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June 22, 2007

Open thread 86
Posted by Patrick at 12:00 AM *

Since Teresa is off to Foo Camp, I’ll maintain her virtual presence hereabouts by quoting her recent observation that “you can respond appropriately to absolutely anything a hamster does by choosing the right inflection of the word ‘dude.’”

Comments on Open thread 86:
#1 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:24 AM:

Of course, there are many who would argue that that sentence would still be true if you remove the words "a hamster does".

#2 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:24 AM:

I don't know what to say.

Fighting Foo?

#3 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:26 AM:

Or a small child. Or a teenager. Or a dog. (I must admit I immediately heard Teresa's voice intoning "Dude" in several different ways, and pictured several different hamster reactions).

#4 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:27 AM:

Or a small child. Or a teenager. Or a dog. (I must admit I immediately heard Teresa's voice intoning "Dude" in several different ways, and pictured several different hamster reactions).

#5 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:34 AM:

Teresa's at Foo? That means she's only about 10-20 miles or so away from me!

If she feels a need to briefly escape the Web 2.0 vortex of coolness, we'd be happy to swing by and and pick her up--just let me know.

#6 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:34 AM:

And the non-commutative reciprocal corollary: a hamster absolutely cannot respond appropriately to anything you do by choosing the right inflection of the word ‘dude.’

#7 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:45 AM:

Ooooh. Foo camp.

{{jealous}}

That is all.

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:56 AM:

"Stashed away in the rolling hills north of San Francisco, the town of Sebastopol, California, used to be remarkable for two things..."

Sabastapol is also the setting of "Peanuts."

#10 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:00 AM:

I /love/ the word "dude." You can have satisfying conversations consisting of no other words. I have a set of friends where a common pattern on meeting is, "Dude!" "Dude!" "Duude." ::nodding:: "Dude."

I remember some comedy routine from the 90s on the subject of Dude, the Universal Word, and how it could encompass every situation. One of the latter situations offered was, "Are you hiding in the closet with a knife?" = <small>"Dude?"</small>

#11 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:30 AM:

I am reminded of Stan Freberg's classic record, "John and Marsha."

#13 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Wait a minute: she's in Sebastopol? My sister-in-law and family live there. Teresa's on this end of the continent? If she gets tired of being all cool and stuff, she could call...

#14 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:38 AM:

And, for Open Thread 86, it seems appropriate to offer this to anyone for whom it's appropriate: Sorry about that, Chief. :-)

#16 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:46 AM:

"And, for Open Thread 86, it seems appropriate to offer this to anyone for whom it's appropriate: Sorry about that, Chief. :-)"

Or, ignore the thread entirely (see alternative usage as verb).

#17 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:49 AM:

Shameless self-promotion -- but not spam, I hope, since I believe it will be of genuine interest to a number of the people here.

Guild of Radical Militant Librarians T-shirt.

My partner prints these. It's our newest design, debuting this weekend at ApolloCon.

#18 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:55 AM:

I went to Foo camp once. My memory says that it was quite good*.

Since then I've only been able to go to bar camps. I know O'Reilly is big on the fresh blood thing, but there's always that ache of "could I have been more interesting? Why am I at the beta-geek basement party instead of the alpha-geek prom? ::Want to be inside::"**

-----
* I'd just gone through a stressful event before camp, so I was distracted.

** because we are social primates, and thus have millions-year-old deep structure devoted to groking our place in any local hierarchy. Even if we hate hierarchies.

#19 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:58 AM:

Anyone remember the VW commercial that was on TV a few years ago? A bunch of twenty-somethings in a VW, all of them holding large lattes. As the driver guns it to go over some railroad tracks the passengers warn him that the coffee cups are full and will spill, he replies that nothing wil happen, they go over the tracks, and when no coffee is spilled the passengers congratulate him. All the dialog consists of "Dude" with appropriate inflection.

#20 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 02:11 AM:

A few seconds after I posted that last comment I started to wonder if the significance of the ad is that there is a close analogy between the young, urban, and hip, and hamsters. Come to think of it, weren't they all sitting up with their hands stuck out in front of ... oh, wait, that's prairie dogs.

#21 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 02:42 AM:

Wait a minute: she's in Sebastopol? My sister-in-law and family live there. Teresa's on this end of the continent? If she gets tired of being all cool and stuff, she could call...

#22 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:04 AM:

Will she be leading a session on Moderation-Foo?

#23 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:35 AM:

Hey, who here is going to be at Westercon?*

If there's going to be several Fluorospherians, then we should have a party!** Or afternoon tea! Although I'm going to be attending lots of afternoon panels.

On an entirely diffident note, I'm still all-ears about my request for tips on moderating panels. Thanks, Bill H., for the Minicon guide.

----------
* Next weekend, June 30-July 3. San Mateo Marriott [halfway between San Fran and San Jose]. Looks like it'll have a nice ratio of writers and guests- all the better for conversations.

** I'm tempted to throw another bid party (after Worldcon, anything else seems easy, no?), but haven't completely decided. If not, I might try sub-co-hosting at another party.

#24 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:02 AM:

Stefan Jones@9: Sebastopol gets snow every year? Please forgive me if I find myself skeptical.

(There's actually an earlyish strip where Lucy displays her first fussbudgeting trophy...and it's labelled "Hennepin County".)

#25 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:12 AM:

"Dude" is a semantic wildcard -- just like "fuck". For example, the phrase "the fucking fucker's fucking fucked" uses the same word as adjective, noun, verb, and (I think) pronoun. (My English grammar tends to break down when confronted with regular expressions.)

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:33 AM:

I knew it. Teresa, one of the leaders of the Foo-orosphere, is a Bene Gesserit, and her Voice works even on rodents. Coming soon from Tor, Hamsters of Dude...

#27 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:10 AM:

David @24,

I recently discovered that Teresa spans the multiverse*. Yes, she's in a Sebastopol that gets snow every year. She can choose to watch the giant ground sloths wander along the eastern moat (it helps keep out the dire wolves, which'd otherwise be a nuisance for the outside foocampers). She's also in Sevastopol, where Fort Rossiya was never sold.

-------
* she'd complemented my comments in a thread where I hadn't yet posted what I'd written (I wasn't going to post those until I'd finished a project). Obviously at least one me did finish.

#28 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:16 AM:

There's a similar claim that Yorkshiremen can keep their side of a conversation going with a well timed and inflected "aye".

I'm sure other regions-people around the world will claim something along the same lines.

#30 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:11 AM:

Today, I found what does happen when one drinks a cup of coffee brewed by Agatha Heterodyne.

#32 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:24 AM:

::little voice:: Help?

I'm a novice knitter who, through a stroke of better luck than I deserve, has come into a small stash of homespun alpaca yarn. I adore it. It is wonderful enough that I am driven to overcome my terror of sweaters and knit one, but I have no idea how to translate a pattern for worsted wool to something that can be used with chunky yarn. To screw up with this yarn would be tragic. I therefore throw myself on the mercy of the fine folk here and beg for advice based on experience (even--especially--if that advice is, "Um...better hold that yarn for something else").

Thanks in advance.

#33 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:31 AM:

Wait, Teresa's in Sebastopol?
Would she be willing to support me in an attack on Rumania?

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:35 AM:

Aconite @ 32... I am driven to overcome my terror of sweaters

Is that terror related to night sweats? Or would that be knit sweats?

#35 ::: iain ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Charlie,

Actually uttered by an Edinburgh landlord: 'Fuck me you fucking fuckers! You've fucking fucked the fucking place!'
It had been a good party...

#36 ::: Michael L ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Serge,
I stumbled across Girl Genius and the Foglio kingdom a few months ago and now my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are "sparked" with wonder.

#37 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:58 AM:

Aconite: I would suggest holding the yarn for something else. Not because there aren't good patterns for sweaters, and not because you can't work out (or find) a pattern for bulky-weight yarn, but rather because alpaca is very heavy, and an alpaca sweater knit out of bulky yarn would probably be warm enough to wear outside as a top layer in a Maine winter. Alpaca sweaters are beautiful, but IME unless you've got a metabolism that keeps you on the cool side they aren't the sort of sweaters you can wear inside; they're the sort of sweaters you wear to go cross-country skiing, or keep in the back of your car so you can stay warm while you walk to the nearest gas station if you break down in January.

I'm not sure what else to suggest without seeing the yarn, though. The obvious answer would be a hat-and-scarf set, but I know that's not the sort of thing I look for when I've got fabulous yarn. Maybe some sort of open, lacy wrap or shawl? That might let you show off the yarn while still keeping the finished product cool enough to wear inside. Maybe something along the lines of Cozy -- a bulky shawl/wrap for practical wear.

#38 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:01 AM:

Oh, and also... no matter what you make, you're going to want to make sure you swatch properly. Homespun can be unpredictable, and coming to the end of a large project to find it changing size in the wash is a horrible feeling. (Swatch? Swatch. Swatch.)

#39 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Paul@28: Oh aah.

That's the Cotswold Dialect version. Somewhere I have a demonstration record showing how to hold a conversation with just the one word. Like 'How to speak hip' only for Cold Aston, rather than San Francisco.

#41 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:23 AM:

For a first sweater, I'd suggest getting a cheaper but equivalent-weight wool/wool blend yarn and trying out the whole pattern. Then you can redo the pattern in the alpaca. But, as said above, it's going to be WARM, but then we all need attractive sweaters for cross-country skiing and curling, don't we?

I was at the Milwaukee Zoo a couple of weeks ago, and one of the volunteers gave me a big handful of Bactrian camel hair from where they were grooming off one's winter coat. (It came off in big sheets, and the camel looked blissful, closing its eyes like a cat so that you could see the long long lashes!) It's wonderfully soft and, of course, camel colored naturally. I'm thinking that I'll have to think up some sort of felting project to use it up....

#42 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:31 AM:

In re: semantic wildcards.

Anyone remember the Doonesbury strip in which re-activated Viet-nam era reservists are on a bus heading for Iraq (1)? One guy complains that he doesn't even know how to use the "f-word" anymore; his buddy counsels that it works just like a comma.

#43 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Hmmm?

#44 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:43 AM:

I have a big cone thing of alpaca (I hope) from Peru-- not handspun, though I have a bit of that, but really difficult three-ply fine yarn. I meant to make it into a scarf for my mother, but between my natural crocheting inclination (make it tighter!) and the yarn, I couldn't work with it. I cannot figure out a sweater thing, but I will piggyback on your request for help!
Do I have to learn to knit to use the yarn? Are there tricks to crocheting with it?

#45 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:01 AM:

#23: I'll be at Westercon. The only definite plan I have is to be at the Stardust County CD release party Saturday; other than that, well, I commit filk and plan to commit tourism.

#46 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:01 AM:

#23: I'll be at Westercon. The only definite plan I have is to be at the Stardust County CD release party Saturday; other than that, well, I commit filk and plan to commit tourism.

#47 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:03 AM:

It's always so nice to see virtue rewarded.

#48 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Oops. Only one of me will be at Westercon; the other will be at the Emergency Backup Facility. We draw straws to decide which of me goes where at what time.

#49 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Man, I wish I were going to FooCamp this year. I hope she enjoys it. :)

#50 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:31 AM:

Teresa's at Foo Camp? Too cool!!

#51 ::: jse ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Dude.

#52 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Diatryma-

You could always double-strand your lightweight yarn to get something easier to work with. (You figure out the estimated weight of that yarn created by doubling the lightweight stuff by multiplying your original stitches per inch by two, and then dividing by three. So if you were getting 8 sts/inch with the yarn single stranded, you'll get about 5 1/3 per inch with it double stranded...which with a little fiddling will get you to a nice worsted weight yarn.) Or use larger needles than are called for by the lace pattern, which will force you to knit more loosely.

Aconite--

I'd also lean towards lace with the chunky alpaca you've got. It's a slow friday in the office. Give me a yardage estimate on what you've got on hand and I'll try to dig up some patterns for you....

And do NOT fear lace knitting. It looks hard, but knits easy.

#53 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Patrick Connors #48: You're a paratwa?

#54 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:52 AM:
Wait, Teresa's in Sebastopol? Would she be willing to support me in an attack on Rumania?
Hey! You said if I let you have Bulgaria you'd attack Italy! Last time I play bloody Austria-Hungary...
#55 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:01 AM:

It strikes me that speakers of two different single-phoneme tonal languages are likely to have access to a mutually-intelligible trade pidgin suitable for a wide variety of purposes.

Consider:

"Is this enough money to purchase this item?"
"Yes, thank you very much. Sold!"

could be rendered as:

"Dude?"
"Aye!"

or

"Please pardon my clumsiness. I hope I didn't get anything on your shoes."
"No harm done. Think nothing of it."

as

"Dude..."
"Aye."

And so on. What elegant conciseness!

#57 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:04 AM:

I am compelled to tell the old joke about two bubbes meeting on a park bench.

"Oy" says the first one.

"Oooyy" says the second.

"oy, oy, ooyy" says the first one.

"Wait a minute," says the second, "I thought we agreed not to discuss our grandchildren!"

#58 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:20 AM:

Heh - my alpaca challenge of the moment is trying to decide what to spin with it. I have a complete fleece in a lovely gold-brown. I also have some variegated brown silk. The two need to be brought together in some way at some weight, but beyond that, I'm stumped.

Once I get that straightened out, then I'll worry about what to make with it.

#59 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:24 AM:

Who *are* all you people who just fall into piles o' alpaca??!!

And why am I not one of you?

#60 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:40 AM:

My uncle (on the South Dakota Dansker side of the family) has custody of an all-purpose response phoneme which can mean either yes or no, depending on the intonation and accompanying (nearly imperceptible to outsiders) body language. It should probably be transliterated as "nyup" or possibly "nyop."

Teresa, your hamster says to tell you, "Dude. Liek woah." I think he's referring to today's landscaping effort.

#61 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:46 AM:

I've just fallen into a bunny, if that's any help. Maybe people could knit alpaca bunny-sweaters? If you DID put a bunny in an alpaca sweater, wouldn't that be just about right for winter at the South Pole? ... dang, teach the little buggers to knit for themselves and you'd be halfway to an cheap Mars terraforming project. Of course, then they'd probably just invade Earth carrying signs like "MARS NEEDS MORE TIMOTHY HAY."

#62 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Charlie@25: Adjective, noun, adverb, verb.

#63 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:53 AM:

me@62: That's what I get for posting before seeing the bottom of the cup of coffee. The final "fucked" isn't a verb, it's a past participle acting as predicate adjective.

(But then, I once encountered a linguistic theory that held that adjectives are in fact a species of verb, since they involve states of being.)

#64 ::: mimi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:54 AM:

*raises hand re: alpaca*

I got a big stash of it on sale at one of the local shops--gorgeous, pinky-brown variegated stuff. And maybe someday the pattern I bought to use it for will actually show up. Dude! It's been since April!

#65 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:10 PM:

I'm glad I'm not the only person who finds grammar hard before the first cup of coffee ...

As this is an open thread, I invite you to contemplate two URLS to forms of transport that were most interestingly augmented by the addition of turbojets in strange places:

The M-497 jet-propelled commuter train

Jet-propelled Sinclair C5 conversion

#66 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:13 PM:

I was honored to be present when my friend Dave T, with no self-consciousness or irony whatsoever, uttered the immortal, "Fuckin' I'm stayin' fuckin' here; fuck you fuckers!"

On a related note, one of my Texas cousins (the lawyer) assures me you can get through any conversation in a bar with the use of the phrases "Fuckin' A" and "No shit."

#67 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Considering where all that grammarians' jargon cm from, plaguing generations of schoolchildren who were being faginised by their birth-language, how do you say it in Latin?

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

#68 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:38 PM:

Dave Bell @67: Did you find that one one of the bumper stickers following Lee's link @ #17? I did!

Regarding wool: I an a perpetually new knitter, having only accomplished scarves and hats. I am in love with knitted wool diaper covers though, and when I was still cloth diapering my daughter invested in a few gorgeous examples of those. One from here, as you can see here.

Would using alpaca for a diaper cover cause the knitting population here to cringe in horror?

#69 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Dave Bell @ 67:

I've just started reading A Canticle for Leibowitz and am wishing I'd studied Latin in high school. I can say "Et cum spiritu tuo" and "Adeste fideles, laeti triumphantes, venite, venite in Bethlehem" and "Ave verum corpus natum de Maria virgine" (etc., but I have to sing it) and that is pretty much it.

So hamsters talk like surfers, do they? My cats talk like lolcats and always have, even before lolcats were a thing. "OMG WTF!!!!" -- tail poofs out and cat takes off running like all the devils of hell are after her, for no apparent reason. Cat noses her way into the bathroom while you are taking care of business, saying "Y HELLO THAR."

#70 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:05 PM:

Is there an echo in here?

Serge @26 wrote:
Hamsters of Dude

It's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I read that!

#71 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:06 PM:

I went to Peru for a class trip some years ago. I decided that I wanted some alpaca yarn, because we were being sold alpaca and false-alpaca everything else. Forty dollars later, I have this big lump-o-yarn and a few random balls. I don't know how to tell if it's real alpaca, although I think synthetic wouldn't be as tough to crochet. Ten or fifteen rows into the scarf, it wasn't wider than a strip of bacon.
I have to learn to knit, I think, so I can participate fully in the knitting conversation. Same with spinning, which might be more interesting because I know a couple alpaca farmers. They might find me in the pen, drooling over the fiber.

#72 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:14 PM:

self @ 68. Duh. If you had followed Dave's link, you would have seen that, in fact, yes.

I once had a hamster who liked to hang upside down from the top of his cage. "Duuuuude!" I would say, "Lookit my hamster!" But that was to my roommate. I was in college at the time.

#73 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:20 PM:

G. Jules @ 37, thanks ever so for reminding me to wash my hooded alpaca sweater and put it in the new car.

(The 1993 Voyager started to need its driver's side door duct taped shut after 276,000+ miles and three transmissions. Himself broke down and admitted that he had, indeed, driven it into the ground. I need now to put my emergency garment into the 2004 Camry).

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Magenta Griffith @ 70... Then my diabolical plan has worked.

#75 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Serge: I see you beat me to it. I need some of Agatha's coffee this morning; mine isn't doing it.

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 75... I want some of Agatha's coffee too. Unfortuntely, if such a thing existed in the real world with such... ah... colorful effects upon the visual cortex, we'd probably wind up with the government waging a War on Dregs.

#78 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:49 PM:

So hamsters talk like surfers, do they? My cats talk like lolcats and always have, even before lolcats were a thing. "OMG WTF!!!!" -- tail poofs out and cat takes off running like all the devils of hell are after her, for no apparent reason. Cat noses her way into the bathroom while you are taking care of business, saying "Y HELLO THAR."

One of my cats just talks like Garfield. Not the unfunny one in the newspapers, but the one you get if you remove all Garfield's thought-bubbles. He's particularly good at the slow, disapproving stare.

The other one mainly runs around saying "What?" which is short for, "Why are you picking on me what did I ever do to you?" He says that, and also "Hey! Hey! Hey." He wants something, we know that much. We're not sure what, though. He probably doesn't know either.

#79 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:55 PM:

#58: Have you considered spinning each of the fibers individually and then plying the two singles? I've seen some lovely lace yarns spun with one ply of silk and one ply of something else.

#68: I wouldn't cringe in horror at the idea of an alpaca diaper cover, but I'm also not sure how well it would work. Alpaca is a different fiber from wool; it tends to have less spring, and it doesn't shed/absorb water in the same way.

#73: I figured I wasn't the only one who did that. :-)

#80 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:59 PM:

G. Jules @79: I'm not clear on whether my longies from Llamajamas are their alpaca or merino wool. But, in either case, they're treated with extra lanolin, as all wool diaper covers are. I'm not sure how much that makes the alpaca viable, if, in fact, it's used.

I'm going to have to go search hyenacart to see if anyone uses alpaca now.

#81 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Caroline, ecce vox in clamantis deserto was the opening of my big speech in a Mystery Play at school.

I have been reduced to helpless giggling by Senex MacDonald.

#82 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 02:12 PM:

I'll probably not be at Westercon, but for those coming in today who don't want to go to a baseball game this evening, Flax is having its warehouse sale... OMG, money will leave you and amazing paper and funky designed art-related or otherwise things will enter your life... Last time I was there my sister got a little foot-moved sit-in tin roadster; I got a blue aluminum art portfolio case. Very, very cool store.

#83 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 02:40 PM:

There's a scriptwring job going locally.

Am I crazy to think of following it up?

Googling, the company doesn't seem to have a website, and appears to have just moved its base into Scunthorpe proper.

I never did finish The Exploding Shampoo Plot

#84 ::: ACW ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 02:50 PM:

I've been trying to come up with nice mathematical properties of 86. So far the best I can do is

86 = 1 + 2^2 + (3^2)^2

(Eighty-six is one plus two-squared plus three-squared-squared).

Maybe other math-geek Lucifices can do better.

#85 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 02:59 PM:

I've started reading Ken MacLeod's book "Newton's Wake", and I'm enjoying it quite a lot. About a third of the way through the book, he's included the first two scenes of a play, "The Tragedy of Leonid Brezhnev, Prince of Muscovy". As a fan pf Shakespeare and Marlowe, and a once (and perhaps future, if Vladimir Vladimirovich has his way) amateur Kremlinologist, I loved it, and I recommend it. Maybe if enough people like those scenes, he'll write the whole play.

#86 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:05 PM:

the Canadian contribution to complete(*)monosyllables, of course, is

eh

--
(*) "complete" in the logical sense of expressing all possible meanings, that is.

#87 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Patrick, Teresa, (anyone else) - are you going to Readercon this year?

#88 ::: Doonbogglefrog ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Argh!

Nothing more need be said.

#89 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Doonbogglefrog @ #88, Now there's a conversation-stopper.

Not.

#90 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:31 PM:

So, I'm hunting around for cheap airfares from Portland to New York. I start with Newark as the destination airport. Prices are around $366.

Then I see a "include airports within 50 miles" checkbox. I select it and start another search.

Suddenly, I'm presented with flights beginning at $218, round-trip.

To Philadelphia, via Newark Airport, with the last leg by train.

So, if I fly to Newark, and get on a train to Philly, I pay less than just getting off at Newark.

I wonder how much trouble I'd be in if I missed the connection.

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Locus's latest ran an interview with Nalo Hopkinson. I must confess never having read anything by her, for some reason. Which of her novels would you recommend starting with?

#92 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Eighty-six.

#93 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Stefan Jones @90
I wonder how much trouble I'd be in if I missed the connection.

Don't try this with checked bags. You'll probably never see them again.

I was noodling around my favourite flight finder site* at flights from Portland, OR, and note entirely in passing that JetBlue flies direct from there to Portland, MN.

I don't know why this amuses me, but it really does.

-----
* My husband works there. I'm biased.

#94 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Stefan, I went looking for business class air fares from Edinburgh to Tokyo (because I am not -- as long as I can afford to go at all -- going to put up with 14 hours in economy class if I can help it). The online service I was using quoted £1800 return via Air France. So I went to AF's website to see if they could beat it. The fare they quoted, for the same class on the same aircraft, was ... £7700.

That, as they say, is serious money -- not quite enough to cover the charter hire of the Gulfstream, but getting into the same order of magnitude!

#95 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:01 PM:

I hope she does better at Werewolf than I did. I'm still smarting from the poorly chosen defense strategy I adopted in my second game when I was wrongly accused of lycanthropy. (It was certainly innovative, but it didn't work.)

#96 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Chad Orzel (#33) / Dan Blum (#54): Y'know, a Diplomacy PBEM game among various Making Light commenters would be...interesting. In the apocryphal Chinese curse sense, perhaps.

Alex Cohen (#87): Dude.

Stefan Jones (#90): The real worry is the return trip; they might not let you board the return unless you took the Philly legs. Probably less likely with a train connection than with the old trick of not boarding your flight out of the hub you were actually trying to get to.

#97 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Kathryn @ 18: ditto*, ditto**, and ditto***. </aol>

----

* I went in 2003. And you?
** Or more precisely, I'm going to my first in 2 weeks.
*** That ache is particularly frustrating to me given that I'm only about ten miles due north of the campus. I know there's cool people coming to my neck of the woods and they're just over there...

#98 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Diplomacy is a great game to play with people you wish to remove from your friends list, especially if you can convince them to play Austria-Hungary.

Of course, if a friendship can survive a course of Diplomacy games, it's a true friendship.

#99 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:30 PM:

abi #93:

I think you mean Portland, ME (dunno if there's a Portland in Minnesota, but JetBlue doesn't fly anywhere in the state).

#100 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 04:36 PM:

Dan @99
Yeah.

I never get the M-states right.

#101 ::: Allen Baum ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Stephan@90

Be careful. I don't know if you need to check into the train like you do for a flight (as opposed to handing the conductor a ticket & having it punched) -
but airlines have been known to cancel the return ticket if the connection wasn't taken - precisely because of people taking that kind of advantage of their silly pricing.

If its merely someone punching the train ticket - well, then, they'd hardly know that you skipped it, would they.

#103 ::: Roger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 05:36 PM:

Chang Tsung-ch'ang, one of the Chinese warlords in the 1920's, had "the physique of an elephant, the brain of a pig and the temperament of a tiger" and was "also known as 'Lao pa-shih' or 'Old Eighty-six' because the height of a pile of that number of silver dollars reputedly represented the length of the most valued portion of his anatomy in action."

[From Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45, by Barbara Tuchman]

#104 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 05:41 PM:

As it happens, a few days ago I picked up a copy of the computer version of the Diplomacy game, and I think know where my old-style copy is in the attic.

You know about 21st Century Diplomacy? It adds an extra player to the original game, the USA.

No territory, no playing pieces, just a can of gasoline and a box of matches.

#105 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Stefan @90,
What @96 said. With airplanes you will lose your return flight if you skip a leg. With a plane-train, it'd depend on the database integration. I know where you could ask...

All on travel:
I've found the single best place to ask any or all questions related to flying is the forum section at flyertalk. For a questions like Stefans either the airline-specific forum or TravelBuzz could work (don't worry too much about which: they'll move your question to the best forum if needed).

Reading flyertalk will help get you up to speed on finding good (or at least the best possible) prices. The people there are travel-geeks = they're big on sharing ideas and helping out.

If you're into travel-geekery, I'm also a big fan of Bidding for Travel, a site that helps you hack the best possible deals out of Priceline or Expedia. It's excellent for hotel rooms: I don't know about flights. As I recently blogged, the combination of people sharing their numbers* plus you knowing how bidding works** makes for better prices than I've seen anywhere else.

i.e. downtown Toronto for $25/night, or (current on bft) a London Hilton for $85***. A price like that made for much more shopping at Bakka.

-------
* the exact details of their bid- where they started, what they got.

** It isn't as complicated as it might seem once you've done it, and (depending on the city) you can know which hotels- or exact hotel- you'll get. See a short example in the blog.

*** about £13, given what the exchange rate feels like.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Stefan 90: They will cancel your return trip if you don't take ALL the legs of your trip out. The whole thing.

This is because they want to be able to charge you that extra for getting off at Newark, and because they charge steep change fees.

The airlines have more scruples than Dick Cheney, but it's a near thing.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Wait, Teresa's at Foo Camp?

Dude!

(Xopher see bandwagon, jump on)

#108 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Wait, Teresa's at Foo Camp?

Dude!

(Xopher see bandwagon, jump on)

#109 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:04 PM:

I'm not seriously intending to use the train connection. Just too many ways to screw it up. I may even pay more to fly to the airport near my parent's place.

But now I'm wondering what other weird transit combos might turn up.

Fly to Las Vegas: $350

Fly to Las Vegas, connect with camel ride to Laughlin, NV: $187.50

#110 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Debra Doyle #63: There are languages that use intransitive verbs to do the things that Indo-European languages use adjectives for, or where there's no clear dividing line between verbs and adjectives.

Dan @55 and elise @60: I think by "phoneme" you mean "morpheme" or perhaps "lexeme". /du:d/ has three phonemes, /njVp/ has four, even /aI/ has two.

#111 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Stefan @ 90 - While I have no idea if your airline (I guess Continental, BTW) would catch you for not taking the train connection, you might want to check out farecast.com. I've used it to time ticket purchases with some success. There's an element of risk involved if you wait, but it's paid off for me in the past.

#112 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Dave Bell @ 104

No territory, no playing pieces, just a can of gasoline and a box of matches.

Give that to every player and call the game MAD.

#113 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:46 PM:

I second the recommendation for Farecast. It saved us a bunch of money on our winter trip to see my Mom and family, and our trip in May to see my daughter for her college graduation. It does an excellent job both of finding the best available fares at present, and telling you whether to buy now or hang on and wait for them to drop.

#114 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Hey, I just said that about "dude" - minus the hamster - in the "British words are useful and cool" thread, not to be mistaken for the "British words are pretentious and redundant" thread next door (this is a full-service blog).

"Dude" is as useless in written communication as it is useful in spoken conversation though. Even if you resort to painful attempts like "duuuude", you still have no idea what was really being said.

#115 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:01 PM:

People who say English isn't a tonal language are, like, duuuude.

Aye?!

#116 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:09 PM:

104, 112: "Strange game. The only winning move is not to play."

#117 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:21 PM:

On a more serious new-version-of-classic-game note, I've found Risk 2210 A.D. to be a blast.

It starts off with a more-or-less standard Risk board and topology - minus a randomly chosen radioactive territory - but as the game progresses special commander pieces open up undersea colonies, which totally change the topology around. Suddenly Australia and South America no longer look so safe... Other pieces allow you to use "nuclear" cards, open up Moon territories which can be reached from any country containing a launch facility, and so on. The new card types do weird things too - there are space warfare cards, nuclear cards, etc. Of course, you still have all the frantic politicking, alliances, and bland-faced treacherous back-stabbing of classic Risk. It's a ton of fun.

#118 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:22 PM:

I forgot to pass on my Bloomsday greeting in a timely fashion, so here it is, belatedly: Hypertextually speaking, yes they said yes.

#119 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Hey Xopher,

Do Pagans say "Drude"?

#120 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:48 PM:

Speaking of knitting-over at the Tomato Nation blog,someon'e looking for help on identifying an old knitting book for teenagers. If anyone can help,just leave it in the comments.

#121 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Dori @97
:sigh of agreement:
'04.

If you're not in the tech world, here's an analogy of ::want to be inside:: from my life in fandom.

During my first WorldCon my partner was a SFWA member: his badge had the swfa tag, mine a sfwa guest tag. That tag had awesome powers, because SFWA sponsored a members only room filled with snacks and drinks and comfy chairs.

That room had the greatest concentration of writers I'd ever seen, and I could just walk in, and sit down, and join a conversation. With writers!

Imagine being able to do that, if you never had before. Be like finding yourself the only audience member at a panel filled with your favorite writers. Except you're on the panel too: there is no audience. Just writers.

But, like Lyra with her alethiometer, that tag's power wasn't mine.

In part because we'd stopped going to Worldcons... BurningMan*... my guy let his SWFA membership lapse. We still went to local/regional cons- cons with the usual numbers of writers- and life was good.

And then ConJose came to town- run by people we know, 6 hours away from Burningman. We knew we had to do both. We did.

SFWA still had a guest room, and it was still filled with pure writerly goodness, and I sure wanted to go in, but I couldn't. To meet the writers diffused around the con I had to run early to the coffeeklatch sign-up sheets and hang out after panels and all the usual way-of-the-fan. But I remembered that room.

Imagine the ::want to be inside:: if you'd once been in the middle of a concentration of writers like that. Even if was just good luck and none of your work, even if you know your wanting is unreasonable**, the room is there, filled with people who aren't where you are. You'd like to revisit.

And that's not unlike how not being at Foo camp is like, once you've been. And Teresa is there too?. Dude, too frackin' much.

:grabs knife:
:goes to mashup 30 lbs of plums waiting in the icebox:
:Tired of plums for breakfast, this week. Still, saving them from the compost heap, me:
:Yay, me, not in Sebastapol:

-------------
* (as always) if you love SF, consider Burning Man. In 2008 they're on different weeks.

** Of course I knew that the way in is hard work and the zillion rejection slips before those first professional sales, sales yet unsold.

#122 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Jim Henry at 110: Thanks. I had a suspicion I was using that word wrong; it's good to know what the right one is.

#123 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:30 PM:

Dave Bell @104:

You know about 21st Century Diplomacy? It adds an extra player to the original game, the USA.

No territory, no playing pieces, just a can of gasoline and a box of matches.

SPI had a rule like that in their old NATO game: "To simulate the use of strategic nuclear weapons simply soak the map with lighter fluid and apply a flame."

There are of course more actual Diplomacy variants than one can shake a very large stick at. (Or is the speed of the shaking that determines the number of things one can shake at? Someone should look into that.) Diplomacy in ancient Ireland, over the entire Earth, in Middle Earth (done at least a dozen times, once even as a boxed game), in space, etc.

#124 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:49 PM:

Bruce 119: No. They say

Long ago there were the Druids
Running naked through the wuids
Drinking strange fermented fluids
And they're good enough for me!

#125 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Fragano@53: <pause, looks up paratwa>.

Um, no, but only because assasinations are so icky.

Looks like a good series, though.

#126 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:22 PM:

Cliff J. Burns dropped into the Digby thread to suggest that we should all check out his blog on the writing life.

So, I checked out his blog.

I was going to post a sample of this rant about SF/F writing, but it's really mean, so I'll just link to the thing for those who feel like being insulted.

Anyway, Patrick's right that I was jumping to conclusions, which I shouldn't, but I've done my research now and I stand by my initial knee-jerk reaction!


#127 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Well, there's one more piece of evidence supporting the theory that someone who makes the admission "I'm a snob" is really saying something like "I'm a bullying jackass who's unable to distinguish between a preference and a virtue."

#128 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:51 PM:

Xopher @#124:

Let us pray with Zarathustra
We'll pray just like we used to
I'm a Zarathustra booster
And it's good enough for me!

My dad says he also learned the song as a kid, but it had different words than our version ;)

#129 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Xopher #124:

In the Church of Aphrodite
She's a mighty righteous sightie,
And her priestess wears no nightie,
And that's good enough for me!

#130 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:11 PM:

Regarding the blog post in question, I'll remark only that seen more convincing arguments for the utility and justice of elitism.

#131 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:12 PM:

Patrick Connors #125: Liege Killer was pretty good, your mileage may vary a great deal with the other three books in the series.

#132 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:29 PM:

My word, Mr. Burns post is an ugly one. On the other hand, the previous post is entitled, "Pride: An Exorcism" and in general makes me want to beat the man over the head with a copy of Delany's About Writing.

#133 ::: Cliff Burns ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Folks:

Mary Dell #128--I first heard the "Zarathustra" song you allude to in an interview with the great Joseph Campbell. He provided several more verses that were equally droll.

But on to the subject at hand. I thank you, some of you, for having a glance at my posting re: "Good Science = Bad Fiction". I can understand that it would raise some hackles within this community.

But my mini-essay has something to say about quality writing, lasting writing, writing that imparts a sense of wonder. You can dwell on the negative aspects or see the posting as a manifesto of sorts in praise of timeless prose. I do think there're some kudos in the piece along with the brickbats. Perhaps (and I know I'm risking that "blog pimpage" thing again) you should read more of my work and determine if I have any credibility whatsoever. I've been a professional author for over twenty years and much of what I say on my site is derived from hard-won experience and close observation. I'm not just some airhead fan-boy with shelves full of STAR WARS novelizations. I hope you'll give me (and my work) more credit than that. If you disagree with my contentions, you're welcome to rebut them and I'd be happy to engage you. But I'd like to think that at all times the discourse be civil and reasoned...or perhaps your etiquette only goes one way...

#134 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:33 PM:

PNH, 130: Well, it's certainly difficult to imagine a less convincing one.

The trouble with joining self-styled elitists in pissing all over something is the near-certainty that sooner or later they're going to turn around and get some on you too.

#135 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:38 PM:

But I'd like to think that at all times the discourse be civil and reasoned...or perhaps your etiquette only goes one way...

I don't think implying that everyone else here has been or will be rude to you is going to help create a civil and reasoned discourse. I don't know if you're deliberately trying to provoke hostile reactions, but it certainly reads as if you are.

#136 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:46 PM:

Charlie@65: Have you seen Night Watch. I want one of those jet-propelled utilities trucks to deal with the traffic jams caused by amateurs in the middle of commuter time....

#137 ::: Cliff Burns ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Hostile reaction? No, no, no. The opposite, in fact. I think a careful reading of what I say in the essay would mitigate against some of the harsher judgments the piece makes. I enjoy debate, thoughtful exchanges that reflect differences of opinion. I'm not a "bullying jackass", I'm a credible individual making an assertion based on 20+ years of experience, service to the printed word. My points are intelligently and cogently presented. If you've got opinions, supportive, contrary, I'd love to hear them. Perhaps I'll leave it there...seems I've stepped on some toes here and that was not my intention. Honestly.

#138 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:10 PM:

From Burns' site:
Fantasy writers…well, fantasy writers are uniformly terrible. Their audience is made up of pointy-eared boneheads who can’t wait for the next installment of the latest Robert Jordan abomination, a thousand pages of muck he manages to churn out on a monthly basis. Airheads. Twats of the first order.

My first instinct is to want to make excuses for this kind of adolescent muscle-flexing that many young fans go through. They (we) sometimes grow out of it. But then he says he's been a professional author for twenty years -- and he's still apparently so lightly-read that he shouldn't go near a keyboard to attempt literary criticism. (It's also a bit incongruous to see Michael Swanwick described as a "hard science guy" with a clunky writing style. At the least, Cliff Burns should probably have seen the many excellent "A to Z" bestiaries that Michael has written for NYRSF, even if he's clueless about other stuff. )

#139 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Cliff @ 137

Having read that post, I was wanting to beat you about the head with some of the hard (and other) sf that I prefer. YMMV, so don't expect universal agreement.

(BTW, I've been reading the stuff since the 'golden age', which is far enough back that I read Dune as two serials. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who did that. Think about the quantity (and the quality) that can be read in that amount of time.)

#140 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:14 PM:

Cliff @ 137

Having read that post, I was wanting to beat you about the head with some of the hard (and other) sf that I prefer. YMMV, so don't expect universal agreement.

(BTW, I've been reading the stuff since the 'golden age', which is far enough back that I read Dune as two serials. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who did that. Think about the quantity (and the quality) that can be read in that amount of time.)

#141 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:19 PM:

Lenny Bailes @ 138... He really said that fantasy writers are uniformly terrible? Hmm... I'd better tell Lisa Goldstein, M.K.Hobson and my wife among others.

#142 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Mr. Burns appears (from my reading his writing at his blog, yes, all of it) to be a confrontational sort of person. I won't go so far as "troll". But no need to feed him either, as it's bound to be interpreted either as "those SF bozos" or "see, I'm completely right". There appears to be no more nuanced ground available.

#143 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:24 PM:

JRR Tolkien, a "terrible" writer? An interesting perspective.

#144 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:48 PM:

I can understand the impulse to say that SF is too much science, not enough story-- I say that about *parts* of the genre. But only parts, and I know that those weaknesses apply only to those parts. It's a big genre. I don't like all of it. My reaction to the essay was approximately, "Dude*. Have you *read*...?" The world is full of books. Many books are better than many others.

*which may have been sufficient, but not everyone is a hamster.

(Oh we worship Aphrodite,
she may seem kinda flighty
but she's pretty in her nightie
and that's good enough for me!)

#145 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:06 AM:

Xopher, Mr. Burns may be referring to all the space that Tolkien wasted on exposition and world-building. Or, he could be objecting to the way Tolkien's SF predictions didn't pan out - for example, his prediction that the forces of Mordor would use a token ring architecture.

#146 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:32 AM:

"But I'd like to think that at all times the discourse be civil and reasoned...or perhaps your etiquette only goes one way..."

Ah. I do see. Excuse my while I apologize to the people to whom I (very mildly) defended you.

"I'm not a 'bullying jackass,' I'm a credible individual"

Funny, I was just explaining to my credit card company that "I'm not a 'hopeless deadbeat,' I'm a 'secret billionaire.'" They didn't believe me. I wonder why?

"Seems I've stepped on some toes here and that was not my intention."

Oh, bullshit.

I don't care what you think of SF writers, or fantasy writers, or modern genre fiction, or the publishing industry, or anything else.

What I care about is that your posts are an anthology of sophomoric attempts at self-praise and self-justification that wouldn't work on a nine-year-old. As such, you're a waste of my time and of the time and energy of people who could be having much more interesting conversations if you weren't taking up oxygen in the room. Go practice your nonsense on someone not bright enough to notice what a fake you are.

#147 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:34 AM:

FungiFromYuggoth @#145: They don't? I have to work on token ring from time to time, and it's eeeeevil.

#148 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:37 AM:

Patrick @#146:

*grin*

#149 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Cliff Burns @ #147:

...Dude...

#150 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:44 AM:

"Secret billionaire" made me laugh harder than...well, harder than a lot of things.

#151 ::: Cliff Burns ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:47 AM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

It's your site, you determine the quality of dialogue and who you want dropping by. I can respect that. I've left muddy footprints on your living room carpet. My apologies. We'll leave it there.

Best wishes to you--

#152 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:49 AM:

Cliff Burns @ #137,

You are not credible. Claiming that you're credible is like claiming you make convincing arguments; if people are not convinced by your arguments, your arguments are not convincing. If people do not believe you, you are not credible.

I don't believe you. You are not credible. There are many adjectives you might apply to yourself that I couldn't prove or disprove from these few statements you've made here, but that one? I am not convinced. I do not believe. You are not convincing. You are not believable.

#153 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:59 AM:

Mr. Burns' oeuvre (as listed by Locus) has certain features of interest, as do his collaborations with Mrs. (Harmon-)Burns. Unfortunately, this margin is too small to contain a list of cross-references to previous other threads on ML.

#154 ::: barb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 01:00 AM:

Henry at #86. Oh, Henry. Dude. The vexed "eh". Heh.

What CnAyjuns say is *A*, ay?

The number of syllables varies contextually, situationally, individually, regionally, alarmingly, and often. Dealer's choice.

Charlie at #115 knows.

But thank you for mentioning it. I hates it. Flense it everywhere and forever, the fell and fellacious "eh". Peh.

#155 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Cliff Burns @137, etc.,

If you can ask science fiction writers to put extra time and effort into adding more beauty to their words, then we can ask you to put extra time and effort into adding more graciousness to your words.

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. It's not that you don't have a point. Why don't more SF writers have the lyricism of various non-SF writers?* That's a good question, but it was hidden under some non-lyrical anger.

i.e. your prickly defensiveness is as much of a conversation-killer to folks here as a badly phrased technobabble data-dump is to you.

---------
* other than that some of those writers only publish every few years, or that those writers have much more time if they don't have to understand why science works, or etc. But then why don't more non-SF writers have sensawunda and the numinous in their stories?

#156 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Anyone notice a draft? Oh, did the door bounce off someone's ass? Well, I guess it'll help clear out the stink.

At dooméd Troy no one was mean-a
Than the Great Goddess Athena
Mopped them up with Ajax clean-a
And that's good enough for me!

#157 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:09 AM:

Oh, Odin is our master.
He keeps us from disaster.
So each year we kill the pastor.
And that's good enough for me!

#158 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:16 AM:

FungiFromYoggoth @ 145

"One token to rule them all" but if you drop it, everybody is suddenly very quiet.

#159 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:24 AM:

I'll show him bad fantasy!

By Crom we're always swearing
as the swords our flesh is tearing.
He expects us to be daring.
And that's good enough for me!

#160 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:27 AM:

The awful thing is, it seems to me Mr. Burns has some talent. But if he spends all his time on "sophomoric attempts at self-praise and self-justification", well, it doesn't matter that he has talent. If you're still reading, Mr. Burns, think on that. If you're upset and unhappy enough--and you are unhappy at least, it oozes from your words--and want out, go do something about it.

#161 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:32 AM:

Cliff Burns is a dolt.

Knee jerk, but there you go. I've read his prose, which is tightly written, but the content is drivel.

#162 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:46 AM:

Cliff Burns: Admitting that it's a knee-jerk reaction, you've either read so little of "fantasy" and so little of "hard SF" that you don't know whereof you speak, or you can't really read.

Because the explications are useful (even important) just as the various descriptions in war writing of the mechnics of combat (such as Caputo's Rumors of War or Cragg's The Soldier's Prize or such things as Webb's exposition of how plebes are treated in A Sense of Honor (which is probably more useful in evaluating him as a political animal than, Fields of Fire, but I digress) are important to setting mood, and establishing verismilitude.

What I find bothersome (even objectionable (in that piece) isn't that you discount a genre I like, but that you do it for such facile reasons (and with a blanket condemnation of an author, as opposed to his specific works. Jordan's D&D novels are tripe, but his skills are more than that, as Emil and the Dutchman makes clear, and Ties of Blood and Silver puts well outside the realms of debate. That he is making money because there is an audience for shallow writing isn't his fault, but rather speaks to who is buying what. If it sells, who is he to spend more time and effort writing things of greater merit; in lieu of that which pays?).

Any genre (even that of "literature) has a lot of dreck (as Ted Sturgeon said, "90 percent of everything is crap). To abuse the entirety because of that dreck is shallow and pathetic.

#163 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:51 AM:

Skipping back up to the alpaca knitting discussion: it's really good for lace or anything you plan on stretching. Most alpaca has something of a slinky quality.

Also, I'm on the 'more alpaca fleece than I can possibly use' side of things right now. So if anyone in the vicinity of Portland, OR is looking, I'd be happy to share.

#164 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:54 AM:

Damn. Anyone know a rhyme for Chalchiuhtecolotl? Oh, frell it anyway.

Hanuman's a monkey,
which makes him kind of funky.
But some think he's quite hunky.
And that's good enough for me!

#165 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 03:00 AM:

...and if everybody sings a verse of "Real Old Time Religion", we're never goin' to get outta here.

#166 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 03:28 AM:

If I'd known Teresa was coming I'd have invited her to talk at Google too (Scalzi and Cory seemed to enjoy it).

#167 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 03:31 AM:

Cliff Burns @ 133: "But I'd like to think that at all times the discourse be civil and reasoned...or perhaps your etiquette only goes one way..."

S'funny, but I'm having a bit of deja vu. Didn't we just deal with a crew of "But it's so UNCIVIL of you to disagree with me" trolls?

"I don’t read for pleasure,"

Oh, thank goodness. I thought for a second he might require an actual rebuttal, but he undercuts his own arguments far more effectively than I ever could.

#168 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 03:36 AM:

#165: True dat.

Somewhat related: I thought up this evening what I'm pretty sure is a Christian heresy, and I was wondering what its name was. And ML has more knowledge of odd offshoots of Christianity than any place I've ever been. So: If God made man in His image, why aren't men omnipotent? If you decided not to fund your kid's college education although you had plenty of money and were college-educated yourself, you'd be considered a jerk. Why don't those rules of what is good behaviour apply to God?

Maybe it's just plain old heresy, though.

#169 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:17 AM:

Whoa. Err, I guess that should be, "Dude". Westercon is *right next door* to me. Well, next door in California terms.

The Web site isn't yielding up a schedule of panels for me, though. Am I missing something?

(If I go, I'll have to resist giving Tad Williams an earful about the ending of Otherland... I can probably manage that.)

#170 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:29 AM:

I had to go and read that Cliff Burns blog post.

I think I need a bath, now.

#171 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 05:01 AM:

Owley Chalchiuhtecolotl
Doesn't give two hoots for rhyming;
That might drive you to the bottle,
But he's good enough for me.


BTW: www.godchecker.com

#172 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 06:22 AM:

You know, I'm coming to the conclusion that people who describe themselves on first acquaintance with phrases like

I enjoy debate, thoughtful exchanges that reflect differences of opinion.

are probably not going to be my favourite partners in conversation.

Mind you, there are plenty of people whom I like who would agree with that statement. But they wouldn't say it within the first thousand words of communication.

#173 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 07:17 AM:

With respect to #151, at least Cliff gets points for the most civil "I'm taking my toys and going home" post that I've read. So maybe he figured it out just too late. However, unless he wants to make himself look worse, I suggest he does not come back to defend himself. A respectful waiting period before returning might be useful (possibly in a different thread).

I hate that he might leave with the erroneous idea that one must agree with our delightful hosts to stay around. No, one must be civil. (And, if you're like me and lack some basic social skills, one must also be very careful, edit like mad, and proof read. I'm convinced that anyone can eventually figure out what is uncivil. It's doing it in real time that's tricky. This medium is terrific in that I don't have to do it in real time. This is not to say I always get it right. D'oh!)

As for his blog posts, I skimmed the one about SF. It made me quite sad for him. If he wants my pity, he has it. What a joyless existence. I'm going to take a shower now. (Fortunately, I needed one anyway.)

#174 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 07:42 AM:

Dude.

Coming from Ashkenazim, Filipinos and Norski Midwesterners, I have to admit I do the same thing, alternating "oy," "ay," and "Heavens to Betsy!"

Really, it works.

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 08:19 AM:

I guess Mister Burns wanted to draw attention to what he does, and attention is what he got. Is it PT Barnum who said there is no such thing as bad publicity? I personally think we've already granted our visitor too much attention, but that's just my opinion.

#176 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 08:34 AM:

Aha! Found the source of the tickle that Cliff Burns' form of self description (eg "My points are intelligently and cogently presented.") roused in me.

As soon as they had driven from the door, Elizabeth was called on by her cousin to give her opinion of all that she had seen at Rosings, which, for Charlotte's sake, she made more favourable than it really was. But her commendation, though costing her some trouble, could by no means satisfy Mr. Collins, and he was very soon obliged to take her ladyship's praise into his own hands.

(Yes, Serge, I know, more attention than the matter is worth...but even a pearl starts as an irritant.)

#177 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 08:38 AM:

174: "Heavens to Betsy!"

I find "oh dear" useful in a lot of conversations. I think I picked it up from the Snuffleupagus.

#178 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:30 AM:

abi @ 176... even a pearl starts as an irritant

True. On the other hand, sometimes an irritant remains just that, like that time last year when my foot collided with a cactus and one of its spines lodged itself into one of my toes, broke off and remained there until it oozed its way out a few weeks later, pushed out by my body, but I digress. And your point is well taken. If his utterances can launch us into a discussion of what makes a writer terrible, and if there is such a thing as a writer who is universally reviled by all as terrible, then, yes, let us make pearls out of this irritant.

#179 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Dave 165: True, if we just sing our favorite verses (and I admit to a moment of "what have I done" about that), but not if we create new ones, like the one above.

___ 171: We can do better than that:

We love Chalchiuhtecolotl
"Precious Owl God" in Nahuatl
Raise a cup of tshocolatl*
And it's good enough for me!

* Yes, that's the Nahuatl source word for exactly what you think it is.

#180 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Rob (177): I don't know about you, but that can't be where I picked up 'oh dear' because I never watched Snuffleupagus.

'Mmhmm' is also very useful.

#181 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Serge @ 178

At least it was only in you for a few weeks. I got a rose hair (one of those stiff sticker things that's way too small to be a thorn) in the back of a hand. Two *years* later it finally got close enough to the surface that I could dig it out.

I don't recommend it, although it wasn't painful except for the digging-out bit.

#182 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:08 AM:

We will hang out with Anansi
He's the spider god we fancy
And he wears eight legged pants, He's
got enough legs there for me!

#183 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Cthulu's dead it's true
But not the same as me or you
He'll rise again from the deep deep blue
And that's good enough for me!

...the creepiest part about that is how amazingly Christian-sounding it came out.

#184 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:15 AM:

This thread is wonderful-- I often get the song stuck in my head and only had the chorus and the Aphrodite verse I posted. It got repetitive after about two rounds through.

It's okay to worship Hera
just as long as you are wary
of that lecher that she married
and that's good enough for me!

#185 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:25 AM:

(I felt it just wasn't right to have a Cthulu one without at least one Lovecraftian ten-point word, so:)

Cthulu's made a promise
That he'll return to doom us
Now I'm getting kind of squamous
But that's good enough for me!

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:28 AM:

(cont'd from #91)

So, no recommendations for which Nalo Hopkinson novel I should read first?

#187 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:29 AM:

Madeline F. @#168:

I don't believe that's a heresy, because it concerns what should have been, rather than what is. That is to say, in order to be a heresy you would have to state that man IS omnipotent, and that God DID endow man with all of his knowledge. We can call that the Madelinian Heresy, if you like :)

I suppose it's heretical to suggest that God screwed up or fudged when making us, though...but I can't find a specific heresy for that one.

In God's defense, however [tongue planted firmly in cheek], in order to make us in His *image,* we just have to LOOK omnipotent.

[checks mirror]

Oh yeah. Totally!

#188 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Kathryn @ 121: :goes to mashup 30 lbs of plums waiting in the icebox:
:Tired of plums for breakfast, this week. Still, saving them from the compost heap, me:

Plums? Icebox? ...cannot...resist...urge to pastiche...

i didn't eat
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
hoping
that I would take care of.

Forgive me
they were pernicious
so many
and so repetitive.

#189 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:40 AM:

Our Goddess is Teresa
And we're sure to always praise her
Lest she gets out her eraser
Whch s gd ngh fr m!

#190 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:42 AM:

(If any mangled versions of my attempts to reply to Serge's question at #91 show up here, please ignore/delete them. The site kept eating my link to the Locus Review Index, so I gave up and emailed him directly.)

#191 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:46 AM:

I promise I'd already come up with this before I reached the part of the thread where people started going on about Chalchiuhtecolotl:


Three cheers for Quetzalcoatl
With him, victory is toatl!
(Well, the proof is anecdoatl,
But it's good enough for me!)


Now, can anyone think of a good continuation for "Huitzlipochtli keeps things humming"?

#192 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:47 AM:

And there's the good ol' Southern "Bless your heart" which means anything but.

It was good enough for Dagon
That conservative old pagan
He still votes for Ronald Reagan
And that's good enough for me

Then there was Tezcatlipolca
The Aztec "Loki" jokah
Piss him off and he will chokyah
And that's good enough for me

#193 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:59 AM:

If I start belting out "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!" would it be too obvious that I have a two-year-old at home?

#194 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:12 AM:

I haven't read a great deal of Nalo Hopkinson, which is strange because I like almost everything I have read. I liked Brown Girl in the Ring much better than Midnight Robber, but I was young then, and I've found that many books I didn't like were just a little ahead of my brain in terms of maturity.

Huitzlipochtli keeps things humming
though he's often kinda grumpy
he'll get your heart a-pumping
and that's good enough for me!

I do not like that second line, but my brain stalled at 'seven drummers drumming' and would not move. Someone, please improve upon it.

#195 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Let us all go worship Zeus
Although his morals are quite loose
He gave Leda quite a goose
But it was good enough for me!

#196 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Xopher @ #179:

tshocolatl
Why "tsh"? "Ch" is normal in classical Nahuatl spellings, & I'd expect "tx" before "tsh".

#197 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:45 AM:

You can keep your copper kettles
The china for your tea
C is for cookie
That's good enough for me!

#198 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Okay, I guess now is the time to officially become the artist formerly known as adamsj.

And my contribution:

Moloch and Mammon--that's a double-- They provide a world of trouble, But they make such a a lovely couple, And that's good enough for me!
#199 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Tim 196: I substituted 'sh' for an 's' with a hacek (which should have a hacek over the c). That's how I first saw the Nahuatl spelled. OTOH I also should have used a 'k' instead of the 'c', and there should be a join mark over the 'tl'—I think. It was a long time ago.

Yeah, it was transcription. Classical Nahuatl spelling I know from nothing.

Btw, everyone, that 'tl' at the end of the Nahuatl words is not an apical-alveolar 't' (as in English) followed by a liquid 'l'. It's an affricate composed of a voiceless bilateral stop followed by a voiceless bilateral fricative. It's not a sound that exists in English. Not that for something as cheesy as verses of Real Old Time Religion we have to worry about the finer points of pronunciation!

(I'm enough of a pedant about these things that I never got the joke of the title of Mighty Aphrodite until someone said it out loud. I always say "aff-roh-DEE-tay" even inside my head. I say "dee-oh-NÜ-sohss" too, though I don't fuss if people say "dee-oh-NEE-sohss"; "die-uh-NIGH-suss" is right out.)

#200 ::: Laurel ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:54 AM:

Serge@186: I think Brown Girl in the Ring is a good place to start, but I also feel Midnight Robber is a bit more SF-oriented, if that is to your taste.

We will praise Amaterasu
Or in darkness she could toss you
Lay the veil of night across you
And that's good enough for me!

Thank the heavens for Izume
When it's getting kinda gloomy
Her sweet dancin' will illume me
And that's good enough for me!

#201 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:58 AM:

So blockquote doesn't like me. Fine. At the risk of boring you as I repeat myself when I'm distressed:

Moloch and Mammon--that's a double--
They provide a world of trouble,
But they make such a a lovely couple,
And that's good enough for me!

#202 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:03 PM:

I really have to learn phonetic vocabulary so comments like Xopher's will make better sense. What words I have are in Spanish and poorly demonstrated-- most of what I remember is a class involving all sorts of sibilants and the evolution from one to the next. Every time the professor gave us a new one, the room erupted into quiet hissing.

#203 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:06 PM:

CHip @ 136: While viewing Nightwatch, I was reasonably convinced that young Mr. Stross was piloting the rocket-fired wagon in question.

#204 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:19 PM:

Dave Bell and Xopher

Ok, Ok, I bow to your superior poesy. *grumble* I write a lousy little throwaway joke and they turn it into superior rhyming *grumble*

Nicely done; don't mind gollum, he just gets ornery if he spends too many millenia without his Precious.

#205 ::: Therese Norén ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:20 PM:

The one syllable word for everything in northern Swedish is "jo". It's originally the form of yes you use when you reply positively to a negative question. ("I guess you don't want any more tea?" "Yes, I do want more tea.") In northern Swedish, it became the standard word for yes, and it can even be pronounced on the inhalation. There's no way to write that down sensibly, so I've taken to writing it *schuuu* with different number of u:s depending on the length and infliction.

#206 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Let's tell stories about Raven -
He's sneaky, clever, brave, and
He keeps us misbehavin'
And that's good enough for me!

#207 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:24 PM:

re "White people dancing" -- I just note that "Safety Dance" has the perfect rhythm for Morris dancing, a style of ritual dance done almost exclusively by white people (and difficult, interesting as one learns more about it, and ultimately resulting, mostly, in problems in the knees or low back). I won't say it's offensive, but I'd bet one could put together a similar video about any ethnic group from what's out there on YouTube.

#208 ::: Elyse Grasso ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:25 PM:

On old time religion ...
I just had two guys come to the door. (1/2 mile for the nearest paved road and no vehicle in the driveway. I have to admit they are thorough.) Not sure if they were JW or Mormons, probably JW: when they mentioned the Bible I said "I'm Heterodox Shinto. Thank you, Good Day." And closed the door.

On a slightly related note; there is no vehicle in the driveway because my truck died at a stoplight on the way home from the airport last night. I'd like to thank the person who mentioned in the Hurricane thread that Costco carried crank-powered flashlights. They come in packages of two, so I put one in the truck, and it came in very handy last night.

#209 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Diatryma 202: Mini-Glossary.

Apical - Articulated with the apex, or tip of the tongue.

Alveolar - Articulated against the alveolar ridge, just behind the teeth.

Lateral - Articulated with the side (or sides) of the tongue. In English only /l/ is articulated in this way (well, idiolectic /r/, sometimes, but it sounds like /l/).

Voiceless - pronounced without vibrating the vocal cords. Examples: /p/, /f/, /t/, /s/

Stop - A sound made by entirely interrupting the flow of air momentarily. Examples: /t/, /p/, /d/, /g/

Liquid - Essentially a vowel functioning as a consonant, as /r/ and /l/ in some dialects of English (including mine).

Fricative - A sound made by occluding but not interrupting the flow of air. This produces a sound reminiscent of friction between two objects, hence the name. Examples: /s/, /f/, /z/

Affricate - A stop followed by a fricative, and regarded as a single sound by speakers of the language. Examples: the beginning and ending sounds of 'church' and 'George'.

#210 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Thank you, Xopher. I'm still not clear on everything, but it's better than I had-- I'm working from the Spanish linguistics class (which is why I mentally pronounce Xopher as either Zopher or something between Shopher and S(h)opher) and a fair amount of voice lessons where the idea was to make it both pretty and right, slanting toward pretty when necessary. Just knowing 'affricate' has brightened my day immensely.
I'm also glad I'm alone in the office. They already know I'm weird about words here, but still.

#211 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 01:44 PM:

#209: Where are the plosives? And the -- oh, there are affricates.

Never mind.

#212 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Now that's what you can call a Cabinet reshuffle....

#214 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 02:45 PM:

On the topic of monosyllabic conversation-carriers---

A friend of mine once related the story of how her mother, a teacher who worked with children with speech impediments, would use "yeah" to respond to her students. One day she absent-mindedly replied with "yeah" to something one of her students said to her that didn't quite parse. It was only later that she realized that the student had said, "My mom said she saw you at the bar last night." (This is in semi-rural Iowa, where such proprieties matter much more than in more-urban areas, and the teacher hadn't been at the bar.)

It was at this point that the teacher switched to "hunh" as her monosyllabic conversation-carrier of choice.

#215 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 03:04 PM:

Xopher @ 199:

Wouldn't that be pretty close to how some regional speakers would say "li'l", as in "cute li'l thing"?

English-as-she-is-spoken actually uses a lot more phonemes than English speakers consciously notice. For instance, almost every English speaker can make a correct glottal stop in saying "Uh-oh" but most have never noticed and have no idea that that's a distinct consonantal sound.

#216 ::: Sean Sakamoto ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Speaking of "hunh", I have picked up the Japanese habit of responding with "ngg." It basically means, "You spoke." It's an acknowledgment and little else. Not a negation, nor an affirmation. Sometimes when my wife asks me to do something, like put my socks in the dirty laundry instead of on the floor, I'll say "ngg." To which she'll reply, "Ngg janai!" Which means, "Don't nggg me!"

Sorry to bore you with this little detail, but ever since that thread about "whinge" and the various cross pollinations of language, this has been in the back of my mind.

#217 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Terry Karney (#162): Are you confusing (presumably Robert) Jordan with Joel Rosenberg?

Tom Whitmore (#207): Note that the music video for "The Safety Dance" has a group of Morris dancers in it.

#218 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:03 PM:

We Orcish serve the fiery Eye
And hope we never draw too nigh
Because there's worse to do than die
That's evil enough for me.

We bear the mark of the White Hand
And 'neath the Tower ready stand
To lay our waste upon your land
That's evil enough for me.

We holds so close our Precious ring
And keeps it safe from everything
Except for Baggins and his Sting
That's evil enough for us.

#219 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:04 PM:

For a moment, I wondered how they'd managed to get hobbits for that Safety Dance video.

#220 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:07 PM:

#192: And there's the good ol' Southern "Bless your heart" which means anything but.

Oh my yes. But then, I've also been known to slather on the "duckling," "bubbeleh," and "querida," so.

But, well:

Pueo's eggs got sat on
Then blasphemers got shat on
The priest, he kept his hat on!
And that's good enough for me.

#221 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Serge #186: Why don't you try Midnight Robber first? I think you'll enjoy it.

#222 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:38 PM:

abi @ 218

Well done. I gave up on Middle Earth when I found myself trying to rhyme "Sauron" with "tire-iron".*

* or should that be "tyre-iron"?

#223 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 04:49 PM:

We Nine set forth upon the Way
though where it goeth none can say;
Gandalf, we hope, will save the day
and that's good enough for me.

#224 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Bruce, you gave up too soon.

Sauron
War-on

It's gratis, no royalties required.

#225 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Heresiarch @188

My problem with plums today is that I've got 50 pounds of them, and I cannot give them away. Quarantine due to a godzilla moth.

[And yes...couldn't...resist*...

This is Just To Say:
We will be eating
the plums
that are on
ice, in the fridge, in boxes and bowls and the oven and stove.

And which
We are more than probably
sick of
and need a break.

Please give me
some more recipes,
mine are getting
old.]

------
* though if I've got more than 20 pastiches in my view-all-by, maybe I'll memorize a new poem.

#226 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Xopher@ #199:
Ah, you studied the language in a modern orthography! How fascinating. That would explain everything. (Although to be consistent I suppose you should have spelled "Chalchiuhtecolotl" something like "Tšaltšiwtekoloƛ" (OK, you probably didn't use the barred-lambda for "tl" in that system, but I kind of like it, & you couldn't remember exactly what you did have...)

Speaking of which, yes, a difficult sound to get right. There's a wikipedia page for it here: Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate. I've looked for sound samples - the clearest I've found are here, demonstrating the pronunciation of John Quijada's conlang Ithkuil, in which the sound is represented by a q-háček. There are two samples, pronouncing the sound both word-initially [q̌am] and word-finally [lâq̌]. (The Ithkuil phoneme isn't exactly the same as the Nahuatl – it's aspirated, for one thing – but probably close enough.) It's also found in Klingon (there spelt "tlh") and there's a sample, along with pronunciation advice, here. These are artificial languages, though, & therefore not native speakers. You can listen to a Nahuatl speaker saying the day-names of the Aztec calendar, some of which contain "tl" (text here, if you can get that page to display legibly).

Incidentally, the word-final "tl" isn't syllabic (i.e. "chocolatl" has only three syllables), and the Nahuatl stress falls regularly on the penultimate, so some of these verses don't quite scan if pronounced "authentically".

#227 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 06:37 PM:

Raise a glass to good old Bacchus
And his ongoing drunken fracas
Although his rites are prone to shock us
They're still good enough for me!

#228 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 06:46 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, check the email tht your name leads to.

De Gustibus, by Marian Burros, has a scrumptious plum torte that freezes (apparently extraordinarly well). I copied the recipe and sent it to you.

#229 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 06:54 PM:

plum cobbler, plum kuchen - that one usually wants prune-plums - plum jelly, um, I need to check the cookbooks ... they should freeze okay, though: I'd use sugar-pack, like peaches. Plum butter, which is plums cooked down, sieved, and cooked some more with sugar (half as much as fruit). Plum juice for plum-ade (can be frozen, I think)?

#230 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 07:00 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale --

Spicy plum chutney; use any of your less-sweet preserve recipes, and throw in a lot of whole spices -- yellow mustard seed, ginger, hot pepper (Szechuan if you have it), cardamom. Nice as a side with Indian food; jollifying on a plain cheese sandwich. Freezes ok if you aren't up to canning.

#231 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 07:10 PM:

Maybe not the right kind of plums, but you could try making plum wine...

#232 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 07:28 PM:

In case anyone has recovered from the last game:

ohai i is kitteh i can has Bast
queen of da kittehs both prezent n past
slow lik a sunbeam, ketchin mice fast
she has a flavr lik cheezburger

#233 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 07:54 PM:

PNH @ 146: I always read you, always admire you. But sometimes, you make me grin. It's a grin I haven't used a lot this past year, and I always love the way I feel when something inspires it. It's all teeth and crinkled nose. So thanks.

Fade @ 152: I think you're exactly right. At work (I'm a lawyer), I strike almost every "clearly," "obviously," and "simply," that appears in any brief I'm editing. My rule of thumb is that if you have to tell the judge that your proposition is clear, obvious, or simple, you either haven't done your job, and the proposition isn't any such thing, or you're being redundant and taking up space in my page limits...

#234 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Diatryma 210: Glad it was helpful. I say ZOH-fur (/zofr/), but as long as it's mental I don't care how you pronounce it! It does bug me when people put the 't' back in - you wouldn't write *Xtmas, would you? - but by that same token I can't get too upset if people think it's pronounced EKS-ah-fur.

D. 211: I think 'plosive' is an old term for 'stop', but I'm not sure. At any rate we didn't call things plosive when I was taking linguistics.

Clifton 215: You mean the 'tl'? No, the 'li'l' just has a back /l/, which is one allophone (non-contrastive variant) of the /l/ phoneme. Compare the /l/ in 'like' to the one in 'bell', and if you're American and don't overpronounce the latter, you'll notice that they're different.

English has more sounds than most people realize, and possibly more phonemes, but the glottal stop isn't really an example. It's an allophone of some consonants in some dialects (Cockney 'bottle' is sometimes said /bo'l/, where the apostrophe in this case indicates a glottal stop) and is an automatic separator for vowels in most dialects. No word begins with a vowel in English, phonetically speaking, because if it begins with a vowel phonemically it gets an automatic g-stop phonetically.

That's in the majority of dialects. In some (notably British BBC English) if one word ends in a vowel and the next begins with one, the automatic separator is /r/, not /'/. A BBC announcer would pronounce 'Cuba and Africa' /kyub^ rænd æfrik^/, where an American would say /kyub^ 'ænd æfrik^/ (using /^/ for schwa; spaces only for clarity).

To call something a separate phoneme you generally have to be able to cite at least one minimal pair for the proposed phoneme and each other sound in its class, i.e. a pair of words distinguished only by the difference between the two sounds. For example, /f/ and /v/ are distinct phonemes, and part of how we know that is that 'ferry' (/feri/) and 'very' (/veri/) are distinct words. Thus 'ferry/very' is a minimal pair for /f/ and /v/.

When people say the wrong phoneme, or leave a phoneme out, they say the wrong word, or a word that doesn't exist. When they use the wrong allophone, they just sound like they have an accent. If you say "Uh-oh" and leave out the glottal stops, you will still be understood; if you substitute /r/ you will be speaking Scoobese, which is a bit more than just an accent!

#235 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 08:04 PM:

Oops. Please substitute 'most Americans' for 'an American' in my antepenultimate paragraph above.

John F. Kennedy is an example of an American who spoke an r-separated dialect, and I wouldn't want to leave HIM (or any of the fine people who talk like him) out!

#236 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 08:40 PM:

Btw, I was just watching part of Star Wars on TV today. They edited out the split second where Leia kisses Luke "for luck". Just the bit where she actually touches her lips to his, so it looked like she kissed him on the cheek.

I suspect this is because it's revealed in other movies that she's his sister...and the censor recoiled from the "incest" idea. I sure hope that person never works on Back To The Future!

#237 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 08:41 PM:

D. & Xopher on plosives:
The word "stop" is used in a narrow sense which is synonymous with "plosive", but also in a broader sense in which all plosives are stops but not all stops are plosives. From "A Little Encyplopaedia of Phonetics":

plosive In many ways it is possible to regard plosives as the most basic type of consonant. They are produced by forming a complete obstruction to the flow of air out of the mouth and nose, and normally this results in a build-up of compressed air inside the chamber formed by the closure. When the closure is released, there is a small explosion that causes a sharp noise. Plosives are among the first sounds that are used by children when they start to speak (though nasals are likely to be the very first consonants). The basic plosive consonant type can be exploited in many different ways: plosives may have any place of articulation, may be voiced or voiceless and may have an egressive or ingressive airflow. The airflow may be from the lungs (pulmonic), from the larynx (glottalic) or generated in the mouth (velaric). We find great variation in the release of the plosive (see release below).
stop This term is often used as if synonymous with plosive. However, some writers on phonetics use it to refer to the class of sounds in which there is complete closure specifically in the oral cavity. In this case, sounds such as [m] and [n] are also stops; more precisely, they are nasal stops.

(I posted a comment earlier about Nahuatl "tl", with links to some sound samples, but it's being held for review.)

#238 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:10 PM:

Is the Nahuatl "tl" l sound like the l sound found in Welsh and Icelandic?

I'm Icelandic and I bonded with a girl who spoke Welsh as her native tongue over L sounds at a party once.

I.e it's an l sound that's voiceless and feels like you're letting air out the side of your tongue?

#239 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:22 PM:

Tim 236: I was taught to use the term 'stop' only when ALL airflow is halted. Since /m/ and /n/ allow air to pass through the nose, we gave them their own category, and didn't count them among the stops.

But it's just a matter of convention. So as long as it's clear where your category boundaries are, I'm not going to dispute on it.

#240 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:25 PM:

Xopher @233: "li'l" in my idiolect has glottal stop followed by a syllabic /l/.

Madeleine @168: I'm not sure if there's a specific term for that heresy or type of heresy; it seems to consist of a denial either of God's goodness or his omnipotence, right? <theodicy> I suspect it's a logical contradiction for there to be more than one really omnipotent being, -- unless their wills are perfectly united. So since God wanted to create us with free will, he couldn't make us omnipotent; and since he necessarily had to make our power finite, on what basis can we say that he should have made it greater or less than he actually did? Any specific level of power would be open to nitpicking from somebody or other... </theodicy>

#241 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:30 PM:

Abi, kittehs has lurv fer yer verse.

Mew!

#242 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Jim @ #239: Right, that's the one I'm talking about. It doesn't sound at all like "lill".

#243 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:01 PM:

Ohhhhh! I thought you were talking about the 'tl' sound. Yeah, there's a glottal stop there.

#244 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Kathryn #225:
Plum Conserve from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

Grind up 2 lb pitted plums, 1 c seedless raisins, 1 medium orange. Add 3 c sugar. Bring to boil. Stir in 1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts. Pour into hot scalded jars and seal at once. Makes six 1/2 pint jars. Murky but good.

The peach conserve from the same book is also good -- a golden delight of peaches and oranges with bits of red maraschino cherries suspended in it.


#245 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:38 PM:

little light, #174, I was reared by fundamentalist Christians and taught to listen to boring older folks. I know lots of little interjections:

Oh my. Really. Gracious. Uh huh. I never.

and more that aren't coming to mind. I don't have to think of them, they just come out of my mouth at the right time.

Serge, #178, my brother and a little girl were playing in the sprinkler when one of them tripped and her tooth went into his head. They both got hauled off to the base clinic and the doctor said the tooth wasn't in his head, it must be in the grass. Four days later, when Mother changed the bandage, it was stuck to the underside of the bandage. Too late to put it back in the girl's mouth. And in a less organic mode, the screws and pins that were stablizing my ankle after breaking it in nine places in three inches, started coming out. My body rejected them, so they and the plates all came out via surgery which is more organized than letting them do it by themselves.

Great Ghu, I call him often
The other gods he'll soften
He puts them in a coften
And that's good enough for me!

#246 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:40 PM:

Xopher -- yay! I've been pronouncing your nom d'internet correctly! (You'd be surprised how often it gets spoken aloud in this household. We frequently have dinner table conversations about Making Light threads.)

abi, I read your verse glancing up at the statue of Bast, who watches over our entryway (and the cats as they frolick around the living room). I think she is pleased. (I told the cats once that that was their goddess and they should be properly respectful. They gave me looks that said "We're incarnations, not worshippers. Don't you know anything?" For once they did not speak lolcat.)

Xopher again, at 235 -- But did Han shoot first? I'll forgive them that edit if he did.

#247 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Cats in the belfry; Cats in the dark
Cats on the hot stove; watch for the spark!
Cats loaf and linger; cats lurk and lark
As they revel in the joys of --- syncopation!

#248 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:00 PM:

Xopher @#233: Oops, here I was thinking it was "stoh-fer" as in, um, Lean Cuisine. Sorry!

On a sort of related note, apparently people from New England pronounce merry, marry and Mary differently. College friends of mine tried to get me to hear the difference but it's all one sound to me (lifelong midwesterner here). I also drink pop and put my groceries in a sack.

Can anyone confirm the merry/Mary thing? Were they maybe just pulling my leg?

#249 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:09 PM:

Caroline 245: Ooh, now I have to imagine what you're saying about me. And I didn't see if Han shot first; I was channel surfing.

Mary Dell 247: They are not pulling your leg. I can (barely) hear the difference if I try hard, but I still can't make it. I'm told the isogloss (line dividing two dialects) between pronouncing them the same and pronouncing them differently is the Alleghenies. However, national TV has been homogenizing dialects, so who knows.

#250 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:12 PM:

Mary @247:

I can still hear the difference between merry and Mary, when spoken by someone from out East. I grew up in Upstate New York and Pittsburgh. My parents are both Bostonians. Marry and Mary are so similar that I rarely hear the difference. The vowel sound is the same, but the length of time that it is held is longer for the girl's name. At least, that's what I remember. I've been in the Midwest for 25 years, now, and I'm getting a bit vowel-deaf. But yeah, three distinct words, honest.

Now me, I can't for the life of me say "uff-da" in any convincing tone. It's the Minnesotan "ayup," sorta. Maybe. You can tell I'm not a _real_ Minnesotan because I don't understand uff-da, even if I have learned to call casseroles hotdishes.

#251 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:31 PM:

I don't know if I pronounce merry, marry, and Mary differently; the only person I have on hand to test is myself, and I *read* them differently. It's like knight and night. 'kn' is pronounced differently from 'n' in my head, and the vowel is a little different. But it's mostly in my head.
A past roommate once made fun of me for some time because I say 'bury' like 'burry' rather than 'berry'. It's a peril of getting so much through text.

#252 ::: David Bellamy ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Nalo Hopkinson has written four novels. They are all different. I would suggest reading them in the order she wrote them, although my personal favorite is Midnight Robber.

#253 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Diatryma, your observation reminds me of Introduction to Anthropological Linguistics, long ago, one, during a class on IPA, one of my friends asked the professor "How do I say thing?" Of course, since she was from Memphis Tennesee, it came out more like "Ha du Ah sahy thae'eiang?" (darn for not being ablt to do superscript notation).

#254 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Let us now praise old Haepheastos
He makes the moutains restless
and he's covered with asbestos
and that's good enough for me

#255 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Let us now praise old Haepheastos
He makes the moutains restless
and he's covered with asbestos
and that's good enough for me

#256 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 12:41 AM:

Kathryn at 121 and the room you couldn't get into:

I heard a story once that there was a guy who grew up in an Eastern European country where American films were banned. When he finally got to see American movies, he was disappointed.

So he went on to make a movie that was based on his idea of what American movies were like before he was allowed to see them. This movie was called Liquid Sky.

So I suggest that some of the effect of the room you couldn't get into may be mirage, and your own recreation of said room might be better than the room itself. Take that room and liquid-skyify it.

#257 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:03 AM:

re the four-letter-words particle with words like zoooogenous, etc.

I tried to come up with some of my own:

aaaamoral;
not not not not moral (that is to say an even number of negatives is a positive, so it's moral)

neo-eo-eon: the new dawn of an era

aa-aardvark: an anteater that inhabits lava formations

canoe-oenophile: someone who likes to drink wine while paddling a canoe

EEE-e e'en: an evening spent looking at Japanese woodcut depictions of narrow shoes

Can anyone do better?

#258 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:03 AM:

Sean Sakamoto @ 216: I think my favorite Japanese verbalization is "eeeeee?" meaning approximately "Universe does not PARSE!" I remember a particular show where the studio audience would be shown a funny video clip (a dog playing a piano or something) and the contestants had to guess what was happening based on the length and the particular intonation of the audience's "eeeeeee*?" It was awesomely weird, as only Japanese TV can be.

*really, it warrants that many e's.

Xopher @ 233: "Glad it was helpful. I say ZOH-fur (/zofr/), but as long as it's mental I don't care how you pronounce it! It does bug me when people put the 't' back in - you wouldn't write *Xtmas, would you? - but by that same token I can't get too upset if people think it's pronounced EKS-ah-fur."

Xopher...Xmas...Christmas...OH WOW. WOW. Can you believe that I just figured that out just now? I r not-brite kitteh.

(Speaking of kittehs and pronouncing written names, I just remembered that someone on abi's catz thread asked me how I pronounce my name, and I forgot to reply. If that person is reading this thread and is still curious, I say "her-REEZ-i-ark" in my head, but I'm notoriously bad at pronouncing things I've only ever seen written.)

#259 ::: Trolleybus ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:04 AM:

abi @ #93: "Don't try this with checked bags. You'll probably never see them again."

That can't happen in this case. You have to carry your bags on the train (Amtrak doesn't even have checked baggage service on most Northeast Corridor trains), so you pick them up from baggage claim yourself (and check them at the airport, not the train station, in the other direction).

Allen Baum @ #101: "I don't know if you need to check into the train like you do for a flight"

You don't.

#260 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Heresiarch @ #257, "It was awesomely weird, as only Japanese TV can be."

Oh my yes. And if it's weird now, imagine what it was like in 1973 when the only TV in the Yokosuka barracks was always tuned to Japanese cartoons. I suppose they were forerunners to anime, but I didn't get them worth a darn and probably wouldn't have even had they been in English.

#261 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Serge #186:
Either "Brown Girl in the Ring" or "Midnight Robber". I read & enjoyed both years ago, liked Brown Girl (her debut novel) more, and found both to be fresh & unusual; not many SF/F writers use 'non-Anglo'* cultural traditions in their story settings?

*What's the acceptable way to describe, uh, white-folk?

#262 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:48 AM:

neo-eo-eon: the new dawn of an era

The yawning realisation that The Matrix has you.

#263 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:02 AM:

Ah, ye beat me to Hephaestus. But that's just as well. The rhymes I was contemplated made much of his "manly, hairy chest-us", which might have been good enough for me but not for prime time.


I'm not from New England, but...

merry = sherry, ferry
marry = Harry, Larry
Mary = fairy, wary

At least, that's what they sound like in my head.


As for the troll-du-jour, I'm reminded of one or two Yahoo!Group encounters in which the unpleasant person said something like, "Yes, I can see how you'd get that impression from what I wrote, but" (if they haven't said, "How could you possibly get that impression from what I wrote?!") "anyone who knows me in real life can attest that I'm actually the most generous, kind, warm, sympathetic person on the block." My mental response to that is, "Presumably you don't talk to your friends the way you talk to us, then. Or else you're fortunate to be surrounded with friends who like abuse."

#264 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:09 AM:

Now me, I can't for the life of me say "uff-da" in any convincing tone. It's the Minnesotan "ayup," sorta. Maybe.

I left Minnesota fifteen years ago, but I still catch myself saying "Uff da" out of the blue. It's an expression of surprise or fatigue, in my experience. "Uff da! The Vikings beat the Packers, 59 to 14!" or "Uff da! Glad we got that tree branch moved," or "Uff da! That was one heck of a potluck. I won't need to eat for a week!"

...even if I have learned to call casseroles hotdishes.

Yah shure yu'betcha!

(Coming to Massachusetts, I was terribly confused when I ordered a 'grinder' out of curiosity and got a sub sandwich. "But if I'd wanted a sub, I woulda' ordered one!")

#265 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:36 AM:

Well, the first part of the end-of-season Doctor Who has been broadcast.

By some slightly improbable coincidence of timing, Tony Blair quits as Prime Minister nextweek, and the story centres on a new Prime Minister. (Everyone has known it was coming for months, so the story was easy, but the broadcast date?)

I wonder what people are going to say about Gordon Brown's first Cabinet meeting. Maybe Paddy Ashdown knows something that we don't.

#266 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:44 AM:

Our first line names a random god,
we'll then use one quip to show what's odd
with her, it, him, or the full pod,
And that's good enough for me!

#267 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 05:54 AM:

I just deleted a spam email before its subject line had a chance to register. "Paleontology smut". Now I'm left with just my imagination as to what might have been inside...

#268 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 06:11 AM:

I've heard that the stereotypical (at one time) "ah-so" Japanese generic vocalization came from the then Crown Prince, later Emperor, in the earlier part of the 20th Century, father of the reigning Emperor. (He is mostly called Hirohito outside Nippon, Emperor Shōwa (Shōwa Tennō) within it.)

Altho he broke with tradition in a number of ways, such as travelling overseas while Crown Prince, he was said to be rather shy, diffident and not easy with small talk, tending to use the non-committal "ah-so" frequently, which was picked up by the Western press following him on his visits.

#269 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 07:45 AM:

Mary Dell @247

"On a sort of related note, apparently people from New England pronounce merry, marry and Mary differently. College friends of mine tried to get me to hear the difference but it's all one sound to me (lifelong midwesterner here).

I can't speak for New England but here in Merry Old they are definitely different. So much so that I goggled at the idea that they weren't. I'll second Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @262's suggestions - but I don't know how you pronounce those words.

We also pronouce "Patty" (female name) and "Paddy" (male name) different from each other - and I got really confused in the USA (Wisconsin) where "Patty" was pronounced "Paddy".

For vowel shifts, I've always enjoyed Bill Bryson's story of somewhere in the USA where "were you born in a barn?" has become pronounced "were you barn in a born?" Can anyone remember where that was (I don't have a copy of "Mother Tongue" handy).

#270 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 07:49 AM:

Jules @ 266 Paleontology smut? Hmm... Maybe Gardner Dozois how has his own spamming outfit.

#271 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 07:52 AM:

Marilee @ 244... Ouch. Luckily for me, the only piece of metal in my body (that I know of anyway) has shown no sign of being rejected as it is in my jaw. I don't mind flapping my jaw around when I'm among friends, but not in such manner.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 07:58 AM:

Thanks for the Nalo Hopkinson recommendations, Faren, Laurel, Fragano and Soon Lee. Sue and I went to the local Borders last night after having dinner and of course they didn't have a single book by Hopkinson. I could have ordered Midnight Robber from them, but I'll be working in San Francisco the week of July 15. My employer is only a few blocks from Stacey's Bookstore. Abd there is Berkeley with the Other Change of Hobbit and Dark Carnival.

#273 ::: individualfrog ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:09 AM:

Mez @267: I don't know about that story, but so is a very basic word in Japanese, with a meaning like the "so" in "is that so?" This leads to one of my favorite Japanese phrases, "sosososososososo!", which means basically, "yes, that's right!"

I feel really creepy "explaining" about any language except English, though. It feels super-presumptuous of me.

#274 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:24 AM:

#250: Dialects are fun.

My mother was from Massachusetts, and my father from Brooklyn. So I have four uncles, two ahnts, and two ants.


#275 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Lydia Nickerson's #249 is a perfect description of the difference between merry, marry, and Mary. The Alleghenies might just be where the division is, because my fellow Rhode Islanders distinguish them, and so do both of my parents, one from New York City, and one from the Finger Lakes region of New York, while none of the large contingent of North Carolingians that live here do. One of my friends from NC is named Kerry, and she hears no difference between her name and the word carry, but I sure do.

Re: Nalo Hopkinson, I've never read her, but weirdly I came across three of her books in a very peculiar manner just as this discusion of her started. So they're mine mine mine!!! now.

#276 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Soon 260: In America, 'European Americans'. Elsewhere, 'European-descended people'.

Nicole 262: To me, ALL those words rhyme.

As for trolls, I've had lots of them, mostly but not always young, protest what nice people they are "in real life," as if being nasty online somehow didn't count. One particularly vile excrescence said "I'm the nicest person I know," to which I responded "Then everyone you know should be killed."

dcb 268: That intervocalic reduction of /d/ and /t/ to an apical flap /D/ is a common feature of American English. This rarely leads to ambiguities; for example the name 'Paddy' is very rare here (the usual nickname for 'Patrick' is 'Pat'*). I had to strain to come up with a "vicious overlap" situation for it; if your friend is trying to change a lightbulb, and you're not sure s/he can reach it from a chair, you might ask "You want a stepladder, or can you make do with a chair?" Your unusually erudite partner might then respond "/ð^ læDr/"—did s/he say "the ladder" or "the latter"?


* Not used if the last name is Nielsen Hayden.

#277 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:44 AM:

247/249/250: I usually pronounce 'Mary', 'merry', and 'marry' the same, although I can distinguish 'marry' from the other two if I think about it. I literally can't imagine how one would go about differentiating the other two.

I grew up in Atlanta with a mother from California and a father from Germany by way of China. I don't have a Southern accent but can fake a pretty good one; overall I think I sound pretty generic-American/midwestern.

#278 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 10:30 AM:

merry vs marry...

In 1980's Flash Gordon, when Ming the Merciless is about to marry Dale Arden, wasn't there a spaceship going across the sky with a banner that said "Be merry... Under penalty of death..." ?

#279 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Xopher @ 275

I spent several days trying to work out why a woman was called "Paddy". I didn't work out her name was "Patty" until I saw it written down. They I still had problems because every time someone said her name, my brain provided the printed word "Paddy" and another part of me objected "but her name is "Patty"" (I key into printed words better than into heard sounds).

You could have "Patty is in the paddy (field)".

How about a meat patty (as in, before the hamburger is cooked)? Is that also pronounced with the "apical flap /D/"? (in quote marks because I'm trying to get to grips with these phonetic symbols and descriptions but don't claim to understand them yet).

#280 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 10:58 AM:

dcb 278: Yep, pretty much any /t/ or /d/ in that position can be pronounced that way.

I knew an Englisman once who discovered that the New York City token clerks didn't understand him when he asked for twenty tokens. He had to learn to say "twenny" to get what he wanted.

#281 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:07 AM:

Bruce@164: I remember a 3rd line "If a little, then a lot'l!" but not who it was for. (Rhymes not mentioned: throttle, mottle, crottle (if you have greeps).)

Madeleine@168: because "image" is literal rather than metaphorical?

Praise to Popacatepetl
Just a tiny cigarette'l
put him in terrific fettle
(from Greer Gilman, who rattled off half a dozen of these in ~15 minutes one night.)

Xopher: No word begins with a vowel in English, phonetically speaking, because if it begins with a vowel phonemically it gets an automatic g-stop phonetically.
That sounds a bit absolutist; I'm probably off-median due to chorus training, but what I hear when I say "ominous" or "average" doesn't seem to start with a stop. (Starting with an 'h' is a trick I'll use on difficult notes in concert, but not for this example.)

Kevin@263: what's "grinder" where you come from? I grew up with "sub" around DC and was startled by "hero" when I lived in mid-state NY; "sub" now seems common in Boston, possibly due to chains that have uniform labels instead of matching the local vocabulary.

#282 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Sica @ #237:
Roughly speaking, Nahuatl "tl" is to Welsh "ll" (and I guess the equivalent Icelandic sound) as English "ch" is to English "sh".

#283 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:16 AM:

CHip 280: Well, I'm talking about naïve speakers. Just because you CAN pronounce it without a glottal stop doesn't mean it's normally said that way. And I'd have to listen carefully. Sometimes the g-stop is stronger than others.

#284 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:51 AM:

ethan #274:

I differentiate, although Mary/marry is less obvious. I grew up in the Bluegrass, with parents from slightly further west in KY, so I'm well out of the Alleghenies (although Grand Old Opry was apparently on the menu when my mother was a child).

#285 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 12:23 PM:

Tim May's #226 got stuck in the moderation queue, and is just now approved. Unfortunately, as a result, all the comments between #226 and this one have had their numbers incremented forward by one, thus throwing several references-by-number off by one.

I've just now done clever things with mail filters that will, I hope, cause me to notice more quickly when a comment needs approval. For the zillionth time I wish we had the time and skill to implement a more sophisticated forum system, but for now we're making do with this one...

#287 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 12:43 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @#262 & dcb @#268:

If I really try, I can imagine a slight distinction in sound between ferry and fairy, but that's about it from your list, at least as I've heard them pronounced hereabouts.

As for dialects:

Mom's from Watertown, MA, as were her parents; Dad's from Manhattan, his mother was from Connecticut, and his father was from Alabama.
My godparents, with whom I spent huge chunks of time in my childhood, hail from Zimbabwe (godfather) and Oxford, England (godmother). I grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and most of our aqcuaintances & friends were associated with ND university, so weren't native to the area. Spent a lot of time with neighbors from England & Germany.

My whole family was living in Oxford, England for the first two years that I was verbal, so I had speech therapy in early grade school to train me out of my English accent.

Lived in Bloomington, Indiana from age 18 to 25, and picked up a bit of a south-midwest drawl. Have been living in Chicago for 14 years now and am married to a southside-irish Chicagoan, who, like all his bretheren, says "trow" for "throw" and "frunch room" for "living room." (He thinks he's saying "front room". I've taken to calling it the French room.)

Anyway, thanks to all the TV I watch, I seem to pass for mostly normal around here, but I will continue to say "howdy" and "y'all" til my dying day.

#288 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:08 PM:

Dave Bell's #189 is wonderfully clever, and only a little bit marred by the fact that TNH pronounces her first name ter EE sa instead of the Romance-language ter AY za.

#289 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Mary Dell @ 287

Re. hearing the distinction: are you saying that you cannot hear a distinction even if someone pronounces them differently, in the way we're trying to describe, or just that where you live there is little difference in the pronunciation? I ask because I remember hearing that when toddlers are told "don't say "tree" say "three" it's not that that they are having a pronunciation problem, but that they cannot hear the difference - to them, you're saying "don't say tree, say tree".

You had speech therapy to train you out of a British accent. Why? Was your speech unintelligible to your peers/teachers? Or were you getting laughed at (being bullied is no joke, I know)?

Me, I'm a Mancunian by birth (i.e. born in Manchester, UK). Took about three or four of my six years at university in Cambridge to remove most of the accent (and I was north Manchester, but never had a very broad Bury/Lancashire accent, for anyone reading this who knows the difference I'm talking about), and I've lived in London for about 14 years now, so I've got a reasonably neutral but still Northern British accent: "bath" has a short "a", not "barth" as it is pronounced down here. I pronounce "garage" as "garidge" (ga (short a)- ridge). Y'know, I really wish I knew all those symbols and descriptive terms Xopher et al. can use - would really help at this point!

#290 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:26 PM:

dcb @#289:

are you saying that you cannot hear a distinction even if someone pronounces them differently.

When my friends CLAIMED to be pronouncing merry/marry/Mary differently, I could not hear the distinction.

As for speech therapy, there were about 4 kids in my class who went to speech class with a special teacher a few times a week, up through the end of second or third grade. All of us sounded fine to me. I know the accent was a big part of why I was there, but I also had some hearing trouble at that age, so I probably was somewhat unintelligible to my teachers, or had murky consonants, or somesuch.

I was mercilessly bullied, but that was mainly for other reasons, and the powers that be didn't pay any mind to that sort of thing back then. Ah, school days, those dear old golden rule days.

#291 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:29 PM:

dcb @#289:

Note: my hearing was fine at the time I was learning about the m/m/M thing, so that doesn't explain my not hearing the difference, either...

#292 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Patrick @288
So more like...

Our goddess is Teresa
We all write verse to please her
(No plums left in the freezer!)
But that's good enough for me.

#293 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:46 PM:

I think what bothers me most about that alleged dialect test is that, while my regional dialect does not distinguish between merry, marry, and Mary, the vowel in all of them is reduced and back: the default vowel in the PNW dialect (according to my actual Professors of anthropological linguistics at WSU) is schwa. This causes flatland furriners to think we say "beg" for "bag" when, in fact, both words, in the mouth of a mossback, use schwa.

#294 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Marry merry Mary: in my (mainly southern*) British accent they all sound clearly different and I can't imagine them sounding the same. How odd.

The vowels in merry and Mary sound pretty similar, sure enough, but merry is shorter. Or the R is more pronounced. I think that if I sing "We wish you a Mary Christmas" without changing the rhythm it still sounds different (and makes me want to swing the rhythm), and it definitely doesn't feel right to sing "Little don**key, carry Me**rry safely on** her way" (where the double-asterisked syllables are long notes) because to put the E in merry on such a long note just feels as if it doesn't work.

The A in marry is like in cat the way I say it. Sort of. There's probably some slight difference due to the following consonant being different, but I wouldn't know how to identify it or what it was called.

* Childhood spent in Yorkshire. Parents from north London. Moved to the south-west as a teenager and went to a school full of other kids whose families were recent arrivals in the area. Sometimes I wish my accent was a pure example of something.

#295 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Unrelated to anything:

I just watched the new Fantastic Four movie, and until today I had no idea that something so shoddy could also be so reprehensible.

In other words: it bit, hard.

#296 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:07 PM:

(Open thread)

Locus is reporting that Roger Elwood has died.

#297 ::: James Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:12 PM:

Roger Elwood has died. Actually, if Locus can be believed, he's been dead for four months.

#298 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Tim @ 282

I just saw your post with the links to the sound samples etc. and the tl sound there is pretty much the Icelandic one. I mean it differs a bit. Because the same sound varies depending on the other sounds around it.

At the start of words, it's spelled 'hl' in Icelandic and it's lacking the 't' starting part and is I think more like the welsh ll. In the middle or end of words the l is usually pronounced normally and voiced unless there's a t,k or a d sound before it and then you get a sound that to me sound exactly like in those samples you linked to. However I might not be hearing the subtle differences.

Icelandic has aspiration contrast so I think that l sound has come from that, we've also got a more normal unaspirated 'standard' l. Anyway I had a few friends who were trying to learn Icelandic and they really struggled with that sound. They pretty much couldn't manage it at all.

#299 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:21 PM:

#281 ::: CHip "If a little, then a lot'l!" but not who it was for.

Ogden Nash, on what come out when you thump a ketchup bottle, but I don't have the specific poem. "First a little, then a lot'l"

#300 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:32 PM:

For Teresa and other roses & cooking fans here: Dorrie Greenspan writes about the Julia Child Rose given to her.

#301 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Carol Kimball #299:

I think you're referring to:

Shake and shake
the catsup bottle,
none will come,
and then a lot'll.

It's by Richard Armour.

#302 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Let's sing praises to Osiris
And if you are desirous
Write His praises on papyrus!
It's good enough for me.

When we went to worship Venus
Well, ye gods you should have seen us
Now the clinic has to screen
But that's good enough for me.

We will gather in our saunas
When the spirit comes upon us
To perform the rites of Faunus
And that's good enough for me.

Let us go and worship Loki
He's the old Norse god of chaos
Which is why this verse doesn't rhyme or scan
But it's good enough for me.

I've been singing this song for 25 years, I could keep singing for another 25, I'm not proud... or tired.

#303 ::: Julia Jones sees pharmacy spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Jules @267: I have a novella in an anthology which also includes something which could be fairly described as paleontology smut, at least in venues where the readership will not get upset about the use of the word "smut" to describer erotic romance. So it's out there in the commercial small press.

#304 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Julia has once again failed to notice left-over spam tags in her saved information...

I wish I could stop doing that. Sometimes it pops up again even when I've reset it -- I think when I've started writing a comment and then thought better of it.

#305 ::: James Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 02:57 PM:

When I began #297, I had not seen #296.

#306 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:12 PM:

No one has mentioned Cthulhu
Although he'd love to rule you --
A tentacle or two'll do,
And that's good enough for me!

As for pronunciations, I'm Northern Californian, and it's not the same as So-Cal speak. Still, everyone can tell us by our blatant vowels. On the other hand, inhabitants everywhere seem to slur the names of their home towns/cities in such a way that outsiders always stand out. (For me it's Oakl'nd and Pressc't, not Oak-land or Press-cott, not using apostrophes here in any technical sense but just for missing vowel sounds.) For an extreme example, there's Edinbourough (and probably a lot of other long-established places in the UK).

#307 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Magenta, @ #302 "I'm not proud... or tired."

You may have thought you'd sneak an Arlo reference by, but not so!

#308 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:36 PM:

For Xopher:

All hail the mighty Squat
Who grants us nearby parking spots
Who's goodwill can't be bought
And that's good enough for me!

#309 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Well I met a girl named Mary
and we decided to marry
Now we're really not so merry
but it's good enough for me.

#310 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 03:54 PM:

Oh, speaking of Cthulhu... given Lovecraft's odd & inconsistent advice on how to pronounce that name, I've wondered in the past whether the correct rendering of the initial "cth" (or, at least, the closest approximation producible by a human vocal tract) might not be the very lateral affricate discussed above. Similar sounds have been transcribed with similar combinations of letters before. Anyway, I sometimes read it that way in my head.

Jules @ #267:
Dinosaurs & sodomy, presumably.

#311 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Eleanor @#294: Now that you mention it, I can definitely hear a difference in how my British god-mamma says Mary and merry...but not in how my New Englander friends do. My godmother says my name with sort of an elongated aaa in the first syllable, so it's two strong syllables. Whereas the usual midwestern pronounciation is more like "Mare" (as in horse) with a quick long E tacked on the end....and "Mare" is the most common nickname for it.

Strangely, *my* nickname among many friends is Mary Dell, run together as if it's one name. Which must be how I say it, because when I give my name to people at the bank or whatnot, they often continue to look at me expectantly as if there's another name coming, until I explain that Dell is my last name.

#312 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Mary Dell (311): For such people as doctors' offices and mechanics, I tend to drop the 'Aileen' and just go by 'Mary' (it saves on the explanations). When I thus introduce myself as 'Mary Buss', a significant number of people wait for another name; I think they're hearing it as 'Mary Beth'.

#313 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 04:19 PM:

Mark Atwood commented in rasff yesterday that he ran into Teresa at the FOO camp intro dinner and they spent their time comparing their LDS legacies.

We talked about knives in another thread and the sciplus catalog came yesterday. They have the Solo Alox (put 93215 in the keyword search), the Compact (93216) and the Outrider (93217).

#314 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 05:13 PM:

ethan @ 295... I thought the Fantastic Four movie was better than expected. Kind of like when you expect to come down with the stomach flu and all you get are the sniffles. But it still sucked the big one.

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 05:34 PM:

(cont'd from #314)... And the FF movie's director/writer may be called Tim Story, but I think he knows less about drama and storytelling than I do, which is pretty scary. Compare the movie's events after Galactus shows up with how the comic-book originally told that tale.

#316 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Mary Dell, when I was working in the KU Library Interlibrary Loan, my boss was Mary Kay (surname altered on Ellis Island a couple of generations previously from a mouthful of a Polish name). She always said it was frustrating because people would go Mary Kay what? when she told them her name.

That would have to be annoying. As annoying as Paula NMN Helm. (what do you mean you don't have a middle name? My Southern parents couldn't thing of anything to match with Paula.) When I got married I took the free opportunity to give myself a middle name!

#317 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Serge, in the wikipedia entry for the FF movie, it quotes The New York Times as calling it an "amalgam of recycled ideas, dead air, dumb quips, casual sexism and pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo," which I think is only inaccurate in that it's too nice.

Oh, and unrelated to that, I have two utterly stupid questions for anyone at large.

1.) The BSG "webisodes" come after Season 2.5 and before Season 3, right? And there are ten of them?

2.) Since people have brought up Cthulhu, I think it's time for my embarrassing admission that I've never read any Lovecraft, ever. (This is especially stupid considering my rabid Rhode Island pride.) Since all y'all have been very kind and helpful and effective in pointing me in the right direction for this kind of thing before, I'll ask: where is a good place to start? Is there a good collection to go to? A particular work to begin with? I'm frightened, but I want to learn.

#318 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Mary Dell @ 311: I can't quite understand the distinction you're making. I bet if you asked your British godmother to say "mare" it would sound much like the first syllable of her "Mary".

#319 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Paula @ 316

I think what that is is the 'multiple first names' version of what my parent referred to as 'having three last names'. (One of the more distant cousins actually did have three last names, haveing been given first and middle names that were 'last names'.)
One of my mother's cousins suffers from this also: her married name is Gay. We usually use all four of her names, just so it's clear there's a last name involved.

#320 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 06:48 PM:

ethan @ 317... When a movie is based on something that's been around for over 40 years, there's bound to be some recycling. Look at the X-men movies, as an example. The worst sin of both Fantastic Four movies is that they are BORING.

#321 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 07:53 PM:

ethan#317:

Well if you will insist on seeking out horrors beyond the ken of mortal men...


...I'd probably go with "The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre" (ISBN 0-345-35080-4). Apart from "At the Mountains of Madness", it's got pretty much what I consider to be the essential Lovecraft.

Thee are websites around where you can access various Lovecraft stories but I understand that there are issues involved regarding copyright; disputes on whether the works are Public Domain or not.

#322 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:23 PM:

The Shema admits just YHWH,
And he says "There's only My way,
So it's that -- or there's the highway!"
And He's good enough for me!

#323 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:29 PM:

Ethan: Probably any collection which includes The Dunwich Horror or The Color From Space is a good starting point. His fans tend to either love or hate the novella At the Mountains of Madness so I wouldn't start there as you might be one of the haters. Be warned, the quality of Lovecraft's writing, in the sense of style, ranges from over-florid but solid to atrocious. It's his ideas that are fantastic in both senses of the word.

Also, I didn't realize for a long time that many of his stories that I had read had been either finished from his notes or "improved" by August Derleth, who was a much worse and more cliched writer. Stick to the stories entirely written by Lovecraft and published in his lifetime.

#324 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:34 PM:

Serge #320: That's true. Still, don't you get the feeling that they recycled ideas just to make sure they wouldn't be asked to have any of their own?

The only part of the whole movie that was any good, I thought, was when the Human Torch took off after the Silver Surfer the first time. I'm not usually a fan of big special-effects extravaganzas, but it was breathtaking. Unfortunately, they kept screwing it up by having the Torch make weird "humorous" remarks, which completely destroyed any wunda I might have sensed. Also, they rushed it--it could have gone on much longer and still been good (and that way maybe it wouldn't have been NYC, NYC, NYC, DC! so jarringly), perhaps if they had taken out some of the endless snoozy-sexist wedding buildup schmaltz. And on top of all that--I'd seen it before, almost in its entirety, in ads. What a frack-up of something that could have been incredible!

Soon Lee #321: Great, thanks! That specific edition is available at my local library, according to the catalogue online, so I'll pick it up tomorrow. Much obliged.

#325 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Also Clifton Royston #323, thank you. I didn't know that and will keep it mind.

#326 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:43 PM:

ethan @317: If you like Lord Dunsany's stuff, you might like Lovecraft's early Dunsanyesque work -- one of my favorites is The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, which is weird fantasy, not really horror. The best of his later horror stories include At the Mountains of Madness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, "The Dunwich Horror", "The Call of Cthulhu", "The Shadow over Innsmouth" and "The Thing on the Doorstep". I'm not sure which of the currently in print collections would be the best place to start, but maybe the Penguin The Thing on the Doorstep or The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories would be good.

Soon Lee @321: My understanding is that, now that Lovecraft has been dead 70 years (since 15 March 1937), the copyright disputes are now moot; anything that wasn't public domain already, should be now. But maybe that doesn't actually take effect until January 2008 for some reason? Anyway there is evidence that the copyright of many though not all of his works expired from want of renewal before the 1976 copyright act. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft#Intellectual_property.

#327 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 08:49 PM:

High-flying cranes, Uzza, Manat--
Intercessors, (adding al-Lat)
('Till the Prophet, he loaded birdshot!)
Still, They're good enough for me.

#328 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:00 PM:

Jon @ 274, Aunts and ants play an important part in Sredni Vashtar, one of Saki's (or HH Munro's) more disturbing stories, tho the competition is keen. I'm lucky enough to have a large (complete?) collection, but recommend they only be taken in small-to-moderate doses. Here's a good appreciation, with links to more information.

BTW, re the difference between merry, marry, and Mary in Oz, there's definitely a difference with "marry", and usually the other two, but the suburbs Merryland and Maryland can be hard to distinguish with some people.

#329 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:24 PM:

dcb (#289): English is my first language, and I literally can't hear the distinction between certain letters in the (phonetic) Hindi alphabet, and I can barely hear the distinction between the ones that have an 'h' sound after (Xopher et al., is that 'aspirated?'). The relevant bit of the Hindi alphabet goes something like:

d dh t th [5th letter in this line, that I've forgotten]
d dh t th [as above]

and both lines sound identical to me. When I went to school in India briefly*, when I was nine, I pretty much flipped a mental coin during dictation to figure out which 'd' or 't' to write down. Since Hindi has purely phonetic spelling, I was the only kid who regularly spelled words wrong.

Faren Miller (#306): Seconded on the hometown spelling. I pronounce 'Toronto' as 'Trawna', and more than one listener has heard it as 'China.' I'm also reminded of M'waukee.

*It was a convent school. Me and nuns, not so much. The hep A I came down with seemed like an excellent alternative.

#330 ::: tye ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:32 PM:

CHip @281: I have a friend from Massachusetts who uses the term "grinder" to refer only to a sub made with meatballs. It makes sense that way.

Fragano @301, Carol Kimball @299: I was at a funeral recently where a boy recited what we thought was Ogden Nash - The Catsup Bottle. I see now that version was a bit Nash and a bit Armour. There is a Nash poem on the topic. I haven't been able to discover which came first.

The Catsup Bottle

First a little
Then a lottle

Ogden Nash

#331 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:35 PM:

My Gran says Mary as "may-ri," so there's a difference for me when she says it. She also says "say-ruh" for Sarah.
We've also always pronounced the "h" in "which" "whale" and "where," which seems to drive people nuts once they've discovered it. I didn't really know some people considered it wrong until an episode of Family Guy, though, when Stewie and Brian get sidetracked because one of them pronounces it and the other doesn't.

#332 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @#316: Both of my folks came from a tradition where only boys get middle names--women use their maiden names as middle names once they get married, as you do. I'm the exeption, because Mom wanted to give me an extra name (Elizabeth) to commemerate her late sister. ("Mary" is because after 5 boys in a row she prayed to the BVM for a girl!) My sister uses her confirmation name as her middle name and has a hyphenated last name...and all of the kids in the next generation have first, middle, and last names regardless of gender.

My godparents' tradition goes the other way, with 4 names each, so the youngest in the clan has 5 names because she has both of her parents' last names.

Eleanor @#318: Same sound, but a little more sing-songy, the vowel is more drawn-out, and there's a strong emphasis on the first syllable when she's saying "Mary." Possibly because she's generally invoking my name to get me to do something, like "oh, MAry, bring that bowl over here!" Sorry I don't know any of the proper terminology for this stuff!

#333 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Jim @326:
Yeah, but.

There is a dispute on copyright ownership (see August Derleth & Arkham House), on whether copyrights were renewed & on length of protection if so. All this to the extent that Project Gutenberg doesn't hold any Lovecraft stories but the Australian sister site does. Australia has a clear-cut 'life+50 years' copyright.

#334 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:45 PM:

As far as I can remember from my linguistics classes:

Small children can generally hear the difference between difficult word pairs; their speech problems usually come down to lack of mouth/tongue/lip coordination, and will sometimes correct adults who imitate the incorrect pronunciations.

For adults, on the other hand, it's very hard to hear a distinction that your language doesn't have, and I've heard anecdotal reports of Japanese speakers, very fluent in English, who could nevertheless not hear the l/r distinction even when they had learned how to pronounce it.

#335 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:54 PM:

Hmmm. Movie talk. Gotta do me some of that:

"Paprika" is the latest flashy anime import that has jumped the fandom fence and is making the rounds of indie theaters.

The guy who did this did "Tokyo Godfathers," which I thought was a hoot (and very nonstandard for Japanese animation) so I gave this a try.

It's kind of like a Philip K. Dick story: Odd gadget (in this case, the "DC Mini," a semi-licit device which lets the wearer's dreams to be visualized) results in reality and fantasy and dreams getting mixed together.

The title character is a rogue cyberspace / dreamworld psychotherapist. As the film opens she's helping a angsty police detective figure things out. Meanwhile, the engineers behind the DC Mini discover that some samples of a easily-hacked version of the device have been stolen, and their project faces termination.

The visuals of this one are pretty neat, and the characterization offbeat, but it left me kind of cold.

Reviews for fence-jumping anime always seem to have a line like: "Americans think cartoons are for kids, but Japanese do them for grown ups!" Nyaahhh, not so much; "Paprika" had some interesting ideas, but it was mostly about the eye-candy. And like too damn many anime movies, there's a big loud apocalyptic thing going on, with the usual squirming tentacles.

#336 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Agree with Clifton Royston@323 about Lovecraft's florid writing style.

The right setting helps: I find that the spine-tingling quotient of the stories go right up if read in a creaky old house, in the middle of the night, during a storm, while alone, with the soundtrack of a Hammer Horror playing in the background (on a battery powered stereo because the powerlines are down on account of the storm).

#337 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 10:18 PM:

Where I grew up it's called a "hoagie". Some people called a toasted hoagie a grinder, but I don't think that was universal; most people of my generation didn't make the distinction.

Not having been back to the old sod in several decades, I can't ssy from observation what the popular usage is, but I do know the hoagie has been declared the official sandwich of the city. But you know politicians, they tend to lead from behind, temporally, spatially, and morally.

#338 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 10:36 PM:

Bruce@337:

Mmm. Hoagies.

I moved from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg to take my first job after college, and was shocked to discover I'd moved out of hoagie country. I could buy all the subs I want, but they were cold, pale, imitations of the True Hoagie. Of course, at the time, no one west of Carlisle could make a proper cheesesteak, so there were compensations. But I'd grown up on hoagies.

Finally, I taught the pizza place down the street how to make a proper hoagie - meat, and cheese on the bread, into the oven open-faced, then add the lettuce and onions and (no tomato slices for me, thanks) and then the seasoning.

I haven't lived there for 25 years - I wonder if the place still exists (it's on South Union street in Middletown), and if so, is there anyone there who can still make a hoagie.

Now I'm hungry.

#339 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 10:42 PM:

#317: The first Lovecraft story I can remember reading--not necessarily the first one I read, but the first one that made an impression--is "The Dreams in the Witch House." It still creeps me out. (Don't bother watching the "Masters of Horror" adaptation--it dumped everything that made the original story work. Also, its Brown Jenkin looked like some sort of small, unfunny alien stand-up comedian.)

"The Color out of Space" is another favorite. I recall liking "The Shunned House" as well, but I haven't read it in over a decade and my memory may mislead me as to its quality.

#340 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 10:50 PM:

I have a Delaware/Philadelphia accent, and I distinguish between merry, marry, and Mary, so that distinction isn't limited to New England.

In Newark, Delaware [1], a grinder is a hoagie with melted cheese. If it had meatballs, it was a meatball sandwich.

In Philadelphia, there are subs rather than hoagies. I've been here 12 years, and I still want to call them subs.

[1] Newark, New Jersey is much better known.

#341 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:02 PM:

I euthanized my cat, Wade, tonight.

He had been hospitalized and he definitely wasn't having any fun. The tumor turned out to be a fibrosarcoma, which is very painful and fast-growing, and the vet told us the only possibility keeping him alive was to amputate his leg. I doubt even that would have saved him.

My only regret is that we didn't come to this decision sooner.

#342 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:10 PM:

#341: Sorry to hear the news.

It's always a tough decision; sometimes you get faint signals that things look OK and hang too much hope on them.

My family waited way too long when our old cat Ziggy was quietly fading from kidney failure. His last hours were just awful.

* * *

I just heard that a young pit bull my sister was fostering and trying to rehab will probably have to be put down. A nice dog, but she freaks out and nips people who wave their hands.

#343 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:43 PM:

I'm so sorry, Dan.

#344 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:45 PM:

Dan Hoey - I'm sorry for you and your family. The decision you made is never an easy one, I've had to make it twice myself, for a cat and a dog. I'm certain that Wade had a good life full of love and affection, and you should cherish those memories.

#345 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:47 PM:

Oh, dan I 'm crying. That is soo bad, I've had to do it once on a cat that was way too young but turned into a hissing, spitting, pooping, pissing monstor at the vet and got kidney disease.

It's never easy, even when an dire illness is present.

Prayers for peace and grace going your way. And hugs across the e-ways.

#346 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:50 PM:

I got it backwards--there are hoagies here and subs in Delaware.

#347 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:29 AM:

Dan,

I'm very sorry to hear about Wade. I've had to put down three dogs now, and it never gets any easier. I hope that it isn't long before it's easier for you to remember the good parts of Wade's life than the bad.

#348 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:53 AM:

Dan, much sympathy. That's hard.

Here in Brooklyn, I've just caught up on Doctor Who, 21st Century Season 3, having got about six episodes behind. Via, of course, that utility to which we tactfully refer as The Great TiVo In the Sky.

And all I have to say is OMG OMG Paul Cornell 1913 "Blink" Derek Jacobi JOHN SIMM OMGWTFBBQ!!!

[tiny mind blown to geeky smithereens]

#349 ::: Nina A ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:57 AM:

Ethan@217-the answer to your BSG question is yes,and 10 yes.

#350 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:17 AM:

The cargo, so the shamans say,
will land upon the new runway;
all whites' goods will come our way.
And that's just fine with me!

#351 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:33 AM:

My youngest sister, Mary,
Met a guy whose name is Terry,
And when they chose to marry
We were merry as could be!

That's not just an illustration, it's a true story -- they've been married 20 years now. (Hint as to accent: the wedding was at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh.) And yes, all those words sound the same, except of course the T in Terry. :-)

#352 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:45 AM:

Dan #341: My sympathies.

#353 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:49 AM:

Dark Ages scribes spent lives to save the wisdom
of philosophs renowned from former times.
Copying and recopying used their lifetimes
while error crept in, turning order random.
Invention of the press soon increased freedom,
dividing Church from Stately pow'r betimes.
The spread of words recorded, prose and rhymes,
became an acid, soon dissolving kingdom.
Now the Net spreads words to ease our boredom,
and helps us spread both wisdom and pastimes.
A few, oft those accused of thought crimes,
essay to keep words from being struck dumb.
Words, set free, return to free their speakers;
words held hard will wound when used in fight.
Words offered as gifts to make us ponder
are words we often see on Making Light.

#354 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:12 AM:

Mez @ 268: "I've heard that the stereotypical (at one time) "ah-so" Japanese generic vocalization came from the then Crown Prince, later Emperor, in the earlier part of the 20th Century, father of the reigning Emperor."

It's really not just him--it's absolutely epidemic. "So (そう)," as much as it has any literal translation, means "like that." Japanese speakers tend to expect very active listening from their audience--a lot of "Oh really" and "Huh" and "Is that so?" "So (そう)" fills that role admirably. "A sou desu ne" is the hyper-mega-charged Japanese equivalent of an American non-committal acknowledgement like "Oh yeah?"

(Though it pales in comparison with the hyper-mega-charged Japanese hesitation noise "anone", which is so prevalent among Tokyo-raised Japanese women that, in Singaporean slang, it has become synonymous with them.

Xopher @ 280: "I knew an Englisman once who discovered that the New York City token clerks didn't understand him when he asked for twenty tokens. He had to learn to say "twenny" to get what he wanted."

I've found that the way that we Americans distinguish between the numbers 13 and 30 (or 15 and 50) has little to do with the "n" at the end and everything to do with whether the internal "t" is sounded "d" or "t" (and also which syllable the emphasis is placed on ). 13 is "thir-TEE(N)," and 30 is "THIR-dee." It's often impossible to tell whether ESL speakers meant one or the other, especially if they studied British English. They keep trying to emphasize the "n" (or lack of it), when that just isn't what we are listening for.

Bruce @ 350: Brilliant. Just brilliant.

#355 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:35 AM:

Paula @228,

Thanks!
If all works out, then the theme food for at least one Westercon party shall be torte.

#356 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:03 AM:

Patric @ 348

It was a rather good run of episodes wasn't it? I wasn't too impressed with some of the earlier episodes this season but starting with the Paul Cornell eps the show really hit its stride.

Is it next Saturday yet?

#357 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:21 AM:

There is (to my ears) no difference between the words stair & steer, or peer & pear, or beer & bare, when spoken by Kiwis with a strong accent.

#358 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:48 AM:

CHip@281: Kevin@263: what's "grinder" where you come from? I grew up with "sub" around DC and was startled by "hero" when I lived in mid-state NY; "sub" now seems common in Boston, possibly due to chains that have uniform labels instead of matching the local vocabulary.

Where I'm from, a grinder is a machine we make hamburger with. The oblong sandwiches, we call subs -- Subway is probably mostly to blame. Is "sub" New York City slang that got exported to the rest of the country?

Kathryn@355: If all works out, then the theme food for at least one Westercon party shall be torte.

Ooer, that sounds wonderful. What night is it? If you're inviting Fluorospherians, I might have to drop by to help you with such a tragic situation as a surfeit of plum torte. :-)

#359 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:52 AM:

For some reason it went without saying in my last post that I'm from Iowa, and thus have the safe-for-television Midwestern lack of accent. This forgetfulness is a sign I should be in bed already.

#360 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:58 AM:

Slightly late for this, but 264: I've ran into similar foodstuff confusions by going from one part of Germany to another. I learned my German in Nürnberg, which is in northern Bavaria, and I now live in Jena, which is in Thuringia. The Franconian dialect of northern Bavaria is very similar to the Thuringian dialect, but the Thuringian involves Saxon influences to a degree not presemt in Franconian.

Thus, as a 'Franconian', I view 'Pfannkuchen' as meaning 'Crêpes / Pancakes', and I view 'Semmeln' to mean 'bread rolls, in general'.

However, at the bakeries in Thuringia, each spring at Carnival time, there are specials on 'Pfannkuchen', which here means doughnuts, and if I ask for 'Semmeln', I get a specific sort of white, double, plain bread rolls that were very characteristic of communist East Germany.

The bread roll distinction took me several months to figure out.

#361 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 04:28 AM:

Dan Hoey @341
I'm sorry about Wade.

#362 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 04:33 AM:

Home from ApolloCon, have had a few hours' sleep, catching up...

JESR, #73: My partner, who knows damn near everything about cars (including how to research what he doesn't know), says that Voyagers have long been known for needing transmissions more often than they ought -- which is a Bad Thing for people who can work on their own cars, because they are otherwise real workhorses and common as dirt, meaning that spare parts are easy to find. This is one of the main reasons why our most recent minivan purchase was a Pontiac Montana.

However, he also notes that Chrysler/Plymouth has now been bought out by (IIRC) Mercedes-Benz, who have Put Their Foot Down about the shoddy transmissions, so in another 5 years or so you should be able to find a good used Voyager that won't blow out the transmission as soon as you start driving it.

Xopher, #124:
Well, I always let old Zeus do
Just whatever he should choose to.
He can't do it like he used to,
But he's good enough for me!

Fade, #135 and Joe, #142: That, and one of those people who view anything short of complete, worshipful agreement as intolerable rudeness. IOW, a twit.

Xopher, #143: Tolkien was not, in fact, a professional writer -- he was a professional linguist -- and there are places in LOTR where the difference is profoundly obvious. Being aware of that doesn't mean I love it any the less; like one's beloved, the flaws are part of the whole. But if I were editing LOTR as a manuscript (and mind you, I'm no more a professional editor than JRRT was a professional writer!), there would be some things said about chronology, integration thereof, and pacing.

Tom, #207: Interesting! And a lot of disco music has the perfect rhythm and pacing for dancing Korobushka, a Russian folk dance. Which has been demonstrated by dance-geeks on a number of occasions, to the drop-jawed amazement of the "normal" people in the room. :-)

Mary Dell, #248: Native Michigander here. "Marry" amd "Mary" are homonyms to me, but "merry" is different. At least in my head -- I won't necessarily vouch for what comes out of my mouth if I'm talking fast!

I normally say "soft drink", but occasionally "soda" will pop out (pun intentional!). OTOH, I'm definitely on the "bag" side of the bag/sack divide, while my partner (who grew up in Miami) is on the "sack" side.

CHip, #281 and Carol, #299:
Shake and shake the ketchup bottle --
None'll come, and then a lot'll!

Various, on paleontology smut:
Across the herd, he spied her generous curves (she had curves!);
A thrill ran down all seventy feet of his saurian nerves,
And thirteen tons of amorous male
Went chasing after eight tons of tail --
The earth moves when dinosaurs fall in love!

- "When Dinosaurs Fall in Love", words & music copyright by Dr. James Robinson

J Austin, #331: It confuses me when people don't pronounce the aspirated "wh"!
"Which" is NOT the same as "witch".
"Where" is NOT the first syllable of "werewolf".
"Whales" are in the ocean; "wales" are in corduroy (and Wales is in the British Isles!).

Dan, #341: My sympathies. May he be remembered with love.

#363 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:18 AM:

debcha @ 329:
I'm guessing you're talking about the "dental" (tongue pressed up against the teeth) versus "retroflex" (tongue curled back and pressed against the roof of the mouth) consonants, yes? I sort of learned to pronounce the first variety in college, when I had a crush on a woman whose name I wanted to pronounce correctly... The second one I had explained to me during a visit to India, but I can't twist my tongue properly for it.

On the other hand, I doubt I'd be able to tell the aspirated ("+h") from the non-aspirated consonants, even if I (intellectually) understand the difference...


J. Austin @ 331 and Lee @ 362:
I'm another of those who pronounces the "h" sound at the start of those words. I seem to recall one or two posts on Language Log that suggested that the distinction ("which" vs "witch") was in the process of disappearing, so that most Americans didn't do it anymore.

#364 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:23 AM:

Dan Hoey @341
My sympathies about Wade. It's never easy is it? At least we can say, for our pets, "enough suffering; let's end it now". I've always seen euthanasia, a gentle death, as the last gift we can give them. Doesn't always help us to feel better, however. Getting the timing right is difficult. From what you've shared with us, it sounds like you waited while there was hope, but not past that.

#306 ::: Faren Miller
"Edinbourough" - you mean "Edinbru" (short "u" to end on), I presume?

JESR @ 293 (and others) merry/marry/Mary. My British accent uses the schwa only for "merry". Well, maybe a sort of drawn-out version of the schwa (if there is such a thing) for Mary. "Marry" is definitely a short "A" not a schwa, with the emphasis coming on the first syllable of the word.

Multi-syllable words pronounced with the schwa are the ones I have problems spelling (e.g. sentence, separate - the second vowel in each of those). At least I've learned which words I have problems with and keep a list of them handy. Then I just have to contend with the UK/USA spelling differences...

#365 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:33 AM:

dcb @364
"Edinbourough" - you mean "Edinbru" (short "u" to end on), I presume?

What? E'mbra?

#366 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:47 AM:

And as everyone knows, two Australia's (Uhstraylya's) cities are Melb'n and Brisb'n. Not Melbouuurne and Brisbayne.

#367 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:48 AM:

#358: sub is short for submarine, not subway. Wikipedia suggests that the term may have originated in Boston, or Groton, CT.

The regional sandwich of choice where I grew up is the beef on weck. The regional food term that surprised me the most when I moved to eastern MA was "milkshake." (It's made with ice cream where I grew up, but not around here.)

#348: Yeah, the 3rd series has been terrific overall. With "Blink," I wonder if Stephen Moffat has just earned himself another Hugo nomination (or possibly another Hugo).

The last episode of the season could be totally mindblowing. If I have the right read on what's left to happen though, I do wonder how they're going to squeeze it all in. (I could be making it all more complicated than necessary. The preview makes the episode look like non-stop explosions.)

#368 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:51 AM:

Following up on my own post, upthread, it turns out the job advert I saw in the local paper was part of a package deal, a week late because of deadlines, and they already had the killer slushpile in the mail room.

"Crazily optimistic" is how I summed up my case.

Computer jobsearches, in particular, seem to distort the information presented to fit in the underlying database.

#369 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:21 AM:

abi, on the pronunciation issue I stick with Scotland's Greatest Poet, William Topaz McGonagall - ("Topaz"? Really?) yes, Topaz - who perpetrated the following couplet in "The Tay Bridge Disaster":

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow...

(More here

#370 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:23 AM:

One of the features of the old Doctor Who, back in the days of (nominal) half-hour episodes, was the way in which there could be whole episodes without The Doctor, as the situation steadily fell apart. If the current story were an old-style 4-parter, you could quite cheerfully leave The Doctor out of the next episode, and follow Martha and Jack.

Further detail/speculation would be something of a spoiler, ohg vfa'g ohvyqvat n sylvat nvesvyrq jvgu pebffjvaq ehajnlf n cerggl penml guvat gb qb?

#371 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:32 AM:

ajay @369
On my charitable days, I remind myself that pronunciations shift over time, and maybe they did pronounce it "Edin-borrow". It's plausible, though these days only tourists try to close the vowel in any way.

On my uncharitable days, I consider McGonigall's rhymes as a great formative influence on modern poetry, encouraging as they do the trend toward blank verse.

#372 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:50 AM:

For some reason. ajay, I find myself wondering if McGonagall's verse might be performable to such tiunes as "California Dreamin'".

I also find myseklf wondering about the possibility of William Topax McGonagall's War of the Worlds

Then I wake up screaming.

#373 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:01 AM:

Dan @#341: I'm so sorry. We had to do this for one of our kitties a couple of years ago...it's so difficult.

Do you have any pictures of Wade you'd like to share?

#374 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:03 AM:

#370: Often, during the black-and-white era, this happened because the actor playing the Doctor had gone on vacation for a week.

Incidentally, re: the mentions of Paul Cornell... did anyone know his episodes this year were based on a (really very good) novel he wrote back in the 1990s?

#375 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:08 AM:

Ooo, Mr. Burns is dissing us in his newest post:

Do you waste precious time trying to come up with something that rhymes with “Cthulhu” and “Quetzalcoatl”?

I know, I shouldn't be going and looking over there, but I can't help myself! Argh!

#376 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:10 AM:

Oh, and I will send 5 dollars via paypal to the first person who comes up with a word that rhymes with both Cthulhu AND Quetzalcoatl.

Evidence that "Cthulhu" is pronouced "Quetzalcoatl" will be considered.

#377 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:26 AM:

ajay @#369:

...felt no sorrow...

You mean you don't pronounce it "sur-rah" where you live?

(j/k!)

#378 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Mr. Burns has such pride in his writing
--though it's sneers he's inclined to inciting--
Yet I don't see his book
Any place where I look;
Pray tell, it is all that exciting?

#379 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Mr. Burns has such pride in his writing
--though it's sneers he's inclined to inciting--
Yet I don't see his book
Any place where I look;
Pray tell, it is all that exciting?

#380 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:42 AM:

121, Kathryn -- I think what you describe is a problem, and the solution isn't for you to join SFWA but for the writers to stop closeting themselves in their suites and to hang out with everyone else.

When you're hunting with Diana
You can shoot or else you can'na
And the moon is her banana
And that's good enough for me!

If you want to see Rhiannon
Take a horse that you can plan on
She's a bit of a loose cannon
But she's good enough for me!

Mighty Thor can wield the thunder
He drinks ale and gives us plunder
And he piques my sense of wonder
And that's good enough for me!

And Saint Anthony of Padua
Finds lost things however mad you are
And he seeks the stars per ardua,
And that's good enough for me!

#381 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:45 AM:

I realized a bit ago that part of the reason these are easier for me than sonnets are is that part of my brain is convinced these don't have to rhyme. Songs are about vowels! Even if I'm not happy with what I have, it's fun.

Long ago old Quetzalcthulhu
worked some tent'cled, feathered voodoo
Needs a heart-- I bet that you'll do
ia ia Tenochtr'yleh!

#382 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Seen via a friend's blog, I offer Who's On First, The Movie. (Note: that's not a link to the original Abbott and Costello sketch.)

I just watched it for the second time and it made me laugh again.

#383 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:53 AM:

Hmm, let's see:

1. Write a column in which you condemn the writers of an entire genre.

2. When someone in another blog disagrees, go over there and scold them for being rude.

3. Go back to your own blog and make fun of the people on the other blog for continuing the conversation they were having before someone made mention of your blog.

Way to go, Mr. Burns! You are a model to us all. (Hey, an exemplum in malo is a model.)

#384 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:18 AM:

abi @ 371... You mean that the locals pronounce it 'edin-bor'? Groan. After years of reminding myself to say 'edin-borrow', I find that the current pronounciation is actually quite close to the one I grew up with, which is the city's French name, which sounds close to 'Ay-dain-boor'.

#385 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:19 AM:

>Here in Brooklyn, I've just caught up on Doctor Who, 21st Century Season 3, having got about
>six episodes behind. Via, of course, that utility to which we tactfully refer as
>The Great TiVo In the Sky.

>And all I have to say is OMG OMG Paul Cornell 1913 "Blink" Derek Jacobi JOHN SIMM OMGWTFBBQ!!!

>[tiny mind blown to geeky smithereens]

Yeah, that's pretty much been my reaction, too. Been watching since 1963 and I think this may be the best season ever. Loved the first three eps, thought the next four merely OK, but from 'Human Nature' on they've been hitting it out of the ballpark. Don't know if your viewing included last Saturday's 'The Sound of Drums' or not, but holy hell that episode pressed all my fanboy buttons! Wasn't entirely sure about it on first viewing, but it definitely rewards a second viewing. Can't wait for next weeks season finale. (Which, incidentally, is being broadcast the same day as the Gay Pride parade, so a giant screen is being erected in Trafalgar Square and John Barrowman will be there to introduce the episode for the revellers. Dr Who - not just a geek favourite but a national institution!)

#386 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:23 AM:

JC @ 367: Beef on weck? I take it you're from Buffalo as well then?

There's another upstate specialized sandwich that I met fairly recently. Spelled "Spiedie" and pronounced "speedy," I think they hail from Binghamton. They were prepared for us here in Western Mass by the parents of one of my students; Binghamton natives. Anyone familiar with them?

#387 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:28 AM:

ethan @ 317:
There's some more advice on finding Lovecraft in this thread, particularly earlier on. (Also a few minor spoilers later on, so be careful.)

Also, Kenneth Hite, who's nearing the end of his story-by-story analysis of Lovecraft's oeuvre, lists his ten favorite Lovecraft stories here (footnote at the bottom of the post). Which is not a bad place to start: look for a collection with most of those stories....

I'm frightened, but I want to learn.

Once you've read some Lovecraft, you may get an idea of how funny/creepy that remark is...

#388 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:29 AM:

Heresiarch @ 354

Thank you very much. In similar vein:

L. Ron's religion has no peer;
it needs no shrinks, we're taught to clear.
It's true the tithe is rather dear,
but that's all right with me!

#389 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:32 AM:

Home again, v. tired. Bragged about you guys at Foo Camp.

#390 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Serge @384
No, we pronounce it "Edin-bruh". Or, as I said above, in a rush, E'mbruh.

#391 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Teresa @389
Welcome back.

We've been versifying about you, in a pumpkinifying way (vide 189 and 292).

Go rest.

#392 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:49 AM:

*whimper*

My Doctor Who supplier* just got to work to inform me that his computer's in pieces and he's stuck waiting for a new power supply before it'll be any use.

This is Very Bad Timing Indeed.

Maybe I'll watch Blink again instead.


* I can't get DSL at home, and the cable TV is unreliable enough that I'm not remotely inclined to trust Comcast with something as important as my net connection, so I'm stuck with dial-up. I let other people do my downloading for me.

#393 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:54 AM:

Mary Dell #375: I had to look, too. My mistake. I can't remember when I last saw anything quite so nakedly forlorn. It was pitiable.

#394 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Any Unitarians out there?

We have got the light of reason
Which is intellect'ly pleasin'.
We shut down for baseball season,
And that's good enough for me!

#395 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:14 AM:

A question for gardeners, ish: I have lost plants this year-- people keep stealing them from my porch. I'm planning to anchor them with a cinder block or something next year to discourage it. Is there anything I can do this year that won't be visible enough to be a challenge? Standing guard all night seems impractical, however satisfying it might be to step from the shadows with a squirtgun and say, "Nice plant you got there."
Of course, that would be *flirting*.

#396 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:26 AM:

Debcha #329 wrote "I pronounce 'Toronto' as 'Trawna'".

How would you distinguish it in speech from the capital of Albania? I'm just curious.

#397 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:27 AM:

#383:D'oh. I was totally wrong about him perhaps having figured it out. Now he's getting my pity even though I'm pretty sure he doesn't want it. What a willfully sad way to live.

#386: Yup. I've always wondered how chicken wings turned into something I can get at my local supermarket, but the beef on weck is some sort of regional secret. (Well, not anymore. I've blabbed on Making Light. The whole world knows now.) I guess a salt and caraway seed encrusted hard roll is an acquired taste.

I've only driven by Binghamton so I've never had a spiedie. My advisor loved them though.

#385:This season has been terrific so far. But I've been watching these last few episodes with the constant fear that RTD is going to screw it up.

Gur eryngvbafuvc orgjrra gur Qbpgbe naq gur Znfgre pna or gevpxl. Bar bs gur ernfbaf V yvxrq gur vqrn gung Qbpgbe vf gur ynfg bs gur gvzr ybeqf jnf gung vg zrnag jr'q arire unir gb qrny jvgu vg. Jryy, jr'er qrnyvat jvgu vg. Jungrire unccraf, V ubcr vg'f vagrerfgvat.

#389: Welcome back, Teresa. I hope Foo Camp was everything it was cracked up to be and more.

#398 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Dan Hoey #341: You have my sympathy. Having a beloved pet euthanised is a hard thing to do.

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:39 AM:

abi @ 390... No, we pronounce it "Edin-bruh". Or, as I said above, in a rush, E'mbruh.

Got it. Considering the progression though, what's next? The city of Bro?

#400 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Dave @ 366

Okay, no problem. 'Brisbayne' is next door to San Francisco, anyway.

#401 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:51 AM:

397: Heh. There might be some disagreement on exactly how Buffalo any wings outside of Buffalo really are. But I see your point: they've been exported, whereas beef on weck is still obscure. I've never actually had it myself, but one summer while in college I worked in the Kaufman bakery's thrift store at Main and Fillmore, and we sold lots and lots of kimmelweck rolls every Friday.

And to Dan, my sympathies as well for your beloved cat's passing.

#402 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:58 AM:

re: weck

Buffalo Wild Wings, aka BW3, used to be "Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck" and tried to introduce beef on weck to the rest of the nation.

Didn't work, but I'm not sure why.

#403 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:03 AM:

sica @ 298

Is there anything scarier in Icelandic than the aspirated l thingie? Because I have hopes of someday (in my copious free time) learning Icelandic, and if the aspirated l is the worst of it, then I'm much encouraged, at least as far as pronunciation goes.

#404 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:07 AM:

abi @ 172

You know, I'm coming to the conclusion that people who describe themselves on first acquaintance with phrases like

I enjoy debate, thoughtful exchanges that reflect differences of opinion.

are probably not going to be my favourite partners in conversation.

I once read a website that humorously translated lines from personal ads. The one that sent me into helpless giggles of recognition went something like:

"We will challenge and question each other's deeply held beliefs and assumptions" = "I will disrupt your life for reasons I do not fully understand."

#405 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:15 AM:

From the Washington Post this morning

D.C. Judge Loses Pants Suit
Judge who sued his dry cleaner for $54 million over lost pants will get nothing for his troubles.

(The story's behind their subscription wall, but the teaser is enough.)

#406 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:19 AM:

PJ Evans @405:
D.C. Judge Loses Pants Suit.

In British dialect, the lawsuit was, indeed, pants.

#407 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Sandwiches - they are, of course, po'boys in New Orleans. That part didn't surprise me when we first moved there. What surprised me was being asked if I wanted my sandwich "dressed". That means with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, not teeny little coats and pants.

#408 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:45 AM:

elise @ 403

Well I don't know. The grammar is quite tricky with lots of inflections for adjectives, nouns and verbs but nothing worse than latin I think.

Pronounciation wise we do have a rolled r and it can be tricky in combination with the softer 'th' sound. I.e a lot of the local tongue twisters tend to have the th sound and r in various combinations like:

"Eg bjo hja Nirthi nithri i Northfirthi nyrthri"

That's an extreme case though. Then we do have a fair bit of glottal stops and pre aspirated consonants and there's an aspiration contrast in the language so you have words where aspiration or no aspiration in some bits of them is the only difference.

Our V is halfway between the English W and V and actually most Icelandic people can't hear the difference between the English W and V. I can hear it now after lots of exposure to English, but I was in a party once in Iceland where an Australian and an English girl were having lots of fun talking about wiolins that vere wery vicked sounding and no one had a clue what they found so hysterical.

Anyway the consonants are a bit harsher than in English, it comes with the glottal stops I think. Icelandic is also quite fast and somewhat singsongy although not as much as Swedish for example. I find I speak with a brighter more loud voice when using Icelandic vs. when I speak in English. I was once doing vocal samples for a friend of mine and we needed to recalibrate the recording software when I switched languages.

Anyway I don't think I've met a single non-native speaker that doesn't have a very strong "I'm not from around here" - accent. However you don't need that to be understood, fortunately.

Mostly though I'd dread the grammar.

#409 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:45 AM:

Diatryma (#395): It's a little to late to grow nettles around them (which is a little drastic).

If they are stealing them when you aren't home, I don't know.

On the personal level of wanting to make them regret having stolen them, I might seed the pots with nettles.

But I'm not always a pleasant person.

Christopher Davis (#217): Yes, I did have a brain cramp and put those two together. Which is just wrong.

#410 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Is anyone else going to be at the Linux Symposium in Ottawa this week? Or, failing that, does anyone else here have good advice about cheap-but-interesting places to go in Ottawa? I'm tagging along to the symposium behind my spouse, and not exactly being a Linux user myself, expect to spend my time wandering the streets of the city when not clinging to the free wireless and air conditioning of the conference center. I'd rather not spend my entire time in Canada playing Puzzle Pirates and reading library books, as I can do that perfectly well from home.

#411 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Diatryma @#395:

Sink a ring bolt into the porch through the hole in the bottom of the planter. If the ring is wider than the hole it'll hold the planter down; if not, run a bolt or sturdy stick through it horizontally.

With cables, this also works to keep your porch furniture where it belongs.

For containers on the ground, you can bury a bolt and run a cable up from it, and loop it around a horizontal stick or bolt in the bottom of the planter.

#412 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:40 PM:

The Dung Pits of Glyve are much too nice an environment for Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito. MUCH too nice.

[today's fascist majority Supreme Court pronouncements]

Thomas, Alito, and Roberts lied under oath in the hearings for confirming them to the Suprement Court. They deserve immediately -removal- with prejudice from the bench.

#413 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:44 PM:

JC #397 re Doctor Who:

Gur eryngvbafuvc orgjrra gur Qbpgbe naq gur Znfgre pna or gevpxl. Bar bs gur ernfbaf V yvxrq gur vqrn gung Qbpgbe vf gur ynfg bs gur gvzr ybeqf jnf gung vg zrnag jr'q arire unir gb qrny jvgu vg. Jryy, jr'er qrnyvat jvgu vg. Jungrire unccraf, V ubcr vg'f vagrerfgvat

Me:

Gurl jrer nyjnlf tbvat gb oevat uvz onpx - naq fb sne, V yvxr ubj gurl'ir qbar vg.

#414 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Paula @412,

[reads said results]

Holy...dude. What a duded-up way to dude the 1st amendment. "Ass-kissers for Bush," indeed.

#415 ::: mimi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Dave Bell #370: That reveal was the one moment in the episode where I said out loud, "Oh, that's just silly."

#416 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:07 PM:

Paula Lieberman #412: There are some very nice descriptions of suitable residences for said Justices in Dante's Inferno.

#417 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:07 PM:

Alex @ #87: I am going to Readercon.

Also, I am newly obsessed with Torchwood.

#418 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Dan Hoey @ #341:

Sympathies. :( I had to have my cat Dani euthanized a couple of months ago, so I know just how you feel.

I think getting new (not "replacement") cats right away was the right thing to do, but I still miss her.

#419 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:13 PM:

(Adds the ability to keep plants and fountain where they are without hardware to the list of compensations for living at the top of a long, ugly driveway).

Lee, Daimler has Chrysler on the market, or has possibly put it in the market place and said "I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee." It matters not, because we now have a Toyota which will last forever, as long as we do something in the way of major construction to the steep bit at the middle of the driveway, where it bottoms out with four of us in the car.

dcb, I almost wrote "values of schwa," which is what my Structural Linguistics prof actually said, but I didn't feel up to explaining that term if challenged. Besides, I always suspected that he conspired with the members of the class who got there on time to say things just to flummox me, as payback for always being seven minutes late and for telling him (in a social setting, and before I ever enrolled for his class) that I didn't think archaeology majors should have to take 400 level linguistics classes, since there was no chance to talk to our subjects.

There was something else; I've forgotten what. Oh: on Mr. Burns. He tempts me, for a moment, to accept Keen's bloviating on the dangers of Web 2.0. Just in his particular case, you know?

#420 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Open threadiness: I recently discovered C. Dale Brittain's Yurt series and finished the second book last night. Paging through to the end-cover I saw an excerpt from Fallen Angels by Niven/Pournelle/Flynn. The premise seems to be that the US has fallen victim to radical Greens with an antipathy toward science and technology, and the heroes have to save the country from them. Trouble is, the only allies the heroes have are all science fiction fans, and they've been driven nearly underground.

Has anyone read this? Is it worth searching out? One of the reviewers at Amazon said it's wonderful but full of inside jokes aimed at con-attendees. Since I've never attended one, would said jokes go right over my head?

#421 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:20 PM:

#412: Not the Dung Pits of Glyve. It must be a place that they can't come back from.

Inferno, 9th circle, Judecca, under the ice. Treason to one's masters, i.e. in a "democracy", the citizenry.

#422 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:23 PM:

Fragano--being pricks, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy, and Roberts will never personally experience toxemic pregnancies. The five of them DESERVE them.

The level of hypocrisy involved is breathtaking--there's a website entitled something like "The only moral abortion is my abortion" which details such appalling acts of hypocrisy as women who've been out picketing clinics calling hellfire and brimstone upon abortion providers, going in for abortions and after having them, heading back to the picket line to return to calling down hellfire and brimstone. In some cases clinics have either refused outright to accept such people as patients, or have said, "We will provide an abortion to you HOWEVER the conditions include that you have NO PRIVACY in the matter and we are going to tell the world about your hypocrisy."

#423 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:27 PM:

#407 ::: OtterB
What surprised me was being asked if I wanted my sandwich "dressed". That means with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, not teeny little coats and pants.

Mayo, sweetened, is "salad dressing".

#424 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Thanks for the plant-keeping tips, and for listening. I talked to a friend here who has a friend who steals plants, or stole, or had; instead of getting a motion-sensing light I think I'll do what I can to physically attach the plants to the porch. I have fantasies of pressure-sensitive air horns and bank-robbery Day-Glo paint, but those will have to wait a while. Next summer, next summer....

#425 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Linkmeister, 420: I read it a number of years ago. I thought most of the in-jokes were about sf, not cons--except for the Worldcon being about 20 people. I wouldn't spend money on it, but it's an okay beach book.

#426 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:39 PM:

JESR #419: we now have a Toyota which will last forever

They sure do. We had an 83 Tercel and an 86 Camry that each lasted 19 years before we sold them. Both of them were still running great and had required no major repairs; the only issues had been paint and rust things, and some work on the Tercel's air conditioner.

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Linkmeister @ 420

It has its moments; you really have to read it for the bed-racing scene. (Actually, I'm not sure about who did the takeover, since one result was making SF illegal, but the Greens were certainly involved.)

If you read here, then only the really obscure jokes will be over your head. I know who Flash is ....

#428 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Dan Hoey @ 341: I'm so sorry about Wade. We had to have a much-beloved cat put to sleep a few months ago, and I think it's impossible not to second-guess one's timing afterwards.

#429 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Linkmeister @ 420

Has anyone read this? Is it worth searching out? One of the reviewers at Amazon said it's wonderful but full of inside jokes aimed at con-attendees. Since I've never attended one, would said jokes go right over my head?

I read it a long time ago, when it first came out (early '90s?). Since I have never been to a con either, the jokes went over my head completely. Some of the descriptions of fan behavior sounded realistic (I've know some fans), and were fun to read, but I had to fight the urge to hit the book with something large and heavy, failing the ability to do the same to Pournelle, whom I blame for the polemics.

#430 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:45 PM:

TexAnne #425:

In pursuit of Grand Unified Open Thread Theory, given the suggestions near these posts for the ultimate destinations of much of the government, it's worth noting that Niven and Pournelle also wrote _Inferno_, full of in-jokes about SF. (I must admit I lost patience; I suspect my copy did a runner several moves back.)

#431 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Linkmeister 420: The number of this comment makes me want to ask you what you're smoking, but instead I'll just remind you that anything written by the Niven/Pournelle team is going to be right-wing propaganda of the most obvious and heavy-handed kind.

That said, I don't know Flynn, but I suspect that Niven and Pournelle wouldn't co-author with someone who didn't share their [Godwin filter has censored this text] point of view, or their taste for blunt and tedious polemic.

It's also true that I don't know anything about this particular novel other than what you say in your post, but it seems their particular Foxification this time is the "environmentalists are anti-technology" lie.

If you must read it, please borrow a copy from a friend. Don't give these bastards any more money.

#432 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Thanks, all. My library doesn't have it, so I'll probably give it a pass. It's not like I'm out of books to read.

Xopher (whose screen name I have been pronouncing properly, I'm delighted to learn), what's the significance of the comment number (see, there might be an example of an inside joke I missed)?

#433 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:00 PM:

If you must read it, please borrow a copy from a friend. Don't give these bastards any more money.

Used books pay no royalties.

Actually, this one isn't too heavy on the polemics, mostly because they were having too much fun with fans being the last vestiges of (relatively free) society. At least, it didn't make me want to throw it at a wall; I will admit that it's one of the read-twice-a-decade books.

#434 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:07 PM:

Linkmeister 432: I'm also delighted that you've been pronouncing it correctly!

'420' was allegedly some police department's code for "possession of marijuana." Whatever the truth of that matter, it's now common slang/code for "smoking grass." "I like 420" means the speaker is a pothead. In the dotcom I used to work in all the younger staff would disappear at twenty minutes past four, which also was the end of any serious work each day, even though they came back. April twentieth is also sometimes the occasion of...herbal festivities.

#435 ::: Amy Ayer ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:08 PM:

For anyone who's still following the famous lawsuit for $67 million over a pair of pants allegedly lost by the dry cleaners: the case has been dismissed. CNN Online news reported:

A judge in the District of Columbia has dismissed a case against a dry cleaner who was sued for $54 million in damages over a pair of missing pants....[Judge] Bartnoff awarded court costs to the Chungs, who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the case. They are attempting to have their attorney's fees paid by Pearson.
#436 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:11 PM:

All praises to Coyote
For his growl is low and throaty
Except when he's on peyote
And that's good enough for me!

#437 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:13 PM:

http://www.larryniven.org/reviews/fallen_angels_review.shtml has a partial list of real persons versus characters in Fallen Angels.

The book apparently is available on-line without payment from the Baen on-line library.

#438 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:24 PM:

J. Austin (331): My first grade teacher very carefully instructed us on pronouncing such words *with* the 'h'. This was Atlanta; the teacher retired after my class.

(also 331): When I was small, we briefly had a maid who pronounced my first name MAY-ree. Drove my mother crazy.

#439 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:28 PM:

It didn't take much SF about SF people for me to get sick of it-- I've never seen the book in question, but a couple others were very self-congratulatory about how different and strange SF people were. Disguising aliens as congoers who were in costume for travel, things like that. It bugs me more than characters who are writers, for some reason.

#440 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Xopher:

I used to read your screen name as, "Zopher" (a la xylophone).

Then I learned what your given name is.

And I started to read it as Christoper.

Now I'll go back to Xopher.

What amuses me isn't that I was reading it, "right" and then "wrong" but that I was able to recode it, and then recode it again; because, in all those cases, I didn't have to stop and think about it, it just read that way.

#441 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Xopher @ #434, Ah. I was trying to come up with something like "it's 10 x 42, but what's that got to do with smoking?"

My pot-smoking days are some 35 years in the past; that might even have pre-dated the alleged police code.

Paula @ #437, that looks like it might be fun. Thanks!

#442 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Xopher @ 431... How can you associate Pournelle with the word 'tedious'? You must have been dealing with the Pournelle from Star Trek's Evil Universe.

#443 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Terry - that's extremely cool!

Linkmeister 441: My pot-smoking days are also in the distant past. I learned this at the dotcom, where the phrase "age-appropriate beverages" did not mean "diet soda for you fat oldsters" but rather nonalcoholic drinks for the 40% of staff who were under 21.

Serge 442: If he's the one who worked on The Mote in God's Eye with Niven, you're right.

#444 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Linkmeister @420,

Before you read Fallen Angels, you should go to a few cons.

And at those cons, you'll go to panels where writers you haven't yet read talk so delightfully that you must go out and read their books. And other writers you have read will recommend books that sound so intriguing that you again go and search out those books.

You'll make new friends, and deepen existing relationships, and as they'll often not just be book lovers but book reviewers you'll happily add more to your to-be-read list. The connections you make might also bring you new clients*, and you continue to put time into satisfying work projects.

Perhaps you yourself- if you don't already write- will be inspired to write your own stories or novels, or to help other writers brainstorm, or to critique early drafts. Or you'll discover a love for costuming, or filk, or volunteering with cons themselves.

And after many years, rich years filled with great books and deep conversations, you might think to yourself "wasn't there some book I was thinking about long ago, had to do with fandom, should I try to remember what that was?" and the answer is no.

But first, go to a few cons.

-----------
* I noticed you're a data wonk via your website: I do that too, and I found one client through a con-related recommendation.

#445 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:27 PM:

Sica: re pronunciations:

We have an Icelandic horse. The woman who bred him named him Kvelrudi.

We call him Rudy, but I was wondering how to properly pronounce his full name.

Can you help?

#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 444... Indeed, one can easily make fun of cons, but maybe Niven & Pournelle have been around so long that they forgot what it was like for them in the beginning. I haven't forgotten. I also haven't forgotten that, if not for cons, I'd never have met the one who'd become my wife, and there are probably a few people around who thus found their Significant Other.

#447 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Xopher @443: the term my university used for such "age-appropriate beverages" (which all dorm and frat parties were supposed to supply in adequate numbers), was "equally-attractive non-alcoholic beverages", or EANABs (eee-nabs). I will admit to still thinking in that term, because it's useful in the non-drinking-and-driving frame as well. For instance, last winter I attended by a party hosted by some young work collagues of mine, who I did not quite trust to provide adequate EANABs. So I brought some mango lemonade (to go with their tropical theme), which was in fact gratefully consumed by some others who felt that the host-provided choice between mai-tais and tap water was a bit stark.

#448 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Kathryn @ #444, Makes sense to me.

(As an aside, empirically I know why some convention planners avoid Hawai'i, particularly after those photos of Tom Ridge on a poolside vinyl chair appeared a few years ago, but it's a shame they do. I imagine that literary cons have smaller budgets than Homeland Security does; on the other hand, they don't have media chasing them around for "gotcha" photos.)

#449 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Olivia at 447, I know what you mean about the tap water vs alcohol. One professor here tries to have big, departmentwide parties, but he often misses the point a little-- why aren't people out back where there's room and chairs? Because all the food is upstairs-- and one of his mistakes was having a big daytime party... and not having *anything* nonalcoholic available. It is not unreasonable for people not to drink. It is irresponsible for everyone at a party to drink when no one lives within walking distance. It is ridiculous to invite entire families and then not have anything for the kids to drink.

#450 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Terry Karney @ 445

Icelandic Horses yay! best horse there is! (I'm well aware I'm not neutral on the issue) I had a horse of my own for four years while I still lived back home. I've gone on several multi-day horse treks as well, absolutely fantastic.

As for how to pronounce your horse's name. Are you sure you're spelling it correctly? Kvelrudi isn't a name I recognize at all.

I would assume the Icelandic spelling for it would be Kvelrúði or Kvelruddi since 'rudi' doesn't fit, i.e it's not combination of letters you'd find in Icelandic

Anyway ruddi means thug in Icelandic so I hope that's not an apt name for your horse. Kvel is also not really fitting as a part of a name. It's one of the inflections of a verb (first person nominative) which means to make suffer.

Kveld means evening though. Could the name be supposed to be Kveldúlfur? That's a proper name although not too common in horses (means evening wolf if you parse through it).

Úði means a mist or spray so that could work as a name meaning evening drizzle if it were Kveldúði.

Anyway assuming it's Kveldúði you've got an aspirated Kv at the start, so that's like the sound at start at quite but with a little extra gust of air through it. ð = a soft th and ú = oo so to spell it in a more english way the best approcimation would be Queldoothi. If it´s Kvelrúði it.d be Quelroothi with a rolled r.

In the Kvelrúði version the L is pretty much the 'normal' English one but in Kveldúði you get the unvoiced l sound that there was some discussion earlier in this thread about. It's basically made so that the tip of your tongue touches the top of your mouth just behind your teeth and you let air out through the side of your tongue. If you can pronounce Llangollen correctly you can do it.

Ok that turned out rather longer than intended.

#451 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:04 PM:

That lawyer who sued the dry cleaners for $54 million? He got nothing. He has to pay the dry cleaner's court costs and their attorneys will sue him for their legal costs.

The WashPost is running a four-part series on Dick Cheney and some of what they've found is really chilling. He pushed executive orders through without review from anybody; he devised how to state the torture legally so it wouldn't technically be illegal. He's not only the hand in the puppet, but he's a terrorist.

#452 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:07 PM:

Re: Roger Elwood (296, 297).

The news prompted me to look into his work in a little more depth than I had before, and I note that he edited the anthology that was my first "real" SF book, and which first prompted me to go looking up older classic stories. I had almost forgotten about that book, and those stories...

#453 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Sica 450: So would 'kvelruddi' mean "I cause suffering to the thug"? Or "Thugsbane," maybe?

I dunno, I think that's a good name for a horse!

#454 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Linkmeister @420:

I've never attended a con and have read it. I certainly enjoyed it, but I do get the feeling at least some of it went over my head. A lot more of it has to do with the history of fandom, which I was at the time I read it nowhere near as familiar with as I am now, and I certainly now understand what a lot of it was talking about that I missed at the time.

But there is still stuff in there that I still don't understand. It isn't essential for enjoying the book, but if you're planning on attending a con in the near future, I'd suggest waiting until afterwards. Otherwise, enjoy it now. I liked it a lot.

#455 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Marilee@451:

"Originally, Pearson had asked for $65 million, but by the time the case went to trial two weeks ago, Pearson had lowered his demand to $54 million."

Well, of course he did. I mean, who could reasonably demand $65 million in such a case?

#456 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Tried to read Cliff Burns' most recent tryout for the Self-Congratulation Olympics. I had to stop at:

I’m tired of apologizing for having a terrific site that isn’t afraid to offend or make people think (often it’s one and the same).

Really, is there any surer marker of a boorish bore?

And to keep it on-topic, feel free to discuss pronunciation differences/similarities between "boor" and "bore" (and "Boer").

#457 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Sica said (#450):
Kveld means evening though. Could the name be supposed to be Kveldúlfur? That's a proper name although not too common in horses (means evening wolf if you parse through it).

Cool! I remember that there was a minor character in Egil's Saga named Kveldulf, and that this meant something like "evening wolf." (The implication supposedly being that he was in fact a wolf part of the time.)

(Now that I think of it, this might have been Egil's grandfather...)

#458 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:05 PM:

Con-going for introverts: try it once or twice (helps if you're there on an official job, as I was with Locus). From then on, do a lot of reading, and pursue contacts via the Web. One of my best friends now, practically a "lost sister," is a woman I've never met in person.

Before the "good enough" subthread vanishes completely, though I don't know if this has all been based on the song *I'm* thinking of, in light of the Lovecraft discussion the chorus could be:

Give me that Old Ones religion
Give me that Old Ones religion
Give me that Old Ones religion
It's good enough for me!

#459 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:07 PM:

I read and enjoyed Fallen Angels not long after it was published, at a time when I hadn't yet attended any sf cons. So in-depth knowledge of fandom isn't necessary to enjoy it. But, though I've attended a fair number of cons over the years since then, and would get more of the jokes this time if I reread it, I still haven't had any serious urge to reread it. Too many better books to read, too little time.

#460 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:10 PM:

ethan I was going to recommend some Lovecraft to you, but once my list hit 15 stories I decided it would be best to abbreviate it to "everything". Though "The Color Out of Space" is one of my least favorites, so you might want to save that one. It is the titular story in the pretty great NYRB weird tales anthology I picked up recently. Even Henry James tests his ethereal extra-planar horror chops in there. Good stuff. These writers nailed sensawunda in its skin-crawliest inflections decades before most others. One of my only gripes is how damn insistent they can be that you understand just how "nameless" and "alien" their horror is.

On another note, I say "y'all" and "howdy" but they're totally affected. English needs to find its way back to a separate plural pronoun of address, goddamnit, and I've staked my claim on the home grown variety. Better than "you guys." As for "howdy", I just kind of like it.

#461 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Sica: I am recalling the name from memory. It might be kveld, but I don't have his papers ready to hand. When Maia gets home I'll ask her to drag them out.

He's a swell horse; right now he's go no go-signal (he's only four, and freshly under saddle). Because of what we want him to do (working animal in a hippo-therapy clinic; a discipline of occupational therepy), this is fine.

Because kicking, hitting, clucking, rein shaking/snapping, etc. don't cause him to spook.

So he'll look to the ground crew when a client goes spastic.

He's a little thuggish, but 1: only a little, and 2: that probably wasn't apparent when he was named.

I forget what the naming conventions were, but I know that at least part of his full name has to with sire, and location of birth.

When he's fully trained, he's going to be a great trail horse, and I understand your bias. I don't know that I'd say, without reservation, that they are the best breed in the world, but I've never ridden one I didn't like.

Don't fret the length, it was really useful. I studied Russian, and French. The "l" sound you describe, is close to the "soft L" of Russian.

+++++

Post scriptum:

I found him on the registry. Kveldrodi from California

#462 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Xopher 453

Well sort of, the only problem is it's not grammatically correct, you need to inflect the noun coming after the verb so it'd be kvelrudda but that doesn't really work either, having a proper noun not with its main case in the default one (i.e not affected by a verb)

Kvalarruddi or Kvalaruddi (I think not doubling up on the r's is ok for a proper noun) would work as "The Thug of Suffering" which isn't half bad really.

Peter 547

Yep that's the name, Kveldúlfur is in Egil's Saga.

I just did a quick search through the Icelandic census (yes it's available online and free to look through as part of online banking, of all things) and there are currently three men in Iceland named Kveldúlfur so it's still a name in use, although not common.

#463 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:25 PM:

Faren @ 458... Now, I'll never be able to watch the movie Inherit the Wind without thinking of your hymn.

As for Lovecraft and The Color from Out of Space, I always associate it with a very pretty girl I knew in high-school, who had lent me her copy of the book.

#464 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Terry Karney, Ok the name makes sense now.

Kveldroði means evening glow, i.e a sunset. Roði is related to rauður which means red.

I'd pronounce it something similar to Queldrothi with the o long and pronounced like in song or often and the th soft like in there. The stress goes on the Que and the l is like I described before but still pretty soft.

As for the horses I'm very biased because I grew up riding Icelandic horses and I'm completely addicted to the tölt.

To be fair though I've only twice ridden a non-Icelandic horse and everything was so alien to me I just couldn't cope and being treated like I was a liar for saying I was used to horses when I couldn't do the sit up stand up thing you do on the bigger horses when they trot, even though I'd said before that the way I was used to riding was completely different, wasn't fun either.

I really wanted to put those kids with a herd of 20 horses on top of a mountain with a 4 hour ride back to the farm and see how they'd cope then, hmpf.

#465 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Spica: That makes sense. He's an Orange-red horse.

I learned to ride on trotting horses (and Icelandic's trot). I've been spoiled the last eight years, as we've had five different breeds of "gaited" horses (Missouri Foxtrotter, Tennessee Walker, Spotted Saddle Horse (related to Walker) Paso Fino Mule, and a Paso Fino; not to mention Rudi.


Now that I know, better, how to pronouce his name, I'll tell Maia, but I bet he remains Rudi, not Rothi.

Thanks.

When I get home I'll link to a picture, or two, of him.

#466 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:11 PM:

I just got home from fetching the Best of HP Lovecraft volumey text at the library, and I feel like my life is about to explode. Thanks for the advice, y'all.

Re: Fallen Angels, I read it when I was about eleven, and even then I hated it because a) I could tell it was neo-con tripe and b) I could also tell it was full of snoozy self-satisfied in-jokes I didn't get. I had, and continue to have, no patience for such nonsense.

#467 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:11 PM:

#396: The difference for me is that Tirana is three syllables, whereas Trawna is two.

Mind you, the amount elided depends on the person I'm talking with. To someone from Manitoba, I'd say Terawnta. To an American -- or to anybody who asked for clarification, having not parsed my sloppy pronunciation -- I'd say, carefully, "Toronto".

#410: I'm not an Ottawa native, but I visited my brother there last week, and got great pleasure from visiting the Treasures from China exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization across the river in what used to be called Hull, but is now Gatineau.

#468 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:18 PM:

Dude. Today I'm very glad that the fanfic gene passed me by. Because otherwise I'd feel compelled to Do Something about the following two sentences:

"You cannot have a right to such very strong local attachment. You cannot have been always at Longbourn."

and:

"'You would not object to taking an oath, however,' he said, smiling...."

Of course, if anyone does feel compelled to Do Something, I hope you'll post a link.

#469 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Wait wait wait wait!!!! Derek Jacobi is on Doctor Who?!?

Like Mr. Burns, I'm not necessarily enamored of science fiction (except for the works of Connie Willis) -- unlike Mr. Burns I recognize that to be a personal preference that says nothing about the talents/abilities/general goodness of those who write or those who enjoy said fiction, and hanging around here I feel really sheepish about even admitting it -- and I have never really liked any SF television, except for Red Dwarf. I sat through many episodes of Doctor Who when I was younger as a social thing (my husband and most of my friends are fans); the only Doctor I liked was the Fifth, mainly because Peter Davidson is IMO really cute.

But I love Derek Jacobi. (His portrayal of Alan Turing in Breaking the Code I found to be tremendously moving.) And I will even watch Doctor Who if he's in it.

#470 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:29 PM:

@ 467: You could say "Trawna" to someone from Buffalo and be understood.

Another Buffaloism that just popped into my head (besides the fact that we also say "pop"): "creek" is pronounced "crick," especially when it's the Cazenovia crick. Or maybe that's just a South Buffaloism...

#471 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Sylvia 467: The Torontonians I met in Toronto all said 'Chronno' (two syllables, 'ch' as in 'church', 'ron' as in the name 'Ron', 'no' as in not yes).

#472 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:41 PM:

kouredios @ 420

'Crick' for 'creek' is common in the Mid-Atlantic states. Not sure what the exact distribution is. That's how I was raised to say it in PA. Somehow, it never quite took, and when I moved west, I just dropped it and called them 'creeks'.

#473 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:42 PM:

kouredios: Crick is an Ohioism too.


Me, I have a plastic ear. I don't know if this the result of my various points of habitation (born in Pittsburgh, lived in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, suburbs of Cleveland, South Side Chicago, upstate Indiana (on the UP border), E. Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Mojave desert, and a summer in Phoenix.

That takes me to age 17. I also studied French, and then Russian.

Add an ecclectic reading habit (from as soon as I could read), and hanging out with people from lots of places/ages/educations/backgrounds, and one gets a very flexible pronunciation, and a decent ear for detail in dialect.

Which is good, and bad. I get frustrated when subtitles get put on things which I can plainly understand (someone from India, or the Deep South of the US), as though it were a foreign language.

#474 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:44 PM:

ethan - Once you've finished the Lovecraft collection, you could consider reading some of the following:

Charlie Stross' The Atrocity Archives Computer Geeks protect us from the Elder Gods.

P.H. Cannon's Scream for Jeeves Jeeves and Wooster and the Elder Gods.

Nick Mamatas' Move Under Ground Jack Kerouac and the Elder Gods.

There are many other Lovecraft pastiches, but these three are my favorites. PNH recommened Move Under Ground a few months ago, and he was correct, it is good.


Zoinks, I almost forgot. Shadows over Baker Street An anthology where Holmes and Watson investigate the Elder Gods.

#475 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 07:59 PM:

472 & 473. Ah, that would explain why I haven't heard it elsewhere. My particular migration pattern was SoCal (San Diego) to Buffalo to Massachusetts. My family is all Buffalonian though. I haven't been in the other mid-Atlantics enough to have heard "crick" anywhere else.

Speaking of that: I was almost 10 when we moved from San Diego to Buffalo, and afterwards the kids in my class were constantly asking me to say words like "cold" and "gold." Apparently I dropped the "l" in some way (though I don't think we pronounce it very strongly here in any case), but I never heard what they did. Eventually they stopped asking, so I presume I adjusted.

#476 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:13 PM:

"Crick" seems to be an Americanism that pops up all over the place. It must represent some instability in vowel pronunciation. I have some vague sense that it is the preferred form on the Eastern Shore but in Dead Central Maryland I learned "creek".

#477 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Tania #474: Among the many reasons I want to catch up on my Lovecraft is that I want to read el señor Stross.

#478 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:19 PM:

Sylvia Li #467: That makes sense, although I've heard Canadians pronounce Toronto in such a way that I hear it as Tirana. But then, I live in Etlanna....

#479 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:26 PM:

Kouredios #470: You'll also hear 'crick' for 'creek' in Jamaica and Belize ('Dat is Haulover Crick' a Belizean taxi driver said to me.)

#480 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 08:56 PM:

Pat Greene, #469: Derek Jacobi guest-stars in the 11th episode of season 3 of the revived Doctor Who, broadcast in the UK a couple of weeks ago. It's not a regular role.

#481 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:01 PM:

For those who do have at least the fanfic-appreciation gene, there's also a post-Season One AU Veronica Mars/H. P. Lovecraft crossover fanfic here.

#482 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:40 PM:

Debra Doyle #481: Well, well, well. Looks like my Lovecraft initiation might end up being my fanfic initiation, too. I heart Veronica Mars.

#483 ::: Nick Fagerlund ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Forking away from pronunciation while staying on the topic of regionalisms, I have a question for people.

Say I ask you to hand me a couple of those olive rolls over there. How many am I asking for? And what regional dialect do you speak?

#484 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Two. Chicago.

#485 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:02 PM:

A couple is two; I'm northwest Illinois (not Chicago) with parents from upstate New York (I am told there are two definitions; I mean the one that includes Lake Ontario and Rochester) and bouncing between IL and Maryland. Several means three. A few can be three or four. Something between two and three might come out couple-few, but I picked that up from text.

I've never been interested in reading Lovecraft. I understand the jokes, I recognize the squidgod, and as long as I know a pastiche when I see it, I'm good.

#486 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:12 PM:

What's an olive roll when it's in Chicago? Googling gives me things that don't sound too appetizing....

#487 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:13 PM:

Nick @ 483, Couple = Two. No more, no less.(New York City)

#488 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Two, though I might just pass the dish. If I don't pass the dish, it will only be two.

Relating to crick/creek. Depending on where I am, I'll use one, or the other. Local affect will color it.

So far as I'm concerned they are the same.

#489 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:37 PM:

I'm pretty sure this isn't a regional thing, but rather an idiosyncratic thing: to me, a couple is approximately two, in a way I can't define. If you asked me for a couple rolls, I would probably say "Do you want two?" while handing you the basket.

When I cashed people's checks at the bank when I used to work there, if they asked for, say, "a couple fives," I might give them anywhere between two and four, depending on the amount.

A couple is more than one but less than a few. Idiotic, I know, but there it is. I've gotten into arguments about it both with people from my area and with my parents, who are from elsewhere, so I don't think it's regional at all. Just wacky ol' me.

#490 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:38 PM:

Bruce@350:
To the tune of Handel's "Largo"
We will hymn the gods of cargo
'Til they slap on an embargo
(Greer, again)

Has anyone else ever had to sing the Xian version of "That Old-Time Religion"? My chorus was once hired to do that, for an episode of Spenser: For Hire

Jo@380: Thank you -- if I \had/ a favorite saint, Anthony would probably be it; not only does he have his own waterfall (in Mpls), his sermon to the fish inspired one of the most wonderfully creepy scherzi I've ever heard (in Mahler's Symphony #2).

JC@397: beef on weck isn't much of a local secret any more; I think I had heard of it (possibly from a Clevelander?) even before a Boston specialty-sandwich shop opened.

Linkmeister@420: as I recall, the in-jokes were amusing but obscure, while the science and politics were appalling. I finished it, but there are very few things I haven't finished.
Bruce@429: based on later work and local interaction, Flynn could also be responsible for the polemics.
But they weren't particularly making \fun/ of cons -- not even friendly fun (as opposed to the viciousness of Sharyn McCrumb).

#491 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 10:53 PM:

Precisely two. (UK English.) And one for myself, because I've never had anything that could be described as an olive roll and I'm curious.

How about 'several'? What range of numbers is appropriate for that? I remember discussing this with some (mostly British) friends awhile ago and getting a much wider range of responses than I expected, and I'm curious whether this holds true generally.

#492 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:00 PM:

kouredios @ #401 wrote:

Heh. There might be some disagreement on exactly how Buffalo any wings outside of Buffalo really are.

The rule I've always known is that if the place selling the wings feels the need to call them "Buffalo", they aren't. If breading or flour is used, an exorcism is called for.

Wings are "mild," "medium," "hot," or various euphemisms for "extra hot.

How common is it to have regional food as localized as it is around here? Thinks like beef on a weck in Buffalo, white hots in Rochester, salt potatoes in Syracuse, spiedies in Binghamton, etc.

#493 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:02 PM:

In some book, probably by Beverly Cleary, a girl was asked if she'd ever ridden a horse before. She said yes, several times, because several means three. I don't know if I can call it regional-- again, it's a text thing.

#494 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Ursula L @492 wrote: The rule I've always known is that if the place selling the wings feels the need to call them "Buffalo", they aren't. If breading or flour is used, an exorcism is called for.

Agreed. And even within Buffalo, I have my preferences. My brother worked for Pasquale's Pizzeria in West Seneca for some time while in high school, and they not only did a consistently perfect job with their wings, he learned the secrets! Of course, he hasn't told them to me...

On the couple vs. few issue: my partner considers "couple" to mean 2 or 3. I think he's quite wrong; for me, couple is precisely 2. He's from Vermont, if that helps with the data sampling.

#495 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:36 PM:

@483
You'll get two rolls, just as two people is a couple. Original region, Texoma.
As to "several," I would have guessed from five to seven, but then, how much is a buttload?

#496 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:40 PM:

Ursula, 492: Kolaches* are almost entirely contained within the Czech-colonized areas of Central Texas. I never heard of them until I went to college, on the extreme eastern edge of their habitat.

*The Texas version, I mean. I have no idea what they're like in Bohemia.

#497 ::: Nick Fagerlund ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:43 PM:

Whoops, should have picked a less confusing bakery item! Olive rolls are just small chunks of olive bread; in this case, a relative of ciabatta with olives baked into it.

Xopher, you just kicked my baby hypothesis -- I was so sure Chicago was going to come down in favor of variable "couple." Then again, Ethan might be right about it coming from a non-regional vector.

Anyway, I got bitten by this one several moons ago when I started cashiering at the bakery -- I use variable "couple" (it's in the same family as "few" [3-4] and "several" [4-9], a fuzzy quantifier that is somewhat more exact than "lots" or "a bunch"), and ended up in something of a Who's On First exchange with a customer who didn't understand why I needed him to elaborate on just how many olive rolls he wanted.

The reason I was leaning toward a regionalism hypothesis is that, near as I can tell, the Twin Cities area is standardized on fixed "couple" -- every time I've caught a customer using variable "couple" and asked them about it, they turn out to be from Chicago, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, or the Pacific Northwest. On the third hand, it could be that some dialects lean more towards standardization of "couple," while others are more agnostic.

(And to blow that right back out of the water again, I caught Vlad Taltos using variable "couple" at the end of chapter 4 of Jhereg, and isn't Steven Brust from around here? ARGH.)

#498 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:45 PM:

Or a "spider", which is here a tall coke with a scoop of ice cream.

#499 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Nick, #483: Two. Michigan (Detroit area). And what the fleep is an olive roll, anyhow?

Ursula, #492: At my favorite wing place in Houston, the divisions are mild, medium, hot, extra-hot, and Mario hot. This being Texas, the medium is plenty hot enough for me; I don't think I'd have the nerve to try anything hotter. (One of the things I have to remember when I travel is to recalibrate my "hot" scale -- in most of the rest of the country, if it's not Indian or Thai, even the "hot" isn't going to be very.)

Re Fallen Angels -- I read it about 10 years ago and enjoyed it as a silly romp, didn't take any of the political wanking seriously, enjoyed the jokes I could catch (and knew enough to recognize that there were some from Old Phart Phandom that I was too young to get), and I basically think of it as professionally-written fanfic. ISTR that for a couple of years, various cons were putting up the chance to be in the book at charity auctions. I think it's one of those books that you either enjoy or loathe, no middle ground.

#500 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:54 PM:

#498 If that's a spider, what's a snake?

#501 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:54 PM:

Nick Fagerlund @#483:

Here's in Chicago I'll cheerfully pass you two of nothing, because I've never heard of an olive roll. My husband will give you three, or just hand you the whole darn bowl of whatever an olive roll is, because he's a generous guy who has never learned the difference between a couple and a few, except, mercifully, as it pertains to dating. That's just him, though; it's not the region.

#502 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:01 AM:
He's a generous guy who has never learned the difference between a couple and a few, except, mercifully, as it pertains to dating. That's just him, though; it's not the region.

Mary, on the off-chance I ever date again, would you mind telling me what region is so very enlightened?

#503 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Patrick @480, Oh, rats. I'll still watch the episodes when I can -- probably the season up to that point. My husband will be very happy.

#504 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Peter Irwin (#363): I'm guessing you're talking about the "dental" (tongue pressed up against the teeth) versus "retroflex" (tongue curled back and pressed against the roof of the mouth) consonants, yes? That may very well be; since I learned the minimal Hindi I know from native speakers, I've never officially been taught the difference. Some experimentation confirms that, even knowing how to make the sounds, I still can't distinguish between them.

Fragano (#396): I concur that 'Trawna' has two syllables, and I don't have enough familiarity with Tirana to use less than three.

JC (#397) and CHip (#490): I had definitely heard of beef on weck, which is why I ordered it at the All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge, MA (the place, I suspect, that CHip was alluding to). It was fantastic. Sadly, however, their poutine wasn't. Poutine, that is, although it was pretty tasty.

On a new note, I am currently in Honolulu for a conference. I have a couple of questions for locals. One, why are there interstates in Hawai'i? I guess it has something to do with the technical specs and/or federal funding. And two, why are so many palm trees encircled with a metal band at about eight feet above the ground?

Also, Hawai'i is beautiful. And I discovered why there is a rainbow on the license plates yesterday, when I experienced a rainshower, sunshine, and a rainbow simultaneously and suddenly.

#505 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:49 AM:

John @#502: Well, I guess that would be the region around north halsted street...

#506 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:13 AM:

debcha: Somee of the scariest meals I didn't eat were in "mexican" restaurants in the NE.

A few years before I was at Ft. Devens. I had the chance to drive to Maine an do some white water rafting on the Kennebec (before they undammed the river).

We stopped in Bangor, at a place which said it was mexican. I looked at the menu and vetoed it. Something about, "El Nachos Deluxo" which was more than I was willing to risk.

Skip ahead a few years. I'm again at Ft. Devens. Coffe wanted to eat at the mexican place in Ayre, Mass. I lobbied against it, but was overruled. Since she'd paid for the second hour of horseback riding I figured she'd earned a little leeway and didn't fight too hard against it.

Looking at the menu I was thinking of ordering the enchiladas. I did, however, have reservations about the word, "gravy," in the description.

I asked (thinking, and hoping, it was a shorthand for molé) about it, and was informed that it was, "brown gravy, like on pot-roast".

I ordered a tostada salad.

#507 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:33 AM:

I don't have the OED available here but the American Heritage Dictionary and Merriam-Webster websites both list "crick" as a second (not as preferred but still acceptable) pronunciation. Even more telling, the etymology is (lifted from AHD) "Middle English _creke_, probably from Old Norse _kriki_, bend." Which makes me wonder if "crick" isn't the *original* pronunciation. It's sure the one I'm most likely to use, having grown up near where Brush Crick (spelled "Creek") meets Abers Crick (ditto) to form Turtle Crick (likewise). This being just about where the boundary is between Westmoreland and Allegheny counties (Pennsylvania).

"Couple" = two. More than that is "a few", and a few more than that becomes "several." Around 7 or 8 is where it starts to edge into "several." This is the distinction I settled on when I first pondered this problem; I was 9 then, and it's served me well for 47 years.

And on the sandwich topic: oddly, Subway makes fairly decent hoagies, despite their refusal to call them that.

#508 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:40 AM:

Nick: I'd hand you two or three. I grew up in central Wisconsin, the product of parents from Minnesota and South Dakota; now I live in Minneapolis.

But what's an olive roll?

#509 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:03 AM:

CHip @490, When I was seven or so, my mother, in a desperate attempt to save her sanity, sent me to every Vacation Bible School in Yelm, at least one of which was Assembly of God. So, yes, I sang that song in my shrill little treble.

#510 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:05 AM:

debcha @ #504, it's almost entirely due to federal funding. H-1 (from East Honolulu to Waianae) used to be two-lane blacktop within my memory; it's now 3-4 lanes each way. H-2 (Waipahu to almost-the-North-Shore, more or less) was also two-lane blacktop until about 20 years ago. H-3 (Halawa Heights to Kaneohe) was completed about 10 years ago.

Like the initial theory behind all interstates, the goal was to connect military bases (although E. Honolulu has none; somebody did some fast talking there). Pearl Harbor to Kaneohe MCAS to Schofield Barracks.

During rush hours H-1 and H-2 can give the Santa Monica, Harbor, Ventura, and any other ones you name in LA a run for their money in gridlock.

The metal band around palm trees is a rat shield.

#511 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:06 AM:

Nick, actually, I don't think it's regional, as my sister uses a couple to mean two or three, and I say it is precisely two (also, Marlene and Roschay say hello).

#512 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:28 AM:

pat greene: Probably ep. 10 ("Blink") is the strongest stand-alone episode of the current season. Also, I have heard from folks familiar with the classic Who that these three seasons are something entirely different and worth checking out even if you remember not liking classic Who.

I just caught up to the latest. Squeee. Many, many things to love. Gur yvggyr qvt ng Ohfu jvgu gur "H.F. cerfvqrag bhgentrq ng Cevzr Zvavfgre Fnkba'f havyngreny npgvba." Naq gung njrfbzr yvar bs gur Znfgre'f gung unq hf ebyyvat: "Orfg bs nyy, ur qbrfa'g fgnl qrnq ybat, fb V'z tbaan trg gb xvyy uvz NTNVA!"

*happy sigh*

So is everyone just really fond of Derek Jacobi and John Simm, or am I reading the fannish conversation online right when I get the impression that, just by them being announced as cast for the season finale, a bunch of long-time fans knew what was coming?

(I suspected, but for other reasons. I am not very fluent in classic Who, however.)

#513 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:46 AM:

Dan Hoey, #341, I'm so sorry. Don't blame yourself.

Kevin, #358, subs are short for "submarine sandwiches" because people thought the shape was like a submarine.

JC, #397, there's a new chain restaurant here in NoVA called Glory Days Grill and their special is beef on weck.

Linkmeister, #420, I'm one of the rare people who like Fallen Angels.

Nick, #483, a "couple" is two and I grew up on Navy bases and will unconsciously mimic wherever I am.

#514 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:47 AM:

"I am not very fluent in classic Who"

Pick up "Live at Leeds."

Oh, oops. Wrong Who.

#515 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:54 AM:

I was taught in Linguistics class that creek/crick, along with pen/pin (as a writing instrument), roof/ruf, and root/rut (as the thing at the bottom of a tree), is a tense/lax distinction.

Furthermore, I was taught that the tense/lax distinction was an urban/rural distinction. Rural speakers in many regions use lax pronunciations, while urban speakers use tense ones.

Since I spent my childhood holidays in a rural area, talking about forest things, but only discussed civilisation matters at length in the city, I say "crick" and occasionally "rut" (though that is mostly gone to a Scottish "ruit", but "pen" and "roof".

#516 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:19 AM:

Linkmeister (#510): Thanks for the info on interstates! And the metal band - rat shield? Really? To discourage climbing or eating (or both)?

#517 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:24 AM:

John Simm, of course, is currently big in the UK as a result of Life on Mars. Derek Jacobi is one of those high-status British actors. I don't think we have the same concept of a "star" as the Hollywood-centred US TV business has, but when you see names like that in the cast, you know something big is coming.

And using such names in a season finale has implications about what role they have. The long-time fans can speculate about what major past enemy there might be, and how these actors could fit in. You don't put them inside Cyberman suits; you can infer an enemy with an essentially human face. And one of them might be a dupe, but two?

I suppose it could have been Davros, but that still throws away most of the famous face.

Incidentally, RTD claims in Radio Times that the "Mister Saxon" thing was an accident.

#518 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:34 AM:

abi @ 515:
"Crick" certainly has rural connotations, in my mind.

Curiously, a little Googling comes up with a claim that it's used by some older Tasmanians.

Nick @ 483:
A "couple" is two, or sometimes three, but I've never heard of "olive rolls." (I'm from LA, if that help.)

#519 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:37 AM:

Catching up on the whole thread:

I'm a Brit, grew up in Saaaaaarf London of Yorkshire parents, moved around the UK and Europe as a child, back in London for Uni and the past few years. These days I sound vaguely RP with northern vowels (or so I'm told).

Mary, merry, and marry all sound different.

'A couple' is exactly two, 'a few' is 3-5, and 'several' is 5-10. After that you hit 'many'. Does this mean it's time for a discussion of the magical number 7(+/-2)?

Nicole #512: Have you seen Life on Mars? If not, RUN do not walk RUN to your nearest source of bits and see if you can get hold of it. This should explain the John-Simm-Love. Even if some of the old Whovians of my acquaintance thought his performance was to extroverted for The Master - not enough silent menace. Come to think of it, didn't Patrick and/or Teresa mention that they had a post about Life on Mars queued somewhere?

#520 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:03 AM:

Linkmeister @ 514:

Talkin' 'bout my regeneration?

#521 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:24 AM:

The consensus seems to be that the "couple" / "few" / "several" / "many" spectrum is an individual characteristic rather than a regional trend. I'm from Philadelphia originally, lived in the North East for 26 years, and have lived on the West Coast since. I can't remember any regularity to the values I've seen for those words in other people. For me, "couple" means two*, "few" means 3 or 4, "several" has almost no exact connotation** and "many" varies with context, but usually means more than 7 or 8***.

Oh, and please pass the olive rolls. I haven't heard the term before, but I love olives.

Speaking of the Doctor, I've been getting the new Doctor in a highly anachronistic way (how else, with a Time Lord?): programs from the second and third seasons jumbled together mostly out of order even within those seasons because I'm getting them from two different networks. This is the way I was originally introduced to the Doctor: the first shows I saw were from the last season of Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor. That was when Douglas Adams was working on it (as Script Supervisor, IIRC), and the scripts showed it. Then I got to see the a mix of the third Doctor and the fourth for a few years, with the latter in approximate season order, though not always in strict episode order.

Being as it were adrift along the Doctor's timeline is occasionally frustrating, but it also adds a bit of mystery and resonance to connected events and characters seen out of order. Sort of like the difference between watching "Momento" normally, or in reverse scene order.

* This seems to have changed over time. As a child, ISTR that "couple" meant 2 or 3; that may have changed in adult life because "couple" is a technical term in physics meaning 2 connected ("coupled") subsystems, and I've spent too much time with scientists and engineers even before being assimilated myself, not to have picked that up.

** several has the feel of not very many, but I couldn't usually give a quantity. It feels like a handwave rather than a number to me.

*** Clearly there'a a gap in here; I don't have a common word I use to refer to numbers between 4 and about 7. If you think about the cognitive mechanisms of counting, this sounds reasonable, but that may just be a rationalization on my part.

#522 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:38 AM:

debcha #504: Fair enough!

#523 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:40 AM:

Jakob @ 519

Does this mean it's time for a discussion of the magical number 7(+/-2)?

Surely. This forum has gotten me a lot more insight into ADD than I've been able to get from books, blind web-surfing, or talking to therapists who are almost as old as I am, because I'm hearing from a very diverse (and articulate!) group of people who have the disorder and have investigated it. So here's a question: would you agree or disagree that people with ADD or similar cognitive disorders on average use or have fewer short-term memory slots than people without? In other words, are we more likely to be on the -2 end of the spectrum most of the time, as opposed to the +2 end of that magical number range?

Introspection on cognitive states is a notoriously slippery and sharp-edged tool, easy to cut yourself with, but FWIW, when I'm particularly AD, it feels like short-term memory items get pushed out by new ones with fewer total slots than at other times, and I can almost feel them dissolving, "leaving not a wrack behind".

#524 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:00 AM:

Re: Dr. Who - when I was a teen, I used to watch Dr. Who (on Channel 11) Sunday nights with my dad, even though he thought it was extremely silly. I'd watch until about 11 pm, and then I had to go to bed so I could go to school in the morning. He'd stay up and watch the rest of it for me, and then tell me on Monday how it came out.

My dad's the best.

#525 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:04 AM:

I think of a couple as precisely two, but have no idea what an olive roll is either.

#526 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:07 AM:

Bruce @523
leaving not a wrack behind
Staying the course?

But seriously...from the Aspie side of the fence, what I get is plenty of slots but too much trivial information to fill them. Ceaseless, obsession-compelling visual detail. Sounds attracting my attention. Then my skin starts to, well, not itch, but become hyper-conscious of the feeling of clothing against it.

It snowballs - once I'm into overstimulation mode, I have to go somewhere still and quiet and scale it all back down to zero. Purge the stack.

My kids know that I get all hassled, then go hang some wet laundry on the drying rack. When we live in a house with an effective tumble dryer, it'll be clothes folding.

#527 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:09 AM:

And an olive roll sounds like a cross between a beef olive and a sausage roll to me.

#528 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:10 AM:

On Doctor Who, ROT13'd for your protection.

Guvf vf gur Znfgre sbe n arj zvyyraavhz. Ur qbrfa'g pnpxyr nalzber; vafgrnq ur zhtf. Lbh xabj jung? V yvxr vg.

N abgr ba gur anzr "Unebyq Fnkba": Onpx va gur qnlf jura Jvyyvnz Unegaryy jnf gur svefg Qbpgbe, gurer jnf n fgbel pnyyrq "Gur Gvzr Zrqqyre", nobhg bar bs gur Qbpgbe'f crbcyr (abg lrg pnyyrq Gvzr Ybeqf) jub, qvfthvfrq nf n zbax, jnf gelvat gb nygre gur bhgpbzr bs gur Onggyr bs Unfgvatf. Sbe dhvgr n juvyr, snaf fcrphyngrq gung guvf Zrqqyvat Zbax yngre orpnzr gur Znfgre. Ng guvf cbvag V qba'g guvax vg'f tbvat gb or fcryyrq bhg, ohg gur anzr Unebyq Fnkba vf pregnvayl n fubhgbhg gb guvf gurbel.

#529 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:24 AM:

Here's a list of Super Heroes categorized by religion. Includes "The Legion of Catholic Super Heroes," "The Legion of Latter-Day Saints Super Heroes," and many more.

#530 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:25 AM:

Does anyone else feel that reading rot13'd text out loud might accidentally summon Cthulhu? Every time I see a brick of the stuff I think "ooo, madness."

In case anyone's not seen it: Tales of the Plus Cthulhu

#531 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:35 AM:

I personally Eccleston's Doctor to Tannant's, maybe because the latter has too much of a Jim-Carrey animated-in-a-cartoon-kind-of-way face, but I'll definitely watch the 3rd season when it starts on the Skiffy Channel next Friday. Followed the Tuesday after that by Eureka. Yay! Happy days are here again.

#532 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:46 AM:

I don't know what an olive roll is either. It sounds good.

To me a couple is always exactly two. A few is three, but that's less strict. Several is at least three but still not "many" (whatever that means).

Marilee 513: Are you sure about the derivation of 'submarine sandwich'? Because I had thought it came from the fact that the big sandwich would last a while, and thus good for a "submarine" -- that is, an illegal immigrant who came into the country "under the water" (i.e. hidden in the hold of a ship). This is from when many illegals came from Italy.

#533 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:52 AM:

#531: Wow, Skiffy is getting to the third series faster than I had expected. They're starting almost immediately after the BBC finishes airing it.

I think the 3rd season has been much better than the 2nd. In particular, David Tennant and the writers have figured out the 10th Doctor. (e.g., he's no longer constantly raving hyperkinetically about humanity.) Even the inevitable stupid episodes aren't so stupid.

#530: Oh, _plush_ Cthulhu. You know, until I clicked on the link, I was wondering maybe we'd see Cthulhu as a full-figured fashion model.

#534 ::: JoXn Costello ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:54 AM:

We will worship the god Jesus
For his sacrifice, which frees us,
Made him holy like Swiss cheese is,
And that's good enough for me!

#535 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:56 AM:

JC 533: I thought that too when I saw that link! I was imagining Cthulhu saying "Elder Goddesses are not anorexic!"

#536 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:00 AM:

JoXn 534: Funny, but that's the NEW religion, not the OLD religion.

#537 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:17 AM:

JC @ 533... I don't mind Tannant raving about humanity, but his doing it as if Jim Carrey's bloodstream had been replaced with pure caffeine could be a little too much. I'm glad to hear that's been brought under control.

And Derek Jacobi?
Woohoo!

#538 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:20 AM:

Do Elder Gods have Elder Dogs jumping all over them and furiously waving their caudal tentacle when They come back home from a millenium of inflicting misery upon Humanity?

#539 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:26 AM:

"Couple" is for me context-sensitive. If someone asks me for "a couple of" something, they'll get two. However, "a couple of times" means more than once but probably less than four. Around here people would generally ask for "two". "Several" is probably five or less, but probably more than two.

Re sandwiches: around here "dressed" was once "through the garden" (doubt the latter still survives though). And "salad dressing" isn't just sweetened; it also has a distinct sour component.

All pronunciation here is colored on the one end by Baltimore, which likes vowels and hates consonants to the point of creating extra syllables in some words, and on the other end by a lot of immigration back in my day from North Carolina and parts south. Rural pronunciation has gotten distinctly southernized. The Balto. influence has dropped a lot though.

#540 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:55 AM:

abi at #406 writes:

> In British dialect, the lawsuit was, indeed, pants.

In American dialect one could say he got taken to the cleaners.

#541 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:00 AM:

Many, many thanks to the kind people who responded re: the alpaca yarn. Individual replies are coming once I get caught up. Your generosity with your time and information is greatly appreciated.

#542 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:18 AM:

Steve Taylor #540: But was it a whitewash?

#543 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:18 AM:

I'm one who uses "couple" as a loosely defined two, and I know people who think that it is always a strict two, but never thought of it as a regionalism. In my usage it can be context dependent, a "couple of potato chips" would definitely be more than two unless someone was being overly precise for effect. "Could you get me a couple of hotdogs" is a strict two. "They're a couple" is a strict two (but maybe we could expand that for polyamorous groupings). If someone said that they were having a "couple of friends" over I wouldn't be surprised if there we're seven or eight of them.

Anybody who thinks that a few is always a strict three is contributing to the downfall of the English language, civilization as we know it, and the stability of the Universe.

#544 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:22 AM:

From Mr. Burns' blog: "And, by the way, isn’t it time you people put away the action figures and moved out of your parents’ basement…"

Pwah! What a way to win friends: accuse them of wanking off to Wonder Woman. Does he really still believe that everyone on the internet is a pimply nerd-child? I feel the only proper retort to that sort of toy-clutching retreat homewards is to have a really interesting, engaging and insightful conversation. Oh wait! Already happening.

Re: Doctor Who - I've continued to watch season 2, and might I just say, whee! One or two meh episodes, but the majority have been solid, with a few real standouts. If season 3 is an improvement on this, I am psyched. I think it was the writers adjusting to a new Doctor that was causing the suck in "The Christmas Invasion" and "New Earth"--Tennant just can't pull off the instantaneous switch between whimsical and utterly intense like Eccleston could. He is much more self-referential and snarky, ironically self-aware even under the most inappropriate of circumstances. So they'd try to give him these serious lines that would put a chill down your spine if Eccleston delivered them, but they just sounded silly coming from Tennant. Once they adjusted to that, things improved dramatically.

#545 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Looks like the diversity of several does hold true, though I didn't expect to find myself in so much of a minority - it's 2-4 for me, about the same as a few. More than that is 'some'.

#547 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:42 AM:

abi @ 526

Turning aside risks leaving your wrack on the beach, which can play hell with the local ecology.

#548 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:52 AM:

As they age, the gods get bigger;
Fat Cthulhu brings a snigger,
but a larger god has vigor
and that's all right with me!

#549 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:54 AM:

"A couple" means "approximately two". So it wouldn't mean one, but it might mean three. (Some overlap with "a few", not as many as "several".) I was raised in Central Georgia (the U.S. state, not the former Soviet republic) and live in northeast Georgia.

And I have no idea what an olive roll is (well, now that you've explained it I do), but I'd pass the basket rather than put my hands on your food. Unless you were family or a close friend and the occasion very informal.

As for regional foods...hmm....Brunswick stew comes to mind, along with the fact that it, like chili and barbecue, is one of those foods that nobody makes correctly except People Who Grew Up Where I Did. (For example, I have heard the claim that a truly authentic Brunswick stew must contain squirrel.) I myself don't care for it; it's stringy (Brunswick stew, not necessarily squirrel).

#550 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Where I come from (indeed, several of the places I come from) "crick" and "creek" are different things, a crick being smaller than a creek.

There is much confusion in the world today concerning creeks and cricks. Many otherwise well-informed people live out their lives under the impression that a crick is a creek mispronounced. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A crick is a distinctly separate entity from a creek, and it should be recognized as such. After all, a creek is merely a creek, but a crick is a crick.
-- Patrick McManus, How to Fish a Crick

#551 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:59 AM:

530

"Gods below, it's the Velveteen Cthulhu. You're only as real as the things that happen to those around you! AIIIEEEGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!"

#552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Bruce Cohen @v 546... Next, shaggy-god stories?

#553 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:05 AM:

[[Waves hello from Buffalo]]

JC & Kouredios, if you're ever around here, let me know and we can go for dinner or something.

My grandmother, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, used the phrase, "God willing and the cricks don't rise." So for me (Brooklyn born & raised, Buffalo for college and after) sometimes something is a crick, sometimes a creek.

A "couple of" (pronounced, roughly couple'a) is somewhere between 2 and 4. In ascending size, a couple of, then a few, then several.

Mary, marry, and merry are all different words at my parent's house. Up here, they're pronounced the same. Aaron and Erin are pronounced the same up here as well.

And Toronto is closer to "T'ranno"

#554 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Referencing the "In Defense of Politics" sidebar.

The thing about David Broder (and many another Respected Pundit) is that he doesn't really like politics at all. What he wants is for the Best and the Brightest to come up with an answer and get it implemented, because That Always Works Doesn't It? He's basically yelling at the governing class for not doing their job, as he sees it.

I can't say I'm not somewhat in sympathy; my own feelings about all sorts of issues are complex and sometimes contradictory, and intractable political problems get me itchy, too. I see simplistic solutions offered on all sorts of fronts, and tenditious, dishonest, or merely ignorant justifications advanced to support them.

The 1950s civics textbook ideal of representative democracy is pretty much what Broder thinks he wants, probably remembering through misty, watercolored memories how it worked in the past, but forgetting that it didn't really, except maybe one time in a thousand.

I see the same drift towards catastrophe as in the 1850s and the 1930s, but maybe that's just me getting old.

#555 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:12 AM:

And I would place NYC pizza as a regional food. One of the things I miss about NYC, but I found a local pizza place that has something very close.

#556 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Derek Jacobi is fantabulous. I saw him Breaking the Code as well as in repertory with Sinead Cusack in the RSC Much Ado and Cyrano way back in 1980 or so. I have the Cyrano on videotape. And his Hamlet (for the BBC) was shown in every Shakespeare class I ever took, high school and college both.

We are the Gascony cadets
And Castel-Jaloux is our chief
Braggers of brags, layers of bets
Lithe as cats or marmosets
Our hats are fopped up with aigrettes
Because the fabric's come to grief

(Yes, I know that's a random selection of lines. No, I don't know the whole thing by memory. Those are the ones that stuck.)

#557 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:24 AM:

512: I have heard from folks familiar with the classic Who that these three seasons are something entirely different and worth checking out even if you remember not liking classic Who.

As someone who tried watching classing Who a couple* of times growing up and could never make it through an episode, I have to second the recommendation to check the new version out anyway.

544: So they'd try to give him these serious lines that would put a chill down your spine if Eccleston delivered them, but they just sounded silly coming from Tennant.

So true. I suspect part of my newfound tolerance for Tennant's Doctor comes from the fact that they've realised they can't keep giving him Eccleston lines. I spent far too much time during S2 imagining how Eccleston would have done the same scenes, and there's really no way Tennant can win there. This season it's been much easier to avoid a direct comparison.

Plus, Martha's great. (And, of course, as others have said: Derek Jacobi! Squee!)


* Two, always. Though in this case, it's an estimate. I'm just pretty sure I didn't bother making it to three, which would be "few".

#558 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:34 AM:

ethan: More cool stuff to read after you've read a fair amount of Lovecraft: Hello Cthulhu.

CHip @490, JoXn Costello @534, Xopher @536:

Yes, once or twice when I was a teenager the church I was a member of (a small Baptist church south of Atlanta) sang the original version of "Old Time Religion". Also, if I recall correctly, it seamlessly merged references to Hebrew patriarchs & prophets with references to New Testament saints like Paul and Silas; seeing Judaism and Christianity as one religion (which they are in a sense, though not in every sense), it is a lot older than Xopher makes out, especially if (as the originators of this hymn or spiritual probably did) you consider the patriarchs going back to Adam, Seth, et alia as part of the same religion.

(I did a Google search and found a lot of variations of the Christian version, but none which attempt to assign it an author or date. One site describes it as a Negro spiritual, which may imply pre-1865.)

Anyway, I enjoyed it at the time, but maturer reflection suggests that hymns which assert the truth (or specific truths) of Christianity, rather than its mere age, are more worth singing and meditating on.

#559 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Susan @ 556... Derek Jacobi is fantabulous.

Indeed. I can't think of anything he's been in where he didn't make things better just by his being there, even his bit part in the mini-series Jason and the Argonauts of a few years ago. Oh, and yes, I have the pre-recorded tape of Breaking the Code.

#560 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:42 AM:

A convergence of open thread topics: Thomas Ligotti is likely to be remembered as one of Lovecraft's foremost literary heirs - his work is more or less what you'd get if you put Poe, Borges, and Lovecraft in a big kettle and boiled them down until you could skim off the cheerful bits. In this interview, he describes his experience of his fans:

They're not what people think of as nerds living in their parents' basements. The ones with whom I've been in contact over the years live far more normal lives than I do. In any case, I'd like to put in a good word for nerds living in their parents' basement--they're an undeservedly maligned subculture that I'm proud to count among my readers if they're out there.

(In that same interview, he talks at some length about drugs and self-medication - and check out the number of that thread in the URL!)

#561 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:12 AM:

Re couple, as a term of art.

In fox-hunting dogs are trained in "couples".

Pairs are chained together at the collar.

It's used, mostly, for training new hounds, they are forced to stay with the senior dog to which they are attached, which prevents them from haring off after the nearest rabbit, deciding that a hedge is too dense to pass, etc.

#562 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:26 AM:

"A couple" is two, "a few" is 3-5, and "several" is 7+. This is probably because of confusion about "several" and "seven" as a child. Whatever happens to poor 6 in all of this, I couldn't say, but I never liked that number anyway. Too round and smug without being nicely quartered like 8.

...yes, I spent a great deal of time as a child thinking about my favorite* numbers, and why I liked or disliked various ones. Every child has a few quirks, right? And I would have ended up a mathemetician, too, if it weren't for those darn meddling kids. And my general lack of math comprehension.

* Five. Definitely five. It goes pointy and then round as you keep adding it, over and over again, when all the other numbers do stranger things or more boring things. I found that fascinating.

#563 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Has anyone else run into the immortal expression "a couple two three," as in "We went out and had a couple two three beers"?

It's pronounced, incidentally, as "a couple two tree"

Wikipedia says it's NE Pennsylvania.

#564 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:44 AM:

I couldn't resist the temptation to twit the twit a bit. I said:

I'm tired of apologizing for having a terrific site that isn't afraid to offend or make people think

Well, that's good; it would be a shame for you to perjure yourself to no purpose.

Remember, while it is often true that genius is mocked, the fact that everyone is laughing at you is not therefore proof that you're a genius.

And I got the following in response:

"Everyone is laughing at you"? Everyone? Hmmm. Have you read all the comments? Have you read the stories? Have you read the note from the editor in "Stories" who solicited my latest novel for his company? Have you read any of my work? It's okay to judge...but look at the quality of my fiction before you write me off. Of course, if you're only reading Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind that may affect your aesthetic sensibilities...but I'm willing to take that chance if you are.

The irony... it burns!


#565 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:49 AM:

Sarah S #@563: I grew up saying "a couple three" to mean "two or three" but never "a couple two three," as that would have been redundant.

I seem to recall this as being something my family says, rather than our neighbors, so it may be a new englandy thing rather than a hoosiery* thing.

*not to be confused with a hosiery thing.

#566 ::: Doonbogglefrog ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:56 AM:

A coworker suggests that, at least in the context of beer, a "couple two three" means 2^23 beers. He claims to have tried, but never quite accomplished this lofty goal in one sitting.

#567 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Serge @ 531, SciFi is running a marathon of Eureka episodes next Tuesday, which suggests to me I will not get much weeding done that day.

The Offspring have been watching/dvr-ing Dr Who on the CBC for the past couple of weeks. The access of that network on basic cable is one of the great advantages of living in the Northern Tier.

#568 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Catching up:

I maintain that "marry," "merry," and "Mary" all sound different (born and raised in NYC, except for a few ["few," in this case, defined as four or so] in Suffolk county, one parent from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, one from New York); Soren is adamant that they all sound the same (Seattle born and raised to late teens, parents from Pacific Northwest). He's wrong, though.

I'm also in the variable "couple" user group. A couple is at least two, fewer than five; a few is three to six, a half-dozen is usually six, but could be five to eight; and then we get into larger groups like bunches and wodges. (A wodge as I use it, unless it's foodstuffs, is a collective group of something that's likely to be used as one unit: "Quick, get me a wodge of paper towels! The seltzer's exploding!")

#569 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Dan Layman-Kennedy @560: Which of Ligotti's books or stories would you recommend most? I've read one or two of his stories reprinted in Hartwell & Cramer's Year's Best Fantasy but nothing else by him yet.

#570 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Lee, the amount of not getting it present in Mr. Burns journal is worthy of some of the worst of Fandom_Wank. Since we are discussing numeration, let me point out that the number of positive comments on his blog over its lifespan is a fraction of the negative comments in this one over the past week. What definition of "everybody" does his retort fall under?

#571 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:22 PM:

JESR @ 567... Good thing I'm planning to do my weeding after the Fourth...

#572 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:32 PM:

I went and read more of Cliff Burns writing (on the theory that it might be more informative than a single hobby horsr, no matter how indicative the things I'd already read were).

Let's just say it wasn't that much worse than I thought.

He is, you see, unappreciated for the genius he is.

He is a great writer (he's told us so, and encourages us to read his stuff... with the stories there for the taking). But books he's labored decades on aren't being bought, agents are less interested in them than publishers.

Why? Because filthy amateurs are ruining things for gifted, dedicated, people like him,. People who don't wake up; immediately pondering what to write, and shuddering with the fear that today they will fail, that this is, "the day the well runs dry."

They have the gall (his words) to submit the things they've spent their dilletante moments working on, and this has put him in the slushpile, keeping editors from being able to spend the time to read his well crafted, dedicated prose.

He's never learned that most trenchant of Rostler's Rules, "Quantity of Effort does not equal Quality of Product."

He has a piece up on "pride" and it's full of flacid introspection. He identifies the flaw, but doesn't really seek to correct it.

I read the short he has up. It was jerky, spastic and unfocused. Worse, there was no character there. It was first person exposition, telling us about the speaker's mother. Nothig shown, all told.


#573 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Jim 558: seeing Judaism and Christianity as one religion (which they are in a sense, though not in every sense), it is a lot older than Xopher makes out, especially if (as the originators of this hymn or spiritual probably did) you consider the patriarchs going back to Adam, Seth, et alia as part of the same religion.

Well, if you go back to the Titans, my religion is even older, so nyah. A silly statement: we don't believe in Adam or Seth, and they certainly weren't Christians or Jews in any recognizable way. Starting earlier than Abraham is just plain silly. And the originators of the hymn are the ones we're making fun of.

Christianity is newer than most religions. Older than Islam, younger than Judaism (whose practitioners would likely take offense at your claim that they are the same). Certainly it's older than Wicca (some hard-core Gardnerians to the contrary).

But "the Old Religion" is a term used to speak of the way things were done and the things people believed prior to the coming of Christianity (chiefly to Europe). That's the point of "That REAL Old Time Religion." Putting Jesus in there suggests that you don't get the joke.

#574 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Serge, see, that's the advantage of gardening in an arid climate. Just keeping ahead of the weed growth on the days it's not been raining, here, is pretty much using up my days.

#575 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:36 PM:

Jim at 569: Alas, the best Ligotti collection, The Nightmare Factory, is out of print, hard to find, and expensive when it can be had; it brings together most (but not entirely all) of his work up to the mid-90s. Noctuary is also OOP but may be easier to get; while the longer stories that make up most of the book aren't my favorites of his, the section "The Notebook of the Night" shows off his mastery of the short-short.

The Shadow at the Bottom of the World is, I believe, still in print and has a decent sampling of his work throughout his career; it's the next-best collection after TNF and a good entry point. If you fall in love with his stuff there, track down TNF and/or the recent Teatro Grottesco, which was released as a beautiful, if pricey, limited edition from Durtro Press (it sold out, but there may be a copy or two floating around).

That said, if you stumble across a used copy of Songs of a Dead Dreamer or Grimscribe at a decent price, by all means buy it, quickly and quietly; if you're going to like Ligotti's work, you won't be disappointed with either of those, and if you're not, you'll almost surely be able to sell them for more than you shelled out.

Hope that helps.

#577 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Druggies....
I'm listening to AirAmerica radio on-line... the topic of discussion is hypocrites of the Supreme Court.

Scalia etc. are junkies--they're addicted to credo and self-congratulation and authoritarianism.

They have their Rules which they put above rights of people to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc.

#578 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Xopher, way back at 249, wondering what is being said about him: It's always me, saying "Xopher had the most interesting comment on Making Light" or "Xopher was tickled about that anti-Brad Miller commercial you heard", or "Xopher made the WORST pun on Making Light today."

To add more votes to the "couple" discussion: I was told by my grandmother at a young age that "couple" means two. Based on that, I decided that "few" means 3-4, "several" means 5-6, and "many" means 7 or greater. "Many" means "enough that I can't instantaneously see how many without having to count." "Lots" means "enough that it would be tedious to count one-by-one."

(Who was it who said that astronomers count like Terry Pratchett trolls -- "One, two, many, lots"? Of course, that means more of a logarithmic scale.)

#579 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:24 PM:

I don't mind having Jesus in the song, as long as it's still funny. Swiss Cheese Messiah? That counts. But I am not steeped in the history of either song or in religion especially.

#580 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Sarah S @ #563 wrote:

Has anyone else run into the immortal expression "a couple two three," as in "We went out and had a couple two three beers"?

I've always heard that as "a couple to three" not "a couple two three."

With a couple being two, it would be the equivalent of "two to three" - giving a range.

#581 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Not surprisingly, I've always heard "a couple-three." I assume it's intended as a range.

#582 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:32 PM:

I have to keep telling people at work, there is no such thing as "a couple," "several," or "a few." There are zero, one, and many; no other numbers exist, and even one is usually just a special case of many.

In other contexts, a couple is exactly two big things, or between two and four small things, or any number of things when you are, for example, an eight-year-old trying not to admit that you did in fact eat all of the Fig Newtons.

#583 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:32 PM:

@ #563:

I think "a couple three beers" may be related to "a-dollar-three-eighty", which is a generic price for anything.

#584 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:35 PM:

debcha: Because it's the Interstate and Defense Highways act, and you will note that all our boondoggles..er.. freeways are carefully positioned with one or both ends near a military base of some kind. E.g. H1 to Barber's Point Airfield (now abandoned), H2 to Schofield Barracks, H3 between Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Marine Corps base.

(I'm also sending you email, since you're here...)

#585 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Sarah S #563: I've always heard it as "a couple/three", suggesting a number greater than one and almost certainly fewer than four (allowing for the possibility of fractions in the case of, say, servings of food or drink).

#586 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Xopher @573
But "the Old Religion" is a term used to speak of the way things were done and the things people believed prior to the coming of Christianity (chiefly to Europe). That's the point of "That REAL Old Time Religion."

And the Uruk-Hai, Cthulhu and Scientology fit in there...how? Yet you didn't object.

Putting Jesus in there suggests that you don't get the joke.

Or perhaps the joke has evolved? In this company, at least?

Speaking of which:

Listen to me, hearken:
From plankton up to Darwin
The marvel is, we are kin.
And that's good enough for me.

#587 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:50 PM:

I was wondering when Darwin would show up and idly poking at 'evolution' and 'family reunion' in hopes they'd spit out a verse.

A word for people to pronounce: patina. Rhymes with Mackinaw or Christina? I'm not going to change how I say it, but I haven't met anyone besides my father who says it PATina, like, "I'm pattin' a cat," instead of p'TEENa.

#588 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:03 PM:

abi 586: I didn't notice the Scientology one, but the point is that the object of the song is to make up silly verses about Pagan gods.

On the joke evolving, though...I suppose you're right. I shall subside, grumbling.

But people who claim that Christianity is "really" older than, say, the worship of Inanna or Sekhmet will always be wrong, and I'll tell them so.

#589 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:03 PM:

Xopher @#573:

Well, if you go back to the Titans, my religion is even older, so nyah.

Oh that Big Bang singularity
It surely was a rarity
It feels neither love nor charity,
But it's good enough for me.

#590 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:04 PM:

debcha @ #516, climbing, I assume, although nibbling on coconuts at the stem might cause the nuts to fall on tourists, which would be frowned upon.

John Hawkes-Reed @ #520, of course!

Clifton @ #584, I had completely forgotten that Barbers Point was the western terminus of H-1. I used to love that beach, too.

#591 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:04 PM:

abi @ 586... The marvel is, we are kin.

And a marvel it is indeed. It doesn't make us less human that we are related more or less distantly to apes, or dogs, or cats. The connection of it all...

#592 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:06 PM:

...felt, damnit

#593 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:07 PM:

Mary 589: YES!!!!! I love it! As I've been saying a lot recently, Natura sola sufficit.

#594 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:08 PM:

#483 ::: Nick Fagerlund ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 09:45 PM:
Say I ask you to hand me a couple of those olive rolls over there.

#496 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2007, 11:40 PM:
Ursula, 492: Kolaches are almost entirely contained within the Czech-colonized areas of Central Texas. I never heard of them until I went to college, on the extreme eastern edge of their habitat.

#583 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 01:32 PM:
I think "a couple three beers" may be related to "a-dollar-three-eighty", which is a generic price for anything.

(slightly scrambled responses)
Or eastern Nebraska. Major Czech settlement there around Wilbur. Willa Cather's My Antonia is based on them. Pirogi/piroshki (can't find my Wilbur Cookbook), and of course, runzas.

"Couple" = two, same region. "Couple-three" = two or three. "Few" = two or three. "Several" = three or four.

Crick vs. creek, etc.
We live on the Middle St. Vrain River, officially. Everyone here knows it's a crick, and calls it accordingly. It isn't big enough to be a creek, much less a river until much farther downstream.

My father said, "a dollar-three-eighty-nine".

#595 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:08 PM:

Mary 592: It still doesn't.

#596 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Lee @ #564, reading that response of Mr. Burns (is there a significance to that name and its parallel to the Simpsons character, I wonder?), I immediately heard an old Jefferson Airplane song (not one of their best): "Have You Seen the Saucers?"

#597 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:11 PM:

It's the joy of evolution:
you can visit any zoo and
it's a family reunion
and that's good enough for me.

I have the feeling the chapter I'm trying to write (and have been for the last month) would be easier if set to song. Anyone have a rhyme for 'endophyte'?

#598 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Trilobite?

#599 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:27 PM:

I think Soren disagrees with me.

couple is two! two! cannot be more than two! more than two is a few! more than a few is several! more than several is a bunch! the last few sentences are debatable, but the first is not!

#600 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:27 PM:

I think Soren disagrees with me.

couple is two! two! cannot be more than two! more than two is a few! more than a few is several! more than several is a bunch! the last few sentences are debatable, but the first is not!

#601 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Carol 594: I had kolachki (or some similar name) whenever I visited my Czech (or, as she insisted, Bohemian) grandmother, or she us. She lived in the Chicago area all her life (Berwyn, Cicero). I suspect they appear wherever ethnic Czechs have settled.

I remember a big thing like a giant cookie called a kolach (or golach) and smaller ones (like...well, cookies) called kolachki (or golachki). That's all from memory, and I haven't heard anyone say it in decades, so grain of salt.

#602 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Xopher @ 573

Christianity is newer than most religions. Older than Islam, younger than Judaism (whose practitioners would likely take offense at your claim that they are the same).

No, offense seems uncalled for; I think condescending pity is more appropriate.

#603 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Kolaches: every time I went to visit my husband's family in Waco, I was astonished by the number of people who looked just like my relatives; I was also quickly assigned the duty of bringing home kolaches from the bakery in West. Not the one out by 35, with the big KOLACHES sign on the roof, the little old one out the other side of the railroad tracks, with a curb set for freight wagons and pictures of sokol on the walls.

I belong to one of those rare Bohemian families who never settled in Texas; even one cousin who was on tenure track at Texas A&M and her brother who had a post doc in Houston left quickly and without regrets for cooler zones.

#604 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Diatryma @ #597: Off the top of my head, here's a few rhymes that came immediately to mind:

skin mite
disturbingly trite
gigabyte
paper kite
strolling in the Haight
took a fright

#605 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Xopher @573, 588:

Not entirely defending said view, just explicating what the people I first heard the hymn from mostly believed, and what (I'm guessing) the originators of the hymn believed, in an attempt to figure out what they meant by "old time religion".

"Judaism" was probably the wrong term to use; I meant to say that the religion of the ancient Hebrews has historical and doctrinal continuity not only with modern Judaism, but also with Christianity; thus the way the original hymn refers to Old Testament and New Testament personages as adherents of the same "old time religion".

Dan Layman-Kennedy @575:

Thanks for the recommendations. The Emory University library and the Gwinnett County library have nothing by Ligotti, but Amazon and abebooks list used copies of _The Shadow at the Bottom of the World_ and _Noctuary_ for under $20, so I'll probably buy one of them online, if I don't run across them next time I'm at the Book Nook.

#606 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Diatryma #587: I pronounce it PAT-inna.

#607 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:48 PM:

JESR: Two questions--is the good bakery still there, and are you ever coming to the area again?

#608 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:54 PM:

We who worship giant cheeses
aren't like those who follow Jesus,
we just sacrifice little meesies,
and that's good enough for me!

#609 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:55 PM:

When your heart calls it a foul sin
to withhold food from your own kin
some gene's caring for it's own twin
and it's good enough for me!

#610 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Diatryma #587:

"patina" rhymes with Christina for me...

#611 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Let us bow down to Cthulhu
Most implacable and cruel, who
Always covers me with drool. You
Know, that's good enough for me.

#612 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Let us sing in praise of Mary
Who long preserved her cherry
And who cures the beri-beri.
That's good enough for me!

#613 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:02 PM:

We have "kolacky" in most of the groceries in south chicago - rich little cookies with jam-type thumbprints, yumm.

I'm blessed with a polish bakery across the street from my office, and a czech or lithuanian (Tuzik's...anyone know?) bakery down the street from my house. Soooo fattening.

#614 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Xopher @ 588

I didn't notice the Scientology one

Re-presented for your amusement:

L. Ron's religion has no peer;
it needs no shrinks, we're taught to clear.
It's true the tithe is rather dear,
but that's all right with me!

#615 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Xopher: I'm enough of a pedant about these things that I never got the joke of the title of Mighty Aphrodite until someone said it out loud. I always say "aff-roh-DEE-tay" even inside my head. I say "dee-oh-NÜ-sohss" too, though I don't fuss if people say "dee-oh-NEE-sohss"; "die-uh-NIGH-suss" is right out.)

Well, rats. I'd remembered this as "dee-oh-NAY-suss" and had come up with this:

Let us paeon Dionysus
Though without the social graces
He's off drinking at the races
And...

#616 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:12 PM:

When it's time to worship Cthulhu,
With the Deep Ones' brand of hoodoo,
*I* will bow down, what will *you* do?
It's IA IA ARRRRRGH!

#617 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:16 PM:

Give me that cold slime religion...

#618 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:17 PM:

#597:

parasite?

#619 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Jim 605: Understood. Thanks for clarifying.

Fragano 608: "Blesséd are the cheese-makers?!?"

Tim 612: Preserved cherries are rich in thiamine? First I've heard!

__ 617: YOMANK.

#620 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:20 PM:

In Austin these days, there are whole (small) chains of kolache stores. Some of the advertised varieties seem a trifle odd, however.

#621 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:21 PM:

When big purple worms come roaring
and the purple pods are sporing
it's just time to go Ctorring
and it's good enough for me!

#622 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:24 PM:

If we go round for infinity
we'll be back in this vicinity,
but we won't find a divinity
and that's good enough for me.

#623 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Fragano #608, Xopher #619:

[apropos cheese and religion]

I've been listening recently to a Live365 channel of choral music, mostly pre-1750. One group that shows up occasionally is a DC a capella ensemble called the Suspicious Cheese Lords.

#624 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:32 PM:

The Invisible Hand is all we've got.
If you've got dinero it'll fill the pot.
But if you don't you won't get squat.
And that's just a bit much for me to take.

#625 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:36 PM:

TexAnne, well, the last I've heard (from one of the Texans on my lj Flist), it's still there; it's on the old main East-West street in West, a block or two east of the level crossing.

I don't know if we'll be back any time soon; I don't even know if Cousin Horace, the ex-Texas Ranger, is still alive. Two offspring in college, two adults, one income: sometimes it's difficult to get to Tacoma on our budget.

#626 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Bruce 622: Buddhism?

This is NOT an entry, but it's been running through my head:

Confutatis maledictis
Flammis acribus addictis
Voca me cum benedictis
And it's good enough for me!

You can do the whole Dies Irae except the Lacrimosa—everything up to that point is written in rhymed triplets of trochaic tetrameter, and sounds more than anything like a series of highschool cheers. Smart composers distort this fact as much as possible.

#627 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:39 PM:

joann @ 623

I for one welcome our new suspicious Cheesey overlords.

#628 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Xopher, my brain just stopped. Flat-out staring-at-the-words stopped. It scans! It works! How... I have to... this is worse than Emily Dickinson because the tune is so much catchier. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

#629 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Serge at 314 and 315:

You're the second person (in recent days) I've heard say, "The movie sucked. The comic book/graphic novel was better." Normally, I hear that in conjunction with film adaptations of regular novels. Although with the growing success of comic-book-based movie adaptations, I'm hearing your version more and more.

Never having read the paper version, my expectations are different than yours. Other than a couple of slightly too convienent coincidences and one instance of "Oh, well, that's okay then. No hard feeings?" I had no major problems with the latest Fantastic Four movie.

Since Hollywood doesn't get science fiction or fantasy, I'm just happy when they're internally consistent and try to stick with the story. The worst offenders seem to think "Who needs a plot or character development? We have awesome CGI!"

I guess I look at movies differently -- even when they're associated with previously published print media. Going in, I expect to watch the visual equivalent of a short story.

#630 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 03:59 PM:

The rhyme is monstrous, but we were missing one important deity.

The flying monster noodle
Is aimed at those whose feudal,
Religion has gone screwball.
And that's good enough for me!

#631 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Since it's sung, the consonants don't matter as much. This is a song for a really, really big campfire (possibly involving a cooking behemoth) and one really overzealous guitar player. There will be bug spray and lots of talking. And belting out favorite verses. With the crowd here, we could probably be heard from three counties over (depending on which state and/or country we're in) but no one will be able to decipher more than an enthusiastic rumble as Making Light converts its energy to song.

With his noodly appendage,
he'll go on a starchy rampage,
pasta causing major damage
and that's good enough for me!

#632 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Xopher @ 626

No, actually 622 is a reference to the concept of Eternal Recurrence, that in an infinite universe every possible pattern must be repeated an infinite number of times. See also the Poincaré Recurrence Theorem.

#633 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Diatryma 628: You're welcome. *laughs evilly, vanishes in a puff of acrid, greasy smoke*

#634 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:17 PM:

This is bad, and I'm slightly embarrassed. It burst forth fully formed after reading abi & Diatryma:

Pirates and volcanoes of beer
prove that paradise is here
with strippers, straight and queer.
And that's good enough for me!

#635 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Xopher #619:

We who praise the Holy Cheeses
are all free from strange diseases
and the dairy never freezes,
which is good enough for me!

#636 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:57 PM:

joann #623: Now that is what my beloved would call the power of cheese!

#637 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:01 PM:

And a nickle.90 would be something much less expensive than a dollar-three-eighty.

#638 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:03 PM:

"I am the Curd thy God..." something something, I do not know the source well enough for more than that. I keep drifting into Galadriel's Ring-fed freakout, which, while probably hilarious, may not involve cheese. Do Elves eat cheese on their super elf bread?

#639 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Soft cheesers' oft mysterious
Infections with Listerias
Are only from hysterias?
That's not good enough for me!

The harder cheese I slice
And soft cheese count as vice
A schism in a trice!
And that's good enough for me.

#640 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Abi #630:

All religionists get petty
when they see the great Spaghetti,
even Benedict gets sweaty
which is good enough for me!


Only some old Baptist poodle
wouldn't recognise the noodle
which the smart Bobby did doodle,
still that's good enough for me!

#641 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Diatryma #587: I pronounce it PAT-inna as well.

"Couple" = 2, "few" = 3 - 4 "several" = 4 - 6 or 7. That means four can be a few or several...

Re: Buffalo wings (#492 ::: Ursula L and others): every time I see that the first thing that comes to mind is "but buffalos don't have wings"...

Not being able to watch Dr Who is about the only thing I regret about not having a television (but I'm not going to pay £135.50 per year for a licence for one programme a week).

#642 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Abi #639:

For some reason, in the mass of perversion that passes for my mind, that led me to this:

All hail the mighty cheese,
may his curd never freeze
and his rind ring.
Let every mortal foe
melt like the early snow,
this cheese just will not blow,
God save the king!

#643 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:15 PM:

Victoria @ 629...

I don't expect a movie adaptation to be slavishly faithful to a comic-book's specifics. But I do demand that they be faithful to their essence. That's why the first X-men movie worked so well. For me anyway.

As for the Fantastic Four, in the early 1990s, Busiek & Ross produced a comic-book miniseries called Marvels. It was about the History of Marvel's comics seen from the point-of-view of a normal person. The 3rd issue was about Galactus, and the FF fighting Him again and again, and not giving up, and this man is witness to that until he concludes that it's curtains for Earth and Humanity. He just leaves an goes back home, walking thru deserted streets because he wants to be with his family when the world ends.

The movie had an incredible wealth of material to mine.

Anyway, I'm glad you yourself enjoyed it.

#644 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Thanks, Stefan, Diatrima, Tania, Paula, Bruce, Patrick, Soon Lee, abi, Lee, dcb, Mary, Fragano, kouredios, Trip, Lexica, Marilee, Carol, and anyone I overlooked, and anyone who sympathized silently.

I'm trying not to blame myself. Next time I'll make sure of the consequences if I have to kill a cat who is hospitalized and they ask me if I'd like to see him. From the delay and his condition, I strongly suspect they cleaned him up for me, adding just that much more pain to his final moments. I'm sure they meant well, but it didn't give either of us any comfort. That's just a cautionary tale for anyone who might be in such a position.

"If I can come to see him when you do it, I'd appreciate that. If you can't permit that—if you have to get him out of his cage and bring him to me—then don't, just kill him as kindly as you can."

#645 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 05:35 PM:

We're fixers for the Eschaton,
who's not a god, just acts like one,
time travellers stay off his lawn
And that's good enough for me!

Then the chorus from Iron Sunrise sings:
Bhe Haobea tbq znxrf fgnef rkcybqr-
jryy, jr qvq gung, fb bhe hcybnq
jvyy wbva gur xreary bs uvf pbqr
Naq gung'f tbbq rabhtu sbe zr!

#646 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Xopher@626:

*speechless*

#647 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:02 PM:

"Lovecraft says there are three phobias we're born with: coldness, darkness, wetness. No accident that his stories frequently begin at night in winter by the seaside."

Marvin Kaye in H.P.Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror.

...As he suddenly awakened, he realized that it was midnight, and the feeling of dread became unbearable as he opened the fridge to get a water bottle next to the gibbering bowl of potato salad...

#648 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Incidentally, RTD claims in Radio Times that the "Mister Saxon" thing was an accident.

Oh, he would. *snrk*

Jakob: Someone on the Snopes non-UL Doctor Who forum thread put it most amusingly, "Is there some unwritten rule that every incarnation of The Master has to eat each and every stick of the freakin' furniture?"

Serge: Me too. Some of his lines or simple shifts in facial expression had such weight. Chilling is right. But by the same token I can't see Eccleston having nearly as much fun with the role or taking on the extra fun stuff (like the Saturday morning animation, which is spookily reminiscent of Ghendi T.'s Star Wars shorts or those auto insurance advertisements).

In re: playing to Tennant's strengths - my husband and I just re-watched (in his case, watched for the first time) "The Idiot's Lantern" (aka s02ep05), and the fairly silly Elvis-do-up is something I can't see Eccleston doing. Of course, it was fairly silly.

Thank you all for enlightening me! (Puts Life on Mars on to-do list)

#649 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Kathryn @ 645


Very neat.

The Eschaton won't let you go
back into time to change what's so.
So if you try, you'd better know:
it's not all right with It!

#650 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Nicole @ 648.. The bottom line is that Eccleston and Tennant each have their strength. As for the Master's furniture-based diet... Remember Eric Roberts in the 1999 movie? I thought he was hilarious with lines like "Life! It's wasted on the living!" but of course that was my first 'real' exposure to the show and I might feel differently today.

#651 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:19 PM:

Dan Hoey, you can count me among the folks who have been silently sending you good vibes, and I'm sorry I haven't said anything until now. I have two furry babies (kitten and puppy) and my head won't even go there. I can't let myself imagine what you're going through, but you have my sympathies and condolences all the same.

I can understand why some places don't want folks in there while they're euthanizing, but it still feels unspeakably cruel to not be able to share the last moments of a creature you've come to love dearly.

I largely lack the convictions of true faith, but the thought of a Happy Hunting Ground sure brings me a measure of comfort.

#652 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Not to blog pimp, just to give in to my weakness:

My Roses, let me show you them.

Or, you know, about 5% of them.

#653 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:32 PM:

#651

My dog's Happy Hunting Ground could double as the Abyss of Eternal Predation for cats and squirrels. :-(

#654 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Nancy C @#553: Thank for the invite. I'm actually in Buffalo a few times a year, as the whole extended family is out there. And probably more than that this year as my grandfather's in hospice...

Dan Hoey @#644: That's an incredibly sad image. Our own most recently passed cat went downhill incredibly quickly and when we finally decided to euthanize him he expired on his own about an hour before the appointment. I still wonder if we extended his pain any with the waiting...

#655 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:46 PM:

Stefan, I figure it's something like Valhalla, and everyone gets to start over in the morning. Not that this changes anything from the view of the squirrels. I suppose it makes for an efficient use of psychic real estate, though.

"Some of them kill better than they die. The rest die better than they kill. They're a team."

#656 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:51 PM:

I like the idea of a Squirrel World for dogs, out of Diane Duane's Young Wizards books-- trees evenly spaces, squirrels everywhere, covertly following the dog so he always has something to chase. The closest I can come to a cat heaven is a sunbeam, a lot of sparkly, dangly things to chase, and someone wearing the wrong color clothes to shed on, which is pretty close to what we give them.

I don't want to think about losing my cat-- she's the reason I asked about 'patina'. That was her shelter name, pronounced p'teena, but I assumed it was PATina because that's the word I know. Almost everyone has been puzzled.

#657 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 06:51 PM:

Nice @483...

I'm a native Californian, born to parents from Quad Cities, and "couple" denotes exactly two.

I recall a time in my life when "couple," "few," "many," and "lots" were all at least partially variable, but it was long enough ago that I don't trust those memories. They might be someone else's for all I know.

More recently, "a few" is "more than two and less than a lot" while "a lot" is "more than I really care to count at the moment."

Interestingly, "many" has taken on a technical quality that the other words don't have. I blame this on my computer science training. The aphorism I've learned that represents that quality goes like this: There are only three numbers: zero, one and many. And one looks suspiciously like many. If this doesn't make sense to you, then I'm not sure I can explain it.

#658 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:08 PM:

So, uh, y'know...not all Doctor Who fans have access to the Great TiVo in the Sky, and I dunno, it mighta been cool not to frellin' know that the Master showed up. Just, um, a data point.

#659 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:13 PM:

If we're going to be mathematical, there's only one number: 0. Every other number is created from 0 with the "successor of" or the "predecessor of" function.

#660 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:20 PM:

I need to remember to bring a camera on my morning dog walk. There's a tree where squirrels hang out, and Kira attempts to climb it when she sees them.

People have stopped their cars to watch when this happens.

* * *

Also, dog heaven would have lots and lots of carelessly buried cat shit.

#661 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:26 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #659: Does that mean that, mathematically, everything is nothing or that nothing is everything?

#662 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:26 PM:

Dan @655:

In Valhalla strive the skilled:
These ones kill, and those are killed
In each is destiny fulfilled
And that's good enough for us.

We fear not death: the rending teeth,
The claw extending from its sheath
Are ecstasy to fall beneath
And that's good enough for us.

And yet we love the victor's role
Emerging unscathed, woundless, whole,
Is, after all, the fighter's goal
And that's good enough for us.

The best among us, finely matched
Can battle daily, chase and catch,
Be one day whole, another scratched.
And that's good enough for us!

#663 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:28 PM:

Geez, all I do is watch Wimbledon tennis on ESPN2 for hours and hours, and this thread multiplies like a continent-full of rabbits! (Only to be expected, though, given the current topics of interest.)

Serge, re the weather: I'm told that NM is currently getting the rain that we so need in AZ. Unfair! And that sorta ties into my particular pronunciation bugaboo, the dapper weatherman/newsman in Phoenix whose name is Sean but he pronounces it like "seen". Argh!

Tania (#604): but take note that "Haight" is pronounced like "hate", so that rhyme doesn't quite work.

And anyone interested in the science discussions and verses etc. upthread should try to check out today's NY Times Online "Science" section -- a special on evolution, with lots of good pieces.

#664 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:37 PM:

655 + 662 = fitting, as I've always considered Loki the god of squirrels. Though there's no actual mythology linking them besides Ratatosk, right? (Everything I know about Norse mythology I learned via Sandman.) It's just always an impression I've gotten from the totally loony way squirrels act.

#666 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Faren @ #663: doh. That's one of those cases of the well-read child trying to figure out how words sound, and I still mis-pronounce things the way I "learned" even though I now know better.

Sigh. At least this is the correct thread to admit that on!

I am from Southcentral Alaska, and currently live in Interior AK. I say crick even when the sign clearly reads creek, a couple is 2, and the machine with a track that you use to ride around on the snow is a 'snowmachine', not a 'snowmobile'.

#667 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:53 PM:

abi #662: Marvellous!

#668 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #665: Now I'm scared.

#669 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:13 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 660

And there should be rabbits, never-tiring rabbits to chase.

#670 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:17 PM:

abi @ 662

That's quite good enough for me.

#671 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:20 PM:

and stinky dead things to roll in. Dogs love to roll in piles of putrescence.

#672 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:20 PM:

and stinky dead things to roll in. Dogs love to roll in piles of putrescence.

#673 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Xopher @ 626: I recently sang Pearsall's Requiem (written mid-19th century; only recently been published; never been recorded) and he does the rhythm in the Dies Irae exactly wrong. Repetitive throughout. I had to turn down an opportunity to sing the Mozart, which would have been on the same day. Bleh.

Doctor Who subthread: So RTD says the "Mister Saxon" anagram thing is a coincidence? That explains why nobody on the net can seem to agree juvpu svir cerivbhf Znfgref pbhag. Svaqvat bhg gung bar pbhyq pbhag Qrerx Wnpbov qvqa'g uryc.

Here's another one: Sam Tyler = masterly.

(Sam Tyler is apparently called Tyler because of Rose. He ought to be, but probably isn't, called Sam after Sam Vimes.)

Spoiler/speculation for The Sound Of Drums: Gur eulguz fghpx va gur Znfgre'f urnq nccrnef gb pbzr sebz gur gurzr zhfvp. Vf EGQ fhttrfgvat gung ur'f znq orpnhfr ur xabjf ur'f svpgvgvbhf?

#674 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:10 PM:

A couple is either exactly two or about two but implying that that isn't very many, depending on context. So a person holding two or three books has a couple of books, but a person who has two or three helicopters cannot be described as having a couple of helicopters except for humourous effect.

Several is about three or four, maybe slightly more, but neutral as to the speaker's opinion of the size of this number. However, if one uses several where a few would work, it can be inferred that one does not think the number is small.

A few is equivalent to several for big things, but can be more than that for small or unimportant things. It implies that the speaker thinks the number is small. Hence one can say only a few but not only several. Quite a few, on the other hand, implies that the number is fairly large, even if it's small in absolute terms. For example, I should have gone to bed quite a few hours ago; I need to get up in a few hours. So I will eat a few raisins (probably in fact 20 or 30) and switch several things off on my way to bed.

#675 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:10 PM:

Serge @559: I can't think of anything [Derek Jacobi has] been in where he didn't make things better just by his being there, even his bit part in the mini-series Jason and the Argonauts of a few years ago.

To riff on that theme... Patrick Troughton (the second Doctor) had a role in Ray Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts.

#676 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Another actor who you appreciated seeing in just about anything he did (I meant to add).

#677 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:52 PM:

Bruce@659: Every other number is created from 0 with the "successor of" or the "predecessor of" function.

As I said, we look upon one with much suspicion. Once you start counting, how do you stop?

#678 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 09:52 PM:

I think Derek Jacobi is on my "Orange Peel" list—the actors who could peel an orange and make it worth watching, without saying or doing anything else. Or, at any rate, the ones I'd be willing to watch making the attempt.

#679 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:05 PM:

j h 677: I take a more radical viewpoint.

There are no numbers. None at all. In fact it's impossible to talk about the fact that there are no numbers in mathematical terms, because it involves the use of zero, which is (or would be if it existed) a number.

Therefore there are no numbers, but also no absence of numbers; no counting, no not counting; no addition, no subtraction, no multiplication, no division, but also no lack of them.

Gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond. Oh, what an awakening! All hail!

(Besides, if you follow arithmetic carefully enough, you discover that it's either incomplete or incorrect. This is absurd, so that proves that arithmetic does not exist. QED.)

#680 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:38 PM:

Xopher, I have a read-the-phone-book list. Derek Jacobi is on that, too.

Linkmeister, for classic Who you really need to get Who's Next.

#681 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 10:59 PM:

So my netflix queueueueueueueue is a crazy thing, and my system for ordering it means that movies percolate throughout, bubbling to the surface occasionally before sinking back into its depths, and only occasionally rise to the top long enough to actually come to my house. In other words, what happens to be at the top of my queueueueueue at any given moment tends to be pretty random, and only glancingly related to what I actually end up moving to the top at the last minute to get sent to me.

With that in mind, I think what just happened is crazy. Here it is: I recently started reviewing movies for a little intertube magazine, and I just asked to reserve The Invasion--the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. After I did that, I realized that in order to review it properly, I should probably have seen at least one of the previous versions, which I have not seen any of. So I went to netflix to move the original to the top of my queueueueue--AND IT WAS ALREADY THERE. Creepy!

What are the chances? (Answer: currently, exactly one in four hundred sixty-three.)

Anyway, just wanted to get that out there. Carry on.

#682 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:05 PM:

"Linkmeister, for classic Who you really need to get Who's Next."

Ewww. The correct answer is The Who Sell Out or Quadrophenia. Accept no "Substitute"s--there's nothing like a well-formed album.

#683 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:24 PM:

Terry@506: IME, \any/ specialty food is a risk outside of major cities; don't get me started on the knife-show "Japanese", outside Manchester NH, which covered everything with something perilously like brown gravy. Even a major city can have its own horrors, e.g. what Cincinattians call "chili".

JESR@509, Jim@558: I should have known \somebody/ else would have; we have a bit of everything here. Maybe I can claim to be the only one to have sung it as an adult.

#520: aarrgghh!

608et {prev,seq} one of the good things in the animated version of Soul Music (IIRC, not in the book): the band arrives and is ignored due to a festival of curded milk, causing Celyn to exclaim "We're more important than cheeses!"

I remember being taught that "couple" was exactly 2, and "few" was 3 to not-many; DC born, but this may have come from a precisionist father (northern NH).

"Olive roll" around here is a single-serving bread thing ("roll" in many dialects) with diced olives mixed into the dough before the final rising (usually not rolled up as visualized by abi). Some bakers around here think that green olives are OK; I don't. There's at least one name bakery here that does a fair-sized boule with kalamatas, but the bread itself isn't very good; I don't recall whether they call it an olive loaf, or refrain in memory of Opus.

630,631, etc.: there's an old filk of "Plastic Jesus" talking about a filksing that really irritated the mundanes at a Marcon: "The final splatter from the pigeon/Must have been 'Old Time Religion'"

abi: good serious. For relief, another Gilman:
We will drive up to Valhalla
Driving Beetles, not Impalas
Singing "Deutschland ueber Alles"

#684 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Xopher, #532, yes, according to Wikipedia and FoodTimeLine.

JC. #533, here's Cthulhu devouring SF people brains.

kouredios, #654, one morning, Brindle was lagging on one side and gasping and I called my vet. She said her heart was almost gone (we knew it was failing) and to take her to the local clinic to be euthanized. I called them, had to wait an hour for an appointment, and when we got there, she was so scared of the vet that she jumped off the table. He said "look, there's plenty of life in her, you don't really want to put her to sleep, do you?" I was sufficiently bemused to pay the bill and bring her home, where she died a half-hour later in my arms. I called my vet and said we were never going to that clinic again, and she said she would put in a complaint about that vet.

#685 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 11:41 PM:

I have a very faint memory (I would have run across this back in the '70s...) that the definition of "a couple" has been studied academically, and that the answer is pretty close to "2.40". I think it was determined empirically, by the "small object" standard cited above.

If you ask someone to "Give me a couple cookies, please?", you will usually get "two" - but sometimes you get "three", and - rarely - even more. This would have been published long before the internet, and, not knowing the title OR author, I doubt that my weak Google skills will turn it up....

#686 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:36 AM:

Xopher: There are no numbers. None at all.

I'd be happy to go there with you, amigo— but for the sticky problem, as pointed out by G. Spencer Brown in The Laws Of Form, that all you need is a single distinction, and the whole of mathematics will unfold from it like a cosmic, Lovecraftian strange attractor.

It's a little late to put the monster back in the pit.

#687 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Bob Oldendorf: Sounds like it would have been in the (back then) print Journal of Insignificant Research and Irreproducible Results.

Xopher:

Sorry, but even if you have complete emptiness, nothing at all and no mathematics, then that emptiness means that you have an empty set.

That means you have to consider the possibility of a set that contains only the empty set, and then a set that contains the set containing the empty set, and then a set which contains that set ... so there you are with a zero element and an add-one operation and before you know it you've created the universe. (Or at least you've created the integers. The rest of mathematics and the universe are trivial once you have the integers.)

That's actually my favorite mathematical creation of the universe; I was delighted to learn it in my Set Theory class. I see a possible connection - which might be presumptious, though I am not sure on which side - between this creation and the Kabala's simpler progression of Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur, enveloping the Sephiroth.

#688 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:49 AM:

Ah, a very fortuitous crosspost. Yes, the Laws of Form "distinction" works for creating the universe too, but I like the set theory creation better.

#689 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:09 AM:

Dan Hoey: I didn't comment because there isn't really anything to say, save my commiseration.

You may be assured you have them.

I worked at a vet. The hardest thing we had to do was putting animals down. It was always painful, even when we didn't know the poor beastie.

It was harder than the long illnesses, which died at home (Mighty Mouse was a trouper, a Gambian Pouch Rat, most congenial, and he lived; with lots of attention, well beyond the expectation), because of the guilt the client had.

No matter when you do it you go through hell, because the "best" time is always yesterday, or tomorrow.

We have dogs, and horses, whom I dread the death of. The snakes and mice don't bother me so much; because they don't interact with us the same way.

So I take fewer photos than I want to, and regret that I can't toss the ball enough, or carry enough carrots in my pockets, and do my best to enjoy every moment I get with them.

Cry, hug someone, get stinko, or just carry on; but it wasn't your fault, not the waiting, nor the not waiting. You made the choice when you could, and that's all you can do.

Again, you have my sympathy, and condolence.

#690 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Xopher, j h woodyatt, Clifton Royston, Fragano Ledgister,

It's always astounded and delighted me that the question "Why is there Something rather than Nothing" can be answered with "Because Nothing bootstraps itself into Something". It's true in the mathematical sense and I will bet in the sense of physics and metaphysics as well (false vacuum tunneling, anyone?).

The delight is made even greater because there's more than one way to do it. It's as if existence just can't be held back from existing; if it can't come by one route, it will use another.

#691 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:39 AM:

Terry Karney @ 689

Well said.

#692 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:58 AM:

Pat @ #680, John @ #682: I'm actually partial to the Deluxe Edition of Live at Leeds because all of disc 2 is "Tommy," in order as it appeared on the album of the same name. Daltrey even managed to hit nearly every note perfectly; not bad after an entire hour-long first set.

#693 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:17 AM:

At #562, Fade Manley wrote:
"A couple" is two, "a few" is 3-5, and "several" is 7+. This is probably because of confusion about "several" and "seven" as a child. Whatever happens to poor 6 in all of this, I couldn't say,

"Half a dozen" (or "a half dozen," whichever fits your idiolect) -- and that could maybe become "half a dozen or so" if you want to be vaguer, bridging the gap somewhere between "few" and "several".

I've also heard other people (at least one of my sisters,* for example) opine that several=seven.

*I am one of six siblings, which means I have a few sisters. But only one brother.

#694 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:47 AM:

Oh, Ethan... while you're perusing Lovecraft, you really ought also to take a look at this.

*VBEG*

#695 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:27 AM:

Jakob, et al.:

I reiterate TexAnne's plaint at #658.

I don't get to see new Doctor Who episodes until they arrive by the quaintly old-fashioned method of being broadcast to our television sets, and on the whole I prefer it when somebody hasn't told me the major plot twists in advance. As a long-time Whofan who's been over the old ground many times, Not Knowing What Is Going To Happen is one of the main pleasures of the new series.

In the past, my usual response when people on internet fora casually mention upcoming plot twists is to flee and never return. I would much rather not have to flee Making Light; I like it here.

#696 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:36 AM:

Fluorospheriea Westerconii,

Saturday June 30th is the "Australia in 2010 bid party*. A bid supported by many fine people*, including the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau, and run by a great team. They've had a WorldCon in Australia before.
Time tba.

They- Australia- are kindly giving space to the loyal opposition, the "Burning Man in 2010" bid party subparty@Westercon ("We have 200,000,000 sq.ft. for the art show!").
Time tba, likely not the entire Oz2010 length.

As the BurningMan conconcom likes the Fluorosphere, she invites you to come on by! We may have plum torte!
Check for fliers Saturday.

--------
* And if you don't know how that bid started, it's a funny story. I watched as the avalanche started that night: I see our esteemed hosts share some blame too.

#697 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:51 AM:

I managed to see Jacobi in the only thing he ever did badly. Given the comments in this thread (which I do agree with) about how he is utterly reliable in his wonderfulness, I feel this at least has the cachet of extreme rarity.

Jacobi's Macbeth, real live theatre, in Stratford-upon-Avon, and I was a star-struck teenager with little critical awareness, and it was. just. awful. (I felt kind of embarrassed about not appreciating something that self-evidently had to be brilliant, until I read the comments of the professional critics.)

#698 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 05:09 AM:

650: I thought he was hilarious with lines like "Life! It's wasted on the living!"

A blatant steal from "Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy", unfortunately.

#699 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 05:10 AM:

650: I thought he was hilarious with lines like "Life! It's wasted on the living!"

A blatant steal from "Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy", unfortunately.

#700 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 05:17 AM:

Re "creek" vs "crick":
This map shows the distribution in the US of people who pronounce it in different ways (including a category for "I pronounce it both ways; they mean different things"). Both pronunciations are pretty widespread, but it looks like "crick" is more concentrated in the Northeast and the Old Northwest.

#701 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:11 AM:

More Who/Harryhausen crossovers: Troughton also appeared in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, while Tom Baker was the Evil Sorceror in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

#702 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:14 AM:

There's something about the article from The Guardian, about the boom in TV sci-fi, that feels as if somebody has only just noticed--there's talk of BSG and terrorism, but no mention of Bablylon 6, which did all that and also exploited the low-res imagery of TV for cheap CGI--but it does feel as though the writer is taking the apparent change seriously.

I'm not sure whether it's a sign of bias, but there's a mention of one man and a Macintosh doing the CGI. I don't know whether the Mac really has the power to compete at the leading edge of CPU and graphics hardware.

(But does anyone want to choke their CPU with Windows Vista before they even start doing the real work?)

#703 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:15 AM:

Aaah, crap. Apologies to all those that I have spoilered - I meant no harm. As Dr. Who is on the telly here in the UK all my friends have seen it, and it's been quite big generally with the finale approaching. I simply forgot that not everyone has access to Auntie.

Sorry again.

#704 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:18 AM:

I saw Tom Baker's Macbeth, 1973, I think, or was it '74?

Before he became The Doctor, anyway.

#705 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:31 AM:

Thinking about connections...

I've met Pricilla Tolkien

Who has met Christopher Lee

Who has appeared in "The Avengers"

With Diana Rigg and Patrick MacNee

So connecting with Honor Blackman

Who co-starred with Sean Connery in "Goldfinger"...

Sean Connery was in "The Longest Day", as one of the Commandos who relieved Pegasus Bridge, and Richard Todd played Major John Howard.

Richard Todd played Wing Commander Guy Gibson in "The Dam Busters"

Any my father was in his local pub when Wing Commander Guy Gibson came in to drag the air-crew back to base, because the weather forecasts had changed and there was going to be a raid on the next night.

It's a small world.

#706 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:42 AM:

Tania@604: Assuming you mean the one in San Francisco, "Haight" is more-or-less a homophone of "hate" and doesn't rhyme with your others.

The "Doctor Who Confidential" for episode 10 said that Derek Jacobi was a big fan of the show. I was a bit surprised at how they pronounced his name; I would have thought it was like the bridge expert, but they said "JACK-uh-be."

"A couple" is always two. "A few" is three or four, "several" is three to five.

#707 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:58 AM:

Thinking about connections...

I've met Pricilla Tolkien

Who has met Christopher Lee

Who has appeared in "The Avengers"

With Diana Rigg and Patrick MacNee

So connecting with Honor Blackman

Who co-starred with Sean Connery in "Goldfinger"...

Sean Connery was in "The Longest Day", as one of the Commandos who relieved Pegasus Bridge, and Richard Todd played Major John Howard.

Richard Todd played Wing Commander Guy Gibson in "The Dam Busters"

Any my father was in his local pub when Wing Commander Guy Gibson came in to drag the air-crew back to base, because the weather forecasts had changed and there was going to be a raid on the next night.

It's a small world.

#708 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:35 AM:

Dave Bell said (#702):
I'm not sure whether it's a sign of bias, but there's a mention of one man and a Macintosh doing the CGI. I don't know whether the Mac really has the power to compete at the leading edge of CPU and graphics hardware.

At this point, it does. Top-of-the-line Macs have basically the same CPUs you'd find in top-of-the-line PCs, and can handle most (though perhaps not all) of the same high-end graphics cards.

As an example, Pixar now makes its Renderman software available for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. There was a period during the late 90s and early 00s when they only offered it for Windows and Linux, since they didn't think Macs had enough oomph.[*]

There are a few high-end programs, like Softimage, which are Windows-only. On the other hand, Apple went on a buying spree and bought several special-effects/compositing programs, which are now Mac-only (Shake, which was used extensively for LotR compositing, is an example[**]).

[*] That is, there were several years where they didn't offer it for Mac even though Steve Jobs ran both companies...

[**] It used to have a Windows version. It still has a Linux version, which now costs more than the Mac version...

#709 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:48 AM:

Dave Bell @#702: Bablylon 6

Can I borrow your tapes of this? I loved Babylon 5. ;)

Re: PC/Mac CGI generally, you can do pretty amazing stuff with personal computers of either stripe nowadays. The software I use for my 3d hobbying is the same stuff used in a lot of ads and some TV and movies. (I got my copy comped by writing some stuff for the company, but in RL it costs about $2k, really not bad if you're serious about it).

It's still a little crazy to try to do serious production work on just ONE machine, because render* times will be crazy, particularly at movie resolutions. TV resolution is somewhat better. Most pro's use a render farm so they can distribute the rendering across several machines to speed it up.

*Render=make the final image, with textures, lighting, animation, fur etc.

#710 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:03 AM:

The new Doctor Who series is starting here tomorrow night! Well, actually, they are playing 'The Runaway Bride', which is the last ep of series 2, first. I hadn't realised Our ABC held it over.

But the first episode of the next series, 'Smith and Jones' is on Saturday night, in the time slot for the rest of them. No idea why this double-bunger effect. Whee! Doctor Who on Saturdays and Life on Mars on Sunday; who needs a social life?

#711 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:08 AM:

The new Doctor Who series is starting here tomorrow (Thursday) night! Well, actually, they are playing 'The Runaway Bride', which is the last ep of series 2. I hadn't realised Our ABC held it over.

But the first episode of the next series, 'Smith and Jones' is on Saturday night, in the time slot for the rest of them. No idea why this double-bunger effect for the first week. Whee! Doctor Who on Saturdays and Life on Mars on Sunday; who needs a social life? Sydney is having an unusually cold and wet Midwinter, so cuddling up next to a warmly-glowing cathode ray tube is a happy alternative to leaving the house.

#712 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:15 AM:

Oops. Oh dear, I must have somehow hit 'post' instead of 'preview' while still editing. Apologies for the doubling-up.

#713 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:16 AM:

Oops. Oh dear, I must have somehow hit 'post' instead of 'preview' while still editing and not noticed. Apologies for the doubling-up.

#714 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:21 AM:

Kathryn at 696, re Australian Worldcon bid: dude.

#715 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:31 AM:

j h 686: That's why all distinctions have to be abolished. There is nothing that is a number, and nothing that is not a number.

Clifton 687: Before you discuss Set theory, you should realize that His name is actually Setesh, and that He devours all things. He shall thunder in the sky, and be feared!

But also, all form is emptiness and all emptiness form. You need to learn to resist the idea of the empty set, because the empty set is a form of emptiness, and as you point out, mathematics unfolds. Thinking of nothing is still thinking. You must learn to NOT think of nothing! And then and only then mathematics (which is all illusion) can be obliterated.

Mez 712-3: Funny. Very funny.

#716 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:00 AM:

Mary (#709) & Dave (#702) I don't think either he or the article says that they are actually using "one man and a Macintosh". The quote is:

As Tim Kring, creator of Heroes ... says: "In the last five years, there would be a major leap forwards every couple of months in what you could do within the budget of a television show. Extraordinary things that took giant mainframe computers and 12 programmers to do 10 years ago, a guy on a Macintosh can do now."
But I can remember that it was the Apple machines that were used for a great deal of video editing and CGI work when PCs weren't up to it. (Remember Amigas too?) These days I don't seem to hear so much about machines like Sun or Solaris workstations and other high-end specialist equipment for special effects, either.

#717 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:06 AM:

My teacher took us all the way from the empty set to complex numbers when I did axiomatic set theory, and it was one of the coolest things I ever saw--and, yeah Live at Leeds is pretty awesome.

#718 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:06 AM:

#712, 713
Bugger.

Leaving. Now. Before it gets worse.

#719 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:41 AM:

j h woodyatt @686:
I'd be happy to go there with you, amigo— but for the sticky problem, as pointed out by G. Spencer Brown in The Laws Of Form, that all you need is a single distinction, and the whole of mathematics will unfold from it like a cosmic, Lovecraftian strange attractor.

Hmmm. My mind is riffing on the idea of "distinction" as "a new concept", rather than just "a concept", which makes me wonder if new concepts in mathematics have the end result of resetting the parameters of the universe. Was it the introduction of "zero", perhaps, that actually made the Earth turn from flat into a sphere, and moved the Sun into the center of the solar system?

And, if the universe unfolds from the existence of a distinction, then the pre-universe must have been, rather than nothing (which would be "zero", and a distinction), an INdistinction, an uncertainty.

Which means that the true name of God would be, not YAHWEH, but. . . n.

[disclosure: I am neither a mathematician or a philosopher; I just play one on Making Light, sometimes.]

(If JVP were still here, I'm sure we'd hear much more about this. Much, much, much. . . much. . . more.) (I miss JVP occasionally. He could be interesting, when not in "obsessive-compulsive posting" mode.)

#720 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:46 AM:

Nick @ #483

Two. I grew up in rural Kansas. Now I'm in a college town (Manhattan,KS) and the answer is still two.

#721 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:00 AM:

Coming in late:

Let us praise the mighty Wagyl
Who puts water in the bog, he'll
Bring rain and mist and fog
And that's good enough for me!

(Attempt at an Aboriginal Australian version... - the god's name is pronounced something like "woggle", only more guttural.)

#722 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:01 AM:

697: Jacobi's Macbeth, real live theatre, in Stratford-upon-Avon, and I was a star-struck teenager with little critical awareness, and it was. just. awful.

Oddly, that brings to mind my own first experience with seeing Jacobi.

I was fifteen, and had somehow never heard of him. It was the first night I'd ever been in London, and though I already knew it was a bad idea to take a nap after a transatlantic flight, that didn't make it any easier to pay attention at the theatre that night. Quite frankly, sleep was much more attractive at the time.

We were seeing Becket, which I still think was an odd choice for the first night (although that may have been a matter of when our trip coordinator could get enough tickets). Robert Lindsay was good, but the instant Jacobi walked onstage, you couldn't help but feel instantly wide awake.

That was a pretty amazing trip theatrically in any case (Juliet Stevenson in Death and the Maiden! Dancing at Lughnasa! Whee!), but I've never quite forgotten the way it began. Although I didn't start calling it such until years later, I suspect that was the night I began my "magical performers" list--people who go beyond talent, skill, and even charisma, into the realm of "I can't describe it, but I know it when I experience it".

#723 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:01 AM:

Mez @ 716

These days I don't seem to hear so much about machines like Sun or Solaris workstations and other high-end specialist equipment for special effects, either.

The key to graphics on modern processors*, especially rendering, is vector processing. There are only 2 or 3 processor companies, primarily Intel and IBM, and a couple of Graphics Processor Unit makers who are large enough to both design and manufacture a reliable, high-speed vector processor** and get their customers to use their proprietary instruction set for it. Sun has lost too much market share all over to be concerned about that one, relatively small market***. SGI died the real death trying to compete in that area. And the startup costs for designing and manufacturing Vastly Large Scale Integration chips is prohibitive of anyone else getting into the market.

There's a fascinating rivalry between the general purpose chip makers and the graphics specialists just now, as each tries to design products that will do things the other currently excels at. The key, as usual, is software, which is why the outcome of the contest is still very much in doubt.

* As opposed to the post-modern ones I'd like to use.

** Goes double if we're talking about vector units internal to a general purpose microprocessor, like Intel's.

*** In terms of units, not so much dollars.

#724 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Bruce Cohen #690: All I can say is 'wow!' (And, for some reason, Alan Sokal's hoax article which involved, inter alia, the claim that modern physics was challenging 'existence itself'.)

#725 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Mary Dell @ 709

For learning about CGI and just playing around, before you need to render to high resolution, you can use a free (as in beer) version of AutoDesk/Alias/Wavefront Maya. The full version costs over $2K, but you get most of the modeling and animation functionality in the free version (minus some of the, shall I say, "hairer" modeling techniques). It eats CPU for breakfast, but it's a lot of fun. There are also a bunch of free downloads of simple models, tutorials, etc., to get you started.

I've been running an older version for four or five years now; I won't be able to upgrade until I buy a new computer* because of its processor-phagous tendencies.

* The free release of the current version of Maya came out for Intel Mac a few** months ago. I've been saving up my pennies to buy a new MacBook Pro. mmmmmhh

** Three +- 1.

#726 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Mez, The Runaway Bride is 2006's Christmas special, so it's not really part of the second series. Depending on when the second series aired where you are, it might not have been available yet.

#727 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Mez@718 — Please don't go. It's not your fault, happens to everyone. Usually in threes.

Just recognize that this is a small battle in the war between humans and computers. And if the computer can embarrass you into leaving, the computer will have won.

#728 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Sam @491 asks
How about 'several'? What range of numbers is appropriate for that?

7 to 11, depending.

non-numeric counting terms (in order)(from rural Kansas, USA)

couple = 2
few = 3-5ish
handfull = 5, unless the desired objects are small enough to fit in your hand. At that point it's however many you can scoop up at one time. A handfull, in that instance, ranges from 2 to about 30, depending on the size of the hand.
several = 7 or more. (6 is usually called "half dozen")
many = the lower range starts around 13 and goes up from there.
lots = More than many. This isn't a number as much as it is a large ratio of one thing in relation to another.

And now I'm having a Pratchett Moment.
"Sound off! One, two."
"Sound off! Many, lots."

#729 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Mez @ 721

the god's name is pronounced something like "woggle", only more guttural.)

Too bad; I was just reaching for a rhyme with "bagel" when I read that.

#730 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:21 AM:

#693: "Half a dozen" (or "a half dozen," whichever fits your idiolect) -- and that could maybe become "half a dozen or so" if you want to be vaguer, bridging the gap somewhere between "few" and "several".

Ahah! That would fit nicely. Though I don't really use it that way, myself. For some reason or another (probably related to growing up in a Spanish-speaking country), I didn't run into the word "dozen" until relatively late in life, and thus found it an odd and nigh-pointless word compared to "twelve". Until I found it neatly suited the lexical gap between "many" and "a hundred-some" for a number somewhere between about 30 and 100. You could have millions, thousands, or hundreds of something, but not tens of it... But you could certainly have dozens!

#731 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:22 AM:

Victoria @ 729

"Sound off! One, two."
"Sound off! Many, lots."

When I was in basic training, standing outside with a couple of buddies trying to avoid work, a Drill Instructor came up to us and said, "Half of you three men come with me!"

#732 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:24 AM:

#563: Yeah, a couple two three times in Pittsburgh.

#733 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:34 AM:

#657: Which is why databases can be so confusing once you get into many normal form

(database geekery: it would be complicated to explain)

#734 ::: Toru Ranryu ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:48 AM:

#354 Heresiarch:
It's really not just him--it's absolutely epidemic. "So (そう)," as much as it has any literal translation, means "like that." Japanese speakers tend to expect very active listening from their audience--a lot of "Oh really" and "Huh" and "Is that so?" "So (そう)" fills that role admirably. "A sou desu ne" is the hyper-mega-charged Japanese equivalent of an American non-committal acknowledgement like "Oh yeah?"

A couple of hundred posts late for nit-picking, but I'd say "sou desu ka" is the non-committal acknowledgement whereas "sou desu ne" is either agreement or something to fill the silence while you're thinking about the answer to a question somebody just asked you.

#735 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:48 AM:

#715 Xopher: So there are zero distinctions, then?

#719 Bruce: This sounds like the cellular automata life/universe in Egan's _Permutation City_.

#736 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Abi, at 662: I am, as usual, floored and humbled by your verse. Among the talents of yours I admire is a gift for transforming the silly into the sublime, and, well, that's good enough for me.

I feel ill-equipped to respond in kind, so I am bringin' back the frivolity.

Let's make an offering to the loas
Invite them in to get to know us
And maybe ride us like a hoase
And that's good enough for me.

And, since we seem to be getting a collection of these, might as well:

Attend the call of Great Cthulhu
And meep and gibber like the ghouls do
Until he surfaces to rule you
And that's good enough for me.

#737 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Dan Hoey: I've been there with the beasts almost every time. It doesn't get any easier. I find myself praying that they will depart whilst sleeping, but that rarely happens.

And every time I see a post like yours, I cry. I wish there were something I could say to ease your pain and sorrow. The best I can do is light another candle to Bast tonight, and hug all the four-feets.

(We'll be having to consider this again soon, our youngest cat is 12 years old, the oldest 17 -- so a visit to the vet or the funeral home will occur sooner or later...the dogs are 10 and 2, and Jan's horse is 11 years old, IIRC.)

#738 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Dan Hoey: I've been there with the beasts almost every time. It doesn't get any easier. I find myself praying that they will depart whilst sleeping, but that rarely happens.

And every time I see a post like yours, I cry. I wish there were something I could say to ease your pain and sorrow. The best I can do is light another candle to Bast tonight, and hug all the four-feets.

(We'll be having to consider this again soon, our youngest cat is 12 years old, the oldest 17 -- so a visit to the vet or the funeral home will occur sooner or later...the dogs are 10 and 2, and Jan's horse is 11 years old, IIRC.)

#739 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:12 AM:

I feel I should mention that the Infocom text adventure version of Edith Wharton is here:

http://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/2007/06/wharton.html

#740 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:17 AM:

Bruce Cohen #723

See e.g.

http://www.mc.com/industries/education.aspx

http://www.mc.com/industries/communications/mvi.aspx?ekmensel=86_submenu_90_link_2

Mercury Computer makes hardware and some software that other companies then integrate into doing high end graphics work, particularly in the defense world and other specialized areas... the "embedded" applications world is a lot larger than the general public tends to have a clue (back when I was doing market research, the marketing manager in the USA for a Pacific Rim company that had started in Japan and then have the entire factory relocated to Taiwan after a private buyout, said, "How the hell did you find me?" The company 15 years ago was doing $10 million or $20 million of business in the particular market I was researching and was not interested in having the general public notice it, since what it did was make products which other companies sold as branded with the other companies' names, usually as part of a "turnkey solution." The company was in the OEM--Original Equipment Manufacturer--business.

Mercury isn't invisible, I think I've heard it as a sponsor on one or more of the local public radio stations, but it's not a company whose products the general public is likely to see directly and are not going to see in Circuit City, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Sears, Staples, etc. The boards are inside radar systems, high end imaging stuff, custom applications for other things, etc. The same is true of the other companies in similar or related business lines... there are a few of them in this area still. Additionally, there are companies like Texas Instruments and Analog Devices (in Masschusetts, for that matter) which made a lot of chip-level products that can go into making high end imaging systems, what the customers do with them is the customers' business, though the chip suppliers and the board makers want to know about the customers' applications so that they (the chip and board makers) can make products that best match the customers' willingness to pay and needs (the people in the industry are overwhelmingly design engineers who want to design the most appropriate products possible to meet the customer technical requirements.... "I love this work, I'd be doing it even if I weren't getting paid for it," said one such engineer who was the founder and president of the company....)

#742 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 724

Yup, that's my basic reaction: "Wow". All those other words come after. I was half-serious in my post on another thread that the underlying stratum of reality is poetry.

#743 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:10 PM:

(I grew up in Atlanta.)

'Couple'--used to be exactly two, until I moved to Long Island where I was influenced by everyone else around me using it to mean 'a few'.

'A few'--two to four

'Several'--three to about seven

(Yes, I know they overlap. 'Several' is always more than 'a few'.)

'Many'--more than about six

'Lots'--more than many

#744 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:13 PM:

What about "some"? In my world, it's "one, a couple, a few, some, kinda many, many, lots."

#745 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 740

I certainly didn't mean to slight anyone working in the OEM sector of the graphics display industry. I did that myself for most of a decade. Oh, to be young and in a graphics startup again!

#746 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Texanne, I think "some" is bound by "not all"- it is a fraction of an unknown whole, a measure of volume rather than count. It varies with the size of the whole, therefore.

(Some of the nuts from a can of cheap mixed nuts would include, for instance, too many peanuts and one half a broken cashew).

#747 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Lee @ 564

He's trying to drum up sales, not spawn thoughtful debate. So far, every post or response has included some version of "read my book and you'll understand". It's a high-minded yet low class version of Selina Rosen's "Buy My Book!" patter at cons. Except this guy seems to think controversy = sales.

#748 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Fade Manley #730: I, on the other hand, took years to get comfortable with the idea of grouping things in tens ('decenas') as opposed to dozens ('docenas').

#749 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #742:

All that counts, all that is real,
is that we know just where we are;
in grave immensity galaxies wheel,
all that counts, all that is real.

Not one of us can break the seal,
in every single heart there burns a star;
all that counts, all that is real,
is that we know just where we are.

#750 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Lee @ 694:

That is definitely a work of Twisted Genius.

Ia! Ia! Shub-Cucurbit! Dark beast of the farm with a thousand ovoid young!

#751 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:00 PM:

JESR--oh of course, it's the partitive, and in English we distinguish between mass nouns ("some peas") and count nouns ("a few million dollars").

This moment of confusion brought to you by a person sick of teaching the French partitive.

#752 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Fade Manley @ 730

You could have millions, thousands, or hundreds of something, but not tens of it... But you could certainly have dozens!

I've heard the phrase "tens of ..." several times recently, and even used it a time or two myself. Maybe it's coming into use slowly as people recognize the utility of having an approximate quantity between 10 and 100 that isn't in the duodecimal system.

#753 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Many, many apologies for my part in having encouraged the spoilers. This is my first season getting the episodes on first airing, so given how I had to avoid spoilers for season 2 until SciFi aired it, I really ought to have been more considerate than that. I'm pretty sure I didn't stop ROT13ing until I saw others discussing things in the clear, but I should have kept up the ROT13 anyway 'cause these things do have a way of snowballing.

*sadness and shame*

While it's impossible to yank thoughts back out of people's heads, the great TiVO in the post office comes to mind as a way of at least partially making it up to people...?

#754 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:21 PM:

Bruce @ 752

Well, there's scores of reasons for that ....

#755 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Fragano @748:
For me, moving to Britain, it was the sudden occurrence of fourteens. Stone. Fortnight.

#756 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Abi: But the stone isn't, exactly a constant. Different regions assign different weight to the stone (despite the national standard).

Sort of the same way we have the couple, several, distinctions, there are holdovers. Kent (IIRC) has a stone of 9 lbs. (perhaps they didn't have as many big rocks) and somewhere in the west it was something like 16 lbs.

I, of course, learned it as a foreign system, an the Imperial Weights and Measures said fourteen lbs. to the stone, and so it was.

It still took me a while to figure out cwt, which my mind knew was a lot, but I mapped it out as (in that classically vaugue way the British had of naming things) cartweight, which fit with the general sense of volume.

#757 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Abi #755: I can understand that! It's an unusual unit. On the other hand, I'm always astonished that Americans can't think in terms of fortnights. Bi-weekly always seems to me to mean twice a week.

On stones, what about the cwt (20 stones)?

#759 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:11 PM:

A friend of mine in... Hull? I'm not sure if that gives a good idea of where she is in Britain. But she always has her weight in stone, always has. I like being able to say I'm ten and a half stone because it's much less precise than one hundred fifty pounds-- that 'and a half' gives me the eight or so pounds of wiggle room that depend on my shoes, the scale, and me not actually knowing how much I weigh. I translate any measurement of 'stone' into 'somewhere near 14*pounds'.
It drives me crazy to be in engineering courses and find British/Imperial/English/American/nonmetric units. Pounds per cubic foot, million gallons per day, equations where the only constant available requires temperature in Fahrenheit, graah. One of the charts for Air Pollution had humidity given in *grains*.

#760 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Madison Guy @ #758, somehow after reading that I'm reminded of that old phrase "let's you and him fight!"

#761 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:20 PM:

TexAnne, I am currently bound by a camera which cannot photograph mass or collective nouns, so the distinction is much on my mind.

#762 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Abi: To be more elaborate, what gets me with England/Britain, isn't the fourteens, is the mix.

12 pence to the shilling, 20 to the pound.

Five shillings to the Crown.

Go back a ways (Edwards to James) and we get the Angel at 6/8 (80d).

The Guinea was 21 shillings.

Don't, however confuse a tanner (half a shilling/sixpenny bit) with a tenner (10 £)

A furlong is an eigth of a mile, a league is 24 furlongs (there's the dozens), a league has 240 chains (ten to the furlong) and so parallels the pennies in the pound. Each chain has 1,000 links.

A rod is the same as a perch (damned big fish), and comes in at 16.5 ft., so there are four rods to the chain, and 40 to the furlong.

Which leads to my favorite whimsical means of measuring speed...

Furlongs per fortnight.

#763 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Terry @ 762

Not cubits per century? (I've been told that there are, for some reason, computers/rpograms that actually used c in some unit like furlongs per fortnight.

I've seen tract maps using chains, too.

Oh yeah, then there's ells. One ell was 22 inches, another was 18, a third was 27: look! it's 45-inch fabric, two ells wide!

#764 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Years ago, I read in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" that few meant eight, and it was backed up with a quote from the Bible that said, "...few, that is eight..." (Looks like 1 Peter 3:20 - Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. KJV)

And since I was then in the habit of firmly believing little bits of drivia (my word for trivia so trivial it nearly falls apart from the stress of being looked at), I carefully carved this diddly precept on an inner wall of my skull. I hear there's an operation that'll sand the words out, but I'm saving the money to get the air conditioning fixed in the Saturn wagon. Real soon; like about ten minutes before the heat spell ends.

#765 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Bruce @#725: I've actually been living in the land of 3d for years now - this is one of my better creations, if you're curious. (I made the clothes & wings, not the human figure...I'm not at that level yet!) There's a lively hobbyist market built around E-Frontier's Poser application, which has rendering and animation capabilities but not modelling.

When Maya brought out their learner edition, I was tempted, but I was already selling stuff at that point and didn't want to be limited by the "no professional work" thing. I use Cinema 4D for my modelling, Photoshop & Body Paint for texturing, and a host of little specialized utilities for rigging in Poser. Oh, and for my own images I generally render in Cinema 4D or Vue D'Esprit. The next thing on my wishlist is Zbrush, which has some great organic modelling capabilities.

It's a pricey hobby, but there are ways to mitigate that. If you can write, you can often get comped software by writing a review. Well, not Photoshop, but smaller companies looking for PR opportunities will often do this. If you're a programmer or engineer you can generally get into beta tests; usually you end up with a full copy of the finished product, although not always - I beta tested Poser 5 and got a free copy and my name in the credits; I beta tested Xfrog and got a nice thank-you and an offer to give me an add-on for free if I bought the full software ($400). Both were good experiences though.

There are a few UK magazines (3d world, Imagine FX) that include free, full copies of older versions of a lot of software (They're available in the US as well--I get 'em at Borders for about $15 each). You register the older version and then you can get the upgrade pricing on the newest version if you're inclined to upgrade. This is probably the cheapest way to get your feet wet and still be allowed to sell what you produce.

#766 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Terry @762:
Yes, but stone (14 lb) and fortnights are still in current use. No one knows what a chain is anymore, or how the non-decimal currency worked.

#767 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:11 PM:

P.J.: Cubits per century isn't properly consonant (the fur/for thing).

It also sounds sort of reasonable, one has to actually parse it out to realise that doing 80 fpf is dead slow, with lots of time to stop and smell the roses, or seduce the innkeepers daughter, burgle the lord of the manors house and clean out the well, before really taking off.

I could go on, ells, and yards, and hands, and cables, short cables, sea leagues (.87 of a statute mile), fathoms, gills, drams, drams, hogsheads, tuns, firkins, etc.

The range and variety are amazing.

#768 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:13 PM:

#745, Bruce Cohen

I certainly didn't mean to slight anyone working in the OEM sector of the graphics display industry. I did that myself for most of a decade. Oh, to be young and in a graphics startup again!

It's a quite different world... I remember the Stanley Klein graphics newsletter, and later met him when I was doing a project for his business partner in a small market research and consulting company--by they he'd gotten thoroughly soured on the computer graphics industry--and that was a decade plus ago!

These days the standard chips sitting soldered on the lower end personal computers achieved levels of performance where the shortcomings are more on the side of the software that's standard (in terms of number of bitplanes and such--that is, the colorspace available that the standard software and the drivers for most computers handle and the middleware from Microsoft etc. and the graphics engines used for the mass market and the models involved...) than the cheap (and they ARE cheap these days...) ghraphics chips soldered onto systems boards.

In a lot of ways it's a case of Gresham's Law, with standardized stuff driving out the higher performance things and creativity, in favor of a lower performance ubiquitous cheap in the tends of millions of units and software for them standard/

For a long time 1280 X 1024 by 24 bit grahphics was the stock maximum.... it's changed a bit in the past few years to allow 1600 X 1200 and beyond (cheap chips) but I don't think that the color depth has really improved--and again it's a case of not having standardized software for toing to e.g. 16 or more bits of color depth per color...

#769 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Abi: It's a case of color me strange. I don't think in stone, but I've known what they were since I can recall (then again, I was eight when I read "A Study in Scarlet", and "Sign of the Four", so my understandings of esoteric things started early, even if the death at the end of the first made no sense to me. I assumed he had to have been struck in the gut by someone).

Fortnights made perfect sense to me.

Score, and the oddities of the variations of number which go with the English adoption of aspects of French numeration/counting took longer to internalise.

And all of those strange counting/measuring stystems show up when I'm reading old fiction, or original source material, so I end up dealing with it.

But that's just me, and not so much in human interaction.

#770 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:23 PM:

And ten square chains to an acre, with the chain being 22 yards. Though I recall it as 100 links to a chain, from the one time I used one...

(My father was on the Parish Council, and got the job of marking out the field that was used for allotments. And we used a chain, not a measuring tape.)

#771 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Xopher @ 715: That's why all distinctions have to be abolished.

Alas, what is the first law of form? "To mark twice is to mark." Once a distinction is made, it is made forever. It cannot be unmade— only superseded by further distinctions. Worst of all, the distinctions corresponding to the laws of form and the principia mathematica have already been made.

Like I said, it's too late to put the monster back in the pit. The best we can hope to do is keep them under surveillance and try to prevent them from doing too much damage to the petunias.

#772 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Mary, #765, I'm a Poser user, and I've been knocking up bits and pieces such as this headset: think 1930s tech, and it's not so good a render, I know.

Mostly I use Wings 3D, which is a free and pretty good 3D modelling program.

DAZ|Studio is a good basic pose-and-render program from DAZ 3D, who also sell a lot of Poser content.

For some good free figures, I recommend Little_Dragon's Hoard.

Of the two magazines you mention, Imagine FX is heavily biased towards 2D art; drawing with the computer rather than CGI, though the current issue has some good 3D stuff on the DVD.

There is, alas, a tendency for CGI software to adopt novel UI solutions, ignoring Mac and Windows standards for commonplace actions such as closing the program.

#773 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:52 PM:

@ discussions of measurement systems

I had great fun after discovering Google's search bar calculator does many of those calculations:

150 pounds in stones? 10.7
cubic inches in a cubic parsec? 1.8x10^54

hmmm. It has rods but not chains.

#774 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:53 PM:

I now have the feeling that my name is going to be uttered with hatred by convention art-show organisers for the rest of the century.

#775 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Dave Bell: That makes each link 6.6 inches. The surveyors chains I've seen were a lot finer than that (and half an inch is about what I recall).

But I don't have one to look at, I'm just going by my reference tables.

#776 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:03 PM:

I had to learn about rods and chains to deal with old surveys.
Ells came with reading the Victorian needlework encyclopedia, which also explained (in an incidental sort of way) good and bad measure (good measure was for British domestic use: a yard was a yard plus an inch; export was, it can be assumed, not allowing the inch over).

Growing up reading British mysteries (old and new) made you aware of all the odd units that have mostly disappeared. (So did reading the encyclopedias in the house.)

Scores are actually not French; they're much older than that. The Celts counted in 20s, and still do to some extent. (It's a handy number to use; I use 20s when I'm counting in knitting, because it doesn't need as many markers, and it's still small enough to deal with easily.)

#777 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:08 PM:

I count in twenties if I need to because the numbers don't repeat until twenty-one on. If I'm counting aloud-- I usually do, or I get distracted-- people give me straaaange looks at, "Eighteen, nineteen, sixty." Repetitive, sing-song numbers are horrible for counting.

#778 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Well, I was just checkinf on of the major CGI retail sites, fairly Poser-heavy. and the banner advert on the homepage was for "Latex Star Ship Captains".

Does anyone have to work their imagination all that hard?

I thought not.

#779 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Abi #766: No one under 45, that should be.

#780 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Returning late to the conversation, again.... (#680): Well, *I* would second your recommendation of Who's Next.

When I told my husband about the sandwich/hoagie/grinder etc. discussion upthread, he contributed a couple (i.e. 2) from his youth in Maine: the "fireball" (spicy Italian sandwich on round bread) and the "Paul Bunyan cheese dog" (served only in winter -- hotdog injected with oozy cheese). Is anyone else here familiar with those?

#781 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Fragano @779:
No one under 45, that should be.

I have friends over that age line who claim traumatic amnesia.

#782 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Dave Bell #770: And, of course, a chain is the exact length of a cricket pitch.

Peasants in Jamaica measure their landholdings in chains (i.e., square chains), mainly because they own tiny scattered lots rather than owning single parcels of land.

#783 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 04:56 PM:

abi #781: I can understand that. I, on the other hand, in my more curmudgeonly moments, think decimalisation might have been a mistake inasmuch as the old-style currency encouraged arithmetical ability.

#784 ::: Zack Weinberg ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 05:19 PM:

When I was a little kid, I would read novels of the E. Nesbit persuasion with great voracity and scant understanding of the difference between American and British English, never mind modern versus time-of-writing versus time-of-setting usage.

And I thought a fortnight was a special occasion or holiday, on which you spent the night in a fort.

#785 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 05:21 PM:

"Latex Star Ship Captains"
Ambiguous, but funny either way.

Latex starships not certified for reentry. Replace after use.

#786 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 05:29 PM:

I remember thinking the same thing about a fortnight, Zack. Now, I'm a little nervous about using it in speech-- what if it's one of *those* words, the ones that reveal that you've never heard them, only seen them? Like 'mortgage' or something. A nervous little part of my brain believes the T is silent, which would confuse children yet further.

#787 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:05 PM:

I learned what a fortnight was from a fuzzy VHS tape that contained a TV showing of Little Lord Fauntleroy, the commercials mostly trimmed. In one scene, the adorable tot declares to his visiting friends from the US, "And you'll get to stay a whole fortnight--that's two weeks!" Finally, an odd word from those Nesbit books, explained!

Didn't find out until college that "biscuits" were actually cookies, though. And I was confused for the longest time of why people kept stopping to have tea in the afternoon, and why having tea seemed to involve so much jelly.

#788 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Latex starship captains? Someone should call Kate Beckinsale. She showed in Underworld that she has what it takes for that kind of role.

#789 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:44 PM:

Fade @ #787, "kept stopping to have tea in the afternoon"

With scones, which to my eye were pronounced like "loans."

#790 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:51 PM:

...scones aren't pronounced to rhyme with "loans"? Then how are they pronounced?

#791 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 06:51 PM:

#751 et al:
As a friend of mine often says:
"What a great idea! We could make dozens of dollars!"

#792 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:03 PM:

Fade Manley #790:

Some people pronounce it "skahns". It appears to be a northern/southern thing. Or is it a Scottish/English thing? I say "skahns" because that's how I learned it, from a chap whose mother was English.

#793 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Fade Manley @ 787... It took me a long time to remember that even though 'biscuit' is the French word for 'cookie', it has acquired a specialised meaning in English. (Another French word that got changed in English is 'figure', which really means 'face'.)

#794 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:21 PM:

The way Kate Beckinsale looked in Underworld, she could be a starship captain in a certain sort of movie. You know, the skinsuit idea. She has the figure to, er, pull it off.

I'll just go slump in the corner and sing Good Ship Venus, shall I?

#795 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Terry, I'm with you. I love odd measuring units, although the ones I am most likely to think in are furlongs and hands, mainly for sporting reasons.* Fortnight makes perfect sense to me, although stone gives me pause. Maybe it's because I've never had a good sense intuitively of how heavy it was.


*The Kentucky Derby is ten furlongs, e.g., and Secretariat was, IIRC, a shade over 16 hands.

#796 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:35 PM:

A few weeks ago, I got a cell phone call from my brother.

He was sitting with friends in front of a campfire; for some reason they had an urgent need to know the length of a league and of a rod.

Google came through.

#797 ::: JoXn Costello ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:39 PM:

I'm not going to defend myself against the charge of "not getting the joke" about that old time religion -- not when there are people writing FSM verses, at least -- because my Jesus verse would never get sung at a revival meeting, and that's good enough for me.

But I will offer this one, which is an older-time religion:

Buddha vanquished demon Mara,
And released me from samsara
I don't worry 'bout tomorrow
Right now's good enough for me.

My verse on Sikhism, however, will be withheld, as Nanak Dev was born in the late 15th century and thus does not qualify.

Counting and systems of units: In any reasonable system of units, c = 1.

Sets and numbers and the empty set: You don't even have to have sets to have mathematics -- topos theory allows you to build number systems on top of other structures. Anyway, if you have nothing at all, you don't have an empty set, until you have somebody to name it "the empty set".

Length of pitches: Cricket pitches may be one chain long, but the size of a football pitch is not standardized. They may be 50-100 yards wide, and 100-130 yards long, subject to the limitation that they must be longer than they are wide. American football players are at a distinct disadvantage in Europe, as their pitches are usually the size of an American Football field; some European pitches have more than twice that area. Makes for a lot of running...

#798 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:40 PM:

joann @ #792, I decided to pronounce it as you describe, mostly as a result of hearing it that way far more frequently than my way.

(I'll never give up the orient/orientate fight, but scones? Pffft.)

#799 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Mary Dell @ 765

That's a nice image. It's hard to tell from those views, but it looks like the feathers are not all in the same plane. True?

Yes, it's an expensive hobby. I've been doing it at home off and on for about 10 or 12 years now; since I could get machines fast enough to at least do the modeling in a reasonable time. I had a version of Poser 1.0, but never upgraded it; these days I mostly download example models and animate them, or build non-anthropomorphic models in Maya or in another modeler.

There's a fair amount of open-source software for 3D work, but the user interfaces generally suck. My practice is usually to noodle around with shapes until I have something I like, so a command-line or other non-intuitive interface doesn't cut it. Especially since I've had about 20 years of experience drawing splines with a mouse or tablet in professional life.

I haven't been into this heavily enough to spend time doing betas; that may change in the near future; I'm thinking about a full animation project, as opposed to just fooling around; it's probably going to have to wait until the end of the year and the end of the current round of house remodeling we're doing.

#800 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Dave Bell @#772 - the headset looks cool (what I can see of it :) - I tried wings 3d (and the similar nendo) when I was getting started in modelling. I tried literally everything I could get my hands on, in fact, until I could find something that was reasonably intuitive for me, which was Amapi. After a year or so of that I had my head around it enough to make the jump to Cinema 4d.

What's your handle in poser-land (assuming you participate in a forum someplace)? I'm canary3d - I've got a few things in the DAZ store and some freebies at my site, and I've been kicking around the forums for about 8 years now. Daz Studio is great for getting started (and you can't beat the price!) but for creating most content, you still need Poser.

Amen to what you say about interfaces. Fortunately more and more companies are just caving in and adopting a photoshop-style of interface. Poser is one of the few where you can't do normal zooming and stuff.

ImagineFX is mostly focused on drawing & painting, but a lot of the tools they showcase are useful for texturing, and they're big zbrush fans.

#801 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 768

In a lot of ways it's a case of Gresham's Law, with standardized stuff driving out the higher performance things and creativity, in favor of a lower performance ubiquitous cheap in the tends of millions of units and software for them standard

All too true. And the standard software was architected for simple graphic models that don't have the functionality that's easily possible today, so there are all these kludges to work around that. Only game software doesn't have this problem, because all anyone cares about there is blazing speed, and they're willing to pay to redo the software as necessary.

For a long time 1280 X 1024 by 24 bit grahphics was the stock maximum.... it's changed a bit in the past few years to allow 1600 X 1200 and beyond (cheap chips) but I don't think that the color depth has really improved--and again it's a case of not having standardized software for toing to e.g. 16 or more bits of color depth per color...

You know, this annoys me. They could get substantially better performance if they allowed 40 bits per pixel, 32 color bits and 8 transparency (or Z buffer, for ultra-fast occlusion of windows, etc.). And make it all double-buffered for smooth drawing. That's cheap now; but I bet most graphic drivers aren't designed with that in mind.

#802 ::: JoXn Costello ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:09 PM:

We will summon the great Gozer
We can model her in Poser
'til the Laundry blows our server
up. That's good enough for me!

#803 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Fragano @ #783: I like sales taxes because they force kids to develop math skills.

#804 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:27 PM:

Bruce Cohen @#799: Waaah, your art page is still under construction! I'd love to see some of your animation - do you have anything on youtube? I suck at animation. Also at posing, lighting, and rendering! Modelling seems to be my thing, and I'm pretty intermediate at that, too, but it's fun so I keep working at it.

You are correct that the feathers are in different planes--they're sort of like elongated coins, stacked in 3 overlapping rows. The lowest set of feathers is a single set, and then the 2 upper rows are doubled up, sandwiching the lower ones so that they render similarly from the front and back. I put up a large screen cap that shows the mesh, if you're interested.

#805 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:31 PM:

Tania #803: Now there's an argument!

#806 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:39 PM:

joann @ #792 re: scones

No, no, not "skahns" but "skonns". Admittedly, those are probably homophonous for you, but they aren't for us.

Also not to be confused with Scone in Scotland (as in the Stone of Scone, on which Scottish kings were crowned) which is "skoon".

#807 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Pat Greene: Hands aren't esoteric for me, we have horses (and mules).

Leus is 14.2, Rudi (mentioned above) is 13.2.

It's amazing what that single hand does for sense of hieght. I feel on a horse on Leus. I don't feel a whole lot more on a horse when on a beast of 16 hands.

But on Rudi, I feel as though I'm practically standing on the ground.

#808 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 08:55 PM:

Andy Wheeler needs a ride to Readercon from New Jersey/New York.

#809 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:04 PM:

Mary Dell @ 804

Sorry, I have no animation worth showing anyone at the moment. Like I said, I like to noodle around, and I haven't been organized enough to produce anything that was, you know, finished (even a little).

The last couple of years I've been concentrating on still photography and learning photoshop, now that I have a good digital camera.

#810 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:10 PM:

Ok, a few old verses (by me, but I made them up about 12 years ago):

We will worship all the Vanir;
I just cannot make it plainer.
They drink beer that needs a strainer,
but they're good enough for me.

Oh we all will worship Verra,
Demon Goddess of Dragaera;
She's got finger joints to spare—uh,
Well, she's good enough for me.

And we all will worship Barlen,
Verra's crocodilian darlin';
Though he's worshipped in a far land,
Still, he's good enough for me.

#811 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:27 PM:

Bruce Cohen (STM): What kind of camera?

I'm not a huge fan of Photoshop (though I have, and, use, CS2) because it has a lot of things which aren't needed for photos, and I don't like the interfaces/semi-destructive nature of the edits.

So I use other programs, and PS is for cleaning up spots (the band-aid is my friend) and printing, because the sizing/ICC profile management of color space mapping to printer is easier.

But I like to talk shop.

#812 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Bruce Cohen: Ditto to Terry's question...what kind of camera?

#813 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Terry (572), it's just as well that Cliff Burns showed up here while I was away at Foo Camp, since otherwise we'd be generalizing our opinions about him from a smaller number of messages.

It's hard to believe he hasn't noticed that he's a cliche. Over the years, I must have seen a dozen versions of his rant from different authors, and that's in spite of a program of active avoidance. That rant is a marker for a failure at writing who bitterly resents not having the success to which he feels he's entitled.

The whole thing makes me want to grab CB and say, slowly and clearly: "Writing isn't about you. It's about what you can do for your readers." If he's sneering at his potential audience for not appreciating his writing as much as he thinks they should, he's already a loser. I'd know that about him even if I hadn't read his fiction.

And I did indeed read that story he posted to his weblog. It's flat-footed and wordy, and its conclusion has nothing to do with what precedes it. One of the nice things about having a thorough grounding in mainstream literature is that I know what he's trying to do, and I know that he he doesn't succeed at it.

It's interesting that he's addressing his remarks to the SF community. From this I draw two non-exclusive conclusions. The first is that he cares how we react to him. The second is that the mainstream doesn't want to hear from him either. At bottom, when he's being nasty it's because he's trying to collect a debt our genre doesn't owe, on behalf of a class to which he doesn't belong.

His essay on pride is genuinely interesting. He knows that something's going wrong with him, and pride is the only word he has for it. "Borderline neurochemical disorder" isn't in his lexicon. However, since it's present in his life, I shall have to exercise charity towards him.

If I catch young writers listening to his crap, though, all bets are off.

#814 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:18 PM:

#759 - I had an engineering prof (one of the chem guys) who deliberately set problems in mixed units like degrees C and BTUs. He maintained he'd actually seen all of these mixes in the field, and that it was no favor at all to let us believe that everything was calibrated in SI.

The degrees C and BTU is very common; even now commercial heaters are sold by the BTU.

But trying to do physics in "imperial" units gets interesting really quickly; you have to decide what a "pound" is - a mass or a force. With the mass pound you get the "poundal" of force. With the force pound you get the "slug" of mass.

After much of this your head'll pound, and you need a slug of whisk(e)y.

The other day I was speculating that the "slug" was about the mass of one cubic inch of water... It's not quite, but it's close:
1 cubic inch = 16.387064 ml
1 slug = 14 593.9029 grams

#815 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Teresa @#813: Welcome back! If you're a glutton for punishment*, look up Mr. Burns' posts on Library Thing. The one about Real Writers vs. Hobbyists is particularly yummy.


*two kinds of punishment, since navigating the talk boards at LT is a frickin' nightmare

#816 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:17 PM:

Pronunciation of scones: I'm getting a Goodies flashback.

#817 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Mary Dell: That's just a person to person elaboration of his, "I'm such a dedicated guy, but the wannabes are keeping me from my big break" screed he wrote on his blog.

Among my other occupations, I'm a photographer. I do it for me. In the twenty years I've been doing, people have paid me. I've put lots of effort into learning the craft of it, what is sometimes called "the grammar" of photography.

Am I diminished when someone else does it, every so often? When they snap pictures without tought, or care? No.

Some of those pictures will be very good. So what?

If they want to make a living at it, get bought even semi-regularly, they have to work. They have to learn the way the game is played.

Maybe they figure something out which strikes a chord, and they become a phenomenon.

So what?

I won't sell pictures to the people who like that sort of art. Scott Church is a good photographer. I'll never shoot that sort of art. I won't shoot Annie Liebovitz, or Helmut Newton, or David Hockney's styles either.

And the people who do, aren't taking bread out of my mouth. It doesn't matter how much I sweat, strain, bleed; or don't, to make a picture.

Not to sales anyway. Writing, painting, photography are meritocracies (for the proof, lots of writers, painters and photographers are funny looking). If someone likes my stuff, they'll buy it.

If an editor things enough people will like my work, they'll pay for a book/monograph/illo/what have you.

CB misses that point. It's not a zero sum game. I am, actually, enlarged by other photographers. Maybe one of the "dilletantes" he hates so viscerally, will have a quirk I like.

My art will grow from it, even if it's a one hit wonder of a photo.

The same is true of my cooking, poesy, acting, commentary, etc., etc., etc..

I am part of the whole, and each man's contributions enriches me.

Being reminded of that is a good which Mr. Burns has, though contrary to his intent, done me.

For that, if for nothing else, he deserves my charity.

#818 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Zeus told Ganymede, "Good gracious,
Human myths are so salacious,
But your tale is not fallacious,
And that's good enough for me.

#819 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:02 AM:

Terry,

I have a Nikon D70 I bought about 2 years ago, with the standard 18-70mm zoom lens. I covet a really long lens, but for now when I it I put my old 200 mm manual lens on and go back to setting the aperture myself. The only thing that took getting used to was the speed of that zoom; I've used an f1.4 50 mm as my primary lens for the last 40 years, and having f3.5 best case is occasionally disappointing.

I Photoshop for all my retouching and for some compositing, because it's fairly quick at adjusting perspective.

Most of the real graphics and art work I do is in Expression, which is a vector-based system, and in Painter, which is bit-mapped. I haven't used Painter much for awhile, because I fell behind on versions, and it doesn't run very well under OS X on a Mac anymore (it was originally designed for OS 9). But I just got an upgrade and plan to use it a lot for things like the picture on my home page.

#820 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:05 AM:

Terry @ #817.
After years as a hobbyist photographer, selling the odd bit of work here and there, I have recently begun formally studying the art. My teachers are working photographers and all are taking time away from their photographic work to teach people who may one day compete with them for jobs. They do it because they want to see more great photography. They want to advance the art and they realize that the more people who practice it, the more great work will arise and thus they have a great enthusiasm for teaching and encouraging anyone who comes to them for help.

The Mr Burns approach, if successful, diminishes the field; if unsuccessful, makes him the butt of our jokes. He loses either way.

Debris of stellar expiration,
Gravity, heat, irradiation,
An aeon's random iteration,
That's God enough for me.

#821 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:11 AM:

Serge at #793 writes:

> It took me a long time to remember that even though 'biscuit' is the French word for 'cookie', it has acquired a specialised meaning in English.

In *American* English, that is. I was greatly relieved when I finally realised what American were talking about when they mentioned "biscuits and gravy"!

#822 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:25 AM:

Dave Bell, #794: The phrase you're looking for is, "I'll be in my bunk." ;-)

#823 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:33 AM:

I like my biscuits and gravy with chocolate chip, though many prefer oatmeal raisin.

#824 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Just checking in to see if this thread has topped a thousand comments yet...

#825 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:05 AM:

Teresa @813, I think if I were CB I would count it a triumph that my general irritating behaviour had the effect of getting an editor with your sort of clout to read my story. (I don't actually write anything more serious than blog posts, so this is hypothetical.) I don't think there's any way of not rewarding the irritating behaviour, though; if you refused to look at his story he would probably convince himself that you were jealous of his brilliance or something. Feh.

#826 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:18 AM:

Terry @ 807,817, that's right -- I had forgotten you had horses, even though you had talked about Rudi upthread (what can I say, it's a long thread, I have a short attention span).

It sounds so little when you say "one hand" and so much more when you say "four inches."

13.2? Wow. I can see why you said riding him was almost like standing on the ground. On the other side of the coin, my sister-in-law has a rescued horse who is a draft (Clydesdale, I think)/Thoroughbred cross, and he is *huge*. At six months he must have stood close to fifteen hands.

Great. Now I have the Mr. Ed theme song stuck in my brain.

It's not a zero-sum game.
Bingo, which is exactly where attempts to analogize art to physical property for purposes of defending lengthy copyright protection fall down.

Oh, and ethan @823 ? Just what sort of gravy do you want with those chips? Somehow I don't think simple brown gravy would work well here. Unless it had at least 56% cocoa solids.

#827 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:21 AM:

Ack! that should be gravy with biscuits, not chips.

Try to be clever, and blow it because I'm not alert. Time to call it a night, methinks.

#828 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:46 AM:

AFAIK, 'biscuits' in both the UK and Oz are the equivalent of US 'cookies'. Often abbreviated here to "bickies" (or biccies, bickeys, or however the person spells it phonetically, because there's no official spelling for it that I know of.) Brits might correct me about their situation. We are getting more used to hearing about 'cookies', though it still jars to see or hear it used about biscuits in a local setting.

What on earth is it that USians call 'biscuits'? Whether savoury, plain, or sweet, having gravy with them would sound fairly revolting to the average Aussie nibbler.

#829 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:11 AM:

Toru Ranryu @ 734: "A couple of hundred posts late for nit-picking, but I'd say "sou desu ka" is the non-committal acknowledgement whereas "sou desu ne" is either agreement or something to fill the silence while you're thinking about the answer to a question somebody just asked you."

In general, I think you're right. I had in mind a particular "This information is somewhat new to me, but not particularly interesting" intonation, and I think if you could hear it, it would make more sense why I went with "Sou desu ne." But there's a lot of wiggle room with all of these words.

Tania @ 803: I like math class because it forces kids to develop math skills.

Tim May @ 806: "Also not to be confused with Scone in Scotland (as in the Stone of Scone, on which Scottish kings were crowned) which is "skoon"."

Oh, is that what Terry Pratchett was making fun of in "The Fifth Elephant"? It all makes so much more sense now. *fanboggle*

See this is why I like this place. Not only do I constantly learn new and interesting things, I can also go all fannish about them.

#830 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:22 AM:

Abi @ 755 Re. "fortnight", that's one of those words I was really surprised to find doesn't exist over in the USA - as I discovered when I said it to someone and she looked at me blankly. And measurements for people - here it's always been stones and pounds for weight, feet and inches for height. Discovering that stones didn't exist was wierd. And then there's your smaller gallon...

Terry Karney @ 756
"But the stone isn't, exactly a constant. Different regions assign different weight to the stone (despite the national standard)."

First I've heard of that, in my few decades of life here. I only live on the edge of Kent, but I've never come across a stone as anything other than 14 pounds (lb).

Linkmeister @789
"Scones" are indeed pronounced to rhyme with "loans" - in southern England. Up north, we call 'em "scones", to rhyme with "gone" (short "o"). Giving rise to the childish joke that they are "scoans" until you eat them, and then they're "s'gone".

Epacris @ 828

Cookies/biscuits. Yes, here in the UK we abbreviate to "biccies" (informally) as well. And I second your thought about "biscuits and gravy" sounding awful, until you realise that American biscuits are TOTALLY different.


#824 ::: Nenya
Nah, we break it when we top 1,000 or so - Patrick cut off "" "The sky isn't evil. Try looking up.": at 1,049 "because its sheer length is starting to have weird effects backstage"!

#831 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:40 AM:

JoXn Costello @797:
Objectors have subsided, grumbling, and the charge of not getting the joke has been discharged. Now we're in ur comment thredz evolvin ur jokez, and the calendar doesn't matter*.

So please give us the Sikhism verse. I'm enjoying your contributions.

-----
* Actually, given the idea that the Divine is outside of the bonds of strict time, they're all Old Time Religions. Even ones that haven't been invented yet.

The impending Singularity
Transcending all in parity
A miracle in verity
And that'll be good enough for me.

#832 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:34 AM:

In #763, P J Evans scribbled:

> Terry @ 762
>
> Not cubits per century? (I've been told that
> there are, for some reason, computers/rpograms
> that actually used c in some unit like
> furlongs per fortnight.

Ummm... DEC used "microfortnights" as the unit for a time delay somewhere in the operating system.

For the other, I can only wave a hoof in the direction of my .sig.

Cadbury Moose.
--
The speed of light is 1,802,617,499,785 + 355/1397 furlongs per fortnight.
Or, for those who want the recurring decimal rather than the neat fraction:
. .
1802617499785.254115962777380100214745884037222619899785 furlongs per fortnight.

#833 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:43 AM:

#832

im in ur post,
eatin ur whitespace

254115962777380100214745884037222619899785

is the recurring part.

Bah!

#834 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:15 AM:

Fragano @ 757: The thing that throws me is the French "quinze jours" for two weeks, even though literally that's fifteen days, not fourteen. (The programmer in me tries to visualise this as fifteen days interleaved with fourteen nights, like some variant of the fencepost problem.)

Mary Dell @ 765:
I've actually been living in the land of 3d for years now
After all that discussion of LSD (monetarily speaking) I parsed this as the land of thruppence the first time through.

Abi @ 781:
I have friends over that age line who claim traumatic amnesia.
At 43, I was old enough to use LSD currency (not quite 7 on Decimalisation Day) but still too young to have to do serious arithmetic with the stuff (7 items at 4/3d each = ???). This may explain why I look back on the old coinage fondly. Then again, I've done a lot of hexadecimal since then (0x7 * 0x43 = 0x1d5) so maybe those particular neurons just got re-purposed.

#835 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:40 AM:

#830: "Fortnight" definitely exists in the US. I learned it in sixth grade. Also, Steven Brust uses it in his Vlad Taltos series to establish that Dragaera has 5 day weeks. (Someone uses the term and he wonders why there is a word which means "two weeks and four days.")

It also had to have been in common usage in 1929 for the following joke, courtesy of Oscar Hammerstein II, from the musical Sweet Adeline to land:

(The set up is that the male half of the 2nd couple is asking one of the female lead's suitors, a composer, if he's making any progress on the song he's writing.)

"How are your lyrics coming along?"

"I'm stuck. Stuck. I've been searching for one word for two weeks."

"How about 'fortnight'?"

#836 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:53 AM:

Mary #800, I recognised the angel model, so I'd picked up on the Canary3D name at DAZ. I'm on the forums there as "Cybertiger".

There's a couple of sites where I use other IDs, where the tendency to Pornography in Poser is a bit stronger. Such as where I saw the "Latex Star Ship Captains".

#837 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:59 AM:

Epacris at #828 writes:

> What on earth is it that USians call 'biscuits'? Whether savoury, plain, or sweet, having gravy with them would sound fairly revolting to the average Aussie nibbler.

Think of damper or a savoury scone as a first approximation. They're quite an efficient way of mopping up gravy, bacon fat, and other things you shouldn't be eating.

#838 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:44 AM:

OK, I've amended the headset picture to something a bit better.

#839 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:46 AM:

Epacris at #828 wrote:

What on earth is it that USians call 'biscuits'? Whether savoury, plain, or sweet, having gravy with them would sound fairly revolting to the average Aussie nibbler.

a US "biscuit" is a sort of single-serving quick bread. Properly done, they are tender and crumbly, and rather rich.

Generally leavened with baking soda and baking powder, with a solid fat cut in, and buttermilk or sour milk for the liquid.

Recipe here from "Good Eats" because Alton Brown is such a geek.

#840 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:29 AM:

Andy, 834: Huit/quinze jours makes sense if you remember that you count the day you're standing on. The full phrase is d'ici huit jours--"eight days from here."

Yes, I'd been living in France two months before I figured it out.

#841 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:57 AM:

TNH at 813: ...he's trying to collect a debt our genre doesn't owe, on behalf of a class to which he doesn't belong.

As happens so often around here, I'm struck by the thought that I know all those words - how come I couldn't put them together like that?

#842 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:39 AM:

Mary Dell #815: He wrote 'I suffer for my writing'. This from a man who believes that he was accused of writing that is 'deftless'. I'd say that we suffer from his writing.

#843 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Andy Wilton #834: Michael Flanders did a joke about that: 'A fortnight ago, il y a quinze jours, quinze being French for "fourteen"'.

Seven items at 4/3 each: £1.9.9

#844 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:22 AM:

Thanks for the elucidation, Steve & Ursula.
The recipe sounds fairly tasty, but quite different to anything resembling what I'd call a biscuit. Whether crunchy, snappy, crumby, crumbling or choc-coated, all the varieties I can think of have a sort of hardness to them, unlike cakes, breads & many pastries. Even if they have a softer filling or topping, there's a more solid base or surround.
Demme! I'm glad I had a good hot dinner not long back, otherwise calling up those memories of many tasty snacks could have been distressing. Off to bed soon, wondering if 'visions of sugar-plums' will 'dance in my head'.

BTW, you can keep an eye on attempts to pull the coal carrier Pasha Bulker off where it's been grounded for a coupla-three weeks <ahem> by Nobby's Beach at Newcastle on the NSW coast at this Coastalwatch webcam, or check out some of the Flickr or YouTube views. It looks like tonight's first try hasn't done it.

#845 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Epacris @ 828, even though I know American biscuits really are a form of bread (quite delicious, too, when properly prepared) I agree that biscuits with gravy are disgusting, even though all the other adults in my extended family love them. I like my biscuits with butter and honey, thank you very much, or if no honey is available, then jam. Preferably strawberry.

Ursula, I have had a wild crush on Alton Brown ever since a friend talked me into going to a book signing for I'm Only Here For The Food. I now have a copy of said book with an admonition to me not to run with scissors.

Heresiarch @ 829, Yep, that's what Pratchett was lampooning. The Fifth Elephant is one of my favorite Pratchetts. Of course, I always say that, then he comes out with another book about Sam Vines and the Night Watch, and I have to change my mind all over again. Elephant is in a tie with Thud! (my eldest son's favorite book for squashing spiders) for second place, behind Night Watch.

#846 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Steve Taylor @#540:

abi at #406 writes:

> In British dialect, the lawsuit was, indeed, pants.

In American dialect one could say he got taken to the cleaners.

Or that he lost his shirt.

As Language Log put it: Judge loses pants and suit

#847 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:56 AM:

Epacris @#828: these are biscuits. They're in the same family as rolls, croissants, etc. Good for soaking up butter or any kind of gravy--they can be used in contexts where yorkshire pudding would be appropriate, except that they're not as fancy or rich.

"Biscuits and gravy" generally means biscuits covered by a particular kind of white, sausage-laden goo. Folks in my home state love it but I've never been able to stand the stuff.

#848 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:01 AM:

#843: Yes, but if the base of the number system matches the base of the measuring system you don't have to do all the compound arithmetic - place value does it for you. Compare the difficulty of that calculation with the difficulty of calculating the price of 7 items at 43¢ each.

Asimov said it better, though, in an essay on the inefficiencies of all those archaic systems of measurement and currency. Too bad the U.S. didn't listen and is still miles behind the rest of the world in measurement technology. People who use the metric system never have to figure out what's a third of 7 feet 9 inches.

P.S. The description of Mr. Burns as a boor upthread collided with the subthread on homophones in my head, and I can no longer think of the relevant part of this thread as anything other than the Boor War.

#849 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 842

I'd say that we suffer from his writing.

Not if we don't read it. That'd be my recommendation.

#850 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:10 AM:

Dave Bell @#836 and #838:

Yeah, the poser world is wide and varied and sometimes it's best to have more than one identity!

I like the headset - cool notion, too. Makes me think of A Fire Upon the Deep.

#851 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:28 AM:

Good US biscuits don't need anything on 'em, if they're fresh out of the oven (as they ought to be eaten). So-so ones can benefit from butter and/or honey.

The gravy that's popular around these parts for biscuit usage tends to be white gravy, not brown, but either way I don't care for it.

In the past year or so I've begun baking (and yes, I blame Alton Brown), and I've discovered I'm actually not bad at it, unlike cooking. I still can't make decent biscuits to save my life, however. This is a source of great frustration.

#852 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:30 AM:

#814: I've had to do real life calculations where the input units included lengths in inches, in fractional feet, and in metres, flows in slugs per second, gallons per hour, and litres per second, and pressures in inches head of water, millimetres of mercury, pounds per square inch, and Pascals.

#853 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:30 AM:

I'm sorry. Morbid curiosity got the best of me. I had to read some CB comments. Message 15 really stood out:

I take exception to authors who don't pay the emotional and spiritual price every time they take pen in hand... I've never written "for fun" in my life,

well, there's your problem right there.

Message 20 on that same page says:

I've made the commitment and sacrifices to my craft and someone who hasn't, wannabes, people who would write if they could find the time ("and I know I'd be good at it too") don't really fit in to my worldview, I'm afraid. Good writers are an elite (sorry) and those of us who break our backs and take pen in hand day in and day out are the real deal and the others are just playing. Good for them but, really, there's no comparison that can be drawn. Hobbyist, weekend scribbler, fine.

He's put quite a bit of thought into creating an exclusive, elite club of "writers", taking great pains to make sure that the qualification process exactly matches his experience (i.e. "suffering" defines whether you are a "writer" or a "wannabe"). He then seems to spend much of his time talking about this exclusive and elite club by reminding everyone that he is one of its few members.

Then, number 25 goes on to say:

I patched a few shingles this past weekend, does that make me a professional roofer?

Ah, but there's the problem. He separates "roofer" from "professional roofer", but he views "writer" to mean "professional writer" and everything else is just hobbyists and weekend scribblers.

It's another attempt to make his "writer" club that much more exclusive by refusing to allow anyone to call themselves "writer" if they don't do it for a living. I'm a writer, but I haven't quit my non-writing day job.

Rather than demand that writers who haven't quit their non-writing day job call themselves "hobbyists", he should call himself a "full time, professional, suffering for my art, writer" and stop trying to hijack the dictionary to inflate his ego.

We now return to our regularly scheduled open thread.

#854 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Greg London @ 852... I've never written "for fun" in my life

Maybe Cliff is related to Doctor Smith.
"Oh, the pain, the pain..."

#855 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #848: That is true.

#856 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:39 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 768:

In a lot of ways it's a case of Gresham's Law, with standardized stuff driving out the higher performance things and creativity, in favor of a lower performance ubiquitous cheap in the tends of millions of units and software for them standard/

I'm not so sure about that... perhaps in the arena of displays, which tend to have low dynamic range (and mass-market LCD displays tend to have smaller dynamic range than CRTs or plasma displays, I think).


For a long time 1280 X 1024 by 24 bit grahphics was the stock maximum.... it's changed a bit in the past few years to allow 1600 X 1200 and beyond (cheap chips) but I don't think that the color depth has really improved--and again it's a case of not having standardized software for toing to e.g. 16 or more bits of color depth per color...

Ironically, what seems to be happening is that the newer software standards and high-end graphics cards are outstripping what displays can show. There's a move towards 16 bits/color or even 32 bits/color, where the numbers are floating point rather than integers, allowing logarithmic ranges of brightness.

The driving forces seem to be a) special effects; b) video games; and c) digital photography (since the "raw" format of digital SLRs is typically 12 bits/channel).

This Wikipedia article notes that the drivers for high-end commercial graphics cards (what gamers buy for their desktop systems) are already working in 16-bit/color space, and are doing internal calculations, at least, using 32 bits/color.

Photoshop can also work at 16 or 32 bits/channel, as can a number of 3D programs, and there are standardized file formats for higher bits/channel images, like OpenEXR. (But, yes, the operating systems don't necessarily know about these possibilities.)

The problem is that the mass-market computer displays people work with don't have enough dynamic range to cope with floating-point 32 bits/channel graphics, so part of the art is ways of downgrading the images on the fly to match the hardware display capabilities (e.g., tone mapping).

#857 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Heheheh... I just noticed the Eureka banner on the right side. It's got some neat gadgets for sale, such as the Verminator, but the Tooth Bomb seems a bit drastic.

#858 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Biscuits and gravy can be very tasty, but you need to have real biscuits (not out of a can) and real gravy.
It's a make-do kind of food, though, right up there with 'hamburger stroganoff' (browned crumbled hamburger, with cream-of-mushroom soup slightly diluted with milk, preferably with a little sour cream or yogurt added and even better with more mushrooms; serve over mashed potatoes or the aforementioned biscuits).

#859 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Greg London @ 582:
I remember noticing, when I peeked at the rant that Mary Dell linked to (back up in #126), that Burns said, "I don't read for pleasure..."

So he's sort of consistently joyless in his approach...

#860 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:25 PM:

Peter@855: There's a move towards 16 bits/color or even 32 bits/color, where the numbers are floating point rather than integers, allowing logarithmic ranges of brightness.

Good grief. A few years back, I worked on a real time video mixing board. It would do color remapping, blending, scaling, rotation, and a bunch of other stuff, all at 24 bits per pixel. The thing is you can do all that when all the math is working on 8 bits-per-color with 3 colors per pixel.

I boggle at the idea of doing realtime rotation using colors based on floating point.

As far as whether the quality of displays is to be blamed on hardware or software, standards or cutting edge, I think some of it comes down to the fact that a lot of people simply can't tell the difference between 16 bits per pixel and 24 bits per pixel, so why pay more?

When you live and breath the stuff, you'll start to see the subtle differences between formats but most people just don't notice.

#861 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:25 PM:

dcb @ 830: My family -- at least four generations' worth of the immediate family -- uses "fortnight," but we're all readers, and have all gotten a lot of vocabulary from books.

Re American biscuits: am I the only one who grew up with strawberry shortcake being made with fresh whipped cream (with just a touch of sugar and vanilla), lightly sugared strawberries, and biscuits, ideally just out of the oven and lightly buttered? That family teamwork involved in making those when I was a child is one of my treasured memories.

#862 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:27 PM:

I did it! I finally made it to the bottom of the thread!

I don't know about Mackinaw, but patina definitely rhymes with Mackinac.

Also, cheers Toru@734, from one Japanese article pedant to another.

#863 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:27 PM:

epacris @ 828

An American biscuit is a type of shortbread. It resembles a scone in texture, but is softer and more moist. The ingredients are usually:
flour,
salt,
leavening agent (baking powder, baking soda, or some combination of the two)
fat (butter or shortening, typically) and
milk (sometimes plain, sometimes buttermilk)

Sometimes the uncooked dough is "dry" -- the equivalent to a scone's -- and gets rolled out then cut in circles. Sometimes the dough is "wet" and is dropped by the spoonful on a cooking sheet. There are bunches and bunches of regional variations. One of my co-workers likes to add crumbled sausage and shredded cheese to her drop biscuits (the wet dough kind).

The link to Alton Brown from Ursula L @ 839 is a good primer for the biscuit half of "biscuits and gravy." (and the gravy half is, in my experience, always a cream gravy made with breakfast meats -- bacon, sausage, ham.)

#864 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:29 PM:

(On non-metric measures)

Bizarrely, I've just received an email from someone who is playing Wilbur Wright in a musical (!), and who wants some explanation on some lines of dialogue, which I assume have been taken from one of the Wrights' diaries.

I would just like to say how glad I am that my aeronautical engineering degree was fully metricated. It took me about 20 minutes to convert it all correctly to mks; now I just need to try and understand what it's all about...

#865 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:33 PM:

Velma-

That's the strawberry shortcake I grew up with, too!

My mother in law serves hers on angel food cake, which strikes me as utterly vile. But then, she also makes a lot of Jell-o salads...

#866 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:33 PM:

Soon Lee @ 816:

Pronunciation of scones: I'm getting a Goodies flashback.

Wow, I'm so glad someone else gets those too: I thought it was just me. Could I just point out (picking up on a theme from way upthread) that Patrick Troughton (Dr Who #2) and Jon Pertwee (Dr Who #3) both had guest starring roles in Goodies episodes?

#867 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:38 PM:

"Biscuits and gravy" generally means biscuits covered by a particular kind of white, sausage-laden goo.

When/where I was growing up it meant "red-eye gravy," which is the gravy you get from fried ham. It's salty and very thin (you can't reduce it much because you don't have much to start with and you don't add anything to it), but delicious.

There's also fried-chicken gravy, which when made properly (i.e., by my grandmother) is just thick enough and has lovely little crispy bits in it.

And the biscuits are buttermilk biscuits, of course.

Yum.

#868 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Velma

My mother put sugar in the biscuit dough and maybe some allspice or mace. Same thing went on cobblers, too.

We didn't butter the shortcakes, just put them in bowls with the strawberries and milk (which the shortcake soaks up nicely). Vanilla ice cream with it, maybe, instead of milk.

#869 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:45 PM:

well, there's your problem

I always hear that in Jamie Hyneman's voice now.

#870 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:47 PM:

I was under the impression that KFC ("Kentucky Fried Chicken") had made inroads overseas . . . if so, do they serve biscuits along with the deep fried chicken hunks?

#871 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Biscuits and gravy = horrid mess.

That's because I don't care for soggy bread, and dislike the sausage in glop which is "gravy".

It's a staple in US army mess halls, and some of the most appalling things I've seen involve it, poured over panckakes, or french toast.

When I was playing with the 3 MI(V) last summer in Scotland "compos" (the British field ration) came with two types of biccie, "fruit" which are sweet (and very good) and "brown" which are also good, but not the sort of thing to eat by themselves, being a sort of cracker, best used as a base for some sort of savory paste/spread.

dcb: Re stone. I can't get to my references (with all the specifics for local variation) but the Britinnicae I have handy say the legal/horseman's stone is the standard 14 lbs. avoirdupois, but the butcher's stone is 8 lbs.

My 1911 goes on to say that in weighing wool it was 14 lbs., but is now more commonly 16.

My 1966 says it is used, "somewhat archaically" for units of weight; and says "the stone of the wool weighers (formerly, and still in Scotland 24; later usually 14), the Smithfield, or butcher's stone (8 lb.; unofficial, but still in use)"

But I do have my Holinshed handy and he complains (of weights and measures) Wherefore it were very good that these two were reduced unto one standard, that is, one bushel, one pound, one quarter, one hundred, one tale, one number: so should things in time fall into better order and fewer causes of contention be moved in this land.


It's not terribly current, but the tendency to maintain tradtion being what it is, I don't find it hard to believe that the local stone was used (at least informally) well into the recent past.

#872 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Jen Roth @ 868... As for myself, I immediately thought of Adam Savage in the show where they blew up a cement truck with hundreds of pounds of explosives. He then picked up one of the few engine pieces remaining and, pretending to be a mechanic, said "There's your problem."

#873 ::: JoXn Costello ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:04 PM:

James Beard's Cream Biscuits are some of the best biscuits I've ever made in my life. Let me just list the ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Makes 12 biscuits. When I got them out of the oven I ate one, then another, then thought "man, I could eat six of these and my housemates would still get 2 apiece". Then I remembered that conservation of mass implies that the 1.5 c heavy cream and 1 stick butter I put in the biscuits will remain in the biscuits when they come out of the oven (incidentally -- or not -- contributing to their deliciousness), and that I really didn't need to eat 3/4 c cream and a half stick of butter for breakfast.

#874 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:04 PM:

P J Evans @ 857

Don't knock hamburger stroganoff; it's a good meal for those times of no cash. Our first 4 or 5 years after buying our first house, with two rapidly growing boys* in the family, we needed a lot of recipes like that.

* Our kids invented the "Sofa Mount and Dismount", essentially a flying leap. The mount wreaked merry hell on the sofa, especially when they got into their teens**, resulting in about a 3 year lifecycle. We bought cheap furniture until the kids moved out of the house.

** And they both started out with big ears and feet, so we knew that, like any such puppies, they would turn out large. They did.

#875 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Jennifer, 850: Email me for my mother's foolproof biscuit recipe.

#876 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Velma @ 860 and P J Evans @ 867

My mom often made biscuits with dinner. If she was going to make strawberry shortcake, she'd double the biscuit recipe and put some sugar in the half that was going to be shortcake. Slice the strawberries an hour or more in advance, sugar them lightly, and add a pinch of salt to draw out the juice. Dump strawberries & juice on warm shortbread, add whipped cream.

I just finished lunch and I'm making myself hungry anyway.

Did anyone else have leftover biscuits toasted? Sometimes Mom doubled the biscuits just to have leftovers. Take cold biscuits, split in half (like you'd split an English muffin, is that crosswise?), butter, and toast briefly under the broiler. Even better than the original with jam or honey, or creamed chipped beef (which I know many people don't like, but we did).

#877 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:17 PM:

Greg London @ 859

a lot of people simply can't tell the difference between 16 bits per pixel and 24 bits per pixel, so why pay more?

Where people will notice is where using less than 24 bits results in "staircase" or "terrace" artifacts. The Human eye sees fewer than 2^26 total colors, but it's very good at distinguishing between shades of colors, especially in the green part of the spectrum. So what should look like a smooth gradient will appear as a set of areas of flat shade with edges marking their boundaries. Since shade distinction in the green is almost 2^40 colors equivalent, this can happen even with 32 bit color models.

#878 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:26 PM:

Bruce, my family did the same thing. We inherited an absolutely beautiful coffee table from my great-grandfather, who had always used coasters and polished it nicely. My parents, hoping to prevent insanity, had a standing policy that they wouldn't care if the furniture were used properly. Coasters didn't happen. It's been used for absolutely everything three kids can use a coffee table for, and until last summer, it really showed the wear. Last summer, in a fit of power-sander love, I refinished it. My philosophy was that I couldn't possibly make it worse (also applied to the table I used for my plants, which was growing mold), so it was okay.
It's such a beautiful table my parents were inspired to coasters.
Other than getting better furniture now that we're not going to jump on it or use it for cars, they still have the same ideas. Now they just pass on the old furniture to my brother and me, both on first apartments, where the same rules apply.

#879 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Mm, leftover biscuits. Thanks for reminding me, OtterB! My dad's specialty, when I was small and sick, was biscuit milk toast. Split last night's biscuits, butter, put under the broiler. Meanwhile, heat milk to just barely scalding and add more butter. Plop biscuits in milk and devour while forgetting you're unwell.

Worked a treat, too!

#880 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Jennifer @850:

Biscuits should be made by hand. My grandmother would sift the dry ingredients onto the counter, make a well in them, then add the shortening and milk, mixing the dough with her fingers.

When it was the right consistency, she would gather it into a ball, roll it out to about an inch thickness, then take the biscuit cutters to it.

Hand-mixing the dough insures that you don't overwork the ingredients. (Doing that produces a crumbly dry biscuit, when what you want is a tender flaky one, which separates easily so you can put a slice of Smithfield Ham and Cheddar cheese on it.)

#881 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:48 PM:

Bruce@876: using less than 24 bits results in "staircase" or "terrace" artifacts.

Just about every project I've seen has some sort of logic block that corrects this just prior to going to the display. So the signal or display might only be 16 bits, but you can't tell because the logic fiddles and massages the bits so you can't see most of the artifacts.

Sometimes its as simple as introducing color noise. If you have a large block in your image that's all green 0x004200, right next to a block that's all green 0x004300, you might see the edge where the color transitions. But if you pseudo-randomize your low bits, the edge disappears.

Since the source of the real image probably wasn't all one exact color (42) next to another color slightly different (43), but more likely subtly shifting colors, it seems fair.

I'm not the algorithm guy, though, I'm the guy who turns it into something that actually works in silicon.

#882 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:51 PM:

P J Evans, I'm no chef, but the spritz of mace in your biscuits doesn't sound too appetizing. Maybe useful for muggings:

"Sure you can have my wallet, but how about a biscuit first? Here, try it with a dollop of my home-made poison-oak gravy."

#883 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Tim May #806: No, no, not "skahns" but "skonns". Admittedly, those are probably homophonous for you, but they aren't for us.

I can hear the difference, I can even speak the difference, but in my experience the rest of the US crowd appear to be absolutely tone-deaf to it, and I couldn't figure out how to do it phonetically back up there, anyway. (Show me a bunch of IPA and my eyes glaze over so far that they turn into Ming artifacts.)

(BTW, has something weird happened with my/everybody's "personal information" or did I accidentally hit the wrong button somewheres? It all came up totally blank this time.)

#884 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Biscuits are very nearly the only thing I can bake well, but I can make a damn good biscuit from scratch. As has been mentioned, it's vital that you mix the ingredients lightly. My younger sister once followed the exact same recipe I used, but beat the dough so vigorously the biscuits came out as little hard bricks. Mixed properly, the same recipe made for biscuits that rose to nearly three times the dough's height, and could be split neatly in two in your hands without any knife involved.

One can also make a decent biscuit with nothing but Bisquick and a half cup of milk, but that's the kind you'll want to coat in jam and butter. They're not bad at all for a mix, but they're certainly not the best. It is, at least, much easier not to overmix them when you're only combining two ingredients, rather than cutting in all dry ingredients and the butter armed with nothing but a table fork.

#885 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Lori #879: Hand-mixing the dough insures that you don't overwork the ingredients. (Doing that produces a crumbly dry biscuit, when what you want is a tender flaky one, which separates easily so you can put a slice of Smithfield Ham and Cheddar cheese on it.)

Then I do all the wrong things and still get fluffy flaky biscuits out of it: I do the fold-and-knead operation, 4-5 full turns, then roll them out and cut, and get these really tall flaky things.

#886 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 01:58 PM:

Hmmmmm....

biscuits and gravy. Good stuff when done right. (Terry, don't let the mess hall version spoil it for you.)

And speaking of recipes that'll curdle your arteries, has anyone heard of "cheeseburger soup"?

#887 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:01 PM:

876

fewer than 2^26 total colors

*Sigh* that should be 2^16. Certainly my eyes aren't getting more sensitive with age.

Also "shade distinction" should be "shade discrimination", something the latest Supreme Court decision no doubt declares to be unconstitutional.

#888 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:05 PM:

Heresiarch @ #829: Math classes are good. Making people use math so they realize it is relevant to their lives is better!

Jennifer @ #850: The King Arthur Flour Baking Book is a good one to check out from your library*. It has some really good explanations on the chemistry behind baking, and techniques to help out. The recipes needed a better editor, so if you choose to cook from it, prepare a mise en place and read through the directions a couple times before you bake. I've found about five recipes with ingredients that show up in the directions that aren't on the list. Grrrrr...

Pancakes have been my cooking trial, until this cookbook. The Zephyr Pancakes are hit with everyone, and I never have a problem getting them to cook up tasty and golden.

Good luck with the biscuits!

*The book has a wealth of good information**, but the recipe errors keep me from recommending that people purchase it.

**Since you mentioned Alton Brown, his baking book is good too, but you already know that. I have a small geek crush on Alton Brown.

#889 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:05 PM:

Bruce @ 873

Oh yeah. There's a reason why I can do the recipe off the top of my head. Beans'n'franks, macaroni and franks, and you didn't leave food on the plate. (Not if you wanted any kind of dessert, at least!) We also knew that day-old bread was less money for pretty nearly the same quality.

#890 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Joann -- but you're doing it by hand, right? Where a lot of people run into trouble is when they try using a machine do the job for them.

It is way too easy to overmix using a KitchenAid or a Cuisinart.

#891 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:12 PM:

Peter, #855, I think a part of the problem is that many people don't set monitor brightness and contrast to get the best results, or anything near.

Now, I come to this from the viewpoint of somebody who has spent time in a darkroom, adjusting the exposure and the contrast-grade of the paper to get the full brightness of the negative (or at least the parts that mattered) represented on the narrawer range limited by the white of the paper and the black of the metallic silver.

And 1 bit maps onto 1 stop. You can record a wider range of brightness on film, but it needs non-standard processing, and it comes out somewhere between 6 and 7 stops.

Ansel Adams, taking each picture on a seperate piece of film, and taking detailed records of scene brightness, could adjust the processing, and thus the gamma, to record what he wanted, how he wanted. That's the heart of the Zone System.

OK, gamma is a relationship between input and output. And it can get complicated. What the different contrast grades of paper did was have a different gamma--a different slope on the graph--so that the end result, black to white, could be matched to a varying brightness range in the negative. And, before digital and Photoshop, you could be waving your hands in the beam of light, like some magician, shading parts of the image so that those parts of the final picture would be lighter than otherwise.

Anyway, your monitor, however it works, has its own gamma (is it still true that Mac and PC are different?) and it's affected by your surroundings.

OK, we're talking a log scale, and a numeric value of 128 is only one stop less bright than 255. And I see pictures in galleries that don't have anything brighter than that 128. No real highlights, and the shadows are murky. And, as a photographer, that feels wrong.

Besides, deep shadows in colour images often work badly. Part of the whole 1940s film noir effect depends on how monochrome film handles shadows: it can be a much cleaner black.

Anyway, I can't use my Weston meter on my computer, but I can see a histogram display, and adjust the brightness and contrast of the image. And, in reality, it's hard to find that numeric-0 black that people will use in their CGI.

#892 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Gursky #881: 'Mace' in this case, is a spice. It is the lacy covering of the nutmeg seed.

#893 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Fade: One can also make a decent biscuit with nothing but Bisquick and a half cup of milk, but that's the kind you'll want to coat in jam and butter. They're not bad at all for a mix, but they're certainly not the best.

That's what I end up doing when I just have to have biscuits at home. Bisquick is certainly edible, unlike those canned things trying to pass for biscuit, but even though I use it myself it doesn't count as "proper" biscuits.

Lori: I already mix by hand; I didn't have a mixer until recently, when I decided this baking thing wasn't going to be a passing fad. And I know not to overmix, which I don't think I do; so I'm really not sure where I go wrong.

Tania: I'll check that out, since Alton Brown's failed me. (And yes, I've got his baking book. It's great. I'm so much more likely to follow the more complicated directions when I know there's an actual reason for them.)

#894 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Fragano@891: 'Mace' in this case, is a spice.

Mace Spice? Holy Crap. I heard the Spice Girl reunion was going on, but I didn't know they were getting new members too.

(ducking)

(running)

#895 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Lori #889:

I don't even own a KitchenAid, and don't use the LaMachine (now 25 years old!) for anything other than chopping, now that (thanks! Alton) I have a blender stick.

The idea of using a machine for something as simple as making biscuit or scone dough has just zapped my brain. (I even occasionally cream my own butter rather than use the hand mixer.)

#896 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:37 PM:

The advertisements mocked in Lilek's "Gallery of Regrettable Foods" suggests that home-made biscuits were something that were expected to appear on the dinner table . . . and that battleaxe mothers-in-law would judge their son's new wife on her biscuits. Even bachelors were expected to make the things, just not very well.

#897 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:40 PM:

(still running)

#898 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Greg London #893: Is it true that you'll be joining the Spice Girls reunion tour under the name of Old Spice?

#899 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Greg London @#852:

Ah, but there's the problem. He separates "roofer" from "professional roofer", but he views "writer" to mean "professional writer" and everything else is just hobbyists and weekend scribblers.

Actually, he seems to regard most of those who make a living at it as "hacks." It seems that the qualities of a real rabbit, I mean writer, are suffering and perseverence in the face of constant rejection.

Which means that if your writing really sucks, you've got a leg up on everybody else.

#900 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Dave Bell: Yeah, Dynamic range and color spaces.

Have you read "Post Exposure" by Ctein? It's about printing, but there are things which are useful for doing digital editing (esp. if you editor shows an equivalent for the step-block mapping of the gray-scale response curve of papers).

What I need to figure out (and want to buy his most recent book) is the various range limits of printers and papers.

I've done some playing with tones (easy enough to see on the paper) effect on the white point, but that still doesn't tell me how that will arrange the scalar values of "gray" when the inks are added.

For B&W scans/conversions this is interesting. I think I'm able to get a little more of the available range (and the increase is at both ends of the curve), but no where can I get a curve (the ICC profiles for most papers are really, so I hear, detailed settings of the white point, to balance colors around it, which does me damn all for the step-block values).

It's so much easier, in some ways, to go back to the darkroom and the soup. I know how to find the information, either in published material, or from simple experiment.

#901 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Joann, trust me, there are folks out there who try to mix everything with a food processor.

The only time I let the Cuisinart do the heavy lifting is for yeast breads. I no longer have the hand/arm strength for kneading any recipe that produces 2 or more loaves of bread.

I am eyeing the Professional grade KitchenAid mixer, because with a dough-hook it would be perfect for taking on my favorite Yule recipe --
Braided Mincemeat Bread.

It would also be great for my great-great grandmother's fruitcake too...

#902 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Dave 818:
Zeus told Ganymede, "Good gracious,
Human myths are so salacious,
But your tale is not fallacious,
And that's good enough for me."

Slight edit:
Zeus told Ganymede, "Good gracious,
Human myths are so salacious,
But your tail is so bodacious
That it's good enough for me."

Paul 820: Natura sola sufficit, as I've been saying for a while now. I REALLY like that verse. I also notice that it is not nailed down.

ethan 823: With sweet cream gravy, I assume? Actually that doesn't sound half bad: one pint heavy cream, three tablespoons sugar, one teaspoon vanilla, a quarter teaspoon nutmeg (optional), bring to a low boil (the longer you boil it, the thicker it will get, and heavy cream won't curdle just from boiling), and pour over chopped bite-size pieces of soft oatmeal-raisin cookie. Serve hot. Biscuits and gravy, dessert style!

I probably won't try it myself (too many carbs). If you do, let me know how it tastes.

Epacris 828: My description is redundant, but BOY are they good!

abi 831: Thank you, and may I add that I apologize for my earlier comment, and would also love to hear the Sikhism verse.

Andy 834: I was old enough to use LSD Oh, I get it! Not so much traumatic amnesia, as "if you remember the days before currency reform, you weren't there"!

Mary 846: I make it with soysage. I fry the soysage up, chopping it into bits, usually add some mushrooms and scallions, then pour cream onto them and bring to a boil, stirring frequently (see above re boiling cream). Then I remove it from heat, put in some grated Asiago, and stir until all the cheese is melted. (I've been known to do this with extra-sharp cheddar, lots more of it, but the Asiago is better.) Actually I usually eat this without biscuits, but hey.

P J 857: That's the first time I've heard the label 'Stroganoff' applied to anything that didn't have noodles in it. Strikes me as somehow not quite right. (It sounds tasty, just not like Stroganoff. Mod me being a vegetarian, that is. I could make it with soy crumbles.)

Greg 896: *throws biscuits at your head*

#903 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Fragano@897: Is it true that you'll be joining the Spice Girls reunion tour under the name of Old Spice?

All I am at liberty to say is that one has ever seen me and Posh Spice in the same room at the same time. Oh, that, and you may have heard of my failed run for president as Mrs. Westinghouse a few years back.

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

Greg London @ 885

And speaking of recipes that'll curdle your arteries, has anyone heard of "cheeseburger soup"?

No, but it sounds like it's related to "beer-cheese soup", also sometimes called "cheddar beer soup".

#905 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Speaking of great actors in the read the phone book category, William Hutt has died of leukemia at 87. He retired from the stage a couple of years ago; I was truly privileged to see him play Prospero in his final Tempest in both its first (1999) and second (2005) productions, as well as many other roles at Stratford (Ont.) over the last 17 years. He was part of the original Stratford company in 1953 and played there for about forty seasons.

His skill and range as an actor were easily on a level with Jacobi and other greats of today's theater, though he was less frequently televised and probably much less well-known outside Canada.

I will never forget the moment in Merry Wives (1990, I think, or possibly 1995) when, as Falstaff, he sat completely still and reduced the entire Festival Theatre to hysterical laughter simply by looking at us, without so much as a twitch of facial expression. I can still see it in my mind as I write this now.

#906 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Bruce Cohen... How do winkies blended with deep-fried tuna sound?

#907 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Bruce Cohen... How do twinkies blended with deep-fried tuna sound?

#908 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Susan: That Falstaff description reminds me of the closing credits to Indian Summer where Sam Raime is watching a moose.

Gods, how I laughed.

#909 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:14 PM:

P.J. Evans mentions Hamburger Stroganoff at #857, with a selection of things to ladel it over; I'm a purist on this, and insist on wide egg noodles. With biscuits on the side, perhaps, and either steamed spinach (winter) or wilted lettuce salad. Such a meal is the sort of thing that gives you some hope of filling up teenage boys at lunch so that they won't eat everything loose in the kitchen before you can get supper on the table.

#910 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Terry@899: that still doesn't tell me how that will arrange the scalar values of "gray" when the inks are added.

We work on a lot of different products, but our group specializes in printer design. I could ask around the imaging experts and see if anyone knows. What exactly would you want me to ask them? Can't promise anyone has an answer, but couldn't hurt.

#911 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Cheeseburger soup? No. Now, pizza...

#912 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:29 PM:

Mary Dell @ 898: Actually, he seems to regard most of those who make a living at it as "hacks." It seems that the qualities of a real rabbit, I mean writer, are suffering and perseverence in the face of constant rejection.

Which means that if your writing really sucks, you've got a leg up on everybody else.

That reminds me of a bumpersticker that I've never quite known how to interpret: "Real musicians have day jobs." Is it supposed to mean that if you're a real musician, your stuff won't be popular, you won't be able to support yourself what people are willing to pay you for it, and you will as a result have to get a job flipping burgers or waiting tables? Or does it mean that if you're a real musician, you make enough from your music that it is your day job?

#913 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Serge @ 906

How do twinkies blended with deep-fried tuna sound?

Sounds like a crime against humanity to me. Have you actually seen such a thing? Should we inform the court at The Hague?

#914 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Greg London #902: Has anyone seen you in the same room as David Beckham? :)

#915 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Lori #900: Braided Mincemeat Bread

Is that like Stollen, only w/ mincemeat instead of the usual pallid citron and cherries?

(Not that I've ever been able to conceive of making any bread in quantities greater than one loaf.)

#916 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Mary Dell, #846: GRAVY IS NOT WHITE!!!!!

Sorry, not shouting at you personally. But gravy starts with meat juices, and is either brown (beef) or light tan (poultry/pork). I don't know what that horrible library-paste abomination they serve in the American South is, but it's NOT gravy.

Peter, #858: I remember noticing... that Burns said, "I don't read for pleasure..."

*boggle* Well, there's his problem right there. If he doesn't read for pleasure, he doesn't realize that other people do, and that reading the kind of... stuff... he writes is work (and not the good kind), and therefore not worth putting forth the effort. If he can't be arsed to write something that makes people want to read it, why should we be arsed to bother?

#917 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Lexica 911: Being a musician is not a "day job" even if you actually work at it during the day, which most professional musicians do not. (Club gigs and concerts are both generally in the evenings, since even if the musician doesn't work during the day, the customers do.)

A "day job" is not work, but toil. A day job provides no intrinsic satisfaction, but only wages. Working a day job allows the financial wherewithal to pursue your real work, which typically does not provide a genuine living.

Please note also that if you work during the day at something that does provide satisfaction, even if outside the arts, it is not a "day job" as such. It's a career.

A simple first-pass rule (many are offended by the term 'rule of thumb' because of its possibly-apochryphal origin; anyone know a better term?) for distinguishing work and toil: would you keep doing it if you had a secure and comfortable living without getting any income from it? If you inherited bazillions, say?

If the answer is 'yes', it's true work. If not, especially if you'd drop it in a flash and never look back, it's probably toil. My job is toil, and richly qualifies as a day job. I have many ideas of things I'd do if I became inexplicably wealthy, and none of them involve working for a big corporation, doing the impossible for the ungrateful.

One exception to my first paragraph: I suppose there are musicians for whom doing music has just become a tedious daily grind that puts food on the table and a roof over their heads, but brings no joy to their hearts nor satisfaction to their spirits. For those people being a musician could be a day job. I've never met one, as far as I know.

I suppose Patrick, being an evening musician, might call his gig at Tor a day job. I bet he laughs when he says it, though. If not, I will!

Long winded tirade. Lexica, they definitely mean that the amateur or unpopular musician is the true musician.

#918 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:02 PM:

Serge @ 905

I didn't think about that first post right away. "Winkies with tuna" is very definitely a crime against humanity, at least in Oz.

#919 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:07 PM:

I would have interpreted "Real musicians have day jobs" to mean "Serious musicians continue to play music even when they have to spend forty hours a week working at another job to pay the bills, rather than quitting the instant they aren't getting free room and board from their parents/friends/co-dependent significant others." But Xopher's explanation sounds equally valid, and I couldn't say which the bumper-sticker-owner meant without more context.

#920 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Lee 915: Some people in these parts have a thing they call "red gravy," or just "gravy." It's tomato sauce. When I moved out here and heard people talking about putting gravy on pasta, I was boggled until I learned that they don't mean the same thing by 'gravy' that I do.

My definition is like yours, but...biscuits. I say unto you, biscuits.

#921 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Xopher (919): Good gravy!*

*(probably regional) variant of 'good gracious!'

#922 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:17 PM:

Xopher

There are real rules of thumb: the right-hand rule in physics comes to mind. I like using thumbs to determine rotational north for planets: if your fingers point in the direction of rotation, your thumb points north. (Yep, it's a right-hand rule.)

#923 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:19 PM:

About day jobs and art:

I've stayed out of the discussion of photography and writing, the first because I've done it obsessively and as part of my professional life in the past, but I am now tied by economics to a camera which has limitations I am only now learning to accept and learn from, the second because I would not call myself a writer in this company.

However: I had, at one time, an acquaintance who refused to call herself a musician, even though she spent every night of the week performing one kind of music or another on her fiddle, everything from bluegrass to Bartok and back by the scenic route. Her father was a professor of music, and a great-grandfather of her name was a well-known composer. I think she had a complex.

On the other hand, there's my cousin's large cello playing son, now teaching music in the local school district. He's performed in string quartets at weddings and the kind of parties I don't go to, for money, since he was in middle school; his degrees are in Music Education and Performance: is he a musician or a music teacher?

I call them both musicians, myself, since the sounds they make raise my spirits as only music does, but neither of them seem comfortable with the name.

#924 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:20 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 912... If I remember correctly, I posted such a recipe in these parts last year, in April or May possibly. It's something I had found in one of my wife's cuisine magazines and, no, it wasn't their April's Fool Day issue. I could google it, but I dare not for a mere glance at the recipe is enough to make my arteries stiffen.

#925 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:24 PM:

Lee re Gravy: Hear, hear!

Greg London: I suppose the problem is I know what I want, and I know what I suspect the printers are trying to do.

Photo-papers have response curves. Kodak Polycontrast is different from Ilford Multigrade RC, which is different from Ilford Multigrade FB, etc.

Knowing that, I can tailor what paper/contrast grade to use, to make the best use of where I want the mid-point to fall (18 percent gray, which isn't what lightmeters are calibrated to, well not quite, because the standard is for light at midsummer in Rochester, NY... what was I saying about liking oddball measuring systems?).

I also know where the gradations are. Some papers are better at showing differences in gradation in the highlights, some in the shadows, etc.

In theory, none of that matters to a printer. It ought to be a straight line.

But the paper imposes limits. It prevents pure blacks, reduces contrast (or increases); depending on surface finish, has a warm/cool tone; which modifies the color, etc.

This is why so many prints look like crap when people make them (even for a calibrated monitor). The color space of the printer isn't the color space of the screen.

I've, as much as one can, corrected for that.

But the color space of the printer, is affected by the paper.

What I don't know how to do (save, I suppose, finding an analog of a step-block progression; which is corrected to any actual curve in the printer) is test the paper/printer combination to get a reasonable map of the paper/printer combination.

I want that, so I can decide; apart from guesstimation based on the look of the empty paper, and the image on the screen, what paper to use to get the final image I want.

Did that help?

#926 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Xopher @ 916:
I suppose Patrick, being an evening musician, might call his gig at Tor a day job. I bet he laughs when he says it, though. If not, I will!

I think I've heard him use that turn of phrase, but I vaguely recall that it was more in regards to the artificiality of dividing the world into fans and pros - that his day job does not make him any less of a fan. I could be misremembering completely, of course.

I agree with what you wrote, by the way. I have a day job, and then I have my real work. The day job, while tolerable and full of pleasingly morbid humor, is solely to support me until I can figure out a way to make my real work do so. It was chosen primarily on the basis of the combination of (1) adequate salary and health benefits, (2) lots of vacation time for real work, and (3) walking distance from home. The idea that I might have to do it for the rest of my life fills me with despair.

#927 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Lee@915: Boggle indeed. Though his attitude does remind me of Neil Innes' "Protest Song" introduction: "Ladies and gentleman, I've suffered for my music, now it's your turn." Heh.

JESR@922: That resonates with me a bit too. I love to sing, and over time have built my skills to the point where I sometimes get paid to do it, often alongside others who do music full-time for a living. (My career-- which is a career, not just a day job-- is something entirely different.)

When I think about it, I'm a musician, in the sense that I make music that I and others enjoy, and put time and care into the craft. But I look at my co-singers who do make music their career, and who have talent and artistic impact well beyond my own. (Many of them are music teachers; to me "music teacher" in no way preempts "musician".) In the back of my mind it somehow seems presumptuous for me to *call* myself "a musician" in comparison to them-- unless it's in a collective sense like "I'm one of the musicians in this concert."

At the same time, I'd be annoyed if I sang with a pro that sneered at a fellow amateur performer as "not a musician". (The pros I sing with tend to be much more gracious than that, I'm glad to say...)

Maybe I just share a complex with your sister...

#928 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Susan 925 (a particularly apt number for a post with that subject matter): I'd say that Patrick is unmistakably a pro, but agree with him that the idea that being a pro disqualifies one as a fan is absurd.

He's making a living at his real work (part of it). He's using 'day job' to mean the job at which he makes that living. My sense of day job as toil is different, but I daresay mine is the one meant by the bumper sticker referenced above.

I feel almost the same about my job as you do about yours. The major differences are that mine lacks any humor, pleasingly morbid or otherwise, and as for being tolerable...I keep deciding it is, every day, but it's because my ability to tolerate it increases faster than its tolerability decreases. So far.

#929 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Bruce (STM): re cameras.

The D70 is a decent camera. I stopped using anything other than .RAW some time back (there was a time I was using the .RAW/.jpg function, but now I wouldn't use that unless I had a client who wanted proofs in real hurry).

That's not a bad lens, in general (I'm assuming you got the, "kit" lens). With the Nikon d-factor you've, effectively, got a 35-105.

I miss having my 17 (to get that really wide a field of view, I have to use film, which is cheaper than buying the 10mm digital lens).

On the flip side, my 75-300 is a 105-450.

The slowness, well that's tough. I prefer my 50 1.8, because it's sharper than the 1.4 (and much moreso than the 1.2). But since most of my "fast" lenses for everyday carry are 2.8, the 1-2 stop difference when I'm using the longer lenses isn't so bad.

When I need more speed, I cheat. I pop the ISO up to 320-500.

If I can, anything which wants more light than that, I reach for a tripod.

#930 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Greg @ 859:

There's another issue behind the shift to things like 16-bit and 32-big floating point, which is avoiding the truncations and roundoff errors that come when you're doing math with integer pixel values. If you're applying a lot of transformations to an image (whether it's a still or part of a movie or video-grame frame), the repeated roundoff errors that you get with integer math can introduce unpleasant artifacts.

Going to large integer pixels (e.g., 10 bits or 16 bits per channel) helps, but not a whole lot. It makes a lot of sense to do your calculations in floating-point, and then rescale to integer only when you have to send the output to the monitor. One of the things modern graphic chipsets are good at, I gather, is very fast floating-point calculations, to the point where people are trying to figure out ways of hijacking GPUs for scientific calculations.

(The astronomical images I work with come off the telescope as 16-bit integer images [single-channel -- "grayscale", if you like], but we convert them to 32-bit floating-point pixels as soon as we start processing and analyzing them.)

#931 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:55 PM:

John Mark (assuming 'John Mark' is your first name) 926: I've heard people exclude all singers—even professionals—from the definition of 'musician'. Even choir directors, sometimes: "Tomorrow we rehearse with the musicians for the first time." Damn you, we're musicians too!

You ARE a musician. In fact, in the classic sense of the word 'amateur' (one who does whatever it is for love), you're a musician in the purest sense.

#932 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 04:59 PM:

#915: The gravy of "biscuits and gravy" is made from the fat rendered from cooking sausages, flour and milk. Basically, the milk substitutes for the meat juices. That's why it's white. It's not a gravy in the classical sense.

As Xopher points out, the word "gravy" gets used for a lot of different things. People seem to use the word, generically, to indicate "tasty liquid that I use to cover up food."

With respect to the whole suffering writer thing, I remember a story I heard on NPR a few months ago. It was a story about Olympic level runners. This group of runners have fun runs every once in a while. (i.e., their pace is "only" a six minute mile.) They do this to remind themselves that running is fun, that running is something they enjoy. It's important not to forget that. They succeed as competitive runners because they don't forget that.

#933 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Most of the musicians I know are music teachers; they're all lumped together as Music People. I don't know if it's because I know mostly classical* so it's easier for them to major in their instruments in college (if a music major can ever be called 'easy') and settle or faux-settle on teaching or what. It works well for them, if their jobs are supported by the school administration. A different kind of pain from other teaching, summers usually off, though curtailed by early lessons, better kids most of the time, and did I mention summers off? It's also fun to see kids realize that one of their teachers not only goes to bars but plays in them.

*meaning they tend to play the instruments they learned in fifth grade. Most of them are in park band or quartets of various types; one is a fiddler in a fairly emo girl-with-acoustic-guitar band and steals the show every time.

#934 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Joann -- the Braided Mincemeat Bread recipe came from either Gourmet or Bon Apetit, lo these many years ago.

Let's see if I can do this from memory:

5 to 7 cups of King Arthur Flour

2 packages of yeast disolved in 1/4 Cup of Warm Water with a teaspoon of sugar

16 ounce jar of Cross and Blackwell's Mincemeat (the one with rum and brandy if you can find it)

a fourth of a cup of Amaretto di Saronno

1 stick of butter

2 eggs

Grated rind of one orange and one lemon

2/3 cup of slivered almonds

Have all of the ingredients at room temperature prior to mixing.

Put the flour in a bowl, add all the ingredients, and mix until it forms a sticky dough.

Move to floured bread board or pastry cloth and knead until bread is only slightly sticky and elastic. Put dough in oiled/buttered bowl, cover and allow to rise for an hour to an hour and a half.

Punch down, allow dough to rise for another hour.

Divide dough into six pieces -- three for each loaf of bread. Braid as you would a Challah, you may have to push the almonds back in as they like to escape.

Place finished loaves on cookie sheet, permit to rise for 45 minutes.

Oven should be preheated to 400 to 425 degrees.

Melt 2 teaspoons of butter, brush it on loaves, then sprinkle the loaves with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and loaves make a hollow sound when the bottom is tapped.

Note -- Yes this dough takes 3 risings, it is heavy and needs all the help it can get!

#935 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:05 PM:

I tend to say that software testing is my career, and bookbinding is my vocation.

I love my career. (I can't say if I love my job or not - I don't start it till Monday, and I'm pretty nervous at this juncture.) The things I do for pay are intellectually challenging, rewarding, and put me in the company of some delightful people.

But bookbinding is my craft, the thing that fills my idle thoughts, the angel I wrestle with of an evening. I don't expect to progress the way a full time binder would; I can see the work of the next decade lying open before me, and I know that the vista won't contract when I get there either. And that is a joy to me.

If I begin complaining about binding, or telling people who haven't spent the time I have at sewing frame and press that they aren't in my club, then I hope I will know that it's time to quit.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, yes, I am aware that I am incredibly, undeservedly, unfairly lucky to have both. Sorry.

#936 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:07 PM:

Re: Cookie Sheets -- these are large loaves each one will need its own cookie sheet.

You may want to put parchment paper on it to keep any sugar that falls off the loaves from caramelizing on the cookie sheet...

#937 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:08 PM:

Terry

I really liked that landscape you had on your apge a month or too back, the one looking across the hills, with the oaks. It's a 'stop and rest' sort of picture.

#938 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:22 PM:

I've been monkeying around with music since I was about 6, but I've only been paid for it once. Even so, most days I think I'm a musician. Similarly, most days I think I'm an ex-dancer--just because the instrument is old and out of shape. But if I were in one of Susan's classes (o please god someday!!) I bet I'd think of myself as a dancer again, albeit an old and out-of-shape one.

Then there's the heartbreaking moment in A Mighty Wind where Catherine O'Hara's character says, "I'm a musician again." Made me go "aw" and "ow" in equal measure.

#939 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Xopher @ 916: Lexica, they definitely mean that the amateur or unpopular musician is the true musician.

That's the interpretation I was leaning towards. And since several members of my family are professional musicians who support themselves through their music, I disagree with the sticker-maker's sentiment.

My mother, a theatre director, once mentioned to a colleague that as far as she could tell, she was the only person she knew in the biz who had never waited tables. "My dear," he said drily, "it is not necessary for your spiritual growth."

#940 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Xopher @ 916:
(many are offended by the term 'rule of thumb' because of its possibly-apochryphal origin; anyone know a better term?)

Rest easy. The origin story I think you're referring to -- that the term comes from some supposed law about the thickness of sticks a man could beat his wife with -- is apocryphal (or, more simply, it's false). The phrase has been around since at least the 1600s, and basically means "measuring" with thumbs.[*] The idea that it has anything to do with violence against women seems to have originated in some careless or misunderstood writing in the 1970s. See, e.g., here, or here.

[*] The Wikipedia article mentions equivalent French and Portuguese terms (French un pouce meaning both "a thumb" and "an inch" and Portuguese "polegada" = "inch", or literally "thumb's length")

#941 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 05:52 PM:

Peter@929: the repeated roundoff errors that you get with integer math can introduce unpleasant artifacts.

We usually add a few bits for intermediate results and then round at the last step.

We can't really do floating point, at least not yet, because adding a floating point unit to our processor and DSP's would probably increase the cost of our chip by 2x, which would put us out of business. Our chips sell for a few bucks so that people can buy a $50 inkjet printer in the store.

My first job was working with fly by wire software on the 777. It did all of its calculations using integer math. A lot of it was only 16 bit resolution. But the plane flies just fine. The satelite I worked on used a 16 bit processor.

gawds I feel old.

#942 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:09 PM:

abi 934: If you became fabulously wealthy, would you continue to test software? (I don't have to ask about bookbinding.)

And there's one word of this post that I think is flat-out wrong: 'undeservedly'.

Peter 939: Oh, good! Thank you! I no longer have to listen to people spouting this nonsense...just as I no longer listen to people who claim that the English word 'babble' comes from the Biblical 'Babel'.

#943 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Xopher @941:
If you became fabulously wealthy, would you continue to test software?

Not for pay, but the software I use, I test. It's not really possible for me to take any other approach in my relationship with computers.

You should have heard my last conversation with my washing machine repairman. I don't think he was expecting the degree of detail in my description of the ways the machine's control system seems to be malfunctioning. Got him to teach me how to parse the system return codes, though.

#944 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:21 PM:

If I became fabulously wealthy, I think I'd still work as a librarian; however, I would probably work fewer hours/part-time. Day job or career?

#945 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:21 PM:

P.J. That's probably this one.

abi: Yeah, I feel like that, photograhy is the angel I wrestle with.

I'm lucky, in that it's a sort of resident angel. I can use my "photographic eye" everywhere I go, and plan for some picture to come back later and catch.

I expect to drag the big tripod down the block, and probably a really lon lens, to catch a magnolia, just as the sun gets to the right angle, and color.

If I catch it wrong, I'll have another little bit of practice, and can look at it afresh when I'm developing it.

If it wasn't fun, rewarding, enjoyable... if making a picture was grinding me down, giving me the cold sweats when I thought of picking the camera up, if I was deathly afraid that my ability to find a good image might flee me... then it's not worth it.

jc: I used to run, I mean really run. To the point that I considered myself a runner. Did a race every month.

Trained four-five days a week.

And every couple of weeks we'd take it easy, do a group run. Something in the 7 minute cruising pace.

And the training was where the reward was. The races, they were hard. They were work. But to drift along the ridgelines, fly down the hillsides, and have a conversation with your running partner, those were fun times. They could have hard, even miserable moments (training in the winter rain wasn't ever a treat, grinding up to that ridgeline, where one felt as if one running along the top of the world wasn't easy), but to just relax into it, and find the balance point (beyond which collapse is inevitable, and below which nothing is being gained) that could be sublime.

#946 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:27 PM:

Mary Aileen: Avocation.

#947 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:32 PM:

#929,#940:This reminds me of when I learned Forth in the '80s. Implementations of Forth then didn't always support floating point. Starting Forth, IIRC, spent a chapter on fixed point and how it can be just as accurate or at least accurate enough. (Floating point has fixed point beat on dynamic range, of course. The examples used in that chapter conveniently didn't go there.)

As for using GPUs for scientific calculations, GPUs are definitely a large source of parallel floating point pipes. That's good since a lot of FP-intensive applications seem to be embarassingly parallelizable. However, I don't know that those pipes are IEEE-754 compliant. That's potentially not so good. OTOH, FPU in modern microprocessors these days have mode bits which reduce compliance to get more speed. So whether GPUs hew to the letter of the standard maybe isn't too relevant.

#948 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Fastest thread ever to 1000 comments? That's what you're likely to get when you start with a discussion of pronunciation and dialect (for all us wordies), then gravitate to subthreads including a discussion of cooking (for the foodies)! And now for my semi-random responses of the day:

TexAnne (#840): The full phrase is d'ici huit jours--"eight days from here." Made me think of the Beatles' "Eight Days a Week", though I'm sure the meaning is quite different.

On the various references to "cheeseburger soup" (alas, no responses to my husband's Maine food weirdnesses above): If you think *that*'s weird/disgusting, one of the world news programs on a major network mentioned some guy who accidentally invented what I think was "pizza beer" (beer with pizza makings in it), and another program mentioned beer popsicles. I think I'd rather be eating American biscuits (or challah).

Mary Aileen (#920): When I was in Jr. High or H.S., my friends and I would exclaim "Good gravy", followed by juvenile giggles.

#949 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:49 PM:

Lori #933:

Wow, thanks! My husband was jonesing for mincemeat pie last holidays; I'm lousy at crusts, and the markets weren't cooperating, so it didn't happen. I think this might be even better. Particularly since I like messing around with yeast.

#950 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:52 PM:

Faren #947:

We said "good gravy" too (in about fourth grade). Probably no giggles because I wasn't a giggler. I always figured it came from "good grief".

#951 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:54 PM:

All binary divisions are false; that said, there seem to be some people who want to do one thing and some people who want to do everything (or as a friend exasperatedly told me while reading my tarot, "Emily, you can't be a genius at everything!"). And I can't conceive of any day job that doesn't have some amount of toil by Xopher's definition because I can't conceive of happily doing anything for eight hours in a row.

If someone can think of a job other than "trust fund kid" where I can play the guitar some and read Japanese books some and ride my bike some and read English books some and do some academic theory and some fiction writing and some nonfiction writing and a few storytimes here and there, sign me up. Academia is closest, but the job market's dismal.

So I am eager at the end of the day to go home where I can do all those things -- and I would just as soon live frugally and retire young or work halftime, because there are so many Celtic languages to learn -- yet I don't really think of my day job as toil, except on the worst days.

#952 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:45 PM:

Faren:

I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune about pizza beer recently (it's here) My first thought was to wish it was nutritionally similar to the maple mead bug butter in A Civil Campaign. Even though the pizza beer won't be, I'm tempted to go to the restaurant that has it on tap.

#953 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Terry Karney @ 944

I like that photo. In my browser, the upper right corner is completely washed out to white. Is that the way it is in the original photo, or is there some detail there?

@ 928

I shoot RAW all the time these days, and only use JPEG to mail images to people, or to put them up on my website. I've always been a fan of long dynamic range films, and setting exposure to get detail in the shadows without overexposing the highlights, so I try to get the same out of the digital where I can.


abi,

I've been an amateur photographer since I was 15; started with an old Kodak 126 camera with a bellows focus. Great camera to learn on, because everything is controllable, but nothing is automatic. I thought about being a professional, because my aunt was a photojournalist and a life-long friend of Cartier-Bresson, and a great role model. But the couple of pro jobs I got were real monsters, way too much work for very little return at a time when I couldn't afford not to have a steady income. So I've just kept doing it as a hobby, and that's worked out fine.

Software (and hardware before it) has been my profession now for a long time, and it's been a career and at times a vocation. But I'm planning to retire within the next 2 or 3 years, and I don't think I want to work on software except for some personal tools that would be useful for other pursuits. So I'll be doing more photography and probably going back to some older hobbies like animation and 3D graphiics.

#954 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Xopher@930: My name parses the same way as our hosts' names. So "John" is fine.

Emily@950: Yes, I think just about any useful job, including those in academia (where I work), includes some share of drudgery, or at least work you'd rather not do at the moment but you know you've gotta. And it's not always directly related to what you most want to do, but the real world being the way it is, there are chores to do along with the fun stuff.

And even with the things you find the most worthwhile, there are some days when you're tired, or preocupied with something else, or just not feeling in the mood, and you wish you could do something else for a while. But you still work at it, because it's important. (Mind you, vacations are a lifesaver too-- we're about to go on one. But you don't always have that out.)

That's actually one of the things that impresses me most about a number of the musicians I know. They've gotten good enough at what they do that a lot of the time, with a small or undiscriminating audience, they could phone it in if they wanted to and most of the audience wouldn't know -- at least not consciously. But they don't; they keep working at it, bringing out the sound and effect to the best of their ability, because that's what the music deserves.

(Here I recall one show by the Oysterband when I lived in Pittsburgh. I think only 15 people showed-- they weren't all that well known in the US at the time, and I was disappointed in such a poor showing for such a good band. But they still went all out, and the audience that was there, both those of us who knew the band and those that had just dropped by, were enthralled. It was one of the most memorable shows I've been to.)

#955 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:27 PM:

Xopher, #919: Biscuits are good, if they're the light flaky kind and not the dry, cakey, hard lumps sometimes miscalled "dumplings". But even good biscuits can be ruined by putting that awful white glop on them.

I was delighted to discover, once, that a "Southern cooking" restaurant to which I had been dragged offered a "vegetarian" option on their biscuits, by which they meant "no white glop." What they thought of my ordering vegetarian biscuits with a steak, ghod only knows.

Oh, and back when I was programming, I used to call my job a "day job" even though (1) I was reasonably happy there and did take satisfaction in doing it well, and (2) I wasn't doing anything else that could have been considered an avocation. But my job was what funded my life, which was going to cons and SCA events and contradances. That made it a "day job" by a slightly elastic interpretation of your definition.

#956 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Bruce (STM):

The lower portion of the upper third washes out, just a bit. It's worse with the .jpg. My monitor holds detail in most of the clouds, but it was really broad in the range (probably running about 12-13 stops from top to bottom).

If it was a chrome, I'd mask it, and the clouds would hold detail.

You do know that, for digital overexposing is the way to go, when trying to keep detail, because the white have 1028 bits, and the blacks have 64? It's a lot easier to recover details in the higlights, than to find them in the shadows.

My prefered manipulation program, these days, is really good at that. It's all 16 bit spaces, and has recovered details out of .jpgs we pulled off the web to play with (I was helping to write the included, .pdf, manual for the release of version 2/3.

The program, if you care, is LightZone, by LightCraft. It's almost intuitive, at least Ver. 2.5.02 (beta) which is what I'm using now, is.

I do my printing from .tiff, and .jpg are for posting/e-mailing to people.

Glad you like it. I'm not all that happy with my landscapes, so they are what I've been working on/reading about/looking at of late.

#957 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:03 PM:

abi 942: As a person who did software QA for ten years, I know whereof you speak. Being a QA tester isn't work, or toil, or an avocation...it's a curse.

#958 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Terry Karney @944,

I love that Californian landscape.

Do you know the works of Eyvind Earle, the painter (and former Disney illustrator)? I was a small child when I first saw his landscapes, and I loved them instantly. The steep round green hills covered with oaks- lovely.

When I discovered they were real, that his paintings don't exaggerate... that's part of why I love California. The Bay Area has some of that, but the central hills- north of Santa Barbara, south of Monterey- shine, even on cloudy days. Places like the Trembler and Caliente Ranges that flank Carrizo Plain Nat'l Monument.

#959 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:36 PM:

pat, #844, here in Virginia, we like our biscuits with Virginia ham in them. I used to have a friend that would just slide a bit of poppyseed dressing on the inside of the biscuit before the ham and boy, that was great.

JESR, #922, I call myself a musician even though I can't sing or play anymore. I still know how music goes, how to arrange things, how to compose.

John, #953, so your last name is either Mark or Ockerbloom and you're married to someone whose last name is the other?

Xopher, #956, I loved to test software. I loved to break it.

#960 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:24 PM:

Xopher @ 901: I REALLY like that verse. I also notice that it is not nailed down.

Thanks. You're right, it's not nailed to anything (that's another verse about another god for another day). If you want it, feel free to use it.

#961 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:24 PM:

Marilee@958: Basically, yes. I'm married to Mary Mark Ockerbloom. Before we were married, I was simply John Ockerbloom and she was simply Mary Mark. (As we still call ourselves sometimes; neither of us changed our legal names.)

I realize it's a bit trickier to parse than PNH and TNH's, since "Mark" is a common first name as well as a family name. But we kind of like having two names to play with. (Though for our kids' birth certificates we bowed to practicality and fused the names together with a hyphen, which we don't usually use for ourselves. If they want to unweld them or otherwise try something different when they start their own families, that's fine with us.)

#962 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:41 PM:

I make my living as a software QA person.

I didn't intend to be; accepting a QA position seemed like a foot in the door to Silicon Valley riches and I went for it. I thought early on that I might move up to the development side of things, but the whole software biz seems so tedious to me now that I don't want to get deeper mired in it.

I no longer know what I really want to do. In the meantime . . . high pay for picking nits and trying to break things? With free donuts and bagels on Friday mornings? I can live with that.

* * *

I do write professionally, in the sense that people pay me for my writing. But I don't think of that as a job.

#963 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:59 PM:

Karen from Sunnyvale:

That's why Maia and I are going to move back to SLO/Morro Bay/Grover Beach (with a possible sojourn in Ireland) when she's done with school.

That's a part of the Coast which most people don't get to see. It's on Camp SLO, East of Hwy 1, facing WNW.

The Carrizo Plain is great. The last time we went, well we had problems (it ended up with two mule foals in the ER, and much worry, some panic and various amounts of just, and unjust, recriminations and self blame. No real harm, no real foul).

I am familiar with Eyvind's work. I don't own any, but I have a friend who does, and it's amazing. The hills do look like that.

#964 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Oh, now we come to my biggest dilemma. I don't have a career. I don't have an avocation. I have a day job, that is still entry level, 7 years after graduating from college. I don't even have a hobby that counts as fulfilling (as much fun as playing World of Warcraft is, it doesn't fill my soul with gladness). I have watched people around me follow their dreams and I am at a loss as to how to even find mine. I keep thinking there is something out there that will just stop me in my tracks when I discover it, but until then I dabble. I try different things, all the while thinking "is this it? How about this? Is this the thing that I'll be good at that will make me happy?"

How did y'all discover the things you LOVE to do?

#965 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:23 AM:

I no longer know what I really want to do.

Physical chemistry. But I don't know how to pay the mortgage and tuition while going to school.

#966 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:46 AM:

Serge #856: ...the Tooth Bomb seems a bit drastic.

What, is your purpose in life to give me nightmares?

Xopher #901: Oh...wow...that actually sounds pretty delicious. It's the nutmeg.

#967 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:47 AM:

Elizabeth - Cheesy as it is, I've always liked the phrase life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself for reminding me to do what you have been doing. Continue to dabble and try new things. If nothing else, determining what you don't want to do to can be incredibly useful. Be open to learning surprising things about what you do and don't like.

What commonalities can you find in the things you enjoy? What commonalities are in the things you can't stand doing? A significant part of my finding what I love is thinking about what brings me joy and satisfaction, and then experimenting to see if I can recreate that experience.

Someday you'll find something that is satisfying. Until then, and hopefully after, you'll be trying out all kinds of fun and varied things that will make you a more interesting person.

#968 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Elizabeth: I don't know what to tell you.

I (because of Cliff Burns) spent the past couple of days pondering it (to tie it in to part of this thread).

I wrote it up, and we'll see what answers we get.

Me, I got lucky. I fell into my work. I fell into my avocations. My beloved supports me, in that my "day job" is intermittent, and my loves are moreso.

I fill the gaps with other things.

John Hertz was once asked, "what do you do" as we drove to someplace. He answered it, and his interlocutor was, not quite, offended, because he hadn't answered with his job.

I am, a gardener, writer, photographer, cook, potter, fencer, knife sharpener, shooter, archer, soldier, interrogator, woodworker, actor, baker, and some other things which don't spring; immediately, to mind.

How you make one of the things you do, into something which fills a gap in your life, I can't tell you.

But I wish you well, and joy in the search.

#969 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:03 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 957

A similar moment hit me the first time I drove through the foothills of the Rockies approaching Denver, about 35 years ago. There are boulders all around there that have a strange appearance, almost as if they'd been inflated. It was familiar look, and it puzzled me until I realized I'd seen them before in the drawings of Vaughn Bode, a comic artist of the 60's and early 70's, especially in the landscapes of "Deadbone". It had never occurred to me that the landscapes of his rather surreal stories might themselves be real.

#970 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:41 AM:

Elizabeth

Sometimes what fills your life is the one thing you love to do, and sometimes it's all the things you do, love or not. I have a number of things I enjoy doing, I can't say that any one of them is the the one that fills my life. And I keep finding new ones; I hadn't written a poem in 40 years, and was never really into it when I did, and then abi dared me to write a particular sonnet. I took the dare and discovered I loved doing it. Does it fill my life? Well, it's one of the things that does.

Don't worry too much about "finding your bliss". Just do things you enjoy, and look for things that are like those things you might also enjoy. Maybe once in awhile try something totally different from everything else you've done, just for the change. You may find something so important to you that it fills your life. Or you may find that the search fills it up and finding just one thing isn't all that important to you.

#971 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:36 AM:

I guess I just feel pressured to find "the thing" because I was always really good at school, and told that I would amount to something, :), and I haven't yet. I feel like I'm slacking off. Especially hard because my husband has finished school to be a helicopter pilot, and while he doesn't love his current job, the work he's doing (the actual flying) is exactly what he's always wanted to do.
I guess I just needed reassurance that it's OK to do things purely for the enjoyment without wanting to make a career out of it. My dad asked me once, "Well, you like music, and you like psychology, so why not do musical therapy?" and I didn't have the heart to tell him that I liked Behaviorism and not Abnormal Psychology, and the thought of doing actual therapy on people scares me to death.
Things I enjoy: Feeling as though I have created something, making things better (run more smoothly, efficiently, etc.), following rules to one clear answer, reading, singing, TRAVEL!
Things I don't enjoy: Self motivation, dealing with people, feeling at the end of the day that I have accomplished nothing lasting.
Lurking on Making Light for 3 years now has opened my eyes to lots of possibilities. I took up sewing 6 months ago, and am considering getting a hamster.

#972 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:01 AM:

#860 ::: Velma @860. It's good to know some Americans know "fortnight." JC @ 835 - groan!

abi @ 766 "No one knows ...how the non-decimal currency worked." My parents do, as do most people over the age of about 45 (and probably some younger). I don't really remember it, alhough the conversion to decimal coinage happened in my lifetime. If I remember correctly, some of the old shillings remained as five pence pieces, two-shilling pieces as ten new pence and sixpences as 2.5 new pence. They dropped the use of the sexpences as currency some time back and the old shillings and two shillings disappeared when the new five and ten pence pieces became smaller.

Guineas are still used - but only for buying racehorses (well actually for bidding for them - I'm sure the money exchange takes place using modern currency).

I do remember that many of the maths books when I was in junior school (7-10 years old) still had sums in old currency (and other old weights and measures).

The EU recently decided that we (UK) could keep on displaying Imperial weights (and prices per pund) alongside metric weights and prices - there are still a lot of people for whom 1 lb means something and 1 kg does not. Basically anyone over about 50 is probably more comfortable with the Imperial measures, most people under 30 or 35 are probably comfortable with metric, and those in between, like me, probably use a mish-mash: I'll use yards and metres pretty much interchangeably, feet and inches, very small distances I describe in millimetres or centimetres, but I'll say half an inch rather than 12.5 mm.

Elizabeth. Keep enjoying life. Get a cat (or two - littermates are best, then they can entertain one another when you're not there to entertain them). Or a hamster if you prefer (give it a 40-80 cm deep digging area to really keep it happy - check Google Scholar for hamster and digging). Don't feel you have to turn the things you enjoy into a career - for many people it doesn't work that way and they end up hating it and effectively losing something they used to enjoy. I'm lucky; I have a career which I would continue with if I won millions on the lottery - I would just be able to fund it properly and concentrate on what I knew needed doing. But (as John said @ 593) there are still times when I get fed up with the actual daily work. I think there are very few people who never experience that.

#973 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:09 AM:

abi@766: Oddly enough, I first learned how old-style British currency worked from an episode of Doctor Who. (Not one from when that currency was still in use, either!)

Kathryn@773: After seeing one at Debbie Notkin's house, I had to get myself a Large Scale Crystal. I was trying to work out what scale reduction the crystal represents, and discovered that I could save several steps by typing into Google, "2.5 inches in megaparsecs". (If memory serves, it came out to about one septillionth scale.)

#974 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:47 AM:

I recently watched the end of Doctor Who season two, which takes place inside Torchwood. The very imperially-minded director ("There's no British Enpire!" "Not yet.") makes it clear that in Torchwood, they only use the old Imperial measures. Is there a noticeable connection between British nationalism and affection for the old system of measures?

Greg London @ #852: Greg, did you read my comment at 167 before posting this? Do you realize that this means that we agree that Burns' fundamental problem is that he doesn't actually enjoy reading or writing? Don't you know that the stability of the universe is founded on our inability to agree? DO YOU KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW? DO YOU? You've doomed us all, you daft fool!

*cowers under desk, whimpering*

#975 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:44 AM:

Heresiarch at #973: Yesnosorta. I don't think affection (in itself) for the old system is necessarily about nationalism; it can be nostalgia for a quirkier past. Having said that, there is a sort of person who fulminates at the introduction of nasty European measurements as a sign and symbol of loss of sovereignty- there was a lot of this when the legislation about selling foods in grammes came in, a few market traders got taken to court as "metric martyrs" for refusing to label with both systems.
Many people still use imperial measurements just because that's what they learnt at school and it makes intuitive sense to them, though. (I'm in the in-between age group who use feet and inches but mm for precision, stone and pounds but also kg and g, pints but also ml- I can't understand degrees F at all, though.)

joann at #948: Mincemeat bar cookies are very good, as well.

#976 ::: Valerie Emanuel ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:51 AM:

*Ahem* Picked this up from a blog and thought you folks might find it amusing--I'd give it the title, "Why I Don't Read 'Main-Stream' Fiction"

Dear Doubleday Publishing a Division of Random House Bored Anonymous Cubicle Monkey:

At the risk of possibly losing your dead end job reading and editing really crappy novels that are mostly the same story about a woman returning to her rural home from the big city to take care of her dying mother/father/sister/grandmother only to learn great truths about herself and ponder the choices she made like not marrying Dirk or Bo down at the Ace Hardware store...

#977 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:57 AM:

Elizabeth, I think one of the things that has made me anxious lately is the 'live up to your potential' thing we get in school. School's not life, though, and living up to your potential seems to mean 'find the hardest thing you can stand doing and Red Queen your way to an ulcer'. It doesn't matter that I test well or look crazily professional when I have to, except in times where testing and professionalism matter, so... interviews, and nothing else.
I'm in grad school now, and trying to convert my amateur enthusiasm for my work into professional discipline. Not working yet, but I have six more years to figure it out. And my work isn't what I am-- I like it, it feels right when I'm not a ball of nerves, but I also do about a dozen other things with equal enthusiasm, if less time. I like to dabble. Not everyone discovers or decides they want to be a large-animal vet, an airplane mechanic, a software tester, whatever else, when they're ten. It seems like most people stumble around and slowly settle into their lives. Life accretes around you no matter what.

The only metric bits I have trouble with now are big ones-- I can't tell what a kilogram looks like, or a liter-- or temperatures. I can do rough F-C conversions in my head, but I don't know what 20 C feels like yet. I can eyeball a microliter, ish, but liters in anything but a square box are tough.

#978 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:21 AM:

Thread convergence, unintentional variety. Greg @909 quotes Terry@899: that still doesn't tell me how that will arrange the scalar values of "gray" when the inks are added.

And Lee @ 915 : GRAVY IS NOT WHITE!!!!!

Skimming backwards up the comments, this combination caused me to read the quote as "scalar values of 'gravy'"

Scary.

#979 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:28 AM:

OtterB @977

Grevy?

#980 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Elizabeth, 970: I'm a textile freak, so of course I think everybody else should be too. But you like sewing, and making things, and following rules--it sounds to me like you'd be an excellent quilter. But if you end up not liking quilting, eh, who cares? Just try furniture-making or Asian cooking or...

#981 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:07 AM:

I listened to my wife and mother-in-law, both English, discussing gravy, just last week. Their primary point of agreement was that it had to be brown. But the good news is that apparently it really didn't have to be anything else, much.

And they say that the English can't cook!

#982 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:19 AM:

TexAnne - the shop where I learned to sew is mostly for quilters, and I went in wanting to learn to sew clothing. I may work my way up to quilting, but I'm working on straight seams first. The little teeny tiny seams scare me.

Diatryma - Yes! Interviews are easy! I know I'll ace the interview, unless I get the dreaded "you're too qualified for this job." Until they start hiring people to stay at home and read a lot, or travel around the world visiting castles though, I'll just have to stick with what I've been doing.

Thank you to everyone for the suggestions, too. It helps to know that I'm not the only one out there who is having trouble finding my niche.

#983 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:29 AM:

abi @979

Only if you follow the British convention

#984 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:48 AM:

I don't *want* a niche. I'd rather do everything, dabble a lot, and have multiple selves for multiple groups of people. If I devoted my entire being to anything, found my passion, whatever, I'd lose all the other facets of myself. I'm not going to give up writing for science, or vice versa; I'm not going to stop talking about books or attempting to write them. Most of the people I admire, here and elsewhere, are able to do everything with a signature style, so I'm finding the right state of mind to allow myself the world. I think it was Heinlein who said 'Specialization is for insects.' I may as well try everything.

#985 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:54 AM:

Belatedly - Tim @617: Give me that cold slime religion...

Snarf! I'm not going to remember the many verses that have been committed here, much though I have enjoyed them, but I will probably never hear the original song again without this line running through my head

#986 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:39 AM:

OtterB @983 & abi @

No, no, no!

"Grevy" is a zebra. Equus grevyi, four legs and a tail, black and white stripes. "Gravy" is liquid (usually, excepting school dinners) stuff people pour over meat. Please don't try to pour a zebra over your Sunday roast - it wouldn't like it.

#987 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:12 AM:

dcb -
Of course, blending the black and white of the zebra gives you gray, but it seems inhumane to blend the grevy for gravy.

#988 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:24 AM:

Elizabeth@964: I try different things, all the while thinking "is this it? How about this? Is this the thing that I'll be good at that will make me happy?"

Are you happy now and just looking for things that you can do that will keep you fulfilled?

Or are you unhappy and looking for something you can add to your life that will make you happy?

I tried the second approach for a long time before I figured out it wasn't working. I then started looking at why I wasn't happy, dealt with that, and then found there's really a huge list of things I can do that I find fulfilling.

How did y'all discover the things you LOVE to do?

Hm, I got into computers when I was 12 because I knew I didn't have much of a future in farming. I started playing guitar in college because one of my lab partners played. I sort of stumbled onto Aikido (not sure if that's a mixed metaphor or just a funny turn of phrase) in college because I saw a flyer for a class. I got certified as an EMT because my mom was (and still is) on the volunteer rescue squad in my home town. I started flying helicopters because it was a life long dream. Same with skydiving. I got into improv theater because, hm, I'm not sure how I stumbled into that. I think my wife went to see a live improv show and the person putting on the show also taught an improv class, but I'm not sure. I got into life coaching because I got some coaching that made a huge difference in my life and I wanted to give that to other people. I wrote a Perl programming book because it took me a stack of books to learn the language and I wanted to make it easier for others to learn the language.

It's sort of a mish-mash of a lot of things, but it seems to come down to just mucking around with different ideas, trying them, seeing if it's for you, and then running with it.

#989 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Terry@925:

I printed out #925 and showed it to one of my imaging expert friends. Here is his reply:

-----

In the printers that we write software for, color conversion can happen at least twice between the image on the PC and the printed page. The PC driver can do an RGB to RGB conversion. The printer does an RGB to CMYK conversion. The printer conversion uses one of several 3D color tables, depending on paper type (i.e. plain, coated and glossy) and print quality (i.e. draft, fast normal, normal, best, max dpi). Because of this you have to always use the same PC application and specify the same paper type and print quality to get consistent results.

When we work on calibrating color tables, we create test patterns of color and black patches. The first set of patches is 25 steps along the color or black axis. Then we do a 9X9X9 set of color combinations. We measure these with a robotic photospectrometer. We have software to generate or adjust a color table from these measurements.

I have used adjustments in Photoshop to change the CMY response curves. Other solutions would probably require lots more software and effort.

-----

He said if you're heavy into photography, that you probably have a manual version of their robotic photospectrometer, and you could print out a test page and do the measurements manually.

lemme know if this helped or completely missed the point.

#990 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Greg: Nope. That helped, inasmuch as being told I've been doing what I can do (which is shoot color tests, and then keep target samples).

I was just sort of hoping that the advances in computing could give me a way to not have to do the work myself, if I was going to just trust the machinery.

#991 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:10 PM:

John 961: Given that your first names are John and Mary, having an unusual last name seems like a good idea!

ethan 966: I assume you mean 902. I've actually tried the boiled-cream part. I sweetened it with Splenda rather than sugar, but I'd be surprised if sugar doesn't give you better thickening. I boiled it until it would get pretty solid, and poured it into molds. They will be the centers of chocolates next time I do this, since I've now figured out how to make sugar-free chocolate (I ate them as they were, and they were yummy). But I may make some sugar chocolates that way too.

#992 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:23 PM:

Elizabeth:
I have watched people around me follow their dreams and I am at a loss as to how to even find mine. I keep thinking there is something out there that will just stop me in my tracks when I discover it, but until then I dabble. I try different things, all the while thinking "is this it? How about this? Is this the thing that I'll be good at that will make me happy?"

How did y'all discover the things you LOVE to do?

For what it's worth, I've never asked if anything was the thing that would make me happy; I've asked "Do I enjoy doing it?" There are people for whom one specific thing fills and fulfills them, and there are people who are delighted by doing various things. I'm one of the latter, and lucky enough that some of the things I love to do are things that I have some facility for (or have had facility for; I'm no longer a dancer, but I was, and nothing can take that from me).

(Too many italics, but I'll let them stand for now.)

#993 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:36 PM:

Rats and dammit! Someone deleted a comment from here, ruining all the number references! And Susan's nice post 925 about working 9 2 5 is now 926 and like that.

Whine. Snivel.

#994 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:38 PM:

Wait. That's wrong. They must have inserted one, and that makes no sense.

I'm all confused now.

#995 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:52 PM:

To Xopher at 994:

Perhaps a comment that was in moderation?

If a comment is held, does it get put in where it was when it was written, or does it get put in at the end of the list at the time it is made public?

#996 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Yep, a comment was held and put in. It gets put in at the point it would have been, which mucks up all the numbers after it.

Drat. That's going to happen repeatedly. And I can't think of a good solution.

#997 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:02 PM:

You could refer to comments by approximate number, which may be more useful-- if the biscuit discussion is in the 700-720s, the context may help. It doesn't do much for specific replies, but I think we're a bright enough bunch to figure out which number you mean.
And sorry, I think that may have been my comment that bounced everything forward.

#998 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Perhaps put the comment in at the bottom of the list? It wouldn't mess up numbering, and it would be seen by people who go down to the number of the last post read in their last session and start reading from there.

If a post is held at #10, and put in when we're down to #50, no one will notice it back up at #10.

Or number it something like 10A, if that's possible.

Or have a placeholder go in at #10 until the post gets put in, so numbering continues properly.

The numbering posts is so nice, it seems a shame to have it messed up...

#999 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:14 PM:

On comment numberign and inserted posts:

I think most of us can figure out which comment is being referenced, although I wouldn't want to bet on figuring out which one got sprung from the filter and changed the numbers.

(This is really pretty common. It's more fun when there are also comments being deleted for one or another reason!)

#1000 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Elizabeth, would it help at all to know that my mother: worked briefly as a teacher after college; went to seminary planning to become a missionary; took time out to be a stay-at-home mom; volunteered as a music teacher, found she loved it, went back to school for a master's in music education; taught music for a while; got bored and gave it up to become a legal secretary; got her paralegal degree; retired and became a part-time choir director at her church?

You don't have to find just one thing.

Mom's now doubly retired, but she still has a few music students. Plus she does volunteer work, edits my father's manuscripts, sings in the choir, plays with a recorder group, reads both for a discussion group and her own pleasure, travels....

#1001 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Diatryma 997: I think it was Greg's, actually. It's discussed in the new OT. And my jokes on 420 and 925 don't work with "approximate" but that's just noogies, tough.

#1002 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:30 PM:

996-998: A SMOP would have Movable Type (or whatever) just omit the number referring to a comment that is deleted or not yet approved. There can be a placeholder if you want, but the lack of a placeholder would be just fine by me. Maybe group the placeholders: "[comments #910-#915 are intentionally missing]" or something. That way we would save space if a firehose spammer dropped 58 turds that got flushed immediately, but possibly one real comment got posted in the middle of the bunch.

The only downside I see is that someone who wants to shout "Fire" in comment 911 may find themselves being foolish in comment 916 because there were skipped numbers in between. But that could happen anyway if there were competition for 911, so tough. Maybe it's an upside if it keeps people from playing inane comment numerology.

Well, there's another downside, which is that the top number doesn't tell you how many comments there are. Maybe on the front page mention both how many comments, and the maximum comment number.

The comment labels (which are numbers, but could be otherwise encoded) are really, really useful for cross-referencing, so they shouldn't go changing based on approvals or deletions.

#1003 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Terry@990: I was just sort of hoping that the advances in computing could give me a way to not have to do the work myself, if I was going to just trust the machinery.

Hm, I wonder if you could do a test page, measure it manually with a photospectrometer, and then run it through a scanner. You could then get the alpha curve of the scanner, and then with a little bit of perl code, you could design a script that was built for your test page, print it to a new printer/paper/ink/qualty setting, scan it on the "known" scanner, have the script de-alpha the scan, and then the script could extract the color curve for you.

That would at least automate it a little bit.

#1004 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Since the thread's passed the kilo-comment mark, I hope this doesn't break it. On the topic of Sikhism (even though, as said, it only dates back to the 1500s):

With ten (plus one!) gurus
There's no shortage of the good news
That god dyes us all in his hues
And it's quite all right with me!

#1005 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:13 PM:

David Goldfarb @973

Great! I've never met anyone else who knows about Bathsheba's sculptures. I love them, and plan to buy one or two when I have some cash to spare.

Of course, what I really want is enough money to play around with a rapid prototyper like she uses for her metal sculpture. I'm not a real sculptor, but I like to make 3D shapes, and being able to make them of solid material instead of just painting bits on a computer display would be really neat.

#1006 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:22 PM:

1004 lexica:

I parsed that the first time as some kind of reference to the expert discussion of colors in printing and photography going on.

It's been an odd week here....

#1007 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Honestly, I don't mean to break the comments. And I'm perfectly happy to move over to the other open thread if that would be better. :)

Greg, I wouldn't say I'm happy and looking for something to keep me fulfilled. More, I have a sense of waiting. I'm waiting for life to start. (And I'm working on being more active in making things happen. Motivation is something I've had a problem with for a while)

I started college as an elementary ed major, then switched to psychology because I loved behaviorism, then got out of college and worked in retail management for 5 long and hideously unsatisfying years. Two years ago I got a job as a receptionist in a vet's office (Hi, Stefan!) which has been really fun, and pointed out to me a lot of things that I don't know as much about as I would like to. Now I'm debating between animal training, medieval history, finding a choir somewhere to join, interior design/architecture (I always loved playing with Lego's) and picking random courses out of the brochure for the continuing ed at Portland Community College. If I ever won the lottery, I suspect I would just go back to school and take a random assortment of classes. Well, after I got back from my round-the-world trip, anyway. Part of the problem of picking any one of those things to do is that it feels like it would be ruling out all the others, and I love the idea of the infinite possibilities.

Diatryma, I don't mean niche in a way that involves just doing one thing over and over forever. I suppose I mean it more in a sense of finding myself involved in the things I enjoy, knowing other people that enjoy the same things, and having a balance and the opportunity to do a little bit of all those things, without constantly worrying about how to pay for the fabric, the books, and the voice lessons. Which comes back to winning the lottery.

#1008 ::: Adrienne L. Travis ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Terry Karney @956,

IANAP, but i believe you're mistaken here. Per this guy, as well as Dan Margulis' book (Margulis being one of THE names in digital color correction), digital camera makers mostly err on the side of blowing the highlights out completely to preserve shadow detail.

#1009 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Greg London @ 988

I wrote a Perl programming book

Why how very interesting. I'm sorry, I hadn't realized that "Impatient Perl" was your book. What's amusing is that Randall Schwartz is a very old friend of mine; we worked together at Tektronix in the mid 1980's. I seem to be collecting acquaintances with Perl people, even though I almost never use the language.

#1010 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Elizabeth (#982): Until they start hiring people to stay at home and read a lot.... Actually, that's what *I* do as one of Locus mag's many reviewers (along with interview transcriptions). You can't live off those wages alone, but it's a lot of fun.

And I had no idea what I was going to do with myself, in the decade I spent at Cal Berkeley getting a Ph.D. in English, only to find no teaching jobs around. Stumbling all the way, I managed to put together what I regard as a good life ("good enough for me"!). So striving mightily for some goal needn't always be the best way to go.

PS: I too love Eyvind Earle's artwork, like various others upthread. And now I'd better go check out Open Thread 87.

#1011 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:03 PM:

Stumbling all the way, I managed to put together what I regard as a good life ("good enough for me"!). So striving mightily for some goal needn't always be the best way to go.

I haven't yet read Daniel Gilbert's book Stumbling on Happiness (there are 5 people ahead of me in the hold queue at the library), but in his TED talk and in a couple of other talks and interviews I've come across online, he says that we humans tend to overestimate the importance and the magnitude of the effect on our lives of events like gaining or losing a particular job, starting or ending a particular relationship, and so on. His message seems to be "it doesn't matter so much what you do as how you do it."

#1012 ::: kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:06 PM:

Elizabeth & Bruce,

I'm going to respond to your comments, but not this week and not this thread (Westercon awaits!).

Keep an eye out in open thread 105 or whatever it's going to be by next week.

We're reaching the Open Thread Singularity in August, at this rate.

#1013 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Fragano@757: is that a general transoceanic understanding? I learned from a children's book that "biennial" plants have a 2-year life-cycle; "twice a week" == "every half week" == "semiweekly" (if the adjectival form is really needed).

All: it's unclear whether furlongs/fortnight preceded or was derived from the furlong-elephant-fortnight system, which shows up in MITSFS minutes of ~35 years ago.

Dave@772: why? we can tell the artists what space they're getting -- and PECFASC (at least) works on a common system, so \we/ aren't confused.

Velma@861: our SS involved pie-sized starch, but it was made of biscuit dough; I was appalled when a transplant approved of HoJo's horrible spongecake substitute -- spongecake isn't \short/, dammit! (I \think/ this came from my mother's side (PA-"Dutch") rather than my father's (New England Anglo)

#1014 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:21 AM:

Bruce: No kidding? I've been on a private mailing list with Randall for some years now. I suppose I could be considered a bit of a Perl geek myself, given that I did a decent-sized spam filtering system in Perl. For an odder Perl and O'Reilly connection, I also performed Nat Torkington's marriage, some years back. Also, Tektronix, '80s, SF fan: did you know Keith Lofstrom?

Re: prototypers, a.k.a 3D printers. I don't think you need a lot of money these days to play with the tech. They're dropping in price fast, and there are places setting up in service bureau mode for people who need to use them, just as copy shops sprung up all over when copiers were huge expensive pieces of machinery; if we've got them in Honolulu, there's probably one where you are. Don't forget, you needn't do experimental pieces in metal. You can just as well do them in plastic or plaster, whatever their machines use, to work the bugs out of your design and only then do a piece in metal.

#1015 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 02:05 AM:

Bruce: re Prototypers. I saw a thing in (IIRC) Boing boing about an open source, make it yourself one, using sugar and a blow drier.

#1016 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 04:55 AM:

Mary Aileen @ #180

Sorry, I'm late to this party, but could you have picked it up from Piglet?

#1017 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:08 AM:

julia: That's certainly possible. I would have said I didn't get it ('oh, dear') from a single source, but I really have no idea.

#1018 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 02:06 AM:

Clifton,

Yes, I knew Keith a little. We corresponded about the Launch Loop once or twice, and I think we talked briefly at an L5 Society meeting at the Tek campus. Someone, I forget who, was demonstrating a high-temperature superconductor magnet and talking about mass drivers.

Terry,

I saw that too. There are a couple of other open source fab designs, including a project to make a really cheap one (around $400 parts cost). I'm keeping an eye on those.

#1019 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Elizabeth@107: I'm waiting for life to start.

I do seem to recall having a period from about 18 to 28 where just about every time I accomplished something, (graduated high school, college, job, moved to the big city, etc), that I had a sort of on going sensation of "That can't be all there is." This sensation was usually immediately followed by the thought of "OK, that wasn't it, but if I do this, then I'll know I've made it."

looking back, I can see that I was measuring myself by my idea of other people's expectations, rather than realizing that I get to spend my time on what is important to me, and I get to decide when I've "made it".

#1020 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 01:23 PM:

Terry Karney:

So, talked with my friend about using a scanner to automate the process. He said that scanners will have color conversions built into them too, just like printers. But that if you have a manual meter that's calibrated, you could measure a sample to get its true color value, then scan it to get the scanner's offset, then repeat for several colors/intensities to get the greyscale curve for the scanner.

Once you have that, any time you want to use new paper or a new printer, (or new printer settings), you could print out a test page, scan it, take a sample (he suggested taking the average of an 8x8 window to correct for scanner noise), correct for the scanner curve, and what's left is the curve from the printer, paper, ink combination.

I could probably write up some perl tools for you. You'd need a computer that runs perl (linux or a windows PC with ActiveState Perl, both of which are free downloads), a scanner, a printer, and one of those manual photo-measurement-thingies that you put over a test sample to get the intensity of the sample.

If you have all that, I could piece together some perl tools to automate the process a bit.

Lemme know. email me direct.


#1021 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 02:50 PM:

I'm currently "resting" (to use the theatrical parlance) between jobs. I work tech support, and I'm pretty good at it, but I've reached the point where I have to take a break in order to allow the milk of human kindness to stop curdling. So tech support for me is just a job. If I never had to do it again, I doubt I'd miss it. However, it's my preferred job. I've done office work, and it bores me rigid. I've done retail, which not only bores me rigid, but also hurts my feet. Tech support at least allows me to use my brain on a regular basis, talk to people, and help people, which are my major workday motivators.

My ideal job? I got asked that one at a job interview once, and I told the interviewer quite seriously "reviewing male strip shows for one million dollars a day". (Needless to say I didn't get the job). I have any number of hobbies, but none of them are sufficiently diverting that I'd be interested in turning any one of them into a career. Oddly enough, some of them are creative - writing, singing, crochet, gardening, cooking - while others (reading, playing computer games, watching science fiction DVDs) are less so. But all of them give me joy. I suppose I fall into the same basket as Emily H (#951) and Elizabeth (#964) - I'm not sure what I *do* want to do, but I have a very clear idea of what I *don't* want to do.

Ah well, I suppose I'll just drift around the house for a bit longer, and see whether I can get some more of the fanfic written, and some more of the rug I'm working on done, and a bit more of the backlog of housework completed. Who knows, maybe I'll get another character all the way to level 50 in my current MMORPG (Dark Age of Camelot, for those who are curious)? Life's an exploration, and it's fun to find out where it's all going.

#1022 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:58 PM:

@954: Apparently[1], one of the first concerts the Police played in the US drew six people, mostly local DJ's who'd been comped. They invited everyone down front, introduced themselves, and then played a blistering version of one of their at-that-time traditional sets, which was all of their songs. Twice. Very fast.

@1009: A surprising number of Perl programmers here. My Perl contributions are some core tests (there's that QA thing again), a bunch of CPAN modules, but the one I'm really proud of is around 2000 lines of internal documentation for the debugger. That was very much writing for pleasure.

[1] As documented in /Broken Music/, which is quite good.

#1023 ::: Xopher sees house-renovation spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 05:27 PM:

Whoo-hoo! I have the 1kth post! And it's a spam report!

#1024 ::: John Houghton spots SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Bad poetry, neither scans, rhymes, nor makes one think deep thoughts.

#1026 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 05:31 PM:

Serge and I both owe Xopher a beer.

Spam spotting as a drinking game.

#1027 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 05:31 PM:

Rats, it got deleted instead of left in place with the IP showing. So John H gets the 1kth post. Foiled again.

#1028 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 05:33 PM:

Serge and I both owe Xopher a beer.

Spam spotting as a drinking game.

#1029 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 05:37 PM:

And I owe a round for a double post, even though I reloaded preview to check.


Xopher: Neener, neener, neener.


Post 2K, if you're and oldtimer and think in octal...

#1030 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 05:39 PM:

Sheesh, guys, I spotted it and deleted it within a minute and I still get twenty kajillion reports! You're keen for a Friday night crowd.

(I sometimes just kill the spam if I catch it early and don't want to take the trouble to do it the more elaborate and number-preserving way.)

#1031 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 06:17 PM:

abi @ 1030... Keen we are. Mind you, it's not supper time yet here. As for you, when do you sleep?

#1032 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 07:12 PM:

Perhaps abi has learned the secret Skifanderian disciplines.

#1033 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 07:15 PM:

Actually, I was writing a parlor game, because the health care discussion is so bloody depressing.

Now I go to bed. I want to see lots of clever, funny entries when I get up tomorrow, you hear? (Fawning praise of my brilliance is also permitted.)

#1034 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2009, 11:48 PM:

Fawning praise? I can doe that!

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