of 1991, when we went to a crafts fair in Pacifica (south of SF) where someone had for sale bolo ties made from printed circuits.

#523 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 09:05 AM:

I've been collecting platters in varying sizes with the idea of someday making at set of wind chimes from them.

That's actually a very poignant image. Gigabytes of data; the arguments, learning, ideas, chat, entertainment, love letters, and work of thousands of people, hanging in the breeze and crumbling. All those moments will be lost in time like keys down drains.

#524 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 10:34 AM:

*cries in the rain, and expires*

#525 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 11:13 AM:

*hands relax, releasing intensely symbolic bird (poss. chicken) which flutters squawkily away and falls off edge of roof*

#526 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 12:42 PM:

ajay @523:

That's actually a very poignant image. Gigabytes of data; the arguments, learning, ideas, chat, entertainment, love letters, and work of thousands of people, hanging in the breeze and crumbling. All those moments will be lost in time like keys down drains.

It reminds me of the way that the glass negatives from the Civil War were sold off for greenhouses, so that the sun slowly bleached out the images of dead husbands, fathers and sons.

Early slow glass?

#527 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 12:56 PM:

abi @ 526... I think there's a sonnet in there with your name on it.

#528 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Serge @527

Although the image is a beautiful and poignant one, I have never found the irreducible heart of it, the grain of sand that makes the pearl.

It's in the treasure-box of images and ideas, but the time is not yet right for a sonnet.

#529 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 01:54 PM:

abi & Serge #526-528: It seems to me more like the subject of a short story than of a poem, but definitely like the subject of something.

#530 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Serge 522 - Odds are no one would want that computer. Some companies (e.g. HP) will recycle old computers for only the cost of shipping. There may even be a local place you can take it to be de-commissioned for free or a nominal charge.

#531 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:05 PM:

the light slowly bleaches out the forms
of men and women trapped within the glass
we do not notice each day as we pass
for ignorance and apathy are our norms
we'd rather forget the long hard storms
the fury of the fighting the huge mass
of people wounded dying there's no class
to teach the photographer who performs
the magic of transferring what was light
into fixed shapes and then traps them here
were they fade slowly under the same sun
that gave them form perhaps in the night
the moon's softer refulgence lets them bear
an echo of the image before they're gone

#532 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Drat: 'where' not 'were'!

#533 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Good one, Fragano.

#534 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Larry @ 530... Good idea. I'll ask the place that fixed my wife's laptop.

#536 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:39 PM:

HA! Has anyone seen this? Bush has even pissed off the Mayan spirit guides.

#537 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Serge #533: Thanks!

#538 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Totally OT: if I'm baking a yeast something (focaccia, if you must know) and it has a first rise of X and a second rise of Y, and I just realized I started the process *way* too early for it to be just finished baking at dinnertime, is there a point in the proceedings where I can most safely increase the time for that rise? Or do I put it in the fridge, or what?

#539 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Fragano @531
Very good. Technical favourite point: the repeated rhyme scheme in the octave. Emotional favourite point: the moonlight.

#540 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:08 PM:

joann @538

I would just punch it down and let it rise again. The wee yeasties will keep eating sugars and making their gases (and generally living in a yeast version of Utopia) for as many hours as you need.

Baking yeast bread is biology, not chemistry. Treat it as a living thing and you can't go far wrong.

#541 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:12 PM:

For stuff like focaccia, where the fineness of texture is not major, a refrigerator rise should work. (The March 'Cooks Illustrated' has rosemary-olive bread, where they advocate not punching down the dough, but just turning and rolling it it a bit, so the texture stays open and fairly coarse.)

#542 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Punching it down will make it denser. If you do it several times, it may not rise again (if the yeasties use up all the sugar). The flavor will also change.

I'd punch it down a maximum of one additional time, Y+baking time before you want it to be ready.

#543 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Sounds like an intermediate refrigerator rise is the thing then: punch down, put in fridge, then pull out a leetle before (working backward from dinner time) the amount of time required to do the real second rise and baking.

Thanks!

Just so all y'all can get vicariously hungry, there will be many specks of speck (smoked ham from Alto Adige) on it, maybe some Provencal black olives, and I'll put some grated Fontina on at the last minute.

#544 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:23 PM:

Now that Xopher has weighed in, I'll just say one *small* extra punch.

#545 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:25 PM:

You'll need extra time for the dough to come up to room temperature if you do that. And cover it with a damp cloth and a LOOSE layer of plastic wrap if you put it in the refrigerator.

#546 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Xopher, if the damp cloth is to prevent it drying out, note that it's already covered with a layer of oil--this is the Genoese recipe that just oozes EVOO from all pores. But it hadn't occurred to me that the plastic wrap would need to be loose instead of tight.

#547 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:36 PM:

If it's oily...you don't want the plastic wrap right next to the bread. Maybe I'm overcautious, but I keep remembering "like dissolves like" from HS chemistry.

Let us know how it works out.

#548 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Xopher #547: I keep remembering "like dissolves like" from HS chemistry.

All I remember from high school chemistry is that the teacher was the one in charge of fire drills, and I had him in his retirement year, so he was easily swayed.

#549 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 04:06 PM:

It suddenly hits me that Xopher and I may have different notions of what the plastic wrap is doing. It sounds like he thinks it's wrapping the ball of dough. I'm covering a large glass bowl with it. (Either way, damn if I can figure out what the damp cloth is supposed to do?)

In any case, the oiled ball is reposing in its glass bowl in the fridge, loosely covered by plastic sitting on the top of the bowl, as it's now finished its first official rise. At about 5:30, I'll take it out of the fridge, spread it into the pan, and give it an extra half hour for the second official rise (normally 45 minutes).

I shall report tomorrow on how it comes out, with thanks where due.

#550 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Patrick @ 512: No problem; I'm mostly just amused by it -- at least partly because I haven't had anyone misspell my last name for years (it seems), and it's happened four or five times in the last few months.

(And it's not like I'm without sin, since I remember mangling Fragano's last name a few months back...)

#551 ::: Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 05:25 PM:

Apologies if someone noticed this a long while ago, but I gather there aren't any Terminator fans among the crew responsible for this:

UK military awaits Skynet launch (with a picture caption reading "The Skynet system brings an increase in power and bandwidth.")

#552 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 05:48 PM:

Abi #539: Thanks! I thought, for some reason, that moonlight might bring out the ghosts of the pictures without bleaching them out.

#553 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 06:28 PM:

I love I Love to Sock Myself in the Face. Thank you.

Thoughts:

1. Alone, either loud plaid suit, or frenzied dancing, is enough to give a compression algorithm fits. In combination, it just breaks down weeping. I knew this already, but the video might be a good thing to show to students.

2. I never even had an inkling that music had ever been performed on tuned Flit guns. But I would have voted Spike Jones was The Boy Most Likely To. ("Quick, Henry, the F Sharp!")

3. Is a Whisperado performance anything like this?

#554 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Serge, #522, in my city and other areas around it, we recycle electronics, including computers, and they go to a place that will take them apart, dispose of the toxic stuff properly, and sell the gold and such.

#555 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Thanks, Marilee. I wonder if they also do anything with equally-old monitors. I'll ask that repair place. If they don't know, well, I'll think of something. It'd be nice to clear up space in the garage.

#556 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 10:30 PM:

I Love to Sock Myself in the Face goes into the collection, alongside Der Fuhrer's Face, My Old Flame, Beetlebomb, and the unforgettable Cocktails for Two.

The man was a genius. And I hope it will not offend anyone here if I say he was also a meticulous musician.

#557 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 06:23 AM:

#551: Coming soon - killer humanoid robots as state governors.

Uh, wait ...

#558 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 10:04 AM:

I have a wonderful book on Spike Jones that is detailed enough to list a night-by-night breakdown of everywhere the City Slickers played. (Can't remember if the Other Orchestra is included--will have to dig it out again.) There was an even more detailed book available at the same time--but it cost $50.00 more...

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering...

After cutting "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" Spike cleared the studio of anyone but band members and cut--well, let's just call it "I Saw Mommy Having Carnal Knowledge of Santa Claus." Spike Jones Jr. found the acetate in what few of his father's effects that didn't end up being auctioned off and destroyed it. So, yes it did exist, but no it doesn't any more.

#559 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Focaccia report: darn good. It actually rose more than expected, and the volume of the final baked product was about 1.5 times what it's been previously in that pan. The weird part was something I'd never noticed before: bubbles/indentations on the *bottom*.

I didn't punch it down before it went into the fridge, just turned it over, but the true second rise is in the pan, with lots of finger indentations (this is actually a schiacciatto), so it got a good punching there. The extra rising time to warm it up from the fridge (with the last half hour being on top of a stove that was preheating) produced a lot of expansion to the point where the indentations mostly swelled back out, so I had to make a new set before the baking.

All in all, I liked the results enough that I may just continue making it that way, experimenting perhaps with whether to bother with the fridge at all.

Thanks to all for reassurances and suggestions!

#560 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 06:05 PM:

Serge, our folks take monitors & TVs for $5. They're expensive to dispose of. The city doesn't make any money but they don't get toxic stuff in the landfill. It's the company that sends the trucks on Saturday morning to the city's recycling lot that make the money on taking stuff apart.

#561 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Bruce 558: Spike Jones Jr. found the acetate in what few of his father's effects that didn't end up being auctioned off and destroyed it.

What a bad person. Crimes against art; there really should be a Hague tribunal.

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