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March 29, 2007

Open thread 83
Posted by Teresa at 10:42 PM *

It looked extremely rocky for the Theban Band that day
The odds were one to fifty with more Persians on the way.
So when Themist’cles fumbled, and Euanetus too,
An air of sadness fell upon that bare-assed hoplite crew.
A scattered few got up to go attend the Olympic Games
Another few decided that they’d try their luck with dames.
When to that Attic army came the news that cured dismay:
King Leonidas’ Spartans had come to join the fray.
They had no place for cowards and they had no use for c***:
Three hundred Spartan willies were advancing to the front.

(James D. Macdonald)

Comments on Open thread 83:
#1 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 10:58 PM:

999 comments left to go.

#2 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 11:04 PM:

New thread, yaay. Sounds of distant thunder outside, if it gets closer I'll pull my laptop off the power source. (Internet is wireless all over the house except in the sun porch and kitchen.,..)

Whoops, it's now happening overhead. Pulling plug but not closing Internet connection just yetl.

#3 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 11:25 PM:

I've spent the last hour and a half leading my high school sister through a poem, in hopes of turning it into a paper (due tomorrow, but she's been trying all month). I wonder what would have happened if she'd turned in three pages of poetry analysis on this gem?

#4 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 11:29 PM:

As someone who has always wanted to go to Antarctica, I wanted to share that the National Science Foundation has put out this year's request for proposals for the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program (NSF 07-550)

The purpose of the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program is to enable serious writings and works of art that exemplify the Antarctic heritage of humankind. In particular, the program seeks to increase public understanding of the Antarctic region, including the continent and the surrounding oceans, as well as the associated research and education endeavors.

The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program provides opportunities for professional artists and writers to travel to Antarctica - at research stations, field camps, and aboard ships - to make the observations necessary to complete their proposed projects. While the majority of award recipients are established artists and writers, the program also seeks to support early career artists and writers in an effort to broaden participation.

ML seems to collect a good number of creative types, maybe someone here will be inspired. Me, I figure I'm probably going to have to go as an employee for Raytheon Polar Services.

#5 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 11:40 PM:

#6

Having had a most-expenses-paid year in the Arctic, on salary in the US military....

#6 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 11:41 PM:

Ah, Theban bands.... the many ways to tie men and boys together in fatal attractions...

#7 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 11:52 PM:

A post about posting on ML: The box which says "Don't make me type all this again" won't stay checked for me. This has become a problem only recently. Any ideas why that might be happening? Is it happening for anyone else?

#8 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:00 AM:

Rob @ #7: It should only need to be checked once, if your name/address/URL are not appearing. If they are, they're already set and will continue to be remembered. If they're not, have you perhaps installed a cookie-blocker, or cleared all your browser cookies?

#9 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:07 AM:

Re: The 'Doctor Who and the Beatles' Sidelight. According to the Wikipedia entry on the episode, the original plan had been to film the Beatles in makeup as their aged future selves, but in the end a clip from Top of the Pops was used instead. This clip of the Beatles used on Dr Who is the only surviving clip of the Beatles appearing on Top of the Pops.

#10 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:12 AM:

Clifton: I hadn't installed any cookie blockers, or cleared cookies (unless I had somehow did it by clicking on the wrong button, which I don't think I did), but I did lose my earlier name and address entries a couple of days ago, and had to re-enter them (not a big deal). I would have sworn that when I had checked that box earlier, it stayed checked.

#11 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Paula @ #5 - I do understand your point. Heck, I live in the sub-arctic, why would I want to go to the other pole? I don't know why, but I do! Every year I look at the Raytheon jobs, and think about the possibilities.

Strictly being nosy, where did they send you? Reykjavik? Thule? Somewhere at sea? Adak? One of my uncles is living on Adak, he seems to be enjoying it.

BTW, I always admire the passion in your posts on political topics. Thank you for lacking the complacency gene.

#12 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:22 AM:

Imagining a painter in the Antartic:

Bring along a good supply of titanium white.

Actually, would regular oil or acrylic paints freeze up in the Antarctic? Would you need to get specially blended paints with antifreeze in the mix? Would brush bristles freeze hard enough to embrittle and shatter?

#13 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:37 AM:

The Doctor Who classical music joke reminds me of the episode of Futurama where Fry was listening to "Baby Got Back" and Leela came in, turned it off, and said "You can't just sit around all day listening to classical music!"

#14 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:46 AM:

Bruce Arthurs in #12 writes:
Actually, would regular oil or acrylic paints freeze up in the Antarctic? Would you need to get specially blended paints with antifreeze in the mix? Would brush bristles freeze hard enough to embrittle and shatter?

I don't know the answers to these questions.

I do know that Peter Kokh once wondered what kind of art lunar settlers would make if it was expensive to import materials from Earth.

He studied the minerals available in Moon soil, and figured out pigments and carrier that could be made from available substances.

Then he went out and obtained samples of these substances from chemical suppliers, played around to get the right consistency, mixed up a batch of paints, and made some paintings.

It wasn't the greatest of art, but I was delighted at the originality of the whole project-- that's Peter all over.

#15 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:29 AM:

bruce,

Actually, would regular oil or acrylic paints freeze up in the Antarctic?

i imagine acrylic would, being water & plastic based. oils, i'd think would work better, but i'm just thinking of how long they take to harden in room temperature. does oil have a lower freezing point than water?

#16 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Speaking of Spartans...

It's Raining 300 Men

(Gacked from the Smart Bitches -- apologies if someone's already posted it else-fluorosphere.)

#17 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Is there a parenthetical subtext to the Antarctic Writers and Artists Program? Before it melts we'd really like to get on record just how special it was?

#18 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 02:06 AM:

Linkmeister #17: My brother and his wife of almost a year have been trying to plan a belated honeymoon (their work schedules didn't allow for one after the wedding), but can't decide where to go. My mother suggested going to see a glacier while they still exist, and my brother countered with the idea of going to see a coral reef, same reason. Deeeepressing.

#19 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 04:00 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 9:
Re: The 'Doctor Who and the Beatles' Sidelight. According to the Wikipedia entry on the episode, the original plan had been to film the Beatles in makeup as their aged future selves, but in the end a clip from Top of the Pops was used instead. This clip of the Beatles used on Dr Who is the only surviving clip of the Beatles appearing on Top of the Pops.

The clip is from an episode of a serial called 'The Chase' which was released on VHS tape some years ago, but not yet available on DVD. What intrigues me about this is the clip was presumably taken from that VHS release, which means it was included for that release and not excised from it, as I'd expected. Given how expensive it is to get the rights to music for such releases and how this has led to music bits having to be replaced or to it making it prohibitively expensive to release a show on DVD (WKRP In Cincinnatti), this surprises me. Did the surviving Beatles waive the fee because they liked the show (the reason they were going to appear as their older selves on Doctor Who in the first place), or does the shortness of the musical clip mean no fee is required? I note that new Doctor Who is getting around the problem by having in-house composer Murray Gold write the songs people were dancing to at the wedding in the last Christmas special.

#20 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 04:06 AM:

If you liked seeing the Beatles on Doctor Who, you might enjoy this fan video of clips from the Eccleston season set to Beatles tunes. I thought it was fun, if just a tiny bit long.

#21 ::: Jess Nevins ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 05:38 AM:

I have a question for the editorial and proofreading types. (And, heck, the readers of encyclopedias).

I'm writing an encyclopedia of characters. I have three types of names: first name, last name (Sherlock Holmes); title, last name (Doctor Silence); and pseudonym (Captain Future).

What is the best way to list them? That is, what is the best order to put the names in so that a casual reader, flipping through the book, will be able to find a character?

a) last name, first name, for every entry? (Future, Captain; Holmes, Sherlock; Silence, Doctor).
b) last name, first name or title, and first name, last name for pseudonyms? (Captain Future; Holmes, Sherlock; Silence, Doctor).
c) last name, first name, title, first name, and first name, last name for pseudonyms? (Captain Future; Doctor Silence; Holmes, Sherlock).

Thanks in advance.

#22 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:10 AM:

#21 - I'd go with "last, first" for anything that sounds like a real name and "first last" for anything that clearly isn't. I would also include "last, first" with a brief "See first last" entry for those that I do put in "first last" position.

Hope that makes sense...?

#23 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:14 AM:

I'd also do something to indicate titles as distinct from names, and have cross references that used the title as if it were a name

So for your examples, I'd have:

Holmes, Sherlock -> article
Silence (Doctor) -> article
Doctor Silence -> See "Silence (Doctor)"
Captain Future -> article
Future (Captain) -> See "Captain Future"

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:47 AM:

Rob Rusick... About the Beatles, and their appearance on Doctor Who... This reminds me of the episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus where Ringo appeared. Of course, you do know that George produced Life of Brian and I think he also was in the scene of the Sermon on the Mountain that ended in a fight after one joke too many about big noses.

#25 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:51 AM:

In the Hugo thread, people were talking about Naomi Novik's Téméraire books. Peter Jackson bought the rights to the books. My wife told me yesterday that Novik originally envisionned the main human character as being played by Russell Crowe, but that she also thought Hugh Jackman would be quite suitable. (That'd no doubt make TexAnne very happy.)

#26 ::: Anonymous ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:03 AM:

[Robo comment spam from 67.85.231.137 ]

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:25 AM:

From memory:

The honours that the people give, always
go to those use-besotted gentlemen
whose numbskull courage is a kind of fear,
a fear of thought, and of their oafish mothers
('or with your shield, or on it') in their rear.
Spartans cannot retreat, why then their praise
for going forward should be left to others.

But we, actors and critics of one play,
of sober-witted judgment who could see
so many ways, and chose the Spartan way;
what has the popular report to say
of us, the Thespians at Thermopylae?

-- Norman Cameron

#28 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:39 AM:

Swan @ 26, you've posted here twice, and both times without relevance to the topic at hand--once with appalling insensitivity for which you were disemvoweled, in fact. I suspect you are either an automated spambot or astroturf.

#29 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:52 AM:

My, what big shields those Spartans have.

#30 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:57 AM:

Recognizing Mr. Macdonald's source poem within the first two lines made me feel even geekier than recognizing the Tolkien. How is that possible?

#31 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:04 AM:

Of course I'd forgotten that in 1965 everybody on Top of the Popa still mimed to the record. Notice that there are no vocal mics in that clip. In fact they're not actually playing at all.

#32 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:05 AM:

Of course I'd forgotten that in 1965 everybody on Top of the Popa still mimed to the record. Notice that there are no vocal mics in that clip. In fact they're not actually playing at all.

#33 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:06 AM:

Sorry about that.

#34 ::: Dave Lartigue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Hi I invented a new literary genre.

See it here!

#35 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:51 AM:

Someone wanting to travel from New York to Cardiff in Wales consulted Google. Turns out you can do this fairly easily, as long as you can handle step 23:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=new+york,+ny&daddr=Cardiff,+Wales

#36 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 09:05 AM:

Harkening back to an earlier thread, I found the following two passages in the Rex Warner translation of Xenophon's Anabasis (to be clear, these are the modern translator's or editor's words, not Xenophon's):

... young [Spartan peers] were put through an education system of astonishing severity which included being encouraged to steal and being whipped for stealing so unsuccessfully as to get caught. Cf. Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus 17, and H. Mitchell, Sparta, p. 177f.
[The Persian Empire] brought justice; though the famously just Royal Judges make no appearance in our book, the formal trial of Orontas may serve as a reminder of this aspect of Persian rule.

#37 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Tania -

An old college acquaintance of mine is in Antarctica right now. They appear to have plenty of time on their hands.

#39 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Aconite #28: Yes about Swan, but what is the topic that he/she/it wasn't relevant to? We've already segued (or non-segued) from Teresa's Spartans to acrylics in the Antartic and Top of the Pops...

#40 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 09:58 AM:

Aconite, John @39 -- Yes, and it does say "open thread" way way up at the top. There is a kind of protocol for topics on open threads, but I don't think I could explain it in a sentence at this point. Any takers?

#41 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:06 AM:

In fact, we started out offtopic, and never got back. So ... it's really not surprising that the Spartans wouldn't retreat. It's kinda hard to turn around when your best buddy is right behind you and neither of you is wearing any clothes. Just ruins the whole violence vibe. Make Love Not War, eh? Doesn't work well in modern combat: ballistic armor isn't terribly sexy.

#42 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:09 AM:

and just to prove that not only is my mind in the gutter, it is currently circling the storm drain:
When I read the first line of the poem I thought it read: "It looked extremely sticky for the Theban band that day."

#43 ::: SKapusniak ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Rob #35: LOL on that step 23.

#44 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:21 AM:

Theban Band? some kinda heavy metal, huh?

#45 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:29 AM:

#44 John Stanning, with a brass section that killer.

#46 ::: Joy Freeman ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Oh, goody, I was hoping for an open thread! I'm not a wine drinker, really, but after hearing somebody mention a Bonny Doon wine named "Bouteille Call," I checked out the Bonny Doon Vineyard website. Fun website overall, with a great theme, art, and copy, but I especially liked the video Vive le Screwcap (under "Dooniverse: Learn Our Ways").

#47 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:02 AM:

I found the "come back with your shield, or on it" line inappropriately entertaining in the movie, because I was muttering it to myself three seconds before the character said it onscreen. I guess this makes an argument for that particular scene being very well set-up and performed for its purpose...

Fun poem. Fregano @#27: I like the question in that one, too.

#48 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:03 AM:

New Open Thread? Thank you! Thank you! (BTW, I was surprised when the previous one got *past* 1066.) I have also noticed that "Faren's computer" is becoming a sort of meme on the site, right along with those *other* dinosaurs. But even if I got a brand new one [I was going to say "brand spanking," but that might relate too directly to the 300 discussion], I probably couldn't afford wireless, so the downloads would be as slow as ever. Oh well....

#49 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:08 AM:

Faren Miller #48: You might get a brand new sodomizing Spartan dinosaur--who's into spanking? What for? Also, where do you find something that specific?

#50 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:10 AM:

Aconite @ #63: I don't know what you mean. I changed my rss feed to "show newest first" and your post at #80 appeared.

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Remember the Hercules episode where Cory Everson played a Spartan lady?

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:15 AM:

(Heck, I'll post this here too)

Welcome back to America, abi!

#53 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:30 AM:

OK, I haven't seen the movie, but here's what came to mind at 3am.

Three hundred tasty Spartan men in line:
A hopless stand against the Persian might.
And in among them, ready too to fight,
Is Mary Sue, her armour polished to a shine.
Like Éowyn, with Aragorns to spare
(And yes, they're straight, or straight enough to suit,
With just that taste of half-forbidden fruit!)
They're doomed to die, but too in love to care.
The hour comes, the brotherhood contracts
Around the precious flower at its heart.
She will not leave; she wants to play her part!
She takes the lead in their heroic acts.
(But in this version, Sparta's heroes won
And Persia lost to the three hundred one.)

I blame the jet lag.

#54 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:42 AM:

John Stanning @ 39, Victor S @ 40:

I didn't express myself well. Swan's previous post was in the David Honigsberg thread, and contained the same words as this one, including "Off topic" at the begining. While a newbie might not know there is no "off-topic" in an open thread, this shows the signs of a generic copy-and-paste with that phrase thrown in as an attempt at disguise.


Stephen Granade @ 50 and 127: Ah, good. So that's been fixed now.

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:46 AM:

abi... I blame the jet lag.

And one ocean.
And one continent.

Have some strong coffee.

By the way, didn't Leonidas get suspicious when one of his boys insisted on wearing armor?

#56 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:49 AM:

For those interested, the Beeb has just put the Doctor Who season 3 trailer up at their area on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/BBC

#57 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:15 PM:

abi @ 53

Just can't let the boys have their fun by themselves, can you? I didn't know the Battle of Thermopylae was a Title IX activity.*

Incidentally, is a "hopless" someone on a more stringent diet than a "hoplite"? Or is the answer "more coffee"?

* For the non-USians among us, Title IX is a Federal law that mandates the equal financial support of men's and women's athletic activities in state-supported colleges in the US. It's become quite controversial in the last few years as college budgets have been tightened. The controversy (I heard that mutter from the direction of the UK! The accent is on the first syllable, damn it!) has become focused on the claim of many male coaches and players that Title IX effectively discriminates against them.

#58 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:19 PM:

Rob (#56): Unfortunately, not for all of those interested; unless they've taken the Dr Who Season Three trailer off in the last few minutes, I don't think it's accessible to US (and possible non-UK) IP addresses - I got a 'this video is not available' error message. Sigh.

And Netflix still hasn't replaced to messed up Season 2 DVDs that were supposed to have come out several months ago.

#59 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:19 PM:

I have the feel, on reading the verse at the head of this thread, that "Play ball!" might not be an entirely inappropriate warcry...

#60 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Aconite (#54), also others' earlier comments; I've seen that same post from the same 'Swan' on other threads in other blogs. So it's either some kind of spam or spam-like trolling.

#61 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Victor S., here's an attempt at a descriptive protocol for Open Thread posting, in more than one sentence:

Posts may relate to the Opening Post, to a Particle or Sidelight, or to an ongoing topic of conversation at ML (dinosaurs and sodomy; politics; food and recipes; grammar, language, etymology; poetry; books; favourite television shows; bats in Susan's house; etc.). From there, posts may refer to previous comments. Posts that refer neither to the opening post, a previous comment, a Partical/Sidelight, or topic of ongoing discussion may also be appeals to (and responses from) the hivemind, "lookahere!" pointers at something of interest to the general ML community (usually with accompanying text explaining to whom this pointer may be of interest, which accompanying text refers to some Usual Topic of Discussion), updates or news from regular posters about some item of ongoing interest, running theme, or news about a member of the extended community.

What have I missed?

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Jennie @ 61... What have I missed?

Let's see. You did include Susan's bats.... How about Bugs Bunny and cross-dressing?

#63 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:49 PM:

jennie @ #61:
What have I missed?

A really obvious typo? (ducks and runs)

(Your list makes me wonder how many inappropriate things I've posted here. Eeep.)

#64 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Susan @ 63: Oops. Caught that one on re-read. Tyops hpapen, especially when one is multi-tasking. I don't think the bat saga was inappropriate.

Serge @ 62: I figured the other topics might be covered by "etc."

#65 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:07 PM:

How about a shy little "lookahere!" for my latest bit of editing, which just arrived yesterday: http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?isbn=0-7864-2827-9. Also available on Amazon. I think Tolkien and Shakespeare are frequent enough topics of discussion here...

#66 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:17 PM:

Jennie, 61: Knitting.

#67 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Here's my one-sentence attempt at an Open Thread posting protocol:

Perform; riff; entertain!

#68 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:23 PM:

debcha@56:


Rob (#56): Unfortunately, not for all of those interested; unless they've taken the Dr Who Season Three trailer off in the last few minutes, I don't think it's accessible to US (and possible non-UK) IP addresses - I got a 'this video is not available' error message. Sigh

Ah, yes, I'd forgotten that. OK, try here:

http://freemaagyeman.com/news/2007/03/29/bbci-red-button-video-clip

I don't *think* there are geographic restrictions on that site (though I could be wrong) and it's also got lots of other interviews and clips if you trawl around on it a bit.

#69 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:31 PM:

For the encyclopedia: I would say that, of course, any reasonable place to have the article should have a "See(article)", and the actual article location should be handled in a case-by-case manner.

For instance, Captain Future should be under "C", but Captain James T. Kirk should be under "K". Similarly Doctor Midnight, Doctor John Watson, Doctor McCoy, and Doctor Who (D, W, M, D, I would say). The hard part is persons with a variety of pseudonyms frequently used. Do you put him under Batman or Wayne? Worse, the Shadow, who had not only his nom de guerre, a "real name" and a "realer name", but a variety of false identities.

#70 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Jennie #61: hamsters?

#71 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 67: nice!

TexAnne @ 66: d'Oh! Of course! I plead being so bloody sick of my current project that discussion of knitting fills me with despair and disconsolation. Such discussions inevitably lead to thoughts of all the fun projects I will be able to do someday, which then run into sad thougts of too many narrow stripes, and all the ends I'm going to have to weave in if I ever come to the end of this stupid scarf.

It will be a very long time before I do anything with narrow stripes again, I think.

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 02:18 PM:

jennie... You also forgot Claudia Black. No "etc" for her...

#73 ::: Emmet ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 02:58 PM:

I'm not recognising the original poem here, but dang does that go nicely to the tune of the verses of "Ghost Riders in the Sky", which by the principle of associativity means it also goes to the "House of the Rising Sun".

#74 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 03:12 PM:

#73--There's no reason why you should, as it's a piece of late 19th century popular verse about a very American subject.

#75 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Jennie, 71: Narrow stripes? Can't you carry the resting yarn up the side of the project?

#76 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 03:33 PM:

TexAnne, I've been wondering that myself. When I asked my mom how to do this, she said to snip them and weave the ends in, so I did. The stripes are an awkward 5 rows, and there are four different colours, which I think means that one could do it either way. Perhaps I'll try carrying the yarn up the sides for the next few switches and see if that makes me any happier.

Finishing the scarf will make me happy indeed.

#77 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 03:35 PM:

BSD 69: Doctor Who is the name of the show, not the character. The character should be listed as "Doctor, The."

#78 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 04:24 PM:

What have I missed?

Faren's computer.

#79 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 04:28 PM:

Bruce@ #12: Alan Campbell, an artist whose son went to high school with my daughter, went to Antarctica. Lovely paintings resulted. He does work in watercolor, but it's possible he did sketches and/or photos on site, and the paintings later (possibly even after he got back home).

#80 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 04:30 PM:

As for painting in the Antarctic, Edward Wilson (who accompanied and died with Scott on his last expedition) was a watercolourist whose work was recovered and is on display in various places, I think. Apsley Cherry-Garrard is very positive about the results in his memoir of that expedition The Worst Journey in the World, which I highly recommend if you are at all interested in the Antarctic.

Aha - apparently Wilson used to draw in pencil and then finish the sketches as watercolours in his hut or on board ship. There is a brief life of Wilson here, which has plenty of illustrations. ("Discovery" and "Terra Nova" are the two Antarctic expeditions.)

#81 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Which is pretty much what Lila just said.

#82 ::: victoria ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 05:23 PM:

jennie, #76: I'm new here. What exactly are you working on? An inquiring craft addict would like to know.

#83 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 05:28 PM:

victoria, it's not a very exciting project. I'm still at the long-straight-things stage of my knitting career, so this is a long, k4-p4 ribbed scarf in Blue Sky cotton, striped in four colours: brown, green, orange, brown, cream (there was twice as much brown as any other colour available). The Gentleman is allergic to wool, and wanted a scarf to replace the one I knit from something fluffy (he wore all the fluff off and it now itches him), so I embarked on this scarf. It's taking a very long time.

#84 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Serge @OT82#940, Neil Willcox @OT82#957:

There are a couple of notes about the size of Thor's hammer in the online Sandman annotations.

Regarding the scene mentioned, in Issue 26:

Symbolically, Mjolnir is an agent of destruction, fertility, and resurrection. It was used to hallow brides before weddings; its phallic nature is obvious here. It was also used to raise Thor's goats from the dead, and is able to shrink so that it may be hidden inside Thor's shirt as needed. Perhaps rubbing is how it is made to return to normal size.

And earlier, on Thor's first appearance in Issue 24:

Thor's weapon is the hammer Mjolnir. When Mjolnir was constructed by the dwarfs, a trick by Loki caused its handle to be too short to use properly. Now, Norse war hammers were two handed weapons, so Mjolnir's short handle simply means that it was too short to allow the hands to grip far enough apart to get good leverage. Thor was able to use the hammer without the "necessary" leverage because of his great strength. Some references, including Bullfinch's, make the mistake of assuming that Thor had small hands to fit the small handle, which leads to such amusing depictions as that given here. In fact, Mjolnir probably resembled Marvel Comic's depiction more closely (normal-sized, but clearly only usable one-handed) than this depiction.

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Tim May @ 84... It was used to hallow brides before weddings (...) It was also used to raise Thor's goats from the dead

Zombie goats?

#86 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:35 PM:

In the Chinese folk-epic-turned-novel Xi-You Ji (Journey to the West) the Handsome Monkey King wields the Compliant Nine-Hooped Rod, which also grows and shrinks on command (he shrinks it down to the size of an embroidery needle and hides it in his ear when he's not using it). Phallic weapons are apparently pancultural.

On a completely unrelated note, the Slacktivist's current thread includes mention of a phenomenon horrifying on more levels than were available in Dante's Inferno:

Left Behind slash. *shudder*

#87 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:36 PM:

#83 Jenny: Ah. From the window pane pattern I assume this is not knit in the round project. I'm just a little farther on the self-taught knitting road. May I recommend that you work with two balls of each color, leaving long leads for the carrier lines and plenty of play in each jump? Be sure to untwist the yarn at regular intervals. You may still have to cut the carrier bits and weave them in, but you won't have to stop knitting until you reach the end. Stopping and starting color changes is what takes the most time.

If the two balls and long jumps don't work, just do a quick square knot to join the different colors and keep going. There's a way to knit the loose ends into the project as you go (I watched a friend do it once), but I've only used that technique with crochet projects.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:51 PM:

Tim May @ 84... My apologies for the zombie joke, and my thanks for the information about Mjolnir.

#89 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:33 PM:

We've got zombie sheep and zombie horses,
zombies naked, zombies in heavy coats,
we've got zombie zebras, zombies for courses,
zombie dogs and (wait for it) zombie goats.
Zombies Haitian and Trinidadian, zombies come
from every land; zombies both white and of colour,
zombies talkative and zombies that are mum,
zombies degenerate zombies of pallor;
we have zombies, zombies for every taste,
zombies slow, and zombies half-eaten,
zombies angry and zombies in haste,
zombies whole and zombies all beaten.
Whether it's sunny, or whether it rains,
all of them cry out for bbbbbbraaaaaaaaaainns.

#90 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 89:
Excepting vegan zombies, who only want the graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains.


(Barbara, I owe you for that one.)

#91 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 07:48 PM:

Aconite #90: Those would be from Nebraska?

#92 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:04 PM:

jennie @ 83

You could do stripes lengthwise, then the ends would become fringe. (Then it would be stockinette and reverse stockinette, to get the ridges running along the length.)

#93 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:21 PM:

Thanks for the advice, Victoria. I've been using square knots and wondering why I can't just snip the ends; I used to knit all my ends in, and that worked, but was very tedious, so I stopped.

P.J. Evans, since I'm over halfway through, I don't think I'll change the orientation of the stripes now. Maybe next scarf. However, since I have two scarves for winter wear, and I have the yarn and pattern for the next project (I'm not allowed to buy the needles until the dratted scarf is done), and it's a sweater (knit in the round), I think I'll hold off on lengthwise stripes for the time being.

#94 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Not zombie goats; zombies are Not Food, and (like most of the Áseir) Thor had magic animals that could be eaten and then restored to life.

In the case of the goats, this is not so much; one god, two big goats, plausible amount of roast goat, even given Thor's reported appetite.

Slidrugtanni, now, the magic pig whose flesh feeds the entire host of fallen heroes in Valhalla, that one takes some capacity for belief.

#95 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:36 PM:

Three hundred naked men
Walking down the street...

#96 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:00 PM:

Now it comes to mind that I once made this great work fit in words of one beat:

Big Man at the Bat

(A Song of our Great Land. Sung in the Year MDCCCLXXXVIII.)

The hopes were far from bright for all the Mud Town nine that day;
The score stood four to two and there was but one round to play.
And then when old "Zip" died at first, and "Wheels" did much the same,
A grim hush fell like thin mush on the home fans of the game.

A few weak souls got up to go with heads hung low. The rest
Clung to that hope which does not die but lives on in each breast;
They thought if only Big Man could but get a whack at that --
We'd put up one-to-one odds now with his hands on the bat.

But Flynn went up 'fore Big Man, as did no good James J. Blake,
And the first named was a weak sis and the next was but a cake;
So o'er our heads a black cloud, grim and full of cold rain, sat
For there seemed no chance at all that our Big Man might get to bat.

But Flynn legged it to first base, quite a shock to one and all,
And Blake, who no one cared for, tore the horse hide off the ball;
And when the dust had gone down, and the men at last could see,
There was J.J. safe at base two and old Flynn camped out on Three.

Then from each throat and pair of lungs rose up as one a yell;
It rolled down 'cross the plains and bowled the cows down in the dell;
It knocked the sides of hills and came to bounce back on the flat,
For K.C., mighty K.C., now had his turn at the bat.

There was cool ease in the way he stepped up straight to take his place,
There was pride in how he stood, and how a smile shone on his face.
And when as he turned to the cheers and did but doff his hat,
No strange eye in the crowd could doubt just who was at the bat.

Stands full of eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
And all their tongues did laud him when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while his foe, lithe on the mound, ground horse hide on his hip,
A gleam like knights of old shone in his eye and sneer-curled lip.

And now the hard-packed sphere flew at him through the air,
The big man stood and watched it like a king who could not care.
Close by his side, yet he flinched not as to the mitt it sped --
"That ain't my style," he told us. "Strike one," the score board said.

From the stands, so full of men and rage there rose an earth quake roar,
That washed forth like the storm waves on a far and storm-worn shore.
"Kill him! Kill that blind ump!" came a shout down from the stands,
And they might have done it, too, had not the Big Man raised his hand.

With a smile all great and pure which on his clean-cut face then shone;
He stilled the cries of blood lust; he bade the game go on;
He waved once to the mound and then once more the horse hide flew;
But still he paid it no mind and the score board said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the crowd as one man, and the far hills rang back 'fraud';
But one look of scorn from K.C. and the home team fans were awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw him flex and strain,
And they knew that sure, he would not let that ball go by him then.

The sneer is gone off from his lip, his teeth are clinched in hate;
He pounds hard like a mad zoo ape his ash bat on the plate.
And now the mound man holds the ball and now he lets it go,
And now the air is split by all the force that's in his blow.

Oh! in this glad land there's a place the sun shine's warm and bright;
The band plays in this place and in this place all hearts are light;
In this place men laugh loud and the kids all run and shout;
But there is no joy in Mud Town -- Big Man K.C. has struck out.

#97 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:13 PM:

My great aunt -- reliable barometer of the conservative zeitgeist -- sent me and 34 or so other people a SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW message about Barack Obama, Sinister Muslim in Christian Clothing.

It was a spittle-flecked digest of the Insight article debunked awhile back.

I responded to everyone on the CC list with links to the CNN investigation and Snopes debunking.

I'm not totally down with Obama, but I'll be #$#$^%@ if I let crap like that go unchallenged.

#98 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:19 PM:

Three hundred naked men
Walking down the street...

singing do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do ...

#99 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:32 PM:

Aconite @ 90 - I shudder to think what might be owed me for that joke...
-Barbara

#100 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:54 PM:

I'm soo grateful that I was busy today and didn't read this at work. Though the ones that made me laugh most were posted after work hours CDT. (But I spent four hours working on something and near the end noticed a discrepancy that, when I pointed it out the client she went "Oh. My. God. Stop working on that! There is something wrong with the data!"

I'm glad that I had a couple things I COULD complete successfully that made my day end with a positive).

#101 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:19 AM:

Oops. I meant to say
300 naked men
Just walking down the road...

(NSFW, for most values of W)

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:42 AM:

I watched Galactica's season finale tonight, and I understand the frustration expressed in thread #82 about having to wait until 2008. Argh.

#103 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Serge #102: I'm right here! I can hear you! Hush!

Just kidding. Talk about your BSG of the future (my future, anyway) as much as you'd like. If there's anything spoilery please please give advance notice...pretty please?

#104 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Don't worry, ethan. I wasn't planning to talk about specific points. I do wonder what women see in Baltar though.

#105 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:12 AM:

Of course the answer to my question in #104 is easy... The show is written by men.

#106 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:31 AM:

The simple fact of BSG being written by men doesn't nec'ly explain Baltar's appeal outside the show, though; within the show, they could be plastering him with babes left and right without the female audience buying into it (think of Steven Seagal movies; sorry, you can stop thinking about them now).

Without myself being a Baltarette, I can kinda guess that much of his appeal would be based on his close attachment to Six; he thinks of her almost constantly (whether he wants to or not) and often in very sexually-charged situations in which he's at her mercy. It's not quite romantic devotion, but it could be construed as such in some ways.

OTOH, I've only seen the first two seasons and a few isolated episodes of season 3, so I'm not entirely certain of his present situation.

#107 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:36 AM:

Shush!

(Can you tell I'm about to go back to school for Library Science?)

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:41 AM:

Julie L... Are you telling me that ladies in the real world (not just in the fiction of BSG) actually like Baltar?

#109 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:50 AM:

Julie L... I have the feeling that #108 didn't come out right. It's none of my business whether or not a character appeals to this or that person. No offense was intended.

#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:56 AM:

ethan @ 107... If I ever again come across that action-figure of a Librarian, I'll have to get it for you.

#111 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:05 AM:

Serge, ethan: I know I saw them at the main Powell's in Portland in January. You could probably order from there. Actually, I'm sure they must be made by Archie McPhee's.... oh yeah, baby, here you go. Deluxe edition, with a cart full of books, reference desk, computer, and "amazing shushing action"!

Deluxe Librarian Action Figure

#112 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:06 AM:

ethan & Serge - it's the Nancy Pearl action figure. Apparently she wanted to have an exploding bun, but that wasn't feasible.

I think they have some at my local independent bookstore. I'll look when I'm there tomorrow AM.

ethan - good luck with library school!

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:10 AM:

Thanks, Tania and Clifton. An exploding bun? Sounds like a way to tie in with the "kids today" thread...

#114 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:34 AM:

Serge @ 108/109: no offense taken, but then (as mentioned) I'm not particularly a Baltarette myself. I wouldn't say no to a nice serving of Helo, however.

But IIRC someone around here mentioned (but could not explain) a fondness for Baltar recentishly... aha, here it was.

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:47 AM:

Julie L... Hello, Helo, eh?

#116 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 06:39 AM:

Kip@101: Would it disappoint you very greatly if I pointed out that was a Particle about three years ago?

#117 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:26 AM:

Serge @ 115: Ack. Now I'm trying (not) to envision a Sanrio version of Helo.

#118 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:33 AM:

Kip W @ #95

Three hundred naked men
Walking down the street...

We get the funniest looks from
ev'ryone we meet:
Hey, hey, we're the Spartans!
People say we're Spartan around
but we're too busy looting
to throw any booty down.

&c

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 09:24 AM:

(How about this, Julie L?

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go, go, go
Oh, no
You say goodbye and I say Helo
Hello, Helo
I don't know why you say goodbye
I say Helo
Hello, Helo
I don't know why you say goodbye
I say Helo

I say high, you say low
You say why, and I say I don't know
Oh, no
You say goodbye and I say Helo
Hello, Helo
I don't know why you say goodbye
I say Helo
Hello, Helo
I don't know why you say goodbye
I say Helo

(Well, you get the idea.)

#120 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Serge...some time ago the one I wrote was

...I don't know why you say Saul Tigh
I say Helo.
This was part of the conflict between the Tighists and Heloites on a BSG fan board I belong to.

#121 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Oops, Xopher... Slinking away in shame. Heheheh...

#122 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:26 AM:

OK, another stupid Windows problem. I made the mistake of downloading the latest Adobe Reader. The godsdamn thing set my default picture viewer to the stupid Adobe one, which requires me to accept the license agreement each time I want to open a photo. This is obviously unacceptable.

So, I went to my Admin user, went to Folder Options, and set the default viewers to something vaguely reasonable. This was fine...for the Admin user.

The limited user still has the Adobe POS. And of course the Change button on the Folder Options is disabled for the limited user.

How do I get rid of the stupid Adobe thing and set my limited user to open photos on a doubleclick with something reasonable? (Yeah, I can right-click and select two levels of menu to get to a reasonable viewer, but that's quite a PITA too.)

#123 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:16 AM:

I have just skim-read this thread and I am left wondering: did the Band of Thebes ever appear on Top of the Pops? In an episode of Doctor Who? And if so, what were they miming?

#124 ::: zHeresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Fragano @ #89: I have this nagging feeling you're leaving something out there, but my resolution isn't quite high enough to tell what...

Did I say resolution? I meant, er, something else.

#125 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:28 PM:

zHeresiarch #124: Not enough limbs falling off?

#126 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Serge, ethan, Clifton: I got all excited thinking you meant an action figure of a hirsute orange librarian with a bananary aroma and limited vocabulary.

Phoo.

#127 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:27 PM:

You know, I'm not really sure why the comments are appearing all jumbled out of order. Listen: firefox has come unstuck in time.

#128 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Sorry, Lila. If we ever come across an action figure of Bob Newhart from those Librarian TV movies, do you want us to tell you?

#129 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Xopher #122: I guess that your limited user doesn't have the rights to the registry that would let the Adobe thing set its flag saying "accepted the license agreement".

I suppose you could give your limited user admin rights (while off the network) for long enough either to make the license agreement acceptance stick or to change the file associations, then set the user's rights back to limited.

Alternatively, when you installed Adobe Reader, did it have a "custom" option that would let you choose which file types it associates itself with? I think it must have, because I've installed it too, and it's not associated with picture files for me, so I must have been able to stop it doing that. So maybe if you uninstall Adobe Reader it'll lose the associations, then you could reinstall with "custom".

Of course, being Windows, probably there's a way to change things by tweaking the registry, but probably also it's easier to do it some other way.

#130 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Serge: I'm going to ignore that.

Except to say that, apropos of Bob Newhart, did you know the costume designer on The Bob Newhart Show was actually colorblind?

#131 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:20 PM:

A librarian action figure with an exploding bun? An action figure of Terry Pratchett's librarian? How delightful.

Tania #112: Thanks! Really right now I've been in my current state of inertia for so long that just putting together the (very simple) application seems impossible, so I think I'll need it.

#132 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Xopher@122:

I've had a similar problem with other software I've added. My kludge of a workaround:

-> log in as admin
-> change the permissions of the limited user
-> log in as the limited user
-> fix the @)(*% setting in whatever program it was
-> log out as the limited user
-> log back in as admin
-> and change the permissions of the limited user back to where they belonged

As I said, it's a kludge, but it fixed the problem.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:54 PM:

Lila @ 130... I'm going to ignore that.

In that case... How about an action-figure of Jane Curtin, also from The Librarian? When she shushes you...

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Does anybody know what was originally used in the pre-computer days to make the sound of the TARDIS coming in and out of time? It reminds me of a car that needs its transmission oil changed, along with its fan belt, and all this in the middle of a harsh winter.

#135 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Serge, 134: I'm pretty sure it was a double-bass bow on the strings of a grand piano.

#136 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 04:32 PM:

John 128: That's probably the problem, but you'd think Adobe would have understood that...and of course when I installed it I was logged in as the Admin user, or no installation would have happened.

glinda 132: Yes, that will work, but it seems to me that not even Microsloth could be stupid enough to design their OS in such a way that that's the actual solution. OTOH every time I think I've found the limit of MicroSoft stupidity I'm proven wrong, so maybe it really is the only choice.

#137 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Lila @ 126

Are you talking about a Conan the Librarian action figure? If there were such a thing, it would look a little like this
I bet you could make one out of a real Conan action figure.


#138 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Xopher @ 136

not even Microsloth could be stupid enough to design their OS in such a way that that's the actual solution.

Wanna bet? To sort-of quote Scott Ambler, from his famous rant: "In what parallel universe is deleting my file without my asking and without telling me a feature?"

#139 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 05:55 PM:

TexAnne @ 135... Thanks. Speaking of sound effects, I think I read somewhere that, in 1953's version of War of the Worlds, the Martian deathray's sound as it primed up was guitar strings, maybe played backward. Not sure though.

#140 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Bruce (137): I'm pretty sure she's talking about Terry Pratchett's orangutan librarian. Not that a Conan the Librarian action figure wouldn't be pretty cool, too.

#141 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:21 PM:

TexAnne @ 135: Do I remember rightly that it was supposed to be an air-raid siren? Or have I entirely confused that with something else? I don't know what an air-raid siren sounds like; in the last three states I've been in, tornado warnings are given by the fire departments' sounding their alarms in a sustained pitch, instead of the rising-and-falling pitches they use for emergencies that involve getting out the trucks. I've always used that as a vague model for an air-raid siren, but the TARDIS noise sounds nothing like that.

#142 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Aconite: I have no recollection of an air-raid siren being mentioned, but college (which was the last time I was active in fandom) was quite some time ago.

#143 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Aconite,

Back in Oklahoma, we had sirens mounted on poles that were dedicated to tornado warnings. Probably they'd've been used for nuclear war, too, but they never were--at least, they haven't yet.

#144 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 08:18 PM:

adamsj #143: are there places where you can hear the sirens during the kind of weather which causes tornado warnings? The most they ever did for me was let me know it was noon on Saturday.

#145 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Whan that Aprille doth March displace,
with weping, walinge, and cryes folk do disporte
for there beth ne shelter ne resorte;
the IRS doth every fotestepe trace,
and will nat grante even a minute's grace,
an ye paye not, thenne the kyng his courte,
shall distrain on ye, and ye shall fallen shorte.
Empty will be thyne pockets,and longe thyn face.
The reeve and miller shall with bailie strive,
the wyfe of Bath shall kepe a civil tongue,
and franklin shall kepe cheke upon fre thoughte;
tis not the time for knight or squire to wyve,
the prioresse shalle nat of love have sunge,
and all take care to do the thinges they oughte.

#146 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Todd,

That's a good question. Got any others?

#147 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 08:29 PM:

Bruce @ 137: Mary Aileen @ 140 is correct. I wouldn't mind a Cohen the Barbarian figure, though. (Actually I currently only own one action figure--Taejitsu Lois from Family Guy.)

adamsj@ 143: we had the same thing in the small central-Georgia town where I grew up. They called them CD sirens, used them for tornado warnings, and set them off every Wednesday at noon just to be sure they still worked. I don't know if they're still extant or not.

#148 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Ethan - my store up here is sold out of Nancy Pearl and Casanova* right now (they are the Archie McPhee figures, btw), but I did find a reference about the exploding bun prototype on BookBitchBlog.

One of my dearest friends got her MLS from UIUC, or as she likes to call southern Illinois "flatland". She works as a youth/children's librarian and loves what she does. She also has a funny story to tell about when C.J. Cherryh moved to the greater Spokane area. But I digress (as usual). Get thee to a library school, the young minds of the world need your help! Then you can have friends that call when you're working the reference desk, disguising their voice, and ask really ridiculous questions, just to have fun.

*another famous librarian

#149 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:45 PM:

Xopher@136:

OTOH every time I think I've found the limit of MicroSoft stupidity I'm proven wrong, so maybe it really is the only choice.

Never underestimate the stupidity of M$. (I know whereof I type; I'm embarrassed to say that I worked there as a contract tech editor eight or nine years ago.)

#150 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Todd, 144: Yes. There are some not far from where I live, and I heard them repeatedly yesterday.

Fragano, 145: Wow.

#151 ::: zHeresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:33 PM:

#89 Fragano Ledgister: "zombies talkative and zombies that are mum,"

Oh, I suppose you've got us, er, them, in there after all. Carry on.

#152 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Serge@134; Back in my public radio days, our resident radio historian was much enamored of BBC sound effects. The Tardis whooooooooop-whooooooooooop, he said, was created in the decidedly analog BBC Radiophonic Workshop of the 1960s with a microphone and a length of flexible dryier-duct hose.

The engineer whirled the hose around overhead like a lariat. IIRC, the mike was inside the duct at the fast-moving top end.

The difference in pitch, I believe, occurred at the end of each completed circle of the duct hose above the engineer's head.

#153 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Belated props to Rob Hansen (way back at #68) for the non-UK link to the Season Three Doctor Who trailer. You're my hero.

#154 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 02:29 AM:

Looks like Google has their April Fool up and running.

GMail Paper

As usual, they've made me chuckle.

#155 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:25 AM:

re: #154

I just want to know how Google produces "96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum" in industrial quantities... I mean how does one get a consistent level of mastication and regurgitation necessary to produce a decent pulp analogue? And who [or what] is doing the actual work to create the stuff? [assuming I parsed that phrase correctly...]

Sadly Google itself is not forthcoming with this information, since searching on that phrase (at the time of this post) on Google produces no results, not even self-referencing the press release... Trade secret? or Conspiracy? And how are dinosaurs, sodomy, and zombies involved? (Just because all truly worldview-destroying conspiracies need to involve dinosaurs. And sodomy. And zombies for good measure.)

;-)

#156 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:27 AM:

Tania @154,

They're also offering a new free wireless internet via plumbing service.

#157 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:34 AM:

adamsj, #143, our city still has sirens on poles. They were used for air incursion in WWII (not that there was any), and they're mostly historical now. We also have the two big gongs from the post-Civil War days still set up, although the hammers are bolted to the posts because people like to try them out.

#158 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:42 AM:

Kathryn @#156- Nice!

I just got ThinkGeek's in my email a few minutes ago.

Slashdot has an April Fool story pending, it's rather silly.

I love this day. I can't think of anything this year that isn't cruel, so I suspect my April Foolery will be limited.

#159 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 05:07 AM:

I noticed that Doctor Who had a rather radical solution to our local hospital's problem with parking spaces.

#160 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 06:30 AM:

I'm seriously behind in my Making Light reading, so my apologies if this news from Albuquerque has already been mentioned.

Hamster races canceled due to ordinance
Mayor allows recreational hamster racing


#161 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 06:35 AM:

Oops! Those two links weren't supposed to go to the same place.

Hamster races canceled due to ordinance

#162 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Serge at #134

This doesn't answer your question on the origins of the Tardis sound, but if you feel like knowing far too much about hte history of the Dr Who theme, try

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Mark_Ayres/DWTheme.htm

#163 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 07:46 AM:

I want to be able to type absolutely anywhere in odd moments of spare time, and accordingly am thinking of getting myself a secondhand Psion 5m.

Would anyone who's used Psions like to tell me that's a really good idea, or a really bad one? Alternatively, is there any machine being made these days that has the same form factor as the old Psions? I've certainly never seen one.

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Thanks for the link, Steve.

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 08:01 AM:

gurnemanz @ 152... People sure were creative, back in those days, eh? I wonder if sound-effect people build everything from scratch on their computers these days. I remember Cinefantastique's double issue on the making of the original Star Wars and how Ben Burtt came up with some of the blaster sounds by hitting a hammer on the cables that held tall radio-station antennae upright.

#166 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 08:02 AM:

Coming soon to a theater near you...

Ethan the Librarian

Cue narration by Mako, and music by Basil Poledouris...

#167 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:56 AM:

TexAnne #150: Thank you.

zHeresiarch #151: Thank you. Now, let me see where I left my duppy runner....

#168 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:57 AM:

Now, which of our Aussie friends wants to claim responsibility for this?

#169 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Has this been Particlized? And if not, why not?

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Fragano @ 168... "...An event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, drew nearly 900 "Zombies" in October 2006..."

#171 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:39 PM:

Seen on the magazine rack this morning while waiting in line at the grocery store, the latest issue of Glamour with Liv Tyler on the cover, and, next to it, a reference to an article that discusses...

"The secret things that men do when women aren't around."

That immediately reminded me that, the next time my wife is out running errands on her own, I should take advantage of that to do some weeding in the backyard.

#172 ::: Tobias ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Xopher@122
If you're still having problems, and are happy to edit the registry, then open regedit and look at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes (as the limited user).
On my XP machine there are only three subkeys ("CLSID", "MIME" and "Software"). Any subkeys like ".jpg" or "jpegfile" should be safe to delete and Windows should then use the file associations set by the Administrator account.

#173 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:49 PM:

BIG green gherkin

#174 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Am I the last person on the block to realize this? I used the search function on this site to locate on of my old posts, and it also showed my e-mail address. Just for giggles, I used a different address for this post. But seriously, I didn't know about the e-mail address revelation feature.

#176 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:23 PM:

Serge #170: They're everywhere....

#177 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Fragano @ 176... I'm not sure that zombies would do too well further north, like in Montréal or Québec City. A bunch of frozen stiffs just standing there doesn't sound that scary.

#178 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale... I think there is a typo in the email you've recorded here.

#179 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 04:19 PM:

For those who like vampire/crime drama, Blood Ties premieres tonight on the Lifetime Channel. I think it's based on stories by Tanya Huff.

#180 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Serge #166: Yikes! Maybe I should re-think this...

#182 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 05:11 PM:

ethan @ 180... On the other hand, ethan the Librarian would get to work with Grace Jones. Now, with her in that library, all kids would make sure to bring the books back when they're due for fear of a visit from Miss Jones.

#183 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 05:21 PM:

Serge, would she sing her version of "Ma vie en rose" at any point? If she does, I'm in.

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Grace Jones doing Edith Piaf, ethan? Now that's a scary idea. Still, she might say yes if you ask nicely, very nicely.

#185 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 05:32 PM:

Serge #177: Summer comes, even to Canada, and zombies shuffle slowly.

#186 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 05:47 PM:

I seek the wisdom of the fluorosphere: Back in 1969 or 1970 I read (in an anthology) an after-the-holocaust story in which the world had been saved and was organised by SF fandom. This involved such things as people flying by Heinleiner, use of the Bradbury Ray, and attendance at the Worldcon by delegates from the frosty North Pohl. What was this story, and who wrote it? More importantly, where can I find it?

#187 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Pixelfish @ 181: Check the "help me" link on that page. It's an April Fool's day prank, though I was also all too ready to believe it at first. Says something, doesn't it?

#188 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:14 PM:

Fragano @ 186... That doesn't ring a bell. Sorry.

#189 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:37 PM:

Serge@179
Yes,it is based on Tanya Huff's Victory Nelson books-it's not bad.

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Thanks, Nina.

#191 ::: kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Tania @158,

unfortunately I missed this years
Saint Stupid's Day Parade, put on each year by the First Church of the Last Laugh. I guess I could costume up and parade tomorrow- that'd be a right proper act of stupidity.

#192 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 11:13 PM:

kathryn - that would be funny! We haven't had any good April Fool's as of yet. I think I'll just slap myself in the forehead, and call it good.

Locus finally has their April Fool's stuff up, apparently Neil Gaiman is going to be canonized!

#193 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 01:16 AM:

Fragano (#168), yes, well. That was in Brisbane, State capital of Queensland, our Deep North. Things are a bit ... different ... north of the border, even below the tropics. It got a quick run in the (serious ABC) Sunday night news here in Sydney, played (if I may say it) pretty deadpan.

Looked at (their site), and got links to the Youtube of the 2006 Event, and some Flickr photos.

#194 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 01:21 AM:

Serge@190-you're welcome.

#195 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 06:12 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale... Is Wavy Gravy still around to be part of the Saint Stupid parade?

#196 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 07:27 AM:

Serge said (#170):
Fragano @ 168... "...An event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, drew nearly 900 "Zombies" in October 2006..."

I enjoyed the fact that the 2005 Zombie Lurch in Madison, Wisconsin, was in fact a zombie protest march.

Favorite protest signs: "Zombies for Higher Education: Tastier Brains"; "Zombie--Mad Scientist Solidarity"; "Romero/Raimi '08"; the quote from Zombie Emma Goldman ("If I can't eat brains, I don't want to be part of your revolution"); "Argh"; and, of course, "Braaaaaaaaains".

#197 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 08:20 AM:

Peter Erwin... Romero/Raimi '08

...who will no doubt face stiff competition from the Republican Party.

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 08:24 AM:

Coming to San Francisco's Castro Theater on April 7/8...

The Sing-along West Side Story

Considering the subject matter, it probably wouldn't have the overall silliness of what my wife said it was like when they did a sing-along version of The Sound of Music. Besides, should yours truly start singing "I feel pretty", it might cause a rush for the exits.

#201 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Oh, it's zombie, this and zombie that, and zombie go to the back,
but it's 'advance, mister zombie' when we comes under attack.

--zRudyard zKipling

#202 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 01:10 PM:

New earthquake and tsunami, in the Solomon Islands.

#204 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Help wanted on a topic which I hope is unconnected to publishing scams:

Has anyone here heard of "The Cambridge College Programme LLC" with US headquarters in the John Hancock Building in Chicago? My youngest just got mail from them (not yet opened). This wouldn't be THE Cambridge, surely?

#205 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 03:26 PM:

The John Hancock building had had Gillette corporate offices... Proctor & Gamble bought Gillette and announced that it was going to stop leasing that space...

There is I think a Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA.... It is not anywhere near the Harvard or MIT level.

#206 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 03:26 PM:

#204 -- heard of it, got the invite for a couple of years, looked legit, couldn't afford it. But looked fun!

#207 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Never mind, I withdraw the question. Judging by their web presence, they share at most a name and an approximate location with U.Cantab.; and they appear to be the latest in a long line of "rip off smart kids' parents" programs.

#208 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Oh, I dunno -- some kids have put up pictures of their experiences there, and if the one I saw wasn't actually meeting Stephen Hawking, he was meeting a darn good impersonater... http://thepayne.net/~bgordon/cambridge.html Looks like he was doing the things they talked about in their brochure. But they sure do have a pretty crappy web page.

#209 ::: Zed ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 05:01 PM:

If I may call upon the all knowledge contained in Making Light's readership:

In what Phil Dick novel did a character have some collector's item and a certificate of authenticity, which occasioned the characters discussing how the certificate could be a forgery, and so warranted its own certificate of authenticity, and so on ad infinitum?

#210 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 05:25 PM:

Weightless Running

200 miles above the Earth, halfway to space,
running 2 miles with every step, each footfall
matches one in Boston. Floating near a wall,
restrained by cords she runs a marathon pace
to match her sister on the ground. The grace
of motion changes without weight, but will enthrall
the viewers down below. She hopes that recall
of her run by kids will spur them on to race.
She's wise to help the young enhance their time,
using her place to lead them into winning
some measure of the grace she can apply.
But those of us who've watched the rockets climb
and hungered for the worlds' new beginning,
might wonder how this race will help us fly.

#211 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Glenn @ #203 - The linky went all hinky, I'm assuming you meant this news blurb from the April 1 Locus Online?

I liked the zombie reference, myself.

#212 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 06:50 PM:

Serge said (#197):
Peter Erwin... Romero/Raimi '08

...who will no doubt face stiff competition from the Republican Party.

Arrrrrrgh. (The sound zombies make when they hear a bad pun.)

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 08:10 PM:

Peter Erwin @ 212... Ah! You're jealous that I thought of it first.

#214 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 09:56 PM:

Epacris @ 193: Speaking of less-than-usual phenomena North of the Border, the Kransky Sisters, from Esk, Q, (one of the shorter Australian addresses) are embarking on another tour in their Morris Minor. You can listen to their interview and musical talents in the podcast of The Conversation Hour for 3rd April, 2007 (following the Voice of Dorothy the Dinosaur).

#215 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 10:30 PM:

Bruce Cohen #210: Not bad!

To run the simulacrum of a race
in microgravity high above the air,
eyes focused firmly on our sphere
feet on a treadmill in outer space;
that seems so odd in a small place,
a little hut located just up there
where burdens should be easier to bear;
this is a gesture of enchanted grace.
What thoughts come looking on this ball
where human life seethes and explodes,
while racing in a city far below?
Emotions formed running in free-fall
give sense and meaning to imagined roads
which we on earth may never truly know.

#216 ::: Bob Rossney ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:20 AM:

Saith Zed:

In what Phil Dick novel did a character have some collector's item and a certificate of authenticity, which occasioned the characters discussing how the certificate could be a forgery, and so warranted its own certificate of authenticity, and so on ad infinitum?

Could it be the Phil Dick novel in which characters entertained themselves by submitting the English-language titles of various works to translation computers, translating them into Russian and then back to English, and using a globe-spanning telecommunications/computing network to entertain acquaintances (whom they'd never met in person) with the results? (I don't actually think so, but I still love knowing that not only did PKD envision the Internet, he envisioned what people in boring jobs would use it for.)

On a side note, I have a modest proposal. Unlike Swift, I mean mine. Being innocent of the mechanics of Constitutional amendment, I have no sense of the practicality of this one's ratification, but it seems to me that just the threat of it would, in the words of Guy Grand, "make it hot for them."

#217 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:23 AM:

Rob Hansen wrote: "Someone wanting to travel from New York to Cardiff in Wales consulted Google. Turns out you can do this fairly easily, as long as you can handle step 23:"

It's actually feasible to drive to France from the US.

Just drive to Newfoundland, then take a ferry over to Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a small bit of populated French territory close to the coast of Canada.

The main problem is that you either have to take a very long ferry ride from Nova Scotia, or else drive all the way around the eastern dangly bit of Newfoundland, which is quite a long drive, and probably moose-infested.

#218 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:28 AM:

#209: That sounds like it might have been one of the stoned discussions in Through A Scanner Darkly, though I don't recall that one specifically. (I can never forget the lengthy argument over the stolen 10-speed bike and "What happened to the other three speeds? We got ripped off.")

#216: I remember that bit too, now that you mention it. Is that in Galactic Pot-Healer?

#219 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:54 AM:

Zed @ 209; Clifton @ 218: Also sounds like one of the themes in The Man in the High Castle.

#220 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 04:11 AM:

I remember the discussion of collector's items and "historicity" in The Man in the High Castle, but I don't remember a discussion of infinite recursion.

#221 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 05:28 AM:

Thanks Tim @84. I think before I went away for the weekend I meant to say that what was good about the scene was that, in order to illustrate the culture clash between Norse and Egyptian Gods at the dinner table, Neil Gaiman had used an inappropriate knob joke that was over a thousand years old.

I've been at dinner parties like that, and the expression on Bast's face is exactly right.

On the Antarctic Artists thing, I saw an exhibition of some pieces from the New Zealand version in Christchurch a couple of years ago. I don't remember in any great detail, but it included some things made by a jewlery designer; an impractical but quite startling dress*; and an eerie whisting-wind type soundtrack.

* Mostly white

#223 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 08:43 AM:

Bob @ 216: I think Clifton's right; the translation game is from Galactic Pot-Healer. I don't remember whether the certificate discussion is part of the same book or not.

Neil @ 221: My father told me the following joke, which I later found in a 12th-century source:

Q: When a rooster wakes up in the morning, why does it stand on one leg?
A: Because if it picked up the other leg, it would fall down.

#224 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Fragano Ledgister (186): I seek the wisdom of the fluorosphere...

I never saw that story, and I really, really want to read it. It sounds like it might have been in one of those anthologies edited by Yvec N. Fybbs that I've been looking for ever since I found out about fandom. If so, I congratulate you on having seen it, and please let us know the outcome of your search, or if you remember any other interesting details of the work.

#225 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Dan Hoey #224: It is a genuine request on my part. I recall reading the story when I was 13 or 14. It certainly was not a piece of April Foolery. If you read it that way, I'm sorry to have offended you.

#226 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Fragano (225), I'm not offended, and I apologize if my request for confirmation was offensive. I'm even happier that it was a genuine request (my hints to the contrary notwithstanding) because I really do want to read it. So please do tell me if you find where the Bradbury Ray and North Pohl were. The only work that I remember even approaching that level of Pro Fan à clef is Niven's The Flying Sorcerers, with its narrator "As a shade of purple-gray".

#227 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Dan Hoey #226: I asked because, strong as my google-fu is, I could find no references to the story on the Internet (though, curiously, a couple of references to a woman with the surname North-Pohl). I knew nothing of fandom back in high school, and I merely wished to reread the story now with more mature eyes. I hoped that the collective wisdom of the folk here might lead me to it.

#228 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:13 AM:

#186 (Frangano) re: the world saved by Fandom.

I too read that story, and I believe (if this helps) it put forward the idea that after the fall of civilization (WW3?) fandom was a natural locus of rebuilding because fans trusted each other and they had mimeograph machines. OTOH, there was also conflict between two fan organizations (forget which ones, and maybe it was democratic, electoral conflict). The story was in one of Those Big Collections, and my guess is it was originally published in the fifties or early sixties.

#229 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:16 AM:

DaveL #228: That does sound like it, and the date (50s or 60s) sounds right. It was in a big collection (at least, I seem to recall it was).

BTW,who's Frangano?

#230 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:24 AM:

You may recall, back in Open Thread 68, discussion of the dating of a colour photograph of London, that was reference in a Particle.

Jo Walton has now revealed that the photo is part of the cover design of her book, Ha'Penny, and inspired one of the scenes.

This feels kind of neat.

#231 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Which reminded me of the discussion of such things as Bertie Wooster and Cthulhu. And a note from John M. Ford on the history of Simon Templar.

I feel a little sad, now.

But think of this. James Bond, as depicted by Fleming, lasted for 12 years, first novel to last.

Modesty Blaise started in the Sixties, and carried on as an active character until 2001.

But what if Modesty Blaise was a cover identity, for a string of female agents. They'd need training. Who do we know who recruits a series of glamourous women into the espionage business? John Steed.

And we all know where they end up when they retire.

I think I'll go and have a lie down.

#232 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:38 AM:

#229: Frangano is you in an alternate reality where SF fans rule the world! (Otherwise, a typo, but that's so boring...)

I've found it, I think: "A Way of Life," by Robert Bloch, originally published in Fantastic Universe, May, 1956. Collected in "Out of My Head," an (alas) out of print NESFA collection. Good luck!

#233 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:38 AM:

The latest Astronomy Picture of the Day is worth checking out -- a Mysterious Hexagonal Cloud System (on Saturn).

#234 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Dave Bell @ 231

And we all know where they end up when they retire.

Yes, in a particular segment of the Glasshouse.

Be seeing you!

#235 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Dave Bell @ 231: Did you know Dodge is now selling a car called the "Avenger?"

I'm just wondering how long it will be before I see one with the vanity plates "Steed" or "Mrs. Peel."

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Speaking of where spies retire... What's going on with Christopher Eccleston and the new mini-series based on The Prisoner?

#237 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:53 PM:

DaveL #232: A thousand thanks!

#238 ::: Wristle ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:31 PM:

DaveL # 232 and Fragano #237
According to this page at ISFDB, the story has been reprinted in several anthologies that may be easier (or just cheaper) to locate.

#239 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Wristle #238: Thanks very much!

#240 ::: Zed ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Bob Rossney @ 216 I still love knowing that not only did PKD envision the Internet, he envisioned what people in boring jobs would use it for.

Check out E.M. Forster for an impressive prediction of the Internet from 1909.

Thanks for the suggestions as to the PKD book, folks; I'll look through them.

#241 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 02:16 PM:

#93 Jennie:

You can do square knots and snip the ends. However you will have to keep the ends from slipping free and ravelling -- which is a problem because yarn stretches. I've tried knotting without treating, but something gives way sooner or later. There is a commercial product called fray check that acts like fabric glue and is washable.

Or you could paint the knots with clear nail polish. However, you will have scratchy lumps.

#242 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Fragano @ 215

Thank you. I like your poem too.

#243 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Heads up if you buy stuff from Overstock.com...

It'd appear that somebody hacked into their site and got some of my wife's credit info. Our credit card's company had noticed suspicious activity a few days ago, early enough that the card could be cancelled before any harm was done.

#244 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Lila@204 and 207: I don't think the Cambridge College Programme is actually a scam, although the web presence doesn't exactly inspire confidence. It looks to me like one of the many summer programmes that they run here in Cambridge for US high school students - usually based at a single college, and usually involving junior faculty and graduate students[*] who get paid per class/lecture. So the people may be the same as will be lecturing the undergraduates, but the teaching won't necessarily have much in common. Still, you had already worked out that it wasn't likely to be the equivalent of a term's full teaching as a Cambridge undergraduate.

A friend of mine taught for one of these courses - at Jesus College, whereas the CCP seems to be at Queens' - when she was finishing her PhD, and it seemed like everybody enjoyed it fine.

So it depends what you are looking for, really. A nice summer programme with some (generally junior) members of the Cambridge teaching staff, scaled down for high-schoolers ... all you are really missing is the level of teaching and a slice of independence from what would probably count as the 'real' Cambridge experience.

So I have my doubts as to whether it's likely to be worth the money, and if you are at all interested you should look around a little more, because there are multiple programmes going on here all the time, some of which may be more immediately reassuring. And very few of them are likely to be administered by the University in any direct way. But they are probably not scams.

I should probably add - I do currently teach at the real Cambridge, although not in any of these programmes. (Although obviously you have no proof that this is me, and the university is terrible at keeping the details up to date.) Still, it's odd to see familiar graffiti labelled as anti-American , though, since I never really think of it that way.

[*] I suppose it's a good thing that the CCP claim not to use graduate students, although they can often be better teachers and have more time to prepare than do temporary or junior staff.

#245 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Oh, and my pocket guide to PKD tells me that the translation game is definitely in Galactic Pot-Healer, and the certificate of authenticity is in The Man in the High Castle. Both of which were said already, but I thought I could confirm them if there was any lingering doubt. Also because there are a limited number of fora in which I can talk about the day-job and Philip K. Dick in such rapid succession.

#246 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Bruce Cohen #242: Thanks.

#247 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 08:58 PM:

Serge, #236, Eccleston is on Heroes right now.

#248 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 09:27 PM:

Thanks, Marilee. But no Number Six for Eccleston? Drat.

#249 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Fragano (#186): Sorry, can't help on that, but it reminds me of a story in a 50s issue of "Space Western" where "Spurs" Jackson lets his sidekick know that some "fen" are coming over to the ranch as part of their "descon." When the alien craft lands, the sidekick comments to himself on how realistic the space ship is, and when chitinous would-be overlords come out, he is impressed by their costumes. They reveal their sinister plot, and the fen show up and... come to think of it, I'll just post the scans on flickr.

#250 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 01:34 PM:

I was led to this by a diary on Daily Kos.

Remember those folks who were turned back by the cops at Gretna when trying to leave New Orleans after Katrina?

Court rules it was legal on the grounds that no court has established a right to intrastate travel.

#251 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Apologies if this has been posted previously...

Which Serenity character are you?

#252 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 03:16 PM:

For Fragano (and anyone else who is interested):

I remember something about how you were/are interested in island culture. This came across Marginal Revolution this morning:

Why do Jamaicans live so long?

#253 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 06:19 PM:

#241 Victoria (and others who use FrayCheck)

One trick to using FrayCheck is not to let it air dry. Apply to whatever you want to keep from fraying, cover with a press cloth, and then press gently with a steam iron (on about medium, I think) until the FrayCheck has dried.

If you let it air dry, it dries hard (not quite as hard as clear nail polish, but close). If you steam-dry it, it's soft and almost imperceptible.

#254 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 08:40 PM:

That sounds like a fascinating piece (of interest to me certainly, but of more interest to my first wife). My grandfather, who smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, and fornicated like it was going out of fashion lived to be 103. My father lived to be 81 and several of his siblings lived into their 80s (one is still alive).

#255 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 10:56 PM:

Little Keefy, snorting snow,
Stirred Pop's ashes in the blow.
Said he, when the press had come,
"April fool! 'Twere really Mum."

#256 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 09:12 AM:

Reverse of the Merkel sidelight: Oh, God, I expect to be laughing for hours. Thank you, Patrick.

#257 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 11:21 AM:

My senior editor, to whom I told the story of Teresa's untrained copy-editor, just snickered as she marked up a page and muttered "non-ital!" under her breath.

#258 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Am I the only person who, while walking to work and singing "My Ride's Here", finds himself unintentionally singing "Mister Oswald thought he had an understanding with the law"?

#259 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Kip W #255: Brilliant!

#260 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Fragano @ 254... I wish you plenty of that familial longevity!

#261 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 01:47 PM:

According to the most recent Locus. Jeff Vandermeer sold a long story to PS Publishing...

"...The Situation has everything: incompetent managers, back-stabbing co-workers, a giant grub creature, a fish with a human face, and a lot more besides..."

#262 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Best quote ever, in the Guardian:

Mention of his name sets Perrett off on a heartfelt rant about declining standards of morality among drug addicts. "Junkies nowadays are really disgusting," he huffs, genuinely outraged. "In my day, being a drug dealer was a respectable fuckin' profession. Nowadays, it's something you really feel ashamed to be associated with, the way most junkies behave."
#263 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Serge #260: Thanks. I wouldn't mind it in the least. I have to point out, though, that I have an uncle on that side of the family who died at 45.

#264 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Fragano @ 263

Ah, but did he die jumping out of his girlfriend's window when her husband showed up?

#265 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 03:40 PM:

I dunno, Clifton (262), I rather liked the gothic poetry of this sentence in the Guardian:

As for the young man himself, all he can offer them is the faint recollection of an abbey.
From the story, it would appear that an old Mario Bava movie is invading real life.

#266 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Fragano @ 263... Nevertheless, I will be thinking positive thoughts about your longevity. That won't change Reality one darn bit, mind you, but I'll be thinking it anyway.

#267 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Serge #266: Many thanks.

#268 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Question, has anything happened on the lawsuit regarding the suppression of Air America and the concerted effort conspiring to financially punish stations which had the temerity to have Air America programming on them?

[I remain thoroughly disgusted with the biased "news" reporting available over the supposedly once "public" airwaves in this area. Clear Channel for a while had Air America on and then with no warning put on Hispanic -noise-... no, I do NOT regard Hispanic audio as necessarily noise, but the crap that Clear Channel spews out on those two stations, makes the English translations of whatever that long-running German serial SF that someone with only high school German classes could read, look like Fine Art in comparison...]

[Segovia's recorded performances I liked, for example.... that is NOT salsa crap-noise... and not to be found on Clear Channel, either...]

#269 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 05:59 PM:

candle @ #245: Thank you!

Susan @ #250: that is almost as appalling as the original incident.

#270 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Kip W #249: That looks like a fascinating story in itself.

#271 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Just for the interest of archivists -- the redoubtable Abi S dropped by The Other Change of Hobbit this morning, and I'm hoping to get to have a dinner with her, David Goldfarb, and various other ML regulars next week in Berkeley. Perhaps a small item devoted to potential meetings of regulars here would be a good thing?

#272 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 07:52 PM:

Fragano, thanks! The scans of the "Spurs" Jackson story are on my flickr page, but after someone mentioned a certain inconvenience in the interface, I posted a set of direct links to individual page images in my LJ for ease of use.

#273 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 10:41 PM:

I'm boggled by the 'Space Western' comic concept in general.

#275 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Boggled by the 'Space Western' concept, Clifton? You'd better stay away from Firefly.

#276 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 11:31 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 271... the redoubtable Abi S dropped by The Other Change of Hobbit this morning, and I'm hoping to get to have a dinner with her, David Goldfarb, and various other ML regulars next week in Berkeley

The redoutable Abi? I'll be seeing that for myself on Monday evening. (Redoutable? Maybe it's the other one that you came across, the one from the Evil Universe, and you don't want to know what she uses for her book bindings.)

#277 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 11:47 PM:

On a different subject . . . we may be near to 'growing' our starship hulls and bike frames.

http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/news/25734/Carbon-fibre-famine-could-be-ended-by-carrots

See? Your mother was right - carrots *are* good!

#279 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 02:44 AM:

Tom @271,
Serge @276
Redoubtable? I hadn't had my coffee at that point - that tends to redoubt me pretty well. Particularly Peet's.

Thank you for showing me those bindings, Tom, and for letting me in before the shop was officially open.

See you Monday evening!

#280 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 03:53 AM:

Serge@236-Eccleston denied that rumor-apprently they are talking remake-unfortunately not with him in the title role. Boo,I agree.

#281 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 04:45 AM:

my new reason #15 why I like living in San Francisco:

The Bring Your Own Big Wheel Race down Lombard Street. It's the 7th annual. (I hadn't heard of it until today, and so must share.)

Santa, on a Big Wheel, on a Narrow Windy Road on a Steep, Steep Hill, on Easter. No worries, there. And I'm going to be eating chocolate or mayhap peeps while watching, just to make it perfect.

#282 ::: waysofseeing ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 05:33 AM:

Does anyone know what's up with this site?

Mikescollection at Amazon

The seller appears to be someone selling off the book collection of the late, much-missed Mike Ford. Among other things, they're selling a $500.00 copy of Scholars of Night that is claimed to be a "personal copy of John M. Ford."

Is this legitimate? Where is the money going?

(Apologies in advance if this is a much-asked question. My Google-fu may be weak.)

#283 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 05:35 AM:

Kathryn #281: That looks pretty great, but you might want to warn people about the music that plays when you click that link. I happened to have the volume turned up pretty high and I nearly crapped my pants.

Of course, the insomniac internet time-killing at 5:30 AM doesn't help with the jumpiness to begin with, but still...yikes!

#284 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 06:41 AM:

abi @ 279... So, a coffee-less abi is a redoubtable abi? Duly noted, and I'd probably try to make a roses-are-red-violets-are-blue rhyming thing out of it, but we're about to hit the road for our California trip.

#285 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Ethan @283,

I apologize- I have no speakers attached to the computer for exactly that reason, so I should know better than to not plug in the headphones and check.

Oy, yes, yikes.

You know, when I was four or five years old and had a bigwheel, I'd have been thrilled to know adults are allowed to take their bigwheels down steep streets. And I don't think me-of-then would quite understand why me-of-now isn't actually going to do it.

#286 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 02:57 PM:

I just found out here that since the Foley scandal the house Page program has gotten a record number of applications. The year before, the program couldn't even fill all it's available slots.

Dan Savage, being Dan Savage, encourages his readers to insert their own "available slots" joke.

I suspect the kids just heard more about the page program and how all the graduates of it say it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to them, rather than that they all want to have sex with repulsive hypocritical Congressmen.

#287 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Oh, rats, forgot to mention: you have to scroll down past the sex-advice column to see that article. No partial references on that page.

#288 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Friday afternoon chuckle from Wired

Top 10 Reasons Geeks Are Better Lovers

#289 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Slacktivist's commentary on the Left Behind books[1] is always worth reading, but today's is particularly good. Don't miss the comment thread, in particular the story fragment from Raka Goes Fishing.

[1] Well, book; he's 260 pages into the first one after 3 1/2 years of working on it.

#290 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 08:11 AM:

The most recent NPR's Open Mic podcast is Whisperado's "Never Been to Nashville" off of their terrific EP, Some Other Place.

Congrats!

#291 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 12:30 PM:

This is an Open Thread, so I have an appeal to the collective wisdom of the fluorosphere:

I'm seriously considering canceling my cable TV service and getting the handful of shows I actually watch via downloads and/or DVDs.

Has anyone here used iTunes to download TV shows? How was it? Specifically, how are the download times? (I have DSL.) The picture quality? Prices? Are they really available 24 hours after first airing?

Are there any other low-cost sources for TV downloads I should use instead of/in addition to iTunes? I'm avoiding Bittorrent for copyright reasons.

Anything else I should consider before making a decision to drop cable?

#292 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 02:52 PM:

JC - that's what I was coming over to share too!

Here's the link to NPR.

#293 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 04:22 PM:

Nina Armstrong @ 280... I am bummed.

#294 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 04:27 PM:

abi @ 279...

Redoubtable,
And Terrible
Without coffee,
That is abi.
Without a Peet,
She'll bite your feet.

(I blame the trip from New Mexico for this.)

#295 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Xopher (#286), I find it all too plausible that teenagers are interested in the Congressional page program because of the sex scandal. I started high school in 1982, around the time of a different congressional page sex scandal. Some of the kids I knew thought it would be glamorous and exciting (two boys who worked for the Republican National Convention in 1984 were disappointed that nobody tried to seduce them.) These were kids I knew through competetive debate, mostly boys.

Xopher wrote:
I suspect the kids just heard more about the page program and how all the graduates of it say it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to them, rather than that they all want to have sex with repulsive hypocritical Congressmen.

My impression was that they thought the sex might be somewhat distasteful (or it might not...it's nice to be wanted, and an old adulterer might know what he's doing in bed), but it would totally be worth it to have the attention of powerful people.
I could understand the decision, though I wasn't really tempted in that direction. The whole thing was way too scary for me, and I've never found the attention of externally powerful people to be all that much of a draw.

#296 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 06:06 PM:

Mary Aileen #291: In my limited experience with television on iTunes, it seems pretty clear that their main focus is getting the image to be really good on iPods, and that if you intend to watch it on anything bigger it's not so great--a little grainy, a little jerky. Not entirely unwatchable, but pretty bad.

#297 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 07:19 PM:

ethan (296): Thank you. That's very helpful.

#298 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 08:15 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 291

You might consider Netflix. We've been using it for several years, and only in the last few months had a satellite disk installed, largely because we could get HD on it. We weren't tempted by cable or sat before that. Also, Netflix' library is quite large; they have a lot of DVDs you'd only be able to find by searching awhile online.

#299 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Seen in the Onion AV Club:

Q: How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Ha! You mean you don't already know?

Q: How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Oh, I have that on vinyl.

BTW, I agree with the plug for Netflix as an alternative to cable. (Though I still wind up just letting the movies sit there and not watching them...)

#300 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 09:01 PM:

298, 299: Netflix is a source of DVDs, correct? So it could be an even cheaper solution to that part of the problem. Thank you.

But I'm also trying to figure out an alternative way to watch shows when they're fairly new, so I don't have to avoid spoilers for six months to a year while I wait for them to come out on DVD.

#301 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 09:28 PM:

Serge @ 293-I agree-I can't really imagine anyone else I'd enjoy watching in that role(as a remake anyway)
According to Mr. Sftv the most recent announcement had no indication of who was going to do it-maybe'll we'll get lucky.

#302 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 291

I quite like iTunes for TV, and even movies, though movies take several hours. TV shows generally take half an hour to an hour to download on my house DSL. They are quite viewable on my laptop and desktop, via iTunes or QuickTime MoviePlayer, or, we can connect a video iPod to our TV and watch there; it's quite acceptable.

#303 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 10:55 PM:

http://www.sexoteric.com/blog/index.php/__show_article/_a000018-003038.htm

dinosaur sex exhibit from museum in Spain.

Making Light are not the only people interested in the topic, apparently.

#304 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Mary Aileen, would it feel right to buy the shows from iTunes and then download them from somewhere else with higher quality? You'd still be passing some money on to the creators.

#305 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 03:57 AM:

Amazon also has some tv shows available for purchase & download. I don't know how the selection or prices compare with iTunes. The user experience is pretty darn good if you have a Tivo, but since you're wanting to be rid of the TV, I'm guessing you don't. If you don't have a Tivo, you have to have Windows and run some Amazon software I've heard conflicting opinions on.

#306 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 05:33 AM:

Speaking of television on demand, I just poked around at the new watch-now-on-your-computer feature on Netflix and was peeved to discover it only works on Windows and not on my pretty Macintosh.

And then, embarrassingly, when I wrote them an e-mail asking if there were plans to extend the service to Mac users, I spelled "there" wrong. As in, I spelled it "their." And for a second, after I recovered from the shock (I never, ever do that and just yesterday visiting my parents I was talking with my mother about how irritating it is when people do that), I was like, no, it's OK, I'm just previewing it and I can edit it.

Not everywhere is Making Light.

#307 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Re TV shows on iTunes:

I've generally been pleased with the image quality -- I'm watching the shows on my 15" laptop -- and given the size of the files (about 500 MB for an hour-long show), I'm not sure the quality would be that much higher on something obtained via bittorrent. (Though I've never tried the latter, so I could be quite wrong.) I have to admit that I download TV shows when I'm at work, so I don't have a good idea of the time a DSL download would take. I'm also using this as a way of catching up on US TV shows while living in Europe, after several years of not watching TV, so my experience isn't necessarily the best guide for answering the "Can I use this to replace cable?" question.

There are occasional free shows you can download, including some pilots, so you could use that as a way of testing the system out without paying anything (go to the iTunes main page, then scroll down to "Free on iTunes").

#308 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Lisa (302), Peter (307): Thank you. I guess I'll have to check the quality for myself. Nice to know there are free ones. (They won't give me a list till I download their software, which I didn't want to do unless I knew I would be using it.)

Diatryma (304): That's a thought. Hmmmm. Have to think about that one.

Todd (305): I wouldn't be getting rid of the television set, just the cable connection. On the other hand, I don't currently have a TIVO. (I still use videotape. How antiquated!) I'll have to check Amazon, to see if they have the selection I want. Thank you.

#309 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 05:00 PM:

If you think that the age of great myths is gone, that tales of epic struggles of superhuman beings, and titanic clashes of the forces of Good and Evil aren't told anymore, then you need to see Breakfast of the Gods: The Last Good Morning. And if you don't think any of that, but just want a laugh or two combined with mild nostalgia for breakfast cereal, you should also see it.

#310 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 05:17 PM:

#309: "Breakfast of the Gods" is one DARK comic.

Oregonians may want to look for a copy of Friday's "The Oregonian." It has a nice cartoon profile of "The Last Good Morning's" author / artist.

#311 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 11:12 PM:

Nyeaahhhhh!

The local ION TV (Family Friendly Pap Our Specialty) is running a Battlestar Galactica marathon.

Not the edgy modern version.

My, has time not been kind to it.

I saw at least one commercial touting the Book of Mormon, and I'm wondering if there's a connection.

#312 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 11:28 PM:

Stefan Jones #311: I've seen it said that the original BSG was a very very Mormon show, but as all I know about BSG is from the edgy modern version (I've reached Season 2.5 already!), and all I know about Mormons I learned from "God and I" by TNH, I've no idea in what ways. Perhaps it's about Jewish tribes exploring space, turning evil and brown, and forgetting the use of the wheel?

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 11:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 311... Time was not kind to the original BSG? Heck, it took only a few months for that to happen.

#314 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 01:04 AM:

Oh, I remember thinking BSG:TOS was juvenile and hideously sloppy (scientifically speaking) when I saw it in high school. But I don't remember it looking so tacky.

I just switched back to watch the last two minutes of an episode. Jonathan Harris voicing a robot with a long sparkly robe, blue Christmas tree light brains, and a blinking mouth. Eh?

You'd have to try really hard to make something deliberately stupider than that.

#315 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 01:18 AM:

Ethan@306: Just recently I made a post to Usenet in which I used "it's" where "its" would have been right. It made me wonder if my mind was going!

#316 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Gee, am I going to be the first one here to mention Grindhouse? The Locus Online reviewers have seen it (no link provided, since everyone here must know how to find that site), and I'd say their take is spot-on. Both flicks may be a little too long ("Planet Terror" at the end, "Death Proof" at the start), but the overall effect is gleeful exhilaration. And I too would love to see more of "Machete", beyond the looney pseudo-trailer.

My husband and I even got a free pass to it, thanks to some "use any time" tickets for the big multiplex in the next town over, a gift from a friend. And we emerged from the three-plus hours in a mostly empty theater (Easter weekend, here in hicksville) with one overall reaction: Whee!

PS: Did anyone watch the new Wind in the Willows adaptation on Masterpiece Theater last night? That was a lot of fun too, especially Hoskins' growl (as Badger).

#317 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 11:45 AM:

I'm seeing Grindhouse tonight and I'm about to pee myself in anticipation. I'll have thoughts tonight.

#318 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 12:39 PM:

I saw Grindhouse on Saturday and totally enjoyed myself. I like the Tarantino half better than the Rodriguez half, mostly due to my ambivalence toward zombie/horror movies and my enthusiasm with chick revenge tales.

A co-worked also liked them, but preferred "Planet Terror"; he said he found "Deathproof" to be too talky. I wonder if it breaks down along gender lines. I felt the talky bits in "Deathproof" were necessary to make us feel like we knew and cared about the women so as to give the last third of the film more drama.

I did like "Planet Terror" well enough, but it led to today's Making Light Open Thread Somebody Here Knows The Answer To This Question: At a certain point (zrygvat gnenagvab nangbzl, for those who've seen the film) I had to stop munching on my candy. For reasons I still cannot fathom, I stashed my M&M package in my pocket. The next day I neglected the pocket check before doing laundry.

So, how do you get melted-in chocolate out of heavy cotton pants? Anyone?

#319 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Faren Miller @ 316

PS: Did anyone watch the new Wind in the Willows adaptation on Masterpiece Theater last night? That was a lot of fun too, especially Hoskins' growl (as Badger).

Yes, I watched it, and greatly enjoyed it. I could swear there were times where Hoskins was channeling Leo McKern. How very weird: Rumpole the Badger.

#320 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 03:11 PM:

For reasons having to do with a Suze-Orman-overloaded Pledge Week (although it seems like Pledge Month if not Pledge Semester--I *know* they've been going since before St. Patrick's) my Tivo's date with Ratty and Mole is postponed until Thursday. It'll probably be some time before I actually get to it, what with several previous episodes of Masterpiece Theatre already standing round yelling "watch me!" every time we look through the recordings on hand.

#321 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 03:26 PM:

nerdycellist #318: So, how do you get melted-in chocolate out of heavy cotton pants? Anyone?

I have a lot of mutually contradictory information.

Joy of Cooking (1975) suggests "sponge w/ cold water or soak 30 min. or longer. Rub gently w/ soap and rinse. If stain persists, apply commercial grease solvent."

How to Repair Food (1987) says: "soak in cold water. Sponge in hot sudsy water. Bleach w/ hydrogen peroxide if necessary. Wash in hot water (warm for colored fabric)." [I feel the peroxide sounds a bit dangerous.]

Only thing that works at all for me is copious application of Spray'N'Wash, letting sit for long time before putting in the wash (after scraping off as much chocolate as possible). If it doesn't come out, try again *without* going through the dry cycle, since drying seems to set it even worse. Mind you, I never did get the chocloate gelato out that I spilled on a white skirt in Ravenna, but I blame that on having no Spray'N'Wash until I got back to the States three months later.

#322 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 03:37 PM:

more on getting the chocolate out (from a cleaning place):

"For best results, try pretreating the area with drycleaning solvent and then place the affected area over several layers of white paper towels and blot.
If the stain remains, blot with a mild detergent and then rinse with water.
If these efforts still do not remove the stain, try using a solution of one teaspoon of white vinegar per cup of water. Rinse with water.
If all other methods fail, you may need to use a bleach, but remember to test for colorfastness. Any remaining stain may be removed by laundering according to the care label instructions."

Generally, you let the chocolate harden, then scrape as much off as you can, before you do the rest of the procedure. They say chocolate is more difficult than most stains.

#323 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 04:02 PM:

Drycleaning solvent? Not one of the cleaning fluids I have lying around my apartment.

I washed the pants in warm water, and the chocolate kind of melted into the fibers. I tried scraping the stain, and very little came off the surface. I didn't tumble dry them.

Maybe I'll try the vinegar and water and then Spray & Wash when I get home. They're not terribly expensive pants ($10 at Marshalls) but they are from the one brand that fits my freak-show lower half, and one that no one in SoCal seems to carry. I'd hate to lose them!

#324 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 04:18 PM:

I just know this is the right place to find font geeks.

I'm looking for a suitable font which is documentable to the early 1900s (by 1914, or - better yet - by 1907). That means no "in the style of the era" dodges. It needs to be something that will enlarge nicely for posters containing only a couple of words ("tango" "one-step" "schottische") and be readable from a distance - nothing with too many curlicues.

I'd be happiest with something I happen to already have (surely one of the gazillion installed fonts on this Mac will work) or can get as shareware.

I know zippo about fonts, so I do not want to guess and then get sarcastic commentary from font geeks about how I've used a font that wasn't invented until 1975. I also don't have time to turn myself into a font expert in the next couple of weeks. But surely someone here already is one....?

Help?

#325 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Faren @ 316... Somehow I telescoped what you said and found myself thinking of Tarantino's Wind in the Willows.

#326 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Susan - Check the Solotype catalog, then look at Fontage ( > period fonts) for the original or a link to it. There are a lot of fonts from that period. I'm at work, so I can't check easily, or I'd give you names to look at.

#327 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 06:13 PM:

A request for Fluoropherii wisdom

I'm helping to clean out a house. It belonged to a relative who passed away at 91. We haven't had a tag sale estimator in (doubt it'd be worth it): we'll just use craigslist and a garage sale for most stuff. The cleaning triage (junk, donate, sell) is not difficult for most items because of time, the net and Ebay(1).

But I don't know how to approach / how to be ruthless in cleaning out:
1. The linen closet. Bedding, tablecloths, lace, towels, blankets. Most likely all from the 50's to the 80's, but could be as old as the 1910's. Likely all bought in the US, but some could have been brought from Russian or China (if the latter two then would date from 1910-1940s). Smells like mothballs. I can separate the polyester from the naturals (feel or flame test), and silk from the rest, but I can't tell cotton from linen.
2. The sewing room- fabrics from the 50's to the early 90's. Smells (and is) musty and dusty. Mostly polyesters.

To donate or put these out for a garage sale I feel like I'd need to run 20 loads of laundry, and I'm not keen on that(2). But I'm also not keen on just tossing it all. Searches online haven't been helpful, not compared to all the guides for furniture, kitchen goods, etc.

Should I care? Can I just toss away the musty stuff guilt free?

I think the main thing that stops me from just throwing out the musty stuff is analogizing to if it was the same volume of books. If someone else was cleaning out a book closet I'd be hopping mad to hear they just tossed them all(2). But used books aren't used linens, and are there people who care about old linens the way I care about books? I don't know. Do you?

Also,
Can you clean and how would you clean old leather that's got some mildew? I found a 14 foot python skin (likely bought in Burma or nearby in the 50s) that I'd like to keep *if* it can be cleaned.

-----------
(1) enough time removes the feelings of raw nostalgia or of being an interloper. Ebay removes the "it all could be hidden treasures" feel. Most all is worth $2 plus $5 to ship.

(2) I couldn't just put it out unwashed for free, because what if a craphound finds it? They'd just take it from addiction.

(3) knowing full well this is a dangerous analogy to make, because books to me: gold to Smaug. Although I can get rid of books that'd damage other books (mildew) or would damage the reader (not worth reading, could not in kindness let friends borrow).

#328 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 06:56 PM:

nerdycellist @318: Real Simple suggests removing chocolate by soaking the fabric with an enzyme-based detergent, which is somewhat more convenient than using solvents. They have a nifty poster, too.

#329 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 07:20 PM:

"Grindhouse" was a mostly-positive experience. Really long, but then it WAS a double feature.

"Planet of Terror" went on too long, even with the deliberately missing reels. It was, dare I say, a little too sophisticated in concept to be a wretched 70s B movie, even an updated one.

"Deathproof" was too farging talky upfront, but when it got moving it was a blast.

The trailers were hilarious. "Don't!" was just marvelous. I remember seeing previews in that mode at the Saturday morning horror double feature at the Glen Cove theater.

(Glen Cove WAS a grindhouse to some extent. Double features! "Asylum" and "The Legend of Hell House." "Vanishing Point" teamed with "Bless the Beasts and Children!" For one glorious summer, an older theater at the other end of town showed Italian SF movies and Mexican wrestling movies for $.50! And Sunn Pictures nature films. Ah, they don't make 'em like they used to. Thank God.)

#330 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 07:31 PM:

Kathryn (327): I don't have experience removing mildew from leather in particular, but spreading it out in the sun on a dry day might help kill the spores. My mother successfully de-mildewed several mattresses using that method. I can't remember whether you need cold, or just low humidity, but sunlight is the crucial thing.

#331 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Kathryn FS #327:

I believe there's a bit of a market for lace and things that have lace or threadwork on them. Anything in that line would be worth at least taking to the charity shop if not somewhere perhaps more lucrative. (The older, the better, of course.)

I now really regret that my mother, a confirmed modernist with a complete lack of sentiment for objects, caused all my grandmother's hand-crocheted and/or hemstiched table runners to disappear.

#332 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Kathryn, there are people (I'm one) who would buy musty vintage linens if they were cheap enough. I have a nice collection of 100% linen tablecloths and napkins, both inherited and bought, and some of them were musty and/or stained to start with. I buy sheets at estate sales because 30+ year old sheets from Sears or Pennys are far better quality than expensive "luxury" sheets today -- better fabric, better thread count, really soft. (Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to find vintage sheets any bigger than double bed size.) I figure that if I can't get the smell out in a couple of washes, or the stains out by soaking (sometimes for days) in a Biz solution, then I can put them in my own yard sale and get about what I paid for them. Or give them away -- I don't pay a lot for them. You may very well be able to sell the linens and the fabric on eBay or at a yard sale, even with a disclaimer about the mustiness. Do you have Freecycle where you live? Don't worry about the craphounds -- you can't save them from themselves.

Even very old linens and clothing can be rescued from must and stains with patience, as long as they're hand washable in cold water.

From my local extension service, this wisdom: To clean the mildewed leather items, take them outdoors, wipe them down with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol diluted 1:1 and air dry. You might have to do this a couple of times. If mildew remains wash with a sudsy solution of leather soap, wipe with a damp cloth and air dry. The worst thing you can do is ruin the item, but if you don't clean it, it's ruined anyway.

#333 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Kathryn - most quilters I know don't like polyester, but other needleworkers do. I have friends who hunt down vintage fabrics for costuming, restoration, the pure joy of the patterns*, etc. I think a certain amount of mustiness/dustiness is a given when dealing with vintage items. For some it is part of the charm.

If I were shopping the top two things I would want to know are:

Is the fabric in bolts, yard lengths, fat quarters, or is it a scrap-a-palooza?

How was it stored? Even if it's dusty and musty**, if it has been out of the light, that's better than being exposed to UV.

Since fabric is heavy and shipping costs add up, maybe a quick notice to your local fiber arts/quilting/costuming groups would get you the people who would be interested?

*Me, I'm a sucker for vintage Marimekko prints.

**I have fabric that has been in storage for only about five years, and I know I'm going to wash it again before I finally use it.

#334 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Kathryn, I had a saddle get mildewed, I didn't realize it until I wanted to sell it (long, sad story, got married, got bit poor, had to quit lessons, then when I wanted to ride again, discovered I'd become violently allergic to horse dander). I just saddle soaped it, rinsed it good, then let it get sun and air. I guess it worked, the guy I sold it to didn't complain.

Then again, I don't know how fragile your snakeskin is, but like someone pointed it out, if you don't do anything it's trashed. Which would be a pity.

#335 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 10:44 PM:

This site recommends different procedures for treating stains from milk vs. dark chocolate, depending on whether the first line of attack is against the cocoa butter or milk proteins.

#336 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 01:09 AM:

Kathryn @327
As I said to you in person this evening, the way to kill a mildew infestation in leather is to bag it up (Ziplock), put it in the freezer overnight, then spread it in the sun for a day. Three freeze/sun cycles should do it.

(It did for the leather in my bindery that got mildewed this last summer. This technique also works on paper.)

I wouldn't recommend the alcohol, not as a first resort - it dries leathers and skins out.

#337 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 01:32 AM:

My Grindhouse plans for today fell through, goddammit. Hopefully tomorrow.

#338 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 04:45 AM:

Hello, open thread! I'm maudlin and mooning over my fiction of choice. Does anyone here know when the next Rosemary Kirstein "Steerswoman" book (she said in an interview that it would be The City in the Crags) is likely to actually emerge from behind the dark curtain?

It's rare I run across a sciencefictional fantasy world written with that kind of startling clarity. If anyone has seen a thing like it, also, do tell.

#339 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 07:22 AM:

Susan @ #324: I am not a font geek, but I get my fonts at The Scriptorium. If you email them what you're looking for it's likely they can tell you what they've got that will do the trick, and their prices are good. Also you can look around the art/font collections part of the site and see what you can find - some of their fonts come from old books.

They take their business pretty seriously and they've been around for ages, so I don't think they'd try to pass something off that wasn't legit.

#340 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 12:38 PM:

ethan (337) My Grindhouse plans for today fell through, goddammit. Hopefully tomorrow.

Please be sure to change your trousers first.

#341 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Kathryn, 327: Check with your local community theater before tossing the fabrics. Costumers love polyester.

And I second the recommendation to put all handworked pieces aside. Those can be worth money, depending on age and condition.

#342 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Kathryn, 327

What TexAnne said, and you can include local college theater departments as well.

#343 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 01:30 PM:

Re: Kathryn @ 327 -
Burn testing to distinguish cotton/linen

From Claire Schaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide (it automatically falls open to the burn test page):

Cotton burns rapidly with yellow flame, continues burning, afterglow, smells like paper, resideue is brown-tinged end, light-colored, feathery ash.

Linen burns more slowly, smells like rope, ash maintains shape of swatch.

#344 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Re: Antarctic Artists

Does anyone else remember a story by Ursula LeGuin (all details hazy) that involved a number of women having a retreat at a station in Antarctica? One of them was from Brazil, particularly wealthy so helped subsidize it? Published in the New Yorker some time in the 70's? One spent much of her time in a chamber making ice sculptures which would never be viewed unless there in person (ah, before the internet and Flickr et. al.).

The Denver Public Library has bound copies of tNY that certainly span the possible years, but I'd appreciate any help getting closer.

Through the ensuing decades, comparatively unrelated things will pull me back to this story. Is there a term for this time-machine-surprise element?

#345 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 02:01 PM:

I remember the story, Carol, and thought of it myself.
A quick Google on the name of one character gave me
"Sur: A SUMMARY REPORT OF THE YELCHO EXPEDITION TO
THE ANTARCTIC, 1909--1910" which was in The Compass Rose.

#346 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Carol: It's in LeGuin's collection The Compass Rose (representing the direction South, naturally.) The story title is 'Sur', and the acknowledgments note that it was published in the New Yorker in 1982. It is indeed a fine story. (I won't spoil the details for those who haven't read it.)

#347 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Oh, if only we lived in a world where the Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel really existed. (Although I understand that the quality of Mexican food in NYC, esp in Brooklyn, has risen considerably over the past decade.)

Heck, how about a Waldo Tunnel Extension, shipping burritos from Tiburon to Burien? I'd take that in a hot second.

#348 ::: harthad ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 03:07 PM:

Regarding stain removal: I've had very good luck soaking old linens in a solution of oxygen bleach, with some laundry soap mixed in for good measure (Era is enzyme-based, so good for protein stains). I just leave them overnight, and scrub at the spots only if they don't respond to the soaking. Never tried it with chocolate, though.

And yes, many of us who love fabric will buy even musty or stained pieces, provided they are otherwise in good condition, and the price is right...

#349 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 03:21 PM:

AAAAH! I just saw my copy of The Compass Rose! I remembered the story being in a chapbook which got separated from the main LeGuin body in multiple moves. About to trot right back and pull it out...

Many thanks!

#350 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Not a hamster story, but we've got cat people here, too, and it is an open thread...

Mystery cat takes regular bus to the shops

#351 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 04:00 PM:

That's one smart cat - knows how to live the good life!

In the US I don't doubt someone would call it in to a pound, where, in many areas, it would likely be killed.

#352 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Carol Kimball #344: I recall that story. I keep thinking it was in The Wind's Twelve Quarters.

#354 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 07:58 PM:

Carol, the Fabric Sewing Guide you mention looks wonderful. Is the rest of it as good as that test? When was it written? I rarely see such sensible details in recent references -- it's more common to cite numeric measurements than "smells like," though there are still occasional "looks like."

I suppose I could test this, but I'm asking because I have neither sacrificial linen nor rope. Does burning linen smell like burning rope, or like raw rope?

#355 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Yesterday night, I met with a few people I correspond with on Making Light. Kathryn from Sunnyvale knew I was going to be around the Bay Area, and Abi from Scotland had flown in to visit her own family. Thus did Kathryn and her significant other, along with David Goldfarb and his significant other, and Abi and I meet at Berkeley's bookstore The Other Change of Hobbit, from where owner Tom Whitmore took us nearby to a Tibetan restaurant. Good food. Good conversations with people I had never met in the flesh before, except for Kathryn. After that, we were walking down Shattuck Street until we came across a mailbox made up to look like R2-D2. So, of course, we had to stop dead in our tracks. Which gave a local loonie the chance to come our way, gesticulating and repeatedly screaming "I'm a Moor, I'm a Moor!" None of us thought much of his acting abilities so we sort-of ignored him. He eventually walked away.

In other words, I had a great time.

#356 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 11:04 PM:

Serge 355: "I'm a Moor, I'm a Moor!"

You should have tied a boat to him.

#357 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Adrian @ 354: In Knitting Rules, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee describes burnt linen as smelling like burning grass, having a large and steady flame, and leaving behind soft gray ash.

Burnt cotton smells like burning paper, has a large and steady amber or yellow flame, and leaves behind a small amount of soft gray ash. It ignites more quickly than linen, and when the flame is blown out, a travelling ember is left.

#358 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 01:47 AM:

TexAnne @341,

How do you define "handworked pieces"?

Do you mean lace? Other than (possibly) some of the lace, the only other obviously handmade stuff are patchwork sheets- sheets turned into sacks (like a sleeping bag) made of several pieces.

#359 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 02:15 AM:

Xopher @ 356... I was ready to tie him down if he came any closer to Kathryn, who had her back to him, in case this Othello decided she was his Desdaemona.

#360 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 02:52 AM:

Serge @359, 355,

That was an odd moment, wasn't it?

My normal reaction* is to ignore the raving person, because attention just rewards their behavior. But ignoring a person yelling right behind you, who seems to be getting louder the longer he's ignored? Hard to do.

--------------
* learned from a summer of riding to work in a bus with a fairly high % of riders who spoke every thought out loud. Their commentary-gaze would sweep by every few minutes, unless you caught their attention.

#361 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 06:24 AM:

Kathryn: Those sacks are probably worth the fabric in them, then. (As someone has already pointed out, old sheets are better than new ones.) Lace's value depends on condition, age, and technique. At least, as I understand it--I'm not up on antique lace, since I've always preferred to make my own. I do know that there are books on the subject, but I can't think of any titles at the moment. Probably something like "Antique Lace." You could probably find a needlework or heirloom sewing shop somewhere. There's usually at least one person obsessed with old things on the staff.

#362 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 09:00 AM:

Kathryn @ 365... Yes, it was rather difficult to ignore the would-be gentleman. By the way, at first, I thought he was yelling that he was, not a Moor, but a moron, an utterance I could not disagree with.

#363 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 09:08 AM:

We saw Grindhouse last night. I was rather disappointed. My own reaction to "Planet Terror" is that it was an overextended joke that went on longer than it should have, but still managed to make me sort-of smile. "Death-proof" bored me out of my skull, but luckily had no zombies to pick my brain up. The fake coming-attractions were just right though, amusing but not overstaying their welcome. I especially enjoyed Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu.

#364 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Serge @ 362

I thought he was yelling that he was, not a Moor, but a moron, an utterance I could not disagree with.

That would have made him an oxyMooron. Take that, Xopher!

#365 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Serge #355: Leaving aside the fact that I'm envious, I would have thought the obvious response to the gentleman proclaiming his Moorishness would be to ask if he were from Venice.

#366 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale #360: It could have been worse -- it could have been the bus driver commenting on every blasted thing on the road. There was a driver like that on one suburban bus route in Atlanta. After riding on her bus a few times, I was impelled to change the route I took to get to the community college where I teach part time.

#367 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale (#360): My normal reaction* is to ignore the raving person, because attention just rewards their behavior. But ignoring a person yelling right behind you, who seems to be getting louder the longer he's ignored? Hard to do. That sounds like my cat, calling for food in the middle of the night. Sometimes indulgence is the only way to shut him up!

I also enjoyed that link to the Mystery Cat story. It's been a good week for cat lovers, what with a Cat Column from Jon Carroll on Monday and an ongoing series featuring the cat in Pickles. (Link is to the site that shows it in glorious color.)

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Bruce @ 364... That would have made him an oxyMooron.

Ba-da-bing.

Fragano @ 365... From the looks of him, I doubt that the gent in question would know where Venice is, or where he himself was at the moment. Then again, maybe he was a Method Actor who wanted to see if his performance was fooling anybody.

#369 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 11:22 AM:

My recollection is that we had a different Desdemona, a rather frightened-looking young woman who attached herself to the other side of our group (while talking on her cell phone) until our Venetian (blind, if at all, only in his drunkenness) moved on.

Kathryn was unflappable - even her grammar did not suffer.

(And Fragano, the last thing we wanted to do was encourage the man to talk to us. We were rather trying to discourage him.)

#370 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Serge #368: Fortunately, I'd put down my mug of tea before reading your last comment.

#371 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Abi #369: That was, I suppose, the sensible thing to do.

#372 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 11:53 AM:

abi @ 369... Ah, yes, there was that young woman who indeed thought it was safer to hang close to us. As for Kathryn being unflappable, she didn't look that way to me, as I was right next to her. All right, Kathryn, time for you to settle the question. Heh heh heh...

#373 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 12:52 PM:

I can catch up here, or do anything else at all, and since it's still April, the "anything else at all" is defined as "everything all at once."

The roses and cattle will have to wait, today, as there has been some kind of burrowing mammal confluence, and the path under the rustic pergola has experienced such an upwelling of the sod that the male residents of this farmstead can no longer walk under it. So today, I must cut sod and regrade that part of the lawn.

(That eight-foot square of the pergola is planted to: roses Darlow's Enigma SE, Alberta SW, Felicite et Perpetue NW, Wisteria sinensis outside NE and Clematis viticella Barbara (Betty?) Corning inside NW and SW).

#374 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 02:26 PM:

This Kos post made me laugh:

Act Now And We'll Throw In A Gilette Razor, Which In The End Times Will Be Traded As Currency

"Visions of barbershop massacres, book burnings, Muslims breeding like rabbits, polygamy, Europe under the domination of the bearded menace and an Amerostralian counteroffensive based primarily on a campaign of frantic boinking?"

#375 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 02:42 PM:

It is now possible to find Edward Elmer Smith on Gutenberg.

Remember, these books may still be in copyright outside the USA, where Berne Conventions rules have applied for far longer.

#376 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Susan @ 374... Ah yes, the Muslims breeding like rabbits. That old chestnut that always winds up being used against whatever ethnic group happens to be the threat du jour. I am reminded of graffiti in a Bay Area theater's washroom. It went...

"(scratchedout) multiply like rabbits"

And someone added...

"So do bigots, and they can't add or subtract either."

#377 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Serge #376: We shouldn't forget that the same bigots' great-grandparents were worrying about Jews and Catholics breeding like rabbits. Not to mention the possibility that the world could eventually be ruled by the International Jewish Conspiracy ('Everyone will eat bagels with lox') and the Pope would be making tyrannical laws ('Learn Latin, or else...').

#378 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Serge and Fragano @376 and 377

The same bigots' parents were the ones who were convinced that JFK would make everyone become a Roman Catholic. (I think, from here-and-now, that that one was spread by Nixon's campaign. It wouldn't have been the first time his people started an ugly rumor.)

#379 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:22 PM:

#377: ('Everyone will eat bagels with lox')

And this is a bad thing how?

I can't wait until Tancredo's campaing is high-profile enough to start getting mocked by everything from The Daily Show to Law and Order. (Although, come to think of it, his base probably won't be able to provide him with much in the way of donations, unless the campaign treasurer starts accepting piglets and deeds to trailer homes.)

(Sorry, that was mean.)

#380 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:23 PM:

That too, Fragano and P J... I remember reading an Ed Gorman mystery set in the late Fifties, where the hero questions some old buddy of his who is convinced that the local chapter of the Catholic Conspiracy is in the basement of the church. The hero, a Catholic, does point to his buddy that, before the latter left the Church, he too had been an altar boy and had seen what was in the basement and there was nothing going on in there. Does that change the guy's mind? Of course not. He clarifies himself by saying that the Conspiracy really is in the church's sub-basement.

It's elephants all the way down.

#381 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:40 PM:

PJ Evans #378: That the Nixon campaign came up with that one seems likely.

#382 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Stefan #379: ('Everyone will eat bagels with lox') And this is a bad thing how?

Indeed, it's not.

I also took Latin, albeit at a very late age as such things go.

Guess hell froze over.

#383 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Stefan Jones #379: I was mocking anti-Semitic paranoia. I like bagels with lox.

#384 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 03:54 PM:

Serge #380: Elephants in soutanes.

#385 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Open thread stuff:

Scalzi linked to this over on Whatever. Yowza. Lee Iacocca tears GWB a new one.

I like this quote:

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies.
#386 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 05:09 PM:

#385: Next on Fox News: Why does Lee Iococa hate our troops?

#387 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Typewriter fetishists, check out this very cool Underwood-ish keyboard mod.

#388 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 12:08 AM:

The NY Times is reporting that Kurt Vonnegut passed away today. I'm sure lots of readers of Making Light were admirers. I was always particulary fond of Cat's Cradle, myself.

#389 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 12:19 AM:

I just wanted to pass on two opportunities to participate in distributed science:

Blogger Bioblitz, in which you the blogger pick a spot and inventory its life, write it up in your blog, and then send in the data and the link, and somehow a grand report is done of the whole thing.

Project Budburst, for the US only I guess, where you report the "phenological milestones" of selected plants in your area, like first flower, first leaf, etc. It only started this month so in my climate there's not going to be much to send in (our "firsts" happen in January and February mostly). But it's going to be fun looking for stuff to report.

I think this is one of the most exciting things to come down the pike in a long time.

#390 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 12:26 AM:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

-- Kurt Vonnegut, 1922 - 2007

#391 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Oh, here's another US citizen science project:

Frogwatch USA

#392 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 03:28 AM:

#354 Adrian
[re: Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide] ...looks wonderful. Is the rest of it as good as that test? When was it written?

My copy is a copy decades old, but it's still in print, check Amazon et. al. Yes, it's a treasure trove.

Does burning linen smell like burning rope, or like raw rope?

Burning rope. Also kind of like burning grass (hay). We used to do burn tests on unlabeled fabrics when I taught Theatrical Costuming. Our area dean was showing around a group of Big and Powerful People when we thus engaged, and they hovered in the doorway as she gave brief intros and asked what we were doing. She then asked what we were testing?

"Hemp."

"Oh, great!" and they all trooped in. There was a brief moment in there when my universe tilted sharply sideways and then realigned, and I realized (again) what a wonderful woman she was.

#361 TexAnne:
...You could probably find a needlework or heirloom sewing shop somewhere. There's usually at least one person obsessed with old things on the staff.

Quilt shop personnel are also up on this stuff.

"I'm A Moor"

Othello was a successful military guy, right? What are the chances this walking derangement was instead saying, "I'm Amor"? In the hope that love might indeed conquer all? Watch out for those STDs.

#393 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 03:36 AM:

"My copy is a COUPLE decades old..."

#394 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 05:35 AM:

David @388,

If I drank, I'd want to mix up an ice9 for myself. I imagine that it's a drink that looks like frosted water, but is of sufficiently high temperature that it just about instantaneously hits your blood stream to knock you off your feet.

But instead I'll curl up with my Cat's Cradle and a cup of chamomile tea, thinking about a karass of others also curled up with their books.

#395 ::: Del ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 05:59 AM:

Carol, when the loon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moor, eh?

#396 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 06:09 AM:

Serge #355: "I'm a Moor, I'm a Moor!"

or perhaps I'm Amur! I'm Amur!. Not everyday you meet a weretiger.

#397 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 08:18 AM:

If you folks keep making those bad jokes about Berkeley's own Othello being amorous, I'll have to trot out my Pépé le Pew impersonation.

("Nooooooo!!!")

Meanwhile, Kathryn from Sunnyvale still hasn't said if she WAS unflappable during the whole incident. There was no danger, really, with all of us being around, especially Abi, who had had that cup of Peet's hours ago and thus was probably reverting to her redoubtable state.

",...must... have... Peeeetttt'sss..."

#398 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Serge, that should be "Le noooo!"

I think the only time Pepe le Pew made me laugh out loud was him pretending to be a sled dog. Le bow! Le bowwowwow!

#399 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Another entry in the pun department (from a very silly conversation my husband and I were having last evening) -- Lipidoptera: congenitally obese butterflies and moths.

#400 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 10:19 AM:

I think Lipidoptera could be simplified to include butterflies, but not moths. What other fattening insects are there?

#401 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 10:26 AM:

Diatryma @ 398... that should be "Le noooo!"

Mais bien sûr.

#402 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 12:53 PM:

My, oh my... One item in my employer's newsletter today used the word 'truthiness'. And correctly too.

Stephen Colbert, what have you wrought?

#403 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Thanks to all who answered up-thread about my melted chocolate on pants problem; I got an enzyme cleaner, soaked the hell out of the chocoltate stains, tossed the pants in the wash and crossed my fingers.

No more chocolate!

I'm very happy that the pants were saved.

#404 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Faren Miller @ #399: that's very good. Phoning my dad right now to tell him...

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 02:47 PM:

abi... Best wishes flying back to Scotland tomorrow. Stay away from any Othello wannabes at the airport.

#406 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Serge @397,

Yes.

#407 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 04:08 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 406... Still, let's hope that, the next time we meet, we won't be running into more of this street thespianism.

#408 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 04:21 PM:

abi,

Have a good flight back to Scotland, and good luck on the move.

#409 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 04:25 PM:

So I just finally got my copy of the first issue of Buffy Season 8 and tore the frack through it. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now to track down issue #2.

Still no Grindhouse for me, galdarnit. Tomorrow for sure.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

#410 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 07:11 PM:

Events warrant.

I just did something very strange: I went to the mall, bought a comic book (S8 issue 2!), went to the food court, got a slice of pizza, ate my pizza while reading a comic book in the mall food court, and then saw the Ninja Turtles movie. One part of all that was good; guess which one it was.

#411 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 08:30 PM:

ethan: It's out?! It's out?!

Oh, gods. I've just rearranged my entire morning schedule in seconds to plan to be at the comic shop when it opens.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this fangirlish glee.

#412 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Aconite: For a second I was disoriented and thought it was TMNT that you were excited about, but then I noted the bit you said about the comic shop and stopped planning your intervention.

You are not alone in your fangirlish glee. And #2 is gooooood.

#413 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 09:21 PM:

I...will...not...get...into...Buffy...comics!!!!!

#414 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Xopher @ 413-
Resistance is futile. Get thee to a comics store already.

#415 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 01:36 AM:

xopher,

I...will...not...get...into...Buffy...comics!!!!!

why?

i know why i won't, it's because i never followed the buffy series, & it'd take too long to catch up. but if you are up on your buffy, comics are cheap, really quick to read, & only come out once a month. where's the big commitment?

#416 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 03:28 AM:

miriam, I definitely see a lot of long-term frustration and stress in my future because of these damn comic books. I can understand why Xopher would try to resist.

But he will fail.

#417 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 08:47 AM:

Xopher, 413--do what I'm doing, and wait for the collection.

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 09:48 AM:

Just what I need. One more thing to knock Wheadon's X-men comic-book out of schedule.

#419 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 10:59 AM:

Mary Dell (#404): Thanks! Puns are fun to play with.

#420 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:25 AM:

In recent weird news, a Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil that was found a while back with some soft tissue still relatively intact has gone through analysis, and the proteins isolated from that collagen have been compared to modern animals. The punchline is that the closest match to the tissue is to that of a chicken.

The Slashdot response included spontaneous sonnetry:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two former drumsticks, turn'd to stone,
Stand in Wyoming. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And razor teeth and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those proteins read
Which yet survive, stamp'd in this lifeless thing,
The hand that mock'd them and the mouth that fed...

#421 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:26 AM:

Munchy porn

#422 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Randolph, those photos remind me that at my old office, I scanned some neatly arrayed Cheez-its and made a desktop pattern out of them. Very tasteful.

#423 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 02:33 PM:

"Oh, what is a tyrannosaur to do?
For years we've been the kings of the Cretaceous,
the plains we marched upon were wide and spacious
as all the other creatures hid from view.
But mammals now will give the kids a kickin'.
Our reputation used to be invinc-
-ible: but now they're all excited since
they found tyrannosaurus tastes like chicken."

But T-Rex knew there could be no escape:
the beady eyes were watching them like hawks,
as furry things emerged from burrows; and, as
they quietly advance with knives and forks
the past takes on a terrifying shape:
were dinosaurs wiped out by Colonel Sanders?

#424 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 02:37 PM:

There's a certain amusement to opening Making Light and finding the big Google ad to be for the 'Conservative Book Club'.

#425 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 05:27 PM:

#420, Skwid:

Dinosaur--tastes like chicken!

#426 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Spoilerish questions for Buffy 8.2, from someone who has trouble recognizing people in general and has little comic book experience:

The slayer training the others in teamwork: was I supposed to know who that was?

The one showing recent interest in comic books and drywall: is that the same one who was flirty with Xander in episode 1?

#427 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:08 PM:

On the theory that someone here knows pretty much everything, I'm appealing for assistance.

My mother is looking for a children's book she remembers from at least 40 years ago. All she can remember is that it was poetry, and one of the poems started with the line, "The Ibex is a most unusual beast." I've tried Google, and can't come up with it.

Does this ring a bell with anyone? I'd appreciate any input.

#428 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:49 PM:

Todd, question #1: count four words in to post #426.

Question #2, sure looks like it, although her feather earring has moved from her right ear to her left.

#429 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 01:02 AM:

Juli #427:

Now I need to know too, because it sounds familiar. I tried Hillaire Belloc because that's the sort of line he has, but didn't find it: and I tried Edward Lear, and didn't find it. But somebody will do better than me, I'm sure.

#430 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Okay, it's Friday. Here's your obligatory YouTube moment: "thou shalt always kill" by dan le sac vs. scroobius pip.

#431 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 01:41 AM:

PJ @ 424 - Yep. Cognitive dissonance galore. I wonder what they pay per click-though?

#432 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 01:51 AM:

Kip, cool. Aren't those amazing, though? I haven't really dug into that blog, but it seems to be a treasury of small strobe technique.

#433 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Ogden Nash did quite a bit of light verse regarding animals, which has been re-used in a number of different ways & forms. Though I can't find that particular quote, it does sound like him.

#434 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 02:03 AM:

"The trick is to catch them at school -- before they become generals and senators and presidents -- and poison their minds with humanity."

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922 - 2007

#435 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Juli Thompson, #427: The poem itself doesn't ring a bell, but I'd bet on Jack Prelutsky. He's got several books of "animal" poems, including Zoo Doings from at least 25 years ago.

Or--come to think--Shel Silverstein.

#436 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 08:00 AM:

juli @ 427: try abebooks.com's BookSleuth. I'm betting it will turn out to be Ogden Nash, though.

#437 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 08:49 AM:

I think it's either Ogden Nash, or from The Raucous Auk, by Mary Ann Hoberman (I think). I'll check later, but my copy isn't handy right now.

#438 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 09:19 AM:

Does anyone know what copyright the eye of Argon is under? I just got a really evil idea.

#439 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 10:33 AM:

I know the soap opera that is the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville sports program is of limited interest to those who don't live here, but still:

Get it while it's hot!

#440 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 06:13 PM:

The Ibex is an unusual beast,
Parlez-vous,
Its head can't turn round in the least,
Parlez-vous.
They say, whenever danger warns
It leaps off a crag and lands on its horns!
Hinky dinky parlez-vous!

#441 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 06:39 PM:

Arrrgghhhh.

Many years ago my aunt (julia's mom as it happens) gave my parents a big wooden dresser. Contemporary horizontal model, very plain and unadorned.

It ended up in my teen-hood bedroom. It got soaked around the base from a flood, but I never looked really closely at the damage.

Against mild objections it followed me to California. I missed a chance to ditch it when I moved to Oregon.

A few weeks back I decided to finally ditch it. I moved the clothes to a wire-frame shelving unit, and vowed that this weekend I would be rid of it.

I moved it out to the landing, and in full daylight, with the drawers out, I saw the mildew, scratches and delaminated, chipping veneer. No way a charity would accept it.

So . . . bust it up? It turns out to be built like a brick shithouse. Screws. Dovetails. Solid wood panels. Someone with time and money could probably restore it . . . but I don't really want to take the trouble of finding the somebody.

Any ideas? Short of paying money to have it hauled away, or taking a sledgehammer to it?

#442 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 07:16 PM:

A really interesting video on the gun market at Darra Adam Khel in the Pushtu region of Pakistan. Guns and ammunition are made by hand here, everything from the traditional Khyber muzzle-loader rifle, to Mauser pistols, to full-auto Kalashnikov knock-offs, to rocket launchers.


Largest illegal black market of guns in Pakistan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9xf62PKC5M&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Evideosift%2Ecom%2Fvideo%2FLargest%2Dillegal%2Dblack%2Dmarket%2Dof%2Dguns%2Din%2Dpakistan

One may differ with the conclusions of the narrator, but it would be unwise to ignore the content of this video as a factor. This is the kind of factor some of us were thinking of when the US invaded Afghanistan. Winning short-term - very possible. Winning long-term - a lot harder to define and even harder to do.

But even if you don't want to think about heavy stuff, it's fascinating to watch. One of the interesting moments is the craftsman carefully engraving into a pistol slide "Made as China by Norinco".

#443 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 09:46 PM:

The little grass hut has been tumbled down
And scattered across many lands;
And the little stick house has been spread around
Carried off by various hands.
Time was when the little grass hut was new,
And the stick house was trim and fair;
And that was the time when those Little Pigs Two
Lazily built them there.

"Now don't come in to my house," they said,
"By the hair of my chinny-chin chin!"
And off each went to his flimsy bed
And slept with a piggy grin,
And, as they were dreaming, a wolf so bad
Came to their small dwellings and blew
Oh! so very strong were the lungs he had
And the grasses and sticks, he did strew.

Ay, off on the winds of the Wolf they went,
And nothing remained in place--
Not one single stem or twig was unbent
To shelter a little pig's face,
And they wondered, they wondered, as they did flee
And they ran through the woods so thick:
Would they find shelter with Little Pig Three
Who they mocked when he built with brick?

[after Eugene Field]

#444 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 11:18 PM:

bryan @ 438

You'd have to ask someone at Wildside Press - they reprinted it last year. Wikipedia has the ISBN - just google "eye of argon" and it's the first thing that comes up.

#445 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 11:33 PM:

For those of you in New York City, an exhibit of off-planet landscapes opened today at the American Museum of Natural History. via. NYT review.

#446 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Stefan --

Something like Goodwill, where they teach people how to restore stuff on donated furniture, or a saw. (Permit me to vote for "not the saw".)

Breaking solid wood furniture with a sledge is a good way to wind up with a woodscrew in your kneecap.

#447 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 12:14 AM:

#446: My experience before my last move suggests that charities are really picky about donations.

(The Salvation Army guys tried to hit me up for money to dump the furniture I was trying to donate! Fortunately, the head of a large immigrant family living a few apartments down from me saw me struggling to get a big chair up stairs. She not only wanted the chair, but the bed, the desk, and the table . . . all heavy wooden beasts. Her sturdy sons moved it out the next day.)

However, I'll see if Goodwill has a (furniture) rehab program.

In any case, I bought a couple of pieces of molding this afternoon. I plan on staining them, rounding the ends, and tacking them with brads over the frayed bits of veneer. That, and a thorough vacuuming, might make the thing pass inspection.

(It remains a sturdy and useful piece of furniture; however, the twenty year old mildew stains visible from the back and bottom would be a real turn-off.)

#448 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Could it be refinished and made nice again? This past summer, after picking up a cheap but nice nightstand and refinishing it, I turned to a couple older tables-- both were veneer, so they aren't exactly good as new (power sander WHEE!) but one had twenty years of heavy use and the other, um, had my houseplants on it. I overwater. There was mold growing on and into it.
The first table came out pretty well, certainly an improvement, and the second still has a black spot, but isn't actively fungal any more.
Of course, that's more for if you want to keep it.

#449 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 01:37 AM:

I have no doubt it could be refinished. But I don't want to put in more than minimal effort, because I don't want it. It's bland and dowdy and bulky.

The maker's mark says "Drexler" and numbers that suggest that it was made in 1960.

#450 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 02:39 AM:

Stefan @ 441 - How to get rid of just about anything you don't want anymore...

1 - Freecycle. There are many Oregon chapters. I unloaded a pair of ugly, unloved nightstands this way.

2 - Craigslist. I got rid of a box spring and an old sofa on the "Free" pages.

The great thing about these methods - people come and get your junk. List your dresser in both places. Link some pictures. Someone will want it.

#451 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 02:59 AM:

Clifton, Michael Palin visited one of the gun markets in Pakistan in his Himalaya TV series. See also the book version on his website.

The section in the second episode, at the border crossing between India and Pakistan, is pretty mind-blowing for anyone who has seen a formal parade by the British Army.

#452 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 04:40 AM:

bryan: You were thinking of submitting it to one of those "literary agencies", weren't you?

#453 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 05:54 AM:

"You were thinking of submitting it to one of those 'literary agencies', weren't you?"

No, I have a fantasy world where quite a number of stories take place, everything from Heroic fantasy, to fairytales/folklore, ghost stories and so forth. It is a pretty adaptable world, and the Eye of Argon could be put into it.

submitting to one of those literary agencies would be a prank, and if there's one thing my various postings on this site have demonstrated it is that I am a very serious fellow.

I figure using the Eye of Argon as a serious literary component is the most evil thing somebody could ever do. In the future people will be Argoning threads by comparing Hitler to me.

#454 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Y'all, can I tell you I just finished The Female Man by Joanna Russ, after having neglected to ever read her before, and my conclusion is that she's just way too smart for me?

Had to get that out somewhere.

#455 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 04:59 PM:

You. Yes, you. Stop what you're doing. No, really. Stop what you're doing and go read the Side Particle titled "An Easter Story". The future of the world is in your hands*.


* if you have a future traveling time machine in your hands, of course.

#456 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Stefan, #441, my city has a "too good to waste" covered area at the dump, where you can leave stuff free. Maybe yours does, too.

All this talk of chicken is making me think of putting shoes and a coat on and going to get some Popeye's. It's stopped raining, and the car is bound to be warmer than the condo (the heat pump died while I was at Minicon -- new heat pump Tuesday!).

I just took a hit from my inhaler and looked at my matched set of Ogden Nash books (Little, Brown, 1942 -- they were my mother's and she tucked bits of Nashiana in them -- good thing I took them to college with me!) and didn't find any titles with "ibex" in them.

#457 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Recently discovered:

An exquisitely extemely symmetric bipolar nebula, the "Red Square" nebula.

While I think they could've been a tad more creative with the name*, it is right up there with the hexagon in "universe surprises us with geometry" news.

---
* it'll be the Burning Man Nebula in the burner crowd.

#458 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Project Dresser:

After another good look, I decided that the thing ("PARALLEL BY DREXLER 9/60") would be too hard to bust up. Harder, in any case, than fixing it. And paying to have it hauled away would cost more than materials.

I called 1-800-SATRUCK and scheduled a pickup for next Saturday. I have that long to gild the lily.

I will take pictures this evening.

This morning I:

i) Glued down the loose veneer and the stuff the veneer clings to.

ii) Sanded and smoothed the edges of the molding that will cover the banged-up veneer on the bottom edge of both sides.

iii) Dabbed wood filler on the chipped spots that won't be covered by the molding.

iv) Sanded off and vacuumed up the black and white mildew spots from the insides and bottom.

v) Discovered that the guide rail for the bottom drawer was useless and warped. Bought two hardwood squares that, glued together, more or less match the guide. I'll notch the ends and glue it in later in the week.

vii) Stained the molding. The stain I had on hand is much too dark and ruddy, and more to the point the molding's wood grain doesn't look anything like the veneer's. But I'm not going to go crazy finding a match. The molding will hide and secure the veneer's rough edges. If a "picker" discovers the piece, all they'll need to do is pry them off .

#459 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 06:51 PM:

The "Easter Story" particle reminds me of my brother's wedding cake.

It's hard to tell in that picture (and because of the limitations of the cake medium), but it's meant to be a UFO descending in a forested-type area.

#460 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Dresser! On its side. There are eight drawers -- four small, four wide -- behind the folding doors.

Close up of the farged veneer. You can see how thick the wood underneath is in this shot. The amount of fiber in this piece Ikea could turn into a whole room of particle board flatpack stuff.

#462 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2007, 04:23 PM:

The set of Google ads I just got:

Literary agents
Seat Buckle Adjuster
Find a Literary Agent
Need A Literary Agent?
Before You Hire An Agent
Literary Agency
Lit Agency
Seat Belt Safety
Literary Agent Poland
Writers Literary

Only at ML.

#463 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Kathryn of Sunnyvale said (#457):
Recently discovered:

An exquisitely extemely symmetric bipolar nebula, the "Red Square" nebula.

Whoah. I was actually a co-author on a paper studying the central star of that object back in 1992, before I went to grad school. Hadn't thought about that in years.... (Alas, back then we had no idea about the amazing nebula around it.)

There's an even better picture of it here, at the home page of one of the authors.

For what it's worth, I believe they chose the name "Red Square" because it really is very similar to the previously known and well-studied "Red Rectangle", except for being more, y'know, square-ish.

#464 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Re "Have you been in any peace marches?"

See Ed Felten's remarks on Prof. Walter F. Murphy's complaint about being questioned at the airport. Prof. Felten is actually familiar with how the no-fly list works, having served on the Secure Flight Working Group.

Briefly, names get put on the list by a secret process:

In short, nobody outside the intelligence community knows much about how names get on the list.

The airlines check their customers’ reservations against the list, and they deal with customers who are “hits”. Most hits are false positives (innocent people who trigger mistaken hits), who are allowed to fly after talking to an airline customer service agent. The airlines aren’t told why any particular name is on the list, nor do they have special knowledge about how names are added. An airline employee, such as the one who told Prof. Murphy that he might be on the list for political reasons, would have no special knowledge about how names get on the list. In short, the employee must have been speculating about why Prof. Murphy’s name triggered a hit.

It is also true that if a no-fly list exists at all, false positives are inevitable. See Felten's further remarks.

Murphy writes: "I confess to having been furious that any American citizen would be singled out for governmental harassment because he or she criticized any elected official, Democrat or Republican." This would make me furious, too. However, the evidence that this has actually happened in Prof. Murphy's case is mighty weak.

#465 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2007, 08:32 PM:

Stefan @ 460 - Pity it's messed up. I think that it's got very clean lines and is very much to my taste in furnture. Unfortuately, any restorer would have to re-do the veneer. That may or may not be the kiss of death for this really very nice dresser.

There are stores in Seattle (e.g. Collective) that would know furiture restorers who might be interested in the piece, or who could clearly tell you that it's junk. There must be similar stores in Portland.

#466 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Bill Higgins -- Beam Jockey #464: I concur. I organised a teach in on the Iraq War just before it began, and certainly did not take a position that the Bush Administration would find palatable, but I've never run into the no-fly list.* Were I to appear on the list (which, btw, my congressman has), I would, however, doubt it was a false positive: how many 'Fragano Ledgisters' are there?


* OTOH, I'm not a professor at Princeton.

#467 ::: Zzedar ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2007, 09:28 PM:

The American Conservative explores alternate realities.

#468 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 12:44 AM:

#465: The damaged veneer is very small in area. Is it required to replace entire sheets, or can a restorer splice in a slice?

I just about done with my repairs. I just have to sand and stain a few patches near the base that I hit with wood filler. Oh, and nail in the re-created drawer rail.

I think it's now more than acceptable as a Salvation Army donation. I'm thinking of wrapping up the can of stain (just bought, a close match) and taping it inside one of the drawers so whoever buys it can persue things further.

Now I'm picturing it appearing on Antiques Roadshow, and the expert rattling off the things I did to it that reduce its value from $10,000 to $50.

I sent the pictures to my aunt. She replied that it was the only piece of furniture she'd ever bought new!

#469 ::: Tom Barclay ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Via Sheila Finch - the massacre at Virginia Polytechnic touches the SF community.
**********************************************
Sheila wrote:
I just learned that the son of Michael Bishop (the SF writer) was the teacher killed in the Virginia massacre today.

**********************************************
There needs to be a special hell for narcissists who slaughter the innocent.

#470 ::: Tom Barclay ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 02:06 AM:

From a copyrighted story in the LA Times:

'Personable' professor among shooting victims
By Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer
8:43 PM PDT, April 16, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Monday's session of the class in introductory German was nearly an hour old when the shooter entered the classroom in Norris Hall and fired dozens of rounds.

One of the first was aimed at the head of the teacher, Christopher J. Bishop, who wore his hair long, rode his bike to campus and worked alongside his wife in the foreign languages department at Virginia Tech.

Authorities had not publicly identified any victims as of late Monday, but colleagues confirmed that Bishop, 35, was among the 33, including the shooter, killed during the rampage.

His friends said they were struggling to comprehend the violent death of an instructor who was known for his gentle manner and generosity toward students.

"I don't think he was the type of person who had an enemy," said Troy Paddock, a close friend whose wife also teaches in the German program. "He was a very friendly person. He did weekly gatherings for students out of class to practice German where they could talk about anything. He was a nice and helpful person."

On the Web sites where he posted samples of the art he created with his digital camera, Bishop described himself as "mild-mannered" and "bespectacled." He was an avid hiker and movie fan, a Georgia native who paid close attention to the wins and losses of the Atlanta Braves.

Bishop wrote online that after earning bachelor's and master's degrees in German at the University of Georgia, he spent four years in Germany "where he spent most of his time learning the language, teaching English, drinking large quantities of wheat beer, and wooing a certain Fraulein."

Colleagues said the fraulein was Stefanie Hofer, the woman who became his wife. The two were the only tenure-track professors in the German program, according to Richard Shryock, the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

#471 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Locus Online also mentions Christopher Bishop's death, with a few links. What a damnable shame all this is! Even a slight sense of "knowing" a victim (or reading the online obits that are starting to emerge) really brings it home.

#472 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 12:50 PM:

I'm sorry to hear about Bishop's son. My condolences.

#473 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 04:34 PM:

Veneer usually can be replaced in areas, unless it's some very fancy sort of veneer that the grain is impossible to match closely.

[My father did museum-grade furniture restoration of antique furniture].

There's also the possibility of removing the veneer completely and using the wood below, in the case of e.g. mahogany furniture....

#474 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Found on the LA Times website:

Suspects accidentally dial 911 while trying to reach drug dealer

Two Pomona drug suspects were arrested this morning after mistakenly dialing 911 when they were actually trying to reach their drug dealer, police said.

"No one said criminals are smart," said Pomona Police Sgt. Michael Olivieri.

The 911 call came in about 3 a.m. today. Police believe the suspects, Paul White, 38, and Ryan Ogle, 25, were trying to page their drug dealer with an emergency request, using the code "911." Instead, they got the emergency dispatch center.

Police traced the call and, as is standard practice, sent a patrol car out. Officers found White and Ogle standing next to the pay phone and a car outside the Pack A Bag convenience store, Olivieri said. A run of the car's license plates showed it was stolen. So officers moved in to arrest the pair in the 1000 block of West Mission Boulevard. A search turned up drug paraphernalia, a set of burglary tools and a shaved ignition key, Olivieri said.

#475 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 02:48 AM:

Anyone out there worried about "the metrosexualisation of short sf"?

http://www.tangentonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=386&Itemid=1

No? Me neither.

What a very strange article.

#476 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 03:31 AM:

From the Washington Post (but I'll believe it when I see it):

Dennis Kucinich declares intent to file Articles of Impeachment against VP Cheney

#477 ::: Bernard Yeh sees old comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 03:42 AM:

Not here, but in this old and closed-to-comments post.

Like I said in my other comment spam comment today, I've been rereading Teresa's wonderful publishing-related ML posts, which she compiled (along with a whole bunch of useful publishing info links for the aspiring author) for Neil Gaiman here.

#478 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 03:47 AM:

Steve Taylor #475: My strongest reaction on reading that essay is, "Good Lord, proofread!"

I also find it bizarre that Mr. Truesdale seems to think that, in order to be interesting (or daring or political or traditionally heterosexually male or whatever glowing descriptor he feels like using at the moment), fiction must be a) right-leaning and b) bereft of style.

And I am fucking sick of "the liberal elite."

#479 ::: Zack Weinberg ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 04:14 AM:

Apropos of nothing upthread, I would like to point out a drawing of our gracious hostess as the Patron Saint of Copyediting, by a friend of mine, based on a Mike Ford anecdote:

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/53474366/

The anecdote is retold below the image.

#480 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 06:52 AM:

ethan at #478 writes:

> I also find it bizarre that Mr. Truesdale seems to think that [...] fiction must be a) right-leaning and b) bereft of style.

Well it is a significant market niche :(

> And I am fucking sick of "the liberal elite."

Hot buttons for me are "the chattering classes" and any reference to "latte sipping" or variants thereof. I just know what comes next.

#481 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 08:08 AM:

To whom it may concern,

We're sick of him, too.

Sincerely,

The Liberal Elite

#482 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 10:21 AM:

OMG!!!111!!!!!!!!!!!

You have a whale in your neighborhood, Teresa?!

COOL!

#483 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 10:53 AM:

I just came across an interview with Zack Penn, who's involved in the new Hulk movie. It looks like it'll be a reboot, which means we can thankfully ignore the first movie's mutant poodle. And Bruce Banner will be played by Edward Norton. That should be interesting.

#484 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 11:17 AM:

(Found today in Jon Carroll's column)

"...According to IMDB.com, there hasn't been a film called "Skeleton in the Closet" made since 1913. It's a natural horror title. I envision "Skeleton in the Closet III: The Search for Flesh." Yours for the taking..."

#485 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 11:24 AM:

What foolishness is this, to jeer at dust?
They cannot hear you. Nothing that you say
Can break the silence at Thermopylae.
They lie obedient, as all men must,
To law that binds all flesh: what lives, must die.
Yet they lie there, atop the windy pass,
Not in the soil of home, where Eurotas
Gentles its valley. What law was this, and why?

A heavy law it was, but one they made
Themselves, no tyrant's word. So when it came
To trial, they hearkened to it. They obeyed,
And died, and left, beside undying fame,
This legacy: the law we own is still
The law we make ourselves. Now jeer who will.

#486 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 11:27 AM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @ 464: An airline employee, such as the one who told Prof. Murphy that he might be on the list for political reasons, would have no special knowledge about how names get on the list. In short, the employee must have been speculating about why Prof. Murphy’s name triggered a hit.

This is true. However, after a while, any reasonably observant person could begin to see patterns emerge in the kinds of people they find on the no-fly lists. It's not definitive proof by any means (for many reasons), but even the fact that the employee would see--or think they were seeing--such a pattern is suggestive.

#487 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 11:27 AM:

Apropos of nothing above, this video just made my day.

And this one was not far behind. As it were. Work safe, despite the title.

#488 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 03:41 PM:

dave luckett,

i'm glad you came back.

#489 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 06:25 PM:

As things Not Being Rocket Science has been brought up elsewhere* - isn't Rocket Science supposed to be about making things as simple and robust as possible? As in moderation; it is quite like Rocket Science.

Or is that Rocket Engineering, in which case Rocket Science is 18th century Celestial Mechanics and 50s chemistry, stuff which I learnt at school. I've helped build (teeny-tiny) rockets, and if I can do it, it can't be that hard, surely.

Or to put it another way, you don't have to be a Brain Surgeon to do Rocket Science.

</semi-serious>

Any Rocket Scientists reading, please feel free to make fun of my ignorance of rocketry.

* This comment might also go on Death Of A Cliche, but rather than confuse one of those two threads, I've put this tangent here.

#490 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 06:33 PM:

"Soylent Green is Oompa Loompas!"
(From the movie crossovers defined in one line dept.)

Please forgive me, I'm having a rather silly moment.

#491 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Dave @485,

I wanted to thank you for your detailed answer (in an earlier thread) to my question about slushpile statistics.

Your stats helped me make a big decision for myself:
I will not read raw blogs*. Reading raw blogs is like reading the slushpile. That one can spend all day reading raw blogs is no more relevant (or is exactly as relevant) as that one can spend all day gambling. The random reinforcement of a rare gem makes it (gambling, blog reading) more addictive, not less.

I couldn't in good conscience read a slushpile and then leave it, as is, for the next person to spend exactly as much time on. Similarly, if when reading blogs I cannot at the minimum provide- as Gary Farber does- a "read the rest scale," then I shouldn't be reading them.

---
* raw: not known to me to be consistently worth reading, either for quality or for personal connections.

#492 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 06:59 PM:

"... You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that cross. You need me on that cross."
-- A Few Good Disciples (1998)


#493 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 07:35 PM:

Neil Wilcox @ 489

I Am Not A Rocket Scientist (IANARS) but I used to work at a software company* where one engineer used to work at Jet Propulsion Lab, and another was a Pyrotechnic Engineer on the Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster. We had a complicated product that we used to say did require a Rocket Scientist to understand. When we said it was Rocket Science we meant it was complicated, hard to understand, and liable to bite you if you didn't pay attention.

* GemStone, the best job I've ever had. Also, the longest lived startup company ever. It was a startup from 1985 until 2001, at which point they laid all but 4 engineers and 3 managers off and sold the company to the managers. It's still around to this day, and they've even hired back some of the employees who were there before the layoff.

#494 ::: kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 07:49 PM:

Neil @489

And also the "kids these days" thread. As I anecdoted there, my dad was experimenting with model rockets in high school. As a teenager he was able to violate an international treaty on missiles and related flying items. Then later on he worked on the Gemini and Space Shuttle programs.

All to say it doesn't take a rocket scientist to be a rocket scientist. Or that rocket science is that which a rocket scientist points to when asked 'what is rocket science?' Or brain science isn't rocket surgery.

#495 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Supermarket Circular Product Description of the Week:

"Wild Troll-Caught Chinook Salmon Fillets"

So, do they use their hands, or a gaff?

#496 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Dave Luckett: Excellent sonnet.

#498 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 12:33 AM:

Jaysus, how much do I want the TV-B-Gone from the Particles?

#499 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 12:43 AM:

I have a TV-B-Gone. Never opened it, much less used it. I don't go to bars or the like, and I'm not sure where else it might come in handy. I should probably regift it.

#500 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 01:41 AM:

If you use a TV-B-Gone in a sports bar, please make sure you have health coverage for the beating you'll likely receive once the sports enthusiasts figure out who the culprit is. At least have 911 on one-touch speed dial on your mobile phone, for safety's sake.

#501 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Predictions of 2000, from a 1900 Ladies Home Journal

29 predictions, many remarkably accurate, including automobiles (even snowmobiles!), tanks, radio, TV, refrigerated food, take-out meals, air conditioning, shrink-wrapped fresh food, etc.

Also some real clunkers, such as mice and rats extinct, no wildlife except in zoos (hmm, maybe not such a clunker), peas the size of beets, all power from hydro, and more!

(Via kottke.org).

#502 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Ah! perhaps this will be the 501st comment?*

Via kottke, via long views, a href="http://www.yorktownhistory.org/homepages/1900_predictions.htm">Predictions of the Year 2000 from The Ladies Home Journal of December 1900

Highlights include:
"Prediction #9: Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Even to-day photographs are being telegraphed over short distances. Photographs will reproduce all of Nature’s colors."

and

"Prediction #10: Man will See Around the World. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span. American audiences in their theatres will view upon huge curtains before them the coronations of kings in Europe or the progress of battles in the Orient. The instrument bringing these distant scenes to the very doors of people will be connected with a giant telephone apparatus transmitting each incidental sound in its appropriate place. Thus the guns of a distant battle will be heard to boom when seen to blaze, and thus the lips of a remote actor or singer will be heard to utter words or music when seen to move."


*last post!

#503 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 09:56 AM:

lol!
Post collision! Good job Dave!

I'm still waiting for my pneumatic tubes. I mean, I've got the internet...

" Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles. They will at first connect with the private houses of the wealthy; then with all homes. Great business establishments will extend them to stations, similar to our branch post-offices of today, whence fast automobile vehicles will distribute purchases from house to house."

#504 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Last post on this for the morning.

Additional reading can be found on the Paleo-Future blog. The Ladies Home Journal article is here, with a full sized scan of the article. A german-language version of the article with really nifty illustration is here.

The original typography is really quite pretty. Do have a look.

#505 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 10:17 AM:

"It doesn't take a Rocket Scientist...." The Geico cavemen (soon to be a TV series) would vastly prefer that you put it *that* way!

#506 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 10:31 AM:

Stefan @ 499

Airports. Waiting rooms. Places where the only channel available is Fox, or CNN. (ISTR we did this a year or so back. Reruns?)

#507 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Faren, 505: Please tell me you're kidding.

#508 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Rocket science...

I think that much of the impact involves the connoations.

1. The failures can be very showy, very spectacular, and very fatal--see e.g. the book on Soviet space disasters. There was a Soviet disaster that involved an attempt to launch a very heavy-payload very large rocket. It didn't takeoff when it was supposed to. After a while a bunch of people came out of the secure areas to investigate, and that was when it blew up... and for many months following, the old USSR reported the deaths of prominent members of its space and rocketry industry on individual (bogus) bases reporting false times and locations of death.

2. The successes can be very showy and spectacular (Saturn V launches, successful shuttle launches, Hubble pictures, Moon landing pictures...)

3. It involves Great Challenges and Adventures --going into the unknown and using technology that is showy...

4. It is (used to be) state of the art, involving pioneering and developing New Stuff

5. High risk--see above

6. Glamor--invention, spectacular sucesses/failure, glory and agony, etc.

7. Visibility [what gets heard/seen by the public are the results, not the day to day years of preparation on any on-going basis....]

8. Lots of people regard calculus as religion or some such, mysterious stuff beyond their ability to comprehend well....

9. The mystique of the high tech college education, of years of study, and #8 above

#509 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 10:53 AM:

TexAnne @ 507... Faren is not kidding. The Geico caveman is going to have his own series. Gag me with a spoon.

#510 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Geico caveman? Ah, I see.

#511 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 11:12 AM:

*one quick google later*

Oh, wait, Western civilization may not be falling just yet. ABC asked for a pilot, is all, with no guarantee that it'll be picked up.

I want a disemvoweller for stupid TV shows. Vwls-B-Gn, I'd call it. You'd point it at your own television machine, and then the vowel-removing-ray would travel up the feed to the satellite, which would then prevent all further episodes from being transmitted with vowels intact. (What's that? Willy Wonka's explanation of how TV works isn't real? Oh fine, next you'll tell me that Trolley-Car doesn't really go visit King Friday!)

#512 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Kimiko, #502: "Photographs will reproduce all of Nature’s colors." We photographers wish!

TxAnne, #511: Vwls-B-Gn! If only... We could hear actors grit, growl, and groan for real.

#513 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 11:26 AM:

TexAnne @ 511... The vowel-removing ray sounds like something some of the sparks would come up with in Eureka.

"Wh dn't y jst cll t vwl-rmvng r?"

#514 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Kimiko @ 504 - The display typography in the LHJ is really nice, thanks! Also, I can't believe that American German-language newspapers set everything in Fraktur. Even the English parallel text is hard to read.

PJ Evans @ 506: Airports, TV: Detroit, November 2005.

#515 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Airports and especially restaurants are where I'd want the TV-B-Gone. There's nothing I hate more than a television in a restaurant.* And I like television. No, scrap that--I love television. I lurve it. I luff it. There are just some venues where it's inappopriate and I'd love to be able to zap it off.

*Literally nothing in the entire world. Just kidding.

#516 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 02:45 PM:

ethan @ 515... Besides, those TV sets are usually turned on to newschannels. Trying to ingurgitate some nourishment is made quite difficult while Fox News is on.

#517 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 09:26 PM:

I would like to quietly note that in the popular lexicon, Molecular Biology seems to be replacing Rocket Science as the stereotypical Really Hard Science Thing.

#518 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 11:36 PM:

Serge #516: I thought you said "news", but then you said Faux News Channel. That's like saying "sports", then "World Wide Wrestling Federation."

You're correct, though: Faux News does make even the finest food rather unpalatable.

#519 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 11:41 PM:

I was talking about the TV-B-Gone with some friends of mine (a pair of sisters) today, and when I said how I'd love to be able to turn off Fox News at an airport, completely simultaneously they both immediately said, "Or at dad's house." Apparently their father has a separate TV for Fox News which is always on. That's creepy dedication.

#520 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 05:16 AM:

DaveL@501: Interesting article, thanks for the link. I note that it's actually 28 predictions, not 29 -- the page you link to has #13 repeated as #26. (I looked at the scanned page Kimiko posted, and counted, and came up with 28 that way too.)

Some of those predictions were pretty darn good for 1900. Tanks, cell phones...and the one about automobiles replacing horses completely was right in the bullseye.

#521 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 06:02 AM:

Bruce Adhelson @ 518... Doesn't your comparison insult the World Wrestling Federation? What are you going to do next? Belittle Mexican wrestling down to Fox's level?

#522 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 06:06 AM:

ethan @ 519... Apparently their father has a separate TV for Fox News which is always on. That's creepy dedication.

'Dedication' or a cry for help? Or maybe it's like Max Headroom's episode where cops break into someone's place and gasp in horror when they find that this criminal. on top of everything, has an illegal off switch on his TV set.

#523 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 07:56 AM:

You all make good sense on why things not being Rocket Science is an effective comparison* and hence a cliche. I was over-exposed to it a couple of years ago when one of the directors of a company I worked for began using it, and so did everyone else**. I never quite said "You mean it wasn't invented in the 50s by Nazis" but came close a few times.


* Or non-comparison
** Other favourites: Moveable Feast, Low hanging Fruit and Six of One and Half a Dozen of the Other

#524 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 08:03 AM:

Serge #521: Before mentioning Mexican wrestling and Fox in the same sentence, you might want to consider this.

#525 ::: kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 08:16 AM:

Neil @523,

I've used some like those, because skimming the low hanging fruit is more fun than shooting monkeys in a barrel.

#526 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 08:42 AM:

Thoughts on Rocket Science:

Molecular Biology has too many syllables to be a pleasing substitute.
Rocket Science isn't all that hard; the tough bits are all engineering (I say that as a proud holder of an Aeronautical Engineering degree). Although science that *uses* rockets gets all tricky again (I've met helioseismologists. They scare me).

More seriously, I think Paula Lieberman was spot on above.

#527 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 10:37 AM:

"If we don't get rid of these clowns, we're going to be up to our balls in jugglers!"

(From the movie Hot Fuzz. I know what I'll be watching tomorrow night.)

#528 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Geico cavemen. They live in Atlanta, apparently in the upscale Buckhead area. Here is an interactive tour of their apartment. Actually, it's pretty funny. It looks like the Atlanta skyline through the kitchen window (but it could be a generic skyline, or somewhere else). Also in their kitchen, click on the cookbook on the island counter for the Roast Duck with Mango Salsa recipe (click the lower left corner to "turn the page" to the recipe). Also, Italian Orzo with White Truffle Oil and Peach & Balsamic Syrup over Cottage Pancakes.

You can tell more than one (cave)guy lives here by the tie on the bedroom door. No need for that if you live alone.

#529 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 11:08 AM:

The ABC Phoenix news has a segment about websites on its early evening show, and one of the latest included a site where you can "build your own rocket". It's somewhere on the station's own site, under Links, if you want to check it out. (I should already be doing something else this morning, but I have to get my "Making Light" fix.)

#530 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 11:41 AM:

I'm reminded of something I saw recently in the artist's sketchbook section of the Girl Genius site.

Girl Genius, as many of you know, is a webcomic about mad scientists; and among its many wonders there is a locket in which is concealed a cunning mechanism that does strange things to the person wearing it.

Hence this sketch.

#532 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Remember the Marie Celeste? There's another almost identical case in Australia, down to food still laid out on the galley table. Weird.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6574547.stm

#533 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Yes. Seems like a shrunken Mary Celeste with added laptops: www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/04/20/1176697042357.html

So sad for families and friends when people disappear and nothing is ever known. Tho' there's still an ongoing search for these. I'm remembering instances over the years on land, as well as at sea.

#534 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Now, here we may have the end of SF magazines: new postal rates for printed material, courtesy of Time-Warner.

#535 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Serge #521:

I might indeed be doing WWWF a disservice. But what else fits "news:Fox News Channel::sports:____"?

#536 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Is the "sexual surrogate for dogs" thing real, or a spoof product? I didn't want to dig deeper into the Flash-site while eating lunch.

Years ago, my brother and I watched in fascination and disgust as a visitor's ratty, bad-tempered 15 year old terrier trotted into the living room, hopped on the couch, mounted a throw-cushion, and had at it. After a few minutes she sneezed, rolled on her side, then trotted back to where the grown-ups were talking.

I can easily imagine that creepy little mutt as a advertising model for that hump-target.

#537 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 03:35 PM:

I think the dog surrogate is a spoof. Anyway, it wouldn't help the cases where the dog is mounting something as a show of dominance, like my brother and SiL's (female)pit bull. The pictures are very funny though.

#538 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Bruce @ 535... What else? What about the reality shows the purpose of which seemd to be to have gorgeous women eating earthworms and debasing themselves in other ways?

#539 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 06:46 PM:

i shot the serif
left him there full of leading
yearning for kerning

here (via)

#540 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Serge #538: Those are pretty awful, too. Do they claim to be sports, though? I think I could probably name one (or even two, if I tried hard), but I don't believe they're as quickly recognizable as WWF. Either way, Faux News is recognizably entertainment, and thoroughly TV-B-Gone-worthy.

#541 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Fortune cookie received this morning on computer:

The marvels of today's modern technology include the development of a soda can, which when discarded will last forever ... and a $7,000 car which when properly cared for will rust out in two or three years.

#542 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2007, 12:38 PM:

I was looking at BBC headlines this morning, and apparently the latest US policy for Baghdad is to build a ghetto.
They seem to believe that guarded checkpoints will reduce ethnic/religious strife.

[I've put a longer post about this on my own weblog.]

#543 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2007, 11:29 PM:

End of the Tedious Dresser Saga:

Edge, before

Edge, after

Full Frontal, final

The flash brought out a lot of color that is actually hidden under layers of dingy.

And yes, the Salvation Army guys took it without a second thought. Also got rid of a bunch of video tapes, a stack of aluminum camping dishes, VHS storage drawers, and two office chairs.

Cleaning out feels good...

#544 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 12:41 AM:

Bruce Adelsohn @ 540... Foul stench of Faux News, I banish thee. Begone!

#545 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 12:41 AM:

#539: I think I made something very similar to that joke here, many moons ago. "I sought sans-serif, but I did not seek Helvetica." Perhaps it was two other fellows.

#546 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 12:44 AM:

Movie review of the day, found in alt.humor.best-of-usenet:

As one movie reviewer put it, "The movie '300' is to the actual historical events at Thermopylae what the movie 'Steel Magnolias' was to the actual historical events at Thermopylae".
(Googling on parts of the quote doesn't get me anything.)

#547 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 12:44 AM:

I saw "Hot Fuzz" tonight. It wasn't as funny as I had been led to believe, but it was almost worth it to see the setting of a Masterpiece Theatre production turn into something worthy of Quentin Tarantino.

#548 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 12:55 AM:

Kip W @ 546... Heheheh... At least 'Steel Magnolias' had Tom Skerrit in it.

#549 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 02:03 AM:

I've been reading Julie Phillips's biography of Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree, Jr., and I wanted to know more about her husband, Huntington D. Sheldon. So I did what everyone does; I looked in Google and--what's this? no Wikipedia entry? (Nor much of anything else.) So I have just created a stub article late Major Huntingdon D. Sheldon, a major figure in the CIA's early history. Anyone who is knowledgeable and interested, please contribute.

#550 ::: Kate Y. ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 02:10 AM:

TV-B-Gone is useful at the gym. Not for the televisions out in the cardio area, where people are actually watching them, but in the locker room. I am so very tired of being aurally crowded by Texans Behaving Badly on the courtroom channel, or Dr. Phil, or ads, while I deal with getting dressed.

#551 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 02:24 AM:

Kate Y @ 550... TVs in a locker room? What a strange idea. Especially if Faux News is on.

#552 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 12:50 PM:

The link to the Tina Adams thread in the latest "Mike Ford: occasional works" thread prompted me to google on her name, just to check up on how she was doing, you know?

A few references came up:

The first was Eridian Publishing, an e-book publisher that apparently published her how-to book and a single romance title by another author a few months after that thread dropped from our attention. The registrant name on the domain is Tina Adams.

The second was Fiction Promotions, which she's more open about owning. Doesn't seem so bad, although I'd hesitate to pay the designer of Eridian Publishing's web site to design one for me. The design is somewhat basic, and the 'buy now' buttons on the 'special reports' section do look familiar, as if they've been pinched from somewhere.

The third is linked from Fiction Promotions: Excerptalicious! (TM)(*), a book promotion / chain letter scheme that seems to claim the same kind of benefits as a pyramid marketing scheme. Only it probably doesn't make anyone anywhere near as much money as those schemes do. And she wants $97 to participate in this wonderful scam^H^Hheme.


(*): Seriously, it says "Excerptalicious! (TM)" in the title of the web site.

#553 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 04:19 PM:

Moda Dea Ticker-Tape yarn in three colorways is on sale at sciplus.

#555 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Serge @ 551: Yep, I just Friday started going to a fitness club - I'm getting more serious about getting into better physical shape - and it's just as Kate says. Not one but two TVs in the locker/changing room, tuned to two different channels.

#556 ::: abi thinks Fragano needs to knit more ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 04:33 PM:

That's not spam. That's exciting news in some circles.

#557 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 04:33 PM:

#554: actually I think that's kosher, Fragano. Subject's previous online activity has indicated a level of interest in yarn and yarn derivatives consonant with this comment. I think this knitting-related post was by a human. (IOW, it passes the Purling Test.)

#558 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Yarn is kosher?

Lots of fiber, but I bet it's hard to chew...

#559 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Stefan @ 558

Well, wool and silk are protein, although I wouldn't recommend them for dinner.

#560 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 06:09 PM:

abi @ 556... Are you knit-picking on Fragano?

#561 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Okay, okay, so I don't know anything about knitting. I probably wouldn't pass the Purling Test myself. I just saw what looked like a commercial message. I'm sorry.

I will now go and put my eyes out with knitting needles....

#562 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 555... I understand why they have TVs on in a gym's main room, especially if a person is on an stationary bicycle. But a locker room? How much time do people spend in there once they've showered? Or do they want to make sure they don't miss the possibility of catching an old Diana Ross video?

#563 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Fragano @ 561... abi was just needling you.

#564 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 06:48 PM:

I'm feeling rather crotchety this weekend.

#565 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 07:18 PM:

Gracious, Fragano, you thought I put up commercial spam? I don't happen to like ribbon yarn, which is what this is, but it's a great price for people who do like it, and if you look up at the subtitle for the blog, it says knitting.

#566 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Marilee #565: I apologise.

#567 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2007, 09:33 PM:

This sounds like an example of Lipidoptera (Faren, Diatryma @ 399, 400), from the ABC Canberra site » Would you like bogong moths with that?

"The high fat content of bogong moths – 38.8 grams of fat for a 100g portion, more then three times that of a hamburger, provide an energy dense food for indigenous groups in cold climates".

100g (nearly 4 oz) is the standard amount used on food packaging here to list the amount of things like sodium, fats, sugars, kilojoules, etc. I think you'd need a fair amount of moths to make that up, but in season there'd be moth feasts.
(Bogong's behaviour is the reason I know the words 'aestivate', or 'estivation'.)

#568 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 04:33 AM:

Marilee @565
I don't think Fragano expected that you, the living, breathing Marilee behind the keyboard, would spam the blog. But what if one of those random name generator spams picked out the name Marilee? Remember the platitude spam last year, with all the plausible names?

Let's move on from the needle-ss sparring. It's knit worth worrying about.

#569 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 06:42 AM:

"Platitude spam" is a great phrase and one I plan to use more often.

#570 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 09:08 AM:

SF: YOUR PATH TO EASIER AIR TRAVEL

I got pulled over by the DHS security guys at LAX last week for a random spot check. To my embarrassment they found that my carryon bag contained a) half a tube of toothpaste, which they confiscated, and b) detectable traces of PETN explosive (probably left over from the day on the pistol range.) Buzzers go off. Enter lots more DHS guys. Not looking good.

Fortunately, the next item out of the bag was "Declare", which I'd just finished reading, followed by "Last Call", which I'd just started.

'Ah! You're a Tim Powers fan! Have you read, what is it, that one about Keats? "The Stress of Her Regard"?' says the DHS bloke. And we had a good five or ten-minute chat about Tim Powers, djinni, Kim Philby, Keats, Charlie Stross and HP Lovecraft, and then he apologised and I went off to catch my flight, leaving him writing down a note to self to get hold of "Declare" and "The Atrocity Archive" at the earliest oppportunity.

#571 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Epacris (#567): a genuine example of Lipidoptera? Cool!

On the hotter side of things, chili lovers might be interested in a piece in the latest National Geographic (May) about Nagas -- more than three times the heat index of a chocolate brown habanera! Way, way too incandescent for me....

#572 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 10:26 AM:

Can we tie in the lipidoptera discussion to the FDA's chocolate thread? Moths dipped in chocolate. Yum.

#573 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:05 AM:

I went off to take the pet bereavement survey and choked at the second question, which gave the following options for "race/ethnicity":

African American
Asian
Caucasian
Hispanic
Pacific Islander
International
Native American
Other

You had to pick just one, so I bagged the survey - presumably they don't want responses from any American mutts. And what precise race/ethnicity is "international"??

So much for my contribution to pet bereavement research.

#574 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Susan @ 573... Mutts are the best dogs. And I say that even after my youngest mutt chewed on a pen and had its contents leak on the bedroom's carpet.

#575 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:40 AM:

My cousins, who are part Puerto Rican and part... call it Pennsylvanian, because I am contrary and dislike saying that part of my family is German when they came over before Germany existed-- anyway, my cousins of said ancestry have been told that 'multiracial' means 'black and white biracial' for standardized-testing bubble purposes. It annoys me. I'd think the survey would gather more useful information if it asked about which *culture* you were from, anyway, rather than your biological ancestry. Although that assumes that they're looking for a cultural connection to pet grief rather than something else.

#576 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:54 AM:

I give the survey people minimal points for calling their category "race/ethnicity" rather than just "race", but I can't really pick a category unless I know what they want to know. I could be Caucasian, Hispanic, International, or Other. Is "Hispanic" code for Spanish-speaking, for darker skin tone, for racial mix, or what? Does it matter that 50% of my "Hispanic" ancestry is Basque, which is currently part of Spain but not exactly Spanish-speaking? Do they consider Hispanic-from-Spain European (International?) rather than Hispanic because they are secretly trying to figure out if I'm dark-skinned and have a little racial this'n'that in the mix? Do they want to know how I was raised (not in Miami) and if I'm bilingual (not from childhood) and if I grieve extravagantly (less than my grandmother)? Do they have some sort of requirement to survey different-colored or differently-cultured people?

Usually on these things I check both Caucasian and Hispanic, but this one won't let me do that, and I have no way of knowing which half of my ancestry they consider more important. (The "Caucasian" side includes some non-Caucasian ancestors, too, though in trivial quantities.)

#577 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Susan @ 576... Your approach to surveys sounds like mine, which is why I absolutely hate taking surveys. They force you into narrow answers. Even with a simple yes/no thing, I want to say 'yes but' and scribble an elaboration next to it.

#578 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Serge: at least it's less idiotic than simply asking if my "race" is "Hispanic or white".

On another topic:
This feels like some sort of inside-out Nigerian scam: a potential tenant in Africa who is passionately eager to send me money to hold my apartment until she arrives to live in it on the basis of an advertisement and a three-line email from me telling her (him? "Jean" could be either) the monthly rent. I'm a laid-back landlord, but I prefer to do things like references and a lease before accepting money sight unseen from total strangers of indeterminate scholarly status on different continents.

(If anyone on ML happens to need an apartment in New Haven, CT, I have a nice one available. Free wireless broadband access for blogging.)

#579 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Susan @ 578... Don't forget to tell them about the sometime bats, and that they're not in the belfroy, and that your home doesn't have a turret.

#580 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Susan @ 578... at least it's less idiotic than simply asking if my "race" is "Hispanic or white"

Or "French or white". After all, French is a Latin language.

I guess most people treat "Hispanic" as separate from "white" because of the frequency of an Indian ancestry among American Latinos. ('Latino', as in Spanish-speaking. Then we get into Brazilians, who speak Portugese. You see, that is why I don't like surveys.)

#581 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Susan # 578: It's very possible that it is a scam, precisely as your instincts are telling you.

One common variation on the various traditional cons now run by Nigerian gangs is to buy something from the US or Europe - usually without suspiciously little quibbling at the price - greatly overpay for it with some kind of apparently valid financial instrument, and ask for the remainder to be wired or transferred back to them. When it turns out you've been paid with a forged check or money order, you're out the whole sum, and are lucky if you don't get charges filed against you for having been tricked into depositing it. It's particularly nasty, because it plays on people's good motives for being trusting.

#582 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 01:58 PM:

The definition of 'white' changes according to the querent's position-- in Costa Rica, 'white' meant 'European' rather than 'pale European'. That might be where the standardized-test bubble 'white, non-Hispanic' came from. Unless you want to get the cultural thing, in which case you're in trouble.
The New World complicates everything.

#583 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Clifton @ #581: I'm not taking any money until I have valid references, starting with what part of Yale this person claims to be attending in the fall. I'm not that desperate to rent the place out, and since it's an apartment in my home, I can be (and am) as fussy and discriminatory as I want to be about whom I rent to.

Diatryma @ #582: The Basque quarter is paler than the Castilian quarter, which is paler than most "Hispanics" in my area, most of whom are Dominican or Puerto Rican. The Anglo-Scottish-trivial-amount-of-Cherokee-miniscule-amount-of-possibly-fraudulent-Italian half is paler than both. And it's difficult to tell in all cases because many of these people live in Florida and have year-round tans so I actually don't know what their natural skin tone is anyway.

"White, non-Hispanic" means I get to have real fun: I can check that and Hispanic!

#584 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 02:18 PM:

While I'm on the subject, people should especially watch out for emails soliciting them for any kind of job handling deposits and overseas money transfers.

This is in a sense another variation on con games, but it is worse. It really ends up enlisting you as the "mule" and fall guy for some overseas criminal gangs. For a while it will look as though everything is great - you're handling all these money transfers and check deposits made out to them, just as they said, transferring most of the funds on to them, getting paid, and taking a healthy commission. Then they all turn out to be forged, the police show up to arrest you, and you're criminally liable because you've been taking a share of the proceeds. In the meantime the principals have dumped the disposable address they were using to contact you and are nowhere to be found.

I have heard this one is mostly run by Ukrainian and Russian gangs rather than Nigerians. They're even nastier people to run afoul of, if you're so unfortunate as to be able to track them back.

I'm only mentioning this because I've seen several new spins on it recently:

I expect everybody has seen so many spams soliciting a business agent that you're on guard against that, but recently I saw two claiming to be from a UK artist who has lots of US fans and needs someone to help because she/he has had trouble depositing their checks direct to his bank. There was another claiming to be an agricultural researcher who is getting grants from a number of sources for research he's doing in Malaysia and needs someone to help him deposit and manage the grants. These were pretty well written. If you don't understand the fundamental structure of the con game here, it would be easy to get duped.

For anyone who might have accepted one of these offers or know anyone who has, go directly to the police and ask for help. Fraud requires intent; if you stop and go to the police as soon as you become suspicious, you have taken a big step towards clearing yourself from prosecution.

#585 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Susan @ 583... One of my friends in the Bay Area is Japanese-American, her father Japanese-American, her mother from Japan. Her hubby's dad was from Italy, his mom from VikingLand. One of these days, I'll have to ask my friend what her son and daughter enter. Probably 'SF fans'.

#586 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 02:40 PM:

I've always been fond of the answers that a teacher from Southern California apocryphally offered when asked by her students what they should put on some form or another:
For "Race" put "Human"
For "Nationality" put "American"

Unfortunately, this doesn't work unless when all you have are checkboxes.

#587 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 02:43 PM:

John @ 586

I'm always tempted, when asked for my 'race', to answer 'I think I'm pure human.' (Hey, I can't prove it.)

#588 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 02:54 PM:

John Houghton @ 586... For "Race" put "Human"

Or... For "Race" put "Not if I can help it." I prefer "Go slow."

#589 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Diatryma@575:
My cousins, who are part Puerto Rican and part... call it Pennsylvanian, because I am contrary and dislike saying that part of my family is German when they came over before Germany existed

I think Germans had a cultural identity before they had a [single] country. Greeks were Greek through 400 years of Turkish oppression, after all.

[Being Greek-by-marriage is starting to rub off on me, I think.]

#590 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Well, 'International' would be someone like me with parents from different countries, and of two different 'races'.

#591 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Fragano @ 590... Does that make sure an International Man of Mystery?

Meanwhile, James Wolcott pokes fun at racists who are unabashedly proud of their racism. It is quite an education, to put it politely.
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/blogs/wolcott

#592 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 07:28 PM:

I'm sooooo grateful that I resisted the Gilbert and Sullivan "Baby Got Back" YouTube link... owww.

Though last fall I was transfixed by a very small girl (5 years old?) doing the whole song out in our lane at the RenFest... moves and all. My boss came back to me sitting behind/under the counter, holding my sides. He cracked up when I told him what I'd witnessed, he could imagine his granddaughter doing that.

#593 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 07:45 PM:

Serge @ 585

A lady I used to work with (since retired) is Chinese-American (her parents were from mainland China), born and raised in Los Angeles. in a Jewish neighborhood. She has typical Han features, an LA accent, and knows more about Judaism than I do. On top of which, she moved to Portland and married a cowboy from Eastern Oregon. He's an Anglo, about a foot and a half taller than she is.

And her given name is Maureen. Now what box does her son check?

#594 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 593... Maybe a multidimensional checkbox would do it. I guess the bottom line would be which culture he identifies with. Oh, and in case I said nothing to that efefct ever before...

I hate surveys.

#595 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 08:02 PM:

For those who might be interested, on Wednesday, Turner Classic Movies is showing what I think is one of the greatest American movies ever made, The Best Years of Our Lives.

#596 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 10:23 PM:

Serge #591: Now, if only I could live in the Carnaby Arms....

#597 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Susan, #573, when I clicked "other" on another question, it opened a field so I could be specific.

#598 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:10 PM:

I watched the G & S 'Baby Got Back'; that was rather warped. I remember seeing that movie of Pirates of Penzance.

#599 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Clifton @ 598... Didn't that movie version of Pirates of Penzance have Kevin Kline in it? I seem to remember that the grand finale have them crash thru a showing of H.M.S. Pinafore...

#600 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:23 PM:

On surveys, I tend to get pissed if they make me pick male or female. I'm biologically male and identify male, but it's not so simple for everyone. I almost always end up writing a letter of complaint to whoever wrote the survey.

And speaking of gender roles, the "Baby Got Back" video brought me back memories of my friend Francine, who used to sing that song (the Sir Mix-a-Lot original, that is) every Saturday at karaoke at the local dive bar. She would never, ever look at the lyrics on the screen, she would dance all over the entire bar, interact with everyone, and get everyone involved and dancing. Good times. Then, about two years ago, the bar moved into vastly inferior quarters next door, replaced the DJ, and karaoke has never been the same since. I still get really sad about it.

She had back.

#601 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Fragano @ 596... Carnaby Arms... Is that a reference to James Bond?

#602 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 12:36 AM:

Yes, that is a young Kevin Kline you're seeing in that clip as the Pirate King. The movie also had Linda Ronstadt and Angela Lansbury, as I thought I remembered. I looked it up on IMDB, because now I'm thinking about it, but one user review said that the DVD was a horrible transfer. (Amusing: IMDB says interest in this movie is up 7% since last week, and I think we know why.)

#603 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:02 AM:

Shoot, I was going to move this to a different page, and go back and re-read it thoughtfully and see what improvement was needed in the writing, but if I do that it won't be International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant day any more. So before the day ends in Hawaii, here is a very short story I wrote and posted on Usenet back in '94:

Expanding Universe

Hope some of you enjoy it.

#604 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Clifton Royston @ 602 - I never saw the movie, but I did see The Pirates of Penzance at Shakespeare in the Park several times. One of my best friends from high school had a serious crush on Linda Ronstadt, so I tagged along. Again, and again and again.

Kevin Kline was in the Central Park production, but I don't believe that Angela Lansbury was. No post-modern conclusion in the stage production, though.

#605 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 03:43 AM:

Speaking of the Pirates of Penzance... Ever seen Gilda Radner do a Gilbert & Sullivan duet on the Muppet Show with a 7-foot-tall talking carrot? She had asked Kermit for a 7-foot-tall parrot, but he had misunderstood. Anyway, that was quite... ah... impressive.

#606 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 05:04 AM:

#570, ajay, Tim Powers
#571, Faren Miller (et all), Lipidoptera

There's a character in Powers' newish novel "Three Days to Never" named something close to "Lepidoptera"; my copy isn't readily available to check the exact name unfortunately.

#607 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 05:47 AM:

That 'never-ending nightmare of the internet' sidelight made me think of this mesmerising site. I could stare at it for hours -- like watching the stars whizz past on a basic screen-saver only with more skulls and monsters.

(Broadband users will have to wait approximately 10 seconds for all the images to load up. Place the cursor over the zooming image to push the menu out of the way.)

#608 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Serge #601: No, it's a reference to Austin Powers. It's where he lived, or was supposed to.

#609 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 11:51 AM:

605:Ever seen Gilda Radner do a Gilbert & Sullivan duet on the Muppet Show with a 7-foot-tall talking carrot? She had asked Kermit for a 7-foot-tall parrot, but he had misunderstood.

The Parrot and the Carrot

The Parrot and the Carrot one may easily confound,
They're very much alike in looks and similar in sound;
We recognise the Parrot by his clear articulation,
For Carrots are not able to engage in conversation.

#610 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 12:41 PM:

ajay @ 609... Carrots are not able to engage in conversation

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the root of all its problems. On the other hand the carrot on the Muppet Show was very articulate. Maybe it was a mutant carrot.

#611 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Serge @ 610

Well, as long as it isn't trying to absorb people around it...

#612 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:24 PM:

P J @ 611... Or the blood-drinking carrot from Mars in the Fifties movie The Thing.

#613 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:27 PM:

ajay:

Upon this cake of ice is perched
The paddle-footed Puffin.
To find its double we have searched
And have discovered - Nuffin'.

This is the first time I've encountered anyone outside my own family who is a fan of How to Tell the Birds From the Flowers.

#614 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:34 PM:

Can I take advantage of the openness of this thread to rail against the book production person, identity unknown, who decided on the structure of the early 1990's one-volume hardcover edition of The Lord of the Rings, from HarperCollins? The edition with the beautiful Alan Lee illustrations, the relatively high quality paper?

Sadly, Smythe sewing and casing in is not strong enough to keep all 1100-plus heavy weight pages in their boards. The book block wants to pull out of the cover. Usually, this leads to tearing at the inner hinge (between the pastedown and the flyleaf). So they strengthened the hinge, and used really good paper for the pastedown and flyleaf.

Result? Endpaper and flyleaf stay with the cover when the book block goes a-wandering, tearing the first and last sheets of the book block. The ones with the lovely illustrations.

So much for a binding protecting the text.

</obscurist bookbinder structural rant>

(On the other hand, when I give it a proper structure, it will make a cracking great tome of a book...)

#615 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Serge @ 612

I found the original version to be more frightening than the giant carrot.

#616 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:48 PM:

Serge @ 612

Or the giant Venusian (Venerian?) carrot in Damian Broderick's Godplayers and K-Machines that the hero's sister is getting it on with (it was strictly physical so calling it an affair or relationship seems overnice).

#617 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:49 PM:

There's joy in conversation of the parrot,
much joy as well, when we meet talking carrot.
But which is better? What a choice to make!
Whoever's had delight in parrot cake?

#618 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:56 PM:

P J @ 615... You mean, John Campbell's story Who Goes There?

#619 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 01:59 PM:

abi @ 614... (On the other hand, when I give it a proper structure, it will make a cracking great tome of a book...)

Of course.

Meanwhile, I can't wait for my 52nd birthday, when I can finally unwrap my very own abi-bound copy of the Constitution.

#620 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Serge @ 618

Yes. (I describe that story as 'not safe for dark and stormy nights'.)

#621 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Moisture, I need moisture.

Don't forget Tybo the carrot man from Lost in Space.

#622 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 02:17 PM:

P J @ 620... Agreed. I mus say though that The Thing and Who Goes There? have so little in common that I judge each as separate... ah... things. Try watching The Thing late during a cold night, and it'll make you shiver. Meanwhile, the 1982 movie version was just plain gross, even though it stuck closer to Campbell's story. It didn't help that I didn't give a hoot about any of the characters getting killed.

#623 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Tania @ 621... I'd rather forget Tybo.

#624 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Boing-Boing readers already know this, but a pentacle for Wicca has finally been added to the list of the VA approved headstone symbols. I remember this omission being discussed on Making Light ages ago.

Here's the link which now shows it on the approved list of symbols:
http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm/hmemb.asp

#625 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 07:35 PM:

#613: as long as we're quoting silly verse, this was written by James Fenton, poet, critic journalist, Oxford Professor of Poetry, and first westerner into the presidential palace at the fall of Saigon (riding an NVA tank), while in a headhunter longhouse up a river in central Borneo.

The Butcher Bird

The Butcher Bird, or Red-backed Shrike,
Should not be trusted with your bike.
The pump and lights he steals away
And takes the spokes to spike his prey.

Also, by an unknown author:

Birds, Bears, Bags and Buns

The common cormorant, or shag,
Lays eggs inside a paper bag.
The reason you will see, no doubt -
It is to keep the lightning out.
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

#626 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 08:11 PM:

ajay: I think the latter is by Christopher Isherwood.

#627 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 08:23 PM:

Serge #622: I must disagree about the two The Things. Carpenter's 1982 version is amazingly close not only to the spirit but to the letter of Campbell's original "Who Goes There". The first Thing movie was just Attack of the Eight Foot Ice Carrot.

And I sympathise a lot with the characters in Carpenter's The Thing: they don't do stupid stuff like splitting up to look for the monster, crawling down a ventilation duct after the monster, turning their backs on their friends when they know the monster is a shape-shifting androphage, or going to look for the cat.

They shout "Fuck!" and strap on all the dynamite they can find. I'm there.

"I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!"

#628 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 08:56 PM:

Oh, Oh, Oh

A habitable zone, rocky, earth sized planet. The red dwarf Gliese 581 was known to have a Neptune-sized planet, but Gliese 581 C is only 1.5 times larger than earth (5 times the mass). I hadn't known we could find them that small. (Does Moore's Law now apply to planets?)

Further proof we do live in the 21st century:
The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia
229 planets in the catalog.

[Kathryn does the new planets dance for the 230th time]

#629 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 09:28 PM:

#613 : Clifton Royston

This is the first time I've encountered anyone outside my own family who is a fan of How to Tell the Birds From the Flowers.

It immediately came to mind.

When I was a little kid our family also had a copy of it that was old then. For those of you who are feeling deprived, it was line drawings on facing pages with doggerel verses like the one quoted above. The names of the matched flowers/birds kind of rhymed, the way the drawings kind of looked like flowers or birds.

#630 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Niall @ 627... They shout "Fuck!" and strap on all the dynamite they can find.

That, besides the unpleasant human characters, is one thing that bugged me about Carpenter's version of the story. Why would you want to blow to pieces a creature where each piece can be the creature? Anyway. I haven't seen the movie in ages. Maybe I'd feel differently today.

#631 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Kathryn @ 628... Thanks for the link. This is neat. So much for astronomers who, even 20 years ago, were dismissing the idea of extra-solar planets.

#632 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 09:54 PM:

Serge @631,

Reminds me of my favorite 21st century moment so far this millenium:

I go to a monthly dinner put on by a connector. It's a diverse crowd- we have both hardware and software folks (and reporters and writers (who write about tech), and biotechies...)

As there are always a few new people during each dinner we'll each introduce ourselves and say what we do, what we find interesting, and the like.

One guy's introduction:
"Hi, I'm building networked telescopes so that school children around the world can help search for extrasolar planets."

Run a neuro-based simulation of yourself from 20 years ago and run that sentence by him/her. Every word is familiar to 1987-you, but the interactions of those words, the unpacking of that sentence, is just delightful.

#633 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 10:24 PM:

Raise your hands if you read (#628) about Kathryn's planet and immediately started on the mental exercise of what life might be like there, what with its very different light and much higher gravity and all. I know I did.

#634 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2007, 11:13 PM:

[The caller of the planetsdance adds hands-held-high and high-fives to the current dance figures, in which the dancers show a stylized γ Cephei Ab: a K1+M4 binary star with a cool-Jupiter planet]

Ethan: high-five! and then a low-five, and then all sit down because 1.6G would be exhausting

#635 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 02:38 AM:

Kathryn, Moore's Law must apply. You do realize that the tally only hit 100 a couple of years ago? It's looking exponential to me.

Oh, damn, that remark about networked telescopes just hit me. We're not far away from being able to build optical interferometers with really long baselines; I think there are a couple building now in the 50-100 meter range ... [pauses to look at google] ... [gets lost trying to drink from the firehose] ... [comes back with a bemused expression on face] ... Sure enough, the biggest one I found was 85 meters, and there's a design for something called the "Overwhelmingly Large Telescope." I dare not ask.

Anyhow, there's a 1/3 power scale law for astronomical objects in a lot of regimes: every order of magnitude decrease in diameter means you'll see three orders more objects. The diameter of objects visible should be a 1/2 power of the interferometric baseline, so we'll see an exponent greater than one in the increase in the number of objects with increase in instrument size. Gordon Moore strikes again.

#636 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 03:05 AM:

Argggghhh. Please ignore that 1/2 power law remark, it's wrong. The actual scale will be somewhere between linear and an exponent of 1/2 (twice the baseline detects square root of 2 times as many objects), depending on how light collection scales with interferometer baseline, a characteristic of telescope design.

#637 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 04:28 AM:

Alas for dancing, the story says twice that they estimate Gliese 581 C is a "five-Earth-mass planet", which surely means 5 times standard Earth gravitational acceleration.

Not good for us, but not overly oppressive for relatively familiar lifeforms.

Despite this, & the probability of further similar discoveries, I have a nagging suspicion that there is extrasolar life, but only at the level of bacteria or unicellular eukaryotes. Maybe just possibly a very few scattered conscious & intelligent sentient organisms, but so far apart that contact is vanishingly improbable. Going by our only example and comparing the timespan of unicellular life versus multicellular, even catching a recognisable, visible, alien ecosystem seems like a poor chance — see Stephen Jay Gould's Planet of the Bacteria. Still, hope springs eternal.

#638 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 04:30 AM:

My favourite ``this is the future'' moment was reading in the April edition of The Actuary's regular column From the World of General Insurance that:

Spacecraft explosion on launch from Califonia (31 January) An NSS-8 craft blew up as a launch was being attempted from a sea platform at Long Beach. The spacecraft is understood to have been insured for $265m, in addition to which the converted oil rig forming the platform was valued at $250m and support vehicles at $150m. The latter two sources of claim are understood to be placed in the marine market. The space loss is believed to be widely distributed in London and other markets.

This in between floods in Jakarta and a wrangle over Katrina coverage.

#639 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 04:38 AM:

Serge, YMM still V, but I was surprised to reread the original story recently and see just how much of it Carpenter used.

The idea with the dynamite was to kill all possible hosts and destroy the base so that the Thing could not escape to the wider world. It would all have been frozen again.

#640 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 06:10 AM:

Mez #637: The gravitational acceleration at the surface depends on the body's radius (or density, if you like) as well as its mass, so it's unlikely to have five times the gees. Assuming the density is the same as the earth's, I get about 3.2g at the surface, with a planetary radius about 1.55 earths.

#641 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 06:25 AM:

Todd Larason@606: My copy is handy -- the name is "Oren Lepidopt". I must confess that the resemblance to Lepidoptera bothered me when I was reading...I kept wondering, "What's up with that?"

Ethan@633: Don't be silly. A heavy-gravity planet around a red sun? We know what its life looks like.

(Oh, no, wait...I'm the one being silly. Never mind, carry on.)

#642 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 08:50 AM:

Niall @ 639... Good point. Still, I think that, if I ever watch 1982's The Thing again, it'll have to be when my wife is out of town. She told me she wound up in tears when she saw the scene where the 'dog' starts going after the other dogs.

#643 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 08:57 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale (I keep wanting to write 'Rebecca from Sunnybrook') @ 632... One guy's introduction: "Hi, I'm building networked telescopes so that school children around the world can help search for extrasolar planets." Run a neuro-based simulation of yourself from 20 years ago and run that sentence by him/her. Every word is familiar to 1987-you, but the interactions of those words, the unpacking of that sentence, is just delightful.

If someone had told me 20 years ago "Hi, I'm building networked telescopes so that school children around the world can help search for extrasolar planets.", I'd have have felt like I had just stepped into an episode of Max Headroom. Luckily, we don't have the likes of Max (literally) bugging us, but we do have those annoying popup ads that'd have been called blipverts back then.

#644 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @628: Kathryn does the new planets dance for the 230th time

"Then felt I like some watcher of the sky
When a new planet swims into his ken" — Keats

Actually, I thought of the Genesis song first, but I knew it referenced a classic poem.

Trying to track down a link to the song lyrics, I found this, which was at least as interesting:

Despite John Keats’s lines comparing his enthusiasm for a new translation of Homer to William Herschel’s discovery of the planet Uranus—”Then felt I like some watcher of the sky/When a new planet swims into his ken”—it is now known that Herschel’s discovery, rather than occurring on March 13, 1781, when he first observed the new object, extended over nearly two years, during which he and his fellow astronomers gradually recognized that the object he had sighted was not, as first thought, a comet, but in fact a new planet.

#645 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 09:22 AM:

(cont'd from 643)

That being said, Kathryn, it might be possible for our future to be a beautiful place. But I'm worried that it hinges on what happens in November 2008.

#646 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Kathryn #634: Maybe "Raise your hand" was the wrong phrase to choose--how would high-gravity creatures gesture their agreement (or that they want the hall pass)?

David Goldfarb #641: Duh! Thanks. When I said it, I just knew that there would be something already written with a planet like this one...just didn't know how obvious it would be. So, creatures on this planet will have X-Ray vision and ice breath.

#647 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:01 AM:

ethan @ 646: Wouldn't it just be normal gravity to them? We'd be pooped, but why would they?

#648 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Would anybody but the sickest knit a baby cap shaped like a plucked chicken? (I found this link on Kaja Foglio's site. She thought it was gross, and her hubby Phil said he'd take up knitting as a result. Why am I not surprised?)

#649 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:25 AM:

#646-647 - It may be their normal gravity, but it's still harder work to raise a hand/tentacle etc. so a more energy efficent signal might well be prefered. Haven't seen any speculation on atmospheric pressure, but all other things being equal, a shout of "Aye" to indicate agreement with Ethan on #633 might work, and "May I have a hall pass" for that situation.

Or if gravity's so high to give trouble breathing, try fluttering your eyelashes.


I haven't read The Actuary for a couple of years, but it always seemed to me to be caught between the 19th century and the future. But that's what I felt about working in the insurance industry in general, so it could just be me.

#650 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:27 AM:

Regarding life on other planets: Back when we Boomers were watching Star Trek (and William Shatner hadn't started putting on the pounds), it was almost possible to keep some belief in aliens right here in our own Solar System, like the older SF had it. That was one extreme -- now people seem to be at the other, where the only possible life elsewhere in our vast universe is the equivalent of bacteria or slime mold. But the universe (all those galaxies!) is so vast, I have a hard time believing life on Earth is a complete anomaly. Science has only recently started admitting that other more or less "earthlike" planets exist. I'm not expecting a population of Klingons or Romulans to pop up in the next star system over, but a belief that we're the *only* sentient beings with a multi-species world, anywhere at all, seems almost to require faith in a personalized Creator god.

PS: The NY Times article mentions that we might send an expedition to this new planet, a mere 30 light years away. Sounds like we'd better get started on a drive that's at least light-speed, and then current astronomy buffs will have to be both patient and long-lived to see the results.

#651 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Faren @ 650... it was almost possible to keep some belief in aliens right here in our own Solar System

I'm of that generation too. And I have a question for those of you who post here who were born in 1968 or later. I grew up with SF stories of Mars as a place from which invaders might come, or of a world that was slowly fading away, its canals and seas now bone dry.

When you think of Mars, what does it evoke in you?

#652 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Yeah, Faren, I see no reason to limit aliens to bacteria. Mars aliens, maybe, but Mars is not the place to find them necessarily. I really hope we find something, even a cute little Martian microbe (I would love to see the Giant Microbe based on more than a possible fossil), because different! DNA! Forms of body! Evolutionary pressures!

Mars... is National Geographic pictures and water, possibly. Beyond that, it's not so evocative unless I really start thinking about it.

#653 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:42 AM:

#638 -- Russian rocket hauled somehow from the middle of Asia to Long Beach California, mated to a made somewhere-or-other payload satellite and set up on a former North Sea oil drilling movable platform towed between Long Beach CA and the equatorial launch location, with a controller team that's half English speaking and half Russian-speaking with the Russian speakers I think in Russia, and the launch occurs with the platform submerging as the rocket takes off.

It still seems very much a kludge all-around to me... seawater and sea spray is corrosive....

#654 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Serge, 651: I was born in 1968, but I grew up reading all those old SF books too. I remember having very mixed emotions at the Viking pictures: hooray, a real picture of another planet! Where there are clearly going to be no Willises, dammit!

But I'll never give up my dream of flying in Fingal's Cave.

#655 ::: Jenny ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnydale: ooh, shiny! Thank you for drawing attention to that.

The extra gravity would be less of a problem for creatures living in the oceans, wouldn't it?
Maybe it is inhabited by thickset sapient fish.

Serge: Mars -- for me (born 1977), it's similar to how someone at the turn of the last century might view the interior of Antarctica: new frontier, discovery. Excitement at the thought that it might be visited by human beings in my life-time. The sublime; cold red desert; beautiful death. A book I had as a child called 'Race to Mars'; pictures of rovers on an alien world; the details of life-support systems, space biology, getting oneself there alive, practical romance thereof. Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars series. A place within the human world, even though it hasn't been explored yet.

#656 ::: Jenny ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Re-reading that: by 'turn of the last century', I meant 'at the turn of the c19th/ c20th', obviously. Oops. Does anyone else keep doing that?

#657 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Serge #643: we do have those annoying popup ads that'd have been called blipverts back then

I'd just decided yesterday that popups were the (im)moral equivalent of those incredibly annoying blown-in cardboard inserts in magazines, usually for subscriptions.

(I don't mind if advertising just sits there, looking weird or pretty. I do mind if I have to *do* something about it. Or if it blinks/moves about.)

#658 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 11:54 AM:

Thanks, Diatryma, TexAnne and Jenny... Basically, the Mars of the mind is a world that may have never been alive, without any mighty ancient civilizations, but it still is a world with its own kind of Majesty.

#659 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 11:59 AM:

joann @ 657... I don't mind if advertising just sits there, looking weird or pretty. I do mind if I have to *do* something about it.

Same here. I put up with when I go to sites that are free, but I really resent it when I access a site that I pay to access, like Salon.com. I'm not sure which is worse, the ads that take up the whole page when I click on the link to an article, or the ones that pop up when my mouse brushes past the fixed inserts. I am tempted to call them both not blipverts but (bleep!)verts.

#660 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Serge, I have every intention of knitting a baby cap shaped like a plucked chicken, as soon as I can find a baby whose parent will let her wear it. I may have to have one (baby) myself, just so I can knit the cap. I may also knit the adult cap version for myself.

The cap is cool! It looks like a chicken! But also like a stereotypical Viking cap with horns!

#661 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:15 PM:

I'm with Jenny -- though I grew up with Star Trek and Heinlein and Bradbury, Kim Stanley Robinson's vision of Mars has somewhat over-written them for me. It's a place to try out human possibilities on a clean slate, with proper respect for that slate uppermost. And probably see human villanies and failures writ just as large, alas. And it's got both science and wonder -- both dome cities and Coyote. It evokes a primal desire for the frontier in me. Why aren't we there yet??

#662 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Mars of the mind
Long time ago
The romance of travel
The threat of Shambleau
The dusty wind blowing
Equator to poles
Scouring the natives
And stealing their souls.

The ancient canals
Hold water so rare
Precious to Mars life
And too the air
Arid and dry
The old planet survives,
Tenaciously holding
What no longer thrives.

Mars of the mind
The old romance regrows,
John Carter, Leigh Bracket,
And Northwest Smith shows,
Look up in the sky
At that old planet red
The Mars of the mind
That shall never be dead.

#663 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:19 PM:

Chris @ 110... a good author doesn't write their personal politics into their books

On the other hand, there are people like Kim Stanley Robinson and his recent global-warming trilogy, which I still have to read. He gave an interview in a recent issue of Locus and the views he expressed in there do match with what reviews lead me to believe are the trilogy's politics. And the mag's cover showed him holding an "Inconvenient Truth" coffee mug.

#664 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Serge @ 663... You blessed fool!!! You posted this in the wrong thread!

#665 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Nancy C @ 660... I'll wait for a picture of you adorned with a plucked-chicken cap before I believe any word you said. ("My, my, my... She sure IS a plucky one.")

#666 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:28 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 662... Hats off to you. (Plucked-chicken caps too.)

#667 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:56 PM:

#662: needs to be a soul number, I think.

#668 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Serge, the pink wouldn't go with my coloring; I'm probably going to substitute a light golden color, like a roasted bird.

This is all sometime at least a year in the future, as this year's project is finishing off some of the materials I've already bought to make various things with.

#669 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Nancy C @ 668... This is all sometime at least a year in the future

Suuuuuure.

#670 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 01:21 PM:

Serge, we have an entire room dedicated to storing my materials and books with my project plans. And it can't hold everything

And between what I've bought and my sister's wedding this summer (I'm the maid of honor), I just won't have the time to knit my hat soon.

I promise you a picture.

#671 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Here is the link to the adult pattern:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=113885.0

#672 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Nancy C @ 670... I promise you a picture.

Don't worry. I was just pulling your (hat's chicken) leg.

#673 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 02:05 PM:

SNOW WIDOW -- my contribution to pixel-stained technopeasant day:

It was a beautiful wedding. If Walt Disney had made a movie about it, it would have been full of singing clouds and dancing bunnies. But this one didn't end in a happy honeymoon, or with the happy couple standing together in the sunset. It ended with just the bride crying icicles over a frozen puddle, and I made it my business to find out why.

My name is Frost. Jack Frost.
Maybe you've heard of me. I don't have an office or a big ad in the phone book, but I get around. I write my name on your window in a script that was old when cuneiform was the coming thing. I nip your nose when you're going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house, and sometimes I bust your basement pipes just to keep you on your toes. Cold is my business.
It's at my LJ, cause I don't have a real blog. I'm waiting for everyone else in the world to get bored and stop blogging first.
#674 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Serge, if it's not too late to answer: I was born in 1982, and while I never particularly considered Mars as a place I might meet someone, it's still pretty damn tantalizing. People have already mentioned Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, and that's what came to my mind immediately. Those are some of my favorite books of all time, and when I think of Mars I think of the events and possibilities in them, as well as the kind of fractally epic structure of the trilogy, which in some pseudo-synesthetic way fits the same shape in my brain as Mars itself.

Anyway, Mars = Love, but then again, Space = Love. (Which somehow does not mean that Mars = Space.)

#675 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 03:25 PM:

ethan @ 674... Mars = Love, but then again, Space = Love. (Which somehow does not mean that Mars = Space.)

Ah, the mathematics of language... That reminds me of the time when I asked someone if the two birds that one can kill with one stone are the two birds in the bush, or if there were two people standing next to each other, each with one bird in one hand.

Meanwhile, have you and anybody else heard what's going on with the SciFi Channel's adaptation of Robinson's Mars books?

(Speaking of another Robinson and Mars, I wish somebody would release Robinson Crusoe on Mars on DVD. Very stupid title for a nice early-Sixties movie of survival on an alien planet. But that's just my opinion.)

#676 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 03:53 PM:

I actually didn't know there was an adaptation of the Mars books. That sounds exciting, as long as Sci Fi gets their talented folks on it rather than their...er...other people.

#677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 03:58 PM:

ethan @ 676... That sounds exciting, as long as Sci Fi gets their talented folks on it rather than their...er...other people.

I've been hearing about that adaptation for a few years now so by now I'm skeptical it'll ever happen. If it gets done, hopefully it won't be by the same people who inflicted the dreadful EarthSea upon us.

#678 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 04:07 PM:

By the time I was interested in such things, Mars as a living planet was a dead issue amoung scientists (an early Mariner probe showed what was essentially a moonscape), but kiddie books and popular culture still hadn't caught up.

So, in grade school, I take it to heart that Mars had an atmosphere 1/10th that of Earth, and probably had vegetation, and even maybe had canals.

But later Mariners showed nothing by dust and craters and volcanoes and pretty much strangled any chance of any interesting. (Read: Thogs.)

#679 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Stefan Jones... Thogs, not thoats?

#680 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 04:44 PM:

I was born in 1975 and seem to have two Marses in my head; one that's space probes and little atmosphere and pictures from Viking, and another one that looks like Tatooine. When I read Burroughs or Robinson or anyone else, if it's set on Mars I'm seeing Star Wars. Except with more red.

(I suspect I didn't have a clear understanding of planets when I first saw Star Wars, and thought that Tatooine was Mars, and also that they were both set next door to that strange planet where Lawrence of Arabia took place)

#681 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Neil#680: thought that Tatooine was Mars, and also that they were both set next door to that strange planet where Lawrence of Arabia took place

All movies take place on alien planets. Just ... different ones. Even the movies set in LA or NYC*. (And we recently deconstructed Dirty Harry and San Francisco--clearly an alternate reality.)

* Of course the NYC ones have an excuse--they're all shot in some Toronto or Vancouver that I don't recognize either.

#682 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Rep Kuicinich [spelling] has filed articles of impeachment against Cheney, but not Cheney's boss.

Hmm, what kind of hypocrisy is going on, Clinton was maliciously persecutedly attacked and calumnified by Republicans, including ones who were engages in affairs outside of their own marriage as they attacked Clinton for actions shy of their own extramarital sexual activities while bleating piously about Family Values and Contract with America hypocrisy, but Democrats aren't filing to impeach Cheney's boss, who's presided over the most egregious mismanagement ever seen presided over by the US Government? The 9/11 mass murderers that due diligence at airports and by the INS would have PREVENTED, the breathtaking incompetence and mismanagement and the how many dead in New Orleans because the federal government was more interested in sending US military ships to Mississippi, calling -back- from heading up the Mississippi a Navy vessel loaded with water and supplies, ordering it back to the ship it was attached to to go to another state; giving contracts to corrupt companies hiring undocumented aliens, directing and redirecting trucks full of ice over the eastern half of the USA and directing them AWAY from New Orleans, all the stuff about Mr Brown and his lack of relevant experience in emergency operations, the grandstanding fly-in-and-out-generators-put-on-Media-Show of that turd in the White House; the torture prevarication, the abrogation of the Geneva Convention, the plummeting of the population of Iraqis from a country of 25,000,000 to a country of 24,000,000 with FOUR MILLION of them having fled fearing death if they stayed (how many Shi'ites took refuge in Iran from Saddam after the turd's Daddy urged a Shi'ite rebellion and then did nothing while Saddam slaughtered the rebellious Shi'ites and drained the marshes that the Marsh Arabs had lived in for time immemorial... why shouldn't they hate the USA? There's the rise in infant morality rates in the USA, the growing disparity between the upper 20 percent and the fantastic concentration of wealth and income and power in the hands of one percent of the population, with the largest gap between "the rich' and the bottom half since 1929... theyre's the hypcrisy about abortion, the Bush family can afford to cover it up and never get noticed, a 12 year old raped by father or brother or classmate has no such protection and succor, a poor woman with three kids trying to remediate bad education and get up out poverty via education and a job who gets pregnant, doesn't have Bush family resources to stay continuing to take classes, deal with the children already there, and earn what pittance she can get with a lousy education and bad if any health cover, and deal with health concerns of pregnancy and a newborn needing care and food and attention.....

ANYWAY

A different approach occurred to me a few minutes ago--how about a citizen's petition to strip the turd of US citizenship, for crimes against humanity and abrogation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (suspension of writ of habeas corpus, suspension of cruel and unusual punishment, suspension of no arrest without a warrant, suspension of legal counsel and fair trail and speedy trial, etc.)?

There are precedents, Robert E. Lee was permanently stripped of US citizenship....

#683 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Paula @ 682

Darth Cheney is much easier to take out at this point. We get a new vice president, then we take out Shrub. If we take out Shrub first, we get President Cheney, and do you really want that? Besides, if we're really lucky, he'll fall over dead at some point this year. (In which case, I want whatever is standing in for his heart to be run through with a sharpened chopstick that's been soaked in garlic juice and wrapped with silver wire.)

#684 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 06:05 PM:

P. J. Evans #683 -- I want them BOTH charged with criminal conspiracy and collusion to abrogate the US Constitution, malfeasance, mismanagement, incompetence, obstruction of justice, all sorts of corruption, failure to separate church and state, etc., with both of them tied together (and others charged as conspirers including Gonzales, Mier, Andrew Card, etc. etc.).

Wasn't there a group name for the Harding's cabinet of thieves?

#685 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Paula - My dusty brain recalls "The Poker Cabinet".

The only other things I recall about the Harding administration are that his middle name was Gamaliel (how cool) and the Teapot Dome debacle.

#686 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 06:21 PM:

#684

Yes indeed, but do it in the right order, or it only gets worse. (At my job, to shut off gas flow to an area, the valves have to be closed in a certain order, or the pipe might break from overpressure. Or, in shutting off an older computer system, you turn off the printer and disable the disk drives before you power down, yes?)

#687 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 06:27 PM:

from bOINGbOING:

A ROTC student phoned in a terrorism alert because he saw a brown-skinned poetry professor putting a box of recycling out... The prof was getting rid of rejected manuscripts from a poetry contest he'd been judging.

Rejected poetry? Sounds like bombs to me!

#688 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 06:54 PM:

#679. Arrr, Thoats.

Thogs are another SFish beastie.

#689 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 07:11 PM:

#640: Jakob, the authors seem to favor a higher density, 5 Earth masses but only 1.5 Earth radii. For this I get about 2.1 Earth gravities.

#690 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 07:29 PM:

I was born in 1964, and I already knew Mars was not like Barsoom by the time I read the John Carter books aged what? I'll guess 8. That was just after Mariners 8 and 9 had arrived at Mars.

#691 ::: Jenny ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 07:53 PM:

I would like to visit Malacandra (C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet). That book, which I read in my early teens, has made a strange impression on my subconscious; I've had dreams about it years afterwards. (I hate the other 2 in the trilogy). But I never really associated it with Mars as it exists in this universe.

ethan @ 676: I'd like to see a Kim Stanley Robinson Mars TV series, but I wonder how they could ever get across the numinous feel, the sense of Mars and the Martian landscape as the real protagonist. Even the best CGI would probably come across just as a lot of red. Actually I wonder if it would make a better film than a TV show.

Books that should be on TV: why isn't there a Marcus Didius Falco series yet? I've been listening to The Iron Hand of Mars on BBC Radio 4. It's pretty well done. TV series could be great fun.

#692 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Jenny @ 691... why isn't there a Marcus Didius Falco series yet?

I've been asking myself that very same question.

#693 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2007, 10:53 PM:

In re TNH's latest particle: Shamelessness apparently has no limits.

#694 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Hal Clement's Heavy Planet is a good 'hard' sfnal look at what the reality of life for the autochthonous inhabitants on a planet with much higher gee than Earth might be. But that might be rather more than 3-4g. It's been long since I read it, and details are not quickly nor easily retrievable from my lifebox. (Can you tell I've read Rudy's blog?)

Oh, and remembering the animal (Ibex) poem strand (Juli #427, up to #437, 440), which may or may not have been Ogden Nash, I found this more serious, but delightfully evocative quote from him: "The door of a bigoted mind opens outwards, so that the only result of the pressure of facts upon it is to close it more snugly" (from 'Seeing Eye to Eye is Believing')

#695 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 01:49 AM:

Jenny #691: I'd like to see a Kim Stanley Robinson Mars TV series, but I wonder how they could ever get across the numinous feel, the sense of Mars and the Martian landscape as the real protagonist. Even the best CGI would probably come across just as a lot of red. Actually I wonder if it would make a better film than a TV show.

All good points. The problem with a movie, though, is that anything longer than two and a half hours--and each book would really need far more than that--is really pushing it, length-wise, where the (potential) strength of a TV series is in the...um...episodicicity; it's (theoretically) better suited to an epic like the Mars trilogy because it could (maybe) have the time to develop as slowly as it needs to.

The parentheses are there because I can't think of a TV series, even from among the very best (and, I remind you, I lurve television), that really took full advantage of that aspect of television. A truly good Mars series would be completely unlike anything ever on television before...which is, of course, all the more reason to make it, and all the more reason why it won't be made.

The effects would be a big problem, too, and I'm not sure how it could be solved. I think ingenious studio sets and very strategic location shooting would be far more effective than, as you say, even the best CGI. But, then again, I always think that.

(PS Sorry for all the asides. I'm all tuckered out and cannot construct sentences.)

#696 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:44 AM:

ethan @ 695

The Mars trilogy would best be served, I think, by a TV miniseries, on the order of 8 to 10 hours in length. This worked quite well for the Dune books, IMO, without the length they'd never have been able to do justice to the political and social themes of the first book.

One thing that might make the visuals work is careful use of HD. I've been really impressed with how the Planet Earth series has used the capabilities of the medium as a way to emphasize the lush detail of the places they've shot, even when they were deserts and mountaintops.

And speaking of deserts, a high-altitude part of the Gobi desert would make a pretty good stand-in for Red Mars, with a little color adjustment, and picking an area without plants.

#697 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 04:33 AM:

(Right. My connection decided, as it often does, that Making Light mysteriously vanished right when I clicked "Post". Now that it has granted me access to ML once again, in an act of immeasurable benevolence, Bruce has said exactly what I was going to say. Here it is anyway, in the interests of cross-posting goodness.)

#695 ethan: This is where the mini-series comes in, I think. Try to make it too episodic, and you have to start inserting awkward cliff-hangers and mini-climaxes all over the place. Plus, if it's too popular, some exec is going to try to drag it out, or spin it into a regular series, or some other horrific violation of ths story's cohesion. Give it an eight-hour miniseries, and you can give it the time it needs without making it into a cliffhanger-every-commerical-break self-parody.

/two cents

#698 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 05:09 AM:

Bruce @696,

Seconded on HD and Planet Earth. I love nature documentaries the way I love chocolate (mmmmm, chocolate), and Planet Earth has been delicious* in a 'as good as several dessert courses at the French Laundry' way**.

---
* for the one full episode I've seen, and all the others I could see but I'm using all my willpower not to watch... after seeing one full HD BBC version, the Discovery versions just aren't good, so we're buying the DVDs.

** or whatever chocolate analogy implies "very, very, very, very good: eat in wonder, because only a team of experts could make this happen" to you.

#699 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 05:15 AM:

the Discovery versions just aren't as good, that is. It's not just that the BBC version has much longer "makings of," it's once you're used to David A. as the narrator, the Sigourney versions seem dubbed.

#700 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 05:54 AM:

Jenny #691 ...why isn't there a Marcus Didius Falco series yet?

Lindsey Davis talks about it on her website.

#701 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 07:45 AM:

Neil Wilcox @ 700... Drat. And, considering that Lindsey Davis had such a hard time finding a new American publisher for the Falco series, films will never happen. Well, there is a new book coming out on May 15. (I probably could have bugged a friend in Europe to get me the British edition months ago, but I want to encourage the American publisher with my meager pecuniary resources.)

#702 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 08:32 AM:

[boilerplate "wait, Lindsey Davis isn't a guy?!" post]

#703 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 08:49 AM:

Bill Higgins #689: Oops - I used r instead of r^2. Which is par for the course when responding to someone else's comment... nothing to see here.

#704 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Paul A @ 702... Lindsey Davis indeed isn't.

#705 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Re: Bush & Cheney. Yesterday I went to a new local art gallery that had a show of Buddhist and Hindu artworks. Some of the coolest figures looked like raging demons, but the manager told me these figures (mahakalas, or something like that) were actually gods in the third of three modes: serene, mildly irritable [while urging some people to change their behavior], and utterly furious. They were backed by stylized flames, and under their feet they were tromping tiny humans (a la the Foot in the opening of Monty Python). It's easy to guess who I'd like to see stomped flat -- they're at the head of the list, anyway.

PS: Interesting comments on the life-on-alien-planets subthread (thanks for getting that started, Serge). Any thoughts on life in a galaxy far, far away?

#706 ::: thanbo ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 10:24 AM:

Re: the American Conservative and parallel universes (#467 and promoted to a TNH Particle)

It's entertaining and all that, but as Zev Sero pointed out to me, the American Conservative is Pat Buchanan and Taki's magazine, even more loony rightie than Bush and his Neocons. They've been bashing Bush and the [Jewish] Neocons (Taki admits to being an antisemite) for ages. Just listen to Buchanan on the McLaughlin Group sometime.

And some of the so-called "parallel universe" claims are not so far-fetched. It's a conservative cliche to call the War on Terror "World War IV", the Cold War having been WW3.

Lincoln did indeed exile Rep. Vallandigham, as a kindler-gentler alternative to Gen'l Burnside's wish to imprison him indefinitely; Vallandigham soon returned, and to public life. The "quote" about wanting to execute them was fabricated, and its author has retracted, claiming an editor's error. But he did not actually execute Copperhead legislators.

Some of the "facts" in the article do seem to reflect an alternate reality, but some are real readings of the past, while others may have been creations of the article's author.

Separating fact from fiction can be hard.

#707 ::: Jenny ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 11:09 AM:

ethan, Bruce Cohen and Heresiarch, @#695-697:

I agree with what you say about the pacing and episodic nature of the Mars books. It would be really hard to edit any of them down into a two-and-a-half hour film. I was thinking visually: you'd want big shots of a stunning desert landscape, with a tiny dot of human presence in one corner of the screen, Lawrence of Arabia-style. It would work much better on the big screen.
Still, it could work as a mini-series, to be played on my cinema-size widescreen TV while I lie sipping cold champagne in my jacuzzi... well, hell, I can dream...

#708 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 11:26 AM:

Faren @ 705... You're welcome.

Back to Burroughs's Barsoom books. In 2004, it looked like the director of Sky Captain would be in charge, then that movie tanked. Then I heard that Robert Rodriguez was the director. Then it was Jon Favreau. The the studio pulled the plug.

#709 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 11:49 AM:

I think Barsoom would be hard to film as written: non-stop nakedness and ultraviolence would get it an adult rating.

I remember being furious at Return of the Jedi when Luke went nuts on Jabba's crowded yacht with a light saber and didn't cut anyone!. We know from the earlier movies what that scene should have looked like: bloody body parts flying everywhere, but no, the stuntmen just fell down.

John Carter wouldn't be John Carter unless he's cleaving skulls and wiping blood off his blade on the hair of his enemy's severed head.

#710 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 699

We've been recording the Discovery version on dvr and watching them when we had time to sit and pay attention. Just for this one program I'm glad I got the HD dvr, the only word I can use to describe the visual effect is "ravishing." Without comparison to the BBC broadcasts I have nothing whatever bad to say about them. Yes, I can see where Attenborough would be the plummier choice for narration*, but I kind of like Weaver's delivery. She's always impressed me as a very intelligent person, as if, just perhaps, she didn't have to act the part :-)**

* Ghod knows he's done more than enough to justify him doing it, even if he were a bad narrator, which he must assuredly is not.

** I'm going to be a little anal about smileys for a few days, until the singing sword episode fades a little.

#711 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 12:07 PM:

thanbo @ 706

'Don't take life too seriously, because you can't get out alive.'

I wouldn't buy that magazine, but that article is worth reading. They're not from the mirror-Trek universe though, because those folks are competent (and I never want to meet them).

#712 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 12:16 PM:

On the crinoline particle:

1. Technically that isn't a crinoline, it's the hoops that replaced the crinoline. Crinolines are big nasty starched ruffly things that weigh a ton and are a real pain to dance in.

2. Wow, they make a big production out of something I can do in about two minutes with no help for anything except fastening the back of my bodice. Makes me wonder if this wasn't a deliberately satirical set of photos - the crinoline is an extremely (ludicrously?) large one, even by the standards of the day.

3. They skipped the fun part: getting out. You unfasten the skirt, petticoat, and hoop, then wiggle your hips slightly and they all drop to the floor with a delightful whoosh, leaving you standing in a giant puddle of fabric.

#713 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Susan at 712, you've just described an essential part of choir concerts: the unbinding. Unbinding is a pleasure in a class of its own. Off with the dress! Off with the underthings! Begone, stockings (I have known people who actually rip them off, but never done it myself)! And the shoes last, because mine zipped up and I wanted out of my clothes immediately.

#714 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 01:05 PM:

Susan, that is a rather famous satire. I forget where I've seen it.

Diatryma, having particpated in both the post-ball fabric puddling and the choral unbinding, they provoke similar, but not identical feelings. One point of similarity is that in a post-ball puddling, the shoes frequently stay on until close to last, simply because the corset comes before the shoes (depending on the shoes. I can kick my slippers off, so I don't need to wait), and because the other bits hinder movement much more than the shoes do.

Usually after a choral concert, I kick off my shoes, pull off my socks (no stockings here; I wear a looooong skirt or pants), and get out of the stupid white blouse before I spill something on it.

After a ball, I unfasten everything at my waist, let it puddle, step out of it, then get someone to please undo the the bodice so that I can get it off and get out of my corset. Somewhere in there is a removal of the hairpiece and the shedding of the hairpins.

#715 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 01:32 PM:

jennie @ #714:
I suspected as much, but hesitated to assume it after thinking of the really big hoop (bigger than mine, and mine is Damned Big) worn by a certain fashion-plate lady (A-----) we both know.

#716 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 01:38 PM:

Diatryma, Jennie:

A combination of these for opera chorus. I always took off the shoes first, simply because they were Capezios and had started hurting some hours earlier, even with copious time off sitting in the greenroom. Then off with the wig, if I was wearing one, and then came the dress-puddle. Then a massive amount of makeup removal (which was partly why the puddle).

I don't remember doing anything particularly odd in my choir concert days, except maybe kick off shoes--the concert clothes (black skirt and black top) were reasonably close to regular attire, at least in form if not material. Several times we went out to dinners or parties afterwards, some of us still in concert dress. (Yes, the guys in black tie.)

#717 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:04 PM:

I've stayed in concert dress before, but in college, it was more of a get-me-out-of-here than anything-- I cared much less about the concerts and usually had other things to do once they were done. I'm usually pretty comfortable in businessy dress, but it's still nice to get into pajamas.

I wonder if my horrible too-tall ill-fitting zipper concert shoes would burn.

#718 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:09 PM:

joann:
(Yes, the guys in black tie.)

Oooh, they got to wear casual clothing for concerts? :)

#719 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:16 PM:

I'm suddenly reminded of the *other* "fancy dress" in which I used to indulge, during university days--fencing gear. We'd go out for beer or ice cream after evening practice, not bothering to change out of our knickers, white stockings, and extremely sweated-in t-shirts. After years of that, toddling round in concert dress was practically normal.

#720 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Susan #718: joann: (Yes, the guys in black tie.)

Oooh, they got to wear casual clothing for concerts? :)

White tie was reserved for the orchestra. On the other hand, opera party scenes (_Traviata_, _Eugen Onegin_) did call for white tie.

#721 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Joann, these days I'm in a concert blacks choir, rather than a black-and-white choir, and yeah, I'll stay in concert dress, or maybe pull on an accessory.

Also, yes, getting out of Capezios is a very very good feeling.

Susan, I have my doubts about the historicity of that lady's hoop. I believe that fashion plates, like magazine photos today, depicted the extreme stupid-edge of fashion that hardly anyone real would actually wear (at least not all of those things at any one time), except for fashion's crazed victims. I'll need to do more research in pattern books and looking at surviving hoops, but I'm pretty sure that the lady in question's hoops would have been considered extreme in period.

It's fortunate for her that she's almost tall enough to pull it off. She merely looks like an unfortunate victim of fashion.I would look ridiculous in such an ensemble—much like the lady in the Victorian photos, only less Victorian.

#722 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Niall @ 709... It sounds like you want the Barsoom movie to be like Frank Miller's 300. Only better.

#723 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:47 PM:

jennie @ #721:

Like I said, her hoop is noticeably larger than mine, and I thought mine was pretty much out on the extreme edge. And I know how to handle a hoop that large on a dance floor. And my dress is hemmed to a proper level and does not have even a hint of a train.

Meow.

One helpful side effect of dropping skirts first in the (typically crowded) dressing room is that it gets much easier to maneuver when all the women are only taking up the normal amount of space.

#724 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 02:49 PM:

joann, jennie--what's wrong with Capezios? The only painful Capezios I ever had were pointe shoes.

#725 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 03:38 PM:

TexAnne #724: what's wrong with Capezios?

I have almost flat feet. The only really comfortable shoes are either flat or some version of Rockports. These were the "dance" shoes, two-inch heels, little ankle strap, and almost nothing between you and the floor. Ouch. When I found out that Ginger Rogers' feet bled while making one of the Astaire movies, I was not at all surprised. I had a ceremonial shoe purging some years later, and they were the first to go.

#726 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 03:40 PM:

TexAnne,

For me, the Capezios are too narrow and the too high of heel to wear comfortably for any length of time longer than an average ball. They're fine for the first three hours or seven or so dances, but after that I start to notice that my toes are feeling pinched, my legs are starting to cramp a bit, and my back is feeling the heels. The back thing is worse when I'm corsetted, and doesn't usually happen when I'm corsetted and not wearing heels.

This indicates to me that 1) I need to find wider character shoes (you may all stop giggling now), 2) I need to take my posture in heels into account when I construct my next corset, which I think means making a new dress form of myself the way I stand up straight in heels, and 3) I might wish to consider going back to 1-inch heels, rather than the inch and a half heels.

Also? I am deeply grateful to be living in a time and culture in which it's possible for an adult woman to wear girly shoes that don't have heels. Yay cute flats!

#727 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Susan @ 723, one of the interesting things about that particular hoop, to me, is that it illustrates the gap between fashion as depicted in fashion plates or mags and fashion as worn in practice. If one were to use only fashion plates as one's guides, one would look rather silly, just as I would doubtless look very silly if I showed up anywhere dressed in the latest trends as modelled on the runways. I love the weird extremes of art-fashion

#728 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 04:00 PM:

jennie:
- on Capezios or equivalent, I've found two things help immensely. First, get some padding. Inserts have helped me a lot - I went up a shoe size to accommodate thicker padding. Second, get the split sole kind, so you can flex your foot easily. That made a huge difference to me.

- on hoops: she and I wear the same style of hoop (the later "elliptical"), which stands out at balls just because most people are still wearing the earlier round ones. But there's something about the proportions of hers (not just the general size, but how it spreads out at the bottom) that just doesn't look right. Not that I'm an expert or anything. It would be interesting to see how she looked in my hoop.

#729 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Susan @ 723... And my dress is hemmed to a proper level and does not have even a hint of a train.

Was the train steam-powered?

This reminds me how the only thing I liked in TV show The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne was the character of Rebecca, a spy with some really neat gadgets. There was one episode where she had to climb a castle wall so she took off her skirt, pushed a button, and her crinoline unfolded into a ladder.

#730 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 04:25 PM:

Haven't had Capezios in years, and they were absolutely flat shoes.

[I have non-flat feet, but they come in one of those adult sizes that never seems to actually exist (it would be something like women's 4E). I usually end up shopping in the children's section, where I have a decent chance of finding something real (3 plus or minus a half size).]

#731 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 04:34 PM:

Patrick,
On the "George McGovern takes no crap from Dick Cheney" particle:

the LA times throws up their obnoxious (free) registration wall when you link that. The reg-free address is:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mcgovern24apr24,1,1800867.story

When you go there, it adds:
ctrack=1&cset=true
under some circumstances, which puts it behind the regwall. I wouldn't have brought it up but for the fact that they seem to have purged all the recent bugmenot logins.

#732 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 05:01 PM:

The instructions for the second part of the galliard sequence in Galleria d'Amore can be written to fit scary music:

It's just a jump to the left
And then a hop on the right
Do a couple of cuts
Then hop left and right twice
Then it's a cut going back
And then forward in turn
Then do cadenza again!

#733 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 06:41 PM:

The lolcat piece came just as I was debating plucking a cat picture (maybe one in which the cat isn't doing a damn thing) and giving it a caption like "I IZ R MY CN I U ROZEBUD IZ" and running it up the old flagpole to see if it sparkles with a duller thud.

Anyway, I just want to pass this along from WFMU: Marin Marais's 17th century "Tableau of a Lithotomy," probably the earliest known musical depiction of a medical procedure, from the guy who brought us the lovely minimalist "Sonnerie de Sainte-Genevieve du Mont-de-Paris."

#734 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Publish America appears to be disallowing incoming links from Making Light. I was able to follow the link in the "You hate to see that kind of thing" Particle earlier today, but now I have to paste the URL into the address bar to get to it.

#735 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Never mind; I can get to it now.

#736 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Hawking Flies Weightless Aboard Jet
By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer
Thu Apr 26, 6:37 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Free of his wheelchair and tethered only to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking on Thursday fulfilled a dream of floating weightless on a zero-gravity jet, a step he hopes leads to further space adventures.

The modified jet carrying Hawking, a handful of his physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Nurses lifted Hawking and carried him to the front of the jet, where they placed him on his back atop a special foam pillow.

(There's more to the article, but it shouldn't be difficult for you to find the rest.)

#737 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Katee Sackhoff, aka Starbuck...

"I was addicted to the original "Star Trek" when I was growing up, because of my dad. We grew up in St. Helen, Oregon and we weren't allowed to watch a lot of TV. I don't think we even had more than three channels, so it was basically watch "Dynasty" with my mom, watch "Star Trek" with my dad, or watch the mating rituals of beavers on OPB [Oregon Public Broadcasting]. So my brother and I watched "Star Trek."

That explains a few things about Starbuck's personality.

#738 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Serge #736 - I read an article on this (and the 6 private space programs* currently in development) and just managed not to shout at the paper when they claimed he had been "freed from the laws of gravity". All the quotes of Hawking himself have him using the much better word "weightless". Fortunately it's not the paper who have one of my university friends as a science correspondent or I'd have been sending him a very mocking email.

* 6 private space programs is definitely another sign we're in the 21st century, although by now every millionaire ex-astronaut and/or scientist ought to have their own spaceship if the fiction I absorbed by the age of 10 is to be believed.

#739 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Neil Willcox @ 738... by now every millionaire ex-astronaut and/or scientist ought to have their own spaceship if the fiction I absorbed by the age of 10 is to be believed

And in some of the Libertarian fiction still being published in a certain hard-SF magazine?

As for the goofup about being freed from the law of gravity, yeah, well, what do we expect from people who know nothing about Science?

#740 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 02:13 PM:

At a seminar I attended earlier this week, one of the leader's catch phrases was "Habits are like gravity; good habits pull you up and bad habits pull you down."

It was a good exercise in resisting the urge to grit my teeth every time she said it. Gaaaahhhhh.

#741 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Lexica @ 740... "Habits are like gravity; good habits pull you up and bad habits pull you down."

That's the force of habit for ya.

#742 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Lexica: remember that they're probably just as wrong about the information that was new to you.

OTOH, maybe they're not wrong. Maybe there just isn't any good gravity in our neck of the galaxy.

#743 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 03:37 PM:

Well, gravity is just a theory, after all.

#744 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 03:42 PM:

The problem is a lack of levity.

#745 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Seen on BoingBoing this morning: Evil Hamsters

I love the illustration.

#746 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 04:05 PM:

It sounds like your seminar's leader believes in Intelligent Falling.

#747 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Kate Gladstone did this wonderful thing over at rec.music.filk, and gave me permission to post it in my LJ and elsewhere.


THE FÚFUMAL

by Kate Gladstone


Fúfu, small rabbit,      fastest of hoppers,
Works in woodland      his ways of evil:
Field-mice he finds,      then hammers with head-blows,
Vexing the queen      of the Vanir folk.

Down came good Freya,      frowning at Fúfu.
Said she to the warren-born:      "No worth I find
In your smiting of cheese-thieves.      Smirk not, but obey me.
To change from your ways,      three chances you'll have.
And if you change not,      then a nithing you'll be."

Yet Fúfu, four-footed,      fastest of hoppers,
Still works in woodland      his ways of evil:
Field-mice he finds,      then hammers with head-blows,
Vexing the queen      of the Vanir folk.

Down came good Freya,      frowning at Fúfu,
Said she to the short-tailed:      "Shame do I find
In your smacking of squeakers,      Smirk not, but obey me.
To change from your ways,      two chances you have
And if you change not,      then a nithing you'll be."

Yet Fúfu, long-footed,      fastest of hoppers,
Still works in woodland      his ways of evil:
Field-mice he finds,      then hammers with head-blows,
Vexing the queen      of the Vanir folk.

Down came good Freya,      frowning at Fúfu,
Said she to the buck-toothed:      "Badness I find
In your smashing of hole-gnawers,      Smirk not, but obey me.
To change from your ways,      one chance you now have
And if you change not,      then a nithing you'll be."

Yet Fúfu, carrot-glad,      fastest of hoppers,
Still works in woodland      his ways of evil:
Field-mice he finds,      then hammers with head-blows,
Vexing the queen      of the Vanir folk.

Down came good Freya,      frowning at Fúfu,
Said she to the long-eared,      "You've lost your last chance.
Three warnings you've wasted.      Now you shall obey me.
To change from your ways,      no chance you now have:
Now and forever,      a nithing shall be!"

THE MORAL:
Hare whose heart      hates field-scurriers
Soon shall see      himself made outlaw.

#748 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 06:59 PM:

Re: Fufumal (#747)

I seem to recall the Muppet Show doing a version of this filk.

Although in that version little bunny fufu was turned into some creature called a Goon.

The moral being: Hare today, Goon tomorrow...

(Just thought I'd mention. If I hadn't caught the typo, a phrase above would have been posted as "little buffy fufu". Which would suggest another meaning entirely. Such as the possibility of vampire fieldmice...)

#749 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 08:14 PM:

I'm not sure there is a strong enough connection to either the lime pie or the future technology, so it goes here: it's 2007 out, for crud's sake, and I'm *still* spraining (or near offer) my thumb on jar lids. Why?

#750 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 08:26 PM:

Michael I @ #748: Vampire field mice? I sense a Bunnicula reference in the making.

Bunnicula would also be able to handle the nasty carrots mentioned earlier in this thread.

#751 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 08:29 PM:

Serge @737:

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a41/Julia_here/100_0396.jpg
Sign on Oregon 30, just east of St. Helens Oregon.

This may explain some things about Ms Sackoff, too- I find exposure to the multitasking necessary in small towns leads to all sorts of things.

#752 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2007, 08:42 PM:

Serge - one of the science correspondents working for a Major British Daily Newspaper has a physics degree. He and I copied each other's notes now and then, back in the day*. When any of us notice a schoolboy error in his reportage, we tell him off at great length (and usually he blames the sub-editors and/or deadlines - somewhere there's a document about how science gets reported in the media, where he explains that the reason some scientists get quoted again and again is that they get back to them by 4pm)

* For our philosophy course, as we each knew people who took better notes from the actual physics lectures

#753 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 12:00 AM:

JESR #751: I just embarrassed myself laughing at that picture, and I'm alone.

#754 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 02:37 AM:

Ethan, I've embarrassed myself laughing at the sign every time we've driven by. The store's closed now, alas, so it's a good thing I had my camera when we went to Oregon in March.

#755 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 08:57 AM:

JESR @ 51... A grocery store that also does toning & tanning and saw sharpening? Bwahahahah!!! And if this were a small town in the state north of Oregon, they'd also serve strong coffee.

#756 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Well, you know, things have gotten to the point that lattes pretty much go without saying, in Washington or Oregon.

#757 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 11:07 AM:

JESR @ 756

And it's gotten to the point that we don't like to publically mention coffee, for fear a Starbuck's will appear on the corner.

#758 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 12:46 PM:

JESR #751: I was once given a business card by an enterprising Rastafarian gentleman. The card informed me that his business was 'real estate and flower pots'.

#759 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 01:59 PM:

Bruce, you know I live on a remnant farm 40 in suburbia, right? There are six drive-through coffee places of other than Starbucks brand and an independent coffee roaster before you get to the first Starbucks in any direction.

Which is all of 1.75 miles away.

No wonder Puget Sound is caffeinated.

#760 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Fragano, I guess he's got the need for ones own piece of earth covered, then?

#761 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 02:21 PM:

JESR #760: At a variety of scales.

#762 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Little Buffy Fu-fu,
Slaying through the forest,
Scoopin' up the bampires,
An' stakin' 'em in the heart.

(I am so very sorry...)

#763 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Neil Willcox @ 752... I remember reading an article in Skeptical Inquirer that was about the bad science that one can find even among good poets. Someone later wrote to them that the percentage of good poets who use good science is probably higher than the percentage of good scientists who write good poetry. Or something like that.

#764 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 05:12 PM:

I'm grading the last set of essays before finals (ugh!), and have come across these gems, inter alia:

The media shouldn’t tell our plans and secrets that we are doing in Iraq because the people in Iraq will know what we are going to do.

Most members of Congress are re-elected and are stagnant.

Most accused persons should not have rights because they did commit the crime with no question; if most accused persons did not have rights then I don’t believe the national debt would be as high as it is now.

#765 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 05:41 PM:

"The suspect apprehended at the corner of LaBrea and Rossmore was found guilty on three counts of being apprehended and one count of being a suspect. Apprehended suspects are liable to a term of not more than ten years in the correctional facility at Soledad." --Bob and Ray

#766 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 06:40 PM:

abi, here's someone who does the opposite of you -- she makes purses out of hardbacks.

#767 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Fragano @ 764... Is it that the nearly 7 years of Constitution-trampling have trickled down to your students who were barely teenagers when 9/11 happened and who have known no other behavior out of the govt? Or were they always this ignorant?

#768 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 07:48 PM:

Most accused persons should not have rights because they did commit the crime with no question; if most accused persons did not have rights then I don’t believe the national debt would be as high as it is now.

Does Fox News have talent scouts?

#769 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 08:26 PM:

Fragano @ 764

Please tell me those come from a class of 5th graders. Failing that, tell me that you're tutoring a class of deeply-deprived high-school dropouts. Failing that, that you're failing them.

No, that's a cheap shot. If they haven't gotten any useful information or skill with words yet, I don't suppose you can really fault them for not changing now, just because you're teaching them. But I can't laugh at that sort of ignorance any more; it's just too depressing to think how common it is.

#770 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 08:28 PM:

Kip W #765: "You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime. That's contradictory. If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect." -- Edwin Meese

Apparently, eyewitnesses are never wrong, at least according to one student.

#771 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 08:32 PM:

Serge #767: This is Georgia, a state with one of the worst records in public education in the US. Some of my students know that there are problems with the criminal justice system, others, it seems, do not. Some students don't seem to realise what rights are for.

#772 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 08:34 PM:

Serge @ 763

Someone later wrote to them that the percentage of good poets who use good science is probably higher than the percentage of good scientists who write good poetry.

I really find this hard to believe. I've seen some really bad science written by poets, and some good, to be sure, but I haven't seen much bad poetry written by good scientists.

It could be that it's more likely for a poet to be confident enough to publish science, than for a scientist to publish poetry, so self-censorship has tilted the scale. All that means is that there's a lot of bad poetry that's not being published. I think we knew that going in.

#773 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Rob Rusick #768: They probably do.

#774 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 08:41 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #769: I face a growing number of young people who object to learning, who don't believe that other people should possess liberty (and my African-American students include many who believe that they're not free), and who don't appreciate the liberties they have. I can't force them to think.

#775 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Bruce 772: Remember it's not the percentage of poetry-writing scientists whose poetry is good, but the percentage of good scientists who write good poetry—probably a tiny subset of scientists write any poetry at all.

I would think that only a tiny percentage of poets write science (good or bad), and that most of those who do probably at least try to get it right. Unless you're talking about writing about the grass weeping at dewfall and stuff like that, which isn't bad science but metaphor.

#776 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 10:14 PM:

Fragano @ 774

No, you can't force them to think, and you can't teach them if they won't. And you can't force their parents, or any other adult to want them to think.

This isn't a surprise to me. You mentioned that Georgia has one of the worst education records in the country. Well, Oregon has been trying to move past Georgia (and every other state, with the current exception of Mississippi, IIRC) in that list for some years now, and the evidence is that it's working.

This is exceptionally ironic for me; we moved from California to Oregon in the 1970's to find a better place to educate our children. At that time we did find such a place. Since then, it seems as if most of the country has been in a race to the educational bottom.

Serge @ 767

I'm beginning to believe that the bad education came before the invasion of the neobarbs. If we had an educated electorate, how could the Bushites have possibly convinced the voters they had any idea what they were talking about?

#777 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 10:17 PM:

Fragano, that's the quote (Meese) that usually causes me to bring out my quote (Elliot & Goulding). Kind of refreshing to see the order get switched.

#778 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Xopher @ 775

I have read some poetry by poets with little or no scientific training whose strategy seemed to be to emulate high-tech marketing: take a sentence or phrase that had meaning by itself, and sprinkle "scientific" buzzwords on it until the meaning was at best ambiguous. And poems are supposed to be ambiguous, right?

But to be fair to poets in general, most of these poets could best be described as professional members of the avant-garde rather than actual, you know, writers.

#779 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 10:54 PM:

Kip W @ 777

OK, call me a lowbrow, but all I can think of when Meese is mentioned is that awful cat in the Hun and Barbarian* animations: "I hate those Meeses to pieces!"

* Sorry, Hanna-Barberra. I shouldn't take cheap shots like that, but I really enjoy good animation, and I like a lot of animation intended for kids, but the stuff that H-B did was so cheaply animated that it offended my sense of the Right and Proper Way to Do Things(tm).

#780 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Bruce 779: Yes, I remembered Snagglepuss when Crazy Eddie Meese was active.

Btw, &trade; produces the ™ mark.

#781 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 12:09 AM:

Serge @ 701-If you's like to get a signed copy of the new Lindsey Davis she is doing an event at a local bookstore-if you'd like email me for the details. Said bookstore also carries the British editions so if you ever don't want to wait...
Oh,and don't worry. There's a small press here in tje U.S. who will pick her up if they do really drop her.

#782 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 12:16 AM:

#738 "microgravity"

#783 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 02:54 AM:

Xopher @ 78

Oh, right, *blush*, I knew that. My fingers just forgot. They thank you.

#784 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 03:03 AM:

Paula @ 782

It happens I agree with you, and I'm pretty sure Nasa does too, but I know some physicists* who would argue that "microgravity" is reserved for situations of either low gravitic potential or low tidal gradient (very flat space).

* Robert Forward, may the eternal give him design review of the universe, wrote an article once about "microgravity research" in which he spent some time making that point, since he was talking about flat space.

#785 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 06:00 AM:

So is the policy now to wait for 1000 comments before opening a new open thread? Is that why there hasn't been a new one in almost a month?

Because I was looking around for an appropriate place to ask what our hosts thought of the assertion that geekland is particularly misogynist (the author specifically includes SF fandom in the word "geekland"), given their significant history with the pre-internet incarnation of fandom.

All I found in terms of an appropriate place was commenting in the 780's on an open thread almost a month old.

#786 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 07:10 AM:

excerpted from the link to Caveat Lector in Daniel Martin's #785:
"It’s all over the place—the pr0n jokes, the “I’d hit that” (hit, equating sex to aggression, that, reducing a human being to a thing), the “I bet she’s hot,” the “I bet she’s a fat whore,” the “I did your mom” one-offs. Everything about a woman, any woman, reduces to sex and sexual attractiveness. Even compliments are invariably phrased in terms of sexual attractiveness; geekland doesn’t know how else to compliment a woman."

Wow. I feel like I'm reading a message from an alternate universe.

This is not the SF fandom I know. I've been around fandom for nearly forty years, and the number of times I've ended up listening to "locker-room" talk of that type from another guy has been, jeez, maybe not half a dozen, but certainly less than a dozen. And felt uncomfortable each time.

Have I led a protected life?

#787 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 07:18 AM:

Bruce Cohen @779: I recall seeing a Mike Wallace interview of Hanna and Barbera. I was disappointed it was such a puff-piece. Some talk of the Tom and Jerry animations they did for MGM in the 40's, and then on to how successful the Hanna-Barbera studio was today*. Nothing about their part, over years, in turning Saturday morning cartoons into drek.


* They had actually sold the studio years earlier, but continued to work there. Their big regret: if they had known the studio would grow in value as it did, they never would have sold.

#788 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 07:49 AM:

Bruce, 786: My college roommate was an engineering student. She had some horror stories that made me very glad that I was a word geek. Given that people my age are now old enough to be in charge, Kathy Sierra's experience didn't surprise me. I have put up with some PTSD-inducing harassment, which, while not specifically sexual, wouldn't have happened to a man. Traditional academia is the model for geekdom, I think: smart people with raging insecurities and few social skills.

On the other hand, I've never felt excluded or harassed in fandom--possibly because I choose my online hangouts very carefully, and I go to the sorts of cons where yobbos aren't likely to be, e.g., Armadillocon. I think maybe I've absorbed the "men won't protect you, so you have to be careful" mentality so thoroughly that I just don't go places where harassers are likely to be. And, of course, the fact that math is Really Truly not my thing helps a lot. (Before anyone asks: no, math wasn't socialized out of me. I'm a clone of my dad, who can barely figure a tip.)

#789 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:18 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 776... If we had an educated electorate, how could the Bushites have possibly convinced the voters they had any idea what they were talking about?

Education may make that more difficult, but it's not a guarantee against being bamboozled. I've come across plenty of people who are educated, who didn't see the truth about the Busheviks until said Truth hit them on the head with a sledgehammer.

#790 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Nina Armstrong @ 781... If you's like to get a signed copy of the new Lindsey Davis

Is the Pope a Catholic?

#791 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:29 AM:

(Cont'd from 790) And many thanks, Nina. Check your email box.

#792 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:38 AM:

My boss was born in 1970 and was a math student at UCLA. I remember asking her if she had ever had any problem because of her beign a girl. Au contraire. The male nerds were glad to have girls around. I'd have thought that SF fandom would be similarly happy of not being mostly male.

#793 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 787... And not just Saturday morning animation. Remember the Banana Splits?

#794 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #776: There's always been a current of anti-intellectualism in the US, it seems to be turning into a flood, 'a fear of thought' as Norman Cameron put it (writing about the Spartans).

Every year I find myself confronting a cohort of young people who have no idea how to construct a sentence, no ability to over their own work to catch the most egregious errors (e.g., "Everything is simply expected to simply be brought upon us"), and no desire to engage in thought about anything. The size of that cohort grows each year.

#795 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Kip W #777: The quote from Bob and Ray brought Meese instantly to mind. I have the feeling that these days few people would find such a statement by the attorney general worrying.

#796 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 06:49 PM:

#793: That was Hanna-Barbara's way of countering the threat of Sidd & Marty Krofft's live-action stuff.

I remember, as a kid, finding Saturday Morning's brief fling with live action as disturbing and insipid. The Banana Splits was particularly annoying.

There's a show on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim," Saul of the Mole Men, that is a spoof / tribute / riff on those shows. In a recent episode, the tititular geologist helps a preadolescent mole man (who looks a little like "Sigmund the Seamonster") capture a set of testicles, which in the underground realm are glowing creatures that float around a magic glade. In the last episode, Saul runs into Steel Driving Man John Henry, who has fused with the steam-engine to become a cyborg.

#797 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:24 PM:

Serge @ 792

I think there's been a change in the computer nerd community over time that's made it much less tolerant of women. These are my observations over the last 40 years or so, in the academic, manufacturing, and business sectors; I am not a sociologist (IANS), but I've worked in a lot of different environments over the years.

In the 60's and 70's the community was small, though growing, and most of the men were there because they loved the work or had a vision of what the technology could do. The few women doing the work were mostly accepted because they were there for the same reasons.

Not to say they were accepted by the corporate or university managers. So the discrimination then was primarily structural rather than personal.*

The change since then has been the result of the economic success and growth, resulting in a vast growth of the technical community. Most of the men in that influx were coming for the money, or the social status, provided by the jobs. They don't look at women as colleagues so much as competitors for the jobs, so many of them have taken up the attitude so common in this country when people feel their jobs threated: "It's all their fault, and they're not as good as we are in any way."

At the same time, employment discrimination against women has been reduced, and the paycheck gender gap has narrowed. So discrimination has shifted from structural to personal, and gotten nastier as a result.

* I'm not considering sexual harassment for the purpose of extorting sexual favors here. That's always been around, and I don't think it has much to do with acceptance of the behavior by the community. Perverts we have with us always.

#798 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 794

Yes, the US has always been a largely anti-intellectual society. I think to some extent that this attitude was fostered by the upper classes as a way to keep the lower classes in place: if they hate and fear education, they won't get it, and therefore will always operate at a disadvantage in the economic system.

It's my opinion that the anti-intellectualism was subdued for awhile, and has been coming back for the last 20 years or so. To tie in with my previous post about misogyny, I believe that many of the people that we identify as nerds or geeks today are of a very different sort than we have seen in the past, and one of the differences is that many of them are anti-intellectual.

It's fascinating to see the different attitudes towards education of different ethnic groups in the lower class. After the Civil War, when the punishment for a black person getting an education was no longer death, many blacks saw education as the only chance they had to get out of the bottom of the economic pyramid. Jews from Eastern Europe coming to the US in the early 20th century, having spent their lives as peasants saw the same opportunity.

But many lower class whites, seeing their (supposed) superiority to these immigrants* being eroded took the opposite approach: make ignorance a positive good, and use it as a justification for doing whatever would hold back those they saw as competitors.

As the Cold War expanded, and technological power became a primary weapon in it, intellectuals in general became more tolerated, on the assumption that their thinking was necessary to build bigger and better bombs. With the end of the Cold War the need for intellectuals was removed, and the old attitudes have been allowed to return in full.

* Yes, many blacks have been in this country as long as whites, many since before it was a country. But in a very real sense they migrated to US society after the Civil War from some place outside it.

#799 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Serge@792, as a genteel friend put it about female science fiction fans, especially in the 70s, "the odds are good but the goods are odd." I stared at her a moment, and then said, "Well that's how I met Jim!" (and where the hell did all that time go? We can't be celebrating our 29th anniversary this summer! But we are, because Iguanacon was our honeymoon.)

And as a tangent to the open thread, a mall near where we used to live (Ward Parkway) made it into the New York Times! For a shooting. Yikes. Sounds like it is going to be a complicated story.

#800 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 799... "the odds are good but the goods are odd."

You and Jim together because of fandom? Same for my wife and I. (Or is it 'my wife and me'?)

#801 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Yaay, another couple I know. I think Ms. Teresa and Mr. Patrick also meet that way.

If I hadn't 1)gone to my first year of college that HAD a SF club (we did a fanzine and two Star Trek conventions with a promoter) and 2) not decided to retreat to U. Kan. my second year, we wouldn't have met. It turns out that he kept trying to call me at my KU number while I was in class to ask what was going on, but he showed up at that first meeting because he couldn't get hold of me.

And in the ensuing time, I've seen way too many 'mixed marriages' break up because of impossible expectations. So here we are with our happy choices! Woot!

#802 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Serge 800: Me. The case is controlled by the 'for', and 'my wife and' doesn't insulate it.

#803 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 04:33 AM:

Can I take advantage of the openness of the thread to do a little victory dance? I had a job interview in Amsterdam last week, and I got it!

Great little company. About 20 people, small enough and enough of a community that they all eat lunch together around the table in the kitchen. Information geeks all, and me being a book geek was a substantial advantage in getting the gig.

They do library search software - even had I not got the job, I was going to post a link.

W00t!

OK, you can all go back to being serious.

#804 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 05:44 AM:

Congrats, Abi! Good fortune to you.

#805 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 06:28 AM:

Abi #803: Erch goed!!

#806 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 06:46 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #798:

The truly scary part, as far as I'm concerned, is that this anti-intellectualism depends, to an amazing extent, on the maintenance of an intellectual edge by the US. Without that edge, the US will decline into a second-rate power in a remarkably short time.

This affects black Americans as much (perhaps more than) white Americans, especially with the recent growth in religiosity.* One student of mine told me that she doesn't like going to the library because it gives her ADD. The results of that are, unfortunately, very obvious.


*When you're told that Uzbekistan needs Jesus, after mentioning that its dictator has a penchant for boiling people to death, you tend to wonder at what kind of world young people think they're inhabiting.** The student who said this also said that the rest of the world is 'crazy' and that she would never leave the United States.

** Being told that a poor ghetto kid with a substandard education can simply improve his education by changing schools because 'this is America' raises a similar question. I teach primarily at an HBU.

#807 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 07:39 AM:

Fragano Ledgister, 806: "Without that edge, the US will decline into a second-rate power [...]"

I think your tense is incorrect. (He said, tensely.)

#808 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 08:18 AM:

abi... Congratulations! Shall we now refer to you as Our Woman in Amsterdam?

#809 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 08:23 AM:

Randolph Fritz #807: Things haven't completely deteriorated yet. When you start seeing the Nobel Prizes going overwhelmingly to Chinese and Indian universities, the world will have changed.

#810 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 08:37 AM:

Fragano @ 806... the US will decline into a second-rate power in a remarkably short time.

When I visited my in-laws during Easter, my Republican father and I talked about politics and, when I mentionned the possibility of America becoming a second-rate power, he didn't get angry. He simply got sad. I saddens me too.

#811 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 801... I've seen way too many 'mixed marriages' break up because of impossible expectations

'Mixed' as in a fan of F/SF marrying someone who didn't get that skiffy stuff?

(Thanks for the clarification, Xopher. The me/I subject had come up not long ago in these parts, but I couldn't remember the rules.)

#812 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 08:49 AM:

Serge #810: I hope that there's a backlash. But not thinking is a lot easier than thinking, so I doubt it.

Oh on #811: The Queen says 'My husband and I'....

#813 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 09:16 AM:

abi @ 803

So what's not serious about getting a job? Congratulations!

I followed that link and just drifted around among the books and music for about 10 minutes. Offhand, I'd say you're going to have some fun there.

#814 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 09:16 AM:

#785 Daniel Martin: The comments in the linked article seem to me to be much more typical of comment threads on sites like Fark, or even comment threads on winger (both wings) blogs than of SF fandom.

I also find counting up X and Y chromosomes in Hugo or Nebula finalist lists to be a less than compelling way of proving that "geek culture" is sexist.

Neither comment above is intended to imply that fandom (or geekdom) is free of sexism, just that I mistrust the examples.

#815 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 812

In that instance, the Queen is speaking personally, not ex officio, so the singular is appropriate. Also, it's the mouse's day off.

#816 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Randolph Fritz @ 807, Fragano Ledgister @ 809

In some very important ways the US is already second-rate. We've been talking about one of them, education; I think we all agree that it's a very good indicator of long-term economic and social success for a nation.

Fragano, you mentioned Nobel Prizes. Again, the US has already begun that process by de-emphasizing basic research, and making science subordinate to religious politics. While I don't (and didn't) believe that the Superconducting Supercollider was a good use of money, the fact that its construction was canceled, and very little of the money freed went into any kind of scientific research, let alone into basic physics, is damning. And that was more than ten years ago.

Personally, I think I'm most ssddened by what's happened to the space program (that's right, there isn't one). And the pie in the sky, let's fly to Mars crap that the government is saying is a program will get just as far as the drawing board, because, while everyone will be for it, in principle, no one will want to pay for it.

Not that the humanities are in any better shape. The religious and social agendas of anti-intellectualism are even stronger there.

Oh, hell, I'm sorry I got into this subject; it's just depressing me, and there's damn-all I can do about it. And I'm sure I'm depressing everyone who's reading it, which undoubtedly reduces my audience :-) So I promise to start posting more cheerfully now that I've gotten some of the bile out. Thanks for listening.

#817 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 09:40 AM:

Bruce Cohen #815: Probably the swans' day off too.

#818 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 10:09 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #816: Basic physics research annoys people who've already found all the answers in the Bible.

As a social scientist, I'm deeply alarmed at the evidence that critical and logical thought and expression are not valued by a growing number of people. I'm also alarmed at the unwillingness of young people to read.

#819 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Anti-intellectualism is a general characteristic of Anglo-Saxon culture, although in my experience it seems to be stronger in the US than in England (with Canada somewhere in between). (The marginalization of science is a separate strain in English/American culture as well, cf. Snow's The Two Cultures.)

It can be hard to recognize this when you're living in the middle of it. But all you have to do is wander into a general store in the middle of France to start to get the contrast. There will be a mass-market distribution rack, of the same sort that you might see anywhere. But among the various current novels there will be classics of French literature. Similarly, I remamber being stunned when I went into the bookstore in Rome's train station and found an extensive classics section -- I picked up original-language copies of De Bello Gallico and De Vulgari Eloquentia. This is in the equivalent of an American airport bookstore...

The Czechs have Vaclav Havel. The English at least have Disraeli and Gladstone, a novelist and a competent classicist respectively. Canada managed Pierre Trudeau. The Americans ... um, I'm coming up short here.

#820 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 10:41 AM:

James #819: Thomas Jefferson? He did found the Library of Congress after all.

And for all of Anglo-Saxon culture's purported anti-intellectualism, it has produced a suspicious amount of art, science, and literature. English is certainly the lingua franca of science. And indeed of SF, which has to count for something...

#821 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 10:47 AM:

James #819: The Americans have Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and even Woodrow Wilson. All three presidents were serious scholars and writers.

(And, on the British, you're forgetting the novelist and historian Winston Spencer Churchill.)

#822 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Paula Helm Murray (#799): And as a tangent to the open thread, a mall near where we used to live (Ward Parkway) made it into the New York Times! That tanker-truck-melts-freeway-overpass incident yesterday was placed in Oakland by the Times today, but ABC World News got it right -- as their top story! -- yesterday: it happened in Emeryville, the little town *between* Oakland and Berkeley that was my home for 17 years (though the freeways are several miles west of the populated part).

#823 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 10:56 AM:

Jefferson is fine; although there's also a caveat, I suppose, about taking figures from the Enlightenment, which is one of the periods when it was much more socially acceptable to be a prodigy in power (given the ideals of the philosopher king). Not that Britain produced multi-dimensionally great national leaders during the Enlightenment: Farmer George, Pitt, and Fox are not a stellar collection.

Anglo-Saxon culture has produced, at various times, social strata in which various forms of "intellectual" achievement have been more than acceptable: and, of course, plenty of high achievers (note that for most of the last two to three hundred years, though, technical achievement has not been particularly admired -- it's even a complaint in the high period of Britain's ascendancy in the Nineteenth Century, compared with, say, Germany; it's literary and humanities-related skills which have been more highly prized). But it's still true that "intellectual" has an insulting edge in much popular usage that the French or German equivalents don't.

#824 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 02:22 PM:

#821 Fragano: (And, on the British, you're forgetting the novelist and historian Winston Spencer Churchill.)

The American novelist and the half-American/half-British historian/politician were not the same person, unlike the case of Benjamin Disraeli.

#825 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 02:54 PM:

DaveL #824: I am aware that the American novelist Winston Churchill is not the same person as Sir Winston Churchill. The latter, however, wrote a novel entitled Savrola: A Tale of the Revolution in Laurania. It is for this reason that I referred to him as a 'novelist and historian'.

#826 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 03:34 PM:

/boggle! I had never heard of that book. Surely all knowledge is contained in ML.

#827 ::: Kate Gladstone ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 04:30 PM:

You've posted one good stanza — let us see the rest of that!
Recount in full this epic of the Spartans' turn at bat!

#828 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 05:48 PM:

My first reaction to this was, "Wow, Cory must be really upset!" I've never seen a Cory Doctorow post - or indeed any Boing-Boing post - with a spelling or grammar error before.

#829 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 05:55 PM:

DaveL #826: What is more Savrola is in print.

#830 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Don't forget Herbert and Lou Hoover translating De Re Metallica, either. It had resisted translation for quite some time before they brought both the mining knowledge and the language knowledge together to it.

#831 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 08:15 PM:

Serge, #800, two of the couples at our book group met in fandom.

Yaaaay, abi!

#832 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 08:20 PM:

abi #803, that's a very nice website. How exciting! Congratulations on the job.

#833 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 09:06 PM:

Congratulations, abi! How cool!

#834 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 09:46 PM:

Congratulations, abi!!!

#835 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 02:02 AM:

By the way, before anybody here gets suckered into falling for the 4/29 Truth thing, please be advised that it's a hoax.

#836 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 03:22 AM:

Marilee @ 831... two of the couples at our book group met in fandom

And I bet there was no internet in those days, eh? I look back at when I'd write a long snail-mail letter to my girlfriend until late in the evening, would mail it the fastest affordable way, would get her response less than two weeks later and would write back and... and... and this is starting to sound like Our Parents telling us about walking to school for miles in the snow uphill both ways, doesn't it? Even though that was in 1984.

#837 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 06:16 AM:

#764:Most members of Congress are re-elected and are stagnant.

Sounds about right to me. Etymologically, "stagnant" comes from "stagnum", meaning a pool of standing water, which (I assume) is related to "sto, stare", meaning to stand or remain.

I would like to see more reporting along the lines of "Harold Brown, Democratic challenger for the fifth district, pulled ahead of stagnant Republican Alan Bristol in polls today".


abi: good work. Amsterdam is a fine city to live in. (Though personally I prefer Edinburgh; breathes there a man with soul so dead, etc.)

#838 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 06:19 AM:

Congratulations abi! Although I feel honour-bound to state that Utrecht is a far nicer place to live than the wretched hive of scum and villany that is Ajax-land...

#839 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 03:33 PM:

abi - Huzzah! Congratulations, that looks like a nifty gig to be involved with. I also hope you find the physical environment to be more amenable to your daylight needs.

#840 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 03:38 PM:

From Craft's blog, for you knitters (I work with fabric):

Knitted snake eats knitted mouse

#841 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Tania @ 840... Sick, sick, sick...

#842 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 05:48 PM:

Serge #841:

Do snakes really get indigestion?

#843 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 05:54 PM:

joann @ 842... No idea. Probably not. Maybe someone should ask an herpetologist, maybe Jeff Corwin, who appears to be back at the Animal Planet channel.

#844 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:32 PM:

#842, they do regurgitate part of their meal, the bony and furry indigestible bits, or at least some snakes do. Others just pass it through as a pellet.

A comment appropos of nothing on this thread, do I need to supply a big fat Pinata bat for some other threads? Jeeeze oh pete...some people just don't quit.

#845 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Yay Abi!

#846 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:39 PM:

Woodyatt: I thought it was self-evidently satire; I am not surprised to see it prove yet again that "sarcasm doesn't play on the Internet".

#847 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 12:26 AM:

Abi-

Wonderful!

#848 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 01:47 AM:

Now this is just bizarre. Multinational corporations are going Satanist? What were they thinking?

#849 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 09:12 AM:

joann @842: Do snakes really get indigestion?

Apparently yes.

#850 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 09:57 AM:

The Google word for the day is termagant: a scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman. Seeing that word, for the first time I asked myself: "Is the masculine form 'termegent'?"

#851 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Bruce @ #850:
The Lexicons cheat - you can get a different word of the day by refreshing the page - but today they offer up:

Mot: m. A Motto, a word; a speech; also, the note winded by a huntsman on his horne; also, a quip, cut, nip, frumpe, scoffe, ieast.

(Cotgrave, 1611)

#852 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Okay, this is much better:

Cataracte. They call it a cataract, when a slymy humour, growen togyther lyke yse, betwene the skynnes of the eyes, cornea and coniuntiua, commeth aboute the apple of the eye. In latyne, it is called suffusio, in greke hypochyma.

(Joannes de Vigo, Works of Chirurgery, 1543)

#853 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Susan @ 852... Does Joannes de Vigo have anything to say about dental care?

#854 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 1... 146 comments left to go.

#855 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 11:16 AM:

The LA Times food section on a new book, probably of interest to someone around here:

Moonshine for sophisticates
Matthew B. Rowley's new book tells what to do when your fruit basket overflows: make grappa, peach brandy, bourbon and rye.

Distilling for amateurs (permits are required, unfortunately).

#856 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:37 PM:

The "unstable woman" Particle reminds me of my favorite-ever personal ad, which read, in its entirety:

NIHILIST SEEKS WOMAN

#857 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 07:33 PM:

In Utah, the true nature of illegal immigration has been identified.

#858 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 03:42 AM:

Ooh, XKCD has a lovely new Map of Online Communities

Note the Bay of Trolls and other scenic features. (And Usenet is something like the Bermuda Triangle. Yeah, that fits.)

#859 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Fragaano Ledgister @ 857

Greene said she was disappointed in BYU professors who protested Dick Cheney's visit to campus, calling them "self-appointed intellectuals."

As a member of the Standing Committee on Appointment of Intellectuals, I have to agree. What is the country coming to, when just anyone can decide to be an intellectual, without any screening, board review, or oath of office?

#860 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers #859: You're absolutely right. We need to elect our intellectuals -- let the common folk decide, rather than go through all that arcana of comprehensive examinations, tenure, publication, conference attendance, actual research and so on.

#861 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Right thread now, yay!

If Teresa is still reading this, or anyone who's made her high-octane limeade, I have a couple questions. Are there approximate quantities for anything, or a lime-to-sugar-to-alcohol ratio I should plan for? I don't want to have a ton of limes lying around because I ran out of alcohol, or a series of too-small-for-anything-else bottles when I could have bought a larger size.

#862 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 02:31 PM:

New Yorkers: anyone with a taste for new musical theater and/or Ursula LeGuin stories (in this case "The Masters," from The Wind's Twelve Quarters) should strongly consider seeing the condensed, semistaged performance of "The Hidden Sky" on May 14 at Joe's Pub. It's fabulous, and I'm not just saying this because I am friends with various folks involved with the project. The rest of this plug is over at my blog, rather than blathering on here; but c'mon! Scientifictional musical theatre in which revelation on the nature of God is accompanied by a chorus singing the Fibonacci sequence! How can you say no?

#863 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Andrew Willett #862:

Aha! So the Fibonacci sequence *is* copyrighted, then? (see DMCA thread)

#864 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Joann @ 863: That's right, but Teresa only gets sued if she's actually singing it to the composer's melody. (I saw that in the thread, but worried about crossing the line separating 'enthusiast' from 'spammer.')

#865 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 04:30 PM:

I sincerely hope that there will be raspberries in September on the everbearing plants we've been building raised beds for all week.

And remind me never, ever, again to order plants in March on the basis that my sister agreed in January to plant them in her (much more appropriate) garden.

#866 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Does anyone here have an idea how many readers Strange Horizons has? Or how I can find out? I'm trying to choose a venue for my next story rejection, and am curious to know how SH compares in "circulation" to Analog/Asimov's/F&SF.

Advice & opinions about the above mags are welcome also.

#867 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Mary Dell @ 866... Have you taken a look at the magazine Realms of Fantasy?

#868 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Serge @ #867

I've looked at it, but not into it - it always seems to have a dragon on the cover.

I mainly go for the stuff with a rocketship on the cover, or an elf in converse sneakers.

#869 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Mary Dell... It's got to be sneakers?

#870 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Doc Martens are okay too. You know, stuff the faery kids wear when they hang out by the Punkin Donuts asking you for spare change.

#871 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 10:55 AM:

"...Lyv Tyler will join the cast of the highly-anticipated, new big screen adaptation of The Incredible Hulk. Tyler has signed on to play Betty Ross, the longtime love interest of Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Hulk..."

Be still, my heart.

#872 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Mary Dell @ 870:You know, stuff the faery kids wear when they hang out by the Punkin Donuts asking you for spare change.

I guess that faer cops don't hang out at donut shops - they'd never allow panhandling. They must all be at Starbucks.

#873 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Sweet leaping Baby Jesus:

Faked Eggs: The World's Most Unbelievable Invention

We're not talking about the egg-loaf product used in McDonald's breakfast sandwiches. We're talking phony eggs with shells.

"This article is the first in a series of case reports addressing the problems of some selected artificially made food products in Mainland China (These food products are sold to consumers in Mainland China, Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other countries). Drawing on reliable data extracted from Chinese newspapers, magazines and the Internet, this study takes a closer look at the problem of faked eggs in Mainland China. It seeks to inform the scientific and medical communities regarding the problems of consuming these products as well as the short- and long-term epidemic consequences."

#874 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Serge @ #871: I don't think Liv Tyler is a bad choice, but I always think of Betty as she was protrayed during PAD's run on Hulk during the early 90's.

#875 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Tania @ 874... You mean 'PAD' as in Peter David the writer?

#876 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Serge @ #875: Yup. Sorry for being obscure, it's not on purpose. I guess it's like refering to Heinlein as RAH? I do that, too.

I also have a bad habit of referring to cities by the code of their primary airport. Oh. I interrupt too much, and I hold other people to grammar standards that I don't apply to myself. I'm going to stop before I begin to confess all my other bad/annoying habits.

#877 ::: Dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Matt Boyd, writer for the now defunct "Mac Hall" and "3 Panel Soul" (his new project with Ian), was fired from his job after the Virginia Tech tragedy for talkingly glibly about guns. He wrote a comic about it, and was investigated for "borderline terroristic activity".

#878 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Tania @ 876... No harm done. ("Ow! Ow!") I was familiar with most of Peter David's first run on The Hulk, so I was pretty sure what you meant with the 'PAD' acronym. Anyway. I haven't seen Liv Tyler in many things, but I think she could pull off playing someone who's been dominated by a nasty father. That, plus Edward Norton as Bruce Banner should make for something more interesting than Ang Lee's self-important movie. And no mutant poodles.

#879 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 04:21 PM:

New Pentagon Poll.

depressing.

#880 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Greg London @ 879

NPR's Morning Edition had a story yesterday that implied a serious lack of ethical concern on the part of West Point cadets. One problem is that there is no required course in ethics for cadets. So much for History and Moral Philosophy.

#881 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Typography question: in fonts where all rounded letters are/contain circles or segments thereof, shouldn't a c and an o have the same diameter? I had occasion to use my company's logo in a document recently, and not only is the o noticeably bigger than the c, but the four letters in the name don't have a common baseline - the o is so far below the rest that the bottom is chopped off a little.

I'm tempted to go twit the advertising department for their lack of attention to detail, but I want to make sure I twit them correctly first.

#882 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 06:52 PM:

Someone please tell me I didn't see them fling a buck (male deer, not a dollar bill or coin) out of the siege engine* in that "Catapult" particle. Is that supposed to be a blood sacrifice to get the gods to rain down beer? I'm really icked out.

* And isn't that a trebuchet?

#883 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 07:16 PM:

I was more worried about the pair of attractive women than the deer. The deer's the beer mascot (just Googled for a picture of the label) so that makes sense. Beer ingredients likewise. But two attractive young women?

#884 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 07:17 PM:

Bruce 882: it's absolutely a trebuchet. The buck appears to be a volunteer (coming up in the elevator, being perfectly calm); I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.

I have to say, I was more icked out by the two young women being flung into the sky in the same way. They did not appear to be volunteers, in fact it looked to me like they were screaming and struggling.

But then I only watched it once. I'm not going to go back and check.

#885 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 07:47 PM:

shadowsong, logos are different from fonts. They frequently have odd shapes and arrangements.

#886 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 07:49 PM:

I wasn't sure that they'd flung the women; I wasn't paying close attention until the deer showed up. And I didn't want to go back and find out at that point.

So is this what keggers are supposed to be like now?

#887 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 07:56 PM:

shadowsong @881: I've worked with type, even in the mode of 'hacking together a logo starting from type', but wouldn't consider myself a typographer. That said, there are a lot of nuances*. I would expect that in some fonts the 'c' and 'o' might have the same diameter, but I'd expect that to be an exception: the open arc of the 'c' creates negative space that needs to be balanced off appropriately.

Shapes like 'c' and 'o' do commonly descend a little below the baseline, but I would expect them to descend by a similar degree. But I'm sure exceptions could be made too.

If the results look sloppy and ugly, that may be enough reason to complain.


* My favorite story along these lines is that Donald Knuth designed both typesetting and font design software for his publications. I believe he said something to the effect that if he had known that the font design software was going to take seven years to create, rather than his first esimate of one year, he would not have started. Having finally completed the font designing software, he designed his first font and published his next volume (in the still continuing collection of The Art of Computer Programming). Seeing the final result as the printed book in his hand, he was appalled by the result. He was able to enlist the help of noted type designer Hermann Zapf for a new set of font designs (Zapf happy to play with the new font design system, we hope).

#888 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 08:14 PM:

#882ff, Bruce, et al: The stag has been the symbol used by Toohey's since they started. According to their online history this was in tribute to the Toohey brothers' favourite pub, the Bald-Faced Stag. You can see a succession of different label designs in the history section too.

I saw that ad at the movies, and was disturbed by it. From memory, the girls seemed more to be laughing and shrieking, rather like roller-coaster behaviour. The stag imagery reminded me of Hart's Hope. Despite using volunteers, and the various objects not falling back once they reached the clouds, there were all sorts of unpleasant thoughts & feellngs it inspired.

It was a beautiful hart, tho', and also brought to mind Landseer's (in)famous 'Monarch of the Glen' – that link also deals with assorted Horned God stories & symbols. This probably goes back to the reason for the hotel name. Like so many other things, both pub names and the animals themselve were brought over to Australia from Europe. (Speaking of ick, my search for that image turned up this, on here, along with unpleasant 'Stag at Bay' pictures of dead deer. )

#889 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 08:30 PM:

Mez @ 888

Double ick.

The ad reminded me unpleasantly of descriptions I've read of sacrifices to various Norse and Teutonic gods. That racoon reminded me very unpleasantly of a white supremacist I once met who claimed to have "gone hunting" in Watts during the riots in the '60s.

#890 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Inadvertent Tests of Clichés report:

Rubbing salt on a wound is still painful.

The pain is not mitigated by irony, the wound having been made while emptying out many ten-pounds of salt from a broken water softener. I was wearing gloves, but salt can be sharp.

That is all.

#891 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 09:06 PM:

Bruce 889: Is there any way to be reminded PLEASANTLY of a white supremacist?

(No, not a serious question.)

#892 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 09:49 PM:

Xopher @ 891

Depends on how loudly he screams.

#893 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 09:49 PM:

I'm not sure if this story is good news for chocophiles or bad. Actually, some of the work they're doing sounds like it could be quite useful in general, more spin-offs.

Super chocolate being developed for army "Scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) at Scottsdale in Tasmania are working on a new ... vitamin-packed dark chocolate that won't melt in the heat of battle and will last for years"
I also note that the Cadbury chocolate factory 'betweeen the mountains and the sea' has for long been a tourist attraction in Tasmania.

#894 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 10:15 PM:

Xopher #891: If you happen to be there when s/he gets his/her comeuppance.

#895 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 10:39 PM:

I see. "Ah, this boiling oil puts me in mind of a white supremacist I once fried al- that is, I once knew. Ahh, those were the days."

#896 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Teresa: Just saw your comment on Language Hat, following your particle.

As it happens, I never read Anything Can Happen, but if you enjoyed Anything Can Happen, you must hunt up Papashvily's book of Georgian folk tales, Yes and No Tales. My mother had it as a child, I was brought up on it, and I have raised both my kids on it. I had to find a second copy because my daughter absconded with my first one to college; fortunately they're not too expensive even though there was only one printing.

They are fantastic, wild tales, some bloody and some hysterically funny, often with pithy morals. "Up a hill you push a cart, downhill it rolls. In this world there is some justice - but not enough."

#897 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 09:48 AM:

A little quiz about how much doubt you have.

This is from the website of a marvelous radio program called Speaking of Faith. The extended interview with Jimmy Carter is also very cool.

#898 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Over a month since the last open thread? Hard to believe. Anyway, in celebration of May Day:

I feel, nay....I believe I have the largest penis in Arkansas.

#899 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 09:37 PM:

#785: Sorry to take so long answering. I got behind on the open threads.

From the piece you link to, discussing "geekland," in which the author explicitly includes SF fandom:

It's all over the place--the pr0n jokes, the "I'd hit that" (hit, equating sex to aggression, that, reducing a human being to a thing), the "I bet she's hot," the "I bet she's a fat whore," the "I did your mom" one-offs. Everything about a woman, any woman, reduces to sex and sexual attractiveness. Even compliments are invariably phrased in terms of sexual attractiveness; geekland doesn't know how else to compliment a woman.
I dunno. SF fandom is more socially diverse than it was when I was attending cons in my teens and twenties. I'm pretty sure you can find clusters of fannish guys acting like this.

But in the overwhelming majority of my personal experience, most fannish guys would be embarrassed to make with that kind of locker-room stuff. Not because fannish guys are feminist paragons, and certain not because SF fandom is free of sexism and misogyny (hardly), but because those are behaviors associated with the people most fannish guys got into fandom to get away from.

However, you know, YMMV. It's a big world.

#900 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 09:49 PM:

(861) Hi, Diatryma! I've been making a multi-citrus batch of that myself today.

My wholly inadequate answers:

1. Until it tastes good.

2. How drunk you want them to get?

3. Tequila, champagne, and selzer also work as mixers if you run out of everclear or vodka. For all I know, gin and white rum also work. Cachaca's better in caipirinhas.

4. Dilute! Dilute!

5. If you have more lime concentrate than you need, it keeps well in a lidded container in the freezer. It keeps best in the freezer if it hasn't yet had alcohol added to it, though I can't say either frozen state has ever gone bad on me.

6. Excess limes can be frozen whole or cut in half (if Key limes), or quartered and frozen (if Persian limes), bundled into clear plastic bags, and used as ice cubes in future citrus-flavored drinks.

Xopher (884), I've seen various commentaries on the ad, and most of the native Australians unhesitatingly identify the young ladies as a pair of barmaids. Since it's a fairy tale of sorts, the stag must be assumed to have privileged knowledge (animals always do); and if he thinks it's okay to get flung into the magic cloud, I expect it's okay for the barmaids, too.

IMO, the problem is that they're shown tumbling like a pair of dummies. If they'd done some kind of controlled upward swan dive thing, comparable to the stag's tray-table-locked-upright style of flight, we wouldn't have worried that they might somehow be victims.

#901 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 09:52 PM:

Clifton, I've been looking for it. They wrote other books as well. Everything of theirs I've gotten my hands on has been wonderful.

#902 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 09:56 PM:

Teresa 900: Yeah, it was the rag-doll tumbling that I found disturbing.

#903 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 09:59 PM:

comparable to the stag's tray-table-locked-upright style of flight

He flew like a reindeer.

The women spun like tumbleweeds.

I had the same reaction as Xopher. I was watching it with the sound turned off, which inadvertantly removed one of the easier channels used to convey the goodness/badness of a scene. And wasn't sure what the hell I was watching. I briefly imagined that flying saucers or some attacker was going to emerge through the clouds. or godzilla was rampaging the city and they were trying to appease him. or something.

Then the women got shot into the clouds and I was thinking virgin sacrifice, take these two women and leave our city alone, foul beast!

The stag, calmly exiting the elevator/doors/cant remember, I thought, might have been another sacrifice, but as soon as it did the reindeer flight pattern, I figured I had something upside down.

When it started raining beer, I figured the stag was fine (as if that makes any sense), but I was wondering if the girls were going to fall out of the sky and land in someone's swimming pool now filled with beer....

I guess that cloud has some wild, crazy, and apparently long-lasting updrafts...

#904 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Thank you, Teresa; some of my confusion was just unfamiliarity with the sugar-extraction thing. Next time, I'll know to leave the lime bits until the sugar is actually liquid instead of only goopy.
I am so very glad that I'm not the only or even the primary person bringing alcohol to this party.

#905 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 10:11 PM:

adamsj at 898, thank you so very much. I heart Jake da Snake. Woot! The other comments are pretty good, too.

#906 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Clifton, #896, I was surprised at the lack of Georgian-speaking people in that particle. I used to have a neighbor who was a sat tech for State and he came back from Georgia with a bride. We had lots of people coming by who spoke it.

#907 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2007, 01:48 AM:

Teresa @ 901: Does $6.00 (ex-library copy) sound like too much? If not, maybe I can tempt you via ABEBooks

#909 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Xopher@897: I had a look at the quiz, and answered every question "no" without hesitation. (Well, I did hesitate over one: the one about survival after death. I wanted to quibble with the definition of "survive". I finally answered "no" to the question I thought they were probably asking.) It told me I was a hardcore atheist, of the type Rational Materialist. I thought, "Tell me something I don't know."

#910 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2007, 11:23 PM:

897: Xopher, I have issue with that little quiz.

If you answer "NO" to everything, it calls you a materialist. If you answer no to everything except for 12, which asks "Do you believe that the world is not completely knowable by science?", it says I'm an atheist but I have a "Pious" relationship to the universe.

I wouldn't describe the idea that human knowledge has severe limitations as "pious".

#911 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Marilee, that likely shows the difference between how easy world travel is now (even after border restrictions) and how easy it was in the 1920s.

#912 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:12 PM:

Any experts on working with leather here? I have an (urgent) question about water damage and leather.

Imagine you dropped a leather coat into the pool- what would you do?
To be more specific:
Chlorinated water dampened snakeskin leather: how should I dry it / protect it?

My late aunt had a 14-foot python snakeskin that she'd stored badly: it had mildew stains. When I asked about how to clean it, Abi advised me to freeze then sun it- repeating 3 times- as a way to help with the mildew.

Today- just now- it fell into the pool. (I had put weights on it, but then came cats and wind.). I've patted it damp, but am at a loss as to what to do next. Neutralize the chlorine? Keep it flat? Roll it tight?

#913 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2007, 02:49 AM:

"Imagine you dropped a leather coat into the pool- what would you do? "

other than make sure Keanu Reeves was in it? no idea.

#914 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2009, 12:00 AM:

Spam from 203.82.48.185

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