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June 28, 2007

Open thread 87
Posted by Teresa at 05:52 PM *

Yes, things are afoot—
which accounts for my absence.
Avi? Patrick? Jim?

Comments on Open thread 87:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Am I actually sneaking in first?

And am I alone in thinking it interesting that Beth let herself be listed as Editor on Jay Lake's novel MAINSPRING?

#2 ::: Damien Neil ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Haiku of the day (not mine):

Hippopotamus.
Antihippopotamus.
Annihilation.

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 06:59 PM:

In the heart's absence
The rhythm fails, the blood stills.
Jim can give details.

#4 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:03 PM:

#1: Beth has been taking editorial credits for a while. You merely just now noticed.

#5 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:10 PM:

The game is indeed afoot - and apparently there were werewolves, both new and old.

#6 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:11 PM:

xeger @5:
Wouldn't that make it apaw?

#7 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Posting in ur thread,
Poet Cat is poetic;
Give Rhysling now plz?

#8 ::: jack ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:17 PM:

abi @6:
Only during the full moon.

#9 ::: Tesla ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:23 PM:

$87 billion is the shocking amount that Dubya requested from Congress in order to attack Iraq.

"If we spread...$87 billion over an American football field, we would not be able to see much of the game. The players would be buried in 55 feet of money."

More shocking is that we've spent three and a half times that much to date.

#10 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:31 PM:

#9 Tesla, ouch, just think of the papercuts. Good thing a lot went missing. I mean, think of how deep a pile those players would have to slog through with just the accounted for cash, if we added all those pallets of political contributions, I mean, walking around free spending, democracy building dollars, why, it'd be gianormous.

#11 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Closer to five times that much.

#12 ::: jmmcdermott ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:35 PM:

Does anybody know if Gene Wolf has lots of guns? He seems like the type to have lots of guns.

I have this fear that I'm going to be walking around one day, and then *BLAM!* Gene Wolf shoots me in the face out of nowhere.

Also, he's brilliant enough to befuddle the police officers and get away with it.

Could you imagine the police officers trying to interrogate Gene Wolf about shooting me? Poor cops would be better off just getting autographs and letting the guy go.

#13 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:35 PM:

Re: billions of dollars, I wonder if the square footage of Halliburton's HQ is available online; why bother with imaginary football field comparisons when the actual delivery site of said cash is known?

#14 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:39 PM:

You may now make Desert Fox jokes.

#15 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:49 PM:

I always thought of the word "game" in the phrase as referring to "contest" rather than "prey". But in the case of werewolves, I can see how the latter context might fit better.

And Abi is correct - now that the game is afoot, it can indeed become...apawling:

Were wary werewolf words wearing?

#16 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:53 PM:

we widdle werewolves won't waddle away.

Nope, not yet.

#17 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:55 PM:

#14 ::: Dave Bell announced:
You may now make Desert Fox jokes.

"Just peachy darhling"

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Dave Bell (14), is that anything like the 7th Armoured Brigade's Wüstenspringmaus?

Xeger (5), if you were there and didn't say hello, I'm going to be ticked.

#19 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:02 PM:

So a football field, 275' deep in money.

Can I just take the top layer?

#20 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:12 PM:

Linkmeister #13: Halliburton announced they were moving their HQ to Dubai earlier this year. My guess is it was easier to relocate over there than to move all that cash back here :)

#21 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:18 PM:

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden threatened:
Xeger (5), if you were there and didn't say hello, I'm going to be ticked.

I wasn't there - I was back on the east coast, melting :(

#22 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:28 PM:

Lance @ #20, right. Logistics uber alles. I shoulda known.

#23 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:36 PM:

The transitway to Hell, apparently, connects through Midway airport.

Have been trapped here for 5 hours. No end in sight.

I would say "send food", but they do have a pretty good sandwich place here, at least ...

Sigh.

#24 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:41 PM:

Xeger, #17: I'm sure you intended Desert Peach, but what came up on that link was Stinz.

#25 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:46 PM:

re: Sidelight WWBSD?

Did anyone else initially think:
"What would an Open Source software distribution do? No, that can't be it. Maybe I should go look."

Just wondering.

#26 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Tania @#26:

You're not the only one....

I would just wonder how long after we figure out WWBSD we'd have before Theo de Raadt points out what we're doing wrong.

#27 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:09 PM:

#24 ::: Lee noted:
Xeger, #17: I'm sure you intended Desert Peach, but what came up on that link was Stinz.

Gah! Can I blame it on wendacious wascally werewolves altering my link? :)

#28 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:15 PM:

#27, only if you're the ghost of Warren Zevon.

#29 ::: C.E. Petit ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:21 PM:

12 I can't see Gene Wolfe as a gun nut. I can definitely see him hiding an explosive device in a can of Pringles brand potato-chip-like snacks, though. Of course, it would be the kind of explosive device that makes a sad little popping noise while the real danger came from somewhere else entirely.

#30 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:50 PM:

jmmcdermott @#12:

Gene Wolfe, gun nut? Gosh, I can't imagine it. His picture is in the dictionary under "avuncular."

If he was going to randomly kill a fellow, I'm confident he'd do it in a way that was charming, lyrical, and irritatingly labyrinthine.

#31 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 09:52 PM:

meredith @#23: Hi from about 50 blocks south of there! Sorry you're stuck. Cinnabons are a good way to pass the time...

#32 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:26 PM:

I'm busily sysopping the new McClatchy comment threads (they've added comments to the news stories).

I'm still working on the Trauma and You post, which is on track to get away from me. Big subject. Don't really know how to approach it yet.

I've also been doing an awful lot of EMTing. Haven't been on a run since ... two this morning. But had a squad meeting and a mandatory training session since then.

Plus I'm trying to write a novel or four.

#33 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Haiku open threads?
this can only end in tears:
bad poets in snow

#34 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:31 PM:

I bet I know what Teresa's doing! At least, I hope I do.

#35 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:31 PM:

bad poets in snow
starring in an anime
turning japanese

#36 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:42 PM:

turning japanese
poems into a summer
game because we're bored

#37 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Eeee, sorry, guys--I didn't set up my last line very well at all! Try this instead:

turning japanese
poems into the summer's
games that we all play

#38 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:47 PM:

'game because we're bored'
might become a horrible
hunting/Scrabble pun.

#39 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:49 PM:

TexAnne, mine turned out even worse. Let's consider that one a doubly dead end.

#40 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:49 PM:

I have a shirt that says:

haiku are easy
but they don't always make sense
refrigerator

I like that shirt. I don't think I can really beat that one; it makes me smile every time I see it.

#41 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 10:56 PM:

Okay, okay, you win:

I bet that I know
What Teresa has afoot
At least, I think so

#42 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Tonight's dinner-table conversation topic (well, one of them) was: "Where are all the Latino SF authors and characters"?

Johnny Rico barely counts; as a young teenager reading Starship Troopers, even with his last name and the South American locations, he read entirely Anglo to me. (Possibly the fact that I was living in an area with almost no Latino population had something to do with it.)

There's Jorge Luis Borges, but I can't think of a single other notable Latino author, let alone one that would be as recognizable in the pop-culture world as Isaac Asimov or even Octavia Butler.

And I can't think of a single major SF show with a Latino major or recurring character.

Fandom reflects this; it's still a very whitebread community. More black people than there used to be -- but then, there are black SF characters on TV dating back to Lt. Uhura. Virtually no Latinos at all. Perhaps the experience of people in different parts of the country varies...?

#43 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Beth realized it was ineffective to be the only editor not permitting a credit in the books.

#44 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:18 PM:

hunting/Scrabble pun
"xenophobia" gets points
too bad not funny

#45 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:25 PM:

So, Beth, anytime we pick up a Tor book and there's no editor credited, we can assume thats your work?

#46 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:30 PM:

"And I can't think of a single major SF show with a Latino major or recurring character."

I saw a fair amount of press hailing Edward James Olmos as the first major Latino character on an SF show. (Admiral Adama, the new Battlestar Galactica.) I wouldn't have known, otherwise.

Also:

Haiku are simple:
You can always wrap up with
"Motherfucker".

#47 ::: CB ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:41 PM:

I'm skipping past most of the comments here, so forgive me, but I just have to say that the hippopotamus haiku is BRILLIANT.

#48 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:44 PM:

Lee @ #42:
What is your precise definition of "Latino"?

#49 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:49 PM:

#42: The only latino SF writer I know of is the deceptively named Ernest Hogan.

#50 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Latino Characters from SF TV/Movies:

  • Vasquez, Aliens

  • Jo Lupo, Eureka
  • Max (Jessica Alba), Dark Angel

P.S. I'm not dismissing the validity of the argument, just throwing some examples out there. Also interesting that they are all (relatively) attractive women.

#51 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2007, 11:59 PM:

Just to confuse things, Heinlein's character Johnny Rico is Filipino-American, and I don't think either Filipinos or Latinos identify Filipinos as being Latinos.

#52 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:05 AM:

P.P.S. I was _this_ close to working in a Hugo Chavez as SF character/writer joke, but fatigue has overwhelmed my "Is this really funny or are you just being an @sshole again?" filter which means I can't post it.

No, seriously, I'm not allowed to post it. For some reason, the filter was a pre-nuptial requirement by my wife and she can telepathically sense when I try to bypass it...

#53 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:29 AM:

in thread 86
comment held for approval
w t f is that?

#54 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Andrew, #46: Olmos certainly qualifies as an actor, but his character is not Latino. I don't know whether that counts or not. (We don't have cable, so I haven't seen much of BSG.)

Susan, #48: I don't have a strong definition -- "any writer or actor who self-identifies as one" would do.

Lance, #50: Counter-examples are one of the things I was looking for, so thank you. And yes, it is notable that "female exotic" is one of the few widely-available role types for them, not just in SF.

#55 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Greg @53, PNH @ future.

Complex URL,
or too many links, or both.
That's whats held my posts.

I had a comment held even though it had less links than other comments that went right through. The culprit- I guessed- was a very long and nested link.

PNH- I see a repeat of my bug report from OT85. However, Greg's comment doesn't seem to have an URL. Sinks that hypothesis.

Greg's comment is being held.
* It isn't visible in the thread.
* It also isn't visible on "Recent Comments" on the front page.
* It IS visible in the "View All By"

(Also, the 3 spam are still up at the end of the Fanfic force thread.)

#56 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:04 AM:

Cherry blossoms fall
All haiku must start like this
And finish with blood

#57 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:18 AM:

Kathryn from the west
gives diagnostics data
to overworked hosts

#58 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:20 AM:

arrgh.

should be diagnostic, not diagnostics.

#59 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:36 AM:

There's Hugo Reyes on Lost.

#60 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:46 AM:

@57

One misspelled word falls,
on the crystallized poems
The avalanche starts
------

Line one is concrete,
then comes abstract references
to beauty, or time.
------

That named in line one
is life, which dies by line four,
So in three eat plums

#61 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:52 AM:

Lee @ 42: For authors--if you count Borges--how about the Latin American magical realists in general? Garcia Marquez, at least, I think, and I suspect I could make a case for several less well-known-in-this-country authors, too.

Maybe we need to add to the discussion the possibility that many Latino SF/Fantasy authors aren't writing in English?

#62 ::: anaea ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:08 AM:

Lee @42, & following conversation:

I actually think that Edward James Olmos as Adama on BSG is an excellent thing. There's no reason, in the BSG world, for the ethnicity of the actor to have anything to do with the characters since there is no Latin America in the twelve colonies. Choosing to cast somebody other than the default white guy or the token "We're going to be progressive see, see!" black guy makes it look like they're accepting that race as we think of it has nothing to do with the world they're portraying and so it needn't be an issue in casting.

I think part of the larger issue, at least as it pertains to dead-tree forms of scifi (and the need to limit it to those aspects probably indicates a serious flaw in this idea) is that authors are taking advantage of it being the future meaning that race isn't an issue anymore, and so can be ignored. Still, it's often there to be found if you look; just taking Heinlein as a point of reference we have Mannie's line from TMIAHM about Wyoh sticking out on Luna because she's white and blond and the native population is generally fairly brown, and he's got a short story - the name's slipping me and my library's a time zone away but I think it was collected in Expanded Universe - where the punchline is that the token black female vice president candidate is going to take office and won't step down even though others are trying to pressure her into it because she was chosen as a token figure. Also, there's a quick line in I will Fear No Evil about how unsavory it is to interact with people who spend their time complaining about minorities getting preferential treatment.

I suspect part of the problem could be that the Latinos are writing in Spanish and it isn't getting translated. I can list a few more Latino writers than have been listed already, but only because I've for untranslated stuff more accessible to a gringa than Borges. I haven't poked for Spanish language scifi since my vocabulary shortage would make me cry, but a quick google lead me to a few useful sites. There's probably tons more, but I'm stealing wireless.

#63 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:11 AM:

haiku go meta
seventeen syllables here
what more could you want?

#64 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:01 AM:

Bruce: puns and kennings
knitting zombie lolcats and
Jim's 'How Not To Die.'
----

Accommodate weird
minuscule embarrassment:
Gandhi etiquette.

----
This is just to say
Twenty pastiches total
only eight to go.

#65 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:19 AM:

Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens are
My favorite things.

#66 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:27 AM:

I just watched an odd film called "Shadowboxer" with Cuba Gooding and Helen Mirren. We recorded it off the dish because of the cast; they didn't disappoint at all, but I'm somewhat undecided about the movie itself. Has anyone else seen it, and what was your reaction?

#67 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:53 AM:

wet flowers, Dave Bell?
hairy nosed baby felines -
your favoured things?

-----

!
?;
&:

:)
exclamation point
question mark semicolon
ampersand colon

#68 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:04 AM:

arggg... 'favourite' not favoured...

wait.. 'fav-our-ed'... err yeah.. pronounce that with three syllables.. that'll do it.

#69 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:55 AM:

Hmm.... Latino actors/characters in (media) SF:

B'Elanna Torres in ST: Voyager
Gaff (Edward James Olmos) in Blade Runner[*]
Just about all the cast of the Spy Kids movies (if you want to consider those as SF)

(I assume we're interested in English-language writing or media, otherwise it would be relatively easy to add, say, Mexican or Spanish movies.)


[*] Not clear if Gaff is, precisely, Latino

A review of an anthology of Spanish- and Portuguese-language SF.

#70 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:40 AM:

For the admins:

I'm not sure what anti-spam measures you're using, but in light of the recent meltdown of the Whatever (probably) because of a huge influx of spam, can I recommend a very easy plugin called SpamFirewall? It blocks the most common forms of spam before MT even knows their existence, so it reduces server load and the amount of comments that end up in MT's junk file. I use it myself and it works great.

(Also, Comment E-Mail Filter would let frequent commenters get through the spam filter even if they post unusual links, which might be helpful. I also use this one and like it.)

#71 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:42 AM:

I haven't written a haiku since 1985 (it was about a squirrel) and I've just sat here for fifteen minutes trying to squeeze my sentiment (and that's a collection of words that didn't sound so horrible in my head) into 17 elegant syllables. Can't be done.

So, in prose, thank you very much to ethan for mentioning Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. I've had a lovely time the last few weeks, hanging out with the First Hundred.

#72 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:03 AM:

I had a comment pulled for approval in the last open thread; I figured I had been posting too much and took it as a sign from the fluorosphere to stop writing song verses.

#73 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:05 AM:

Madeline's squirrel
Stole her future haiku and
Hid them with its nuts.

The stash, forgotten,
Sprouted in springtime, with mixed
Oak and poe-trees.

A carpenter came
Seeking free materials
And cut down the trees.

He carved a small box
(Not a wardrobe - that is
Another story.)

I keep my hair sticks
Inside it. Inspiration
Leaks into my brain.

Sorry, Madeline.
Im writin al ur poemz.
I blame the squirrel.

#74 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:05 AM:

Lee @#42: Not that it indicates a trend or anything, but wasn't the main gal in Greg Bear's Eon Latina? I read it a while back but I seem to remember that.

Clifton Royston @#51: yep, all the Filipino folk I know are asian, but many of them have ostentatiously latinate names (Virgilio, for example). Kind of a cool thing, except for being the product of brutal colonization and whatnot.

#75 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Lee @42 Well, there's Lord John Quetzal (son of the Duke of Mechicoe, I believe) in the Lord Darcy books, but I suppose that's a stretch.

There's Kit Rodriguez in Diane Duane's Wizards series

#76 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:41 AM:

And Isabel Allende's City of the Beasts and sequels

#77 ::: Tucker ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:46 AM:

For Latino SF writers there's the aforementioned Borges and Garcia Marquez. Apart from them, a few years ago Ursula Le Guin put out a rather nice translation of Angélica Gorodischer's _Kalpa Imperial_. (Gorodischer being Argentine, like Borges, and _Kalpa_ being subtitled "The greatest empire that never was.")

#78 ::: Alex R ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:52 AM:

science fiction with
latinos sells better as
"magic realism"

But seriously, for another example: I haven't read it for a long time, but didn't Lucius Shepard's Life During Wartime feature significant "local" characters in its Central American milieu?

#79 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:56 AM:

What about Willi Wachendon in Vinge's The Peace War?

#80 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:03 AM:

Bad wiki query
reveals spanish cycle team.
Kaiku rock! Sorry.

#81 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:09 AM:

Greg and others: The word "mortgage", all by itself, somehow got into the list of strings that land a comment in the moderation queue. Sorry about that. Fixed now.

#82 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Whiskers on roses
and raindrops on kittens are
also nice to have.

#83 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:17 AM:

Alex R, yes indeed, Life During Wartime had many, many significant local characters.

Gosh, that was a great book! I really thought he'd get significant mainstream crossover action on it, between the subject matter, the timing, and the marketing. Has he written anything else that good?

#84 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:20 AM:

R(odrigo) Garcia y Robertson sounds more than somewhat Latino to me, but I have no idea.

I generally dislike totting up lists like this; who knows what the person involved feels like?

As for Latino characters in SF, there was a series of shorts fairly recently set in a near-future maquiladora. I believe they were in Asimov's. The ambiance was Blade Runner crossed with magic realism, and almost all the characters were Mexican.

#85 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:21 AM:

I have a small dilemma (about 10 pounds) that I'd appreciate some help resolving. It's a side of Alaskan salmon, currently sitting in the freezer, after having been picked up for me by a friend who was in Anchorage recently.
It's possible that the housemate, the dog, the cats, and I can simply eat all of it in one sitting, after grilling it, but that seems unwise, although Death By Gorging on Salmon may not be the worst way to go.
Does anyone have a favorite salmon recipe they'd care to share? We're already browsing online recipe resources, but since there are so many devout foodies here, I thought I'd see what the Fluourosphere might have to share.

#86 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:30 AM:

I've eaten the plums
in the icebox. So sorry!
So sweet, and so cold.

#87 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:39 AM:

So here I am, settling in on my morning bus ride to work. I pull out my recent library acquisition (my only time to read recreationally), Freedom and Necessity. I read the dedication page and burst out laughing, startling all the reserved Seattlites in the seats around me. After months of reading Making Light, it's like I know these people! What fun. Y'all made my day.

#88 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:50 AM:

jmmcdermott @ 12: "Could you imagine the police officers trying to interrogate Gene Wolf about shooting me? Poor cops would be better off just getting autographs and letting the guy go."

If Gene Wolfe wanted to kill you, you can be sure that he'd be the last person on the planet to be interrogated about it--they'd probably end up arresting Randy Newman.

#89 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Bruce @ 82: Though I imagine the kitten disagrees.

Raindropped kitteh sez
DO NOT WANT

#90 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:20 AM:

marty @67,

The punctuation haiku is brilliant. I am slightly biased because it contains my favorite punctuation mark ever.

#91 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:28 AM:

you all are evil
silly song stuck in my head
must not sing at work!

---

Hail the iPod filk!
For I must focus on screen
end of fiscal year

#92 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Counting syllables
Is not how you write haiku.
The subject matters.

#93 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:34 AM:

meredith #23: You have my sympathy. In January we were stranded for hours at Louis Armstrong Airport.

#94 ::: mimi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:36 AM:

I know the author is Irish, but wouldn't MacDonald's Brasyl count as Latino sci-fi? Or is "Latino" reserved for descendants of Spanish colonies only?

#95 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:40 AM:

There's Angélica Gorodischer, also Argentinian; Ursula Le Guin translated her novel Kalpa Imperial, and part of it appeared in one of the Star Light anthologies edited by our Patrick. The Sferoj 4 anthology (the only one of that series I own, but there were ten or eleven volumes) has sf short stories from authors in a number of countries including Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, and Cuba translated into Esperanto; and I'm fairly sure one of Hartwell & Cramer's recent Year's Best SF anthologies had a story translated from Spanish, by two authors from Spain -- can't recall the title or many but it was a time travel story involving an incident in Spain's recent history.

As for American Latino or Hispanic authors, R. Garcia y Robertson is the only one who comes to mind.

#96 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Heresiarch @ 89

Hermes Dances-with-raindrops would disagree.
Jewel, on the other hand, once was found with hind feet six inches up a screen door, climbing it to avoid water on the patio, four inches below the screen door. Getting the screen door open to let her in was ... interesting.

#97 ::: Becky ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:45 AM:

Fade @ 40:

Today I wear that
shirt, and today Making Light
is making me smile.

Coincidence? Or
do the summer storms also
bring haiku showers?

#98 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:45 AM:

fidelio @85: James Beard has a wonderful poached salmon recipe in one of his books. I'm not at home to check which one it is right now, but Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" turned up what looks like a very similar recipe on pages 135 and 136 of "James Beard's American Cookery". See the recipes "A Simple Court Bouillon" and "Cold Poached Salmon Steaks". You can do a whole side of salmon instead of the steaks, see the information earlier in the book for adjusting the cooking time.

The good thing about this recipe is that is just as good cold, so you don't have to eat it in one sitting.

#99 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:45 AM:

Sorry, should be:

"...can't recall the title or many details but..."

#100 ::: L.N. Hammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:48 AM:

I'm silent because I've been gone. (Honest, I'm only linking to it because the form's appropriate.)

---L.

#101 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:50 AM:

I am still waiting
The potted plums on my porch
Are almost ripe now

I hate trying to write the 5/7/5 pattern

I rewrote this one twice, trying to avoid the ham handed first draft (where I flat out said Summer). On the other hand, plums aren't an early summer fruit in Japan, so the seasonality is localised.

Then again, perhaps I'm being to slavish to form.

I learned haiku by reading lots of translations, and gained a "feel" for them. Many (most) of them weren't forced into the pattern (the worst was a collection which not only did that, but made the first and last lines rhyme).

One of my favorites:

To leave it is a pity
To pluck it is a pity,
Ah! this violet.

Issa (1763-1828)

#102 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:51 AM:

abi @ 79

I thought Willi Wachendon was black. Isn't his name a dialect form of "Washington"?

#103 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Blasts from the past:

One, two, three, four, five
Six, seven, eight... how many?
Seventeen? Haiku!

It seems rude to put a picture right here in the comments, so I'll just post the link here. This seems vaguely related to Dave Bell's comment at #14. This picture was referred to as "Die gute Kamareden" at the LiveJournal (in Russian) of "onkel_hans." You folks who read Russian might be profusely thanked for going over there and telling me if the comments give a clue as to what is going on. Camouflaged spy?

#104 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:11 AM:

fidelio -- you could cook all the salmon then use the leftovers in pasta salad, omelets, etc. Or make Smoky Salmon Spread, one of the first things I learned to cook after I got married. I usually make it with canned salmon, but the equivalent amount of fresh cooked should be yummy.

1 14 oz can salmon, drained, bones removed
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp dill weed
2 tsp Liquid Smoke flavoring
4 tsp lemon juice
1-4 drops Tabasco sauce

Process the cream cheese till smooth in a food processor, then add the other ingredients and process till it's as smooth as you want it. Nice with a sprinkle of parsley on top. Keeps maybe a week in the fridge; doesn't really freeze too nicely. Serve on crackers or bagels. Cats love it, too!

#105 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Fidelio:

Is is really good? Would you trust it as sashimi? (I think I've said it before, cooking salmon pretty much ruins it for me).

Chop some into bite sized pieces. Toss it with diced scallions, a little wasabized mayo (with, perhaps, a dash of garlic), some soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Dress with a mix of plain, and toasted, sesame seeds.

Adapted from a dish I got at Mashiko, in W. Seattle (I told the cook I wanted a salmon salad).

For grilling:

Take the fish, marainate it in a mix of soy and teriyaki (to taste, though we use about 1:1.5), some rice wine vinegar, some crushed garlic, and a couple of sprigs of rosemary. We put it into a vacuum bag (food evacuator). That allows for marination with a lot less liquid.

You could add some sake to it, if you wanted.

After it's been in the fridge for 5-24 hours, remove it from the marinade, pat it dry and grill, aiming for an internal temp of 155-165 (pull it from the fire about five degrees before it's done, and let it rest).

Figure ten minutes per inch (though this is variable, depending on the heat of the fire), and flip the fish after about 6-7 minutes. I tend to cook the meat side first.

Maia's mother and I worked this one out, and it's one of the few ways of cooking salmon I don't mind. We've done it at the house; on the gas grill, and over an open fire in Joshua Tree (battery powered probe thermometers are a godsend when cooking somthing like this in the dark of a January night). It's almost foolproof.

You can, should you like, toss some rosemary (not from the marinade) onto the fire after you turn it. This is a lot easier here, where it's a weed, and I can collect it by the pound outside the supermarket.

You could also slice some thin, and make gravlax out of it.

#106 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:19 AM:

My favorite "super-simple-give-to-friends" salmon marinade:

Reduce 1C Soy Sauce and 1/2C Balsamic Vinegar by half in a saucepan (or further if desired).

Brush reduction on salmon steaks prior to and during grilling.

Dress steaks with cippolini's and serve.

This also works fantabulously with grilled sirloin cubes and cippolini's for summer party appetizers.

#107 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:26 AM:

Kip: They don't really talk about the bear (though it's not brown, but "field gray". It's a photo in which Onkel Hans' grandfather is seen (to the right of "Private first class 'Bear'".

But why/if someone was in a silly suit, isn't being talked about; though a strong comment that it was just soldiering, not being a nazi party member was made.

If I'm inerpreting the mix of the russian and the german (which I don't really speak) properly, his grandfather is the Senior Sergeant on the far right.

#108 ::: Alex R ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:29 AM:

fidelio @ 85: I don't have a recipe for you, but your request brings back a memory that I can't resist sharing.

Back in the late 1980's, I was listening to a Bay Area radio food show (probably this one or a predecessor also hosted by Narsai David), with guest Alice Waters, the chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Alice Waters is known for her emphasis on local, fresh cooking. Anyway, this show had a call-in segment, and one of the callers called in with your question: she had a large salmon in the freezer and wanted some recipe suggestions.

Well, Alice Waters was so flabbergasted by the thought of actually *freezing* a perfectly good salmon that she was unable to come up with a response. All she could do was ask why the caller had done such a thing -- she said, iirc, that she should have taken the fish to her local smokehouse (!) or something if she couldn't eat it all while it was fresh. The host, Narsai, finally bailed her out before the caller was completely humiliated by suggesting that she consider making gravlax or something similar.

I've always remembered this whenever I hear about chefs with fanatical devotion to certain ideas about food.

BTW, good luck with the fish -- I wish I had your problem...

#109 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Stefan, #49: Having now taken a look at your link, I think I'm going to have to get some of this guy's books. And if I like them, I'll be pushing for him as a guest at ApolloCon. Thanks!

anaea, #62: Excellent point re casting of Olmos.

Peter, #69: Spy Kids, yes! I remember seeing one of those on eternal-loop at CostCo and thinking how cool it was to have (what looked like) a mainstream kids' movie with Latino main characters.

Otterb, #75: Kit definitely counts; Lord John doesn't, I think, being a full-blooded Aztec. (I have a huge literary crush on Lord John.)


#110 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:32 AM:

Patrick@81: Greg and others: The word "mortgage", all by itself, somehow ...

na NAAH nah na-na-na, mortgage
na nah NAH na, mortgage.

Not only has this earworm been bothering me simply by repeating itself in my head all morning, it's been bothering me that it keeps playing despite my protests that it's one syllable too short.

(sigh)

#111 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Bruce 102:

Wili is a black kid who speaks Spanish, but that's not exactly a distinguisher for being hispanic! Ever meet anyone from Cuba or the Dominican Republic? (His last name is clearly from his adopted father/math teacher, Sylvester Washington.)

#112 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Scrabble/hunting pun:
if you use blanks
you don't score

#113 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:48 AM:

cardboard tube weapon
is deadlier than it looks
at Penny Arcade.

(Sorry! It got into my head! I blame the Samurai!)


First thing I did upon opening this thread was read the brilliant Hippopotamus haiku to the rest of the room. The first thing the rest of the room did (after laughing) was recite the "refrigerator" haiku at me and say that an absent acquaintance has that T-shirt. Then what do I see not 40 posts later? Everything returns to Making Light. It's spooky.

#114 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Peter Erwin #69: I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Robert Beltrán (Chakotay).

Latino actors
making their way through deep space
rarely get credit.


#115 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:54 AM:

abi @ 85 - I do have a favorite salmon recipe, but I don't know whether or not it will be any use to you; I'm normally cooking for one. It uses leftover wasabi paste from takeout sushi, which I freeze to keep till needed; it seems to stay pungent for at least several weeks frozen. It also uses West Virginia Zest Sauce, which is a vinegar and spice concoction from Appalachian Mountain Specialty Foods. It's available on the internet, and I use it a lot (good start for a meat marinade, perks up soups etc.) but a slosh of cider vinegar or wine vinegar and a sprinkle of herb blend would be a reasonable substitute.

Wasabi salmon and spinach
Salmon filet, 1/4-1/2 lb
wasabi
brown sugar
soy sauce
butter
olive oil
fresh spinach
West Virginia Zest Sauce

Around 2 hours before cooking, take a small lump of wasabi (I use about 1/2 the size of the last joint of my little finger. Your fingers may vary) and about 1 tsp brown sugar. Add enough soy sauce to make a thick syrup of the sugar and wasabi. Smear this all over the flesh side of your salmon filet, refrigerate till time to cook. In a large nonstick frying pan, melt about a tsp butter and add a small slosh olive oil; you want enough fat to brown the skin side of the salmon and contribute to the sauce, but It doesn't have to be a lot. Put the salmon in the pan skin side down and cook over medium heat while tearing up spinach. Tear up about as much spinach as you think can fit in the pan; it shrinks a lot. When the salmon looks cooked about halfway through, flip it over and put the spinach in with it. Stir spinach a bit, slosh a bit of zest sauce on, turn the heat to low, and cover the pan. While the salmon and spinach finish cooking (doesn't take long) mix up a bit more wasabi and soy sauce. Open up the pan in a couple of minutes and see if the salmon is done. If it isn't, cover the pan and wait a bit. If it is, plate it and pour the wasabi and soy sauce on it. Turn the heat off and stir the spinach and pan juices. Put the spinach on the plate with the salmon. If the pan juices seem thin and watery (the spinach loses a lot as it shrinks), turn the heat back on and reduce the juice. When it's a nice sauce consistency and quantity, pour it on the spinach and fish.

This makes a quick and tasty meal for one. I've expanded it for two (had to cook much of the spinach after removing the salmon, but it takes very little time) but haven't tried to make a larger quantity.

#116 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:56 AM:

Mary Dell #74: I feel obliged to point out that one of the brutal Spanish colonisers of the Philippines was my great-grandfather. Since he had a reputation for being 'muy mujeriego', I've a feeling that I have unknown relatives in or around Zamboanga.

#117 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Kip, I don't get anywhere with the Russian comments, but the German comments are about the critter not being a brown bear, but a feldgrau bear, because brown was the Nazi uniform colour.

From the uniforms, it's plainly not late in the war. By 1944, there would be variations in the tunics, and different types of boot. Unless these soldiers were a selected parade detachment, which is very likely.

But the helmet decals and the shine of the buttons also bias me to an early or pre-war timing.

Incidentally, they are Heer (Army).

So what we likely have is a regimental mascot. The soldier on the right of the picture is an NCO. The soldier on the left, wearing the greatcoat, seems to be an officer, but it's hard to make out the rank insignia.

I reckon the unit could be identifiable--what German Army units, probably infantry, had a bear as a mascot? I'm not sure that it would be info you'd find on the web--it's the sort of thing that would be buried in a unit history.

#118 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Greg at 110, I am getting unjustly earwormed. I don't know what song you're naaing, but my brain has managed to misread it as Batman, Manamana and the Doot-Doots, and a very brief Vindaloo. Please tell me what should be torturing my poor brain.

#119 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:12 PM:

On another note, which properly belongs in Open Thread 86, but I hear things go pear-shaped as we near the kilocomment, so.

Biscuits.

Damn you all.

I made biscuits this morning. It took a supreme act of will not to make them last night after reading Open Thread 86. But I pulled up the Alton Brown recipe and made them this morning. They were very easy and fun to make, and delicious with butter and blackberry jam. And fried eggs. My husband also gives them a thumbs-up. He doesn't usually get breakfast cooked for him on Fridays because I have to be elsewhere at 7:45. But we both happily woke up for these.

I have a question, though, about buttermilk and buttermilk substitutes.

See, I don't buy buttermilk. Store-bought buttermilk tends to be that cultured stuff, not the butter-making by-product that originally got the name. Instead, I buy heavy cream. When a recipe calls for buttermilk, I measure twice as much cream into a screw top jar and shake it a lot. Usually the resulting butter goes into the same recipe as the buttermilk, which makes me wonder why the recipe didn't just call for heavy cream instead. I tend to do stuff like substitute 4 tbl heavy cream for the 2 tbl butter and 2 tbl milk in mac-n-cheese; this is why heavy cream doesn't go to waste much around our house.

But here's the thing. When a recipe that calls for buttermilk also calls for baking soda, baking powder, and salt, it's relying on the interaction between those and the buttermilk to make the bread rise. This is the case with these biscuits, or Diane Duane's "Peter's Mum's Soda Bread". And doubtless these recipes go back to times when buttermilk always meant "what's left after you make the butter." But... true buttermilk surely isn't as acidic as the supermarket cultured stuff or the milk-soured-with-vinegar substitute (which I used this morning since I was out of cream), is it? Doesn't less acidity mean less rising action? So maybe I *shouldn't* use true buttermilk in soda breads?

Opinions eagerly sought!

#120 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:15 PM:

We wait for morning,
hot, steam rising after rain,
green trees are glowing.

Outside the bluest
flower draws our waking eye,
such perfect colour.

I watch Mexican
roofers laying tarpaper
on the newest house.

A late breakfast is
the summer's finest pleasure,
tea makes me joyful.

I name this moment
the one that should never leave,
freeze now this second.

#121 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:32 PM:

*Random*
We have searched in ever widening circles, but there are some items which we need which are just not available here, so today we must go to the nearest big city.

Traffic between Olympia and Seattle, and ohgodsaveusall, in Seattle, is nightmarish at the best of times, and today is not only the Friday before a major holiday, but also the Mariners are playing at home. Now, if we could leave in a half hour, things wouldn't be too bad, we could probably head home before three.

The dog's cable run just broke, and he's long gone. So, give it two hours before he gets home, on average.

This sucks.

#122 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Fragano @ 114... Let's not forget Richard Chavès's Lt. Colonel Paul Ironhorse in 1988's TV series War of the Worlds. He probably was the best thing in that show, which is why, for the second season, they got rid of him. Makes perfect sense.

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:39 PM:

Serge #122: Things do seem to work that way.

#124 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Nicole @ 119

You might be able to use diluted yogurt for the buttermilk, although the flavor is different. (Cookbooks sometimes have this kind of substitution listed.)

I've seen dehydrated buttermilk in the supermarket occasionally, with something like 4 packets each making 1 cup in the box. (There's supposed to be a bulk-pack version around, but I haven't seen it. Maybe I need to hunt around some more.)

#125 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:40 PM:

At this risk of getting trounced by real food chemists, here's my cook's understanding:

Baking soda is straightforward alkali, combine it with an acid and you get a gaseous reaction that produces leavening in batters.

Baking powder is usually a combination of baking soda and a crystallized acid (not sure what), so adding any liquid will produce the leavening. Double acting baking powder adds a second kind of crystal that only reacts under heat, so it provides additional leavening during baking.

If you add baking soda _and_ baking powder to an acidic batter, I think you are supposed to cut the baking soda in half, at least that's the way I learned it. Otherwise there's too much alkali leftover and you get that funky taste when you eat the goods.

Real and cultured buttermilk contains lactic acid while vinegar is usually an acetic acid and lemon juice is a citric acid.

My experience has been that there is enough variation in the relative strengths of each kind of acid ingredient that a 1:1 substitution never really seems to work.

My rule of thumb is to make the following adjustments:

  • lemon juice * 1.0
  • vinegar * .75
  • store buttermilk * 1.0
  • real buttermilk * 1.0 + 1tsp lemon juice

#126 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Strawberry shortcake, with biscuits, not those sponge things. Or one great big biscuit. Mmmmmm.

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Speaking of nourishment... When I was a mere lad, I found great pleasure in taking a bite out of an apple, putting some salt on the exposed surface before biting into that. Did anybody else ever do that? Or is this just one of the weird tastes of my youth, along with eating real butter by the trowel?

#128 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Nicole: In Europe, all buttermilk is cultured (mostly). In the States we use sweet cream to make butter. In other places (I don't know about Canada), they let it ferment a bit.

So, after making the butter, the buttermilk is slightly sour (it's adding those cultures which makes buttermilk for the store, otherwise what one has is skimmed milk).

And yes, the soda is supposed to react to the acids in the buttermilk to increase the fluffiness of the biscuits.

#129 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:54 PM:

People say, "when you multiply a recipe, don't multiply salt."
Why is this?

#130 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Terry @101:

I've only managed one that I thought did justice to the form:

Web over water
Steel spun by a human mind
For others to walk.

#131 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 12:57 PM:

I have a vague memory of hearing that in the days before storebought buttermilk, they used clabbered milk, which I believe is more like crème fraîche than anything else. Or crema fresca, if you've got a decent Mexican grocery nearby. I don't know how the lack of acid would affect the rising, though.

#132 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Lee @ #54:
Susan, #48: I don't have a strong definition -- "any writer or actor who self-identifies as one" would do.

I ask because of the definitional problem which is already leading to confusion in the discussion. Self-identification isn’t a terribly useful basis – I mean, is there any reason you do not self-identify as Latina? You must have some concrete basis for assigning people as such.

For examples of the other problems:

Peter @ #69:
(I assume we're interested in English-language writing or media, otherwise it would be relatively easy to add, say, Mexican or Spanish movies.)

Spanish != Latino. Latino refers to Latin American – Central & South America.

Bruce @ #102:
I thought Willi Wachendon was black.

Being black or white or any variety of mestizo is orthogonal to being Latino or Hispanic, so this is irrelevant. Neither Latino nor Hispanic is a racial classification, though it’s certainly used with racist overtones by some people (not meaning you, Bruce).


Jim @#95
The Sferoj 4 anthology (the only one of that series I own, but there were ten or eleven volumes) has sf short stories from authors in a number of countries including Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, and Cuba translated into Esperanto; and I'm fairly sure one of Hartwell & Cramer's recent Year's Best SF anthologies had a story translated from Spanish, by two authors from Spain -- can't recall the title or many but it was a time travel story involving an incident in Spain's recent history.

From Spain means that by definition they are not Latino, though they are Hispanic. This is why I asked Lee to define her terms. Is she interested in sorting out:

People who write SF in Spanish?
Brownish-skinned people who speak Spanish?
People who speak Spanish even if they don’t write in it?
People with surnames of noticeably Hispanic origin?
People descended from same even if they don’t speak or write in Spanish?
etc.

I’m unclear how people on this thread are identifying Latino and/or Hispanic, so it’s hard to know who to include in the discussion. I'm also unclear how Lee identifies Latinos or Hispanics in fandom; @ #42, it looks like she might be considering it a racial classification:

Fandom reflects this; it's still a very whitebread community. More black people than there used to be -- but then, there are black SF characters on TV dating back to Lt. Uhura. Virtually no Latinos at all.

And one can determine this by a visual survey? What is the definitive visible requirement to be classified as Latino and/or Hispanic, when those are classifications based on geography and language?

So, a definition of terms at least for purposes of discussion would be useful.

Dave @ #84:
I generally dislike totting up lists like this; who knows what the person involved feels like?

It’s making me feel pretty squicky, gotta say.

#133 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Serge, I've never done that specifically, but it sounds like another version of the sweet + salty = delicious thing. Chocolate frosting on Ritz crackers, lemon curd on same, Krispy Kremes have that bit of salt, salt on canteloupe. I think the combination keeps your tongue from getting acclimated to the taste of either, so it's constantly a new and more delectable combination.

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Diatryma @ 133... Thanks. I am quite relieved to know I wasn't totally deranged as a youth. Still, I'm glad I outgrew this because I dare not think what all that salt and butter would do to my legally-adult body.

#135 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:40 PM:

#127: I remember seeing == maybe at the big San Jose flea market == stands selling slices of mango with salt.

#136 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Fragano @ 114:
I have to admit, I'd forgotten about Robert Beltrán.

On the other hand, I think his character was supposed to be Native American (albeit not from any specific present-day tribe/nation), rather than Latino. (Yes, I know that's not necessarily a clear distinction, particularly south of the US.)

If we go with Latino actors playing non-Latino characters, then there's Raul Julia (Frankenstein Unbound, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank), Jennifer Lopez (The Cell), Benjamin Bratt (Red Planet)[*], Emilio Estevez (Freejack), Charlie Sheen (The Arrival, Red Dawn), Raquel Welch (Fantastic Voyage), Rosario Dawson (Men in Black II), Rosanna DeSoto (Star Trek 6), Jimmy Smits (Star Wars II and III), and probably some others I can't be bothered Googling for...

Marcus Chong in The Matrix? (I don't know if Chong is Latino, and I don't know if his character "Tank" was supposed to be Latino...)

[*] Bratt did play a (secondary) Latino character in Demolition Man...

#137 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Another request; it seems like the day for it, here.

I've recently, finally, had the discussion with my husband about why he's so anti-SF, knowing how much I love it. He's fine with mainstream-type stuff, like the original Star Wars (same goes for fantasy: he enjoyed the LoTR movies), but he seems to labor under a delusion similar to CB's: that is, that most genre fiction is hackery. I agreed that there is hackery out there, but that it's no more than in any other field. The majority of stuff out there just isn't mind-blowingly great. So I asked him what it was he liked about Star Wars, and he answered that it was the the SF setting was really sort of incidental--that it was a good, classic story underneath, and that it didn't have to be "Long ago in a galaxy far, far away." I replied, one, that the setting was integral, as those events wouldn't have been possible in any other setting and two, regardless, that what he described could apply to all of my favorites. What I love about SF is how the setting can be used to explore deeper issues of what it means to be human, regardless of setting.

Anyway, all that is preamble to the second problem: several (more then seven, I believe) years ago, I made the ghastly mistake of offering him Heinlein's Job to read, not realizing that it would embody all of SF for him. He hasn't trusted my suggestions ever since. For my part, I enjoy the Biblical riff, but I understand thoroughly that I messed up, and ruined him for SF.

I'm hoping not for ever. He's agreed to try again, and I don't want to mess up this time. So I'm looking for suggestions for something to give him that will knock his socks off and become a new example to him of what SF is, or even better, get him to read more. He's not a huge fan of fiction in general. He reads a lot of biography and non-fiction, and he's a financial analyst. He's really reality-based. I tend to go for the more fantastical and literary, but I'm thinking he'd enjoy more hard science with some economics thrown in.

So, suggestions? My marriage may depend on it. *wink*

#138 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:03 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @#116:

Hooray for infamous ancestors! My great-great grandfather was a confederate general, and one of his forbears, a judge, was responsible for the martyrdom of a saint back in ye olden times. It's a bit odd to have the really interesting family stories also be uncomfortable or horrifying.

So, your fellow...babelfish tells me that "muy mujeriego" means "very mujeriego." Thanks, babelfish! Hint?

#139 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:07 PM:

Diatryma@118: Please tell me what should be torturing my poor brain.

Hm, well, further scientific research reveals that my brain had inadvertantly substituted "na"s for what was actually "do"s. So I should have actually type this:

doo DOO da do do, mortgage
do doo DOO do, mortgage

Sorry for the confusion. It's been probably a couple of decades since I've heard that actual song.

It was used in a commercial about a year ago. A guy was talking to a woman on what appeared to be their first date. He's talking about being a doctor, winning the lottery, and some other "good catch" stuff. She takes a sip of whatever drink they were selling and suddenly the camera pans back to the guy who is now saying "ma na ma na".

Anyway, the "ma na ma na" part was what got switched out for the word "mortgage", which, as I said, was a couple syllables short. But at least it started with an "m". Not sure how all the "doo"s got switch for "na"s.

Oh well.

I'm going to go watch that scientific research again now.

#140 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Latino[*] characters in written SF:

Didn't L. Sprague de Camp write a series of stories set in a Brazilian-dominated future? Did any of those have prominent Latino/Hispanic characters?

[*] In the case where "Latino" includes Brazilians; Susan's schema (# 132) seemed to exclude non-Spanish-speaking Latin Americans...

#141 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:12 PM:

kouredios @137:

Two possibilities: Dune by Frank Herbert (this is the first SF novel I read, and I was hooked).

Or, if short stories might be more his speed, an anthology called _The Science Fiction Hall of Fame_.

#142 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:17 PM:

re de Camp: Yes, he did. It's why I know that ombrigado is Portuguese for thank you.

As I recall it was stories about the diplomatic corps.

#143 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Clabbered milk has the same lactic acid thing going on as cultured buttermilk or genuine byproduct buttermilk left after making butter from ripened cream, so it would work with the baking soda.

Pasteurized cream won't ripen the way that raw cream or milk will -- the pasteurization kills the lactic-acid-producing bacteria. So making butter from pasteurized cream won't give you an acidic buttermilk. That's WHY storebought buttermilk is cultured skim or lowfat milk.

As to why you'd use butter and buttermilk instead of just using cream -- it's for texture. What happens when you cut butter into flour is that the flour coats and encapsulates little bits of butter into a gluten matrix. Butter is part fat, part milk solids, and part water, and when you bake it, the water turns into steam and gives lift to the biscuits, and as it evaporates, it leaves little pockets all through, making the biscuit flaky. (If you overwork the dough, the gluten toughens, and the steam can't lift the biscuits as high.) If you just use cream, you don't get the little encapsulated pockets, and so you don't get the flakiness.

And on an entirely different note, I wanted to mention my favorite haiku:

The morning glory today
Has taken my well-bucket;
I begged for water.

#144 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:21 PM:

I-87:
It's an Interstate Highway
That's just in New York.

#145 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Oog, Lori. Dune has a good story, but the writing is kind of...Herbert. And while it hooked me in too, it was partly because of this exotic culture he "created"—which is, of course, just Arabs in Space.

kouredios, what biographies has he read recently? Maybe allohistory would be a good place to start, rather than spaceship-battle stuff?

#146 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Mary Dell @ 138

It probably helps to know that 'mujer' is woman (Latin 'mulier').

#147 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:25 PM:

kouredios@137: So I asked him what it was he liked about Star Wars, and he answered that it was the the SF setting was really sort of incidental--that it was a good, classic story underneath, and that it didn't have to be "Long ago in a galaxy far, far away." I replied, one, that the setting was integral, as those events wouldn't have been possible in any other setting

Erm, you have seen "The Searchers", right? It is an old John Wayne western that contains the frame work for the main characters and plot of episodes 4, 5, and 6 of Star Wars. John Wayne plays the parts of ObiWan Kenobi, Han Solo, and DarthVader all in one. (that may sound impossible, but when you see the movie, you'll understand.) John Wayne hooks up with a young man who doesn't know who his parents are, living on a dirt farm in the desert, and takes him on some damn fool crusade to rescue a little girl (Princess) who has been captured by Stormtroopers. Except the Stormtrooper are Native Americans. There is a Cantina scene. Han shoots first. There is a bit of play with light sabers, I mean, cavalry swords. And in the end, the rebel fleet attacks the deathstar, er, I mean, the Native American camp.

Having watched Star Wars probably a hundred times in my lifetime, it was freaky watching "The Searchers" for the first time just recently and watching the entire Star Wars story unfold before my eyes, except situated in the American Wild West just after the Civil War, rather than long ago and far away.

So, the story about Luke and Anakin, which are the main characters of Star Wars, was originally told as a Western genre, when Westerns were in style.

#148 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Kouredios #137: Might I suggest John Barnes's The Man Who Pulled Down the Sky?

#149 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Kouredios, I'd see if I could get him to read three to five books-- it's a big genre, and you never know if he's just predisposed not to like the subset you've presented.
I've been lending a fair few books to my parents lately-- Dad likes SF, Mom is ambivalent and has some issues. They both liked Scalzi (Mom liked it 'except the parts in space') and E Bear. Dad likes Lois McMaster Bujold, or at least what he's read; Mom hasn't read that one yet, but I expect she'll have the same space complaint. We all like Connie Willis' books.
However, I'm the one picking the books for them, and I don't have the same taste as your husband does. Good stories, yes, but I dislike much of the harder, almost philosophical SF I've read.

#150 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Mary Dell #138: It means that he was a womaniser (certainly, all his household servants in Zamboanga were women). Interesting ancestors tend to be interesting in ways that we mostly don't find pleasant.

#151 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Tracie @ 126:

That was last night's dessert; homemade biscuit using butter and baked in a tart pan; served with sliced strawberries, ice cream, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Mid-day snack may be leftover shortcake, berries, and milk in a bowl...

#152 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Terry Karney #142: That should be obrigado, 'ombrigado' sounds to me like 'possessing a navel'.

#153 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Peter @
Susan's schema (# 132) seemed to exclude non-Spanish-speaking Latin Americans...

I'm not sure how you get there from what I said:

Latino refers to Latin American – Central & South America.

I didn't say anything one way or the other about Brazilians. I've never inquired of any Brazilians as to whether they see themselves as Latino (though I see no reason they shouldn't). Doesn't make much sense to call them Hispanic (Spanish), though I can imagine USAns failing to grasp the distinction since most of the Hispanics in the U.S. are Latino as well so the terms get used carelessly.

And, um, it's not my personal schema. It's the standard definition of the terms, though many Anglos don't find it important to actually learn this before jumping into a discussion. If I'd made up a schema (which I wouldn't, since I'm big on "human" as a classification), it would make more sense. I just have to try to live in the imposed one and among people who (understandably) can't keep it straight.

There are certainly more interesting cases that make it even more obvious that USAn terminology is dubious - what about Fujimori? If he wrote an SF novel, would he be considered a Hispanic author? A Latino one? If not, why not? What if he wrote it in Spanish? English? Japanese?

#154 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:39 PM:

Lester Del Rey
Isabella Allende

various contemporary Hispanic writers I can't think of names of, some of them writing books denoted "magical realism" that tend to come out in hardcover and not be anywhere the SF/F section

Meanwhile, a quarter of the world's population is Chinese, where are all of them in film and TV and SF noticeable in the USA, and the next largest group is Indian, where are they?

#155 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:39 PM:

Lester Del Rey
Isabelle Allende

various contemporary Hispanic writers I can't think of names of, some of them writing books denoted "magical realism" that tend to come out in hardcover and not be anywhere the SF/F section

Meanwhile, a quarter of the world's population is Chinese, where are all of them in film and TV and SF noticeable in the USA, and the next largest group is Indian, where are they?

#156 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Lester Del Rey
Isabelle Allende

various contemporary Hispanic writers I can't think of names of, some of them writing books denoted "magical realism" that tend to come out in hardcover and not be anywhere the SF/F section

Meanwhile, a quarter of the world's population is Chinese, where are all of them in film and TV and SF noticeable in the USA, and the next largest group is Indian, where are they?

#157 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:40 PM:

I think Patrick's Law of Categories applies here.

#158 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:45 PM:

I just moved back to Brooklyn, and don't have net access at home yet.

#159 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:46 PM:

kouredios@137: become a new example to him of what SF is, or even better, get him to read more. He's not a huge fan of fiction in general. He reads a lot of biography and non-fiction, and he's a financial analyst. He's really reality-based.

I can't think of anything that I know that would be guaranteed "knock your socks off" SF. If you just want him to read more, the "really reality based" bit made me think of "The Old Man and the Sea", which isn't SF and I wouldn't have mentioned it other than it is probably my most favoritest piece of fiction I've ever read.

Oh, he might go for "Hitchiker's Guide". It isn't reality based so much as it's showing how absurdly funny life can be. Think of it as an outrageous version of Dilbert in space, if he likes Dilbert. Hm, Dilbert in space, that just made my head go sproing. Maybe Monty Python in space, since it's got that British humor going on. Yeah, that's probably it.

Anyway, there was a recent discussion of "suffering" for your art, and not reading for "pleasure", and just how backwards that is. And Hitchikers is just fricken funny, if you're into that kind of humor.

It's more of a "tall tale" genre than it is a SF story, but it's got spaceships, so who's counting.

#160 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:49 PM:

When I was studying Spanish Lit (poorly-- it was the only thing we had besides grammar and history that still centered on the lit) I decided that magic realism is fantasy in Spanish. In my more bitter moments, I decreed that magic realism is Literature because it's foreign and therefore must be good, the same way all subtitled movies are good to some people.
I really wish I had time and lack of embarrassment to read Spanish fantasy. I have one by Daina Chavez from ICFA a couple years ago that I am told is good, but haven't gotten to reading yet.

#161 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Serge @ #127, You are not alone. Salt on apple slices, salt (and pepper!) on cantaloupe; both were and occasionally still are some of my indulgences.

Now, if you had slathered that butter on white bread and poured a tablespoon of sugar onto it, then added another slice of white bread to make a sandwich, then you'd have independently found a really guilty pleasure of my childhood.

#162 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Paula 156: Actually India passed China a few months ago.

#163 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Diatryma #160: Given the roots of magical realism (I prefer 'lo real maravilloso', the marvellous real, the phrase coined by Alejo Carpentier) in the circum-Caribbean and northeastern Brazil, I'd say that it was reality being described in Spanish (what happens, for example, when the French Revolution projects itself into the Caribbean as in Carpentier's El reino de este mundo --'The Kingdom of this World'-- and El siglo de las luces -- translated as 'Explosiion in the Cathedral', but actually meaning 'The Age of Enlightenment').

#164 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Greg London: Huzzay and hallelujah! You just told me why _The Searchers_ arrived from Netflix the other day. I knew a Fluorospheridian had suggested it, but the details had escaped me.

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 135... Mango and salt? Hmm... What did it taste like? I don't go for salt much anymore, but I still have the bitter/sweet thing, I guess, considering the way I love scarfing up lime-flavored ice cream.

Linkmeister @ 161... What about sandwiches that consisted of lard and brown sugar? (I'm not making that up and that was my parent's idea of something yummy. I shudder, just thinking back.)

#166 ::: Janice E. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Lurker here, glad to have found an open thread.

I just stopped an acquaintance who's an aspiring SF writer from paying $500 to have his novel printed so he'd have a book to impress publishers with.

He is (obviously) completely clueless about the entire process of submission and publication.

I know that this blog has published some great material on this subject, and (I believe) some collections of helpful links as well. I would like to send them to him. Can anyone point me there?

(I don't know if he's any good: I haven't read a word he's written. But I like him, and I'd like to help him out.)

#167 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Koureidos (137)

Maybe some Peter F Hamilton? Good hard SF, great characters, plus he has some interesting economic elements in his settings.

#168 ::: katster ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Huh. In the story I'm working on, one of the major characters is a Latina. I didn't think there was anything special about it.

OTOH, I'm from California, and the story's set there, so if one of the characters wasn't Hispanic, it probably would have looked a little weird.

-kat

#169 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:38 PM:

kouredios,

I'm kind of with Fragano--I just wish Earth Made of Glass wasn't a sequel. Barnes isn't a bad idea for a starter, though. Some others that I'd consider, in more or less chronological order:

Waldo and Magic, Inc.
The Syndic
The Man in the High Castle
A Spectre Is Haunting Texas
The Stochastic Man
In the Ocean of Night
Beggars in Spain
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

#170 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Oh, and The Star Fox, or maybe A Million Open Doors.

#171 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Xopher, would it help if I told you _Dune_ hooked me because it had the same detail that the Michener books I love did? And that I class _Dune_ as an easy read?

I'm the reader that adores 600 to 800 page tomes (Sharon Kay Penman's _Sunne In Splendor_, for example.)

I mean, I could have suggested David Brin's _Earth_...

#172 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Serge @ #165, gah. Nope, we had no lard in our house; closest we could come might be one of those little tin jars for bacon drippings.

#173 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Peter Erwin @ 136

If we go with Latino actors playing non-Latino characters

Were they? I haven't seen all of those movies, but in the ones I did see I don't remember anything that suggested that they didn't have latino heritage. Granted they weren't identified as such, and they weren't used as "the latino character," but I don't remember them being specified as anything else.

#174 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Serge #127: My family's idiosyncracies included putting salt on grapefruit and pepper on cantaloupe. I've given up the former but still do the latter.

Peter Erwin #140: That was de Camp's "Viagens Interplanetarias" stories. I best remember the "Zei" ones, set on one of those great semi-barbaric SF swashbuckler planets. The title of the series and part of the background came from Brazil being a Great Power in that future. I don't remember the Brazilian-ness making much difference in the stories, to be honest.

Going way back to Lee #42 (on Latinos in TV/movie SF): back then, as someone who grew up in the Washington, DC area, Latinos didn't impinge on my consciousness as any sort of "other" at all (as African-Americans very definitely did). It would never have occurred to me that they were a group that needed any character representation in the style of Lt. Uhura. They were just white people who spoke (sometimes) with an odd accent and (sometimes) had dark tans and (more often than not) played baseball for the Washington Senators. (The owner of the Senators, Calvin Griffith, pioneered recruiting Latino players, alas as an alternative to recruiting Black ones -- he was infamously racist.)

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Latino actors playing non-Latino characters... Henry Fonda, anybody?

#176 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:01 PM:

I agree that making lists of people according to some weird and shifting category that isn't even as well defined as race is kind of icky. Nevertheless I offer the protagonist of Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow. Because it's an interesting book, and because Sandoz' ethnic and cultural background is relevant to the story, it's not just token multiculturalism.

#177 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:09 PM:

J. August Richards (Gunn, on the Angel series) is properly Javier Augusto, his folks were from Panama, and his great-grand/grandparents from Jamaica.

IIRC, the priest protagonist of The Sparrow is Spanish. (And Antonio Banderas was trying to make it into a movie at one point.)

#178 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:11 PM:

DaveL @ #174, Camilo Pascual!

#179 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:16 PM:

koureidos:

I can think of a lot of really good SF, but I'm not sure how it overlaps with his likes and dislikes. SF is *really* broad, right?

One big theme in SF, at least for me, is that the story is usually told in a different world than the one I live in, but a world where I can still see how the rules work, maybe how it's consistent with or derived from the world I know. I think that's a big part of what I like in SF, so that colors all these comments:

Vinge's _The Peace War_ is one of my favorite books, set maybe 50+ years in the future, but with only a few big technological steps from here. But it has a whole different world, barely recognizeable as ours, based on the storyline of what is assumed to have happened over the intervening 50 years.

I also really liked Vinge's _A Fire Upon the Deep_, which was space opera mixed with usenet mixed with the complexity hierarchy, and absolutely wonderful. But we're talking about a huge civilization in which humans are a small and more-or-less unimportant part, full of bug-eyed (or butterfly-winged) aliens, interstellar war, destroyed planets, godlike AIs, etc.

Heinlein's _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ was also very good, but it's set in on the moon. It also has a big invented world (the world the lunar settlers live in), in which a sort of stable anarchocapitalist society has evolved because there's a very powerful government imposed by Earth on the moon, which doesn't care what happens to the lunar colonists so long as they don't cause much trouble and pay their taxes/tribute/whatever.

I enjoyed Spider Robinson's _Mindkiller_ very much. It's near future urban stuff, cyberpunk in content, but not in style. Sex and violence, only a couple of really impressive bits of technology we don't have now, a bit of social extrapolation. The world is a little grittier than the one we live in, but not too much so. (This is much less world-building than the others so far.)

SM Stirling has a pretty entertaining book called _Conquistador_. It's very near future (maybe five years from now), with a single SF-ish premise. I like it that he builds a 'utopia' that corresponds to the wishes of a set of characters, but which isn't what most readers would think of as a utopia, exactly. There's war (SM Stirling is big on war), but it's on a small scale. There's world-building, but it's modern technology.

I hope this helps. All these are books I have really enjoyed and read multiple times, which aren't (other than _A Fire Upon the Deep_) space opera or overly out-there in terms of technology or society.

It's possible that I've misunderstood what your husband doesn't like about SF, though. There are a lot of other good books out there, and I'm sure I'll think of another ten to recommend after I hit "Preview"

#180 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Kouredios,

Are we talking hard sci fi or not? Folks who like Star Wars stuff seem to like plot over characterization (I realize that this may be generalizing too much here) so for good strong plots, you might want to steer him to George RR Martin's Ice and Fire series or Greg Keyes' Briar King saga. Also Grass by Sherri Tepper is fine sci fi with a plot that hooks you in. Bujold is good space opera. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is a wonderful yarn. The foregoing are books that, once I got going on, did not come up for air, sleep or sustenance until I was done. That's my gold standard.

#181 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:29 PM:

kouredios, Greg London,

The characters of C3PO and R2D2 come from "Hidden Fortress", an old Kirosawa movie that takes place in the runup to the Toronaga clan's bid for power, IIRC. So kouredios, if your husband is interested in Japanese history, you might want to make that point.

Also, if he's interested in the history of the American Civil War, then I recommend Ward Moore's "Bring the Jubilee", which is an alternate history story, and a very good one, IMO. It's a classic story by a writer who never did write about space ships.

#182 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:31 PM:

kouredios @ 137... For my part, I enjoy the Biblical riff, but I understand thoroughly that I messed up, and ruined him for SF.

You did no such thing, kouredios. The problem is with him. At least he's not like a co-worker I once had who never could get into Star Wars because, to her, sets were just that, sets. No imagination, no willingness to pretend. That being said, since your hubby liked SW because he could recognize a classic plot from the mainstream, has he ever tried Asimov's SF murder mystery, Caves of Steel?

#183 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:34 PM:

I reckon the unit could be identifiable--what German Army units, probably infantry, had a bear as a mascot?

I would look for a unit from the area of Berlin. The city mascot of Berlin is a bear.

Latino characters: I can't believe no one has mentioned Inigo Montoya. Or do Spanish people not count as Latino?
"I could give you my word as a Spaniard."
"No use. I've known too many Spaniards."

Also, Manny, the narrator of "Red Thunder", is Hispanic of some sort, I forget what.

Fiction for the reality-based financial analyst: speaking as one in the financial business, you could do worse than "Market Forces" by Richard Morgan. Start him on that and maybe he'll take to "Black Man", and then the Takeshi Kovacs series (Altered Carbon/Broken Angels/Woken Furies). All good stuff. Also, Bruce Sterling's "Distraction" and "Heavy Weather" are pretty near-future; and "Pattern Recognition" is a good gateway drug for the rest of Gibson.

#184 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:36 PM:

#178 Linkmeister: Camilo Pascual

Oh, yeah! And Pedro Ramos, too. They were probably a better #1 and #2 starter combo in my memory than in real life, given that the Nats finished dead last most years, but who cares? I think Zoilo Versalles also came up just before they moved to Minnesota.

#185 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:37 PM:

On the topic of infamous ancestors: I have a some-number-of-greats-grandfather who was the governor of the Bastille. Right when the French Revolution hit. Apparently the only reason I'm here with this genetic legacy today is because his daughter got out of the country while they were busy doing in her father.

On the topic of scifi recommendations for non-scifi readers: tentatively, I suggest either Connie Willis or Lois McMaster Bujold. The latter because everyone in my family loved the Vorkosigan series, even the members who don't usually read scifi; and the former because well-done time travel may be of interest to people who read a lot of non-fiction. (I do not read huge amounts of non-fiction, but my friends who do appreciate well-researched history.) The Doomsday Book if he prefers something grim, and To Say Nothing of the Dog if he prefers something funny.

I second the recommendation not to start with Dune. I read that in my youth, and found the "exotic" cultures tedious and all the characters both implausible and dull. Which says more about my taste in fiction than it does about the book, but it doesn't strike me as a good introduction to the genre.

#186 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Among alternate world stories I used to like Farmer's Riverworld series (To Your Scattered Bodies Go, The Fabulous Riverboat, The Dark Design, The Magic Labyrinth). Clifford Simak wrote some great stories about other places; for an alternate universe leavened heavily with humor, try The Goblin Reservation.

#187 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Thanks all for the recommends so far. I was hoping for some ideas to kick my own mind into gear, and you all have been really helpful.

I agree that the broadness of the genre and his own idosyncrasies make it even harder.

I think what he liked about the original Star Wars (and I agree Greg, that the structure could be placed elsewhere, but the particularities of the story needed a SF setting: no Death Star in a Western, e.g.) was that, it was just a good story, period. But I personally think his general reality-based preferences make it likely that there's some hard SF out there that might speak well to him. For example, he's read Stephen Hawking for fun in the past.

I've got Herbert, Heinlein, Kress, and a Dozois anthology covered, as well as Hitchiker's Guide, which might be a good idea as he's also quite the anglophile. Xopher, I think the last biography I remember him reading was Katherine Graham's. Lately, though, a lot of his reading has been informational books on homebrewing.

moe99, I'm a big Ice and Fire fan, but I'm inclined to say that he'd resist things that are so clearly and wholly of a different world. He's going to want, I think, something more like near-future, possible, political and economically involved stuff.

Moon is a Harsh Mistress isn't a bad idea. It might go a way towards rehabilitating Heinlein for him, too. Which is important to me personally, as he's one of my personal favorites.

John and Fragano, thanks for the Barnes and Hamilton suggestions. I wasn't familiar with them.

#188 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Connie @177, my memory is that Fnaqbm jnf rvgure Yngvab be npghnyyl fbhgu Nzrevpna, naq sebz na rkgerzryl cbbe onpxtebhaq, ohg jbhyq fbzrgvzrf cergraq gb or n cngevpvna, Pnfgvyyvna Fcnavneq vavgvnyyl gb vzcebir uvf ybj fgnghf naq yngre ba nf n wbxr (juvpu ur fgbcf jura vg sernxf bhg gur ybir vagrerfg, nf n Frcuneqv Wrj). (ROT-13 because the book is written out of chornological order so I can't remember if this character background is made explicit early enough not to be a spoiler.)

Wikipedia says Puerto Rican, and I don't even begin to know how that fits into the bizarre framework of the "Latino" label. Wikipedia also says that Brad Pitt plans to play Sandoz in a movie. I really hope that's just a Wikipedia rumour, because that would really be the most egregious whitewashing imaginable. Banderas I could live with, though I would prefer someone who can actually act rather than just looking pretty.

#189 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Oh, and Serge: one of my favorite things from Trader Joe's is a chili-coated dried Mango. That's savory and sweet for you!

#190 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 04:54 PM:

ajay @ 183

Cuban, I think.

#191 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:00 PM:

Kouredios, would he like time travel tales?

Tarr and Turtledove's _Household Gods_ might appeal and I'll put in a second plug for Willis' _The Doomsday Book_.

#192 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:01 PM:

Susan @ 153 - It's been a few years / decades, but I remember at college the Latino community was fairly politically active. And they were rather upset with the students from South America who did not self identify as Latinos. They identified themselves as Brazilian, Chilean, Argentinian, etc. And were not entirely sure that really had that much in common with students from other countries that just happened to be on the same continent as theirs.

#193 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Kouredios @ 189... A chili-coated dried Mango? That sounds very interesting. I don't if the local Trader Joe's would carry it in spite of my being in Albuquerque. Well, I'll be around the Bay Area in two weeks. If they don't have that, nobody will.

#194 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Ooh, savory-sweet? Our favorite local market (Mercado Los Pericos) sells a candy that's lightly-sweetened tamarind pulp wrapped around a skewer and rolled in chile powder. Mmmm.

#195 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:13 PM:

Susan @ 153:

I was just commenting on the fact that you followed your mention of Latin America with a list of questions for Lee:
People who write SF in Spanish?
Brownish-skinned people who speak Spanish?
People who speak Spanish even if they don’t write in it?
People with surnames of noticeably Hispanic origin?
People descended from same even if they don’t speak or write in Spanish?
etc.

Which seemed to focus exclusively on Spanish.

And I was using "Susan's schema" as shorthand for "the schema which Susan discussed in her post"; I didn't mean to imply that it was something you invented. I remember trying to explain something like it to a couple of Spanish astronomers two or three years ago; they were a bit confused by it[*].

[*] Possibly, I think now, because at the time I didn't know that the American term "Latino" derives from Spanish "latinoamericano" (= Latin American) rather than from Spanish "latino" (= speaker of a Latin-derived language).


Anyway, focusing just on actors for the moment:

At this point, I'm kind of surprised that Ricardo Montalbán hasn't been mentioned. In addition to Khan in Star Trek (presumably an Indian character, from his name), he played a Latino character in two Planet of the Apes movies. (And he's in two of the Spy Kids movies.)

Gina Torres (Firefly & Serenity; a small part in the second two Matrix movies; something called Cleopatra 2525...)

Jose Ferrer: Dune, The Return of Captain Nemo

Miguel Ferrer: Robocop (also a small part in Star Trek 3)

Cameron Diaz: Vanilla Sky, Being John Malkovich

Michelle Rodriguez: Resident Evil


Julia @ 173:
That's an excellent point. I guess what I meant was that they (the Latino/a actors) were playing characters who weren't unambiguously Latino (e.g., Hispanic names, references to Latino culture or ancestry, etc.). But that certainly doesn't rule out some of those characters potentially being Latino.

#196 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:19 PM:

kouredios:
... but I'm thinking he'd enjoy more hard science with some economics thrown in.

For what it's worth, that comment makes me think immediately of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, especially Red Mars and Green Mars. They're very much hard science, but they were pretty much the first books I'd read which actually made me interested (at least for a while) in economics. And I think the writing is amazing: there are parts of it which read like some of the best nature writing, which just happens to be about places no one has actually set eyes upon yet...

#197 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:25 PM:

kouredios@187: the particularities of the story needed a SF setting: no Death Star in a Western

Sure, but my point was that your husband explained why he liked Star Wars (good story, whether it was in space or the old west) and you focused on the macguffin known as the Death Star, which was space station, but really could have been a camp of enemy native americans in teepee's, as it was in "The Searchers".

Back in #137, you said what he described could apply to all of my favorites. What I love about SF is how the setting can be used to explore deeper issues of what it means to be human, regardless of setting.

OK, but while "Left Hand of Darkness" lets readers explore deeper issues of what gender means, the race of people on planet Winter who change between genders is integral to the story. You take that out of LHoD, and the story falls apart completely.

Star Wars, on the other hand, isn't a story about exploring the deeper issues of what it means to be human, it starts with a classical default understanding of being human, and shows someone struggling with a problem and overcoming it.

You can replace "Death Star" with "native american camp" and either way, the focus is on attacking the place. The focus remains the same whether its one or the other.

You cannot replace the gender changing people of Winter in LHoD, because the whole point is to get the reader to question their reality about gender. If you replaced them with regular humans, the focus of the story falls apart and dissolves into "how to survive in the artic" rather than "What does it mean to be male or female?"

I think what your husband is pointing to about "Star Wars" (and this may be my personal preferences getting projected) is that he liked that it wasn't about questioning what it means to be human, but allowed him to identify himself into the characters without questioning what it meant about him, and instead focused on the fight of good versus evil, coming of age, etc.

I don't know all the other books that have been recommended, but I think the test of what your husband would like is whether or not the story allows the reader to maintain their assumptions about their own personal identity as the story progresses or not. If the story is more focused on getting the reader to question their own assumptions about who they are, then it probably isn't for him, based on what you've said.

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Peter Erwin @ 195... Antonio Rudolfo Oaxaca Quinn, born in Chihuahua, was mostly known as Anthony Quinn and played Zorba the Greek, and Zeus in the first Hercules TV movies with Kevin Sorbo.

#199 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 181:
The characters of C3PO and R2D2 come from "Hidden Fortress", an old Kirosawa movie that takes place in the runup to the Toronaga clan's bid for power, IIRC. So kouredios, if your husband is interested in Japanese history, you might want to make that point.

Hidden Fortress is a wonderful movie; one of my favorite Kurosawa films.

Historical nitpick: it's Tokugawa, not "Toronaga"; the latter is James Michener's made-up name, because for some reason he didn't want to use actual historical Japanese names in a historical novel set in Japan...

#200 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:37 PM:

ajay 183: Spaniards count as Hispanic but not Latino.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Peter Erwin... You mean, James Clavell, not James Michener.

#202 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Fragano Ledgister, John A Arkansawyer

I agree that John Barnes is a very good author to read when first getting into SF, except that most of his books are fairly rich in spaceships, teleporters, and other heavy-duty SF tropes. If kouredios' husband is shy of the glitter and gadgets, then maybe it's not a good choice.*

"The Syndic"! Marvelous suggestion. Is it still in print?

* A terrible shame, if true; I agree that "Earth Made of Glass", and the whole "Million Open Doors" series in general is great SF.

#203 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:46 PM:

#161 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 02:55 PM:
...Now, if you had slathered that butter on white bread and poured a tablespoon of sugar onto it, then added another slice of white bread to make a sandwich, then you'd have independently found a really guilty pleasure of my childhood.

Shyly raises hand...
Guilty, guilty, guilty. But only a tablespoon? Makes me a bit queasy to think about it now. And salt and sugar on freshly sliced garden tomatoes, and butter and sugar and more salt on popcorn. We used to hang with a group of my grandparents' peers and their progeny that made dishpans full of popcorn balls (except not balled, just stirred into clumps) that had a hefty dollop of vinegar in the syrup - sweet, salty, sour.

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 03:22 PM:
What about sandwiches that consisted of lard and brown sugar?

Lard and butter are both solidified animal fats, and processed sugar is processed sugar. (Pause for getting past increased queasiness) Harking back to the biscuits, the lightest, most flakiest I've ever had were made with lard. Ditto for pie crust. Farm families in Nebraska used it almost exclusively in the fifties and sixties (and beyond), I suspect because it was even cheaper than oleo. Lots of early oleo was largely lard. That became funny when our butter-only family switched to oleo "for health". My mother obviously never read the package contents.

#204 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:50 PM:

Re: 203
Aargh.
"Flakiest" or "most flaky".

Also loved potatoes with extra salt and vinegar, but even then would have balked about sprinkling them with sugar, too.

#205 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #202: You have a point.

#206 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:55 PM:

kouredious:

He's going to want, I think, something more like near-future, possible, political and economically involved stuff.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Charles Stross yet. He writes fairly hard SF and likes to have his characters discuss the economics of their situations and world.

The Hugo-nominated Accelerando is near-future hard SF about humanity reaching the singularity and beyond. It's also available as a free e-book here

Glasshouse is a follow-up novel set in the same universe as Accelerando but hundreds of years in the future.

His Merchant Princes series (first book: The Family Trade) is parallel-world urban fantasy with lots of plot points turning on the kind of business a Machiavellian extended family of world-walkers can run...

Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise are less hard, somewhat space-operatic far-future SF, but dwell a lot on politics.

The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue are rather fun 20th century spy novels crossed with Lovecraftian mythos with a computer and occult geek as its (anti?) hero.

Just some more suggestions for your list... :)

#207 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Serge @ 201:
Uh, yes. Clavell, not Michener.

and:
Serge @ 195:
Yes... until I went wandering through Wikipedia's list(s) of Latino/Hispanic-American actors today, I didn't even know Anthony Quinn was originally from Mexico!

(I didn't mention Hercules [another Gina Torres appearance, too!] because I wasn't sure if Lee meant SF and fantasy of all kinds, or more specifically SF. If the former, then we can obviously bring in more actors and characters. For example, I seem to recall that one of the two main characters from our world in Barbara Hambly's Darwath trilogy might have been Latino...)

#208 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Madeline Kelly back at #71: So, in prose, thank you very much to ethan for mentioning Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. I've had a lovely time the last few weeks, hanging out with the First Hundred.

Well, golly! You're welcome. I'm sure you would have come across them without me, though--they're just two freaking great to miss. There's pretty much nothing in the world better.

Individ-ewe-al #176: ...Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow...

THANK YOU! I've been trying to remember enough details of that book to ask people here if they know what it is for months! Now I can read it again!

Actually, tying into the SF-for-people-who-don't-like-SF subthread, I read The Sparrow years ago on the recommendation of a friend who reads about one SF book every three or four years (in fact, Brian Aldiss's brandy-new Harm is the first SF book he's read since The Sparrow). He loved it, so maybe it's a good one for kouredios's husband?

#209 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Carol @ 203... (Pause for getting past increased queasiness)

Bwahahahah!!!

#210 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:09 PM:

For Janice E. @ 166:

There's a collection of links from Making Light and elsewhere put together by Teresa but posted in Neil Gaiman's Journal. It's technically addressing the getting of agents, but also has everything else.

#211 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Janice @166:

Actually, most of Teresa's publishing business posts on Making Light are not collected here, but on Neil Gaiman's blog here (up to 2005 and including a whole bunch of other useful publishing weblinks).

(Another hint to TNH to bring that list up to date and to create a page or link to it here on Making Light.)

#212 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Tip of the hat to Michael Moore, whose Sicko opens today -- a film with the magical power to morph film critics Stephen Hunter and David Denby into health care concern trolls.

#213 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Sharon M @210:

Ah, the wonders of simultaneity...

My apologies to the hosts for the duplicated information, although the hint still stands...

#214 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Fragano:

My favorite salmon ever was done on the grill in a foil packet, with a peach/nectarine salsa bathing it. There's nothing quite like ripe peaches from the grill, and the bit of heat, salt and cilantro with the salmon was yummy.

#215 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Janice @ #166:

To supplement the great information at Neil's page that Sharon M. posted, I pulled out some of the other ones that I, as a non-writer, found interesting/educational/entertaining/appalling.

I'll get caught in the moderation queue if I put in the URLs. The front page of ML has a search feature in the left column. If you keep on scrolling, you'll eventually find it.


Atlanta Nights and Publish America

More on the Atlanta Nights story

Follow the money

Dumbest of the Twenty Worst

Barbara Bauer takes action! (*yawn*)

Absolute Write is gone

The uselessness of Airleaf Publishing

#216 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Greg @ 197: I don't know all the other books that have been recommended, but I think the test of what your husband would like is whether or not the story allows the reader to maintain their assumptions about their own personal identity as the story progresses or not. If the story is more focused on getting the reader to question their own assumptions about who they are, then it probably isn't for him, based on what you've said.

I said that he enjoyed Star Wars, despite the fact that it was SF, because it was, as he described it, "a good story, regardless of setting." My point to him (which is really irrelevant, and I should have striken from my post in preview) was not as much that it was a good story that had to be SF, but that its being SF made some of the things he enjoyed possible. Your analysis, quoted above, puts way too fine a point on what you think he's looking for, because I think you're reading it as the embodiment of what he looks for in any story, but it's not: it's illustrative only because it's an exception to his general knee-jerk dislike of SF. As I've said, he's really not a fan of fiction in general. Again, Star Wars is an exception, and he's not even that big a fan of that. It's just that it's one piece of SFiana that he'll actually stay in the room and watch with me, rather than grumble and mock.

But I'm really not interested in any kind of debate. I'm looking for recommendations based on a loosely sketched description of my secondhand understanding of his preferences, hoping that it will help me process what I already know and point me in the right direction.

I think I'm going to, at first, limit my choices to things I'm already familiar with, just so that I will be able to discuss/defend it as necessary. So Stross is going on the list too, though I've only just started reading him. I've already downloaded Accelerando, and just finished The Family Trade. I need to read Kim Stanley Robinson myself, so I may add that to the list after I've read it. I'm also jotting down all the recommendations for further reference, so thanks for all of them!

#217 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Salmon ... oh yeah.

I have a copy of the recipe for 'dishwasher poached salmon'. It isn't poached, strictly speaking, because it's seasoned and wrapped in foil before being run through the dishwasher. (When I get home this evening I can type it up, but it's long.)

FWIW, you run one cycle of the dishwasher beforehand, without soap.

#218 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:24 PM:

If "Latino" is defined in cultural terms it doesn't apply to *practically all* F/SF settings - they have completely different cultures from completely different universes, or are set in the past when Latino culture hadn't formed yet, or far enough in the future that it has mixed with other cultures to the point of unrecognizability (quick, point out someone with specifically Phoenician culture in the present day).

Nobody is Latino in BSG (or Star Wars, or LOTR) any more than anyone is American, Israeli or Shinto. Those descriptors simply don't apply. Uhura or Lando Calrissian are "black" only when the term is defined based on appearance and therefore, if the actor is black, so is the character.


Anyway, if you're looking for examples of people from a particular culture in a particular genre, maybe you should look at works of that genre from *inside* that culture, rather than looking at a different culture? I'm not familiar with Latino F/SF works, but I would expect to find more Latinos and fewer Anglos there.

Similar remarks apply to Chinese and Indians - there's plenty of Chinese characters and actors in Chinese productions of, e.g., Journey to the West. (Of course Chinese fantasy is more likely to be based on Chinese mythology, the way LotR etc. are based on European mythology...) Applying a loose enough definition, Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and similar works fit into "fantasy", too.

If technology-oriented SF hasn't spread much yet outside the cultures that have been industrial the longest... well, I'm not sure that should be regarded as surprising or alarming. It took a couple of centuries after the industrialization of Europe and America before much technology-oriented SF started being written there, too.

#219 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Carol @ #203, Grins. Well, 1 tbsp might have been what my mother allowed, not what I'd have preferred.

#220 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:42 PM:

re: Salmon - fidelio, if you have access to a smoker, or if you can create one (Alton Brown style), you could consider brining a portion of the fish and hot smoking it. Hot smoking usually takes 4-6 hours, so it's not a long-term obligation.

I'm planning on smoking some Copper River salmon next week, after the super-spouse gets back from catching them. Terry Karney mentioned gravlax... takes awhile, but sure is good to eat.

#221 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Note to Teresa: have you seen this article about Provigil?

Provigil

I don't know whether it would be of interest or not, but thought I would pass it along.

#222 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Thread jumping, from 86:
Adrienne L. Travis

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.

So far as my experience, study, and professional work with software development for 16 bit editing programs, it's not, quite, the case.

They are, mostly, right about the clipping. They are wrong about the blocking up.

Way overblown, gone. Same for film as for digital (and the comment that Rockwell makes about the "natural" blocking up of film... no. It's what we are used to. Then there's the question of color film dye clouds, color reversal dye clouds [absent the orange masking layer, and with a lot less leeway, but more saturation] and and the amusing quirk that B&W film is digital, where digital B&W is analog, but I often digress).

But the largest space is the white, the smallest is the blacks. If your whites are slightly blown out, and you are in a 12-bit space, there is hidden detail (because the white is a mosaic/demosaic algorithm, using the RGB pixel array) which can be recovered. But the amount of working space in the bottom is smaller, which means the amount the algorithms have to work with is less.

If you look at the images Rockwell provides (even accepting the loss of detail/resolution from being converted to a 72, or 96, dpi image in web color) you don't see any more detail in the shadows. What you see is that the detail he was able to capture was still captured.

Further, as an issue of what makes for better images to view, we are more prone to accept an image which is a little blown out, than one which is blocked up.

But I've found that trying to relaim contrast from underexposed images, by pulling the bottom up, is less useful than doing by pushing the top down/opening the middle up.

There are other issues, relating to range compression when one moves to paper, because the finest gradations of white in the negative/slide/file, are lost when the paper becomes the white value (which is what I was talking to Greg London about).

Greg: If I could code perl, I'd love that little cheat. I suppose I'll toss that at my father, and see if he knows someone who can/how to do that.

#223 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Is it really true that Heinlein fans consider Job one of the worst of his works? I think it's one of his best, but a friend told me otherwise recently.

kouredios,

I really liked Iron Sunrise--I just read it recently, and it's nice seeing we've got yet another new Heinlein-but it does have an awful lot of spaceships.

I agree that A Million Open Doors does have teleporters and AI, but to some extent, it's also a book about economics (and about the pernicious effects of Romanticism--but enough about me). The Man Who Pulled Down The Sky starts with that wonderful introduction that's all about compound interest, and maybe that makes it a good choice, but it's also kind of a harsh book.

Based on the one Connie Willis I've read (Bellwether), I agree she's a promising choice. Serge's suggestion of Caves of Steel is really sharp, too.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think a big, varied collection of short fiction might be best, if you think one more book he doesn't like could be the last straw.

Bruce,

I don't think The Syndic is in print, which is a damn shame.

Madison Guy,

I was just thinking about writing a nice long rant about Steven Hunter's dumb-ass piece on Sicko, beginning with home much I liked Hunter's Hot Springs.

#224 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Terry Karney @ 222:
... and the amusing quirk that B&W film is digital, where digital B&W is analog, but I often digress ...

Well, if you wouldn't mind digressing a bit more -- could you unpack that? 'Cause by itself it doesn't make sense, and I'm curious what you mean...

#225 ::: embee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:08 PM:

The character Liz on the Roswell TV series was not played or cast Latino – but in the books by Melinda Metz, that character was Latino, I believe. Her name was Liz Ortecho, not Liz Parker. That series was curiously lacking in Latinos, considering it's set in New Mexico.

Serge@127: my grandfather would take us kids down to the cool basement to escape the hot and humid Missouri summertimes; that was where he stored the apples – he'd cut slices, salt them, and hand them around. Mmmmmm.

and, since I hail from Alaska, I must add:

Alaskan salmon?
Dress with mayo, lime, and dill
Grill for twelve minutes

#226 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Koureidos,

Perhaps Richard Morgan's Market Forces- near future marketing meets war. Also well-reviewed is RM's just released, mid-near-future Thirteen / Black Man (latter is the UK name).

But I think that novels aren't necessarily the best way to introduce SF.

You can spend hours reading one novel, and in the end discover you hate that author and have lost those hours.
OR
You can spend hours reading representative stories from many authors, and then find which of those authors knows how to grab you.

That's why I've loved my Asimov's subscription. I've found at least 75% of my current favorite authors first through their short stories, then through their novels.

You mentioned one Dozois anthology-- is it his "Best of the Best" anthology that recently came out?

Maybe a Cramer & Hartwell anthology is better: its size won't look as intimidating. I just finished their 12th. Very good, although #11 might be easier for beginners. #12 struck me as having more 'for experienced SF readers' stories... (and Robert Reed's sharp knife of story).

Or, hey, go to the Archive (Internet Archived) for Sci Fiction. Pick out the best of the classics and the new stories there.

If your husband reads a best-of anthology and none of them do it for him, well, then you know he had a fair chance.

#227 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:22 PM:

embee - maybe in your part of Alaska! In my part

Worcestershire, butter,
brown sugar (not much) on top.
grill the fish in foil

:)

#228 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Peter Erwin: Here's how it unpacks.

B&W negatives work by blocking light from the paper.

When one exposes the film, the amount of light which hits the emulsion, and causes the silver to aggregate.

Where there is a grain/aggregate of grains, one has a "bit" of blocked light, when making a print. Because of flare, and diffusion, that builds up to shades of gray.

Digital uses an array of RGB pixels (excluding the Foveon, which layers them, so each pixel is has one of each color).

By mapping them, sampling them (and then resampling them some more) they come up with a color value for the pixel when the image is presented on the screen/for printing.

To make a B&W image from that file, each color is assigned a grayscale value, analogous to what that shade would be if it were photographed with the software designers, "ideal" black and white film.

Depending on what the program does, you may be able to move the RGB values of each pixel (as if you were playing with the contrast grade of the paper/film), or you might have to just use a gross control ("contrast").

#229 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:31 PM:

Susan, #132: Let me give you a bit of the background context. I live in Houston, which has a very high Latino population, and I seem to be defining it, personally, as "people of Mexican and/or Central/South American ethnicity." We just had our 4th annual local SF convention, and my partner and I were discussing the facts that (1) there were significantly more black people in SF fandom than there used to be -- when I started going to cons 30 years ago, there were I think 3 black fen in the entire region -- and (2) there were significantly fewer Latino fen than black ones. Both groups are under-represented in SF fandom, but IME Latinos more so than blacks.

From there, the conversation went to, "So what, if anything, can we do to make the con more inviting to the Latino community?" And that brought up the observation that Latinos don't seem to have much opportunity to see people like themselves in either literary or media SF. So I thought I'd throw the topic up for discussion here and see what emerged. I'm sorry if I've inadvertently stepped on toes.

#230 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Me/Peter Erwin:

I forgot to mention that the gray is approximated from the wider color spaces (usually sRGB or Adobe RGB) into a mere 256 values.

Which is why they tend to be flat, as initially created, and why one wants to desaturate, not "convert to grayscale" (because the desaturation leaves you with independant channels to adjust things.

#231 ::: embee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:36 PM:

tania@227:

ooo! that sounds good! I'll try it tonight on some of TJ's Norwegian salmon kabobs ("the best part of the salmon" they call it -- it's the fatty underbelly, salmon toro, almost).

#232 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:37 PM:

Peter Erwin @ 199

it's Tokugawa, not "Toronaga"

And I knew that; my subconscious must have decided to have a little joke with me, so it crept out while I was looking the other way and swapped names on me, making me look very foolish.

That's not a small nit; that's reporting events from another universe; thanks for catching it.

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:51 PM:

embee @ 225... That'd make me associate apples with good feelings too. I don't smoke, but I love the smell of a pipe,in spite of the stink, because of my own granddad.

#234 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 07:52 PM:

embee @#231: It is good. I don't like dill (except dill pickles), so I have to come up with other flavors for my fish.

My gravlax is usually made with lemongrass and ginger, or cilantro and citrus.

Between the biscuits and the salmon, I'm getting hungry!

#235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Tania @ 234... I'm getting hungry!

Me too, but all I have available for supper tonight is a can of chili, what with my being a bachelor and car-less.

#236 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:08 PM:

John @ 223: The more I think about it, though, the more I think a big, varied collection of short fiction might be best, if you think one more book he doesn't like could be the last straw.

That's exactly what I think, yes. I think you and Kathryn @ 226 have it right. I should give him a number of short stories, and see what he thinks.

Kathryn, my Dozois anthology is several years old...let me run and check...Okay, I dive in for that and come up with Hartwell's Science Fiction Century. Not sure where the Dozois got to, but the library is a vortex right now, so it should get spit back out eventually.

The Hartwell should do, no?

#237 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:24 PM:

kouredios... I recently read a review of anthology Science Fiction Hall of Fame, which gathers short-fiction classics from before 1965, when this book was originally published. It is my understanding that Tor Books has re-released it.

#238 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:50 PM:

kouredios @#137: Dune, mentioned up above, is awesome. I didn't read it until about 5 years ago, because I thought it was a total boy book. All of my geek-guy friends in high school would discuss it endlessly and it sounded dry as toast. I was shocked to discover that it is, in fact, chock-full of of amazing & powerful female characters, and is just all around one of the best things ever written. LOVE that book.

If you really want to inflict hard SF on him, I'd give him Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky, which is full of interesting concepts and also tells a great twisty story. Vinge is particularly adept at writing alien characters who are truly alien, yet are still people.

For someone who wants to dip a toe in, I'd recommend The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. It's fun, entertaining, and its concepts are still fresh--it's not one of those older books that's all about some technology that everybody now has. And it's structured as a thriller, so it goes down easy.

#239 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 08:55 PM:

I'm delurking to share another Alaskan salmon marinade recipe (in the sense that the cook is Alaskan and so is the salmon, not that the other ingrediants are regional), makes enough for a couple of pounds of fish if you put the fish in a ziploc bag and squeeze the air out:
The juice of an orange
juice of a lime
splash of tequila
one chopped up jalapeno (adjust chile content for the audience)
a handful of snipped up fresh cilantro
salt and fresh ground pepper

Marinate for a couple of hours and then grill/broil/bake and serve with a fruit salsa.

Lime-ginger marmelade also makes an excellent glaze for baked fish.

#240 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:02 PM:

Lance @125: Wow. Printing that out and putting it on an index card in the kitchen for, like, *ever.* Cheers also to Rikibeth @143, for clarifying even more of the science. The entire conversation has been very helpful--thanks everyone!


#161 ::: Linkmeister ::: ...Now, if you had slathered that butter on white bread and poured a tablespoon of sugar onto it, then added another slice of white bread to make a sandwich...

Add cinnamon for a substance that will transport near-bodily many a grown adult back to their grandmothers' kitchens. (Well, that's the effect on me, anyway. I'm sure I can't be alone. I always had that open-faced though. The tablespoon of sugar is no exaggeration.)


I have nothing useful to add to the SF discussion at current, but I did just pick up a couple Red Dwarf novels from a neighborhood charity thrift store. I eagerly await the fun.

#241 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Ah, Nicole @ #240, the cinnamon and sugar was specifically for toasted white bread in our household, but you're right; it would take me right back.

We did have other varieties of bread besides Wonder in our house, honest.

#242 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Mm, bread-butter-sugar. Lots of butter, lots of sugar, the way my mother made it--she said she'd never been allowed to make it right when she was little, so she always gave us at least 1/8" sugar on ours. Because that way, when you run it under the broiler, it makes a crust.

#243 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:25 PM:

Terry @ 230 - I've had good results by turning on 'Preserve Embedded Profile' for greyscale in Color Management before switching color spaces, fwiw.

#244 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:37 PM:

Cinnamon sugar or honey on either bread and butter or buttered toast. Brown sugar with bread and butter, not toast, but it's going to be a quarter inch of brown sugar, just because it doesn't work in thin layers (lumpy, always).

#245 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:37 PM:

julia: I suspect that's a colorspace desat. Since I don't use CS@ for much these days (and always found PS to be PTA) I've not tried it.

I'll noodle around with it when I next go into CS2 (for spot removal, and printing), and see how I like it.

#246 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 09:50 PM:

kouredios @236,

Part of my advice is to not start him off with "experienced reader SF" SF-- Alistair Reynolds, say.

I think that older SF can often fall into that category. Some is great, of course. But classic-to-us won't always read well to people not experienced in SF.

We- SF fans- are used to old SF's tropes and stylings. It has a mustiness that we don't notice, but if you aren't used to it, it could be a bit offputting.

#247 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:09 PM:

If you want an SF writer whose work had lots of Latino characters how about Lucius Shepard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Shepard

Also part of the following group blog:

http://community.livejournal.com/theinferior4

#248 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:18 PM:

[oops on the post to OT83]

Any experts on working with leather here? I have an (urgent) question about water damage and leather.

Imagine you dropped a leather coat into the pool- what would you do?
To be more specific:
Chlorinated water dampened snakeskin leather: how should I dry it / protect it?

My late aunt had a 14-foot python snakeskin that she'd stored badly: it had mildew stains. When I asked about how to clean it, Abi advised me to freeze then sun it- repeating 3 times- as a way to help with the mildew.

Today- just now- it fell into the pool. (I had put weights on it, but then came cats and wind.). I've patted it damp, but am at a loss as to what to do next. Neutralize the chlorine? Keep it flat? Roll it tight?

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 246... True, we who have been reading SF for a long time may not notice the mustiness of the old stuff. On the other hand, I think someone once said the more modern stuff is so dependent on those tropes that it is nearly inaccessible to people not familiar with those traditions. I don't know that this is true as most of the people I know either don't read or they have been reading SF since they learned to read.

#250 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:30 PM:

Andrew, #46, unless you have an odd pronunciation, "motherfucker" is only four syllables.

Greg, #147, Star Wars was first told as The Seven Samurai. The westerns were intermediate forms.

kouredios, if you want an anthology, how about one of Patrick's Starlights?

#251 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:32 PM:

@238 Mary Dell:

I loved _Deepness_, too, but I think it drew on a fair bit of underlying SF context. He never explains what a ramscoop is, or what black crypto might be, or even how long a Ksec or Msec are. (But after you do the calculation once, they make sense, and you could infer them roughly from context.) You're kind-of expected to get and accept the idea of widespread colonization of planets, coldsleep, time dilation, etc. Also, the human parts happening in the present are mostly pretty dark, though the history told through flashbacks is amazing and deep. And I want to meet Sherkaner.

#252 ::: Mia ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:33 PM:

So am I incorrect in thinking that the characters of Carlos and Maria (and their parents) in Alan Steele's Coyote books are Latino. The names suggest it of course, but that could just be "Americans of Hispanic heritage".

#253 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:37 PM:

fidelio #85:
My rule of thumb for fish is that the fresher & the better the quality, the less you should do to it.

If you like raw fish, sashimi is a good start.

For the cooked version, my stock recipe (such as it is) is blackened Cajun-style:
1. Rub Cajun seasoning onto fish.
2. Sear on a medium-to-hot frypan until blackened. Salmon is an oily fish, so you shouldn't need to do more than to wipe the pan with an oily paper towel to grease it; it shouldn't stick.
3. Turn over once to cook the other side. If you are not adverse to it, I'd take it off while still rare & rest it for a minute or two before eating.

I like having it with boiled new potatoes & grilled asparagus.

#254 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 10:50 PM:

Marilee, true, but there's always "that motherfucker" and "you motherfucker", to say nothing of "motherfucking shit". We'll always have Parris Island.

I think I need a cigarette and a copy of Time Enough for Love.

#255 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Latino characters:
Memory of Fire (George Foy)
Clade (Mark Budz) (Crache looks likely but I haven't read it.)

I'm amused to note that Garcia (perhaps the most obviously Latino author in our field) has been writing English and Russian(?) romances.

Serge@249: I'm not convinced that current SF has too many tropes for a neophyte to read; I'd rather recommend something new than something old and badly written -- and IMO a lot of the classics just aren't written very well by today's standards.

That being said, I would \not/ recommend Accelerando -- I'd expect it to be dizzying for someone new to the field. Almost any other Stross, but not that (and perhaps not Glasshouse).
I'm a Cherryh fan; I wouldn't recommend most of her work to someone who sounds less than open to the alien -- but Merchanter's Luck is a great story. It does require some ability to extract backstory, which might or might not exclude it. I'd like to suggest Pratchett, but I'm blanking on where to start \and/ P may be too British for some U.S. tastes. If he likes SW-type space opera you could try Doyle&Macdonald's Mageworlds books -- they have some of the same sensawonda without the this-doesn't-make-sense jolts. (Note that publication order on these is \not/ chronological order, but IMO is a good reading order -- but the first published was a substantial trilogy.) If kouredios's husband's politics aren't rigorously conservative he might like Brunner's The Shockwave Rider and The Stone that Never Came Down (OOP but probably findable).

#256 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Serge @127:
Ever tried salt on fresh pineapple?

Kouredios:
SF book recommendations that have gone over well with non-SF readers include Connie Willis ("To Say Nothing of the Dog" & "Passage"), Mary Doria Russell ("The Sparrow" & "Children of God") & Nancy Kress ("Beggars in Spain"). They are (or can be read as) stand-alones; no need to expend the effort reading a whole series.

The Gardner Dozois Year's Best SF anthologies are superb. I'd go with both Best of the Bests, one has short stories, the other, novellas/short novels. It's a good taster; exposes the reader to a wide range of the GOOD STUFF with least effort.

I would also recommend Charles Stross' Accelerando , but while exploring economics among others, is probably not for someone new to the genre. I also liked Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle ("Quicksilver", "The Confusion" & "System of the World") which is historical but has a SF sensibility & examines our roots. "The Confusion" in particular explores the origins of current day economic practices. Come to think of, "Snowcrash" , also by Neal Stephenson might not be a silly suggestion; lots of action, interesting speculations, and also an easy read. It's really hard trying to find a fit for someone else's tastes.

Carol@203:
Guilty pleasure? Butter & sugar was a standard sandwich filling when I was growing up.

ethan@208:
I went to a mainstream Writer's Festival to see Mary Doria Russell with some friends. "The Sparrow" had been marketed as Mainstream Literature, so us SF fans felt out of place.

#257 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Absolutely off topic, but I want to thank whoever in the previous thread recommended Shadows Over Baker Street. I was a passionate follower of the GD once upon a time and the idea of a Doyle-Lovecraft mashup tweaked my interest so I picked it up on my way home...and it was FABULOUS.

Especially Neil Geiman. Does anyone know if he crosses dimensions on purpose, or if his brain just strolls over while he sleeps? His "A Study in Emerald"...let's just say I went "huh?" about a third of the way in, and was laughing outloud by the midway point... It was just exactly what I didn't expect, but the kind of thing that seems to bring out the "of course" reaction. You know, the one where you close the book in utter contentment and sigh "of course," because you had no urge to change anything?

#258 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:22 AM:

Mary Dell #238: Duh! Of course Alfred Bester should be the go-to guy to turn anyone on to science fiction. That's so smart.

Soon Lee #256: If what I remember from The Sparrow is accurate, I find it hard to imagine that it was marketed as mainstream...isn't it largely about alien linguistics? And set almost entirely on another planet? I guess the Jesuits make it not-SF, somehow?

I know that firmly SF stuff gets marketed to the mainstream pretty regularly, but my recollection of that book was that it was pretty deep skiff-stuff.

#259 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:43 AM:

ethan@258:
Yup, marketed at the mainstream. It was one of Russell's talking points. No spaceships or BEMs on the cover, sold in bookshops in the mainstream section (not in the SF section), that sort of thing. The festival we went to where she spoke was advertised accordingly too.

So there we were, awash in a sea of literati, feeling very fish out of water indeed. Russell herself freely admitted that it was SF. There was a discussion and in a way it was refreshing to listen to a bunch of mainstream readers discuss a work of SF, examining tropes SF readers take for granted de novo.

#260 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Kouredios: Musing on SF novels which knocked my socks off (although I do think the "start with short stories" suggestion is a sound one)... and bearing in mind that I'm a characterization bug, so good characters will make me forgive many flaws:

C.S. Friedman writes outstanding hard SF (to date, I've been less impressed with her fantasy work). In Conquest Born, The Madness Season, and This Alien Shore all make my Desert Island Books list.

I second the recommendation for Doyle & Macdonald's "Mageworlds" series, and also the suggestion that they be read in publication order. In particular, the 4th book published is a prequel that will seriously spoiler the original trilogy if you read it first, by giving away one of the main plot twists.

Am I the only person here who was seriously disappointed in Barnes' Earth Made of Glass and the third book in that trilogy, which was so forgettable I can't even remember its title? I'd been so looking forward to the next stage in the Million Open Doors saga, and it was just... flat. But that first book I'd recommend without hesitation -- especially if he likes economics, because a good chunk of it is about what happens when an unrealistic economic ideology runs smack into an external reality that it can't control.

Kim Stanley Robinson's Years of Rice and Salt, if alternate history is something that interests him at all. It's probably the most ambitious work in that field that I've encountered.

Vernor Vinge's Marooned in Realtime is a classic murder mystery, just in a slightly exotic setting. If he can deal with the Death Star, he should be able to deal with bobbles. :-) (If he likes the mystery genre at all, I can provide a good many more such crossovers.)

Allen Steele's The Jericho Iteration is a stand-alone near-future story with a very cinematic feel -- I kept seeing the movie in my head while I was reading it. And while I think the exact timeline is dated at this point, the events postulated could still occur very easily.

I'm sure I'll think of a dozen more as soon as I post this.

If you'd like further details about any of the ones I've mentioned here, feel free to e-mail me.

#261 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:01 AM:

albatross @#251: good point about the assumptions in Deepness. I kind of like that he skips over the basic stuff and just focuses on the really interesting technology, but I've been reading hard SF forever, so to me "ramscoop" is like when they say "hyperdrive" on TV. I guess it wouldn't be for a newbie!

OTOH, at least he doesn't have his characters fling obvious lumps of exposition at each other every time they sit down to a meal. I just finished reading two very good books (Bios by Wilson and Old Man's War by Scalzi) that contain such a meal. At one point Wilson even mentions that his "listening" character isn't interested in the exposition, just to make extra sure that I notice the pill I'm swallowing. (Bios is a lovely book, though...really haunting. This is one of its few imperfections. OMW is terrific, too, in an entirely different way.)

#262 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:23 AM:

Recommended SF: I'll second the suggestions for Bester (tho' I prefer The Stars My Destination over The Demolished Man) and Stross (especially the Merchant Princes books).

I'll also throw in Robert Sawyer's name for consideration: A lot of his books are fairly near-future, with some interesting speculations on the effects of the sfnal changes presented. (Sometimes I think he doesn't project those effects as far as he could or should.)


moe99 @ #221, re Provigil: I've been taking the drug for about the last three weeks. The effect has been... extraordinary. I hadn't realized just how much of my waking hours, for literally years, had been spent in a foggy state.

Short-form background: I've been getting along on five to six hours sleep per night for many years -- there are reasons why so few, but that's for the long-form explanation. Over the last year, I seem to have finally reached an age -- mid-50's -- where my body can't cope with this regimen anymore. I'd been having "mini-blackouts" -- periods of nodding off for, sometimes, a fraction of a second or a second; not much, but enough, when you spend the majority of your workday behind the wheel of a truck, for it to be, ummm, just a bit alarming, not to mention dangerous.

With the Provigil, the drowsiness and mini-blackouts are gone. I can be fully alert and attentive for the first time in... a long while.

This doesn't make Provigil a wonder cure for me. It keeps me from being drowsy during its effective period (about fifteen hours), but I can still feel, deep in my bones, that I'm still physically tired (make that tired; no, make that TIRED) from years of insufficient sleep. So what I really NEED is a change of lifestyle that will allow me to get a normal amount of sleep.

Which may well mean that, rather than retiring from the Postal Service as planned about three years from now, when the mortgage and other debts are paid off, I may end up retiring shortly after I'm eligible in September, and look for a part-time job to be able to keep servicing the debts and obligations.

#263 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:26 AM:

wrt Hispanic/Latino characters in SF, there are several English-language fantasy novels with various amounts of (pseudo-)Iberian flavor: GG Kay's The Lions of al-Rassan, the Rawn/Roberson/Elliot collaboration The Golden Key, and to a small extent (mostly names and bits of conlang) MZB's "Darkover" series.

#264 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 03:46 AM:

kouredios: I'd second Peter Erwin's recommendation of Robinson's RGB Mars trilogy, but even more so, I'd recommend his newest trilogy, starting with Forty Days of Rain. It hypothesizes what would happen if environmental collapse hit us suddenly and catastrophically, rather than gradually. It is set in contemporary America, and the divergence doesn't happen until almost the very end of the first book, so your husband would have a lot of time to get into the story before his suspension of disbelief would be tested.

#265 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 07:47 AM:

Taking advantage of the openness of the thread...

I'm in Amsterdam! W00t!

The international move (performed in stages) is underway. And, for this weekend, I can has cat*.

-----
* as long as I am clear that I can NOT has flat; I can borrowz flat if I feedz her. Otherwise, well, houseguest has a flavr.

#266 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Yay Abi! Best of luck for the rest of the move.

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:02 AM:

abi @ 265... Congrats to Our Woman in Amsterdam!

#268 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:06 AM:

Soon Lee @ 256... Ever tried salt on fresh pineapple?

Alas (or thankfully), my Days of Salt are a thing of my foolish youth. Along with the lard-and-brown-sugar sandwiches.

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:12 AM:

CHip @ 255... I don't know if modern SF has too many tropes for the newcomer. After all, I am not a virgin reader, having been at it for almost 50 years (if you include the years where I apparently would stare at the newspaper's funnies before I knew how to read). This is something someone had written in an SF publication, but I don't remember where. I mentionned this because I was curious about what others think of its assertion.

#270 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:16 AM:

Marilee @ 250... Star Wars was first told as The Seven Samurai. The westerns were intermediate forms.

And where does Battle Beyond the Stars fit in there?

#271 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:19 AM:

I loved A Million Open Doors too. I was deep in the middle of my master's report, which I was writing on, you guessed it, the troubadours. I couldn't sit still for the joy of it--he got the troubadours' personalities exactly right. Then I read the second one, and I've never touched a John Barnes novel since.

#272 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:43 AM:

kouredios - I'd like to second the recommendation for the Red Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson for your husband. It's one I've given to non-SFers in the past with good results. It has really great science, especially geology, that would appeal to a Stephen-Hawking-reading type person. It has great politics, which includes the above-mentioned really interesting economics. It has great characters.

#273 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:53 AM:

Lee,

I was somewhat disappointed with The Merchants of Souls, but thought Earth Made of Glass was better, in its way, than A Million Open Doors--it was sort of the same story with a different ending, and I like that kind of variation on a theme. I have to take issue with your description of Utilitopia as having "an unrealistic economic ideology", though--it was perfectly realistic and functioned fine for a long time. It just wasn't able to resist superior force.

Bruce Arthurs,

I'm liking Robert Sawyer's books one by one, though I'm noticing a bit of sameness about them when I think about them as a group. There are worse things to say about an author.

#274 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:53 AM:

The Mars trilogy is awesome! Great story! Great characters! Great science! Great political...er...stuff! Great worldbuilding! Sensa-sensa-wunda!

For serious, those books are about as perfect a refutation to Cliff Burns's irritatingly-phrased claims as there can be. They have everything anyone could hope for, except more so, better, and impossibly well-balanced.

#275 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 09:15 AM:

I would absolutely not recommend The Stars My Destination. I've been reading SF for most of my life, and when I picked Stars up earlier this year, I was surprised that such a short book could leave me feeling like I had to slog through it. I finally gave up about 3/4 of the way through, because time's too short and the to-read pile's far too large. Clearly mileage varies greatly here, but if we're talking someone who's not interested in the genre in the first place....

Sawyer might not be a bad idea; I recently lent Mindscan (the only of his I've read thus far) to a not-especially-SF-inclined co-worker, and she loved it. I also second the recs for Willis and Bujold; I don't think I've forced Willis on people before, but Bujold is always successful IME.

(As it happens, I'm about 2/3 of the way through Red Mars for the first time. It's holding my interest enough that I expect to finish, but not enough that I imagine I'll be looking for the others. Partly because I don't find any of the characters likeable or interesting--except perhaps Nadia, who's barely around at this point--but mostly because all the geology and descriptions of the landscape bore me. I can, however, see how people with a different set of interests would enjoy this MUCH more easily than I can with the Bester.)

#276 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:03 AM:

(240, etc): Cinnamon sugar, yes! On buttered toast (with lots of butter to hold lots of cinnamon sugar). When I was a kid, we had a sugarbowl full of pre-mixed cinnamon sugar, ready to go. Yum! It reminds me of cinnamon rolls.

#277 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:04 AM:

The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts
Announcement: The Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for an Essay Not in English
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007
The IAFA is proud to announce that the annual award given for best essay not in English has been officially renamed The Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for an Essay Not in English. Jamie taught German at Virginia Tech and his fantastic artwork has been the cover art for books by Michael Jasper and Michael Bishop. Jamie's impressive electronic portfolio can be found at http://www.memory39.com/.

#278 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:41 AM:

I was told by an attorney from Los Angeles (a fellow who was born in Mexico and became a naturalized American citizen about 25 years ago), that the term 'hispanic' was invented during the Nixon administration and when used in the hearing of many who might fit the term, is considered an insult. As a result, ever since, I've tried to avoid use of that word.

#279 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:52 AM:

re: cinnamon toast

We always made this with raisin bread - usually not with the white frosting as this did terrible things to the toaster. Our family had a dedicated glass bottle (formerly for spice) with blended cinnamon and sugar. I can remember my mom dumping in some of each, putting her palm over the black metal perforated top (rings of little holes) and shaking it. She would then let my sister and me peek at the henna-type pattern on her hand, though she wouldn't have made that comparison.

Friends who grew up on the land made headcheese when they slaughtered pigs. There was a religious war (though both sides of the family were staunch Lutherans) over whether the slices should be served with or without white Karo syrup. Both spouses agreed on the Wonder Bread. Velda was the one who introduced me to pie crust made with lard.

My mom came to visit once and was rooting around in the refrigerator. I asked what she needed, and she was looking for cheese spread (a.k.a. Cheez Whiz) to put in her celery. There wasn't any. She kept looking, knowing we couldn't possibly run a household without it.

#280 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Terry@222: Greg: If I could code perl, I'd love that little cheat. I suppose I'll toss that at my father, and see if he knows someone who can/how to do that.

Lemme check with my friend and see if it's possible to use a scanner for that. I assume it's comparable. But I don't know exactly how that photointensiometerthingy actually works. Would I average over an area? The scanner might have some compression, color conversion, whatever, in it too.

Maybe I could put some perl code together for you. If you're not in a hurry.

#281 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:01 AM:

We'll always have Parris Island.

and sand fleas...

#282 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Carol: Celery with cheese spread? How odd! :) We always used peanut butter. PB is good on carrots, too.

Thank you for reminding me of the term 'cinnamon toast'. It wasn't coming to mind.

#283 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:40 AM:

My grandma and mother would take the leftover scraps of pie crust dough, flatten them on a baking sheet and sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar (from our pre-filled shaker of course) and bake them. Eating one of these treats fresh from the oven was heavenly!

And I can remember a couple of my uncles slathering lard and sugar on lefse, although I preferred butter and cinnamon sugar.

I'm predicting a sudden spike in cinnamon based baked treats for Sunday breakfasts throughout the "Flour-osphere" tomorrow.

#284 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Well, on top of the eminent Mr. Olmos and the says-she's-not-really-Chicana Jessica Alba playing sci-fi marquees all over, we all seem to be forgetting Morena Baccarin; a pretty good argument can be made for Brazilians counting as Latin@. Her Stargate character isn't of any Earth race, or course, but Inara Serra's arguably some projected sort of Latina, if anything.

As to #51: ...I don't think either Filipinos or Latinos identify Filipinos as being Latinos.

That's actually a funny question. I noodled a bit with it here, and I didn't come to much in the way of conclusions. Filipino status, as far as category, is a hard one to pin down.

#285 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:43 AM:

re:282 Mary Aileen
We also used some kind of cream cheese spread to fill in celery - and peanut butter, though not in tandem. I may have to look at that section of the dairy case next grocery visit.

Those Cheez Whiz containers became the juice glasses of most of the families of my childhood. Nebraska did much to keep Kraft afloat (ooh, miniature marshmallows!). And Campbell's soup, and Wonder Bread, and jello. "Sandwich Spread sandwiches". Pickle loaf and olive loaf sliced lunch meat.

I remember figuring out that tuna-noodle casserole could be made with a white sauce rather than a cream soup, and that peas could be served separately rather than in it to become gray-green lumps on future reheatings. The sky opened, the angels trumpeted. Crushed potato chips for the top still are mandatory.

#286 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Terry @ 228:

OK, we have the same basic understanding. I'd just quibble that you seem to be using "digital" to means something more like "direct" or "simple". I.e., the sequence from B&W film exposure to print is straightforward and simple, whereas the sequence from digital-camera exposure to B&W print is rather convoluted. But it's still fully digital: that is, everything from the point where the camera's A/D converter turns pixel voltages into numbers, to the point where the hardware controlling the printer converts numbers into something such as a voltage controlling an ink jet[*], involves numbers and numerical computations.

The deeper irony is that the digital camera pixels are intrinsically grayscale; a purely B&W digital camera would be both simpler and (in the non-Foveon case) higher resolution. But everyone wants a camera that can do color, so...

[*] Or whatever the final process is; I imagine Greg London would know all the details at this end of things...

#287 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:59 AM:

My favorite sentence in Science News this year is still "Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, helps hamsters rebound from a 6-hour clock change such as a long eastbound plane flight produces."

I think it's the rebounding hamsters. Probably made from Amazing Zectron.

#288 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Supreme Court decision on schools and race.

Bush's legacy of running the country into the ground (off a cliff?) is going to be paying interest for the next forty years....

#289 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Carol 279: I love the story about your mother assuming that of course you had to have Cheez Whiz™. A scene in an imaginary movie played in my mind:

[Early morning. Grandmother (in for a visit) rooting through the refrigerator. Teenage gay son (chubby blond with glasses) comes in and watches her for a moment.]

TGS: Grandma, what are you looking for?
GM: Oh, hi Chris! [TGS winces] I can't find the Cheez Whiz™.
TGS: Grandma, I don't think we have any...Cheez Whiz™ :-P.
GM: [laughs] Don't be silly! I just can't find it.

[GM then proceeds to completely unpack the refrigerator. TGS grabs an onion, some butter, and some extra-sharp cheddar from the heap accumulating on the floor, and some flour from the counter top; he goes over to the stove.

DISSOLVE TO GM putting the last few things back in the refrigerator (which is completely rearranged), looking bewildered and unhappy.]

GM: Well, looks like you were right, Chris. [TGS eyeroll] Looks like we're out of Cheez Whiz™.
TGS: I'm sorry Grandma. Will this do? [shows her the rich cheese sauce he's just made; sticks a stalk of celery into it and offers it to her; GM blows on it to make sure it's not too hot, then eats it]
GM: [mouth still full] Oh, Chrissy, [TGS: a moment's homicidal rage...] that's delicious! [...dissolves in a delighted grin]

[Pause as GM finishes chewing and swallowing]

GM: I wonder how come there's no Cheez Whiz™?

[slow zoom/fade on TBS's face]

#290 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:33 PM:

RATS. TBS would have to grab some milk, too, of course. DUHH. One of those things you spot RIGHT after hitting Post.

#291 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Lance 283: My mother did exactly that (except we just had a jar for the cinnamon sugar). I've made those myself, for a special treat. Used a leftover pie shell, which makes rather a lot of them.

#292 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Bruce 287: Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me did a whole riff on that story. "When this news was announced, every flight attendant in the world resigned immediately." And this exchange:

"I wonder if works on Gerbils?"
"Of COURSE it doesn't work on Gerbils! This is HAMSTER research. There's a difference you know! You can't just lump all rodents together in one big heap!"
"Though after the Viagra™ that's how they end up."

#293 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:45 PM:

John A Arkansawyer #223: I'd say that Job and Friday were Heinlein's worst. Job drove me up the wall. If I were introducing someone to Heinlein's work, I'd be more inclined to suggest his juveniles.

#294 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:50 PM:

*sigh* TGS, of course I meant.

It really is imposible to commnet on an errror withuot misspeling somthing int he coment.

#295 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:50 PM:

I may be a bit late, but I don't think these have been mentioned:

SF: Catherine Asaro's (who may, herself be Latino -- the name seems so and her hometown would so indicate) Skolian Empire series seems to be Latino-heavy (sort of) in that the big reveal in the book I have (Catch the Lightning) is that the bloodline that makes the ruling class the ruling class is Mayan descent (and this book in particular certainly stars a Latino woman, so it counts itself as well as being evidence for further examples).

F: Tim Powers seems to use Latinos with some regularity: Angelica Anthem Elizalde of 2/3rds of the Fault Lines trilogy, and Elena Teresa Ceniza-Bendiga of Declare (the later being Spanish rather than Latin-American).

#296 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Fragano 293: Yeah, Heinlein kind of went spung toward the end of his life.

#297 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:07 PM:

I don't think Asaro's Skolian books count. The non-Earth people's ruling class may go back to Mayan ancestors, but they were removed from earth and possibly their own time and universe long, long ago, genetically engineered for various things, and then let loose for a few thousand years. Much more is made of purple hair, red eyes, metallic skin, and other mostly-human alien features.
Catch the Lightning does have a Latina protagonist, so we can add that to the list.

Anne McCaffrey has Latino characters in the Powers That Be books, but they don't come in as much as the Irish and Inuittish-only-I-don't-remember-what-they-are ones. They're in one or two books, not all of them.

#298 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Abi #265: Congratulations, en goede gelluk!

#299 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:10 PM:

BSD 295: Kind of looks that way to me. Huh. I always assumed she was Japanese for some (stupid) reason. Mostly because the name sounded that way to me, in my ignorance.

I know more when I discover that I don't know something I thought I knew.

#300 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:11 PM:

BSD @ 295... Actually, Asaro's father is Japanese-American.

#301 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:12 PM:

eric #214: That sounds very tasty!

#302 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:17 PM:

moe99 #278: What I've noticed is that Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York use 'hispano' to refer to Caribbean Hispanophones such as themselves. Persons of Mexican and Central American origin in other parts of the country tend to prefer 'latino'.

The Franco dictatorship promoted a concept called 'hispanidad' intended to unite all Spanish-speaking country (in Franco's Spain, for example, the 12th of October was the 'día de la hispanidad'or 'día de la raza').

#303 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:18 PM:

In the does-anybody-know-what-book-that-was? dept...

Back in late 1985, I was at some friends's bookstore when I came across a science-fiction book that sounded intriguing, but which, for some reason, I didn't buy. If I remember what the back cover said, it was about an alien on the run on Earth who finds refuge in a Catholic Church. I don't remember who the author was, but I think it was published by del Rey. It might have had a pyramid on the cover. I think.

Does any of this sound familiar?

#304 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:21 PM:

Serge 300: Which makes me even dumber! *bangs head on wall*

I used to know* a guy named David Garcia, who definitely looked Mexican. Latino, right? Wrong. His father was a Spaniard and his mother was Japanese. None of his ancestors ever lived in Latin America at all. Part-Asian looks remarkably like Latino, because Native Americans (or Indians if you prefer) are basically (northeastern) Asian, and Latinos are a blend of Amerind/Native American and European.

*He was at his desk that Tuesday.

#305 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:22 PM:

moe99 #278: What I've noticed is that Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York use 'hispano' to refer to Caribbean Hispanophones such as themselves. Persons of Mexican and Central American origin in other parts of the country tend to prefer 'latino'.

The Franco dictatorship promoted a concept called 'hispanidad' intended to unite all Spanish-speaking country (in Franco's Spain, for example, the 12th of October was the 'día de la hispanidad'or 'día de la raza').

#306 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:22 PM:

About cinnamon toast: it sounds like y'all put the cinnamon on after it gets toasted. I like to butter the bread, put the cinnamon and sugar on, then slide it into the toaster oven. You get a nice little cinnamon and sugar crust. Yum. I still make it -- for myself, the kids don't really like cinnamon.

Abi, congratulations! Amsterdam is a wonderful city. My very favorite painting in the whole world is there.

#307 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:23 PM:

A few random remarks to toss into the mix. I'll be AFK for an unknown time between 8 hours and a couple of days. My local network needs to be upgraded; I now have machines that use three different wireless transport layers: 802.11b, g, and "draft-n", and the old router won't talk to the n, so a router transplant is in order. Depending on how well the new one works out of the box, I will either have a happy network right off, or be relegated to working at the end of a cable until I sort things out.

abi

w00t! You can haz Netherlands.


The discussions of "The Stars My Destination" and Barnes' "Million Open Doors" series prove yet again that taste is much like gang colors; some people are either Crips or Bloods, and that's all there is to it. Me, I love TSMD because it's not straight SF at all; it's Bester's trademark mix of pastiche (of "The Count of Monte Cristo" in this case), Grand Guignol (Mutants! Radioactive Men! Weird Religious Sects!), and invented argot.

As for Barnes, I personally like most of his books. I can see how others might dislike them, or at least some of them, though. He has a distinctive style and worldview which could easily be offensive to me if my tastes were different. But I am curious; no one has mentioned the fourth book of the series, "The Armies of Memory". I liked this better than "The Merchants of Souls", although it is almost as apocalyptic as "Earth Made of Glass".

Guilty foods: as a child I independently invented the mayonaise sandwich: two slices of cheap white bread, a leaf or two of lettuce (a sort of figleaf of respectability; the hardcore version leaves this out) and a lot of Hellman's Mayonnaise slathered on the bread. Has to be Hellman's (Best Foods in the Western Territories), that Kraft stuff has way too much sugar in it. I used to eat these things while reading Ace SF Double Novels all alone in the house on a Saturday afternoon. Ah, Paradise!

#308 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Eek! Sorry for the delayed stereo effect.

#309 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:30 PM:

My brother used to eat "nothing sandwiches"— one slice of (cheap white storebought) bread had Miracle Whip™ on it, the other ketchup. Put them together with, as the name suggests, nothing in the middle.

Enough to be able to say "Yes, I ate," while being virtually free of nutritional value. Everyone but him thought it was disgusting.

#310 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:30 PM:

Lance: I'm predicting a sudden spike in cinnamon based baked treats for Sunday breakfasts throughout the "Flour-osphere" tomorrow.

Well, I'm certainly having one, now that I have a use for the leftover pie crust in my freezer. Thank you!

#311 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:32 PM:

#287 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:59 AM:

My favorite sentence in Science News this year is still "Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, helps hamsters rebound from a 6-hour clock change such as a long eastbound plane flight produces."

An urban legend of some duration has it that orgasm is the best way to reset your biological clock. So perhaps it isn't the erection per se?

#289 ::: Xopher

I love the story about your mother assuming that of course you had to have Cheez Whiz™. A scene in an imaginary movie played in my mind...

You have nailed the feel of this surreal encounter, complete to the refrigerator reorganization, which I hadn't mentioned. And you could have a sequel when she realizes there are not enough juice glasses in the cupboard. You had to keep ALL of the Cheez Whiz containers, and they might eventually require their own cupboard.

Now today's trip down the slope and grocery shopping is definitely going to involve going to look at the Kraft dairy section to see what was in the cream cheese spread for the celery.

Does anyone else remember "The Perry Como Show", sponsored by Kraft, where the commercials had Delicious Recipes you could make with Kraft products, which in the early color days all looked horribly orange?

Please, please, Teresa, come back and tell us about your werewolves! My arteries are clogging from the memories!

#312 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:33 PM:

Mary Aileen 310: They're even better if you butter them before you put the cinnamon sugar on them.

#313 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:37 PM:

#288:

Brown vs. Board of Education overruled. Move along now, nothing to see here ...

#314 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Xopher #296: That's a good way to put it.

#315 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Carol 311: You have nailed the feel of this surreal encounter, complete to the refrigerator reorganization, which I hadn't mentioned.

I know what happens when a mother comes to visit an adult daughter. Or son, which is why I never allowed my parents to come to my apartment when they were here!

#316 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:38 PM:

My mother ate mustard and jelly sandwiches in her youth. Yellow mustard. Strawberry jelly.
We were talking about salt and sweet? I can't even... ew. Just ew.
The worst food I ate in my youth (so far) was Ramen. Lots of Ramen. Canned cheese on crackers, yes. Or Chicken in a Biskit crackers, which are somehow *damp* and will take the skin off your mouth if you eat too many.

#317 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:38 PM:

307/309: On a slightly higher note, my family invented 'meatless cheeseburgers' as a way to use up leftover hamburger buns. They had everything you'd put in a cheeseburger except the meat: cheese, pickle, onion, lettuce, tomato....

#318 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:40 PM:

#260

C.S. Friedman writes outstanding hard SF (to date, I've been less impressed with her fantasy work). In Conquest Born, The Madness Season, and This Alien Shore all make my Desert Island Books list.

Mine too, but I wouldn't describe any of them as "hard SF". IMO, the "hard" term implies that things like telepathy, demons and hyperspace monsters (unless there's a legitimate way they could have gotten there) are Right Out. In fact, I would say The Madness Season *is* one of Friedman's fantasy works - set in space or not.

"Hard" SF implies a limited amount of stretching laws of physics (or none whatsoever), to me. That makes it a pretty narrow category.

#319 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:47 PM:

myself @ 317: Darn it, I forgot to mention the ketchup and mustard! Those are key; without them what you have is just a cheese sandwich, not a meatless cheeseburger.

#320 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:48 PM:

Fragano,

When you say, "I'd say that Job and Friday were Heinlein's worst," does that mean you didn't read the ones that followed? I rather liked both Job and Friday but understand why others might not; still, I thought they were better than what came next.

"If I were introducing someone to Heinlein's work, I'd be more inclined to suggest his juveniles."

Mmm--maybe, depending on the person. I still think Waldo and Magic, Inc. makes a fine introduction. Revolt in 2100, too. Those five stories show off pre-loonietarian Heinlein.

Bruce Cohen,

I really liked The Armies of Memory, even if it wasn't as ambitious as the first two. I was also pleased to see he hadn't written himself into a corner with The Merchants of Souls.

#321 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Mary Aileen 317/319: My wife and eldest spawn are both vegetarians and "Meatless Cheeseburgers" are their menu choice of last resort when we're road-tripping.

#322 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 311... An urban legend of some duration has it that orgasm is the best way to reset your biological clock.

How come the MythBusters never put that one to the test?

#323 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Our Arkansawyer friend above left a comment at my place leading me to Randy Newman's website. While poking around over there I discovered this versified op/ed entitled "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country":

I’d like to say a few words
In defense of our country
Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
Now the leaders we have
While they’re the worst that we’ve had
Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen

Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?

Take the Caesars for example
Why within the first few of them
They were sleeping with their sister
Stashing little boys in swimming pools
And burning down the City
And one of ‘em, one of 'em
Appointed his own horse Consul of the Empire
That’s like vice president or something

That’s not a very good example, is it?

But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
They put people in a terrible position
I don’t even like to think about it

Well, sometimes I like to think about it

Just a few words in defense of our country
Whose time at the top
Could be coming to an end
Now we don’t want their love
And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
But in times like these
We sure could use a friend

Hitler. Stalin.
Men who need no introduction

King Leopold of Belgium. That’s right.
Everyone thinks he’s so great
Well he owned The Congo
He tore it up too
He took the diamonds, he took the gold
He took the silver
Know what he left them with?

Malaria

A President once said,
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean

[To the first eight bars of "Columbia The Gem Of The Ocean"]

You know it pisses me off a little
That this Supreme Court is gonna outlive me
A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too
But I defy you, anywhere in the world
To find me two Italians as tightass as the two Italians we got

And as for the brother
Well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore either

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

#324 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 02:19 PM:

I'm in need of some inspiration:

I installed a 3rd LCD monitor in my office yesterday (returned from semi-permanent loan) and attached it to the mac mini running OS X server (named mini-mimir of course).

I don't really need it as a work surface, so I'm thinking of using it as more of a passive display. But I'm just not getting any great ideas about what to run on it. So, a plea for ideas: What kinds of things would be cool to have running on a passive display in the office?

I've got it positioned upwards and rightwards, out of my immediate concentration zone, so it doesn't really matter how distracting it might be, I'm just looking for cool.

#325 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Lance, they have Matrix screen savers around. Or any nifty screen saver-- Windows has a My Pictures slideshow screensaver, but I don't know if Macs do.

#326 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Peter Erwin: I mean no such thing.

In the path of the light there is, or isn't a crystal of silver salt. It's a binary equation. the density of those ones/zeros is what makes for gray.

In Digital to B&W they manufacture an analog of that situation.

I am not using it to mean direct/simple. The act of making a print from film is far more complex than making one from a file.

Expose the film, recall what you did; soup the film (making such adjustments to correct for things you had to do to get a decent image, or compress/expand contrast).

examine the negatives/make a contact sheet.

Decide what to print.

Figure out what needs to be done to make it look good (what paper, what contrast range, etc.).

Pick the paper, make a test strip. Double check the focus, make the print.

Decide what soup to use on the paper.

Mix same.

Run the paper through the soups.

Color is the same, but harder (in part because color papers don't come in the same variety of contrast grades; and the ability to play with soup time/temp is less; dye clouds not behaving in the same way as silver salts, and the masking layer making it harder to "read" a negative).

The print from file process is.

Take the picture.

Look at the files, choose the one you want to play with. Play with it (this is analogous to exposing paper).

Print it.

So it's not an issue of complexity that I'm saying is the difference between the two.

It's a direct binary state for B&W, and an analagous state for digital B&W.

Does the information the program is using get stored as one or zero? yYah. But that's so it can approximate something else.

That's why I say the irony of it is that the digital is analog, and the other (which seems to be) is "digital".


#327 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 02:46 PM:

John A Arkansawyer #320: No, I didn't. Masochism is not one of my vices.

#328 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Lance @ 324

Wildlife webcams (that is, cams watching critters)? (There are all kinds of webcams out there: there are some that just watch trains going past their locations.)

---
Another vote for cinnamon-sugared piecrust here!

I've done mayo sandwiches too. Sometimes I put herb mixes or something similar on it.
Then there's the slightly guilty pleasure of the hot-muffin-with-cold-mayo-and-cheese sandwich. (Slice the cheese before putting the muffin in the toaster. Put the mayo and the cheese on one half of the hot muffin. Put the other half on top of the cheese. Squish together. Eat.)
As a kid, I'd do strawberry jam with sweet pickle relish sandwiches. (Now, no.) Didn't work with any other flavor.

#329 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Thoughts on fidelio's salmon "problem" from someone who once fell into a set gillnet:

First, ignore Alice Water's snit about freezing salmon; the best stuff is packed in ice as soon as it's out of the water, and stays at 27F or below until it hits the consumer's cart; "Fresh" salmon held above freezing temps degenerates fast, tastes fishy and then rancid, especially the high-fat Alaskan fish..

What I would do, if such a thing were mine, is take it out and unwrap it while still frozen, find my best knife and cut it into single meal packets, double wrap it in butcher paper and then foil, and then put it in the coldest part of the freezer to thaw and season (except I only season low-quality salmon, stuff bought from the grocery store or the frozen packs in my freezer which got a tiny bit thawed during the storms in December).

My favorite seasoning for oven roast salmon is a rub of equal parts (coarse salt, coarse ground fresh tellichery pepper) dark brown sugar as a rub, with nice smoked bacon and sliced sweet onions on the top side- actually, since I buy whole fish and freeze two pound roasts, the mixture and bacon and onions actually go inside.

Fillets are nice grilled, with a lime-based teriyaki or molasses, lemon, and pepper brush on sauce. Light hand for either with good fish!

Left over plain roast or slow-grilled salmon (and I do mean plain: no salt!) works well in a couple of pasta recipes; the favorite at our house is a lasagna-esque dish with leaf spinach, fresh basil leaves, and a white sauce with good parmesan and a little garlic, layered with fresh pasta and topped with chopped fresh mozzerella with more basil and a little garlic chives or plain chives.

(Which reminds me; the damned rabbits have eaten all my chives again, of both kinds).

High-fat Pacific Salmon needs treated gently; cooking temperatures should be low, and the interior temp for best taste below 135F; the fat has a low smoke point. Take it off the heat as soon as you smell fish!

#330 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 03:03 PM:

No Doctor Who spoilers...

But OMG that last shot is such an incredib;e cliche.

#331 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 03:07 PM:

Also, to close the random bitching about going to Seattle: the traffic north on five was enlivened by a apparently drunk and definitely irresponsible driver of a silver Accord with Utah Plates, who cut back and forth through traffic looking for an opening and was last seen heading toward the Narrows Bridge; there was a report of a wreck in Gig Harbor about twenty minutes later.

Then I got to get out of the car at the top of the NE45th overpass to remove a shopping cart full of some (invisible) homeless person's possessions which was blocking the west bound lane. At noon. Traffic was backed up to the Ave in the time it took me to wedge it against the rail and get back in our car.

Things went downhill from there. Except maybe not the shopping cart.

#332 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 03:08 PM:

Re current government abuses: the latest "Tom Tomorrow" cartoon is a good one!

As for SF recommendations, though I review a lot more fantasy I see some of it now and then. How about Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Retrieval Artist" series? -- crime solving on the Moon, tending toward the dark but full of surprises.

Since I regard the original Star Wars as as much F as SF, some kinds of fantasy might also apply. If he likes history and doesn't mind writers messing with it, Naomi Novik's "Temeraire" series is a possibility. (I don't call it a trilogy, since there's a fourth one due in October.)

#333 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 03:18 PM:

To continue the odd sandwiches subthread, peanut butter and pickle sandwiches are surprisingly good. At least I used to think so; I haven't had one in at least 20 years.

#334 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Me, at 329, missing a phrase "to thaw and season for cooking, later, one at a time."

It is possible that five hours of sleep, five nights in a row, is taking its toll.

#335 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 04:28 PM:

One thought on the SF recommendations... if the recommendee likes nonfiction and biographies, it might be helpful to find books with a nonfiction "feel," or even fiction written in imitation of some nonfiction genre--i.e., history or biography. Off the top of my head the only examples I can think of are A Perfect Vacuum and Imaginary Magnitude by Stanislaw Lem, two volumes of reviews of and introductions to imaginary books. Personally, I love these, but they may or may not work for someone else.

Does anyone have any other examples of this kind of "fictional nonfiction?"

#336 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 04:38 PM:

When we were kids, my brothers and I started eating open-face peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with sweet pickles (Mom's homemade sweet pickles) and popcorn as the top layer. I don't eat them anymore - I prefer my popcorn on the side these days - but at least one brother feeds them to his kids from time to time.

#337 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 04:47 PM:

#313: Brown vs. Board of Education overruled. Move along now, nothing to see here ...

The really horrifying part is that they overruled Brown v. Board of Education by citing Brown v. Board of Education, arguing that because these attempts to remedy racial inequality categorize students by race--y'know, the disadvantaged ones, the advantaged ones, making sure they mix--it's judging them on the color of their skin, not the content of their character, so they're racist.

Two angles on that:
1. Paying attention to black and Latino students' being black and Latino in order to see about getting them better opportunities is racist, because it identifies them as black or Latino in the first place. Boggle.
2. Integrating schools is racist toward white people, because they're getting "judged" for "being white." They're being discriminated against, argued Justice Roberts, based on their race--poor oppressed white kids!--by not being favored by programs designed to offset problems with racially-divided "separate-but-equal" schools. Boggle.

I just--I honestly don't know. I thought last week's Supreme Court rulings were bad, but this...this...and the fact that Roberts justified himself by using Brown v. Board of Education and the words of MLK, Jr...I just don't know what to say. This is just astonishing. It just hurts.


#338 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 04:57 PM:

Carol 311 again: Halfway through my 20 minutes on the elliptical ski machine it occurred to me: maybe "looking for the Cheez Whiz™" was just an excuse for reorganizing the refrigerator.

#339 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 05:08 PM:

JESR @ 334... It is possible that five hours of sleep, five nights in a row, is taking its toll.

Today's young people... I remember 10 years, working 40 hours in a row when my employer acquired a similar company, and we had to merge their computer systems with ours. Or was it the other way, and we were acquired? Can't remember. No matter, didn't hurt me one tiny bit.

#340 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Terry @ 326:

I am not using it to mean direct/simple. The act of making a print from film is far more complex than making one from a file.

[snip]

So it's not an issue of complexity that I'm saying is the difference between the two.

OK, I see where I was misunderstanding you. I was thinking of the abstract complexity of the total process of going from initial exposure to final print. You, understandably, intepret "complexity" in terms of how much time, work, and thought you, the photographer, have to put into the process.


What I meant by complexity was the computational mechanics of generating a grayscale ("B&W") digital image using a consumer-level digital camera. As you're probably aware, a digital camera internally generates three grayscale images, one for each of the red, green, and blue parts of the visible spectrum. In most cases (the Foveon detector is an exception), these images are spatially offset from each other, and so a complex bit of interpolation is necessary to align them. Then there's usually a post-processing stage of anti-aliasing to hopefully remove any moire artifact, followed by packaging up the three (interpolated, etc.) grayscale images into the RGB channels of the color image, and then placing that in file format it's supposed to be saved it (possibly involving an extra stage of compression).

And now you've got a color digital image, so a further step is necessary to convert it to grayscale on your computer. This can be relatively simple, or more complex in mathematical/computational terms (if, e.g., you convert from RGB to Lab color space).

Most of this complexity, of course, has been worked out by engineers and computer scientists over the years, and is nicely automated and hidden from us users.

A film analogy of sorts: It's as if the only kind of film you could buy was color film, so you had to resort to special darkroom tricks to generate a B&W negative or print. But it turns out that the color film, internally, is actually made of three separate B&W films, that are merged in a complicated (but automatic) way during the developing process.

That, for me, is the complexity and irony behind (consumer-level) digital "B&W" imaging. (Part of where I'm coming from is astronomical imaging, which in these terms is all grayscale, all the time, from start to finish. Very simple and direct.)

#341 ::: Janice E. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 05:43 PM:

WRT my friend the would-be novelist: Thanks so much to Sharon M. and Bernard for the link to the page at Neil Gaiman's blog, and to Tania@215 for the list of ML posts of interest. If this info doesn't help the guy, nothing will.

Thanks also to moe91@221 for the link about Provigil. (I take it because the medications I take for intractable migraines make me sleepy.)

#342 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 05:53 PM:

little light @ 333

Worse than that, Roberts's reaasoning was so flaky that even Scalia is complaining about him overruling precedent.

I want to get Roberts and Alito up in front of a committee, preferably the House Oversight or the current Senate Judiciary, and ask them, under oath, if they knew they were lying when they told the previous Senate Judiciary committee, under oath, that they would respect precedent. (#$%^&* committee members, not doing their jobs.)

#343 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 06:04 PM:

Serge @339, I think I've pretty much used up my life's quota for sleep deprivation, though- or at least I'm over my limit for June, 2007 and possibly a bit of July.

In any case, running into walls, literally, and being a less than perfectly pleasant person to live with, all incomplete sentences aside.

So, nap. As women who can order from the Senior Menu at Denny's, I feel I'm entitled to a bit of a kip of a Saturday afternoon.

#344 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Terry, Kip, there's something about the LJ page surrounding that bear picture which I don't like.

Having "horstwessel" as an LJ-username is either excessively rebellious, or a bit too neo-naxi for comfort.

Maybe I'm just too sensitive: I get some of the same uncomfortable feelings about some militaristic SF.

#345 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 07:03 PM:

#337 little light:

Repealing Brown v Board of Education would mean permitting overt racial segregation used to keep blacks from getting a decent education (or mixing too closely with whites), which this decision doesn't do at all. It's great political rhetoric, but not true.

IMO, one fascinating thing about this sequence of decisions is how completely they undermine the idea that the SC is somehow interpreting the constitution, as opposed to just making what decisions they want to make and backfilling some kind of tenuous explanation for it. With no relevant change in the constitution, we've had:

a. Seperate but equal
b. No overt discrimination in schools (but move with "all deliberate speed" on it so you don't p-ss off too many powerful people all at once)
c. Court-ordered bussing to achieve the desired racial mix
d. Affirmative action programs allowed for universities, so long as you don't make the numeric manipulation of choices too obvious.
e. Required race-blind assignment to schools.

All this is from the same constitution. The justices simply voted on what they wanted it to mean, and it magically meant that.

I object to this in a way that's completely distinct from the rightness or the wrongness of the policy that results from each decision. Maybe this is a good policy, maybe it's a bad policy, but I just don't see why counting votes on the Supreme Court is a better way of making that decision than counting votes in Congress.

#346 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 07:21 PM:

#324 ::: Lance Weber asked:
I don't really need it as a work surface, so I'm thinking of using it as more of a passive display. But I'm just not getting any great ideas about what to run on it. So, a plea for ideas: What kinds of things would be cool to have running on a passive display in the office?

Hmm... electric sheep would definitely be neat, if you don't mind its sharing nature. Fluid is also very cool.

#347 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 07:47 PM:

#338 ::: Xopher
... Halfway through my 20 minutes on the elliptical ski machine it occurred to me: maybe "looking for the Cheez Whiz™" was just an excuse for reorganizing the refrigerator.

Well, of course, this woman runs multiple agendas as part of her Assigned Task of Being on the Planet. Nonetheless, had it been possible to restrict her to one and only one concept, it would have been the search for the Cheez Whiz.

And, freshly back from Boulder/Nederland, I can now state that the celery-stuffing stuff in the juice glasses from Kraft was:
1) "Old English" - tarted up Cheez Whiz
2) Pimento-flavored cream cheese
3) Same as #2 but with olive bits
AND the preferred:
4) Cream cheese with crushed pineapple

I had parked the money with Charlie, and forbore to read the fine print of ingredients (wasn't it George Carlin who speculated that "cheese food" was what you feed your cheese?) and this limited investigation was more than enough.

#348 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Carol #147 ...freshly back from Boulder/Nederland...

*waves from Longmont* Hi Neighbor!!

#349 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Four times a week, I have cinnamon toast for breakfast. Without the cinnamon. Somehow the spice is just too much. Can anyone explain why it's supposed to go on top of cappuccino?

My mother, in times of stress, has been known to slice a banana lengthwise, apply Miracle Whip, and then add crushed peanuts. You get a lot of stress teaching 4th grade.

I'm more likely to get a bunch of Zesta crackers, some Tillamook Sharp cheddar, apply slices of the latter to the former, and then broil. If I'm feeling in need of extra spice, I'll add some sliced jalapenos. I usually also broil a few crackers with just butter, as well.

I also make milk toast (buttered toast in hot milk with salt, pepper, and more butter added) and a dish passed down from me mum, eggs a la king, involving hardboiled eggs, fried bacon, and cocktail olives in a white sauce over toast.

#350 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Serge, #270, I've never seen it, but the blurb says it's a Star Wars clone, so I reckon it's also derivative.

Texanne, #271, Exactly! I loved A Million Open Doors, read the next, never read another. (Hmmm, I just found out that the tacky underlining when it thinks words are spelled wrong is not LJ, but my new version of Firefox. There better be a way to turn that off. Damn, they think it's a feature.)

Mary Aileen, #282, I like celery with PB or with cream cheese.

Lance, #283, :::hangs head::: I buy already mixed cinnamon-sugar from the spice section of the grocery store.

Xopher, #304, I'm sorry. I was lucky, all the people I know in those places were away for one reason or another that day.

Xopher, #315, when I was in the hospital with the second renal failure, I told the "friend" who had the key that she should never give it to anybody from my family. Well, one day my father descends on me in my hospital room yelling that he wasn't in my will. How did he know that? The "friend" gave him the key. Security took him out, but when I got home I found out he'd rearranged every single cupboard. I came home with round-the-clock aides for three months and it was really embarrassing to ask them to search for stuff. The "friend" came over and complained that when she gave the key to my step-brother and his wife, they left dirty sheets and dishes for her. The friend who has the key now has resisted my father twice so far, and since Dad is now in a locked Alzheimer's ward, I'm not as worried.

I keep forgetting to tell those of you who like Morena Baccarin that after Firefly and Stargate SG1, she's now on TNT's Heartland. She's a secondary character -- the nurse who's in love with the doctor who is just using her for sex -- and I'm not thrilled with the series. I think I'll watch it again Monday and decide.

#351 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:38 PM:

Steve @#192:
I remember at college the Latino community was fairly politically active. And they were rather upset with the students from South America who did not self identify as Latinos. They identified themselves as Brazilian, Chilean, Argentinian, etc. And were not entirely sure that really had that much in common with students from other countries that just happened to be on the same continent as theirs.

Funny, that. I mean, Chinese/Japanese/Koreans are all happy to be considered the same, and everyone knows that Aussies and Brits and Canadians are just Americans with funny speech patterns. And the Scottish and Irish are really English. Right?

Though I haven't looked into the matter, I have this suspicion that "Latino" is mostly an American concept to lump disparate nationalities together into one.

and @ #195:
[my list] Which seemed to focus exclusively on Spanish.

I stuck the "etc." on the end because it would take too much space to list all the possible variations. For example, how about a nice, pale-skinned, blonde boy who doesn't speak any Spanish and looks remarkably like his mother, who's of Polish descent, but whose first name is Roberto and last name is typically Spanish? No one would pick him out as Hispanic or Latino. But it makes a difference that his father is from Cuba. That would make him some sort of Latino, maybe (half white Latino and half white non-Latino? is there a one drop of blood rule here?) Except that while the father was born in Cuba, but his parents had only just immigrated there from Spain, and the whole family packed up and moved to the U.S. 15 years later, so the Cuban connection is kind of tenuous. Oh, and his grandmother is actually a pale-skinned, red-headed Basque woman, which would technically not be "Hispanic" since Basque is a different kettle of fish linguistically, but who speaks Spanish natively.

But going on with a long list of examples like that would take up too much space.

Lee @ #229:
Let me give you a bit of the background context. I live in Houston, which has a very high Latino population, and I seem to be defining it, personally, as "people of Mexican and/or Central/South American ethnicity."

Ah, Texas. I see, oh yes.

We just had our 4th annual local SF convention, and my partner and I were discussing the facts that (1) there were significantly more black people in SF fandom than there used to be -- when I started going to cons 30 years ago, there were I think 3 black fen in the entire region -- and (2) there were significantly fewer Latino fen than black ones. Both groups are under-represented in SF fandom, but IME Latinos more so than blacks.

I can only think of two possibly Hispanic fans in Texas 25-30 years ago, though neither was going to cons, and it's not clear to me that either would meet your definition of Latino anyway, or that you would have recognized them as such if they were talking to you. How do you know there aren't others who just aren't obvious to you because their name isn't obviously Spanish and they don't speak with an accent or have darker skin?

Anyway, it does make a significant difference culturally what nationalities you are lumping together and whether you are just looking for "things in Spanish" or "people with Spanish surnames" as if all Spanish-speaking cultures (or even dialects) were interchangeable, or if you were specifically looking for a particular latinoamericano culture or what.

For example, he was certainly not Latino (more like Cockney), but Roger Delgado was part Spanish (as in Spain). How exactly this would seem like ethnic representation to Mexican-Americans in Texas is unclear to me, though.

#352 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:40 PM:

Nicole #240, I'm glad my culinary school classes are of use to others too! I'm a baker by trade and I regularly do scones and Danishes, which rely on the butter-encapsulation lift, so it's something I breathe.

Oh, and I can explain a little more about baking powder. One of the original formulas was baking soda and cream of tartar (tartaric acid) -- that actually comes up in the Little House books, after the Long Winter is over, when Ma remarks on how strange it is to have a full pantry to work with, and now that she has "cream of tartar and plenty of saleratus," that being an old name for baking soda, she intends to make a cake.

During the "lab" section of my culinary school program, where we tested recipes with variations in their formulas to get a practical idea of what changing quantities or ingredients did, I discovered that the biscuits made with baking soda and cream of tartar were actually tastier than ones made with the double-acting baking powder we used -- they were a more appealing color (baking soda promotes browning, I forget the chemistry of why) and they seemed to me to have a wheatier flavor.

Most double-acting baking powders are based around sodium aluminum sulfate. Some people are very concerned about the potential health effects of aluminum in the diet. Enough people fussed about it at the cafe where I used to work that I switched to a brand that used a calcium compound instead. The non-aluminum one found most easily at supermarkets (at least in the Northeast) is Rumford; the kind I got from my supplier was called Benchmate, and I think it was produced by Fleischmann's. I don't know if it's available retail. I also didn't notice any change in quality in the baked goods between aluminum and calcium formulas.

However, the Benchmate brand came in an excellent plastic bucket with a lid, instead of the foiled-cardboard canister that the other kind came in, so I was perfectly happy to keep using it to please the few fussy customers. I love reusable buckets!

#353 ::: Elyse Grasso ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:46 PM:

re 285: celery stuffing:
creamcheese, a little milk to thin it very slightly and make it more spreadable, Worchestershire Sauce, sliced green olives. All stirred together.

#354 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:49 PM:

Oh, and while I'm not certain of their nationality (I'd guess Cuban or Spanish with a brief stop in Cuba), there's Lucas Cortez and the entire Cortez Cabal in Kelley Armstrong's "Women of the Otherworld" books. Some scenes in those books press my buttons enough that I physically twitch.

Politicians who think all Hispanic culture or even all Latino culture is the same learn on their first trips to Florida and Texas that this isn't actually the case.

#355 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 10:50 PM:

Marilee 350: I worked there.

The behavior of your "friend" is such that I doubt I could keep the words 'you stupid bitch' from passing my lips (even though I know many people find that word deeply offensive). Those of us with unreasonable families sometimes have a little trouble understanding what it's like to have a reasonable family, but people with reasonable families almost NEVER get what it's like NOT to have one. My parents are mellowing out, thank gods, but I still wouldn't want them making end-of-life decisions for me, for example.

#356 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:01 PM:

Susan at 354, is it a good twitch or a bad twitch? I've only read two, Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic, and I've done my best to keep from picking them apart too much. The books did what I needed them to do, so I'm giving them some time before the evisceration.

#357 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:19 PM:

Susan, 351: Perhaps I'm overtired, but your remarks to Lee seem rather strong. It reads to me as though you're upset with her for not already knowing the answer to the question she's asking.

#358 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Wait, how did I miss this?

#348 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Carol #147 ...freshly back from Boulder/Nederland...

*waves from Longmont* Hi Neighbor!!

I'm waving from Boulder, but you can't see me, because it's dark right now.


Also, am patiently waiting for the Doctor Who finale to finish downloading. Having my fingers in my ears until then. This would also make it hard to see me wave, as I can only use my elbows to do it.

#359 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:36 PM:

Serge@269: Delany took a position crudely summarized as "some people really can't read SF" (in NYRSF 8+ years ago, then in a discussion at WFC). Some of his argument sounded like "too many tropes" (and some sounded like "for 'too many', read 'any'"); I didn't find it especially convincing, but as this was Delany I can't measure how much I was missing.

John A A @ 273: I take exception to your exception. Utilitopia privileged belief over observation (cf the comment about propositions that couldn't be discussed); it started to crumble as soon as it had to deal with enough people who didn't blindly believe. Force was used to counter the mobs deliberately raised by the rulers in an attempt to hang onto power.

I've been finding the recommendations fascinating. I found Robinson's Mars trilogy bloated and ...Salt unfinishably didactic, and have given up on Sawyer. I \loved/ The Stars My Destination -- but I was exactly the golden age (12) when I read it, and can't guess how I'd react reading it for the first time now.
(wrt Barnes -- Earth Made of Glass isn't supposed to be a success story; Barnes is more mature than Reynolds, whose Section M stories also involved ]fixing[ cultures. People who gave up here should try the third one.) I suspect that recommendations without extensive conversation are a crapshoot, especially since it sounds like kouredios needs one perfect book to dent a conviction that SF is unreadable; but at least there are lots of possibly-useful comments on \why/ something is/isn't worthwhile. (Somebody mentioned Powers in the Latino subthread. I've liked everything he did for real publishers; maybe too weird for this case, but he certainly has real people dealing with the hard situations.)

#360 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2007, 11:37 PM:

#332: Yes, that's a good cartoon, but it's not Tom Tomorrow. It's Tom the Dancing Bug, which is a different cartoon by a different author.

#361 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:06 AM:

#348 ::: Lance Weber
*waves from Longmont* Hi Neighbor!!

#358 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
I'm waving from Boulder, but you can't see me, because it's dark right now...This would also make it hard to see me wave, as I can only use my elbows to do it.

Waving back from Peaceful Valley! We can pretend we're all in sight of each other and semaphoring in concert. Isn't the net fun?

Lance, any chance you knit? Nicole and I have been sporadically rabid about Magic Circle socks. Want us to teach you (sneaky laugh)?

You guys (this is now the full collective noun) have gotten Charlie and me into Buffy, which we are watching courtesy NetFlix. We just finished the second season's Inca Mummy Princess. The scriptwriters seem to have had the most fun with that one, so far. Quite a lot more to look forward to, much less Angel and Firefly.

#362 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:25 AM:

JESR @ 343... I think my own sleep deprivation's quota ran out too. Those long sleepless periods were something I could easily do 10 years ago, but not today. Unfortunately, I get the sense that my boss expects me to pull those stunts the way the team's new and younger members can easily do. I hate this feeling that I am getting old and that my past achievements don't matter one bit. I also hate that, because the younger members have kids and I don't, it's ok with the boss if my own personal life gets disrupted by work.

#363 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Marilee @ 350... Actually Battle Beyond the Stars is a remake of 7 samurai and has Robert Vaughn reprising his role from The Magnificent Seven (*). And Sybil Danning in a really tacky futuristic costume. What more could we ask for?

----

(*) He then went on to play a different character in the recent TV seies based on that western. To my knowledge he has not appeared in Pixar's version of the story, A Bug's Life.

#364 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:35 AM:

Serge @ #362, that's the no-kids tax. It's worse if you haven't got a spouse. Then it's the single-thus-no-outside-life tax.

Also, you have no munchkin deductions to claim on the 1040.

#365 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Bruce, #262: Sawyer, how could I have forgotten him? When I picked up Hominids, I'd been reading a lot of fiction that was competent but a little clunky in style. I got to the end of that one, and my immediate reaction was, "Holy shit, that man can WRITE!" It was such a relief to have the writing itself disappear seamlessly into the story; that's the way it should work all the time, but too often it doesn't.

Carol K., #311: I am now officially confused. Isn't Cheez Whiz the canonical "cheese in a spray can"?

Chris, #318: Would you be okay if I just called it SF (to distinguish these books from the Black Sun trilogy, which is classic fantasy) and left the "hard" out? I think that may be the base issue, that I'm using a more or less binary definition and you're using a trinary one. But I'll argue that the scientific background she provides for the vampires and werewolves moves The Madness Season well out of the "pure fantasy" category.

John, #320: I gave up in disgust after The Merchants of Souls, which read to me as if the whole of Earth Made of Glass had been just a cheap excuse to break up Giraut & Margaret so that he could rehash the falling-in-love plot line from A Million Open Doors again. Does the fourth book redeem this in any way?

Oh, and I consider the economy of Utilitopia unrealistic because it was completely artificial and depended on every single factor being under strict governmental control. IMO it wasn't "superior force" that caused the collapse, it was the collision with an external factor that could neither be controlled nor suppressed (not that they didn't try for the latter). The parallels to the current Administration's "making our own reality" behavior are disturbingly apt.

(Side note: I've gotten the impression, from something read I remember not where, that books 2 & 3 of that sequence were written during or shortly after Barnes had himself gone thru a divorce. If that's the case, then perhaps I know what happened with those books...)

Xopher, #355: Those of us with unreasonable families sometimes have a little trouble understanding what it's like to have a reasonable family, but people with reasonable families almost NEVER get what it's like NOT to have one.

Oh, yes. And my family wasn't by any means as bad as a lot of my friends' families -- but people from what I think of as "normal" backgrounds are just boggled when I describe some of the things I was expected to deal with as if they were perfectly common and reasonable and doesn't-everybody-do-that.

Moral of the story: If you know you are going to be incapacitated and you don't want your family being given access to your home/records/whatever, make sure that the person who controls the access is also from an unreasonable family background. THEY will not have the "Oh, it's FAMILY, what could be wrong with that?" reaction.

TexAnne, #357: I'm getting the feeling that I have inadvertently cast myself in the position of the man who comes onto a feminist blog and wants to be taught all about feminism right now. If there's a better way to learn about these things than asking, I'd be perfectly happy with some links (and indeed, I've already noted down several from the responses). OTOH, I don't mind being uncomfortable in order to learn.

#366 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Serge #362 Ah, flexibility. A wonderful concept. Employers love it. We must all show flexibility, the company by bending you out of shape, you by being bent.

They used to have a word for bending, twisting, and warping people. It used to be called "torture". I seem to remember that sleep deprivation was often part of it too. Doesn't happen these days, of course.

#367 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:47 AM:

Linkmeister @ 364... Lest people misunderstand me, I think that employers should make it easier for parents to be able to be there for their kids. What I'm referring is a recent situation. I had spent long hours that whole week, not just for work but also for some home-improvement, but most of it for work. By that last Sunday night, I was finally able to relax so I went to a bookstore, only to have my cell phone go off because of a production problem. So back home I went. I evaluated the situation and realized that my caller was the one who'd screwed up my program. After nearly one hour of not getting any response to my emails from the Boy Wonder, I called my boss, who casually said that he was on the road, not at his computer, because he's a family man and had to take the kids somewhere. Obviously he didn't have time to tell me that before he took off. It's the boss's attitude that really pissed me off.

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:52 AM:

Dave Luckett @ 366... Ah, flexibility... That sounds so much nicer, doesn't it?

#369 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 02:03 AM:

I saw Ratatouille, Pixar's latest. It was so-so. Maybe there's something wrong with me. My consolation is that I probably was the only person in the audience who knew how to say 'ratatouille'. (Yes, it's a very silly-sounding word even in French.)

#370 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 02:52 AM:

Dave Bell: re horstwessel.

I didn't notice that (I was looking at content, and the site owner is onkel hans).

Since the title of the piece seems to be a reference to a napoleonic song (Ich hatt eine Kameraden), the nazi-ish aspects (what with the pointing out that this was regular army, not SS/political unit, and the apparenet time frame (pre-war), I didn't get that vibe.

#371 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:13 AM:

TexAnne @357
It reads to me as though you're upset with her for not already knowing the answer to the question she's asking.

It reads to me like the problem is the question, not the answer.

Essentially, we see a group or groups (depending on how you define them, but I'm gonna invoke Patrick and not focus on edge cases) of people in the world who don't seem to appear in SF. Barring some Vingesque Singularity that takes them all to Geek Paradise and leaves the British colonies* to conquer the stars, where did they all go?

The pre-question is, is it one group or many that we're discussing right now? What do we call them and how do we describe them, to be able to then search for them in the literature?

There is a valid point in here. Let's not lose it to a definitional discussion, much less a flamewar.

-----
* Except British Guyana, which is held in escrow

#372 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:17 AM:

Yeah, Terry, it does seem to be a picture blog, and not overtly political, but some of the people creeping in round the edges...

#373 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:17 AM:

Yeah, Terry, it does seem to be a picture blog, and not overtly political, but some of the people creeping in round the edges...

#374 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:24 AM:

"Standard orbit around Escrow VII, Mr. Sulu."

#375 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 05:47 AM:

I think we have to remember that SF has been written, as a mass-market genre, for over 70 years. It started out in the same world as To Kill A Mockingbird happened in. It's the casual, unconsidered, racism of a world in which a hit song has the line, "pardon me, boy, is that the Chattanooga choo-choo", with it's mix of politeness and treating-as-a-child.

So it's no surprise that characters are written as if they're part of the dominant whitebread culture; even Heinlein's characters have been absorbed into that culture.

It's just a reflectioon of all the other media. And you saw depictions of working-class whites before you saw working-class blacks on TV shows.

And I have this feeling that SF is unusual in that we still seek out the works of the fifties and sixties. Because the alien world is a part of SF, those alien worlds of history are still within our grasp.

So lets be careful not to confuse a different sample space with a different reality. Does looking at the past really tell us anything about what writers are doing today?

#376 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 06:20 AM:

Lee @ 365:
If there's a better way to learn about these things than asking, I'd be perfectly happy with some links (and indeed, I've already noted down several from the responses).

For what it's worth, there are Wikipedia articles on the topics of Latino and Hispanic. These are occasionally confusing, but do give some sense of the complexity and the linguistic background. (I'd start with the "Latino" article; it's shorter.)

This includes some odd aspects that I hadn't really known, such as the fact that "Latin America" was originally a 19th Century French term, part of the propaganda associated with their invasion of Mexico (i.e., "It's OK to be ruled by us, we're fellow Latin-language-speakers, not like those alien Anglo-Saxon types...")

#377 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:51 AM:

abi @ 371... where did they all go?

There were times, when I hadn't given up yet on ST-TNG, when I found myself thinking that, by then, there shouldn't much left of old-Earth racial 'purity'. Then again that might have been just me having a weird moment of optimism about Humanity. Was it Greg Bear who, in his own Star Trek novel, brought up that there might still be white supremacists even by the 23rd Century?

#378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Dave Bell @ 374... "Captain! The finances cannae take it anymore!"

#379 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 08:36 AM:

"Gomez" by Kornbluth, for a Hispanic character.

Posting to ML is a little weird for me, and has been for some time.

If I'm lucky, the preview works, and I get to the post screen fairly quickly. Sometimes it just sits there with the little arrow in the tab going round and round and never gives me the post screen. Sometimes, hours later, it does.

Even if I do get the post screen, it never finishes loading, but if I open ML in a new window, I'll find that my post has gone through.

#380 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:20 AM:

joann (349): It sounds to me almost as if your mother is trying for banana splits without the ice cream. Although Miracle Whip instead of whipped cream is a pretty odd substitution. :)

#381 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Abi #371: That should be British Guiana; Guyana is the name of the territory after independence. I have a sister-in-law (lives in Aberdeen) and a cousin-by-marriage (lives in London) who want to ask about that 'escrow'.

#382 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:40 AM:

Weird thought:

With the counterfeit toothpaste issue I now finally have an answer to the haunting question, "If you're not going to work as an editor, what good does it do you to be an excellent speller?"

(this in addition to the boost it gives one's Google Fu to be able to spell search terms correctly)

#383 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Serge @ 369

I saw a review with that reaction, so you're not alone. They thought the graphics were good, but I got the impression that the reviewer thought there should have been more acid and darkness, to balance the sweetness and light (so to speak).

(The Disneyfication of Pixar?)

#384 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:54 AM:

PJ @ 383... Maybe. Or maybe it's the director, Brad Bird. One thing I liked in the Toy Story movies, in A Bug's Life and in Finding Nemo were the throwaway bits of humor, stuff going on in the background (for example, two swordfish have a swordfight and one sounds like James Mason). Also those were directed by John Lasseter though. Much as I liked Bird's Iron Giant, his The Incredibles left me cold.

#385 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Lee 365: My litmus test for this is what I regard as a funny story: once when I was four, and being very bad, and my mother was in a bad mood too, she shouted "Get out of my sight!" I responded "I don't want to be in your sight. Your sight is icky!"

If they laugh at this, I know they'll get some other things. If they're shocked and appalled that a mother could yell such a thing at a four-year-old, ruh-roh.

Serge 377: Joss Whedon once responded to criticism of a scene with two vampires in a graveyard, with puffs of breath showing (Jossiverse vamps don't breathe), by saying "Funny, I couldn't find actors who don't breathe."

By the same token, it's impossible to find actors who are as racially mixed as we hope (and I think Gene Roddenberry hoped) people will be by then. Using race-blind casting would be one way, but that expects a lot of the audience, and we're talking about television here. I don't think people would be able to deal with a character played by an African-American actor having a wife played by European-American and a born child played by an Asian-American (please note, it's the combination I think they'd have trouble with).

I'd just like to say that I'm what the Ku Klux Klan calls a "race traitor." I am in favor of the complete destruction (as they'd see it) of the "white race." Of course, I'm in favor of the "destruction" of all other races too, but they don't mind that so much. I think the only way we'll get rid of racism is to get rid of the concept of race, and making it too complex for most people (because most people's ancestors come from more than two continents) is the best way to do that.

(I'm proud of my siblings in this regard. The ones who've married have all chosen non-European-descended people for their spouses! I don't think this was their criterion, of course, but we're talking three out of three here.)

Just my $/50.

#386 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:13 AM:

#371 abi and many others:

Lee's question about Latinos in SF lead to this thing that I've seen a lot in discussions of race--we devolve into a somewhat touchy discussion of the right terminology (is it American Indian or Native American, black or African-American?) and kind of lose the interesting question, which still stands and is still interesting.

ISTM that when a person honestly asks a question from a position of good intent, having people get offended by the question suggests that something interestnig is going on there--it indicates a topic that's strewn with mines. It's like when a child asks some an innocent question like "why is Fred brown?" and everyone blushes, instead of just saying something about his family coming from India, where everyone looks like that. Those are indications that you've bumped into a taboo. ("Why is Fred so tall" or "Why is Fred's last name so long" are questions of similar importance, with much less blushing.)

From my perspective, understanding taboos is interesting because they're a way we learn to sabotage our own thought processes.

#387 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:21 AM:

albatross 386: I agree with you. And won't it be a better world when the first time a child asks that question it will be "how come some people are brown and others are pink?"

#388 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:24 AM:

Xopher @ 385... Just my $/50.

To quote the first RoboCop movie... I'll buy that or a dollar!

And you are right on all counts. And yes, this is television. On the other hand, I think Farscape was better at showing different racial types and the variations in between, but then again it was a low-budget thing, not a big-budget mainstream TV show.

#389 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:35 AM:

#385 Xopher:

What was that movie where the main character had a line (in a political speech) like "Go f-ck each other till you're all the same color."

Distinct races will probably fade out as they become less important--essentially nobody in the US is now scandalized when he finds out his daughter is marrying a guy of Italian or Irish descent, and "white" includes both groups without any qualifications. When you freely intermarry, the distinct races go away pretty quickly, as anything other than a few rare edge cases. (I expect that being pure Swedish or Dinka will make you *way* more striking in 200 years.)

#390 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:35 AM:

Oh crap... I just went to imDB.com to check on something about The Day The Earth Stood Still and saw something to the effect that it's being remade. Someone send Gort over, quick.

#391 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:39 AM:

It's not just about having friends with similar (difficult) family backgrounds: it's about having friends who respect your requests. If someone told me "don't give the key to anyone from my family," I might be thinking "my friend doesn't want them to judge his housekeeping/taste in books/find the sex toys" rather than "all her relatives will go through her papers or steal her jewelry" but I would do as my friend had asked. Because if my friend wanted relatives, or a specific relative, to have the key, they could give them one.

#392 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Serge #388: Shouldn't that have been 'I'll buy that for a a dollar'?

#393 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Fragano @ 392... Curses! Typoed again!

#394 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:50 AM:

Vicki (391): Right. My family's pretty normal, but if someone specifically told me, as Marilee told her "friend," not to give access to anyone from her family, I'd honor that, even if I didn't quite get why. If she had just said "don't let anyone in," a well-meaning but clueless friend could think "but of course family is okay; she didn't mean them." As it is, the "friend" disobeyed specific instructions.

#395 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Serge 388: Also it was made in Australia, which led them to have lots of Ozzie and Kiwi actors, including some Maoris (if I'm not mistaken, Lani Tupu is a Maori, but I can't find confirmation online). They also used puppets a lot, which...definitely improves the racial mix!

#396 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Xopher @ 395... They also used puppets a lot, which...definitely improves the racial mix!

I hope JJ Abrams's Star Trek movie doesn't hit on that solution to the depiction of various races. I shudder at the idea of Mister Spock played by Kermit, especially if the latter launches into a song.

"It's a song, you green-blooded Vulcan. You don't analyse it. The point is you have a good time singing it."

#397 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:40 AM:

Serge 396: But they'd agree that it's not easy being green.

#398 ::: Carl Caputo ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:53 AM:

#389, that movie is Bulworth, the lines Warren Beatty's: "All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin' everybody 'til they're all the same color."

#399 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Xopher at 385: I agree that the moronic concept of race held by many Americans needs to be demolished. For many decades now, my response to the question "What race are you?" on various forms has been either "Refuse to state" or "Human." That concept was taught to me very early, not by my parents but in school. The earliest textbooks I read stated clearly that humanity could be classified into 3 races; Caucasian (read, "white skin"), Negro (read, "black skin"), and Mongoloid (read, "yellow skin, slanty-eyed"). This could be found in science textbooks -- books that claimed to deal with "facts." The subtext of these statements was that these differences reflected something important about the 3 groups and individuals in them.

Later textbooks contained more sophisticated variations on a similar them. It was not until people started talking about DNA that the utter falsehood of such classification became completely obvious even to educated people. I wonder how many Americans carry with them the unexamined, barely remembered "facts" written in those early science books.

#400 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 12:17 PM:

#365 ::: Lee :::

Carol K., #311: I am now officially confused. Isn't Cheez Whiz the canonical "cheese in a spray can"?

Of course you're right. This shows how firmly I've been repressing my heritage. In college, John Denver (after the Mitchell Trio and Denver, Boyce and Johnson, but before Take Me Home, Country Roads or whatever it was that threw him to national prominence) gave a concert and my future sister-in-law gave a party he and his backup guys came to. He was great to talk to, all they wanted was to drink, get stoned and get laid. They were out of luck for anything harder than beer in Hastings, Nebraska at that time of night.

She at the height of sophistication as far as we knew, made canapes of Triscuits with Cheez Whiz, but didn't have anywhere close to enough serving trays. She thumbtacked waxed paper to her apartment walls and stuck the munchies to it by the Whiz.

#385 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:03 AM:
...I don't think people would be able to deal with a character played by an African-American actor having a wife played by European-American and a born child played by an Asian-American (please note, it's the combination I think they'd have trouble with).

The movie Cinderella Now was made in Omaha in the mid-80's by the Emmy Gifford Children's Theater. Cindy was black*, the prince was white, one sister was a Nordic blonde, the other Hispanic, the mom white, the Fairy Godmother was black, etc. Cindy was resourceful and quick-witted, and ended up rescuing the prince from the mob. The EGCT had a tradition of mixing up their casts like this. I was the Art Director, and in addition to storyboarding, had to figure how to make Omaha look like New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It was easier than you'd think as both are river towns with a lot of cast iron in the old areas. Omaha has hills, so location shots were imposing with the camera low. Other than that, we repainted and slapped up louvered shutters at each new location.

For the Mardi Gras parade in the Old Market, we schlepped bales of costumes and let whoever wanted from the local crowd be extras. We later found that a great many of the local "working girls" were identifiable. If you knew, how could you complain?

Getting back to Xopher, for its budget it came off very well, but of course no one wanted to distribute it.

#401 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 12:20 PM:

#396: Kermit, being The Star, has to play Kirk. Green or no green.

#394 etc: another characteristic of the Toxic Family Member is that s/he feels fully justified in all abusive behavior towards you, but if you finally get fed up and say "No more. Stay out of my life" s/he acts mortally insulted. It's all, of course, being done for Your Good and you must appreciate the personal sacrifice the other has made because - it's family!

#402 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 401... And Miss Piggy as...?

#403 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 12:52 PM:

#402: Piggy will insist on playing Spock. And if you demur she'll karate chop the crap out of you.

#404 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 12:56 PM:

#360 (Chris): Oops! Thanks for the correction. My mind was definitely on vacation yesterday (though the mouth *wasn't* working overtime), and the heat we're supposed to have for the next week or so probably won't help matters. Just as well that I can veg out and watch a lot of tennis -- if it ever stops raining at Wimbledon. On our hot days, it's refreshing to watch people huddling into their parkas both in Old Blighty and at Giants' games in S.F.

On racial mixing: Despite the racism that's still all too prevalent, the public seems to be getting a lot more open to obvious/interesting mixtures like Tiger Woods and the tennis player James Blake. It's one *small* step forward, even if it requires an equal measure of talent and good looks.

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:06 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 403... Of course. And Beeker in the engine room.

#406 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Jon Meltzer @401:
So K/S is on the cards, then?

That could make the first interracial TV kiss vanish in comparison.

#407 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:29 PM:

403, rather.

#408 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:31 PM:

Lance, any chance you knit? Nicole and I have been sporadically rabid about Magic Circle socks. Want us to teach you (sneaky laugh)?

The only thing I knit is my brow, which can be solely attributed to the fact that I am the lone male in my household (wife, two daughters).

While my creative axis runs to software, cooking and gaming, my wife is intensely into the whole artsy-craftsy thing. It got to the point where I made her open her own store to get the all junk out of my house - at least that's my version of the story :)

#409 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Or maybe it's the director, Brad Bird.

s'funny - we got the DVD for Finding Nemo, and one of the things that impressed me about the special features was how much the people who worked there liked each other, and what a good time they seemed to be having at work - For The Incredibles (which I found pretty joyless), on the other hand, about a third of the special features were Brad Bird pontificating about not diluting His Vision and just how darn much Better he was than all those little people he had to do battle with to keep His Vision undiluted.

The other two-thirds was people from the production company, all of whom looked profoundly miserable, talking about what an awful, stressful time they had making the movie. The nicest thing anyone found to say about Bird - on the special features, produced by his studio, for his movie - was that his toxic behavior came from a place of strong convictions.

I begged off of seeing Ratatouille because he's involved in it. The kid's going with her grandmother. I get enough joyless on the subway.

#410 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 01:41 PM:

362, Serge: My husband is tech support for and server admin of a geographic database with terrabytes of points; anything goes wrong it's assumed that he will be there until it's fixed, and God save us all when there's a hardware update (the last one involved 100 hours of work in seven days straight). That he's been working at the job long enough that he can understand all the choke points and how not to interrupt the work flow and hash a big mapping job makes him valuable, and taking very occassional days off emphasizes how dependant they are on him.

He just had two weeks of getting home at 9-11pm chasing a system problem that was making jobs fail at unpredictable points in big mapping jobs; the final diagnosis (from him and the department Systems Specialist, working off and on for two weeks) was: WinServ's new security patch mistakes certain long data streams for hacks, when on its default setting, and when default is off, it induces similar failure at a different set of points in long data streams.

At least I think that's what he said. He hasn't been awake much since he figured that out.

#411 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 02:01 PM:

re "Cheez Whiz" - it comes in jars. It's "Kraft Easy Cheese" that comes in the spray cans.

#412 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 02:25 PM:

JESR @ #410: This is why I discourage anyone I can from using Windows for servers. Desktops, OK. (Though Vista certainly seems like a nightmare so far.) But servers, no....

Unfortunately most people aren't in a position to make that decision.

#413 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Josie and I loved Ratatouille. It's hilarious (with a lot of the jokes being exactly the sort of quick take that Serge is talking about) and gorgeous. My only complaint would be the over-use of narration, in at least one case as a desperate expedient to reduce running time.

P.J. Evans @383:

They thought the graphics were good, but I got the impression that the reviewer thought there should have been more acid and darkness, to balance the sweetness and light (so to speak).

That makes about as much sense for Ratatouille as it would for P.G. Wodehouse.

(The Disneyfication of Pixar?)

I prefer Disney, even in its current etiolated form, to non-Brad-Bird Pixar, which I find twee, sentimental, and ugly. Lilo and Stitch crushes Finding Nemo like a grape.

#414 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:05 PM:

_Black Water_, edited by Alberto Manguel, has a lot of sf by Hispanic authors.

#137
IIRC, _First Contract_ by Greg Costikyan has sound economics. When Earth is put in touch with galactic civilization, it immediately becomes a third world planet. Can a bankrupt Bengali businessman save the day?

For what it's worth, I count _Job_ as unique among Heinlein novels (simple plot, not especially bright protagonist), and not extremely much to my taste--I was never burnt enough by fundamentalist Christianity to get much out of seeing it satirized. On the other hand, I've read it more than once, and don't absolutely hate it.

For me, the real stinker was _The Cat Who Walks through Walls_. I believe the other most hated RAH novels are _To Sail Beyond the Sunset_ and _The Number of the Beast_.

Here's a large topic: I recently realized that I'm likely to live maybe another thirty years. At four books/week (I do most of my reading online), that's about 6000 books, which is rather few, considering the number of books I'm at least somewhat interested in, and especially if I include a reasonable amount of rereading.

So I've decided to only read books I'm enthusiastic about. No bizarre train wrecks. I don't actually enjoy those. No books that are only because I vaguely know the author. No books that are unduly depressing, even if they have a cool idea. (I should have bailed out of Lake's _Rocket Science_ much earlier.) No explorations of the author's psychopathology if that's the only attraction. No books that are just because I don't feel like tracking down something I like.

And apropo of that and economics in sf, does MT Anderson's _Feed_ ever get around to explaining who has enough mental focus to do the work? I'm not sure I'm going to finish reading it. It's got some touching moments, but it seems mostly like routine teenager-bashing. Yes, I did get the political aspect. I was underwhelmed--everything bad is because of the wicked, wicked corporations while nothing is the government's fault.

I like most of what John Barnes has written. I think he does something which appeals to me on the sentence/paragraph level, regardless of the subject matter. Still, I think it's unfair in the Million Open Doors series that he bashes libertarianism when the weird off-planet societies are entirely the result of an interventionist policy.

When I was a kid, I was very fond of bread (Pepperidge Farm) and mayonnaise (Hellman's) sandwiches. I might still like them--mayonnaise is almost the best part of a sub/hoagie.

In re the "future without x" issue: Maybe I'm too mellow about it, but future settings without Jews don't bother me. I just assume the author either didn't think of any or felt it would be worse to get them wrong than to not have any. When I look at what went wrong in re blacks in _Farnham's Freehold_, I think the fear of getting it wrong is quite well-founded.

#415 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Xopher @385: Sometimes, even decent mothers say things like "Get out of my sight!" There are times when young children can drive you up the wall faster than anything else. Although I would have cracked up if one of my kids had come back with what you said.

I think I've mentioned somewhere else in this forum about the time my then-six-year-old jumped out of a moving convertible? He got sent to his room for a good long time, not just for punishment but so I would not shake him to pieces. Scared the daylights out of me, that boy did.

My favorite interaction I've ever had with my youngest:

K.: "Mom, I can't deal with my brothers. Life stinks. I'm running away."
Me: "Wait! Let me get my purse. I'll come with you."
K.: "What?!?"
Me: "No, really! We can get a lot further! I've got credit cards, and a car!"
K.: "Really?"
Me: "Sure!It would be great fun!"
K.: "Well, maybe I won't go just yet."
Me: "Just let me know when you do decide to run away, though! I'll want to go too!"

Somehow, having your mom run away with you takes all the drama out of it, which is what I expect he was going for. For my part, I was completely serious, although I don't think he believed me.

#416 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:25 PM:

I've said "get out of my sight" to my 6 year old son. In the last month. He didn't manage such a snappy comeback.

But at four he invented the word "haive". As in, "You're not being a haive," shouted at me on his way to his room. After a while, we figured out that he parsed the word "behave" a little oddly in the phrase, "Stay in there until you behave!"

#417 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:29 PM:

In my circle of friends, one of the greetings (amongst many movie/book/comic quotes) used is "Did you get my Cheez Whiz boy?"

#418 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 03:29 PM:

Before I flee to the grocery store to stock up for my camping trip...

Happy Canada Day!!!

#419 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Nancy @ #414, mayonnaise is almost the best part of a sub/hoagie

Winces. This could turn the balance of the thread into a mayonnaise v. oil discussion, similar to the kind I've seen regarding BBQ sauce v. dry rub, or "who makes the best BBQ?"

#420 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 04:15 PM:

I'm not going to argue that subs are best with mayonnaise. I can see that there's a sort of purity and coherence to an oil sub. However, regardless of purity and coherence, I love mayonnaise.

#421 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 04:59 PM:

412 Cliff Royston: there's a reason this household is Mac Based.

#422 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz@414: I think my personal Heinlein low was I Will Fear No Evil, also because there were some interesting ideas and storylines that never came to the forefront.

#423 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 06:04 PM:

Just got back from seeing Ratatouille. Husband, both teenage daughters and I adored it. It also made me nearly die of hunger. We went straight to the grocery store and bought tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, basil....

I found it visually beautiful; I liked the plot, which was less predictable than I'd expected; and I thought it had a genuineness and generosity of spirit lacking in a lot of films. I also love the way that the rats move like rats. I liked the protagonist in spite of the fact that he and his family literally made my skin crawl.

#424 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Lance @ 417: This here's my brother Jake. He just got outta the joint.

English English kick in the head. (For me, anyway. I plead coming from Gloucestershire. Oi learns moi speaking from one o' they tractor manuals, see.)

Finally, a story ID: A couple (I think he's a PI) are plagued by random sorts who run reality and hop between their version of the world and ours by means of mirrors. One of the rum coves is briefly trapped, but escapes by carefully scraping the paint off a mirror.

#425 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #420: I'm not going to argue that subs are best with mayonnaise. I can see that there's a sort of purity and coherence to an oil sub. However, regardless of purity and coherence, I love mayonnaise.

Our favorite local sub provider uses mayo, then adds an oil dressing.

My husband loves mayonnaise (which he can never spell). I do too, but there are some things with which I do not feel it should go. We differ on what those might be--he thinks it belongs on saltines.

#426 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:00 PM:

John Hawkes-Reed #424:

I would not use either word. I would use "digitalisize". The suggested words might possibly have had something to do with going digital, but they lost out to "digiti(s|z)e".

This message brought to you by Those Who Never Leave Syllables Unspoken (unless it's "Louisville", in which case all bets are off).

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:05 PM:

JESR @ 410

Maybe that's why we're getting random crashes in our software. Or, more accurately, the software we use. I think I'll run that explanation by the guys upstairs in ops tech (IT doesn't get to touch our machines because they don't understand what we're doing).

#428 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:14 PM:

Xopher (#395) -

Lani Tupu is actually Samoan, although I had heard Samoans became Maoris when they settled New Zealand. Could all be Samoan propaganda for all I know.

As for weird foods, my mom is partial to Spam (her Samoan dad's legacy)especially in a white sauce with peas. The thought of which makes me gag, much like her own (czech) mother's tasty treat of a glass of cold milk with a glob of jam at the bottom that mom can barely bring herself to describe.

I've been a big fan of the pickle sandwich - sliced dill pickle and mayonnaise between two slices of wheat bread - since I "invented" it at about age 8. It was especially tasty with mom's pickles, which she hasn't canned in 25 or so years. And since the age of twelve, in my darker moments I've been known to make a quarter recipe of chocolate buttercream frosting with a heap of extra cocoa just to eat straight from the bowl (fie on canned frosting!) but I don't think I've done that in a few years now. Must be less depressed!

Growing up in a Mormon household in Utah with a working mother, I have a weird combination of super-homemaker-y foods (home-made bread with home ground wheat, home canned pickles, garden-fresh zuchinni and green beans) and canned-soup-back-of- the-box recipes that twig as "comfort foods" for me. My current favorite is a recipe for "wontons" that involves a can of chicken, shredded cheese, ranch dressing and wonton skins. Sadly, I have no time to grind my own wheat and bake bread.

#429 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Ratatouille: 4 thumbs up from the family, we all enjoyed the movie a lot. Good story, excellent animation, some laughs. And the short flick "Lifted" was slap-stick hilarious!

Macs: I gave away every PC in the house two years ago and converted to Macs with 1 mini, 2 iMacs, 1 macbookpro. My sysadmin/family tech support time has dropped to mere percentage points of what it was previously. OS X is far better suited for a digital lifestyle, and the parental controls are easy to implement. Plus I think they're great dev platforms.

Mayo is a condiment. Oil is an ingredient. Period. :)

#430 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Based on a recommendation by Patrick (I think), I just finished "The Spy who Came in from the Cold", and now I want to read more Le Carre'.

Based on his Wikipedia article, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" looks like a reasonable next read. Any particular problem with that, or recommendations for a better order?

#431 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Seeing as it's an open thread, and my google fu is failing miserably - has anybody seen a mold on their green bin that's screaming orange? It's much more solid looking than the usual white fuzz, and I'm wondering if it's something I might want to be concerned about...

#432 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Todd @ #430, Wikipedia has a (kinda sorta) timeline for LeCarre and George Smiley here. You might find it useful.

joann @ #425, on saltines? Whew.

#433 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Todd #430:

Tinker, Tailor is perfect for your next read. Follow up with The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People.

His books published after those are not, in my view, as good, but mileage undoubtedly varies.

Avoid The Naive and Sentimental Lover at all costs, now and in the future.

I find that for the last twenty-five years or so, I've not been able to reread any of the Smiley series without seeing/hearing Alec Guiness as Smiley. I don't know whether that little bit of foreknowledge will help or hinder you.

#434 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 07:51 PM:

Linkmeister @ 432

No, not mayo on saltines. Either butter or chocolate frosting on saltines. Mayo is for bread.

(Well, in a pinch you could use some other flavor of frosting, but chocolate works best with salt.)

#435 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 08:00 PM:

Linkmeister & Joann - thanks! Tinker, Tailer, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People are on their way.

#436 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 08:05 PM:

Remarkably good, though it wouldn't seem so at first suggestion...

...a peanut butter, jelly, and mayonaisse sandwich.

#437 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 08:29 PM:

Mary Aileen, #394, not only did I say not to give it to anybody in my family, I explained that my father had abused me and that I didn't trust him in my house. I told her that the step-siblings weren't really related and I didn't like them. Her explanation was that they were "so nice." Well, yes, my father has always been charming on the surface, but I expected her to follow what I said.

xeger, #431, I can't parse that -- do you mean a green recycling bin? What are you putting in it?

#438 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 08:37 PM:

Point of usage: the plural form of Maori is Maori, not Maoris. As a general rule, use of `Maoris' in New Zealand is a good indicator of rants about the Treaty gravy train, Helen Clark's cabal of lesbian communists, and so-on and so forth.

This is becasue Maori nouns don't differ in the singular and plural; thus: te waka, the canoe; nga waka, the canoes. General usage in NZ English is to treat words derived from Maori as indifferent to number, and this applies particularly to the people, in almost all non-anti-PC rant situations.

As for Samoan/Maori kinship, essentially, the Polynesians started in Taiwan a Long Time Ago, then spread across the Pacific, passing via the main Polynesian island groups before reaching the Hawaiian, New Zealand, and Easter Island extremities around (respectively) AD 400, 300 and 1000. However, I think you'd be best off saying that Samoans and Maori share a common ancestral culture.

#439 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 08:53 PM:

#437 ::: Marilee was confused:
xeger, #431, I can't parse that -- do you mean a green recycling bin? What are you putting in it?

Sorry - we're able to "recycle" organics around here - pretty much anything that rots is okay:

  • Fruits, vegetable scraps
  • Meat, shellfish, fish products
  • Pasta, bread, cereal
  • Dairy products, egg shells
  • Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
  • Soiled paper towels, tissues
  • Soiled paper food packaging: fast food paper packaging, ice cream boxes, muffin paper, flour and sugar bags
  • Paper coffee cups, paper plates
  • Candies, cookies, cake
  • Baking ingredients, herbs, spices
  • Household plants, including soil
  • Diapers, sanitary products
  • Animal waste, bedding (e.g. from bird/hamster cages), kitty litter
  • Pet food

Predictably, after asking here, I finally found something on google that didn't involve jello, orange slices and cranberries - or suggest things I'd rather not see done in my kitchen with plastic sheets and kiddie wading pools.

#440 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 08:54 PM:

xeger @ 431, could it be a slime mold? Not scary, necessarily; just different. Take a look at this (slime mold is second-to-last photo, but the others are beautiful and worth seeing too).

#441 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:07 PM:

#440 ::: Lila shared:
xeger @ 431, could it be a slime mold? Not scary, necessarily; just different. Take a look at this (slime mold is second-to-last photo, but the others are beautiful and worth seeing too).

Wow! Those are amazingly lovely (and I miss those mountains...).

I'm currently thinking it's 'red' bread mold, which as it turns out is orange - but now that I have an idea of what it probably is, I've moved from "Arghhh!" to "Hey neat! They've sequenced its genome"

#442 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Linkmeister & Nancy, 419/420: And I prefer my subs with neither oil nor mayonnaise, but with just a little plain old yellow mustard. (At Subway, if they even have yellow and not just brown, I have to fight with them not to drown my sandwich. The mustard is supposed to be a garnish, dammit!)

nerdycellist, #428: a glass of cold milk with a glob of jam at the bottom

Sounds a bit like bubble tea with pudding. I like the boba, but I've never been able to bring myself to try pudding.

#443 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:30 PM:

Re LeCarre: FWIW, I think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to be one of the great underrated novels of the 20th century. Be warned, though, once you read it, other novels/thrillers about spies or intelligence become unreadable; at least, it has been so for me. (Well, not entirely unreadable. Kind of like reading the comic book version of Shakespeare. Full fathom five thy father lies... Thwack!) The other Smiley books are fine. His later opus is uneven.

#444 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:39 PM:

Those are gorgeous photographs.

Now I'm wondering if Damfino Lakes are named as a contraction of "damned if I know," probably used by a local as a reply to a question from a tenderfoot.

#445 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:41 PM:

LL@399: It was not until people started talking about DNA that the utter falsehood of such classification became completely obvious even to educated people.

I have seen this discussed in Scientific American with enough looseness to make clear that educated people can still differ on the subject. Note that DNA is not enough; once you look at how little DNA difference there is between humans and chimpanzees, the differences expectable between races approach noise level. Moreover, educated people know that DNA isn't nearly the whole story -- we're still missing a lot of the connections between DNA and expressed traits. (Trivial example: "This is the gene for insulin" is easy; "This is why one strain of type-I diabetics assemble the insulin polypeptide sequence but don't snip out the bit that lets it fold into the active form" may have been solved but is certainly harder.) Similarly, I've seen data that indicates the movement across the Bering land bridge(s) into North America not by spearpoints but by genetic markers ranging from lower alcohol tolerance (IIRC due to weak or lacking acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, and cf white/black differences in adult lactose intolerance) to ear wax. (I remember from many years ago that ABO blood typing also shows this, but data in Wikipedia suggests a relatively weak link.)

There have been respectable discussions about medicines which are effective for certain conditions (heart disease, IIRC) primarily in people who would be described as "black" by most observers. It's possible the result of Warren Beatty's plea would be an increased need for individual genetic-plus mapping before therapy (which might not be a bad idea anyway); fortunately, this is becoming easier. There are arguments that "race" is a multi-axis continuum rather than a set of categories, but claiming that there's \no/ science behind the term is a bit extreme.

Nancy@414: I think it's unfair in the Million Open Doors series that he bashes libertarianism when the weird off-planet societies are entirely the result of an interventionist policy.

Huh? The whole point is that these societies resulted from clusters of enthusiasts/fanatics following their individual paths, with nothing to compare or contrast to, for centuries; intervention did not produce Giraut's horrible intended-to-produce-artists upbringing, or the societies derived at least partly from synthetic mythologies in #2. His books are about what happen when teleportation booths make intervention \possible/ -- not that it always happens.

#424: Heinlein, "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" -- IIRC not so much hopping between versions as hopping around this one, but the rest is a clear ID.

#446 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:42 PM:

I impressed a few people in my office once by identifying a fridge stench as not just mold but mold on an orange. Nothing smells quite like a moldy orange. This may well be the only superpower I get.

#447 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 09:54 PM:

CHip, the concept of race as it existed in elementary school textbooks of the 1950s is indefensible. I strongly suspect that most statements with the word "race" in it that are intended to differentiate between peoples are largely nonsense. If we need to talk about skin color, then we should talk about skin color, not "race."

#448 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:00 PM:

#447 ::: Lizzy L states:
CHip, the concept of race as it existed in elementary school textbooks of the 1950s is indefensible. I strongly suspect that most statements with the word "race" in it that are intended to differentiate between peoples are largely nonsense. If we need to talk about skin color, then we should talk about skin color, not "race."

Although I also agree that the concept of race as it existed in grade school texts of the 1950s is indefensible, there is assuredly a reason to differentiate beyond skin colour. If we're simply going by "brown" vs "white", we're ignoring genetics and culture completely; while I might be considered "white" by some folk, I look nothing like your pale Scandinavian, and our genes show this lack of relationship quite clearly.

#449 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:02 PM:

#445 ::: CHip:

"Nancy@414: I think it's unfair in the Million Open Doors series that he bashes libertarianism when the weird off-planet societies are entirely the result of an interventionist policy.

Huh? The whole point is that these societies resulted from clusters of enthusiasts/fanatics following their individual paths, with nothing to compare or contrast to, for centuries; intervention did not produce Giraut's horrible intended-to-produce-artists upbringing, or the societies derived at least partly from synthetic mythologies in #2. His books are about what happen when teleportation booths make intervention \possible/ -- not that it always happens."

The only people permitted to start colonies are weird, well-defined groups on Earth. (This might include previously colonized planets--it's been a while since I've read the books.)

If there hadn't been a very strong policy of only allowing groups that lobby for permission to colonize, then planets would be settled by mixes of people--not the the same mix on every planet--but it would be unlikely for the colonial societies to be so extreme.

In more recent news, I just saw Ratatouille, It's all good--the writing, the story, the animation, the music. There are some clever ongoing elements about insanity and a cute bit about home cooking.

#450 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Xeger, I entirely agree there are good reasons to differentiate beyond skin color. But I'm suggesting that using the word "race" in any context is misleading and pernicious. Let's drop it completely. Let's talk about culture, genetics, historical relationships, the movement of early human beings across continents, whatever. Let's get specific. That's all I'm saying.

#451 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 10:55 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #414: I don't think MT Anderson ever engages in teenager-bashing, and surely in Feed the situation is the result of government's collusion with corporations?

As for "who does the work," I took it as a given that the characters in the book are members of one social class, and there are others, both above and below them, with varying levels of self-awareness and power. Perhaps that's fanwanking?

#452 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:10 PM:

xeger 448 and others:

The problem here is that "race" parses to about ten different things in normal American dialog, most of which is really defined from the dominant racial conflict in the US, which is black vs. white. So you get race as a stand in for culture (note that Jamaicans and Nigerians don't fit this model), race as a stand in for social class/income, race as a stand in for "target of discrimination", race as a stand in for "recipient of affirmative action," race as a stand in for "visible minority with worse outcomes than everyone else," etc. And probably a zillion other things.

I think this tends to color stuff like the use of "Latino" or "Asian" (now that Oriental has somehow become impolite) as racial categories, even though Latino isn't about race, and Asian is meaninglessly broad. (And so is black, but the specific situation in the US makes it somewhat more meaningful, since most American blacks ultimately come from slaves brought over from particular parts of Africa, to particular regions in the US, and with several centuries of really ugly history along the way.)

I don't think it's useless to talk about or think about, but it's important to work out which meaning you're talking about. If I want to know about black participation in SF, it's probably culture or social class I'm interested in; if I want to know about higher rates of heart attack in blacks, I'm probably concerned with either genes or culture-by-way-of-diet.

#453 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:16 PM:

#452 ::: albatross commented:
The problem here is that "race" parses to about ten different things in normal American dialog...

Ah - here's where you've lost me. Normal 'American' dialog is alien to me, not being from the US...

#454 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:17 PM:

Nancy #414:

That's a really neat observation, and I definitely agree. We live in a world in which much of the best literature, art, music, movies, etc. in history is available to us. There's way more brilliant, beautiful stuff than we'll ever be able to really experience and love. So there's not much value in bashing our heads against unfunny comedies or bewildering/ugly art/music, or books that don't hold our interest, or whatever.

#455 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:21 PM:

What about race in the sense of people on the the other end of racism?

Lots of `I don't have a race' stuff in general culture seems to me to originate from people who do have a race; they just don't notice it, because nobody discriminates against them for it. It seems to me that throwing race out the window as being unmentionable often turns into `why should I be nice to (insert local group no longer fashionable to hate); they're no different from me!'

This, of course, relies on everyone knowing that (a) race is a social construct and (b) social constructs are real things.

#456 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:44 PM:

I don't think it's useless to talk about or think about, but it's important to work out which meaning you're talking about. If I want to know about black participation in SF, it's probably culture or social class I'm interested in; if I want to know about higher rates of heart attack in blacks, I'm probably concerned with either genes or culture-by-way-of-diet.

Or possibly socio-economic class by way of diet for the last one. This is also a reason for answering `race' questions on Censuses, etc., correctly; there is almost certainly some poor bureaucrat out there who really wants to know health/race statistics in order that they may more accurately draw up health care funding plans. (Or whatever; insert relevant example here.)

Refusing to answer, on the grounds that race doesn't really exist, misses the point, and hurts efforts to aid victims of racism.

#457 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:55 PM:

I think it's about fucking time this happened. But then I want every single member of that reprehensible body to die a sticky death as soon as possible, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

#458 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2007, 11:55 PM:
But I'll argue that the scientific background she provides for the vampires and werewolves moves The Madness Season well out of the "pure fantasy" category.
It seems to me that if you allow that kind of excuse for The Madness Season you might as well allow it for, say, Pern, which would be (IMO) absurd. But I do acknowledge that these sorts of judgments are subjective. This Alien Shore is pretty much SF, In Conquest Born has some fantasy elements, The Madness Season has quite a bit of fantasy, IMO.


Contemplating worlds where there are *really* different races (or species) does tend to shine a light on how insignificant our own species' differences are, though. I think this effect has often been intentional.

#459 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:07 AM:

Tomatoes!

After allowing the back yard to revert to jungle this year (except for a couple of plots of edible-pod peas during the Winter & Spring, and a few plants of brightly-colored Swiss chard) I poked around in it this morning and discovered tthree (small) ripe papayas (on one of the two plants that survived last January's *ghasp* frost) and about a quart of miscellaneous small tomatoes that I call "cherry-type" -- larger than cherries, most of them, but not large enough to actually slice, though cutting them in half prevents unintended squirting of juice when they're bitten-into. These are, I think, fifth-generation descendants of fruit I /s/t/o/l/e/ harvested while watering Terry Karney's garden for a while when he was away, and seem to be a mixture of varieties, somewhat selected for their ability to perpetuate themselves, so there are several slightly-different tastes and textures represented -- all good, though not quite the taste-explosion of some outstanding large-fruited cultivars. Cut in halves or quarters, mix with mayonnaise, eat (maybe not the entire quart at one sitting). Summer!

#460 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:08 AM:

joann 426: I would not use either word. I would use "digitalisize".

That, my friend, is a word meaning to administer a certain heart drug to someone.

#461 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:27 AM:

Keir said: there is almost certainly some poor bureaucrat out there who really wants to know health/race statistics in order that they may more accurately draw up health care funding plans.

Yeah, maybe. I'm truly skeptical about the value and use of those statistics, also about efforts to help the victims of racism with them. I suppose it's possible that such statistics do a great deal of good...

The idea of "race" is a social construct. Apart from that very powerful usage, is there a fact of race? I contend not. To say that does not, I think, ignore the fact of racism and its terrible manifestations in history. BTW, I didn't say "I don't have a race." I said I am no longer willing to support governmental efforts to categorize individuals into "racial" groupings.

#462 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Nancy #414 & albatross #454: Over the last couple of years there's been a rash of books called 1001 [noun]s to [verb] before you die (e.g. movies/books/places/dishes; see/read/visit/eat). Well, I worked out that I might survive another 25-30 years (maybe perhaps longer, but only with a lot of senses & physique severely affected). Some reverselope calculations on the time it takes me to read a book, or the length of the films in the list revealed I'd have to keep up a quite rigorous schedule to get through them, let alone scud across the world visiting spots - tho' one could of course read or take films with you on a personal DVD player during the travel.

But there's other things I'd like to do in my life, too. So I'd agree with your idea. I guess it reflects one part of a demographic change in one lot of societies as the baby-boomers (in whose temporal trail I've followed all my life) hit certain life milestones

In other news, it was reported here that in a branch of the New York Public Library there was a POD setup where you could pick from their (large) list of public domain works and have it printed and bound as a book on the spot recently opened. A quick scan of www.nypl.org did reveal a number of useful services, and an "eNYPL", but not that. Do any of the NY-based people know if this is happening?

Re "digitalisize" (#426 & #460) If you follow the orginal link @424,indeed the drug digitalis is being administered. BTW, I recently heard someone on a 'historical' documentary program on TV mocking a 19th Century doctor for "using foxglove to treat heart problems". How on earth did that slip past any kind of editor? The British Digitalis purpurea, & other Foxglove species from elsewhere used to be the most well-known 'herbal' remedy that was used in 'modern' medicine as well. It put the rest of the opinions and what was put forward as fact into doubt.

#463 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:55 AM:

Lizzy L, CHip mentioned some genetic markers which cluster to form groups with real differences that have some correspondence to what are popularly known as "races;" when physical anthropologists talk about race, that is what they mean.

Keir mentioned that race is a social construct, which is also a true statement.

Asking for a "fact" of race doesn't parse for me. What is a fact of, say, marriage, which similarly exists on at least two detectable levels.

Holding the statement "race does not exist as a fact" does nothing to end racism nor to advance any human activity. It does muddy the water of some discussions- there was a case, last year, of an antihypertensive which was markedly effective in some people with African ancestry and not in those of Asian or European ancestry; there was resistance to publication of the outcome of the clinical trial which discovered that pattern, and to sale and labelling of the medication for use in the African-American population because "race is not a real thing-" even though hypertension is a much graver problem in Americans of African descent than in Americans of non-African descent, and even though other classes of medications are not as effective in the African- descendant population.

What I know is, no person can be adequately described nor their entire being encapsulated by any label, including race. And that there are detectible differences in large populations of humans who live in distinct geographic areas or are descended in whole or part from people who came from those areas. There is nothing in one statement which precludes the truth of the other.

Funny old world, all fuzzy like that.

#464 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 01:07 AM:

¡uoısuǝɯıp spɹɐʍʞɔɐq sıɥʇ uı ǝɯ pǝddoɹp ǝɥs puɐ ɹǝʌıǝɔǝp ʎɐb ʍoɹɹoq oʇ pǝıɹʇ ı ¡d1ǝɥ

ʞuı1

#465 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Mez @ 462 Over the last couple of years there's been a rash of books called 1001 [noun]s to [verb] before you die...

I have the movie book in that series. The actual title is 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I aim to live forever by not seeing all of them (my loathing for Roberto Benigni means that will be easy so long as Life Is Beautiful is in the book).

#466 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 01:16 AM:

¡zuʍopzǝpısdn sı I ¡sǝou ɥO

#467 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:41 AM:

Yeah, maybe.

Well, I'm not an expert on the US Civil Service; however (just grabbing the nearest NZ public health related book), I know that Degrees of Deprivation in New Zealand (Crampton et al; 2001) which had contributors from various NZ public health services mentions ethnicity quite often. I further know that, in NZ, the socio-economic/ethnicity data comes up reasonably often in public debates about societal duties to Maori, biculturalism, and so-on and so forth. The PBFF (Population Based Funding Formula) used to use ethnicity as a demographic factor.

In general, information improves outcomes. Refraining to provide useful information because ``race doesn't exist'' is stupid. There clearly exists a social construct corresponding to race/ethnicity. Furthermore, we can often use this information to map onto need. It would seem logical to me that, given the ability of his information to help, answering in a smart-ass way is actively unhelpful.

For example, decisions on affirmative action (i.e above mentioned Supreme Court ruling) rely on knowledge of racial discrimination. Where do you think people get this information from?

Essentially, I think you've fallen into little light's
1. Paying attention to black and Latino students' being black and Latino in order to see about getting them better opportunities is racist, because it identifies them as black or Latino in the first place. Boggle.

Of course, if you want to stick it to Teh Man, or show off how super-liberal you are, go ahead. Just be aware that what is to you a mark of how superior you are, may well be used in quite major policy decisions, and, you know, GIGO.

# 335: Well, there is, of course, Stapledon's First And Last Men; also, Alasdair Gray's A History Maker and Poor Things, as well as several of his short stories.

#468 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 05:17 AM:

Linkmeister@419 mentions BBQ religious wars. I note that this year at Jack London Square in Oakland, on July 4, they're having a "Battle of the BBQ" sponsored by various restaurants.

But they're not having a fireworks show (due to construction going on), so they're not gonna have me. Guess it's the Berkeley Marina this year.

John Hawkes-Reed @ 424: your story might be "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag", by Robert Heinlein. Does the phrase "The Bird is cruel" ring any bells?

#469 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 05:59 AM:

CHip @ 445, David @ 468: A quick poke at the Wikipedia entry reveals that is indeed the story in question. Thank you very kindly indeed. Oddly, the various parts of the plot had become disconnected in the probably thirty years since I read it (Insert 'golden age' joke here) and I'd become convinced that the fingernails, thirteenth floor office and picnic were from a Hitchcock film strangely missing from all the lists of his works. So much so that I can see James Stewart in some of the scenes. Funny old things, brains.

(The rest of the VPX crew will now be laughing up their collective sleeves given the, um, strongly held opinions in re. RAH I held forth about in Room 50.)

The thing I took away from the BMJ article to which I linked was that my usage and understanding of -ize vs. -ise endings is entirely incorrect.

#470 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:04 AM:

#452:now that Oriental has somehow become impolite

I wouldn't bother following up on this except that I have a tick with the word "somehow." It implies this fathomlessness, as if it made about as much sense for the word "puppy" to be impolite. It changes your clause from state description to expression of opinion.

Isn't it enough that due to a history of American racial discrimination, the term invokes bad memories among those typically tarred by the term? (It conjures up a stereotyped image, the less said about the better.) Isn't it enough that enough people have simply decided that that's not how they want to be addressed?

Now, I know you don't have a racist nucleotide in your DNA. You're simply expressing a hapless dismay that this term you've used all your life has suddenly become impolite through no action you can see. I'd think I'd be happy not to see why it has become the case.

I should point out that this is a North American thing. I near as I can tell, the term is more neutral in Europe. Also, there are worse Asian ethnic slurs. I've been called most them. Some of them don't even apply to my specific ethnicity. This one barely rates on the OffensiveMeter(tm). But it would go down better if Occidental were in more common use in North America and implied this sense of barbaric Western imperialism and erasing of enlightened, indigenous culture.

No, it's no more accurate than what Oriental implies. That's the point.

#471 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:20 AM:

Re: Latinos in space

Susan @ 351: Whether or not Japanese/Koreans/Chinese are happy being lumped together has a lot to do with how far removed they are from their home country. Among second/third/fourth generation kids, they are often quite happy with a generic Asian label and sometimes even embrace it. This is equally true of the umbrella term "Latino"--individual's willingness to accept it is often directly proportional to their distance from the root culture that the identification is ostensibly based on. Like in the example someone cited above, where the Latino clubs in the U.S. found Columbian and Argentinian exchange students fairly skeptical of the idea of a pan-South American cultural identity.

FWIW, the historical basis for this sort of pan-SA identity goes back to the original independence movements in the 1800s. It was, unsurprisingly, strongest among the intellectual elite who had been educated in Spain (and learned there that while they spoke Spanish, they were not really Spanish.) It isn't really an American thing, though it's true it's not really a native South American thing either.

abi @ 371: "The pre-question is, is it one group or many that we're discussing right now? What do we call them and how do we describe them, to be able to then search for them in the literature?"

(This is a question that's pretty fundamental to the study of nationalism, which I've spent a fair bit of time on. Here are some thoughts.)

There are a few criteria that are particularly influential in determining group identities: language, history, and geography. In South America, these all draw lines in very different places. (This could be taken as a sign of how futile the process of trying to create cohesive national or cultural identities really is, but strangely, few do.) Different people will give different levels of importance to different criteria, resulting a panoply of different definitions. If you ask ten different people, you'll probably get ten different answers as to what "Latino" is. A Mexican is probably going to consider speaking Spanish a lot more important than a Brazilian would, for example. So not only is the question of what group we're talking about important, it's also important to ask whose definitions are we going to consider valid? We'll have plenty to choose from.

#472 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:27 AM:

Lizzy L @ 461: The idea of "race" is a social construct. Apart from that very powerful usage, is there a fact of race?

The fact that something is a social construct doesn't mean it's not real. No matter how many fictions the basic ideas of "race" might be based on, it is a real social phenomenon that has significant effects on nearly everyone on the planet.

We don't have to like it, but just because race is fictive or constructed or exists only in the realm of cultural ideas--like the cultural idea that there is such a thing as "race"--does not make it non-factual. Music is a social construct; religion is a social construct; family is a social construct; even the idea of science is a social construct. They are all very real, they all affect us profoundly, even though at some point they were all "made up" based on stuff other than physical, measurable data, even if they're ideas we personally can divorce ourselves from, because the people around us are affected by them. The ones that stick well spread, and when you get enough people involved, the ball gets rolling, and it's beyond any of them--none of them made it, many of them don't even think of these things as having origins at all, and they're--whammo--reified.

Race is, conceptually, deeply problematic. It's based on a lot of bad assumptions about biology, culture, difference, human-ness, absolutely. But whether or not we like it, it's here, and has been for a while; even if the whole concept ceased to exist tomorrow, by some grand effort, "race" would still be factual in the form of a long history of patterns of human belief and behavior, still be affecting everyone at the baseline in the new, "raceless" world, and in more ways than just the effect "racism." You can split these things into an endless fractal of specificities, and in many, many situations, that's desirable, useful, even noble. Nonetheless, the world around you has the idea of "race" stamped on it until we work it out of our collective psychic systems, and it will be rumbling around the globe affecting people.

Color-blindness in policies sounds well and good, but its chief effect, as the playing field currently stands, is to whitewash that complex history. It's just plain not an option for people at the business end of the unpleasant consequences of socially-constructed race. The edifice is constructed. You can want it not to be there, but it is right now, and you can shut your eyes to it, but it might mean walking into a brick wall. I think the social construct of "race" might do with some dismantling, but if I ignore it, I'm likely to walk into trouble, as someone whose racial markers get noticed and acted on by others.

My parents tend to believe in a "color-blind" ideal and are committed to ending racism, in their way. They recognize that race is a problematic concept. But that doesn't reduce the tensions they have to deal with living in an interracial marriage. It didn't stop people from vandalizing their house post-September-11th because people thought they were Arabs. It just kept my folks from figuring out why their house, and not the neighbors', was vandalized, which made it harder to predict and catch the vandals.

Specificity and precision are great, but precision is part of the problem here. If you're looking at racism and how to make it go away, you just can't do that without looking at race. The other stuff--socioeconomic class, ethnic origin, culture, so on--they're components, but they're also their own animals. You want to target racism, it's a big problem not to be targeting a nasty system based on race, just because race is constructed. Racists buy into it and act on it. Antiracists deal with it, too. Putting a hand over that part of the picture because it shouldn't be there is only going to make it really hard to figure out why this guy hates that guy; why this family is systematically disadvantaged, in the health care or school systems; why that person is seen as unelectable.

That's not buying into "race" or racism. It's getting all the information you can about the situation.

"Race," the concept, is indeed misleading. Talking about it isn't; too many phenomena are based on the sociocultural belief in race, not that other stuff, and we can't fix that if we don't talk about "race" specifically.

#473 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 07:24 AM:

Xopher @457, come to think of it, I haven't heard that any of the Saudi religious police were ever punished for interfering in a fire rescue that lead to the death of fifteen schoolgirls a few years ago.

#474 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:15 AM:

ethan, #451:
"Nancy Lebovitz #414: I don't think MT Anderson ever engages in teenager-bashing, and surely in Feed the situation is the result of government's collusion with corporations?"

You might be right about the teenager bashing. I saw the book as having a large element of "Look at how ridiculous the teenagers are. Really ridiculous. Even more ridiculous than that. Now let me show you again." I got tired of it.

The Feed was clearly corporate-driven. What was getting to me was that there didn't seem to be anything bad in that world which *wasn't* the fault of corporations.

Last Letters from Hav by Jan Morris is more fiction disguised as non-fiction. However, it's not sf--it's a straight-faced account of a non-existent city on the east end of the Mediterranean. There's a sequel called Hav which carries the story closer to the present. I gather that bad things happen to Hav, and I'm not planning to read about it.

albatross, I've been meaning to ask--do you have a blog or other fixed location for your writing? I've enjoyed you comments for some time.

#475 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:33 AM:

Personally, I find my visual lust-cues are pretty much independent of the visual cues for race.

#476 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Retaliation

Neighbors' fruit tree row
steals my sun. On the fence line,
I plant raspberries.

#477 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Earl 473: That's the first thing that made me aware that they all need to die.

#478 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:55 AM:

If anyone were to engage in neighborhood biological warfare, I'd expect it to be you, Teresa.

#479 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Diatryma... And Teresa, being Teresa, found a polite way to give her neighbors a razz-berry.

#480 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:34 AM:

little light at 472: I don't disagree with any part of your comment. Yes, race qua social construct, qua concept, is a fact, as is racism. I did not intend to suggest otherwise. I tried to point out that many, many people around the world genuinely believe in that there is a physiological and biological foundation for that concept; that is, they believe that there are significant differences between people, and that skin color, etc. are markers for these difference. I think that unless this belief is directly named and addressed -- in the same way that we need to address the belief that increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is utterly benign and will have no effect on life on this planet -- the attempt to "fix" racism is going to lack a vital component. I am not saying we should ignore race. I am saying that we need to tackle the illusion head on.

But I don't want to keep saying this, so I think I'm done with it.

#481 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:37 AM:

raspberries?

There's obviously some horticultural reference I'm missing here.

#482 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:38 AM:

raspberries?

There's obviously some horticultural reference I'm missing here.

#483 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:44 AM:

On a different line entirely:
Today's Fortune Cookie:
The City of Palo Alto, in its official description of parking lot standards, specifies the grade of wheelchair access ramps in terms of centimeters of rise per foot of run. A compromise, I imagine...

#484 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Sorry for the echo.

In other news, went paintballing this weekend. The paintballs don't hurt nearly as much as the bruise I got on the side of my leg from a log that rolled out from under me and caused me to go flying onto a big rock. Ow.

Also, I've started referring to the rental guns as "Stormtrooper guns". I.E. you can have a platoon of stormtroopers standing 20 feet from Han Solo, and none of them will hit Han.

Were Han to stand still long enough, you'd have a perfectly shaped outline of Han marked out on the wall behind him where all the blasters missed him. I had a situation where I was shooting at a guy crouched behind cover and was able to paint the entire area around him, but never actually hit the guy. argh.

There's a reference to a scene in Pulp Fiction too (opening scene where Travolta and Jackson are retrieving the briefcase), but "Stormtroop gun" probably has a bigger audience.

#485 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Mez, I think you mean the Espresso Book Machine.

#486 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:59 AM:

lizzy #480:

Well, race does correlate with genetic differences, which is important in some cases (diseases that have a different rate or course in people of different races, for example), but not in others. Race also correlates, in many cases, with culture, history, etc. All of those are probabilistic relationships--knowing my race tells you something about my genetics, history, culture, etc., but not everything.

I keep thinking that the historical concept of race tracks to what we can learn from the wonderful reconstruction of prehistoric migrations from DNA (google for Cavalli-Sforza) in much the same way that naive classifications of animals into species tracks with what we can get from looking at DNA. (The really fun example of this is Africans all getting lumped together, despite having more genetic diversity than the rest of humanity. Another fun example is lumping Africans and Australians together--sort of plausible on outside appearances, but completely wrong when you can look at genetics.)

You want your race in your medical records, and it's usually important for understanding a character in a novel, at least one set in the US, to know the character's race. These are places where it's relevant. Concepts that are relevant shouldn't be scrubbed out, even if they're associated with bad people or bad things. Otherwise, we'd have to scrub out genetics and evolution and nationalism and economics and religion and all kinds of other stuff.

#487 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Serge @303: That sounds like James White's "Sanctuary", but it's a novelette rather than a novel (_Analog_ December 1988).

#488 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:32 AM:

Now for something depressing:

Not good Saturday
My mistake, too much concern
I have lost a friend

#489 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:41 AM:

little light (#472): well said, and important to remember, till we reach some far-future utopia where the concept of race really has become meaningless (and all the warring religions have somehow reconciled or transcended their differences, along the way).

#490 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Dave Bell: what possibly makes you think anyone cares what sort of people you're attracted to? Whether you're attracted to people of a different "race" from yourself is pretty much independent of whether you're racist and entirely independent of whether society is racist.

I hate hate hate it when people think a discussion about race and racism is an appropriate forum for pointing out that they are attracted to POC. It's even worse than the "some of my best friends" line of argument, because it's objectifying as well as patronizing. Do you not think that people who constantly have to deal with discrimination might have more important problems than whether or not you find them attractive?

#491 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:49 AM:

Re: #481:
Raspberries spread, vigorously ("first year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap") underground and under most fences. Mind you, they don't necessarily move only in the direction you wish they'd move.

#492 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Don @ 491

Wouldn't cutting the two-year-old canes back to the ground (after fruiting) slow them down just a little?

(We had loganberries trained along a concrete block wall when I was a kid. They were somewhat better behaved. Also not as thornless as they were labelled.)

#493 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Raspberries spread, vigorously

Ah. that 'splains it. thanks.

#494 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:03 PM:

Moe99 (221), I've been taking Provigil for years. It periodically gets trumpeted as the Hot New Thing for sleep disorders because it's proprietary, expensive, useful for treating a broad range of problems, and has no amusement value; i.e., it's very profitable. This means it has a large PR budget, which means it intermittently pops up as a news story. I cherish bitter suspicions that the profitability of Provigil is related to the disappearance from the market of older drugs ranging from phenylpropanolamine to Cylert.

#495 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Those who liked A Million Open Doors but not Earth Made of Glass might enjoy some of John Barnes' other novels -- Orbital Resonance and Finity were particularly good, and I liked The Sky So Big and Black and Mother of Storms pretty well too.

#496 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Blackberries are worse, but my Irish landlord flatly forbade me to plant them in the back yard. He was the picture of consternation: "You want to plant brambles?"

#497 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:28 PM:

Okay, I guess I'm not done. Albatross, you said, You want your race in your medical records. My response is, no, you don't, if by "race" you mean skin color, which is historically what Americans mean. You do want information which will tell a doctor about possible genetic markers, complications based on family history, personal historical data -- where you were born, what childhood diseases you had, what foods you ate -- and so on. My birth certificate says "White" in the little box, but saying that tells a doctor very little to nothing that's helpful about my genetic or family history. For that, the doctor needs to know that I am of mixed Spanish/Bolivian/Indian ancestry, that I lived the first half of my life in Barcelona, that I had rickets as a child, that there is a long history of Type 1 diabetes in my family, that I was recently exposed to shingles, that my blood type is A negative, and that I am allergic to penicillin. In fact, had I been born in South Africa my birth certificate would probably have said "Coloured" and had I been born in Georgia, US, my birth certificate might even have said "Negro" because my skin is actually rather dark. (None of this is true of me, by the way, I'm changing all the relevant info because I have an overdeveloped bump of privacy.)

As for characters in books... the person I just described in the prior paragraph could easily be a character in a book, and what "race" is she? You tell me. What "race" the people she meets think she is matters a great deal and may have a huge effect on her life, no argument there. But I believe it's important to realize that many people in this country (and maybe many other countries as well, I don't know) when they talk about race, mean something very akin to the construction in the 1950s textbooks: Caucasian, Negro, Mongoloid. Not only that: they know it's not PC to talk about and they know science has "advanced" since the 1950s, but at heart they think there must be something fundamentally true about those old skin-color classifications, and that the differences implied by those classifications are important. Remember "The Bell Curve"?

I entirely agree that this needs to be talked about, discussed, dissected, etc. so that folks may recognize the error. But I don't believe we should encourage it by checking boxes on government forms that ask what "race" we are.

#498 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:29 PM:

I've been reading the 'race is a social construct' postings with interest. I want to point something out, though: race is not social construct. Race is a political construct created by decisions made by legislatures and executives. The one-drop rule in the US, for example, is the result of line drawing by legislatures which sought to define whiteness as narrowly as possible. It's inverse is the claim that persons of partial Native American ancestry are not native Americans, a legal stricture which also benefits white Americans. These are statements written into law and bureaucratic practice and which have been enforced by law.

#499 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:30 PM:

TNH, 496: This should maybe go on one of the "different Englishes" threads--blackberries and brambles are the same thing? I am astonished.

#500 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:32 PM:

The Readercon program schedule is up (PDF only; I sent them an HTML version which I hope they'll put up, and will put it up on my own site later).

Patrick, Teresa, are you not going to be at Readercon this year? Or are you taking a break from being on programming?

#501 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Lizzy L #497: Historically, it has been hair texture rather than skin colour that has been the marker for 'race' (at any rate, for black-white difference) in the United States.

#502 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:42 PM:

"You want to plant brambles?"

And thus Teresa's quiet bid for world domination was squelched. Tune in again next time when the neighbor's fruit tree mysteriously disappears the same time Teresa makes a huge batch of hot apple pies in a wood-fired stove...

(cue theme song)


#503 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:45 PM:

TexAnne #499: Of course they are. Some of the happiest times of my boyhood were spent in bramble bushes on Wimbledon Common picking blackberries.

#504 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Fragano at 498: Just so. And every government form we fill out -- even if designed by bureaucrats who say they just want information so that they can hand out money or devise health care options to minority groups -- validates and strengthens this practice. If we want information about (for example) the incidence of diabetes in the Cambodian immigrant community in Contra Costa county, California, we can get it a different way then asking people to check boxes on government forms. Start by talking to the community. Ask them how best to get the information. Go to churches, grocery stores, union halls. Invite the community leaders to tell you what to do. In fact, asking people to check boxes on forms is a very inefficient way of getting useful information that will allow you to address problems. OTOH, it does make the bureaucrats look good...

#505 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:55 PM:

TexAnne 499: Blackberry brambles are. I think there may be other kinds.

#506 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Jim Henry @ 487... Thanks for the suggestion that it might be a James White story. It may well be that what I read about was actually a story collection that didn't 'fess up to being one. Thanks again.

#507 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Not to be contentious, but drawing a line between "social construct" and "political construct" is pretty much putting the terms at (false) opposition when the latter is a specialized subset of the former.

Laws are made to reinforce social/cultural assumptions, not the other way round. Of course, things don't end there, reality being dynamic and contingent, but the culture precedes its institutions.

#508 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 01:55 PM:

JC #470:

I was indeed expressing an opinion. I have no interest on stepping on peoples' toes, and some words (the n word being the obvious one) have such an emotional load that it's better to just avoid them. But I've watched this process of cycling through a sequence of euphemisms for race and ethnicity and such for many years, and I've noticed two things:

a. It doesn't seem to actually do any good. That is, people can think African-Americans are inferior just about as easily as they can think Negroes are inferior. They can think Asians are scheming and cruel as easily as they can think Orientals are. And so on.

b. It inevitably becomes part of a "gotcha" game, in which real discussions are hijacked to correct someone's terminology.

Now, if there were no serious racial issues to deal with in the country, I guess this would be okay. Play word games, play "gotcha" when someone fails to use the term of the week, come up with ever more embarassing and awkward names for each group, etc. But since there are genuine issues to deal with, and strong emotions involved in discussing them in the best of times, this stuff seems pretty counterproductive to me.

As far as I can tell, not one black kid was prevented from dropping out of high school by being called "African-American," nor one additional curb cut put on a sidewalk by changing "crippled" to "disabled" or "handicapped." Not one extra special ed teacher was provided as a result of changing "retarded" to "developmentally delayed." Yet someone spent time, money, and political capital to make those changes, and that time/money/political capital then didn't get used on making things better for anyone.

All IMO.

#509 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Fragano #498:

But we could presumably eliminate the political construct tomorrow, by making the law race blind. We'd still notice that race was relevant for all kinds of things, including stuff (like antidiscrimination laws) where we might want to take notice of race.

#510 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Nancy #474:

No, I don't. Thanks for the complement, though. If I had a blog, I don't see how I'd get *anything* else done. I already spend way too much time on the net....

#511 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Lizzy L #504: Unfortunately, all that does is replace one political practice with another (and one that has problems of its own -- how, for example, are community leaders identified?).

#512 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:20 PM:

JESR #507: Laws are statements about who has power in a given polity, not about the values of the society. The society, after all, is everyone living together in a polity, but everyone does not have power, and politics is about power.

A political construct is a set of formal rules -- they may be applied by a majority to a minority or a minority to a majority -- but they reflect the values, desires, needs, wishes and aspirations of the holders of power, not of society as a whole.

'Race' as a political construct has a great deal to do with how dominant groups maintain their dominance (in the United States, for example, by ring-fencing the white majority and attenuating the effects of class difference within that majority).

#513 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:24 PM:

albatross #509: The effects of rules do not necessarily cease when the rules change. Or, as Marx put it, 'the weight of all the dead generations weighs like an incubus on the minds of the living'.

#514 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Fragano, "political practice" is how stuff gets done in society. It's true that all political solutions come with their own problems, but getting people talking with other people and thinking in terms of devising ways for communities to identify their own problems and perhaps come up with their own solutions seems to hold more possibilities (to my way of thinking) than making lists of "racial groupings" (or whatever they call them) on forms so that people can categorize themselves. The last such form I dealt with had, I think, 15 boxes for people to check. I suppose it's better than 3, but I still think it's putting energy in the wrong direction.

Albatross, I suspect our new Supreme Court is going to spend the next how ever many years it has before Justice Kennedy resigns and someone else is put in his place gutting our present federal anti-discrimination practices. It's going to be interesting to see how the individual states react to that.

#515 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:34 PM:

I'll second the push for Orbital Resonance. It's one of my favorite hard-SF books featuring an adolescent protagonist. The other non-Heinlein winner is Panshin's Rite of Passage.

I think you could probably argue that a good way to ease a non-SF reader into SF is via such books, because one thing they seem to have in common is the protagonist explaining things, useful for a person not steeped in the genre.

#516 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:40 PM:

SInce AKICIML: Anyone know of a good program for managing fonts? I'm collecting way too many of them. Fontonizer looked good, but the freeware version I tried to download was corrupt. Why oh why doesn't Windows let you make tidy little folders of fonts so you can say, hm, I want something medieval-looking but legible for this, what have I got? rather than scolling through all several-hundred of my fonts...

#517 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Lizzy L #514: For me, the problem is that going to existing 'community leaders' tends to entrench those leaders (who may be in positions of leadership for very undemocratic reasons) and may have even more ghettoising effects than asking people to define themselves.

#518 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:49 PM:

#508: I note that you didn't actually answer my questions. They had to do with whether or not you think people ought to be identified as they wish to be.

Based on what you've written, I can only conclude that how someone wishes to be referred to doesn't matter to you. Their feelings aren't valid. Since, as you say, it's just a label. It doesn't change how they think. They don't matter. (I know this can't strictly be true since you studiously avoided the N word. Still, it's curious.)

Just my interpretation of your words...

(Frankly, I'm still wondering what brought about that parenthetical aside in the first place. If the terms "Asian" and "Oriental" are identical to you, then what's wrong with using the term "Asian" that you feel the need to complain about it?)

#519 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Fragano, I agree, it can be a problem, especially when the dominant culture gets to define who is a "community leader" and who is not. Solutions gratefully accepted...

#520 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Fair enough, Lizzy L. I think we can shake hands on that.

Fragano, I see what you're saying, but laws and politics are social constructs, too. And legal constructs don't get put into place without social constructs backing 'em up. Heck, look at all the progress we've made, politically and legislatively, fighting racism; the social attitudes that put bad laws there in the first place are still dragging their feet on catching up.


Now, albatross @ #508: do you really think terms change because people want to play "gotcha games"? Like the whole point is just some perverse lark based on confusing people in privilege, poor dears? I think it has a lot more to do with people in disadvantaged groups getting enough of a voice to start determining what they can be called--rather than allowing someone from outside to name them--which is a huge piece of self-determination. Now, there's internal arguments and social push-pull on those names, but I tend to think it's entirely worth it, if folks get to name themselves instead of being named by others.

It's not about you; it's not for you; it's not because they want to mess with you. It's a natural process of communities getting their own voices and making those heard, and if you pay attention, the words--and people's preferences for them--do matter. Is the word people use to describe my family based on the direction a colonizer pointed when deciding where to march, or based on the country they came from? Based on a neighboring tribe's insulting name based on their perceived habits, or their own word for "nation?"

There are lots of reasons why given words are worth looking into the arrangement of. There's plenty of other important, even more important things to work on, sure, but it's not a "gotcha game." That's incredibly insulting. It suggests that, for example, all of people of color's work to be allowed to name themselves and work that out to their own communities' satisfaction is really just playing around to mess with white people, because, in the end, it must be about and for white people that that work's done. See what I'm saying?

Sure, it's confusing, but so's plenty of the other messes we have to navigate, and it's at least a matter of politeness.

#521 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Fragano, I am bound by an entirely different set of definitions for the terms you're using, since I think in Americanist Anthropological Vocabulary. Thinking about a polity as something outside of and unrelated to its society just gets error messages back from my brain.

#522 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 03:03 PM:

#508:D'oh, I just thought of a better way of expressing this.

There are clearly some words you avoid. Why is it that you get to decide how much emotional load the word "Oriental" has on me?

(I still don't get whence the original parenthetical comment. It was so random. It doesn't even have anything to do with the main point.)

#523 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Janet, they're out there. I have two for Windows:

'MyFonts' from Unitech/MyFonts. It does reasonably well, and I've used it for several years. Fairly inexpensive to register, doesn't break easily, can see all the fonts whether they're installed or not, can keep track of what's installed and revert to the previous set. (They also have 'FontTrax', which is a fancier version, similar in characteristics.)

'The Font Thing', which is shareware, not being maintained, and can't handle as many fonts as I have on my disk drive (27,000).

#524 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Diatryma @ 356:
is it a good twitch or a bad twitch? I've only read two, Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic, and I've done my best to keep from picking them apart too much. The books did what I needed them to do, so I'm giving them some time before the evisceration.

It's a "reminds me of my father" twitch, and I get it from Industrial Magic.

I don't ask too much of those books - they're supernaturally-themed chick lit and do a very nice job of providing fluffy escapist reading. That said, I find the first one (Bitten) and some of her online fiction to be a cut above all the following novels.

#525 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 03:27 PM:

Kate @ #500:

P&T are not going this year.

I'm going, and I've seen a few other ML people mention that they are as well. Do we want to meet up?

#526 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Teresa 496: I could get you some Japanese Knotweed if you like. Trouble is, you'd never keep it out of your own garden. We certainly can't.

#527 ::: Rosalie ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Texanne @ 499 (et al): My preferred term for blackberry/reasberry brambles is "puckerbrush".

And up here in ME, where the growing season is (as my mum puts it) 2.5 months long, and one of those months doesn't get above 60 degrees, mowing it down actually seems to make it healthier. It can't, however, keep up with the horses' appetites.

#528 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Xopher:
No! No! The evil knotweed will overrun her garden! I just last weekend did the annual rite of poisoning the knotweed. I have been trying to get rid of this stuff for eight years now!

#529 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Thanks, Mary Aileen (#485) I can see how the first story might lead one to think there was one installed at NYPL, but the second story says: "In April [2007], the first Espresso Book Machine was installed at the InfoShop at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. ... for the three-month test period. Two ... will be installed, at the New York Public Library and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Egypt, in September. ODB is also currently in talks with a bookstore chain outside the U.S. about installing the machine."
From those I have a couple of search strings to use to help in any further research too.

<mouth buttermelt=no>Isn't "raspberry" something you do with your lips too?</mouth>

#530 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:22 PM:

Susan 528: I don't know the Rite of the Poisoning of the Knotweed. Can you teach it to me? Is there anything any easier than the old ammonia trick?

#531 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:24 PM:

P.J Evans @#523 -- Thank you! The Font Thing is perfect for what I need. I only have a few hundred fonts, but it was just getting a bit messy to scroll through all of them. 27,000 fonts -- not sure whether to drool or shudder!

#532 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Knotweed is Mutually Assured Destruction.
I think the landlords of my house and the house next door must have had a very low-key war going on. Or maybe it's just that I don't like day lilies, and I really don't like the funky double-blossom ones along the property line. I lose four separate plants from my porch, and no one's thought to dig them up? You'd think pots were easier to carry than freshly-dug loose plants.

#533 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Janet, most of those fonts are to shudder at, are they're pretty much the same as the next one (change the copyright and name, and maybe no one will notice you stole it - and there were two or three companies doing just that, that got caught). There are some that are so bad that I'm not putting on my hard drive, even un-installed. (I don't want my brand-new computer to die!)

#534 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:36 PM:

Lizzy L #519: I just report the process. I don't have any simple or obvious solutions available. I wish I did.

#535 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:40 PM:

Little Light #520: To say that something is a 'social construct' is to say that it is constructed by society, politics, law, and so on are exercises of power and are, consequently, impositions on society by dominant groups as a means of asserting and protecting their power.

#536 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Susan @ 528... Your adventures with Knotweed reminds me how, when Sue and I moved to Albuquerque, she taught herself about gardening. One of the plants she'd bought did nicely, but what its seller hadn't warned her about was that, even after the darn thing has died, its keeps coming back like a weed. Luckily, it is not a desert plant and confines itself to its original area, where Sue now has other plants being watered. Were it otherwise, we might have to resort to drastic measures, like hiring a Dalek gardener. ("Exterminate! Exter-mi-NATE!")

#537 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 04:48 PM:

JESR #521: Where do I say that polity is outside and unrelated to society? I'm confused.

I use 'society' to mean the entire set of human interrelations within a defined space. I use 'polity' to refer to the institutions which exercise power within a defined space. One of them makes the rules, and it isn't 'society', it's groups that possess dominance within the society and which can impose their beliefs and values on the rest, the polity is their agency -- and if it's a very effective agency it becomes a state.

#538 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Fragano, and I am saying that, due to the way I have been trained to look at human society, your analysis seems backwards and/or inside out to me, and I cannot therefore engage you in any way which would not bring both of us more annoyance than enlightenment.

I can't even explain why that is without descending into a thicket of subclauses. Always a bad sign.

#539 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 05:42 PM:

May I humbly suggest a time-out on the subject of race, ethnicity, polity, society and all related matters?

#540 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:16 PM:

First day at work done
Alone in a stranger's flat
Dreaming of home smell.

#543 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:34 PM:

Xopher, join the crowd writing Congress for impeachment. It's one more straw on that load, and some of us are hoping it's close to the breaking point. (I got both my senators and my committee-chairman representative. Oversight committee.)

#544 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:37 PM:

I, for one, welcome our ignoramus overlords and the death of our Constitution (which is, after all, just a piece of paper people have died to defend).

#545 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:50 PM:

A nation of laws, not men, huh?

That miserable SOB.

#546 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 06:59 PM:

Away from commutation news for a moment, Jonathan Swift has a suggestion for Jonah Goldberg's long-delayed book: Write it in LOLcat.

Comes complete with examples in photographic form.

#547 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Bah. Didn't like my "target="blank" statement.

Link.

#548 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 07:17 PM:

JESR #538: I see.

#549 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Xopher #541:

Laws? We don't need no stinkin' laws!

#550 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 07:23 PM:

abi @ 540... Dreaming of home smell

Soon, abi, soon...

#551 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Abi #540:

In a new city
all of life is fresh and strange,
making home takes time.


#552 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Back from four days off the net (I was driving around Hawai'i) and I missed a thousand comments?

Two questions for the Fluorosphere, and advance thanks for any help offered. Language nerds first: I just watched The Queen, and in it the Queen's protocol person makes it very clear that HRH is to be addressed as "Ma'am as in 'ham', not ma'am as in 'farm'" (they kind of rhymed in the movie). I'm mostly used to this distinction as a US/Canada (ham) vs UK (farm) difference, but it sounds like I am missing something - to UK ears, what do the different versions connote?

And next, to the knitters: I'm a little confused as to what the instructions 'pick up and knit' (ie for finishing a piece) means. In the past, I've always held the knitting with the RS facing me, used a needle in my RH to pull through loops of yarn, and then turned it around to knit the first row of the finishing with the WS facing me. I'm working on a baby sweater for which the pattern makes clear, from context, that you were supposed to pick up and knit a RS row with the RS facing, so it sounds like it was supposed to have been done simultaneously. I played around a bit by trying to pick up stitches on my left needle and then immediately knitting them off to my right needle, but couldn't figure out how to do it. So I kludged it by picking up stitches like I normally do, but using the tail of a skein (ie working towards the free end, not towards the skein), then switching all the stitches to another needle, and finally knitting RS normally. I am clearly missing something but I haven't the faintest idea what. Any thoughts? (I'm right-handed, if it makes any difference)

#553 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:23 PM:

albatross @#508: It's just good manners to call people what they like to be called, I think.

#554 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:33 PM:

I'll have to report on the relative success of mission: geekhusband later. We're off to D.C. in the morning, and we'll be gone for a week. He does like the idea of reading an anthology and skimming until he finds something he likes. Plus, it should work better than the unattainable (probably) ideal of the "one best book to knock his socks off." I just ordered the newest Dozois anthology (SFBC owed me books!) and we'll give that a try when we get back.

#555 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:49 PM:

@554 I say we arrange for a pallet of Star Wars novels to be waiting in the driveway when they get back...

#556 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Have a good time, kouredios. And let us know if you need further help with the corruption of your hubby.

#557 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 09:13 PM:

Olbermann named Bush "Worst Person in the World" tonight, and will have a special commentary tomorrow wherein he will call on Shrub and Dick to resign, for the good of the country. Someone start strapping jet engines on the pigs.

#558 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Debcha

It sounds to me like you have the 'pick up and knit' part fine. Generally, they mean right side facing, and it can be a nuisance if it's running in what you feel is the wrong direction. (I have actually done it from the right side from left to right, ie, backwards, where I had to pull the tail to the back before I could do it. Not recommended but do-able.)

What I do is usually pull up a loop through the edge of the fabric, and as I pull up more loops I do it so they anchor the tail under them - it looks like the end has been threaded through the stitches on the back. Looks like a backstitch from the wrong side, because all it is, is the bottom of the loops.

#559 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Teresa, as to the mysterious lyrics particle, a quick search of that site revealed a number of odd (to be charitable) interpretations of lyrics I am quite familiar with. Both stlyrics and azlyrics have a much more coherent version of that song. Not to say that theirs wouldn't make a good song, but I don't think they're hearing the same thing the rest of us are.

#560 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 09:44 PM:

little light, #520: Hear, hear!

And one other thing I've noticed about this: it is specifically the substitution of "Asian" for "Oriental" that seems to bring out this peculiar resistance. The only other thing that even comes close is "Native American," and it's a very distant second in terms of these verbal sniffs of disdain.

I have my own phrase for people who behave that way: "too old to know better." (And in this context, "old" is definitely an attitude, not an age.)

#561 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:11 PM:

P J Evans (#558): Thanks for the fast response. I'm still not sure I'm doing it the way they expected (the pattern was specific about where to start and where to end, for example) and I find it impossible to pick up stitches the 'wrong' way (left to right as you face the piece, with the right side facing you), but the end result is conceptually fine and looks fine, and I appreciate your words of reassurance that I didn't screw it up too badly. And I'll definitely try your 'tuck the tail in' method the next time I am finishing. I post pictures of my knitting projects to the Flickr page I use as my URL; feel free to check out the end result (it's a baby sweater) in a couple of days, once I've had a chance to sew it all together. Thanks again!

#562 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Susan @ #525, re: Readercon: I'm not feeling like the person to organize a fluorosphere meetup, but "hi, I recognize your name from Making Light!" is always a good introduction.

(I have a recognizable name. And a rasfc pin that I will try to remember to wear. And I will be one of the few (by past experience) young Asian women at the con, so I will stand out.

(And yes, that's _Asian_ not Oriental, the same way it's Kate not Katie.)

#563 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Lee, "Native American" is even more of a perplex, as people in Indian Country often prefer to be called Indian if you do not give them the dignity of their tribal name.

I've recently had the experience of hearing Sherman Alexie being castigated by someone of other than North American Native heritage on a call-in radio show for refering to himself and the characters in his poems and novels "Indians;" during the conversation the caller suggested Alexie might try using "First Nations" to which he replied "But I'm not Canadian!"

#564 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 10:35 PM:

Susan @ #525: This fiendish writer will be roaming the halls and chambers of Readercon. I shall wear a corsage of pointy horns??

#565 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:12 PM:

Don Fitch: You didn't steal them. They were, at least, yours nby right (not binding the mouths of the kine which tread the grain, and all that).

It's nice to know they are doing well. I have a strange pair of volunteers.

The plot looked like this:

Pepper Pepper

Pepper Pepper


Now it looks like this


Pepper Tom Pepper

Pepper Tom Pepper

None of the tomatoes I planted are ripe yet,but soon.

The Shiho Yellow plums are almost ripe. I have grapes ripening, peppers which we've eaten as rellenos, carrots, onions and garlic, which I let got to see, zucchini (finally) holding fruit, and some late season volunteer dill.

The lettuce has long since bolte, and the herbs are being dried.

Summer is icumen in.

#566 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Terry Karney @#565:

The plot looked like this:

Pepper Pepper
Pepper Pepper

Now it looks like this

Pepper Tom Pepper
Pepper Tom Pepper

This both confused and fascinated me, as my brain defaulted to the other meaning of "plot," and decided you were talking about revising a book. I want to read this book!

#567 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2007, 11:55 PM:

I did the same thing with Pepper, Tom Pepper, possibly an earlier version of 007. Then I thought, "No, that must be the bouncy bits of a new poetic structure, but it doesn't work and why don't we just get an examp...oh."

#568 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Well, to be honest, if I could have figured out how to make the map match the actual ground, it would have an onion in the enter of an "X", and then the apperance of the tomatoes.

But the spaces refuse to remain.

#569 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 01:34 AM:

P J, #483, the ADA specifies in inch per foot. (I'm trying to get my condo board to let me put a permanent concrete ramp in instead of a new wood one that the mowers will kill again -- mine is only six feet long (two of the three pads of concrete toward the center sidewalk) and six inches high so I think it would be acceptable as permanent, but I bet the management guy talks them into requiring wood.)

Dessert topping and a floor wax!

#570 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 02:07 AM:

#560 Lee and others:

It's not politeness that's the issue I'm raising here. Note that I use "Asian" normally, since there's no reason to step on toes.

It's specifically the cycle of euphemisms and the way they're used I'm objecting to. Asian vs Oriental isn't important, one word's as easy to use as another, but the process of changing the polite words has a cost.

Racial issues are hard to talk about. People get really upset, feel the press of their upbringing against what they believe intellectually, see facts that don't fit what they want to believe, etc. Trying to have an honest discussion about race in the US is taxing on all kind of levels. It's easy to find yourself being called nasty names, or having terribly offended someone for questioning their deeply held beliefs. I've offended people in both directions in conversations like this--convinced people I think they're a racist, been convinced other people thought I was one. That's because this is a hard topic, where it's easy to offend or take offense.

In that environment, inserting this extra phenomenon of "remember the right terms or someone will jump on you" is a terrible idea. It's like printing a math paper in especially hard-to-read fonts with distracting backgrounds.

I've seen people tripped up by remembering the right terminology, and corrected in a pretty rude way. Older people seem to have this happen more often, and you can sometimes watch a person making a completely inoffensive or sensible comment, get more or less slapped down for using the wrong term. I've also watched people who clearly used this to put someone in their place, as a source of power in a conversation or interaction. Perhaps my experiences are unique, and this isn't a phenomenon others have observed, in which case I'm overestimating the harm done, and perhaps underestimating the good done.

I'm coming to suspect that cooler heads should prevail here, and at any rate, I'm going to be away from my computer for a few days, so I'll try to catch up on the conversation later and see where it leads from here, but I'm dropping out of it for now.

#571 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 02:19 AM:

Per SFWA Fred Saberhagen passed away on Friday.

#572 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 04:51 AM:

Marilee @ 569... Dessert topping and a floor wax

That reminds me of Babylon 5's first season. Garibaldi and some other person are walking around the station when they come across an alien 'street' vendor. Garibaldi looks perplexed as he checks what's for sale and comments it's either floor wax or an aphrosidiac.

#573 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 05:07 AM:

Debcha #552: Regarding ma'am pronunciantion, I suspect it's a U/non-U marker thing, evolved over centuries of class distinction for the benefit of upper-class twits.

Although in my head ma'am rhymes with farm, I know that one addresses the queen as 'your majesty' once, and thenceforth as ma'am-as-in-ham. In the UK, I don't honestly know when else one might use it at all - in my mind it's more of a southern US thing, which again rhymes with ham.

#574 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 05:07 AM:

Nina Armstrong @ 571... Saberhagen died of cancer, right?

#575 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 07:12 AM:

Debcha #552 - what Jakob said in #573, but also long vowel ma'am (maaarm) sounds more southerly english to me than short vowel ma'am (mam).

I'll note that people I know who've met the Queen got briefed in advance that it's Ma'am-as-in-ham.

#576 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 08:37 AM:

Beverly Sills has also died, age 78, also of cancer.

#577 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 08:39 AM:

albatross @#570: In that environment, inserting this extra phenomenon of "remember the right terms or someone will jump on you" is a terrible idea.

In this conversation, I don't think anyone was jumping on you for saying "oriental." The issue was that you seemed to be complaining about the word falling out of favor. If you had said "oriental" instead of "Asian" someone might have corrected you, but that's not necessarily "jumping on."

It's easy to find yourself being called nasty names

The point is...to some people, "oriental" has become, itself, a nasty name. For me it doesn't carry any negative connotation, but I'm white, and the fact that there are basically no ethnic slurs that can hurt me is an artifact of white privilege. I can't know what it's like to have a common name for my people be synonymous with Bad Things...so if someone wants me to use a new, possibly clunky name instead of the one I would use naturally, that's cool. In fact, it can be an excellent starting point for discussions of race. For example, asking "should I say 'black' or 'African American?' Everyone seems to have a different preference." seems to get the conversation going without any animosity, and you can learn all kinds of interesting things from the answer to that question.

So I don't think it's a waste of time or sidetracking to really work on hashing out the vocabulary. In fact, for people of color (and disabled people), it seems to be a critical part of combating prejudice, so it's worth spending time on even if it doesn't directly appropriate dollars for a cause.

#578 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Lila @ 576... When I think of Beverly Sills, I always remember the time she was a guest of the Muppet Show. Miss Piggy, the resident diva, didn't feel threatened, of course.

#579 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 09:40 AM:

And I will be one of the few (by past experience) young Asian women at the con, so I will stand out.

btw, using "Asian" in this way is a little ambiguous; in Britain Asian almost always means "originating from the Indian subcontinent", while in the US (and, I believe, Australia) it seems to mean "from China, Japan or elsewhere in east Asia".

I suspect this is because Britain has a lot of non-Indian Asians (Pakistani, Bangladeshi) who might not take well to being called "Indian", but not many east Asians (certainly not until very recently) who needed distinguishing apart from Chinese.

This isn't meant to be a criticism; just be aware that if you describe someone (including yourself) as "Asian" to a Brit, they will be expecting someone who looks quite different.

575: I've been briefed on the Ma'am-as-in-ham thing as well. No idea why. People called Queen Victoria "marm" if Flashman is anything to go by.

#580 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Kate @ #562:
(I have a recognizable name. And a rasfc pin that I will try to remember to wear. And I will be one of the few (by past experience) young Asian women at the con, so I will stand out.

I'll try to keep an eye out. I sprained my ankle last night, so I may not be very mobile at the con, depending on how it progresses. I will be one of the Hispanic (by some people's definitions) or Latina (by some people's definitions) women at the convention, but since that says nothing useful about how I look, it won't help you at all in picking me out of a crowd.

I've never been to a Readercon, and I'm getting very weird vibes about the whole thing. I'm also looking for another roommate, if you know anyone who might want to room-share. (I have one female friend with me already, but we'd rather cut costs if possible.)

#581 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 10:01 AM:

ajay @ #579: in Britain Asian almost always means "originating from the Indian subcontinent", while in the US (and, I believe, Australia) it seems to mean "from China, Japan or elsewhere in east Asia

Thanks, I didn't know that. Yes, my usage was in the sense of Asia east of the Indian subcontinent, as I was born in Korea. I refer to people from the Indian subcontinent by their country of ancestral origin, which is another difference between here and the UK, as I don't often need a collective, rather than an individual, adjective.

Susan @ #580: would you care to say what weird vibes you're getting about Readercon? I may be able to address them based on my experience.

And sorry, I don't know anyone looking for a room share.

* * *

The second annual International Blog Against Racism Week will be the first full week in August, the 6th through the 12th. Last year generated hundreds of interesting posts, and if it spread even further outside LiveJournal this year, that would be great.

(Of course one can blog against racism any week of the year, and shouldn't feel limited to doing so during announced weeks. But I personally find it useful to have a prod to say the things I've been meaning to say but haven't--at least in part because these conversations are *hard* in many different ways.)

#582 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Debcha @552 - Some folks use the term "pick up" to mean "make loops by running your needle through the existing knitting without actually adding any yarn to the process." With that terminology, if you put the needle in and draw yarn through, that is "picking up and knitting." Could that be why the directions are so confusing? You're counting as one step something the pattern writer considered to be two steps?

#583 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Kate, re. Readercon weird vibes:
It seems in many ways not to be very fannish, which feels weird to me. (I'm just a plain old fan, not a writer, editor, or wanna-be either, despite occasional peculiar urges.) The secret committee (it's very hard to find out the identities of the people who run Readercon), which in theory I am working for, but doesn't actually, um, contact me in any way, which makes it kind of challenging. Apparently the relevant people don't use email, which is beyond odd in this day and age.

Just generally weird vibes.

If I didn't passionately want to talk to a couple of people who are going to be at this con I might consider skipping it and staying home and nursing my ankle, since right now I mostly feel battered and sorry for myself.

#584 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Susan: ah, that I can't speak to, as my experience of Readercon is strictly as an attendee. I can say that I've never felt excluded as someone who neither writes nor edits fiction (and only reviews it informally for her own amusement).

I hope your ankle feels better and you're able to enjoy yourself.

#585 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 11:10 AM:

Susan @ 583... Apparently the relevant people don't use email, which is beyond odd in this day and age.

Odd? Yes. On the other hand, blogs like ML can't be nominated for a Hugo Award because they're not printed.

#586 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:23 PM:

RM Koske (#582): That helps a lot! I always considered the adding loops part to be the 'pick up,' which needs to be followed by the 'knit' part. That makes what I did perfectly plausible. Part of the confusion was that it was clear from the pattern that the first row of knitting had to be done on the RS (it's a garter stitch edging, and it needed to match the stuff at the end of the knitted piece).

BTW, the pattern I'm using is from Simply Baby by Debbie Bliss (I'm actually working on the green-and-white striped sweater that is the third image) I highly recommend these books for new-ish knitters; the patterns are very clear and reliable (this issue aside), the gauge works perfectly (at least for me), and the pieces themselves have an aesthetic I like - simple without being plain or boring.

#587 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:24 PM:

With all the discussion of "evil knotweed" above, I'm surprised that no one mentioned The Curse of the Giant Knotweed a humorous mystery by (I think it was) Charlotte MacLeod. Check it out, and enjoy!

#588 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:26 PM:

#582 ::: R.M. Koske ::: Some folks use the term "pick up" to mean "make loops by running your needle through the existing knitting without actually adding any yarn to the process." With that terminology, if you put the needle in and draw yarn through, that is "picking up and knitting." Could that be why the directions are so confusing? You're counting as one step something the pattern writer considered to be two steps?

That was my guess, too. When I hit instructions that say, "Pick up and knit 20 stitches," I subdivide that into two instructions:

"Pick up" is the annoying fiddly bit where I try to pass my kneedle through the fabric such that I get 20 loops of it all spaced evenly and turned consistently knitwise. This sometimes takes me several passes to be happy with the spacing and then a transfer from needle to needle to get all these loops' right-hand legs on the front of the needle. This step involves no free yarn.

"Knit" is the much more relaxing bit where I take all these knit-simulating loops of fabric and, well, knit into them with yarn from the skein. And then I'm all happy again.

I hate picking up stitches. Short-row sock heels totally made my day.


Lance, it sounds like yer askin' for Carol and I to come over with ingredient assignments and knit at you while you cook. Then we can all sit down to dinner and D&D or something. (I have been known to try all three pass-times at once, actually.)

This thing has legs! Let's make it walk!

#589 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Okay, ma'am-as-in-ham for HRH - got it. Since that's my default pronunciation, I'm all set for my audience. On the other hand, I suspect I might confuse any random older British ladies I find myself respectfully addressing.

#590 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Woo-hoo! I'm going to be in PDX Aug. 9-15. Anybody want to get together?

#591 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:39 PM:

As someone originally from Toronto, where all aspects of the Asian diaspora are well represented, I usually describe eg myself as 'of South Asian descent,' which is really just shorthand for 'dark brown hair, brown skin, brown eyes.' The 'descent' part is important, since I'm not actually South Asian (and I know many people who are of South Asian descent via eg Africa or the Caribbean). I also tend to use 'East Asian' or 'Southeast Asian', as appropriate.

BTW, I remember seeing a restaurant review in (I think) the Boston Globe, where the writer described the decor as including pictures of Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and 'other African-American luminaries.' I remember thinking, 'Umm, I'm pretty sure that Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are just African, not African-American!' It did make me wonder if the writer had originally written 'black,' which was auto-corrected.

#592 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:41 PM:

sidelight: Wikipedia: still run by horse's asses who think print is magic

(reading)

Good farking lord. If wikipedia policy said your elbow was really your ass, Quatloo would mindlessly do a search and replace of "elbow" to "ass", and revert war anyone who objected.

Doesn't anybody think anymore?

#593 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Faren (587): That's The Curse of the Giant Hogweed by, yes, Charlotte MacLeod. And I second the recommendation.

#594 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 01:08 PM:

How about The Curse of the Knit Weed?

#595 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Terry Karney @ #568:
But the spaces refuse to remain.

<pre>
If this message appears
                        as I intend it to appear
             (and it will be fairly obvious if it does)
then one can use the <pre> tag in Making Light comments.
</pre>
#596 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 02:30 PM:

TexAnne #590:

And who gave you permission to skip ArmadilloCon?

#597 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Terry 568: Would using &nbsp; help? IME those spaces aren't removed. Thus "[&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;]" comes out as "[   ]" where "[(three spaces)]" comes out as "[ ]."

But Paul (595)'s solution is better. I didn't know about that tag.

#598 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 02:36 PM:

#570: I've come to the conclusion that you're ignoring me since you refuse to actually answer my questions. I'm not sure what I've done to offend you, but I'll apologize for it.

However, I still don't understand the point of your original parenthetical comment. As you state, "Oriental" is not a term you typically use, why did you use it there?

I'm afraid that it's hard for me to interpret your argument as "some people find it too hard to be polite to people, so we shouldn't bother." Obviously, rudeness should not beget rudeness. If someone uses a rude term, he or she should be corrected gently. So I'm afraid I don't understand how the fear of a rude correction justifies rudeness to being with.

Also, I'm afraid it comes off as unintentionally condescending when you dismiss discussion by characterizing it as irrational emotionalism when the tone of conversation has been quite cool and measured. I'm sure you don't mean it this way. And I hope by making it clear I impute no intentionality that you are not offended by my observation.

It is clear to me that you see how acceptable terms change over time as the traps that people set for other people. Can you please explain what possible benefit this trap setting might have for anyone? Wouldn't it be simpler to think that who gets to dictate what terms are acceptable has merely changed over time? e.g., Europeans imposed the term "Oriental." As we entered more enlightened times, people were allowed to choose for themselves how they were to be identified.

Now, the ungenerous would view your position as this defiant stand that we should still be in those days when people were not allowed to choose how they are named. I'm sure you don't mean this at all. You merely have this (mistaken) notion that "Oriental" was not an imposed name. If there is a cycle, it is because people are increasingly able to decide their own names, not because people keep changing their minds, for whatever reasons.

As a personal matter, I'm still wondering where the original parenthetical comment in #452 came from. Based on your writing in #570, I'm left to think you did it as a way of establishing power an dominance in this conversation. After all, you state in #570 that this is the reason for using such terms. But surely that can't be it.

#599 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Greg 592: You're right. And there would be an entry on "Ass Macaroni," and a reference to using ass joints in plumbing, and there would be all kinds of quotes like "That man doesn't know his ass from his ass," because Quatloo is a flaming, farting, gaping asshole.

Or should that be elbowhole?

#600 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 03:17 PM:

#598: D'oh. Sorry, I dropped a few words. I meant to write: I find it hard to interpret your argument as anything besides "some people find it too hard to be polite to people, so we shouldn't bother."

albatross, you say that the process of changing what is the polite word has a cost. What you call "changing the polite word," I call "allowing people to choose their own name." As such, I end up reading your argument as "We shouldn't let people choose their own names because it may confuse the people who chose the old names." Assuming that we can all remain polite people, I don't think this is a large price to pay. After all, good people of manners should be able to realize they are causing offense and adjust their behavior accordingly.

#601 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 03:25 PM:

debcha - glad to help!

Nicole @588 - I'm going to get into trouble picking up stitches eventually. I do both steps in one pass. Pick up a stitch, knit the yarn through, repeat. I've been lucky so far that things have turned out even without multiple rippings. I think I do it that way because it is easier for me to see if I'm picking up evenly once I've got the "knit" part done. Somehow I think I'm saving myself effort by skipping straight there.

#602 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 03:30 PM:

debcha #591: I was at an MLK Day event once, when a young black woman described her heroes as 'Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and other great African-Americans'. Some people just don't think.

#603 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 03:33 PM:

I think there's some justification for an oppressed and stigmatized group changing its name periodically on general principles. Stigmatization is an ongoing process; you change from the old stigmatized name to a name with no stigma attached, and in a decade or so the new name has acquired stigma, because the group is still looked down upon in society and the name is associated with it. So then you need a new name again.

Also, once bigots start using the new name, they'll say it in tones dripping with contempt, which taints it even when others say it without. And in some cases it becomes a byword for unfashionable or stupid, as 'gay' has. I'm not quite ready to give up on that one yet, but eventually we'll have to.

#604 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 04:06 PM:

joann, #596: My two-year-old goddaughter. :-)

#605 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 04:21 PM:

TexAnne #604:

Quite so. A motion to adjourn to see goddaughters is almost always in order. (Congrats on having such a thing.)

#606 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Because I know this is going to be one of the most popular research articles out this year,
and because this is an article about how to lower your blood pressure where the article itself will lower it,
and because other news has not been blood-pressure lowering:

Effects of Low Habitual Cocoa Intake on Blood Pressure and Bioactive Nitric Oxide.

aka eat chocolate. I'm going to go prepare some habitual cocoa intake on frozen blueberries right now.

#607 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 06:27 PM:

JC @#598: albatross has dropped out of the thread for now--see the very end of the post in #570. So that's (at least one reason) why your question isn't being answered...

#608 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Re: Fiendish lyrics

In my experience, this sort of thing is not very unusual. I often look up lyrics and chords online, sometimes to learn a song, sometimes when I hear something unfamiliar and wonder what it is. There are many great lyric posts (it's fantastic to have all the lyrics to "Life Is a Rock" or "I've Been Everywhere," for example), but you never know when, let us say, some Finnish teenager with a limited command of English will think he knows all the words to a Rolling Stones song...

#609 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 07:38 PM:

Terry, #568, a forced space: & nbsp; all six characters without the space between & and n. Otherwise, html will just squish all spaces into one.

Serge, #572, that's a phrase from an old SNL show and you hear it relatively often in fandom.

#610 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Marilee @ 609... Ah hah!

Meanwhile, are you ready for the Fourth? It's true that Democrats and liberals hate America, but then again I am an atheist who puts up a Christmas Tree as early as his significant other will allow. I'll probably spend the morning weeding furiously then, when the sun has knocked me out hours later, I'll crawl back inside the house, clean up and watch the DVDs of Yankee Doodle Dandy and of the musical 1776.

(John Adams about why he shouldn't be the one to write the Declaration: "Well, if I'm the one to do it. They'll run their quill pens through it. I'm obnoxious and disliked, you know that, sir.")

#611 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 09:17 PM:

Serge @#610: "...so I refuse to use a pen in Pensylvania."

Gosh, I forgot all about this and I own the DVD! I'm going to go dig it out now.

#612 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 09:46 PM:

#607: I know. However, I was referring to the questions I asked back in #470, #518 and #522. albatross has responded to other people on the same topic in the interim, but not answered my questions.

I can infer answers based on albatross's posts, but I can't imagine that those are the intended answers.

#613 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Interesting sidebar about Wikipedia and the dueling jackasses.

I note that Nancy Lebovitz recently posted a link to an interesting psych experiment about people who performed a task better if they were rewarded with the face of an angry person. I note that she also used an article by John Scalzi as an example of something where she thought that the good points made were subordinated to the pleasure of insulting people over and over again apparently in the belief that it would somehow make the recipients of the insults hardier, or more receptive, or something.

Anger and insult worked like a charm in this case, too, I note.

#614 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 12:01 AM:

Nancy@449: The only people permitted to start colonies are weird, well-defined groups on Earth. (This might include previously colonized planets--it's been a while since I've read the books.)

It's also been a while since I read the books, but I don't recall this being a rule rather than a description of how a group could get the resources for an STL spaceship. In your recollection, did the government prevent private un-weird, un-welldefined groups (e.g., the amalgamated service clubs) from going, or did it just not give them a ship they couldn't otherwise afford?

Susan@573: Readercon was founded by people who (unlike MITSFS) could truthfully say "We're not fans; we just read the stuff." The original binder was that they were all geeks for the written word -- not ]professionals[ and rarely wannabes, just people who were fascinated with written SF (and unhappy about the direction of Boskone at the time). The committee is heterogeneous but not strongly organized; from what I've seen they are very weakly connected to other con-running fandoms (think Minnstf only more so, and without the Firesign etc. references). Do come if your ankle allows, pick and choose the panels you go to, and give them a little time to warm up -- Readercon doesn't always have highly-focused moderators, but a lot of interesting people show up.

JC@598: ... those days when people were not allowed to choose how they are named ...
How much popular choice is involved now in group renamings, and how much is a small group of tummelers claiming to speak for the whole? If there \were/ a plebiscite of the named, do you think they'd all agree (or, in good U.S. tradition, even bother to vote)? I don't argue that names are meaningless, but I sometimes gape at how much meaning is hung on them.
Individuals show individual variations in what they want to be called. I once told a blind friend that Disclave had shared the hotel with a convention of the handicapped; the term was less incendiary 30 years ago, but she damned it as a euphemism, saying that if I meant "blind" I should say it. I had to explain that it was a collective.

The notion about raspberries taking 2-3 years to invade is outdated (or speciesist, along the current thread). "The raspberry that ate Ellen's backyard" has shown it can tunnel under some inches of plastic edging and come up in the lawn -- barely a year after transplanting, when ~2 surviving canes became ~20.

#615 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 12:55 AM:

The newest XKCD might amuse the Wikipedia-aware here. As always with XKCD, remember to put the mouse over the cartoon to see the second punchline.

#616 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 12:58 AM:

If you're looking for relief after the recent appalling news, consider Abbott and Costello meet the Bard

#617 ::: K ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 01:09 AM:

Well, I was unsurprised to discover that the Fluorosphere already knew about Wendy Cope, but I've just discovered her - reading this poem last night filled me with joy.

The Orange, by Wendy Cope

Here's hoping she'll be a new delight to someone else here as well.

#618 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 01:26 AM:

R.M. Koske (#601): Okay, now I know that it's people like you for whom the pattern is written. :) I can't even conceptualize how you do it - do you pick up the loop with your LH needle and knit it off with your right? With the RS facing you, do you then move from right to left? I tried playing around with that but I couldn't seem to get it to work, and I certainly wasn't dextrous enough to pick up stitches on my LH needle. (I wrote this as if you were right-handed, as I am; my apologies and please transpose if you are left-handed)

I'm with Nicole; it often takes me multiple passes to pick up the right number of stitches, evenly spaced, so I like picking up and knitting as two separate steps, even if I was coordinated enough to do it all as one.

#619 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 07:37 AM:

#614: Are you really saying because we can't know with absolute certainly, we shouldn't even bother?

#620 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 07:54 AM:

#619:Oops, that's "certainty," not "certainly." I should also add that the corollary appears to be that since we don't have monolithic entities, people should be able to call anyone anything they like without regard to the wishes of the referent. Is that really the argument?

Obviously, there's always variation, but there are lots of cases where one can establish a consensus. I hadn't realized that asking to be called what I want to be called would be so controversial. This only generalizes out to people in that lots of people may make the same decision. My point wasn't respect to political movements as much as each person being able to choose for himself or herself rather than having an imposed name. (However, if enough people make the same choice, it becomes consensus.)

In any case, this all started because albatross claimed not to understand why "Oriental" was not the preferred term. (I should point out that if there no existing consensus, this statement would have been impossible.) I explained why it was not the preferred term only to find out albatross already knew why. So, I'm left to ask given albatross doesn't want to step on toes, given that albatross knows that "Oriental" is considered a mildly offensive term in North America, given that the parenthetical clause wasn't even relevant to the point being made, why did albatross write it in the first place?

#621 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Mary Dell @ 611... I forgot all about this and I own the DVD! I'm going to go dig it out now.

How could you forget about it? How? How? It's a fun movie, and i doesn't show the Founding Fathers as gods, but as human beings. And the ending gives me the shivers just to think of it.

#622 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 08:56 AM:

CHip @614:
I'm coming. I've even managed to get my working straightened out, so (esp given the ankle) I will be found in the green room much of the time. Anyone who wants to say hi, that's the best bet to find me.

I think the lack of fannishness would be the reason the committee seems to be stretched so thin - they're not connected to the gift economy that makes most of fandom function. Combine that with hiding from the world and a "right sort of people" attitude (this has to be the first time I've ever qualified as the right sort of people, which leads me to suspect the person who connected me with the concom didn't tell them much about me) and you have a recipe for not attracting volunteers.

So, um, anyone who is the right sort of people and wants to volunteer to mind the green room for an hour or so, really do drop by. I have this feeling that otherwise I may never get spelled.

#623 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 09:00 AM:

#616: That reminds me of a cool thing I first came across ages ago called "A Night in Elsinore." It's always possible that this is something everyone is already aware of, but if anyone isn't, I recommend it.

Now that I've Googled it again, I see the author has a couple more scripts up at the same site.

#624 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 09:28 AM:

#359: CHip, the superior force first introduced was that of the Office of Special Projects and the Council of Humanity. Under cover of diplomatic immunity, they set about to subvert the current situation. Remember, Barnes only shows us the misfits and rebels, who exist in every culture. Judging Utilitopia by their opinions is like judging America by the Rainbow Family's opinions.

(I'm going to err on the side of caution and mystery, and shift to ROT-13 here.)

Gur BFC qbrfa'g unir nf vgf zvffvba svkvat oebxra phygherf. Gurl'ir tbg n fcrpvsvp ntraqn, nf jr qvfpbire guebhtubhg gur obbxf, nf jr nyfb frr gung gurl qb abg fpehcyr ng nffnffvangvbaf, gbegher, evbgf, nyy gur pynffvp oynpx negf--naq gubfr ner whfg guvatf Onearf fubjf hf. Jung nobhg gubfr qbmra npgf bs gur BFC Funa xabjf nobhg gung pbhyq oevat qbja gur jubyr flfgrz, vs gurl jrer rkcbfrq?

Gur BFC vf bhg gb havgr uhznavgl, ol nal zrnaf arprffnel.

Vg'f zl oryvrs gung gur raqvat bs Rnegu Znqr bs Tynff jnf abg fvzcyl pnhfrq ol gur BFC, ohg qverpgyl pbzzvggrq ol vg. Bar bs gubfr qbmra npgf, nyy sbe gur tbbq bs gur pnhfr, bs pbhefr.

#625 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 09:43 AM:

#623: "A Night at the Castle" is pretty good, but it also irresistibly reminds me of this Brustian variant.

#626 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 10:14 AM:

On a different subject, according to a Pew Research Center survey of American views of marriage and parenting, "nearly four-in-ten (36.8%) births in this country are to an unmarried woman."

As Whiskey Fire asks, "Well, who is she, then? Who is this unmarried woman who is having so many babies? How does she even find the time?"

(Flashback to late-70s SNL: "In New York City, a man is mugged every ten minutes. We interviewed that man.")

#627 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 10:35 AM:

#618 ::: debcha :

R.M. Koske (#601): ...

I'm with Nicole; it often takes me multiple passes to pick up the right number of stitches, evenly spaced, so I like picking up and knitting as two separate steps, even if I was coordinated enough to do it all as one.

The easiest way I've found to pick up stitches is in two steps, as above. Also, to find the little devils I use a running marker that's wrapped at the ends of the rows: screaming yellow fly line or braided fish line - the white kind, not monofilament. Traditionally you use "waste yarn" (WY) but it can be hard to slip your pickup needle along without splitting, and tends to leave lint fragments.

Nicole, I agree we should double-team Lance.

Media reflecting the theme of today:
Stan Freberg's History of America, the Early Years
Indians tap dancing in moccasins on dirt!
The eagle and turkey vie for national bird!
(dramatic fanfare) - "what's that?" "French horn"

#628 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Don Fitch @ 491: [on raspberries] "Mind you, they don't necessarily move only in the direction you wish they'd move."

That's as succinct a definition of revenge as I've ever heard.

albatross @ 508: "a. It doesn't seem to actually do any good. That is, people can think African-Americans are inferior just about as easily as they can think Negroes are inferior. They can think Asians are scheming and cruel as easily as they can think Orientals are. And so on."

As an Asian Studies major who read Orientalism at an impressionable age, I am mildly boggled by this. Minus an extended digression into the racist and oppressive history of the term, I can't really go into all the ways it is a horrible, racist term. Suffice it to say, it is not value-neutral. To start with, it defines an entire continent of people enmasse and entirely by their relationship with Europe. It has a centuries-old history, none of it good. Exchanging it for Asian, or better yet, Chinese, Indian or Kurdish, is an unambiguously good thing.

Terms chosen by a group for itself and terms chosen by others with a vested interest in disenfranchising them are not interchangeable.

#629 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 11:15 AM:

#626 PNH
I think I first heard that joke before SNL even existed, much less Whiskey Fire. It's got legs.

#630 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 11:57 AM:

For the knitters in this discussion (I'm not one of you! too clumsy), this week's "Pickles" cartoons have been featuring lightning-fast knitting. Here's a link to a site where you can see all of them.

#631 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 12:17 PM:

TexAnne @ 590

Sure, that would be fun. Unfortunately, I work about 20 miles out in the 'burbs, so I can't get back to the city for lunch without spending or three hours at it. But since I live in the city, I'll be headed back there about dinner time, so maybe we can get a few people together for dinner. Do you like seafood, TexAnne? Anyone else interested?

#632 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Coming back to this Open Thread after 2 or 3 days is like being at a buffet of really great food: do I eat a lot of canapes (mmm, and they look really neat!) ... no, then I won't get to the entrees and the salads -- but wait! got to leave room for the desserts ...

I try to read them all and just don't have time.

So, first order of business: anyone have experience with Belkin wireless routers? I've got the new "N1" router I bought wrestled into wireless access point mode, so it doesn't interfere with my existing router (and that took far longer than it should have), but now the new guy won't respond on its admin webpage, so I can't change anything else. I had to reset everything to factory default to get to where I am now, meaning that it's using the default network name (ESSID) which is suboptimal at best, but it's also wide open, no MAC checking, no password security, and with N mode, 2 or 3 times as much range as before, so I'm hanging out here in front of Ganesh and everybody. Anyone know how to get it to listen at the admin page again, or failing that, how to restore it to factory default again (the "nucular" option). Remember, if you can answer this question, you may save me a couple of hours dealing with tech support on the phone.

#633 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Random, derived from noises elsewhere: someday, the phrase "I'm from Wikipedia, and I know what I'm doing" may replace the old saw "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" in its ability to create a presupposition of annoyance.

#634 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 01:08 PM:

Bruce, 631: A seafood dinner sounds great--email me and we'll figure out the details.

#635 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 01:28 PM:

#625: It's amazing how many good things can be made even better via the judicious application of Marx Brothers.

Which reminded me that I'd also seen a Marx Brothers version of Faust. So I Googled it, and it turns out it was written by John Kessel.

#636 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 05:15 PM:

Re the botanical warfare subthread:

Even blackberries aren't too bad, since there is a way to eradicate them. It took me 2 years at our previous house, but after that I only had to watch for new plants from wind- or bird-borne seeds. The current house is a different story because two aides of the lot border on a native plant protected zone that's mostly blackberries, english ivy, and horse tails, and there's nothing I can do to stop the plants coming back; I just kill them off as they arrive.

But the real mutual destruction using plants is to be had either with English ivy* which is pandemic to this area now. It's strangling whole forests now, and still people plant the stuff in their yards. Even worse is morning glory, believe it or not. I've never found a way to get rid of morning glory, and I've seen it strangle wisteria. And again, it's considered appropriate for planting in a garden.

* Our current house has a number of mature Douglas firs, several of which were completely covered with ivy when we bought this house. We killed all of the ivy on the trees, and most of the rest of it, all the time swearing at the old owners and wondering at their luck in not having a strangled fir smashing the roof of the house.

#637 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Bruce, I know how to kill morning glory. Plant marigolds.

#638 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Bruce, I feel like I should post a photo of my particular blackberry infestation right now, but it would just depress us all.

My great-great grandparents planted Himalyas back when the land grant universities were promoting it as an easy and fruitful family garden plant. After a hundred years and change, we've got burls the size of V-8 engines two-three feet below soil level (I know the comparison is accurate, as there are also several large engines buried around the old homestead) and the seed-load is such that when we slaughter back the top-growth and dig up the more accessible burls, the worked ground is covered with new seedlings within a couple of weeks.

I've finally dispared of organic control and taken to committing herbicide, but either I'm the victim of some cruel social experiment and am being sold placebo under the name of Round-up, or killing Himalyas sprouting from old, deep burls is a matter of several years's diligent work. Especially when the patch is now about a hundred by a hundred feet, and includes a steep 30' slope in sandy soil.

I try not to feel persecuted, but then I turn around and look at the loathsome magenta plague of Claridge Druce geranium, and the creeping tide of Southernwood, and I feel as if my gardening life owes something to Rod Serling or perhaps Shirley Jackson.

#639 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 07:17 PM:

JESR @ 633... someday, the phrase "I'm from Wikipedia, and I know what I'm doing" may replace the old saw "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" in its ability to create a presupposition of annoyance.

My employer has gone thru two mergers and one phrase I've learned to take with a truckload of salt is "Oh, the integration of the two systems into ne will be transparent."

#640 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 07:29 PM:

Bruce -

My first guess would be that the router is no longer set to it's default address (192.168.2.1 for Belkin's I believe), so pointing your browser to that old address won't hit it's web admin page.

The new address should be the same as whatever "default gateway" address is being assigned to your connecting machines. Try to access the admin page at that address.

If all else fails, the nuke it button is on the back, labeled "reset". Press it for 10 seconds and it should restore the factory settings.

PS. This is all from memory, YMMV :) We're heading off to catch a movie then fireworks...

#641 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 07:44 PM:

Serge, #610, I think my "ready for the Fourth" is probably different than most. Starting Monday, movers are packing and moving almost everything out (Spirit can't leave the house, so we're camping out), then Wednesday the flooring people will put laminate everywhere except the bathrooms which are getting new vinyl (I'm leaving the vinyl in the utility room, not because I like it, but because I'm not going to pay to have the washer/dryer, water heater, and heat pump moved out), and on Friday, the big rooms start getting painted. Stuff gets moved back in on the 18th and I have a Boy Scout helping me with unpacking the next couple of days.

I have long long lists for this week, including today's, which is about half done. I had another brain seizure last night and the doctor says they come when I'm stressed and I expect to be stressed for the next two weeks. When the phenobarb gets to the right level, it shouldn't happen as often. I had a lab for the level planned for tomorrow anyway, so I'll write her about it after.

But we have big thunderstorms and the National Mall has been closed, so I'd be surprised if any of the official programs and fireworks in the DC area go on. I had planned on dragging a chair out onto the sidewalk and watching my city's fireworks which originate about four blocks away.

It sounds like yours will be much better!

#642 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Marilee @ 611... Yes, mine is better, but I wish yours were too.

#643 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 10:44 PM:

JC@619: Don't put words in my mouth; it's unsanitary. What I \asked/ was whether this was in fact "calling people what they wanted to be called". The absolute opposite would be that a few people who believe in the power of symbols over reality have made a fuss that is opposed not only by the people who see a different reality but by the people who are more concerned with reality than with the labels applied to it -- or themselves; the fact probably lies somewhere in between. I admit to being irritated when what I see starts looking like a small group speaking for a class without the backing of that class; that's not much less irritating from someone close to my persuasion does it than when Bush, Cheney, et al. do it.

And maybe I just haven't been asking enough people, but I've never heard someone be offended by "Oriental" before this discussion. "WOG", probably (although I've never heard it used straight); "Oriental", no.

As to what \you/ want to be called: how many people are supposed to know (and keep up with) your individual preference? Especially people who try not to categorize/pigeonhole other people?

#644 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 10:49 PM:

Xopher @ #530:

The Ritual of the Poisoning of the Knotweed

Supplies needed: heavy duty clippers, Total Vegetation Killer, funnel

1. Permit knotweed to grow until each stem is at least a half-inch diameter.
2. Chop knotweed off about a foot above the ground.
3. Read the part of the TVK instructions that says to dilute it with water to about a 10% concentration.
4. Give your best mad scientist laugh.
5. Insert the funnel into the top of each knotwood stem in turn.
6. Pour undiluted TVK directly into the knotweed stem (chanting optional).
7. When all stems have had their ritual drink of TVK, soak the surrounding ground with more TVK.
8. Caper for a while, laughing wildly.
9. Wash hands to remove TVK.

Don't worry, the polka dots of bare earth in your yard will regain vegetation in a year or two.

Unfortunately, since knotweed is a Great Underground Monster, this exercise has to be repeated each year as the stupid stuff comes up in a different place. I believe the motherlode of mine is directly under my house and is out to get me. In my nightmares, it comes through my basement floor.


#645 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2007, 11:11 PM:

#624: I disagree with your conclusion about EMoG; but I do not have the energy to argue it, beyond pointing at current events suggesting how easy it is for close opponents to get into endless slugfests -- which (IMO) avoid such total destruction as in EMoG only because the means are lacking.

However, your claim about Utilitopia is implausible; unless we assume Giraut is actively lying, the government suborned and encouraged violence when individuals began to show that the government didn't have all the answers -- which sounds more like Tianmen Square than CIA subversion. Note also the native Utilitopian's description of propositions that admittedly break Utilitopian logic; is he also lying about them being known and hidden at high levels (rather like the high priests of Styphon being faithless)?

The OSP not being clean does not make Utilitopia any less corrupt. It is easy, but IMO wrong, to see their behavior through the distorting lens of ]imperialist[ history.

#646 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 12:35 AM:

CHip,

Which government? Until the OSP showed up, Saltini was in the minority faction. It was their arrival that allowed him to take power. The government that was in power before Saltini was trying its best to come to terms with the Council for Humanity. Keep in mind that Utilitopia worked--it was a functioning society that fulfilled most of the needs of most of its citizens.

As for the denounment of Earth Made of Glass, I think every party was genuinely trying to come to terms, with the exception of the Tamil hardliners (who were not winning). They were also all hedging their bets, like the people who came to the peace rally with weapons, just in case something went wrong. When things went really south, the OSP made Briand into an example.

I could be wrong. I made assumptions and reached conclusions consistent with this that don't seem borne out by the subsequent books. I'm still struggling with this book, a decade later.

#647 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 01:08 AM:

joan @ 637: "Bruce, I know how to kill morning glory. Plant marigolds."

I don't know much about gardening, but it sounds to me like you are advocating the heroin cure to morphine addiction. Am I right?

#648 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 03:53 AM:

Heresiarch @ 647

Sounds more like the Watchhawk solution to the Watchbird problem, if you remember the old Sheckley story.

#649 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 03:55 AM:

Heresiarch @ 647

Sounds more like the Watchhawk solution to the Watchbird problem, if you remember the old Sheckley story.

#650 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 03:57 AM:

Oops, sorry for the double post. My new laptop appears to have a bad wireless card, and it thinks it needs to resend when it doesn't.

#651 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 06:50 AM:

Lee at #260 writes:

> Am I the only person here who was seriously disappointed in Barnes' Earth Made of Glass and the third book in that trilogy, which was so forgettable I can't even remember its title?

Not by a long shot I'd say - I'm surprised how many people in this thread liked A Million Open Doors and *not* The Earth Made of Glass - I think they're a perfect pair of books which complement each other beautifully - one optimistic and one pessimistic, and both feeding into each other to make something greater.

I do agree with you that the third one was forgettable. It had absoloutely no impact on me, except to make me peeved.

I really don't get Barnes - I can't think of any other good author SF who is so wildly erratic.

#652 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 08:37 AM:

The third one was uneven, I thought. Parts of it, such as the flashbacks to Giraut's youth--I wanted a whole book of that--were really strong. The book as a whole wasn't so powerful, though, and one part of it--the good guys' lip-smacking sadism toward AIs--was a bit ugly, though from the fourth book I see why it was needed. The book did fit my sinister theories about the OSP, though.

Big books often have dull stretches, though, and this series does amount to a real big book. If I can cut Tolstoy slack for the tedious parts of Anna Karenina, I can cut slack for Barnes.

From the afterword, where Barnes addresses and rejects the notion that Margaret had become a revenge character for him in the second book, I suspect that he might've been fighting with how to not allow that impression in this one. I think he succeeds in that, so far as he could, but once that idea gets stuck in readers' minds (I didn't even consider it, myself), it's hard to get out.

#653 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Bruce Cohen @#636: I've never found a way to get rid of morning glory, and I've seen it strangle wisteria. And again, it's considered appropriate for planting in a garden.

I haven't planted any morning glories, but merely encouraging the ones at the back of my yard with a little water caused them to cover the entire (chain-link) fence in no time. And all the blooms faced the neigbors, not me...ungrateful wretches. After the first year I recognized them for the (pretty) pest they are, and I restrict them to one part of the garden and pull them out everywhere else.

Hey, speaking of pretty pests, does anyone know the right name of those blue flowers that are beside all the roads in illinois? We don't have them in Indiana so they seem to be narrowly regional. Their color is cornflower blue, but they don't seem to be cornflowers. They also don't seem to be asters. They tend to show up wherever queen-anne's lace does. I have a wildflower garden in the back now (on the "can't beat 'em" principle) and if they're not too evil I'd like to put some in, so the sunflowers and corn* have something to fight with.

*the squirrels do my gardening for me

#654 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Susan @ 644... Give your best mad scientist laugh.

Have you thought of filming the whole Ritual then putting it on YouTube? Especially the mad-scientist part?

#655 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 09:29 AM:

#653 Mary Dell--the blue stuff you see by the roadside and in fields is almost certainly chicory. I can't comment on its behavior as a cultivated plant, as I've never tried to do that.

#656 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 09:44 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @ 636, JESR @ 638, Susan @644. Regarding invasive plants, there's a very good publication "Control of Invasive Non-Native Plants. A Guide for Gardeners and Homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic Region" available at:
http://www.mdflora.org/publications/invasives.htm

And there are links to lots of different resources on this subject at:
http://www.plant-talk.org/resource/invasive.html#Web%20resources

The former gives information on control and also suggests native (US) alternatives to use.

#657 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Debcha (#618)

I'm a lefty that knits right-handed, so that may be why it works for me. I'm sitting here trying to remember what it is exactly that I do, and I'm having trouble! I've only had to do it once or twice - I'm still a pretty new knitter.

I do it right-side facing...and I think that I actually knit left handed for that one purpose - picking up stitches with the right needle and knitting them off onto the left, so I move from left to right and when I finish picking up the stitches, I'm ready to start a right-side row. I think. I'm astounded at how fuzzy my recollections are.

I'm positive that I'll very soon hit a project where I won't be able to do it this way, and will need to pick them up as a separate step. They're just usually so inelastic and lay so funny that I want them off the needle as quickly as possible, and I won't change until I'm forced to. :)

It's also quite likely that since I'm still new at this, I can't see what a bad job I'm doing.

#658 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 11:04 AM:

fidelio @#655: Google images shows me that it is indeed chicory. I've been trying to figure that out for years, thank you!

Now off to read about it...

#659 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Glyphosate, which is what we agricultural professionals call Round-Up when we're not under contract to Monsanto, subverts the biochemistry of the growing plant so that it poisons itself. Against plants which spread by vegetative propagation from underground parts, this can make the job tricky.

High doses can kill the plant too quickly, so that the glyphosate doesn't get into the buried parts.

Dry weather slows plant growth, and so allow the plant to survive, as the mechanisms which destroy the glyphosate have more time to act.

And don't trust Monsanto.

#660 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Mary Dell,

So that's what that's called! Yay!

Now I know that I want to grow chickory, Queen Anne's Lace, and dandelions in my garden!

#661 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 12:45 PM:

dcb, I own a stack of USDA /Extension service pamphlets you couldn't jump over, dating back to when my father was a wee 4-H kid in the late 1920s; not being in the mid-atlantic area, that isn't one of it, but I've lost faith in the efficacy of their nostrums.

Dave Bell, the problem, of course, in using glyphospate on blackberries in hot weather (besides the fact that, in hot weather, I'm barely able to keep up with my share of the rest of the work, especially when my sister and brother-in-law are haying 10-12 hours a day and I've got nephew tending chores) is that spray and vapor drift also become much more hazardous, both in actual toxicity and effective distance. My favorite garden plants, expecially roses and magnolias, are much more vulnerable to all herbicides than are the invasive plants I'd like to get rid of.

As a general rule, things don't become invasive if it's a relatively simple matter to get rid of them in the first place.

#662 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 01:15 PM:

On using glyphosphate on weeds-from-other-universes:
How about using disposable paintbrushes on the parts that are accessible? (Also, if it isn't too windy, spray at close range and the drift problem will be much less.)

On picking-up-and-knitting:
If I have to pick up from left to right on the RS, for some reason (and it does happen), I turn the work around so I'm doing it from right to left. (Simple solutions for simple minds.)
Markers - I use 'craft thread' which is a kind of pearl cotton. You can find it in packages of 36 skeins, for not a lot of money. Makes nice markers, being non-tangling and in your choice of contrasting color.

I need to finish the jacket I'm working on, among many other projects. It's a random-cable-all-over pattern, being more-or-less made up as I go along. The random-number generator is the million-digits-of-pi file from Project Gutenberg, which also has a million digits of e.

#663 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 01:18 PM:

JESR @661.

Um. The page I suggested looking at does not appear to be a USDA / Extension service pamphlet. It's produced by the Maryland Native Plant Society, USA. The other site is not USDA either.

The Maryland site does not claim to have every answer, but it does give some suggestions which may be useful. I very much like the intial paragraphs, and the suggestions of native alternatives for people to plant instead of the invasives, and the main focus on physical means of control (dig it up, burn it etc.). It certainly does not indicate (to my reading, at least) that control is easy.

No problem if you don't like the suggestions/site - I just found it while Googling and thought it looked useful.

#664 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 01:32 PM:

#662: I've seen painting with glyphosate dissolved in diesel as a way of getting a dose that sticks to a plant for better absorption, but haven't tried it.

#665 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Alan @ 664

We used to paint stuff on nutgrass. I think the stuff we used is no longer available - it contained cacodylic acid - but it was effective if not fast. Today, I'd probably do a mass excavation and cook the 'nuts'; then, they were growing in with roses and excavation was almost archeological in style so as to get the whole thing.

#666 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Three random things.

#1. I was set to explain what the origins of the major objection to "Oriental" are, but Heresiarch beat me to it. To recapitulate, though, it defines a place and the stuff in it as "over there", the exotic east, as opposed to here where we are, with people like us and the stuff that's central and definitive. "Asian" is not a term that defines the place or people by their distance and direction from anything else.

#2. Every member of one of the aboriginal tribes of North America I've known well enough to talka bout the subject with has preferred "Indian" to "Native American". So I use "Indian". If they find reason to change, I'll change to suit, but the right of self-definition stays theirs.

#3. The Wikipedia gerfuffle about Mr. Saberhagen's passing makes me curious: does anyone know if Locus actually does "fact-check" obituaries and such? It would be pleasant to inform the Wikitwit, "Absolutely nothing was added to or changed in the announcement. It just appeared in a source you wish to acknowledge." But I'd want to make sure of my facts first.

#667 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 02:06 PM:

Shorter JESR: please, people, some things are just what they are; if you can think of it, we've tried it. None of my family is stupid, and we've been doing "all the right things" according to the experts, for about ninety years.

#668 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Susan 644: Sounds like a pretty good ritual. I might swap the last two steps. And I know just what I would chant at Step 6: Kali OM. Or maybe Om Kali Jai Kali Nama Kaliai.

#669 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Hm, back in farm country, there's a bit of a campaign to eradicate some thorny bush that's taken over. Apparently, the Department of Natural Resources encouraged its seeding years ago, saying it was great for natural "fencing" and provided habitat for animals. But then the thing turned out to be killable by nothing known to man. So, now, some folks are trying to find a dark lord who can kill the plant. Can't remember the name of the damn thing, though. Will have to make a phone call...

#670 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 03:01 PM:

#666: I don't know what, if anything, Locus did to verify Fred Sabrehagen's death. However, the Wikitwit is already on record as not caring whether the information is accurate or not, just that he be able to point to a source for that information. So I don't think telling him that Locus did nothing more than pass on what it was told is going to have the effect on him you want.

I realize that the primary goal of Wikipedia is verifiability rather than accuracy, but this case does seem especially officious. I mean, isn't the point of insisting on verifiability to insure a floor on the level of accuracy? (i.e., verifiability ought not be an end unto itself.)

Also, it's ironic that there was a big kerfuffle about then when no other information on his Wikipedia page is referenced. I'd have thought anyone so concerned with Wikipedia's verifiability would have gone on to insist on sourcing for all of the other information on the same page.

Of course, if I wanted to establish this policy for accepting and rejecting information, I ought to develop my own on-line encyclopedia. (Not on your life...)

#671 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Apologies if this has already been pointed to on another thread (couldn't find it, if so) but there may be some amusement in a recent Fandom Wank thread about the Futurians. Classic or vintage wank.

-Barbara

#672 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Greg @ 669

Sounds like broom. Or maybe Russian olive, although that's a smallish tree, not a shrub.

(Moral: before introducing a new species, make sure there's something available that can keep it under control without human intervention every three days.)

JESR:
Having seen some of the smaller patches of bramble, you have my sympathy.

(Have you considered tactical nukes? I wanted to use them on the ivy we had at one place. Then the weed-from-hell moved in, and it was overgrowing the ivy .... ('Hello, DOD? Can I buy a small-yield ...?) Then invoke curses on whoever thought it was a good idea to use brambles as a ground cover.)

#673 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 04:21 PM:

JC 522:

FWIW, I wasn't trying to avoid your questions, I just had limited time. I'm on vacation with my family, so I still have limited time, but I'll try to answer what I think your question is. But I'll admit I may not be able to do a good job explaining my point without more thought. (And I may just come to see that I'm wrong, which also takes some thought.)

Your question is basically, why not accept that all groups have a right to determine what they should be called, right? You pointed out that this word has an emotional impact on you, and out of politeness, hoped that others would avoid it.

Now, I don't have a problem with that at all. Politeness is worth some trouble. I don't know whether groups have a right to demand changed names in general. We don't afford that right to religious movements or political movements or industries, for example. The basic property of politeness as a motive is that it's done because of the impact of the word on members of the group being described. It's saying "don't use this word to decribe me, because it means something different and less pleasant to me than it probably does to you."

Have I understood your point?

But several other comments have brought out a somewhat different side of the pheneomenon of changing polite names for groups. In #603, Xopher talks about the value of changing terms as a term got associated with negative feelings or implications, I think mostly among nongroup members. (Correct me if I'm misunderstanding this.) Bruce Baugh and Heresiarch's comments also seemed to be along these lines to me. The goal in this case is to change the terms, as a way of changing the way people think, both inside and outside the group. A term is associated with a certain mode of thinking, and you'd like to get rid of that whole mode of thinking--such as defining Asians by their relationship to Europe.

This strikes me as very different from the politeness motive. It also strikes me as much more descriptive of the phenomenon I've noticed, in which euphemisms change every few years. I don't see any reason to think that anyone has the right to do this and have everyone go along. Political movements and advertising agencies and such try to do this kind of reshaping of thoughts by choosing words, but nobody much feels obliged to talk about "Operation Iraqi Freedom" or "The Surge."

And the broader point is that I have seen this happening my whole adult life, and if there are benefits to it, I've failed to notice them. That obviously doesn't mean there are no benefits--in particular, racial epithets mostly don't hurt if you're a member of the group at the top, so I could easily have missed the impact of this.

But I haven't missed seeing the costs. Those were what I described. I have seen those with my eyes, and heard them with my ears. They seem to me to be real costs, real impediments to communication in areas where communication is damned hard already. I have seen the "gotcha" game played. I have no doubt that people tried changing the group names for good reasons, but not everyone uses the changes in that way. I have seen plenty of people tense up in racial discussions--indeed, that seems the norm. Don't screw up! Don't get called on some verbal misstep! That seems to me the biggest cost of all, and while the cycling euphemisms are only one part of that, they're a part that isn't necessary.

All IMO.

#674 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 04:30 PM:

PJ Evans, I've been thinking more on the line of GM gophers, giant sized and craving the taste of new blackberry cane (which, given their predilection for Gallica roses shouldn't be much of a stretch); when it comes to WMDs, I'd ratther have the bass (as v. treble) seeking missile perfected before working on a nuclear solution to blackberries. Or even the damned Claridge Druce, because Himalaya blackberries, no matter what their world- eating goals, bribe us with particularly luscious fruit.

#675 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 05:11 PM:

The WP Saberhagen flap may be influenced by the Benoit case a week or two ago. Chris Benoit's page was edited to indicate that his wife was dead several hours prior to the police discovering the dead family. Last I heard, the police were looking for the editor to try to determine if s/he actually knew something or was just vandalizing and hit too close to the truth.

#676 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 05:53 PM:

dcb @ #663:
The Maryland site does not claim to have every answer, but it does give some suggestions which may be useful. I very much like the intial paragraphs, and the suggestions of native alternatives for people to plant instead of the invasives, and the main focus on physical means of control (dig it up, burn it etc.). It certainly does not indicate (to my reading, at least) that control is easy.

If time travel gets invented, I will go back in time and inform whatever idiot planted the knotweed (in my neighbor's yard, not mine), that they should have considered some alternatives. But it's a little late for that now.

We tried digging up the original knotweed stand. After briefly sighting China but not the bottom of the knotweed, we gave up. It was later removed by a bulldozer when a neighbor moved in, and the area was blacktopped over. Unfortunately, that still leaves me chasing all of its mutant offspring in MY yard.

#677 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 06:02 PM:

The first editor of the Benoit Wikipedia article claims to have posted a "wrongful remark" that happened to turn out to be true. The person who reinserted the rumor after it had been deleted cited several wrestling sites as sources. It wouldn't surprise me for those sites to have been reporting on the first edit.

#678 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Japanese knotweed is supposed to be edible, and The Expensive East Asian Thickener for sauces is made out of powdered kudzu root... there are No Such Excuses, however, for the likes of Oriental Bittersweet and Bittersweet.

What I wonder about is why push for corn for ethanol, why not knotweek, Oriental bittersweet, bittersweet, that vine that I can't think of the name of that's a rapidly spreading noxious poisonous vining member of the nightshade family... er, it's nightshade... to make fuel out of??!

As for raspberry, the red ones haven't rampantly spread in my yard. there are some, but they aren't all that invasive. The purple ones get chewed into stubs that might survive the winter by some sort of small mammal with sharp teeth that chews through them but doesn't eat the canes. The black raspberries spread by slowly, and LIKE black raspberrys (and red ones, and purple ones, and gold ones....) and they aren't available commercially around here even at the exorbitant prices charged for six ounces of red raspberries. The gold raspberry''s barely spread in years, and the cane doesn't overwinter well--the berries come in fall on it from first year canes.

#679 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 06:33 PM:

JESR @667. Point taken. But not everyone knows this stuff - so even if it doesn't always work, I think it's worth letting people know about it (particularly the "don't plant it! - plant this native species instead" info." - for those who have not realised what they are about to do...

Susan @ 676. My sympathies. I wasn't trying to suggest that digging it (whatever "it" is) out was the only answer, or the best answer in all circumstances, just that I'm a bit wary of sites that suggest chemical control as the be-all and end-all in all situations. Hard labour can work, at least sometimes (e.g. we used to pull up ragwort and take it off our horses' field by the barrow load, several barrow loads a month all summer; now we get a handful of plants a year only, and those are probably from seeds from plants on neighbouring properties), and sometimes in combination with chemicals...

And better by far is not to plant invasive species in the first place - which that site pointed out. Not a lot of comfort, I know, when you;re already struggling with the invasive species someone else kindly introduced for you - but if it means a few people go "oh yeah, I hadn't thought of that, I could get X", then it's advice worth spreading (no pun intended).

#680 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 06:56 PM:

Nancy C @#660:

Now there's a self-tending garden! Right now I have nice, civilized containers in front, but a jungle-in-the-making in the back. I wish I liked "Creeping Charlie," because then I'd be done planting! It's in there along with morning glories, day lilies, and violets--they all came with the house.

The silliest thing is that I regularly hack away at the grape vine that grows on the left side of the yard, while I put up trellises and whatnot for the one that grows on the right side of the yard. This is because one neighbor likes the vines and the other hates them...the fences here are chain-link so they're ideal for climbers.

Anyway, I read a bit about chicory, and it seems to be non-native and somewhat invasive, but not considered bad, because (partly) edible. Also because not extremely invasive or made of giant brambly sticks. So I think I may cautiously plant a bit of it...away from the yard of the unromantic neighbor.

#681 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 07:11 PM:

R. M. Koske (#657): I do it right-side facing...and I think that I actually knit left handed for that one purpose - picking up stitches with the right needle and knitting them off onto the left, so I move from left to right and when I finish picking up the stitches, I'm ready to start a right-side row.

Whoa. Whoa. I think you just blew the knitting centres of my brain.

PJ Evans (#662): If I have to pick up from left to right on the RS, for some reason (and it does happen), I turn the work around so I'm doing it from right to left. (Simple solutions for simple minds.)

Hmmm...do you mean you turn the work around so you are facing the wrong side (in which case, wouldn't the free edge end up visible on the right side?) or so that the RS is facing you, but the edge where you are adding stitches is on the bottom, not the top?

I need to finish the jacket I'm working on, among many other projects. It's a random-cable-all-over pattern, being more-or-less made up as I go along. The random-number generator is the million-digits-of-pi file...

I so want to see this - please post a picture when you are done!

#682 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 07:26 PM:

Y'all know the whole "invasive plants" thing is only to get worse, right? As things warm up, not only does your yard become more friendly to wierd seeds from down south, but it becomes LESS friendly to whatever you're used to...

Here on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington, it's broom. Every meadow I can find is covered in a six-foot-deep sea of the stuff. Not only is it unpleasant in itself, but all of the clearcuts are coming up broom instead of Douglas fir. Remember when you were a kid and they said wood was a renewable resource? Not here, not anymore.

#683 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 07:41 PM:

mjfgates, just wait ten years- scotchbroom is a perfectly wonderful first sere for Doug Fir, which appreciates its nitrogen-fixing abilities; what it kills is all the native prairie plants which are sensitive to nitrogen.

I hate the stuff, and am close to ground zero for the introduction (planted in the late 1830s by Hudson Bay Company factors at Ft. Vancouver, Ft. Nisqually, and on Vancouver Island) so the seed load here is fierce. The only good way to control it is regular cultivation, which of course also destroys native plants. It's slightly less flammible than gorse, which is about the best thing you can say about it.

I heard someone from the Washington Native Plant Society passing on the misinformation that it is the DOT which is responsible for the spread of the stuff, and feel like locking her in the Special Collections room at Suzzalo, to read Tolmie's diaries. Or just show her the photo of my grandparents sitting on Grandpa Smith's 1914 Indian motorcycle against a background of Cytisus scopularius.

(I'm obviously having a cranky mossback afternoon, probably from the story-telling session at yesterday's barbecue, which managed to concentrate on really stupid work accidents and the curious fact that any of us lived to reproduce).

#684 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 08:59 PM:

The technique I use against blackberries is somewhat specific to them, and highly labor intensive. Painting the plants doesn't do much good; at most, one cane dies. You have to cut the canes back to between 6 and 12 inches from the root and paint the cut end with a systemic blackberry poison. I forget the active chemical, but you can buy the stuff in any garden supply store for about $15 a pint (which goes a long way. The systemic goes back down the cane and kills the root; using glyphosphate this way doesn't seem to reliably kill the root.

After painting, wait 4 - 6 weeks for the plant to die, then dig the plant up and you're done. If you don't wait that amount of time, you don't necessarily kill the root, and it may grow back if you don't dig up every single bit it of it.

This is not a technique I'd try to use on any lot larger than 1/2 acre or so, unless I had a large crew of very thick-skinned workers (you will be cut by the brambles no matter how careful you are).

#685 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 09:30 PM:

Susan @ 676... If time travel gets invented, I will go back in time and inform whatever idiot planted the knotweed (...) that they should have considered some alternatives.

Don't you know how dangerous it is to tamper with the fabric of time?

#686 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Serge #685: You mean there could be knots?

#687 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 09:54 PM:

Fragano @ 686... Yes, Gordian Knots. Or is it garden knots? Either way, Susan should refrain from tampering with the seeds of Time. Unless she is a Time Lady, of course.

#688 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 11:52 PM:

But if you don't tamp down the seeds of the future, the first rainfall will wash them away!

#689 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2007, 11:56 PM:

In other words: Gardening Knots knit the Seeds of Thyme into the Tempural fabric.

#690 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 12:02 AM:

CHip, #643, ouch, now I know what another racist word from that story of Ellison's is. When I first read it as a teen, I knew almost none. When I read it about 20 years later, I knew about half. I probably know more now.

dcb, #679, who plants? I have English Ivy covering what was mulch under my kitchen window and it arrived the same way the two sprouts near the porch did. Bird poop. (I have to say that I like the ivy better than the azaleas that were under the kitchen window.)

#691 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Last night (the 4th, it's late here but it's still the 5th as far as I'm concerned) I heard the second best semi-safe familal fireworks accident.

The first was one of my uncles declaiming that "We held roman candles in our HANDS to set them off when I was a kid." I've never seen old folks (my grandparents had to be in their 60s, they were still driving up to KC from Miami OK) move that darn fast in my life.

Well, a fellow at the 4th party I was at last night said one of his uncles or maybe great-uncles decided to unlace a package of ladyfingers (small firecrackers to those unused to such) in a metal bowl on his lap so the kids could shoot them off one at a time. An ember fell off the cigarette in his mouth. Into the bowl. A conflagration ensued, the uncle survived but again the comment was "I've never seen an old person move THAT fast!"

#692 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:21 AM:

Lance @ 689, Hmmm; tempura batter with thyme seeds? Could be tasty.      :)

#693 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:21 AM:

Lance @ 689, Hmmm; tempura batter with thyme seeds? Could be tasty.      :)

#694 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:38 AM:

New topic: can anyone here shed some light on this? It sounds like standard wingnut looniness, but someone I know was spouting it the other day and I'd really like to rub her nose in it for personal reasons.

#695 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:46 AM:

Lee #694, I think my favorite bit in there is the casual aside about Madeline Albright being a "Marxist."

#696 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 02:13 AM:

#694 Lee: Thank you. That's the best laugh I've had in days. Madeline Albright a Marxist! The US army being trained to assault American cities! Vicious wolves being introduced into National Parks to eject humans because Rockefeller hates people!

I dips me lid to this bloke. Lennie Lower would have handed in his satirist's goad. Oh, my, it's good to laugh.

#697 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 02:13 AM:

Serge @ 785

Don't you know how dangerous it is to tamper with the fabric of time?

I thought that's why knitting was so important to Making Light: so we'd all know how to repair any rips we made accidentally.

#698 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 02:29 AM:

Lee @ 694

Wingnuttery, absolutely.

All the documents about this are available at: http://www.unesco.org/mab/BRs/offDoc.shtml

To start with, try: THE STATUTORY FRAMEWORK OF THE WORLD NETWORK OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES
this is at: http://www.unesco.org/mab/BRs/pdf/statfram_E.pdf

Note the following, which clearly state that (1) Biosphere Reserves "remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the States where they are situated" and (2) they are supposed to, among other things, "foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically stable".

Doesn't sound much like turning over sovereignty or shooting people to me...

Article 2- World Network of Biosphere Reserves
1. Biosphere reserves form a worldwide network, known as the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, hereafter called the Network.
2. The Network constitutes a tool for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components, thus contributing to the objectives of the Convention
on Biological Diversity and other pertinent conventions and instruments.
3.Individual biosphere reserves remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the States
where they are situated. Under the present Statutory Framework, States take the measures which they deem necessary according to their national legislation.

Article 3- Functions
In combining the three functions below, biosphere reserves should strive to be sites of excellence to explore and demonstrate approaches to conservation and sustainable development on a regional scale:
(i) conservation - contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation;
(ii) development - foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and
ecologically sustainable;
(iii) logistic support - support for demonstration projects, environmental education and training, research and monitoring related to local, regional, national and global issues of conservation and sustainable development.

Programmes to e.g. return bears and wolves to various areas have been going on for years, and in my opinion (since I'm conservation minded) are a GOOD THING.

Attacks by such carnivores on humans are very rare. They generally occur when someone is stupid, e.g. gets between a female bear and her cubs, camps outside proper camp grounds in areas clearly marked out of bounds. You know, the same sort of people who make camp in such a place, light a camp fire not in a proper fire pit, let it get out of control and then are aggrieved when they are prosecuted for starting a forest fire.

#699 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 02:54 AM:

Marilee @690

"Who plants?"

Okay, not everyone battling with an invasive species problem planted the problem. But unfortunately, too many people do plant such things. You can walk into gardening stores and buy known invasive species (there are lists of these easily available on the internet) and take them home and plant them in your garden. Sad but true. And the gardering stores are not going to stop selling them while they can make profits. Not to mention the people who see something growing easily and think "I'll transplant some of that to my garden, so I don't have to work at getting it to grow."

I'm gradually replanting my garden with native species. We've got rid of the Leylandii and the yucca, we're growing up a native species hedge (hawthorn, blackthorn, holly, wild rose, hazel) and for next year I'll start planting native bulbs. We keep one corner of the lawn uncut so it stays long and damp for the insects, frogs etc.

#700 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Lee @ 694: Wow, that's a particularly florid version of that bit of nonsense. (Jesse Helms possessed by demons? Isn't that kind of redundant?)

Unfortunately, I remember reading a news report (I think in the late 1990s) noting that the national park which yon wingnut mentioned decided to take down their new "International Biosphere Reserve" marker because people kept asking them if this meant the UN was taking over... (They had put up the marker in the naive belief that people might be proud of the fact that the park was internationally recognized as an important place...)

According to UNESCO's list, most of the US national parks were added to the Biosphere Reserve list in the 1970s or 1980s, which means that Reagan was in on the scheme.... Does the person you know who was spouting this nonsense consider Reagan a UN agent?

#701 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 09:05 AM:

Mary Dell,

The "weeds" are in addition to the more mundane herbs, and the rosa rugosa and marigolds.

JESR may be interested to know that the rugosa is the start of my rose garden; I've settled on 8 other roses, but they seem to be very hard to find for sale, and I gave up on planting them this year. I now have time to properly prepare the soil, and am planning on ordering them this fall, to arrive for spring planting.

Two weeks ago, on Saturday, my sweetie and I put the entire 1 yard square rose-herb-and-vegetable garden in. Lots of herbs, a few tomatoes, a pepper, lots of marigolds, and the rosebush in the center. It's doing well; I need to deadhead so the roots will establish better.

#702 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 10:43 AM:

debcha @ 681

'Around', to me, means so the bottom is at the top and vice versa. ('Over' would be so the back is the side I'm working from.) I'm not fond of picking up from the wrong side, but if I have to, then I will.

#703 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Nancy C., I've been trying to find specialty rosarians in the NE, still, and striking out. There is Antique Rose Emporium in SC as well as Texas (and online) and a couple of other nonlocal mail order sources, but my NE correspondants are either not into roses or buy from the nonlocal sources; it's very discouraging, and I tend to blame the Burpee Co. as they have been buying out and absorbing smaller companies in the East for a long time before they ate, digested, and destroyed Heronswood.

#704 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Alas, Nor'east Roses moved out of Rowley, Massachusetts to California a few years ago. I had always meant to visit there, and never got around to it until it was too late.

#705 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:04 PM:

#694 Lee: I remember a similar knotweed-like invasion of paranoia over the designation of "UNESCO World Heritage Sites." These include Independence Hall and the Statue of Liberty! Truly the cunning of the Rockefeller/UN/Bilderberger conspiracy knows no bounds.

#706 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Thanks, JESR, even if the search bears no fruit.

I may order from Canada or the EU. I prefer Canada, since I'm quite close to the border, and the roses would be used to the weather we get here. Everything I've picked is hardy to zone 3 (except one), shade tolerant, scented, and according to my organic rose growing book, resistant to the various diseases that roses get.

Here's my list, if you're interested:
Rose de Rescht
Gallica officinalis,
Autumn Fire / Herbstfeuer
Hunter
Snowdwarf / Schneezewerg
Goldmarie 82 (only hardy to zone 5)
And the boy requested Joseph's Coat.

(I've forgotten one of them, and my notes are at home.)

I may get a Stanwell Perpetual eventually, too.

I'd wanted an Alba maxima, but we only have room for one large rose, and I'd prefer the repeat blooming Autumn Fire. I enjoyed the thought of growing the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster, and I would eventually have put in a rosa mundi as well.

I've also convinced the boy that I don't want a bed of roses all clumped together where they can infect each other, so we'll be spacing them up the length of the yard.

Of course, a year from now, with any luck, I'll be post-doccing somewhere else, but we will still own the house, and I'm writing all this up for whoever is living there while we aren't. Also, I'll bring cuttings whenever I move, so I'll always have them.

#707 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Nancy, that's a good list. There's a picture of Joseph's Coat in this live hournal post and it's apparently indestructable, as it's partly shaded in summer and in the most wind-exposed place in my windy yard in winter.

I'm seriously thinking of spending time this afternoon and getting together a post of rose nursery links for my LJ, once I write another thousand words of a vampire talking cars with two native NW demons...

#708 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Nancy, that's a good list. There's a picture of Joseph's Coat in this live hournal post and it's apparently indestructable, as it's partly shaded in summer and in the most wind-exposed place in my windy yard in winter.

I'm seriously thinking of spending time this afternoon and getting together a post of rose nursery links for my LJ, once I write another thousand words of a vampire talking cars with two native NW demons...

#709 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Say, did anybody see the Transformers movie yet? Does it suck worse than, for example, the Fantastic Four cinema? I never watched the original cartoons, but I'm in the mood to watch big machines beating the crap out of each other. I'm in the mood, but only up to a point.

#710 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 02:29 PM:

#709:

I think the whole idea of robots that turn into dump trucks is way stupid.

But I liked the movie. It's a very entertaining summer popcorn film.

YMMV.

#711 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 710... Thanks. The movie sounds pretty much like what I expect. Like you said, YMMV, but it can't be worse than van Helsing.

#712 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Nothing is worse than Van Helsing.

#713 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 05:09 PM:

After seeing a couple of articles on the subject, I am making my first jar of cold brewed coffee. It's supposed to yield a less acidic/bitter, more nuanced beverage.

1/3 C Medium Ground Coffee (I'm using a Sumatran)
1-1/2 C Water

Add ingredients to jar, cover, let rest on counter overnight. Filter contents of jar into second container and serve by diluting 1:1 with water.

Anyone have experience with this and reactions/recommendations?

#714 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Portland, OR area Fluorospherians,

TexAnne will be in Portland next week, and we plan to meet for dinner some evening. Anyone else interested in good food and conversation, please email me. If I don't hear from you in the next day or so, you won't get any say in the selection of the day or the place.

Bruce

#715 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 06:32 PM:

ethan @ 712... You never saw Ishtar, did you?

#716 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 06:36 PM:

ethan 712: I have not seen Van Helsing, but is it really worse than Dracula 2000? Or that horrible Episode II thing? Or John Wayne as Genghis Khan? Or even Independence Day, known as the worst big-budget sigh-fie* movie ever made?

I won't actually challenge your assertion, since I'd have to see the movie to compare, but I shudder to think.

* "Fie," he sighed, and sigh-fie was born.

#717 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 06:51 PM:

I just read that not one but two zombie movies are opening this weekend in my area:

Fido, and
Black Sheep.

Hip, hip, Hooraaarrrgh..Brains!

And 28 Days Later has arrived by Peerflix. Now that the days are long, I might actually see it, as horror movies fall into my "Don't watch unless it's daylight when the movie is done" rule. Also a good rule for books of existential horror like Watt's Blindsight, or Doctorow's Little Brother.

As an aside, because it hasn't been blogged as much as I'd like to see it:
The EFF's* lawsuit against AT&T's spying is still going strong. Repeat: the EFF's case is still alive, 19 months on.

--------
* Disclosure: I know people at the EFF and love what they do. I worry that bloggers in general (not here on ML) don't know or fail to mention that the EFF is a small member-supported non-profit. 19 months of suing a bundle of giant 3-letter orgs is expensive.

#718 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:10 PM:

Serge & Xopher 715 & 716: OK, OK, I admit it. I lied. There are worse things than Van Helsing. Worse movies, even.

Kathryn, I'm excited about those new zombie movies, too, especially Fido, which looks like it could be brilliant. On the other hand, I must say I couldn't abide 28 Days Later. Everyone said it revolutionized the zombie genre, but unless they meant that it did it by adding a big heaping helping of old-timey misogyny, I'm not sure how. 28 Weeks Later, though ridiculously inconsistent, was much better.

The only good thing about 28 Days Later, as far as I'm concerned, is that contained therein is a whole lot of dreamy shirtless Cillian Murphy, and since I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority in finding that entertaining, I can't really recommend it on that basis.

#719 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:17 PM:

Not quite rugose enough to be a chthuloid horror but still pretty nasty.

But apparently tasty to some.

#720 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:18 PM:

@Lance Weber: Tried brewed coffee some months ago thanks to this very community. I guess it's nice for quick consumption but I still think press pot tastes better (also I find the coffee making ritual with the press pot more soothing... but then this comes from someone who designed a tea ceremony using only naked raku and copper treated ceramics, in a Tadao Ando inspired room, and with a graffiti instead of a scroll, so...).
I'd advise using lowly mineralized water. Evian gave unexpectedly nice results too.

Can you believe Dracula 2000 is titled Dracula 2001 here ?

*sigh dejectedly*

Been trying to think of a bad movie for the last ten or so minutes, and can't think of any.
I feel blessed somehow.

:?

Wasn't there a very similar talk about bad movies last I was here ?
Or is my brain off again ?

Strange double coincidence if yes I guess.

#721 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Xopher said (#716):
Or even Independence Day, known as the worst big-budget sigh-fie* movie ever made?

Ah, "worst big-budget sigh-fie movie ever made" would be Armageddon. No contest.

(I mean, ID certainly was incredibly dumb, but it wasn't even as bad as Godzilla by the same German-American team, let alone Armageddon.)

#722 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:29 PM:

Xopher and ethan... Let's not forget Highlander 2. Or rather, let's forget it if we can.

#723 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:31 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 714... I wish you and TexAnne as much of a good time as I got when I met fellow Fluorescents in Berkeley in April.

#724 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:51 PM:

Armageddon: In which we learn that it is easier to teach blue-collar hole drillers to be astronauts than to teach astronauts how to drill holes.

Transformers filled my summer quota for silly kid stuff. This weekend I'm going to watch either Sicko or Ratat . . . Ratta . . . the one about the cooking rat.

#725 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 07:54 PM:

MD^2: I should have clarified, I'm going to use the cold-brewed results for iced coffee as a change of pace from iced tea. For hot brewed coffee I'll keep using my Cuisinart with built in grinder and stainless steel carafe, and even that process can be remarkably meditative even though the end result is a prepped machine.

#726 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Whoa! I'm watching Doctor Who and, before the first commercial break, I've already been treated to a car chase between a Santa-Claus/robot-driven taxi and the TARDIS.

#727 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 08:42 PM:

We have Golden Sumac. The neighbors planted it (well, actually I think two neighbors planted it, because the separate properties, about 1/4 mile apart are both infested, and from differing directions).

It sends runners. Right now they are cropping up in the dozens, hundreds of feet from the parent tree.

The running roots are about the size of a child's forearm when the "seedlings" break forth.

I've never managed to pull up more than 6 feet of the root. It doesn't matter, really, because the are tunnelling under a wide driveway, as well as the floor of the barn; both of which are concrete.

So there's no way I can dig all the roots out.

As for control of things like ivy and brambles, I like goats.

#728 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Does Zardoz count as science fiction? Or as big-budget? (Or, come to think of it, as a movie?) If so, I would like to nominate it for the raspberry cluster.

#729 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 09:58 PM:

"Friends don't let friends destroy Reality."
- a public announcement for Eureka

#730 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 10:40 PM:

Dave 728: Depends how much they paid for Sean Connery. And remember we're talking about sigh-fie, which it certainly is.

But it was just lame. ID4 (as they called it for no reason except to remind us of its release date) was hugely, amazingly, and egregiously stupid. They spent huge quantities of cash on SFX and absolutely nothing on writers.

#731 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2007, 11:16 PM:

Eureka: yes, I am awaiting it with eager anticipation. It's not perfect, but it's so very much SF of the sort I like the best.

#732 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 06:15 AM:

Kathryn @ 717: The EFF's lawsuit against AT&T's spying is still going strong. Repeat: the EFF's case is still alive, 19 months on.

In other news, judges in Cincinnati violate their oath to defend the Consitution by dismissing a different suit to challenge domestic spying.

p.s.: Am I a bad person for liking Armageddon, ID4 and Zardoz? heh.

#733 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 06:26 AM:

Xopher,

IMHO, "Zardoz" wasn't just lame. There were some nice little bits of Boorman's swagger-style of filmmaking*, and seeing Sean Connery in a diaper was easily worth the price of admission. And, though I ought to know better than to appeal to authority, we should note that Fritz Leiber, who knew a bit about film, thought well of it.

The first time I saw Zardoz, in the theater on its release, I disliked it instantly. But then I saw it again on TV, and starting picking out bits and pieces I liked. I think my first reaction was common among SF fans, and may have something to do with Boorman's early wunderkind attitude towards his own work. He certainly must have been pleased with himself when he produced "Excaliber", which I thought was egregious in a number of dimensions, including ours. That may have been the last film I talked about at that particular job; I remember I annoyed some people by remarking that I found it's theme too Christian for my taste.

* Connery's line, "I've seen the face of the force that made you" forex.

#734 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 07:52 AM:

Hollywood, compared to some offices in the Flatiron Building, seems short of appreciation of the advantages of having a story to tell.

Most bad Hollywood movies have their good moments. It might be purely visual. It might be a few lines of dialogue that combine with fortuitous outbreaks of acting. But there's still no story.

Kate Beckinsale in tight leather is a Good Moment. It doesn't do very much to tell a story.

#735 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Bruce Cohen... Count me in among those who liked Zardoz. True, I haven't seen it since the 1990 worldcon in San Diego. Still, I suppose you'll hold that against me, like my liking Wing Commander. Heheheh...

#736 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 07:58 AM:

JESR @ 731... My only concern about Eureka is that its first season did so well. I hope that this won't make its producers play it safe from now on, thus making the show lose what made it so appealing.

#737 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Mary Dell @653: chicory?

It doesn't grow well here (Georgia) but it's all over the roadsides in Tennessee and North Carolina.

We ourselves have English ivy. We've managed to keep it in bounds by mowing around the perimeter and removing any vines that start climbing trees (typically it only fruits when it gets up off the ground; that's when the birds start sowing it all over the place for you). The deer may be eating it too; I don't know.

#738 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Bruce 733: Well, no accounting for taste. But just to clarify, I meant that Zardoz had nothing worse than lameness wrong with it; in my opinion it just didn't really work, and bits of it were truly stupid ("Meditate on this at Second Level! Hzmmmm!"). That's bad (again, just IMO).

Independence Day, on the other hand, went out of its way to rehash clichés. At one point I leaned over and whispered to my friend "In this scene his buddy will die," and sure enough he did. I knew he would because the buddy had done something silly to show what a fun guy he was, then talked about his girlfriend. He might as well have said "after the war I'm going to buy a little farm and settle down, Hint Hint." Watched any movies since 1947?

But rehashing clichés wasn't enough for them. They had to make the solution to the story, which I here spoiler without shame, because no one would ever watch ID4 for the plot, something that could not possibly work. Not only do superadvanced aliens bent on wiping out humanity have no defense against the puny humans shooting nuclear missles up the stooping buttholes of their gigantic ships, but they have carefully designed their computer operating systems to be compatible with ours, and have somehow neglected to install McAfee.

To make matters worse, Will Smith was in it, and I hate seeing an actor I really like in something really bad. (I did have the sense not to see I, Robot, a movie whose very existence challenged my opposition to the death penalty.)

As should now be clear, the word 'just' in that statement meant "merely." Zardoz (in my opinion, I stress, and not to deride your very different opinion) was merely lame; Independence Day began with lameness, then burrowed into the stinking effluvia of badness with its mouth wide open, greedily swallowing, scraping even the bottom of that egregious barrel, and then proudly presented us with the resulting shit made of shit with a side of shit.

And special effects.

#739 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 10:45 AM:

"Don't hold back, Xopher. Tell us how you really feel!"

#740 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Xopher... Actually, ID4 showed that the Mac is so advanced that it's compatible with alien superscience. The really annoying part of the movie, for me, was the sexism. Next came Jeff Goldblum. Then again, Jeff annoys me in everything he's done, except for the 1970s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and his small part in The Right Stuff, where I got to see him barf. (Hmm... Can you really get seasick on an aircraft carrier?)

As for Zardoz... I'm sure that, if I watched it again, parts of it would make me wince, especially the fact that the Eternals are weak because they're homosexuals. Still, it used some neat SF concepts that wouldn't have been out of place in a novel of that era.

#741 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 10:59 AM:

Serge, Jeff was really great in the short-lived series...what was that called again? Where he hallucinates murder victims until he solves their cases? Anyway, he was good in that.

Other than that, his function in a movie seems to be the annoying geek.

#742 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 11:40 AM:

Xopher @ 741... Goldblum is very good at that.

#743 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 12:12 PM:

I went to see Independence Day in the theater.

Twice.

In my small defense, I did this because 1) I thought the special effects were awesome, 2) I thought the guy playing the president was cute, and 3) there just weren't that many opportunities to go see big flashy movies on the big screen in Ecuador at the time.

I realize this is not much of a defense. But I must accept the blame for being part of the massive income of such deeply stupid films. Which even at the time I knew was deeply, deeply stupid. But...big pretty explosions! On the big screen! Pretty! And fast dogfights in the sky! I am such a sucker for a decent dogfight. Even then, I knew I was going strictly for the eyecandy.

#744 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Xopher #741 & Serge #742: Have you forgotten Earth Girls are Easy? Or did you have the memory expunged?

#745 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Fragano 744: Yes, I forgot about that. He was wonderful in that.

#746 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 12:25 PM:

Xopher #745: That's what I thought I remembered!

#747 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Fragano, thanks for reminding us about "Earth Girls are Easy". I'd also like to point out "Mr. Frost", one of the creepiest films I have ever seen; at one point Goldblum catches a fly out of mid-air and eats it. And let's not forget "Beetlejuice" where he is handily out-dweebed by Michael Keaton. There are some other non-sf filme where he goes outside that annoying geek character, like "The Tall Man" and "Into the Night". It is my fervent hope that when Goldblum is called up to weigh himself on the scales of Thoth that these parts will outweigh the dross like ID 4 and Jurassic Pork.

#748 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Xopher,

While fully realizing the depraved nature of the acts that resulted in ID 4's distribution, out of humanitarian concerns I must insist on a sentence of permanent banishment to the Phantom Zone. Do you really want their ichor on your hands?

#749 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 01:03 PM:

My position on Independence Day is similar to that on the second Matrix movie (haven't seen the third. My kids haven't seen the third: this says something very bad about the second) is that it's better than the old wooden rollercoaster at Puyallup, but not so good as Space Mountain.

#750 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Fragano @ 744... Actually, I thought of Earth Girls after my original post. You did recognize Jim Carrey in the cast, right?

#751 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 02:04 PM:

As another couple of data points, I liked Eraserhead but despised My Dinner With Andre.

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Back to Zardoz, the site World O' Crap published an awesome review of it some time ago. Here are Parts One, Two and Three. Be warned that keyboards and monitors may suffer from the reading, should you be in the process of inqesting liquids.

#753 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Speaking of Kim Stanley Robinson (right?), does anyone know why the trade paperback edition of Blue Mars is so frickin' hard to find? I have Red and Green in trade, and don't own Blue, and I simply cannot find a trade paperback copy of it anywhere, in the real world or on the 'tubes. And I couldn't abide having a different edition of one of the books.

Pain in the bum.

#754 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 02:42 PM:

JESR @ 749

You have missed, quite literally, nothing. Out of a perverse curiosity I plan to have expunged from any future backup, I watched the 3rd Matrix movie a few months ago (after being highly underwhelmed by the second). The final battle scene, which goes on, and on, and on, was so boring that I stopped in the middle, went upstairs and made lunch, then went back to the TV room and fast-forwarded through a bunch of it until I got to where the sidekicks start getting killed. Then I watched to the end, occasionally rooting for the machines. Even they were boring; that CGI effect of having their swarms take on fluid shapes got pretty old after awhile. It's much more interesting when you see it in real life with schools of fish, for instance.

To be absolutely honest, the only reason I kept going was because I was fairly sure that Gina Torres' character was going to survive to have a tearful reunion with Laurence Fishburne, and I love watching her; there's something about the grace of movement of tall, not-incredibly-skinny women that the dance community seems to ignore that I find fascinating.

#755 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Serge, that make me so glad I watched Zardoz at the drive-in with a bunch of friends and a lot of beer. Fortunately I mostly remember seeing Sean Connery in the diaper and going, "I so do not need to be listening to this.'

It was in a triple bill with The Magus and another movei that i can't recall. All a blur, alas.

#756 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #747: I haven't seen Mr Frost. Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice, now, was something else!

#757 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Serge #750: Yes, I did.

#758 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Fragano,

In "Mr. Frost", Goldblum plays a patient in a mental institution* who believes that he is Molloch, the Lord of Flies, and acts the part. Like I said, creepy. Goldblum's understated delivery** and quiet air of menace is what makes it work.

And I forgot, how could I, his part in "Buckaroo Banzai". It took a lot of talent and hard work to stand out in that crew.


* remember them?

** Yes, I know, "understated" doesn't sound like Goldblum if all you know are the wacky comedies. Just think of "Raines", the recent TV series, though, or "The Tall Man" and you'll see what I mean.

#759 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 755... All a blur, alas.

Beer will do that to people in a drivein. Wait a minute. How did a drivein manage to show Zardoz? Did they remove all the nudity?

#760 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 04:22 PM:

Serge, I don't know about Paula Helm Murray's drive-in, but the one up in Mason County showed Deep Throat. It helps if the theater is plunked down in deep timber, though.

#761 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #758: That's something I'll have to see, then.

#762 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 04:48 PM:

JESR @ 760... I bet that no kids ever tried to sneak thru the forest to the outskirts of that drivein.

#763 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 04:52 PM:

Lila #737: The deer don't eat the ivy, alas. Little lambs and kids, but not deer. Otherwise the 3 deer that live in my ivy and the other 7 visiting deer would have demolished mine. They might even be the same deer as in your neighborhood. Goats will eat kudzu. Kids will, too. (Scroll down)

Serge #759: Depending on the orientation of the drive-in screen, they could show triple-X flicks and only excite the cows. (Or sheep.) And the farm boys who snuck into the field. There was a drive-in near Dayton OH that was a favorite place to fly by at night. And I almost rear-ended someone at 2 am on I-95 in New Jersey when they glanced to the right and saw porn on the drive-in screen and slammed on their brakes right there in the lane.

#764 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 05:01 PM:

#749, #754 re Matrix sequels: I got the impression that they had the ideas for plot, characters and visuals for one film, then spread them across two and diluted them with the ideas that should have been left behind in one previous draft or other. Sadly, number 3 is the one that lost out most.

#716 - Xopher, one day I will find out what happens at the end of the John Wayne Genghis Khan film (a quick check suggests it's called The Conqueror), but somehow I always get distracted about an hour in.

#765 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Since "Get Out of Jail Free" has turned into the kind of long-running brawl I absolutely cannot stand, I'll retreat to this Thread to mention that there's another fine "Tom the Dancing Bug" (this time I got the name right) cartoon today -- Cheney running amok. If you can get into the Washington Post online, you can find it
here.

#766 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Remember the Finnish scary-masks-and-armor metal band Lordi that won Eurovision?

Youtube has video of their song, Hard Rock Hallelujah, being performed by the Finnish Shouting Chorus.

#767 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 05:26 PM:

I quite liked Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. Actually, I like him in almost everything he's done; there's something about his style and affect that I enjoy.

(I think the first thing I ever saw him in was a short-lived private-eye series called "Tenspeed and Brownshoe.")

#768 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Serge, I really don't recall. I do know it was at the 63rd Street Drive-In, which screens can be well-seen from i-435 and 63rd Streets, so I think if there was nudity, hmm it may have been the late movie where there would be lots less traffic. Or it may have been unartfully edited, I only have vague memories.

#769 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 768... I only have vague memories

Darn beer!

#770 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Did you notice that today is the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year of the 21st Century?

#771 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 06:43 PM:

#770: Yeah, lots of people getting married, buying lottery tickets, & etc.

#772 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Bruce 747: Jeff Goldblum wasn't in Beetle Juice. And the scales belong to Maat if I recall correctly. Other than that I agree.

___ 748: It was I, Robot that made me question my opposition to the death penalty.

___ 758: Raines! That's what it was called. Gosh, that was great.

Tracie 763: The deer don't eat the ivy, alas. Little lambs and kids, but not... I briefly flashed on carnivorous deer ravaging flocks of sheep and kindergartens.

#773 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Bruce @ 758: I'm so glad I'm not the only one who remembers New Jersey in "Buckaroo Banzai".

Tracie @ 763: Goats will eat poison ivy, too. My dad used to keep a few around for the purpose. I've been told that their milk will then confer immunity to the stuff, but haven't been bold enough to try it (besides, I'm not very sensitive to poison ivy, so I'd have to really roll in it to give it a fair test--not an attractive prospect). BTW, I love the time-lapse kudzu pic on the page you linked to.

#774 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Serge #770: I've heard it mentioned a time or two, yes. It is, of course octidi of the second décad of Messidor of the year 215 of the French Republic.

#775 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 07:48 PM:

Ethan @ 753 Blue Mars trade paperback

The only ones I've seen available online were signed uncorrected proofs in trade paperback format, ranging in price from US$125 to US$156.25.

#776 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Lila 773: Far from it. When he jumps out of the bus with the tube in his mouth...well, that rivals "wherever you go, there you are" as far as I'm concerned!

#777 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Ha! 777 on 07/07/07!

#778 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 09:19 PM:

Well, dang, I'm impressed that Xopher noted, stalked, and captured the 777 post. Jolly good show!

I just popped over to ask: I'll have a 12 hour layover in New York on Tuesday (and then a 24-hour layover in early August going the other way), and I need a nice bookstore at which to buy Emma Bull's Territory (OMG Emma Bull Tombstone EEEE). Where should I go?

#779 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Serge, #740, yes, you can get sick on an aircraft carrier. There's a reason things get tied down. Out in the ocean there are really big waves that you never see near shore.

Serge, #770, there's a dweeb on rasfw who has been announcing it for months. I did see one of my neighbors and another guy I don't know come home in partial tuxedos a couple hours ago -- looked like a wedding.

#780 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 11:36 PM:

Earl Cooley III #775: Oh, sorry, I thought everyone would assume I was looking for more expensive copies than those cheapies. I'm looking to spend at least $350 on Blue Mars.

I'm joking, of course--but do you see what I mean? Why is it so hard to find this stupid edition?

#781 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 11:50 PM:

So I just accidentally googled for "trade paperback" alone instead of "trade paperback blue mars" and in the first page of results was half about comics and included results related to Star Trek and Serenity. Does this mean that google is "refining" my search results based on previous searches? How do I make them stop?

DO NOT WANT!!

#782 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 12:10 AM:

Ethan, I got the same results on Google. It just means that trade paperbacks aren't restricted to the kinds of books you might necessarily expect, is all. A huge number of graphic novels are printed in trade paperback format (although I'm certain that many of the ML regulars could expand on that much, much better than I could). Amazon.com does that refining bit pretty pervasively, though, if you let it identify you.

#783 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Xopher,

Gak! You're right. Where did that false memory of Jeff Goldblum talking to Gena Davis come from?

As for Ma'at and Thoth, I think I'm wrong and you're partly right, depending on how you interpret the myths and whose reading you accept. Ma'at is taken by some to be the abstract principle of order rather than the personification of it. The feather used in the weighing is Ma'at's, but I've seen it stated that the actual weighing was done by Osiris (and elsewhere that Ma'at did it). It's confusing, because Ma'at and Thoth are respectively the female and male aspects of the principle of order. So why should one do the weighing and not the other?

Well, you know, gods. Just can't figure them out. And you just try and ask them, see what that gets you.

#784 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 12:41 AM:

So anyone who googles "trade paperback" comes up with Serenity results in the first page? That's what I was having trouble with. Weird.

Bruce #783: Where did that false memory of Jeff Goldblum talking to Gena Davis come from?

Geena Davis + Jeff Goldblum = The Fly = Earth Girls are Easy. Apparently; I haven't seen either.

#785 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 02:37 AM:

ethan @ 784

I've never seen The Fly either, but I love Earth Girls are Easy; that's probably where that little phantasm came from. Do definitely see it; it's really funny. And yes, that is Jim Carey in there, along with Damon Wayans. Goldblum, Carey and Wayans play furry, miniature aliens who land their spaceship in Gena Davis' swimming pool. I think you can figure out the rest from that.

#786 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 03:59 AM:

The Goldblum role I remember best was quite a small one: the uptight, but also sorely tried, store manager in Remember My Name. I should think it would lighten his soul a bit.

#787 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 05:18 AM:

ethan @ 753:

Have you tried looking on amazon.co.uk? They seem to have more of the paperback editions of Blue Mars available, at reasonable prices (mostly from used-book sellers), though I can't immediately tell which are the trade pb editions.

Some of the sellers will ship to the US (look for the phrase "International delivery available").

These are more likely to be British editions, so they may not match the design of the ones you already have, if that's something you're interested in.

#788 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 06:21 AM:

#772, #783 - As we all know, the roles of Egyptian Gods seem to have developed and changed over their 2,500 year period of mainstream theology. Which makes sense to me; after a thousand years of weighing souls* against a feather, who wouldn't want to swap jobs for a while?

(Obviously this refers to personifications rather than abstract principles, which would probably be perfectly content to keep fulfilling their role forever.)

* Or part of the soul. Let's not go down that path (at least until I've had a chance to review the 4/5/6/9 different parts of the soul the Ancient Egyptians believed in)

#789 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 06:57 AM:

Well, 7/7/7 is gone and I saw Transformers on that fateful day. It was a popcorn movie all right, but I was rather numbed by the end of the big battle.

Questions...

How many people do you think would die if giant robots were duking it out in the heart of LA, especially if cars were tossed around, and if our military joined the fray with fighter planes? The Answer: not one, according to this movie.

How may women do you think are in our military, or work on Air Force One? The answer: two, and they are both flight attendants on Air Force One.

At least, the movie's two smartest characters were women. Mind you, they were the only women with actual dialog, besides the aforementionned attendants. Screaming when you think you're about to be squished doesn't count.

#790 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 07:31 AM:

My favorite Goldblum role was his part as James Watson in The Race for the Double Helix.

I'd imagined that having that role in his resume gave him some credibility playing scientists in Jurassic Park and The Fly.

#791 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Something completely different (as this is the open thread)...

How difficult would it be to add a step to the 'Preview/Post' mechanism in this interface?

I'm thinking, that when you hit 'Post', you should get another dialog with something like 'Are you ready to Post? (Y/N)'.

I have on a couple of occasions hit 'Post' when I wanted 'Preview', and I've seen other folk admit to that mistake.

Not that I had a problem with my previous post... no, I'm anticipating the next one.

#792 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Rob@791 --- it's a tempting idea, but at this point, Microsoft has thoroughly trained almost everybody to click "OK" on dialog boxes like that without even reading them, much less actually considering whatever they're ostensibly warning you about.

The "live previews" you can get on some MT blogs (e.g., Unqualified Offerings) are a better approach, from this perspective at least; it's a lot harder to confuse "preview" and "post" if the affordances are completely different. But considering that Scalzi's blog hasn't entirely recovered from his recent upgrade, software improvements are not a thing to wish lightly on our hosts...

#793 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Bruce 783: Where did that false memory of Jeff Goldblum talking to Gena Davis come from?

From Earth Girls Are Easy or The Fly, maybe?

One thing most modern people find hard to understand is that it's not that your "sins" (not a very Egyptian concept really) have to be lighter than the feather of Ma'at, but that your deeds must balance it exactly. This is because Ma'at is more balance than order; the Egyptian ideal has more to do with moderation than with perfection.

Btw, the Egyptian word for 'feather' has the same consonants as 'Ma'at', and so the feather hieroglyphic became a symbol for Ma'at, as the scarab beetle did for spiritual evolution. (IIRC. I can't find my Middle Egyptian textbook to verify my memory.)

#794 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 09:58 AM:

I couldn't get the 'man with jet engine jumps out of plane' video to work, but it's one of those things where half my response is, "Hasn't that been done?" Someone has to have had that idea before. Or not?
Calling him a modern-day Icarus seems ill-omened, though.

Xopher, is the Egyptian goal to not change the world too much at once, rather than leaving it markedly better? For some reason, things about the feather-weighing stick in my head. The only afterlife-guilt that's actually stuck with me was a scene from American Gods in which every little sin is revealed. Now, I think, "Do I want to be the kind of person who just walks past litter? Oh, for goodness sake, this is ridiculous, couldn't I have imprinted on Narnia?"

#795 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Diatryma (794): I couldn't get it to work either, so I'm not sure if this is the same one or not, but I found this on youtube.

#796 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Since this is an open thread, this is relevant to some of our discussion on Wikipedia awhile ago. Someone is trying to do a peer-reviewed scholarly version of Wikipedia:

http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Main_Page

I found this link from Terrence Tao's weblog (ultimately linked over from Gene Expression), and the couple articles I looked at seemed good, though I wouldn't have been qualified to review either one in depth.

#797 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Diatryma @ 794

There have probably been a lot of people who wanted to do it, but they likely couldn't, because the small jet engines available weren't up to it. There's been a large jump in efficiency in very small turbojets in the last few years*, so I would guess (I haven't done the calculations) that it's only recently feasible.

I don't know if Gaiman came up with that idea independently, but I've always been fond of a short H.G. Wells story in which something very like Yahweh whispers in the ears of the dead all of their little sins and humiliations. A billion years of cringe - ever so much more educational than burning sulfur and pitchforks.


* It's now possible for a hobbyist to build a jet-powered scale model plane for a few thousand dollars, within the budget of many mildly-obsessive amateurs.

#798 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 01:17 PM:

I did at one point write a story in which the feather of Ma'at becomes an albatross called Matt Barr, (what the surname refers to is left as an exercise for the interested student) who complains about the tendency of Southern Ocean stormfronts to cause constipation, on account of they're forever blowing up one's arse. Among the many reasons I have to haunt this place, is that I discover just how cack-handedly I have outraged perfectly good lore. I never knew that, Xopher. God, it's good to learn, even in my dotage. And cups, at the moment.

Sally has gone to Cairns to celebrate her mother's birthday, and I, who draw the line at northern Queensland owing to some advanced unpleasantness experienced there, am left here alone to examine my inadequate performance as a human being in company with a quite unnecessary amount of Lagavulin. It is a sobering experience. Not.

#799 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Diatryma 794: I'm not sure of the details, but I seem to remember one of the spells people purchased for their afterlife inclusions was "Spell of not allowing the heart to speak the truth," for when the heart was questioned about their actions in life.

I think the expectation was to live life in balance. They didn't have the concepts of good and evil as some kind of transhuman force, or at all as far as I can tell. The nearest things translate as "what Pharaoh loves" and "what Pharaoh hates" respectively.

They were not like us. They didn't think like us. It's not easy to boil the difference down to a few words.

#800 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 05:01 PM:

Dave @798:
Very few people measure up, as people, to what Lagavulin is as a whisky. It's an unfair yardstick.

On the other hand, I never met a single malt that could turn its hand to verse. You do fine.

#801 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Abi #800: But, if I may quote A.E. Housman:


Malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.

Granted, he was writing about ale not whisky, but the principle seems the same.

#802 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 07:25 PM:

ethan, #784, yes, you get Serenity with the singular, but not the plural.

#803 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 10:04 PM:

ethan@#781:
It seems the google results I get for "trade paperback" are roughly the same.

Xopher@784:"Spell of not allowing the heart to speak the truth"

I love that. The idea their system is for them one that can be cheated.
Would be interesting to see how that evolved later on with the monotheistic influences.

They were not like us. They didn't think like us. It's not easy to boil the difference down to a few words.

Yet I always find it incredible how similar we seem to be, however alien time and distance make us. I'm reminded of that, mmmh I do think it was chinese, sixth century tantric spellbook. There was an old healing incantation against turgidity and, added in the margins, that comment: "Before pronouncing that incantation, draw a circle around the patient with red soil. Put a sword in a vase filled with water. Light four lamps at the four corners around the patient. If you recite the incantation after having taken all those precautions, people won't mock you".
It was so, so human. So us. Something I would rather have expected to find in a Discworld book.

#804 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 02:11 AM:

I notice that everyone bringing up Goldbloom and Davis on film has conveniently forgotten Transylvania 6-5000. Trust me, the only thing that made that film watchable was Davis in a costume Elvira would have turned down as tacky.

Oh, and sequels The Matrix? We were lucky. I read their rejected script for Plastic Man online after it suddenly became a hot property following the success of The Matrix. It was the worst script I've ever read. Period. (No, I'm not giving the link.) Total mishandling of the character, total theoretical waste of Jim Carrey as the lead, and worse misuse of a psuedo-scientific explanation for a superpower than in the Ang Lee version of The Hulk. (Yes, the same McGuffin. But at least Lee didn't have it administered by chewing gum.)

#805 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 09:40 AM:

Bruce @ #804:

I was wondering if anyone would remember that Davis & Goldblum were first together in T 6-5000.

In my younger and skinnier days I reconstructed that costume for a Trek con masquerade. Still have it around somewhere, probably.

#806 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Susan @ 805... Got photos of that? And how was ReaderCon?

#807 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Serge:

Yes, I have photos of it, but I am certainly not digitizing them,

Readercon was weird. I had fun overall, but some aspects of it make me a bit queasy.

#808 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 12:30 PM:

I'm doing an Readercon link roundup. Send me your links!

#809 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 12:36 PM:

Susan @ 807... I have photos of it, but I am certainly not digitizing them

Drat!

#810 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Way back at #644 there was mention of using diesel as an adjvant for glyphosate, allowing it to be painted on the target plant.

The basic idea is good, although the adjuvants I've used were based on vegetable oils, rather than mineral oils.

And the basic idea of a thickened herbicide painted onto the target plant has been around sicne the 1970s. Google on "weed wiper"

Droplet size is important: too big, abnd they just bounce off the plant, too small and they drift too easily. An adjuvant oil will, amongst other effects, reduce the number of too-small droplets.

And, obvious though it may seem, spray when the weather is cooler and there is less wind.

If the USA is anything like the UK, the glyphosate that you get in a garden centre will be pre-diluted, and no good for the more serious trickery. You need to start with the industrial product, several hundred grams per litre of active ingredient intended to be hugely diluted. Now I've stopped farming, I doubt that even I could lawfully buy the stuff.

#811 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 07:03 PM:

Who here has read Two Years Before the Mast?

I have. It's a great book. I've just turned thirty-five, so I must have read it about twenty years ago. Most of my friends have read it. Most of my co-workers have not.*

I am reading a journal article, and one of the references is an article titled Two years before the mast: learning how to to learn about patient safety. In my experience, no one in healthcare is going to get the literary reference. I don't think Two Years Before the Mast is a book commonly assigned as part of the American Lit cannon, in these modern times.** Any thoughts?


*I just asked them about it in the last thirty minutes.

**You! Yes, you! Get off of my lawn!

#812 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Tania, I have not red it yet. My parents gave my brother a copy to induce him to read, about 15 years ago. I have my own copy, and will get around to reading it at some point...

#813 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 08:04 PM:

Dave Bell, we use diesel/glyphosphate as a spot killer for Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobi, another dirty rotten scoundrel of a Eurasian invader, although one which came in as a contaminent in seed grain) and it works OK for that; again, ungerminated seed load and reinfestation keeps us doing it again and again.

It is more effective than unaltered glyphosphate on blackberries, but we've found that using Dawn detergent or equivalent as a sticker-spreader on blackberries, thistles, and St. Johnswort (Hypericum punctatum) works better; the difference seems to have to do with hairy or waxy leaf surfaces. And by "works better," when it comes to blackberries, I mean "kills back to the main cane" on old growth, and "kills back to the root" for new.

Me, I'm trying to figure out how I can take advantage of Cletus, who has eaten all the blackberries at my sister's house, without endangering his poor little life or my precious roses; he's African Pygmy Goat/Nubian cross, and there's the matter of having a safe place to keep him from the dogs and coyotes, as well as the logistics of letting him have the blackberries while preserving the roses.

#814 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Oh dear.

I was just reading apartment listings on Craigslist (I'm looking for an affordable cat-friendly apt. in Brooklyn) and one of them included this ever-so-appealing description of the amenities:

"The hardwood floors are scraped and re-glazed to ensure a lack luster shine"...

[Presented for the amusement of the assembled throngs]

#815 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Tania @ 811, I'm old enough to have had it on a reading list in junior high or high school, I think. Richard Henry Dana, right? I read it along with Billy Budd and concluded that life on one of those ships in that century was one I was glad to have missed.

#816 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 10:10 PM:

I am in need of advice, and the fluorosphere may be a good place for it...

I am revising my resume in pursuit of a day job. I have not actually had a day job of late, courtesy of US visa laws; but as you may have gathered, I have been amusing myself by writing romance novels. And getting them published by real paying publishers, if small press.

So now I need a way to describe my "most recent position" that sounds like the income-earning activity it is, rather than coming over as "unpublished wannabe", or even worse, "vanity published". Those of you who have had the joyous party experience of "What do you do?" "I'm a writer." "Oh, really?" [clearly thinking you're a wannabe or about to press upon them a copy of your PA book] will understand my concern...

Any suggestions?

#817 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 10:29 PM:

Because of deadlines I'm staying out of all conversations deeper than a sidewalk puddle. Nothing on Locke, nothing on pesticides, nothing on zombies...

But I do want to comment on one random discovery:
Melamine sponge
aka "Eraser" at Target, or "Magic Eraser" brand sponges in the US. I bought some recently: Wow. it is efficient. A couple of cleaning projects that usually are a tedious 10 or 15 minutes (complete with noxious cleansers) only took 3 or 5 minutes. Because of this, I'd like to mention it.

It has mad cleaning skillz- while it looks like a sponge it acts like a sponge with a belt-sander inside. If the sandpaper had microscopic knives instead of grit, that is, which molecularly it does.

As they warn you, you don't want to use it on glass or gloss or sheeny shiny metal. Although- hey!- I'm going to try etching glass with some. (Later, after my project is done.)

Everything else? No problems so far.

#818 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 11:26 PM:

#816 ::: Julia Jones wondered:
So now I need a way to describe my "most recent position" that sounds like the income-earning activity it is, rather than coming over as "unpublished wannabe", or even worse, "vanity published". Those of you who have had the joyous party experience of "What do you do?" "I'm a writer." "Oh, really?" [clearly thinking you're a wannabe or about to press upon them a copy of your PA book] will understand my concern...

"Freelance writer" seems reasonable to me - and it certainly describes what you've been doing. "Freelance writer (contract)" might be more specific, and allow you to list multiple publications and/or publishers, depending on your inclination (and whether you'd like to show off your writing ;) )

#819 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 11:50 PM:

Serge way back up at #610: Did John Adams really say that, or is that from 1776? I ask because it could easily become my new sig line, but I'll need to attribute it properly.

Susan at #807: I just left (okay, yesterday) the Heinlein Centennial, which I loved. There were also aspects of it which were immensely annoying (almost none of which can be blamed on the organizers).

Would you care to compare notes?

#820 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 12:03 AM:

That comment sounds so grumpy and negative.

Let me add that saying I loved the Heinlein Centennial was an understatement--it was an exceptionally great experience. If there were another, I'd be there. (I'm not so sure the bicentennial in Luna City is going to happen, especially with me there, but it's a nice thought.) This was the ideal con for me--I'm only sorry the wife was ill and couldn't come along.

I risked paying a large surcharge on my ticket out by staying till the end of the last day, which I had not planned to do. (I got lucky and got standby for no fee.)

The panels ranged from great to really great (with the exception of the one I left after about five minutes). The quality of the panelists was amazingly high.

The gala had many wonderful moments, and the Atlanta Radio Theater Company is brilliant.

Even one of the fubars turned out fantastic.

All that said, there were many moments (some of which took significant fractions of an hour) and aspects that really annoyed me, almost all due to attendees and not the organizers.

#821 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 12:29 AM:

So I'm sitting on the couch watching "Utah's Dinosaur Graveyard" on the Science Channel and something the narrator said triggered an epiphany. The eschatologists got it wrong: it's not the Rapture that will carry them off, it's the Raptor! They're all going to get eaten by big lizards.

#822 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 12:37 AM:

Holey moley, "What's Opera, Doc?" is fifty years old.

(The news article also gives some interesting background on the cartoon's creation.)

(And how come I had to read about this in a Canadian newspaper?)

#823 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 12:39 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 819...I don't know if the real John Adams ever said that, but that was one of my favorite musical scenes in 1776, along with the one where Rutledge reminds the North about their own involvement in the slave trade, and the one where the young soldier calls on his mother to find him before he dies.

#824 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 12:49 AM:

Kathryn @ 817

Let us know how the melamine sponge works as a glass etch. If if allows reasonable control of the amount etching it might be more convenient than chemical etches, and I might want to give it a try.

#825 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 07:22 AM:

Does US usage distinguish between blackberries, a useful (if sometimes thorny) hedgerow or cultivated plant with edible fruit, and brambles, a tough thorny sprawling undergrowth weed with relatively few fruit?
Same species of plant, but different growing habits in different contexts (and sometimes different varieties/cultivars).

#826 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 08:00 AM:

One more reminder that tonight is the beginning of Eureka's new season on the Skiffy Channel. I am obviously looking forward to that more than I am to their Flash Gordon TV series, about which the best thing probably will be that they are using Queen's music from the 1980 show.

"Klytus, I am bored."

#827 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 10:16 AM:

At least some of the Magic Erasers are cut and packaged right here in Buffalo, NY. A friend of mine works for the company, and scores us the mis-cuts and rejects. They are known, and loved, in our house as X's Magic Scrubby Foams.

#828 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Bruce A #822:

Thanks for that link; I've always regarded that cartoon as the greatest ever. Only thing to come even close (aside from the other two mentioned in the article) is the Tom & Jerry "Mice Follies".

#829 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 01:24 PM:

John @ #819:
What makes me feel slightly queasy about Readercon is that they appear to be trying to operate on a fannish model while simultaneously separating themselves from fandom. I don't think the majority of the concom participates in any fannish activity outside Readercon. Yet they are also looking for support and volunteers from a community they make a point of not being part of. I suspect this accounts for what appears to be a severe shortage of volunteers (from concom level on down) there. I am not sure how comfortable I am doing community-type volunteering for people who don't want to be part of that community (or return the favor at other conventions). It makes me feel faintly exploited.

Aside from that, I did have a pleasant, if placid, weekend, most of which was spent sitting in the not-very-elaborate green room nursing my ankle and either reading (Blindsight then some slush) or chatting with people who wandered by. I like running green rooms and con suites and other sorts of things that can be loosely classified as social things with food. My cookies were popular.

I got out for a few panels, which were quite interesting. I was particularly entertained by Jim Macdonald and Shariann Lewitt's suggestions for dealing with not being sure what to write next (the panel was on writing the middles of stories). I was mistaken for a writer at least three times, which I just found bizarre. In lieu of much of a con nightlife, I introduced a friend to Torchwood. I enjoyed one kaffeeklatsch, but my ankle didn't enjoy getting to the other end of the hotel for them, so I didn't try for any others or ever manage to get to the (very few) parties or the con suite.

I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy doing this every year (assuming I get over my queasiness) if I didn't have a time-consuming volunteer job. I enjoy panels, but don't want to go to them eight hours a day, and I don't actually need to go to Massachusetts to spend a weekend sitting around reading.

#830 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Bruce @824,

Bad question.

Now I'm wanting to spend my day taking the gloss off of things. I have a project and a deadline. I also have a broken mirror and other testable subjects.

Must.Resist.Curiosity.And.Three.New.Threads.

And if it doesn't work as an etch, that'd also be awesome- I could just wipe clean the entire house.

#831 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Nancy and Linkmeister - Thank you for the input/thoughts on Two Years Before the Mast. My husband oozed sentimentality last night when I asked him about it.

#832 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 03:10 PM:

xeger @818: Thanks. That was what I was thinking of using -- it is a great relief to see someone else suggest it independently.

Some day, when I've *got* a job, I'll tell you all the "memorable incidents at work" anecdote that I should not have used at a job interview after using it in an author interview in a romance zine. It is indeed a small world online...

#833 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Sigh. My friend Jim died yesterday. It wasn't exactly unexpected -- he had a massive heart attack while in dialysis and never woke up -- but he lingered longer than the doctors predicted. The funeral was originally scheduled to be last week, which means he was actually late for his own funeral. I've known him for nearly 40 years. We met in judo class, where I managed to lose my grip on him and throw him about 6 feet to a hard landing. Just to show he wasn't mad at me, he asked me out. I thought he was just a big ROTC frat boy (which he was), but he showed up in an old Dodge land barge that he'd named Grond*, and I thought "here's a live one!" I dragged him off to the Tolkien Fellowship and then into the SCA. For those who keep track of such things, in the SCA he is Bearengaer hinn Rauthi, 8th knight of the Middle Kingdom, 9th King of the Middle and 2nd Prince of Drachenwald. For a big ol' Viking, he turned out to be a pretty good renaissance dancer (his specialty was la volta, to which he applied his judo skills) and recorder player. I'm gonna miss him and his ... ummm ... distinctive laugh.

*The orcs' battering ram in the siege of Minas Tirith.

#834 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 04:57 PM:

Tracie 833: I'm sorry for your loss.

I hadn't quite put together who you were, here and on the other list, before this post.

#835 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Tracie (#833): My condolences.

#836 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Tracie #833: My condolences on your loss.

#837 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 05:34 PM:

My condolences, Tracie.

#838 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Does anyone know what happened to Pandagon? I was reading it this morning without a problem, but when I returned this afternoon, it had turned into porn.

#839 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 05:56 PM:

I'm off to commit history of ideas/political in Philadelphia for a few days, so I may be offline between tomorrow and Saturday. Or I may not, if I have any spare time (whatever that is).

#840 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 07:15 PM:

(820): the Atlanta Radio Theater Company is brilliant.

Yes, they are. Although they spell it 'Theatre'. :) And their CDs are available online.

#841 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 07:49 PM:

I sorrow for your loss, Tracie.

#842 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 08:11 PM:

I dunno . . . do you really think the Bush administration would do something like this?

* * *

White House Is Accused of Putting Politics Over Science

WASHINGTON, July 10 — Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona told a Congressional committee today that top officials in the Bush administration repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because of political considerations.

Dr. Carmona, who served as surgeon general from 2002 to 2006, said White House officials would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues because of political concerns. Top administration officials delayed for years and attempted to “water down” a landmark report on secondhand tobacco smoke, he said in sworn testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

He was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of every speech he gave, Dr. Carmona said. He was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings, at least one of which included Karl Rove, the president’s senior political adviser, he said.

And administration officials even discouraged him from attending the Special Olympics because, he said, of that charitable organization’s longtime ties to the Kennedy family.

“I was specifically told by a senior person, ‘Why would you want to help those people?’ ” Dr. Carmona said.

* * *

#843 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 08:12 PM:

Tracie: my condolences for your loss. He sounds as though the world will be noticeably duller without him.

#844 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 08:41 PM:

Tracie, I'm so sorry.

#845 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Jon, #766: Why do Finnish choirs have so much more fun than American ones? The closest I've ever come to doing a piece that cool was the Geographical Fugue! (And now I need to go find the original on iTunes...)

John, #819: I bought the libretto for 1776 in paperback form some years back; it also contains commentary by the writers. They mention that Adams did indeed use the phrase "obnoxious and disliked" to describe himself in a letter, but the lyric as it occurs in the song is not directly attributable.

Just out of curiosity, did you ever get into the "Marketplace" (what they were calling the dealer room) at the Heinlein Centennial? If so, would you object to giving a capsule description of who and what you found there? I'm asking because we had wanted to go, as dealers, but the massive incompetence of the organizers scared us off. Among other things, they were insisting that all merchandise being offered for sale be "family-friendly" -- apparently without realizing that this would outlaw the sale of much of Heinlein's later work!

Serge, #823: Ah, yes -- "Molasses to Rum to Slaves". Done well (as the actor from the original Broadway run, who is also the one in the DVD, does it), it is absolutely spine-tingling. Especially the point at which he segues into a slave-auctioneer's patter, until one of the other Congressmen is moved to interrupt with, "For the love of God, Mr. Rutledge!"

*sigh* This DVD ought to be required material for every high-school civics and American history course in the country. Unfortunately, I imagine that these days it would be considered "too controversial".

Tracie, #833: My condolences on your loss. It's always hard to lose a friend.

#846 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 11:10 PM:

Lee@845, some of the scenes in, IIRC, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, were, umm, very "family-friendly".

#847 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2007, 11:59 PM:

Susan anted up, and so will I.

Remember, I thought the Heinlein Centennial was a positively fantastic experience, and I'd go again if I had the chance. Take my criticisms and caviling with that in mind.

What bugged me about the Heinlein conference was two of the three attendee factions, the polyamory/line marriage people (who spent a fairly obnoxious amount of time and effort proselytizing) and the libertarians (who inexplicably wasted fifteen minutes of our lives during the gala with what should have been a two minute film of the firing of Heinlein's brass cannon).

Don't get me wrong. Both those groups belonged there, but, unlike the third faction (the space people), they weren't well-mannered. I've hit one high/low point for each group--there were others.

(By "faction", I mean to say "groups with agendas"...in other words, exactly what I want it to mean, no more, no less, no possum, no sop, no taters, no no Nanette.)

I'm working on a full blog posting from the weekend, and I'll pimp it when it's done-ish.

Lee, as for the Marketplace (isn't that from some family-unfriendly book? But I digress), I didn't spend much time in there. Mostly I saw books, lots of 'em. There were a few posters, t-shirts and other schwag-for-fee, of course the marvelous Atlanta Radio Theatre Company recordings, and probably some video stuff as well. I didn't see anything overtly family-unfriendly.

I'm going to hazard a guess there's overlap between the Kansas City polyamorists and the local kinky community, and the organizers were trying to avoid having large whip and chain displays. Did the organizers ever define family-friendly and family-unfriendly to you? They struck me as not incompetent, but way overworked, undervolunteered, and in some cases inexperienced.

I've been to exactly two cons (this was sure not Dragon*Con!), so take that with a grain of salt.

#848 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 04:03 AM:

John, #847: Actually, I think this might best be handled in private e-mail -- it's not going to be of interest to most of the folx here. If you'd be so kind as to drop me a line at the mailto link from my name, I'll ask you some more specific questions (understanding that you may not be able to provide answers, as this wasn't your area of interest).

#849 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 05:13 AM:

Lee @ 845... "Molasses to Rum to Slaves"... Indeed. I didn't realize that John Cullum had played Rutledge in the original Broadway version of 1776 too. (I mostly know him from TV show Northern Exposure.)

#850 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 06:14 AM:

A few threads ago, there was a discussion of how to keep squirrels off birdfeeders. Here is how I dealt with it.

#851 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 06:53 AM:

Lee (845):
Popocatepetl isn't in Canada, rather in Mexico Mexico Mexico.

#852 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 07:36 AM:

John @ #847:
the Marketplace (isn't that from some family-unfriendly book? But I digress)

By the conventional definition of family-unfriendly, yes.

Of course, Heinlein and poly do not exactly fit the conventional definition either.

#853 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 07:58 AM:

Susan, the more I think about it, the more I think some of Heinlein's books are maybe a little too family-friendly, if you know what I mean--and there was the missing panel from the Centennial.

#854 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 10:16 AM:

The particle on modeling time travel makes me feel either old or sad or possibly both. The examples are almost entirely from TV and film, and the few literary examples are all pretty recent.

No mention of Fritz Leiber's Snakes and Spiders, or Poul Anderson's Time Patrol, or Asimov's The End of Eternity, or Keith Laumer's Imperium, or even Silverberg's Up the Line or Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself. I could go on and on.

It's like Shakespeare discussions that focus on "West Side Story" and "Forbidden Planet."

I love "Futurama" and "Back to the Future," but well, *sigh*.

#855 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Is the "Dogs Against Romney" movement mentioned in the Sidelights a swift-butt campaign?

#856 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 11:57 AM:

Serge #850:

Neat feeder, but it's the landscape that impresses me. It's a lot more lush (for careful definitions) than I usually think of for that part of the world.

#857 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Re: the sidelight on Onesimus--

It persuaded me to go back and look at the original. I lost count of how many times the phrase "the bowels of Christ" got used in such a short chapter. Sounds infelicitous to me.

#858 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 12:03 PM:

joann @ 856... Thanks. It may look this lush because of the angle of the photo, looking from the backyard's lowest level to the next one up. Also, the feeder is right behind an area that my wife has covered with various plants that are regularly watered.

#859 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Does anybody know of a site where I could find photos from the movie Robin and Marian?

#860 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Total change of subject (open thread). There's an interesting article in today's Washington Post (registration required, I believe, at washingtonpost.com) on Arthur Levine, the editor at Scholastic who purchased the US rights to Harry Potter back in 1997.

When he took a publishing course after finishing his degree in English, the director asked him what part of publishing he wanted to work in.

"I said, 'I want to be a children's book editor,' " Levine recalls. "And he said, 'Don't do that. You will never get a job.' " There weren't enough of them, it seemed, and their occupants seemed never to leave.

The article says that besides Harry Potter, in his earlier years in publishing he pulled Redwall out of the slush and later acquired Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

#861 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 01:33 PM:

John H., #851:
Tibet! Tibet! Tibet! Tibet!
Nagasaki -- Yokoha-a-a-a-ma!

#862 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 06:59 PM:

My condolences, Tracie.

#863 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 07:23 PM:

I finally got around to reading through "A Night in Elsinore": I spotted the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Jimmy Durante.

Did I miss abyone?

(Ken Dodd has played Yorick--a flashback in Kenneth Branagh's film.)

#864 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 09:48 PM:

This is a stage two earworm contagion alert. I've got "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" running in my head. That wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that in the background is playing the chorus from Hanson's "Mmm Bop", which I accidentally heard today on a '90's nostalgia TV show. The combination scans hideously well.

I mention this here in the hopes that, by spreading it around as in Mark Twain's "A Literary Nightmare" it may dissipate harmlessly among wills stronger than my own and I may be freed of this horror.

"Punch brothers! Punch with care!
Punch in the presence of the passenjare!"

#865 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Earl @ #864, that's bad. Currently I have "Someone to Lay Down Beside Me," written by Karla Bonoff and sung by Linda Ronstadt, floating around in my head. I think I've got the better of the two.

#866 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 10:09 PM:

I spent twenty minutes singing the weird dun-dun chorus thingy from some oldish song-- fifties oldish, not Old English oldish-- along with variations. While doing lab work. Every once in a while, something would move in the glass in front of me, just a reflection of something shifting in the empty, white-noised lab. It kept my brain from dwelling on zombie apocalypse.

#867 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Lee @845, wrt the musical 1776: *sigh* This DVD ought to be required material for every high-school civics and American history course in the country. Unfortunately, I imagine that these days it would be considered "too controversial".

My first exposure to it was in my fifth-grade classroom, as part of our history curriculum. However, according to Wikipedia, it has since been banned by the same school district from being shown to intermediate-school students (7th and 8th grades), on the grounds that the conversation between Adams and Jefferson about "burning" for their respective wives is too racy for tender ears.

Sheesh.

#868 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 12:10 AM:

Linkmeister @ 865

Indeed you do have it better. That's a great song, whichever one of them sings it.

#869 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Tracie, I'm sorry. Thanks for the link to your friend's SCA photo; he looks like he would have been fun to know.

#870 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 01:06 AM:

Behold: the worst movie ever made. Laserblast, from 1978.

#871 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 02:16 AM:

Bruce @ #868, I've been on a Ronstadt binge recently, picking up used CDs from Second Spin to replicate the vinyl I've still got.

I'm waiting for my shuffle to come up with her version of "Someone to Lay Down Beside Me" from Hasten Down the Wind followed by "Someone to Watch Over Me" from What's New, the first of her three albums with Nelson Riddle.

#872 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 02:38 AM:

Linkmeister,

I'm a real Karla Bonoff fan; one of the nice things about summer in Portland is that she usually does a show at the zoo in July or August. Back before my last dog died, I would take him up to the park in the hills above the zoo and he would run around and chase things while I listened to the music. They wouldn't let him in the zoo, and probably a good thing; he'd have tried to herd everything in sight.

And I still want to steal the title of her song "Even If You Gave Me Wings" for a story. I just haven't found a story to do it justice yet.

#873 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 03:01 AM:

You know she's got a website with schedule, store, and other stuff including links to Bryndle, the off/on band she's part of, don't you?

I was looking for Andrew Gold (musician, producer, played a heavy role on Prisoner in Disguise) and discovered he's got a placeholder page at her site.

#874 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 03:30 AM:

Linkmeister,

Thanks, I haven't looked at her site since her concert last year (which I missed, damn all crazy program managers and their optimistic schedules).

#875 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 03:45 AM:

She's got a show tonight in Bend.

#876 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 03:48 AM:

By the way, iTunes users, you might want to check out iConcertCal, which

is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS X and supports worldwide searches.

#877 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 04:20 AM:

Linkmeister @ 876

Awesome. How dare you withhold this information from me for so long?

;)

#878 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 09:27 AM:

However, according to Wikipedia, [1776] has since been banned by the same school district from being shown to intermediate-school students (7th and 8th grades), on the grounds that the conversation between Adams and Jefferson about "burning" for their respective wives is too racy for tender ears.

I'm not the least bit surprised. When I was in sixth grade, our enrichment class got taken to see a production of it and one of the kids complained--and had her mother complain--about the language. I believe she objected to the description of Philadelphia's weather.

This was the same girl who lodged complaints about the filmstrip we watched at Halloween because it contained cartoonish, stereotyped pointy-black-hat witches, and witches are of course Evil. First person I'd ever met who actually objected to the mention of Halloween. For that matter, she was the first person I'd ever met who was homeschooled; that was the first year she wasn't.

#879 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Linkmeister @ 876

Nifty! Thank you for pointing that out.

#880 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Speaking of schools banning things, this is worth a read.

High school students forbidden to discuss the war at school; student play based on letters from Iraq banned, but picked up by independent theater.

#881 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 10:51 AM:

I know that (despite recent postings) this isn't really a music-crazy bunch, but did anyone else watch the PBS special on Les Paul last night? If you only know him from the Fifties stuff he did with Mary Ford, there's *lots* to learn. He seemed to have a genius for being in the right place at the right time -- Chicago in the early '30s when jazz was getting going and things were really eclectic; New York City in the "47th Street" heyday of all the jazz greats; Hollywood in the Forties and Fifties; even Nashville, later on.

And he's also crucial to the invention of the electric guitar, double-track tapes, the portable tape recorder, and lots of other neat stuff. I say "is", because (according to this documentary) he's still alive, well, and a fabulous performer at the age of 90. Amazing.

#882 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Lila:
Voices in Conflict actually went Off Broadway (playing in several different theaters, iirc) in New York a few weeks ago. It may still be running at the Vineyard. The Times covered the controversy fairly extensively (for a CT event), but the coverage is now all locked into TimesSelect. I hate this trend of charging for archival material that one can get free on microfilm at the library.

You can get "previews" of the various articles by going to the NYT website and searching "Iraq Wilton".

#883 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Checking in after a long hiatus with a brief PSA:

If you appreciated Jacob Clifton's recaps of Seasons 1 and 2 of Dr. Who on Television Without Pity and are wondering where they went, well, TWoP put them on "Permanent Hiatus" with little explanation on July 3.

I joined a group that is asking TWoP to reverse this decision - it's a LiveJournal affair at The Oncoming Recaps. Please consider joining if you are a fan of Jacob's work on Seasons 1 and 2.

#884 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Watched a show about the Chrysler Building on TV last night (while visiting cat) and they had a nice view of the Flatiron Building (current). So we waved to Patrick and Teresa!

#885 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Cosmic Dog @ #876, you're just not reading the right blogs. ;) I found that at a friend's place and posted about it myself back in Feb 2007.

Faren @ #881, I saw about half of that. I was impressed with the number of R&R musicians who well knew that without Paul they'd be something else. Also, any show that has Bonnie Raitt talking music is high on my scale of things to be watched.

#886 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 02:46 PM:

#870, worst movie ever

The review says it's
"Like a kick in the collective groin of sci-fi fans everywhere..."

Do sci-fi fans have a collective groin? That would have complications...

#887 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Do list for this today, to be performed in and around day job and two-hour bout of reading aloud:

(1) start imaginary publishing company
(2) outline first book for said company
(3) start career as concert promoter

Sleep, who needs sleep?

#888 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Erik 886: I don't know about you, but I certainly have a collective groin.

You will be assimilated.

(Looks like I get comment #888, too. Whoohoo!)

#889 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Last weekend I went to the theater with the intention of seeing the new "Die Hard" sequel.

At the last moment I decided I wasn't in the mood and saw "Surf's Up." It was playing maybe once that day . . . probably about to leave the theater.

It was remarkably entertaining, as mock documentaries about surfing penguins go.

Next up: Boy Wizards or Cooking Rats.

#890 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Susan @887 - I can't help thinking that this sounds like part of the blueprint for the greatest scam of all time. However, I'm not quite sure at which point you disappear with our lifesavings. Would it save you some time and effort if we just emailed you all our bank details?

#891 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 05:50 PM:

(um... meant to finish with something like "Because we're bound to lose all our cash, dignity and probably get a kick in the collective groin to boot, so we might as well just give in now" but got over excited with the Post button)

#892 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 07:42 PM:

Frigging theocratic thugs.

'Christian Right Activists Disrupt Hindu Chaplain In The Senate

Today was a historic first for religion in America's civic life: For the very first time, a Hindu delivered the morning invocation in the Senate chamber — only to find the ceremony disrupted by three Christian right activists.

We have video of the astonishing scene, and we'll be sharing it with you shortly.

The three protesters, who all belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, and who apparently traveled to Washington all the way from North Carolina, interrupted by loudly asking for God's forgiveness for allowing the false prayer of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.

"Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight," the first protester began.

"This is an abomination," he continued. "We shall have no other gods before You."'

#893 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Stefan, there's a follow-up to that initial posting. I plugged it here.

Establishment Clause? What Establishment Clause?

#894 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Stefan, Linkmester - thanks for the links and...jeez. What a drag. On the other hand, hooray for having a Hindu cleric as a guest chaplain! I wish the clip had the whole prayer, it sounded cool. And pretty monotheistic, actually.

#895 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 09:00 PM:

#863: I finally got around to reading through "A Night in Elsinore": I spotted the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Jimmy Durante.

Did I miss anyone?

That was Bob Hope as Fortinbras.

#896 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 09:26 PM:

Gee, apparently from their point of view to be a good Christian you have to be anti-American.

Fucking scumbags. I hope they die.

#897 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 09:51 PM:

In the Get out of Jail Free thread, where I had a couple of comments last week about Christian Dominionist attitudes, I'd written:
"...Even today they're quite willing to admit that they hate the idea of, say, anyone but Christians praying in Congress. They went nuts at the idea of a Hindu prayer being said there."

Kathryn with the time traveling machine*, please have been more careful with the verb tenses. kthx.

------------
* not me, I'm the one at home working on the Project with the Deadline, which I'll then hand to K.w.t.t.t.m., who'll take it back to me where I'll take over the time traveling machin...Hey, why hasn't this loop collapsed yet?

#898 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 10:59 PM:

Kathryn:

Do you have any posts from last week talking about the stock market?

#899 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Stefan Jones @892: "This is an abomination," he continued. "We shall have no other gods before You."'

And where does it say "no other gods beside you"?

#900 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Stefan Jones @892, re: theocratic thugs

Perhaps their protest would have been better received had they decried the practice of abusing those widows who choose not to immolate themselves on their husband's funeral pyre, by shaving their heads and turning them out on the streets homeless, a morally indefensible tradition.

#901 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 11:26 PM:

Earl 900: Then let's decry the practice of lynching uppity black men, which is also morally indefensible (and practiced among self-identified Christians) whenever Christian prayer is offered. What the hell are you talking about?

Because some Hindus do bad things, Hinduism should be banned from Congress? Let's decry the Christian practice of locking up innocent Moslems in Gitmo, then. No Christian prayer in any public place until that's all over. No, until ALL crimes done by Christians cease and are redeemed.

Suttee is banned in India and has been for decades. Perhaps you didn't know. Not that it makes any difference.

Vakrathunda mahakaaya sooryakoti samprabha,
avignam kuru me deva sarva kaaryesu sarvadha. So there.

#902 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 11:36 PM:

At least the stupid bastards are in jail. And their asshole pastor, telling that same stupid lie about the founding fathers...it is to vomit, it really is.

#903 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Stefan @ 892 and others

Words cannot express the depth of the angst I feel when I hear things like this.

I wouldn't presume to preach, but I must express in the strongest possible terms: what they have done is NOT THE GOSPEL.

I can barely type, as tears fill my eyes, looking at how my deepest beliefs and only true desire is used to manipulate and abuse others.

(deep breath)

Whether or not the Founding Fathers were all Christians, they recognized that State mandated religion held no value to God or to the people.

I want to say more, but I feel that that may not be wise. I'll leave at this, I believe in God and seek to please him in all that I do. Using his name and righteousness to attack, hurt, and intimidate others does not please God.

I am deeply ashamed at the conduct of those claiming to be my brothers and sisters, and I am sorry for the harm that it has caused. If there is anything that I can do to help make it right, please let me know.

#904 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 12:23 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 899

I believe they are referencing the first of the ten commandments. They aren't attempting to quote: Since they are talking to God, they are recasting it from first (as given) to second person.


General

First, I love the opening of their press release. "Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested in the chambers of the United States Senate as that chamber was violated by a false Hindu god." While one does not expect cold logic from zealots, it is interesting to note the flaw. If he is a "false god" then how can he violate the chamber?

Second, as Xopher in 902 and Cosmic Dog in 903 have already said, it's crap to say that those three were standing as the founding fathers stood. The founding fathers stood for the separation of church and state. Franklin was a deist, Paine an aetheist. And while the Declaration makes mention of a "Creator," there is no mention of "Christ" anywhere.

Bloody illiterate ignoramuses drive me bonkers ...

I'd tell them to look at the parable of the Samaritan, if I thought they actually had the potential to understand that Christ was saying non-believers doing good works are more likely to be saved than loud, self-righteous believers who are not charitable.

#905 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 12:29 AM:

Xopher: could you please translate the Sanskrit of #901?

I get enough to realise it involves a god (deva) and a great something (mahakaaya), but not much more.

#906 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 12:42 AM:

Amazing how those sorts of professing Christians never seem to have read the bit where Jesus says not to be like the guy who points to others and thanks God that he is not like that sinner over there...

#907 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 12:51 AM:

JESR @ 906

GOD, yes! And thanks for an even better example. Wish I'd thought of it.

#908 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Looky, another writer posting their rejection letters. I dunno, the stuff labeled "mean" doesn't seem particularly mean to me, and the "exemplary" category is mostly folks saying "sorry, I'm too busy for this" with no useful comments on the writing. Eh.

My first-ever submission resulted in a particularly definitive rejection: I sent a story to SciFiction.com, and not only did they turn me down, they promptly closed up shop. Top that!

#909 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 01:27 AM:

Xopher @901: Suttee is banned in India and has been for decades. Perhaps you didn't know. Not that it makes any difference.

Correct. It doesn't make any difference that it's banned, because it still happens. Widows who refuse it still have their heads shaved and are thrown into the streets with nothing to fend for themselves.

I don't have a problem with banning religion in Congress as you suggested, but it'll never happen while a hideously large percentage of the voters are religious fanatics of various stripes.

#910 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 01:34 AM:

Earl Cooley III @#900:

1. They weren't protesting Indian culture, they were apologizing to God for allowing a Hindu to pray.

2. They weren't really hepped on Hinduism specifically, but on any non-Christian faith being recognized.

3. The cleric they insulted lives in Reno, not Rajasthan, and presumably is representing American Hindus, not the folks referenced in that 7-year-old article.

4. Christian evangelicals, shouting out in the senate house for the RIGHTS OF WOMEN? What are you smoking?

#911 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 01:45 AM:

I do have some good news today.

I got my first writing gig!

I'll be writing "Spotlight On..." interviews for my agency's monthly Food Stamps newsletter. Over 800 people will (potentially) be reading it. I have deadlines and everything (the first one must be submitted to my editor by 7/23). It may seem like a small thing, but I have to start somewhere and I believe that success builds upon itself.

Also, I received a Letter of Commendation from the Assistant Director for excellent customer service. This is huge! Honestly, I get choked up when I think about it. It's nice to be recognized by my employers, the fact that I'm being commended for helping people, one of my deepest values, makes it just so good!

So, yay me!

#912 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 02:14 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 909

What exactly is your point?

In #900 you defended the shouting down of the Hindu, saying:

Perhaps their [the Christian protesters/terrorists] protest would have been better received had they decried the [Hindu] practice of abusing those widows who choose not to immolate themselves on their husband's funeral pyre, by shaving their heads and turning them out on the streets homeless, a morally indefensible tradition.

Now in #909 you acknowledge Xopher in #901 is correct that Suttee is an illegal act practiced only by fanatic extremist elements, but add:

It doesn't make any difference that it's banned, because it still happens. Widows who refuse it still have their heads shaved and are thrown into the streets with nothing to fend for themselves.

I don't have a problem with banning religion in Congress as you suggested, but it'll never happen while a hideously large percentage of the voters are religious fanatics of various stripes.

Are you really trying to say that it's OK that those US Christian fanatics ran the Hindu chaplain out of Congress, because there are Hindu fanatics, too? That what happened would only be wrong if Hindus were perfect?

Or are you trying to say that it would have been OK for them to shout him down and violate separation of Church and State if thet were protesting something he (probably) had nothing to do with?

#913 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 03:28 AM:

Admiral Akbar says "It's a trap!" I hope this is not one of those cases where no matter what I say, I'm going to be pounded into mush. I wasn't defending the Xtian terrorists, I was using the framework of the situation to decry the immolation or forced impoverishment and loss of all rights of widows in India.

1. The Xtian terrorists who attempted to violate the Hindu chaplain's freedom of religion are naughty people. Their opinions or positions on archaic but still current Hindu practices is irrelevant to me.

2. Hindus who support the immolation or forced impoverishment of widows are naughty people.

3. The Hindu chaplain (who finished his prayer, by the way) is presumably not a naughty person because I doubt he would be allowed the honor of appearing before Congress on this ceremonial occasion without a background check.

4. It was not my intention to insult any non-naughty people in my posts on this subject.

There. I hope that if I have left any gaps in logic that people here will not infer any evil intent on my part as a result.

#914 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 03:46 AM:

A pleasant little card game I recall from long ago was called "Illuminati". The object was to Take Over The World by controlling a crucial number of influential groups, which were represented by cards with various characteristics. One of the characteristics was "fanatic". The thing was, although the susceptibility of any group to being controlled by another was increased if they shared characteristics, "fanatic" always opposed "fanatic", even if all their other characteristics were the same.

It appears that what we have here is an exemplar of this sad fact about humanity. I venture to suggest that fanatical Hindus, which do exist, would just as readily have shouted down the prayer said in this profane place before unbelievers and cow-eaters, as the fanatic Xists did. I only wish the former had been present. Then we would have been treated to the edifying spectacle of a religious riot in the House; which might conceivably have convinced some of the Representatives present that enough is more than enough.

#915 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 04:13 AM:

Earl, you had me for second and then you lost me. I first thought that your comment at #900 was that political protest is better than religious persecution. Then Xopher advocates religious intolerance, via punishing the many for the acts of the few, in #901, obviously using irony to make a point against intolerance (I hope), and you agree with the intolerance?!

"I don't have a problem with banning religion in Congress as you suggested, but it'll never happen while a hideously large percentage of the voters are religious fanatics of various stripes."

Going back to the Founding Fathers and the First Ammendment: It's not for nothing that religion is the very first thing addressed in the Bill of Rights, along with freedom of speech and the press, protest, and grievance. Religious freedom is one of the foundational values and virtues of this nation. The core idea of the Separation of Church and State is not to supress religious thought in the matters of government, but to safe guard freedom and diversity of all kinds of thought and opinion. The First Ammendment applies specifically to banning laws that suppress ideas, but it reflects the deeply held values of the people of this nation. Thus, banning religion in Congress is not only impossible, for people will always have religion and it will always influence their behaviour, but it is wrong. It is also wrong to interfere with another's safe and lawful practice of their religion for any reason.

If I misunderstand you sir, I apologize, please correct me.

#916 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 04:27 AM:

I was composing my last post and when you posted yours, sorry I didn't see it.

Earl, I don't want to pound you into mush. That would be highly hypocritical, considering some of my conversations on this forum over the last week. However, Xtian terrorists is a step too far. Being an asshole is not terrorism. That being said, speaking out against the injustices to women is a noble goal. It just really confuses the issue when it's cloaked in religion. Touchy subject, that. Kinda gets the blood presure up. It's best to tread carefully.

#917 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:08 AM:

CosmicDog @911

Congratulations x2!

#918 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 09:19 AM:

CosmicDog @ 911, congratulations! Are you interviewing clients, or fellow employees?

#919 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 09:49 AM:

CosmicDog @ 911

Excellent news! I hope this is the first of many writing gigs for you.

#920 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Thanks for your support!

I will interviewing staff members. I have interviewed hundreds of customers and written thousands of narratives as a case manager, but those are confidential, even within the agency. Of course, even that has developed and reinforced some valuable skills. As they say, writing ability is essential to success in almost any profession.

As for the commendation:
A friend of mine likes to tease me by calling me a "mindless, paper-pushing, zombie bureaucrat", but I really love my job. And it's nice to see that how I do my job and my attitude towards those I serve makes a difference in the community and how they see the government.

#921 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 10:26 AM:

CosmicDog, I think the comment (910) expressing bemusement/shock/bitter amusement at "Christian evangelicals" "speaking out against the injustices to women", as you put it, was along similar lines to the 'take beam from your own eye before you complain about the mote in someone else's" idea. The oppression of women in Hindu culture is justified by similar 'idealization' as the Christian oppression is, just some of the details differ. Did they mention the caste system in their criticism?

And congratulations on your achievements. Good luck.

#922 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 10:31 AM:

That is, I will be interviewing staff. I better proofread my material more closely than that if I want to keep this gig. Of course, that is why I have an editor. ;)

#923 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 11:08 AM:

A query for the Flourosphere* on an open thread:

The Hub and I am going to have to make a fancy dessert in the next 24 hours or so. One thing that has been suggested is a strawberry tart of some sort.

Can anyone recommend a recipe? Since it's very short term, I can't go Amazon a book in time, so it's gotta be one I can find online.

-----
* Spelling deliberate

#924 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Epacris @ 921

If it's oppression, it ain't Christian, or at the very least, it's not Christ. The honor that God shows women in the Bible is clear. Esther and Mary (take your pick as to which one) are rock stars, among many women that the Bible shows as role models. It's just that some people twist Christian values to support a selfish agenda. Unfortunately, too many christians are ignorant of what the Bible teaches and blindly follow those that abuse it.

I haven't done the research, but it appears that most cultures are male dominated, and nobody likes to give up or share power. While the Bible isn't exactly progressive on this issue, otherwise it would not have survived for this long, it by no means supports the oppression of women. Unfortunately, almost all religions have been co-opted for selfish or evil means. That is why I like to separate the acts that individuals commit in the name of their religion from what the religion actually teaches. I don't want to blame an entire culture for this misdeeds of the few, in the same way that I don't want accept the blame for what others do in the name of my God.

#925 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 11:18 AM:

abi @ 923

Pavlova? It's a meringue that's baked (dried in the oven) and topped with fuit, like strawberries.

there's this one:
Shiro's chocolate souffle torte
which sounds absolutely delicious, and not impossible at home.

#926 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 12:48 PM:

#923 Abi--
If I have abused the internet correctly, this should link to Food Network's recipe stash, with a specific search for strawberry recipes. They appear to have 35 pges worth, including a few tarts, as well as things like a strawberry panna cotta with a strawberry compote on top.

#927 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 01:21 PM:

CosmicDog 903: Thanks for this. And YOU don't owe an apology; the point of my post @ 901 was that you're NOT responsible for the behavior of the wacky fringe of your coreligionists (if such they are; they use the same name, that's about it).

If you really want to do something, despite having IMO no obligation to do so, write a letter to that Hindu Priest, expressing your outrage.

Keir 905: In this context, it means "I'm praying a Hindu prayer, nyah nyah!" It's a daily devotional to Ganesha. "O You of the twisted trunk and massive body, whose brilliance is greater than that of millions of suns, o Lord, keep all my work* free of obstacles." I say (actually sing) it at least twice a day, and sometimes use it as a walking chant.

*'Work' here means Work, I believe...not like your day job.

Earl 909: It doesn't make any difference that it's banned, because it still happens.

Ditto lynching.

CosmicDog 911: Yay you twice!!!

Earl 913: That clarifies your position. But it doesn't explain why you brought up the bad behavior of Hindus on the other side of the world in a discussion of the mistreatment of Hindus on this side. Did you hear that a group of Jewish teenagers beat up a randomly-selected Pakistani man in Brooklyn recently? They called him a terrorist and other slurs. Would you say "Perhaps if they'd been yelling about the Red Mosque they'd've been received more sympathetically"?

It really did sound like you were trying to excuse the anti-Hindu assholes by citing the behavior of Hindu assholes. Now that we know you weren't, why DID you bring it up? It's a total non-sequitur.

CosmicDog 915: Yes, of course I was being ironic. It's a "do unto others" formula, like the atheists going door to door in Salt Lake City. I oppose all forms of religious persecution (note that not giving Christianity a special place is NOT religious persecution, much as the "Christian" right likes to claim it is).

#928 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 03:03 PM:

#913: I've apparently found my writing lesson for the day since it has popped up in two unrelated contexts. The lesson is thus:

If you juxtapose two thoughts, people are going to think they are somehow related. This is a powerful thing. It allows you to say all sorts of things without ever having to spell them out explicitly. More importantly, people read this way as a matter of course.

My first instance was today's ChinesePod lesson (about sudoku). The lesson dialogue has someone saying, "That's too complicated. Isn't it Japanese?" Now, this sounds to me the speaker thinks that sudoku being complicated has something to do with it possibly being Japanese. As it turns out, that's actually not the way she meant it. However, it's natural to read it that way.

My second instance was reading Earl juxtapose the bad behavior of Hindus on the other side of the world with the mistreatment of Hindus on this side. Given that the context was how to exonerate those who treated Hindus here poorly, it's not surprising that people read it as saying, "Well, it's ok to mistreat Hindus here because some Hindus treat women horribly there."

If that's not what you meant to say, Earl, then I'd say that you fell into a trap of your own making. (I know that I do it all the time. IMHO, the appropriate thing to do here is to acknowledge the error and become a more accomplished writer. At least, that's the way I'm going.) If that is what you mean to say, then shame on you.

#929 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Xopher,

When you say, "It really did sound like you were trying to excuse the anti-Hindu assholes by citing the behavior of Hindu assholes," you reminded me of the guy I saw at the Heinlein centennial wearing a t-shirt that said, "The answer to jihad is crusade!" I looked at that and thought, "No, you mean 'The answer to shithead is asshole'." Much later on, the Jefferson Airplane lyric, "Everything they say we are, we are. And we are very proud of ourselves," ran through my head.

#930 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Abi @923,

There isn't anything quite like the Advanced Recipe Search on Epicurious. Epicurious is the online recipe repository for Bon Appetit and a few other food magazines.

For example
You list what you have: "strawberries"
You add what it should be: "quick" "dessert" "French cuisine"
And should have: "eggs"
And should exclude: "nuts"

I didn't know if the above would have results- but it does: rhubarb sabayon with strawberries

If you just search for "strawberry tart" dessert, you get 38 results. Then sort by Fork Rating-user ratings. The pictures and user comments give you an idea of how well it'll go.

First hit: Strawberry lemon tartlets "Very nice for a fancy dinner party, these little tartlets have an almond crust, tangy lemon filling and strawberries on top"

Epicurious is also just fun-- the search for one hit wonders, the testing of random ingredients from your refrigerator.

#931 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 03:41 PM:

John @ #929, "And we are very proud of ourselves,"

We Can Be Together. On the "Worst of" compilation that song segues perfectly into Volunteers, since it has the same chord progression.

This useless musical fact brought to you by Starkist, which also sponsors Hot Tuna.

#932 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Xopher @ 927, I like that prayer very much -- thanks for posting the translation. I've recently found myself attracted to little doodads with Ganesh on them and keep a few scattered around my office and study. They put me in the right frame of mind to overcome obstacles ... including my own inertia!(What, nearly 3:00 already and hardly any work done? Yikes!)

#933 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 04:05 PM:

JC @928,

It was more along the lines of free association football, not brainstorming on how to exonerate the Christian extremists, with "Hindu" as the link word. I knew it would have been rather ironic for the Christian extremists to complain about the plight of widows in India, given that Christian Fundie culture is basically a morally reprehensible rapeocracy no better than Pakistani tribal courts. In no way did I mean to imply that they were doing the right thing by interrupting Congress. It sounds to me like they are in dire need of anti-cult intervention.

Making any sort of comment at all here is much, much riskier than just about anywhere else I can think of, because so many people have lumbering chips on their shoulders and are ready at a moment's notice to lash out with misinterpretations of what was said. On the other hand, the risks are usually worth it, due to the otherwise high quality of discourse here.

#934 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 04:09 PM:

When I heard about the disruption of the Hindu cleric's invocation by so-called Christians, all I could think was, "Guess those guys have never read the part of the New Testament that says - 'Whatever ye have done unto the least of these, ye have done unto me.'"

#935 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Earl

I wouldn't describe it as chips on shoulders so much as sensitivity (possibly extreme) to words and their ranges of meanings. (I have them too. I usually go for the 'back' button before the 'post' button in preview.)

#936 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:01 PM:

John 929: Wouldn't it be great to take all the Jihadists and Crusaders and lock them in a soundproof room? Perhaps I'd better specify a bulletproof room. Give them plenty of weapons, and tell them that whichever side has a person standing at the end gets to Rule! The! World!

Then seal the room up and bury it in a landfill.

Earl 933: It's not so much that we misinterpreted your post as that you made the post in a context that implied things you did not intend. I was not alone in my reading of it; in fact, my reading of it was quite reasonable. It was just an error, but the error was yours.

#937 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:10 PM:

I guess I'll just have to post here for a few more years before I build up a recognizable body of context for the things I say.

#938 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Earl @ 933

'Making any sort of comment at all here is much, much riskier than just about anywhere else I can think of, because so many people have lumbering chips on their shoulders and are ready at a moment's notice to lash out with misinterpretations of what was said. On the other hand, the risks are usually worth it, due to the otherwise high quality of discourse here.'

To can identify with how you feel, but not with your conclusions. I said something, a few things actually, on another thread which were misinterpreted and folks 'lashed out'. My first reaction was 'WTF?' However, instead I paused to consider why people reacted they way they did. I had obviously pushed a button with some people and I felt a need to set that right. What ensued, though a times stressful, was a series of important discussions. I have been enriched by the whole experience.

So please, consider this at least, it better than someone 'lash out' at you than it is for them to look at what you wrote and think, 'what an a-hole' and dismiss you altogether. A negative response is still a response, you are now involved in communication. That's a good thing, and a damn sight better than a rant.

That being said, I'm asking for some sensitivity when you talk about Christian culture and make such broad negative statements. It's better to say 'some Christians are dicks', than 'Christians are dicks' or even 'Christian Fundamentalists are dicks'. That looks, feels, and tastes like prejudice and hate, and it doesn't matter what your evidence is, or what your intentions are, that is not justified. (Plus, you know, it hurts my feelings. And why would you want to do that?)

#939 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:14 PM:

JC @#928: my favorite example, from my beginning Mandarin textbook: "You speak Chinese very well. Did you learn it in America?" (understood by all of us at the time to mean something like, "Is that CHINESE you think you're speaking? Who the hell taught you THAT?")

#940 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Friday the 13th: Got fired, and that wasn't the first time today that I cried.

Go, me.

#941 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:35 PM:

ethan @ 940

Ouch.
Good luck.

#942 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Earl 937: Not at all! People who've been posting here for years still make boneheaded posts every now and then. And yes, I include myself. We say "Oh, I didn't mean to imply that...sorry, everyone." We try to use our language skills to convey contrition.

You, instead, used yours to imply that we who were offended by your post are childish and ill-tempered, in 913, then to baldly state that gee, you sure have to be careful around here because everybody's got such a chip on their shoulder.

I'm not holding any strong resentment toward you over this, but I do want you to understand what happened here. Your recent posts depict a misunderstanding that will lead to the wrong response. You don't need to walk on eggshells; you don't need to expect everyone to lash out at a moment's notice (you stop just short of claiming that our "misinterpretations" are willful; I hope you don't think so).

What I would ask you to do is consider the context of the thread. Anyone would have gotten the same response to that post. It has nothing to do with you or what else you've said. Go back and read the comment that got us all riled. It really does imply that the problem was the Xianists' approach, rather than the fact that they were doing something outrageously wrong and unAmerican. "Perhaps their protest would have been better received..." doesn't exactly spell "OK, they're nutbars, but this reminds me of something I read."

As I said, I'm not carrying any strong resentment to you over this. I do wish you'd stop sneering, though. It's really very unpleasant, and beneath you.

#943 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 05:43 PM:

ethan 940: I'm sorry to hear that. Good thoughts go with you.

#944 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 06:29 PM:

Oh, hell, ethan. I'm sorry.

#945 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 06:35 PM:

Ah, Ethan, I'm sorry. Do you still have a place to live, food, medical insurance, wheels, enough money to pay the mortgage/rent... the important stuff? If not, is there some way we can help?

#946 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Wow, Ethan, I am so sorry. Losing a job is painful, that it's not the other thing that has hurt you today...well, I feel for you.

#947 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 07:15 PM:

ethan (940): I'm sorry to hear that. Do you want to talk about it?

#948 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 08:01 PM:

ethan, how awful. ::hug::

Would you like me to help kick some ass? I'm in the mood to engage in ass kicking.

#949 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 09:04 PM:

Ethan,

When I sent that email I hadn't seen that it was a double whammy day for you. Ouch. And they're likely additive, not distractive, to each other.

What can we do to help?*

-------
* I'm not so good on the ass kicking, if that's what you ought to be thinking of, but I do have recipes for introspective melancholy stews (and how not to overcook them), for example

#950 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Cosmic Dog, #911, Good going!

ethan, #940, Oh no! Good luck getting a new job!

#951 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 09:31 PM:

"And 57 academics just punched the air." Damn I love Dr. Who!

#952 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 10:28 PM:

[Using open thread] Back in May on the "If the Terrorists Didn’t Exist…" thread there was a brief discussion about a certain incident in Perth (WA) back in 1993 (see page 20 of this PDF: "Armoured personnel carrier rampaging Perth streets"). Triggered by a poem by Dave Luckett at Comment # 100, it continued at 144, 146, 166, 177, and 183 (probably some others I missed).

So Sydneysiders (NSW) wake up this bright cold Saturday morning to APC rampage leaves trail of destruction (also called 'Tank versus towers'), followed by Police question rampaging tank driver. Telstra is putting up emergency replacement mobile phone towers, and one of the charges they've laid against the chap is apparently "predatory driving". The most recent news described the vehicle as "a restored army tank". So far no-one's called him a terrorist, nor even suspected or related to one, but language geeks will note that most written stories have used some variation of the word 'rampage'.

[BTW, People following the use of 'anti-terrorism laws' might be interested in our current story, now that the David Hicks one has been cooled down (nothing to do with the coming Federal election, of course).]

#953 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 11:07 PM:

Earl @#937: In an open thread, you can talk about anything you want - if you'd said "speaking of Hindus, check out this article about reprehensible treatment of widows" people would most likely have engaged in a discussion (probably heated) of Hinduism, widowhood, etc. Instead you suggested some kind of logical connection between people harrassing a chaplain (thereby attacking the establishment clause), which many of us find extremely upsetting, and the issue you wanted to talk about, which presumably you find extremely upsetting.

It made a big splash in the thread, bigger than just offering up the article as an unrelated aside, but it put the focus on the quality of the comparison, instead of the actual issue that interests you.

Do I have a chip on my shoulder about logic? Indeed I do.

#954 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 11:11 PM:

Susan@829: I don't think the committee is consciously holding itself apart from fandom (although there was a fascinating claim by Eric Van that the convention grew out of punk rock fandom). Aside from the member who was N4's webmistress, most of them just aren't \active/ in other branches of fandom -- as, say, many fantasy costumers have either drifted out of other involvement or never were involved. (ducks hastily.) The excessive and loudly-voiced hostility from some of the noisiest members of NESFA has not helped make the connections of common interest that ought to be made; there's a delicious irony in the fact that they went in one direction from the monster Boskones and Arisia went in the ~opposite direction, but they're using Arisia's credit-card processing.
Note also that volunteers can come either from other volunteer pools, or from the (IME much larger) pool of the uninvolved; it's anyone's guess which will yield more recruits.

#886: "The mad dogs have kneed us in the groin" (Ellison, early 1950's) certainly suggests \he/ believed in a collective groin, leaving aside the problems with having only one. (Xopher: a collective groin is probably not possible for bipeds.)

#955 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Mary Dell, #910: Christian evangelicals, shouting out in the senate house for the RIGHTS OF WOMEN? What are you smoking?

No shit. That's too damn true to be funny. :-(

Earl, #913: FWIW, I read your post which started all the ruckus as being very heavily laced with sarcasm, with a side of "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." But I can also see how the people who twitched got their reading out of it.

Cosmic Dog, #916: I trust that you are not trying to say that there are no Xtian terrorists in America, because it is painfully obvious that there are. That said, I do agree with you that it was an overstatement to describe these three particular loons as terrorists.

And at #924: I believe that this would be why the specific phrase "Christian evangelicals" was used, to separate the extremist movement from Christianity as a whole. Other terms you may encounter which are frequently used for this purpose in anti-theocratic circles are "Christianists", "Christofascists", and "Dominionists". Yes, it's jargon, but it's there for the purpose of reminding us that not all Christians support these people... even though sometimes it feels that way, because not enough Christians are actively repudiating them.

John, #929: *shudder*

Xopher, #936: Hear, hear!

Except that then I think about the adage which runs something along the lines of, "If all racial, class, and religious conflicts were eradicated from humanity tomorrow morning, we'd have invented new things to hate each other about by noon."


#956 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2007, 11:43 PM:

Thanks, everyone. I'll deal. Things kind of suck right now, but they won't always.

Thanks again. Y'all are great.

As for ass-kicking, I'm pretty sure none is merited, but I'm going to consider the offer open.

#957 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 12:39 AM:

Lee @ 954

I think you correctly grasped my point in #916. The bombing of abortion clinics is a clear example of terrorists acting in Jesus' name. These three were being assholes, which is wrong in a wholey different way.

(To clarify a point, these people did not violate the establishment clause, only the State can do that. However, it is clear that they don't recognize the establishment clause, which, again, is wrong in a different way.)

As for #924, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm sensitive to the usage of those terms. I consider myself an Evangelical, in that I share my faith openly with others. I consider myself a Fundamentalist in that I value a plain understanding of Biblical teachings, apart from many of the doctrines imposed by man. Values that I hold dear have been twisted, and well...I get frustrated and angry when words like that are used to label or justify actions that I find reprehensible. It also reminds me of a certain guilt I feel when the name that I use for peace is used for hate and destruction. By invoking the name of Christ, they are involving me in evil, because I too am called by his name.

So you see why I might react emotionally sometimes. I'll try to stay circumspect. As I have asked before, please be patient with me. I'll do my best not to try that patience to the breaking point.

#958 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 12:48 AM:

Easy, fast dessert with strawberries? High summer in the Netherlands, no?

Answer: Strawberries in the Snow!

1-2 cups strawberry segments
Extra choice whole strawberries for garnish
4 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/3 pint whipping cream
Kirsch

Cut the strawberries up and macerate them in a little kirsch. Beat the egg white until soft peaks form, add sugar, beat to incorporate. Whip the cream and blend quickly together. Swirl in the fruit. Pile the concoction on to a chilled flat dessert plate and decorate with the whole strawberries. Serve with a spoon, offering sweet wafers.

#959 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 02:27 AM:

Kudos to the comment on logic vs chips on shoulders.

As Xopher says, no hostility, though "viewing with concern" probably applies.

And as has been said, if I misinterpreted your words, I do apologize.

And to all and sundry, as the one who (I believe) made the original reference to the twit trio as "Christian terrorists," [back in # 912] let me apologize, and make a side point.

While the comment was intended primarily as hyperbole, it was also to point out what they were doing, in literal truth:

Don't let the current state of the union/globe re-define terrorism as "blowing things up." Terrorism is performing acts intended to scare, intimidate, or terrify in order to produce change.

So why protest on the floor as opposed to outside? Somone made a comment earlier on the thread that the Hindu speaker looked nervous as the ruckus started. And if part of their goal is to scare potential non-Christian speakers so they won't dare come speak, or to intimidate Congress into not inviting any more so as to avoid another scene, then by a literal interpretation what these three did was a terrorist action, albeit of a less serious scope than our current norm.

Or that's my interpretation, anyway, FWIW.

#960 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 02:28 AM:

Dave @958: Strawberries!!!

Thank you for the strawberry break you provided to the thread, it kind of needed it. heh.

At first I thought that "a little kirsch" was some kind of diminutive container, specifically designed for the task of macerating strawberries, somewhat akin to a mortar and pestle, but then I learned on teh intartubes that "kirsch" was another name for "kirschwasser".

#961 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 06:55 AM:

ethan @940

I'm so sorry to hear it. I hope you can pick yourself up and find something better very quickly.

#962 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 06:59 AM:

Thanks for the pointers to recipes. I'll report on what we choose & how it comes out in a wee while.

#963 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 08:12 AM:

Lee, 955: If I repudiated the America-hating Christians as often as you think I should, I'd have no friends left, nor no job neither. And when people say things like "Ah, Texas. I see, oh yes," I just give up in disgust. I'm so very tired of fighting the people I'm supposed to be friends with.

CosmicDog, 957: I can't ask the Fundamentalists I work with about this because, well, I work with them. So I'm very glad you're here. What do you consider "the many doctrines imposed by man"? Do you read Augustine and the other church fathers, or do you read the Bible with only the Holy Ghost for company? How do you pick a translation? And so forth.

#964 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Lee 955: What do you call 100,000 bigots at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

You just have to keep doing it!

#965 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 09:28 AM:

TexAnne, I am a Christian from Georgia (not of the evangelical stripe, but many friends and co-workers are). I often have to, as my mother's best friend put it "bite my tongue and swallow blood".

#966 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 09:57 AM:

Though nearing 1000 on an Open Thread isn't the best place to enter a discussion, the mention of feminism in early Christianity somewhere above reminds me of a book I just finished reading: Portrait of a Priestess by Joan Breton Connelly. It doesn't give much sense of any holiness involved, sometimes making Greek religion sound more like a combo of society matrons' charity associations and rank superstition, but that's just because it's written for specialists who already know a hell of a lot more than I do. Does anyone here have pointers to a book that goes deeper into the cults? I'm particularly interested in worship of the Muses. (And if this thread is too long for cross-communications, you can contact me directly.)

#967 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Earl 960: No, no, kirsch is a verb. You juice an orange, but you kirsch cherries. I learned this on Posh Nosh.

#968 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 10:59 AM:

There is plenty of visionary, religious, and millenarian art out there -- I was lucky enough to get to an exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum a few years ago. My favorite, in terms of sheer detail and geekish systematization of thought, was Paul Laffoley. ("Is," I should say. Contemporary dude.)

http://www.dilettantepress.com/Artisthtdocs/Paul_Laffoley.html

http://www.laffoleyarchive.com/laffoleys_paintings/laffoley_art_index_3.html

http://www.laffoleyarchive.com/laffoleys_paintings/black_white_hole_laffoley.html

...just for samples.

#969 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 11:24 AM:

CosmicDog at 938: may I suggest you relax a bit regarding negative statements about Christians. You are not the only Christian posting here, first of all. You have self-identified as a Fundamentalist, which may or may not be a problem if we should start discussing Darwin or Biblical literacy, but at the moment seems not to be an issue. The multiple ways in which we Christians have used the doctrines of our faith to humiliate, torment and kill are a matter of public record and cannot be denied. My own feeling is, it's vital and good for us to be reminded of our miserable history, because whenever we look away from it, we do it again. More -- those folks who right now are torturing and killing in Jesus' name are our brothers and sisters, and we are responsible for what they do. Much as we would like to, we don't get to escape our responsibility by pointing away from ourselves and chanting "Bad Christians." We claim to be the People of God, the Body of Christ. We need to look clearly at who we are, what we have done, and what we continue to do. And yeah -- it hurts.

#970 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 11:49 AM:

TexAnne #963

In my humble opinion, all issues that are a dividing point amongst groups of Christians, including Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant believers, and it's various denominations, are because of doctrines imposed by man. Some doctrines are false, others are trivial. Unfortunately, I'm not scholarly enough to give names to these doctrines, neither do I want to call anybody out. There is room for disagreement on Biblical doctrine because the Bible doesn't specifically address every circumstance in life, and because of its age and cultural leanings. However, much of it is clear, and that it's those parts that I call Fundamental. Everything for which there is a reasonable dispute should be held with a light grip. Holding to a belief that is opposed to Fundamental Biblical understanding results in a Christian Cult. Holding to a belief outside of Fundamental Biblical understanding and calling it a doctrine results in a sect or denomination.

I dare say that many Fundamentalists would not call me a Fundamentalist because of my inclusive views of Christian thought and practice. To each his own.

I do read some of the early Christian fathers and other Christian writers like C.S. Lewis, because I find it helpful to sort through the noise and the static of both secular and Christian culture. I hold them lightly, however, and rely mostly on my sense of reason and the spirit of God to sort out the truth.

As to the different translations of the Bible, I believe that if it is indeed a translation and not a paraphrase, the Fundamentals of original scripture will be evident. In that case, I just pick the one that is easier to read. I like both the NIV and the New King James versions.

If you would like to talk about this more detail, feel free to e-mail me.

#971 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Lizzy @ 969

You're right and I am sorry. I didn't mean to be presumtious. Like I said, it's my issue. I agree with everything you just said.

I hereby, officially, relax. Say what you will, I will not take it personally (or at least I won't tell you if I do. A reasonable compromise, c'est non?)

#972 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Ooo, icky Xians! Icky, Icky! Ptanggg!

Just getting that out of the way. Now we can go back to being rational and tolerant.

#973 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 01:13 PM:

"Ptanggg"? Isn't that a Klingon insult?

#974 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 01:44 PM:

CosmicDogma is inclusive of both Klingons and Knights Who 'Til Recently Said Ni.

#975 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 01:44 PM:

CosmicDogma is inclusive of both Klingons and Knights Who 'Til Recently Said Ni.

#976 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 02:35 PM:

CosmicDog, 975: That's enough for me to go on with. I'm an Episcopalian, so all this Evangelical/Fundamentalist stuff is wholly alien to me. Thanks for the explanation!

And now for something completely different--I'm going to try my hand at gardening, even though I'm an apartment-dweller! My new neighbor has been planting stuff around her patio fence, and she took me shopping today. I bought an antique rose, a "Caldwell Pink" whose name is going to be Lady Bird. Also basil, mint, sage, black-and-blue, and purslane (scarlet and yellow). I'm so excited!

#977 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 04:05 PM:

"Recent Comments" on the front page appears to have frozen at Lila's post #965 on this thread -- on my computer, at least. Anyone else seeing this?

#978 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Is anybody else having trouble getting the "Recent Comments" on the main page *and* the "Last 1000 Comments" to refresh/update? I've tried the usual ctl-refresh, shift-refresh combinations, and nada.

Firefox 2.0.0.4, Windows XP.

#979 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Oooh, Lizzy, posts that cross in the fluorosphere! So it's not just me. Sounds like something's broken backstage, and we're only up to the 970s.

#980 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Yeah, it's stuck.

Also, the water is off in Hoboken, which has completely ruined my plans for the day (washing, pitting, and boiling down a large supply of sour cherries).

#981 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 04:13 PM:

TNH et. al.,

Lizzy @977,

Yes- and [tests] the "View All By" seems frozen too. A post I just made to the Salwar thread is there, but not on the front page and not on my "View All By"

If it's a database problem, perhaps we-the-fluorosphere should post lightly for a few hours until our hosts can debug this?

#982 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 05:21 PM:

TexAnne, the Black and Blue has me wondering where I can get it and how I could possibly fit another sage into my garden... also wanted to say that my FIL was an Episcopal priest who had churches in Marlin, Hillsboro, and Garland before he was called to California in the late 'sixties. (He retired to the family home in Waco, where he died nine and a half years ago).

Also, I report the same phenomenon with the comments archive, on a Mac and Safari, so it's not a browser problem.

#983 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Pedantic Peasant, #959: Good point. When (for example) people are afraid to display a bumper sticker disagreeing with neocon doctrine on their cars, either because they may lose their job if their boss sees it or because they know their car (and perhaps their home) will be vandalized if they do, that is religious terrorism in action. It's just not as spectacular as the kind with bombs.

TexAnne, #963, and Lila, #965: Yeah, I know -- and that's another illustration of the quieter kind of terrorism I mentioned above. And I didn't mean ordinary people like you and CosmicDog so much as I meant Christian leaders, too many of whom seem content to go "tut-tut, oh dear" instead of issuing strong counter-statements.* This leaves the nutcases with a believable argument that they do indeed speak for all of Christianity.

CosmicDog, #970: IYDMMA, are you a Biblical literalist -- i.e. do you believe in the literal inerrancy of every word in the Bible as a matter of doctrine? My reason for asking is that if you are, there are certain discussions which will not be worthwhile to enter into with you, and I'd like to know before I start.

* And then of course there's the Pope, who just effectively sided with the nutcases -- not that they accept him as a Christian any more than he accepts them!

#984 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 06:03 PM:

John A Arkansawyer at #847:

The local Kansas City group had nothing to do with the organization of the Heinlein Centennial, we just did the grunt work (I was the guy helping at registration or sitting at the KC in '09 bid table [no, not the young, good-looking one; the one wearing paisley, oddly enough]). A number of people commented less than positively on the California line-marriage people during and after the fact (one of my wives, the lovely Paula Helm Murray, was on one of the poly-related panels there and was definitely skeeved out by them).

As for the Marketplace, the rules were devised by the the organizers, not the people actually running the room.

Overall, everyone who has commented on the Centennial has had good things to say. The organizers seemed very conflicted between their desire to have a huge turnout (originally, they were talking 2000+) with keeping the qvegl shpxvat uvccvrf, I mean, fans, out. Except to do the behind-the-scenes stuff. Despite the almost complete lack of publicity in advance (Locus didn't know about it until the week before), there were probably 600 or more people there, and they all seemed to be enjoying the experience. With a bit more effort on their part, 1000 attendees could have been achieved.

And I saw the guy you mentioned in comment #929, and had much the same reaction. On Saturday he had something equally fatuous on that I have mercifully forgotten. I was glad he didn't come to our table to pre-support the bid, as I would have been conflicted over whether I wanted to take his money. At least briefly.

#985 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 06:50 PM:

Lee @ 983

No, not exactly. Even Jesus spoke in parables, which leads me to believe that the intent of God's word is to provide instruction for living and a context for understanding God, the world, and one's self. To me, it's about values and principles, not necessarily about historical or scientific facts. This is a doctrine of sorts, that I hold lightly. It's how I understand the world, but I would not presume to try make anyone else see it this way and I wouldn't argue with anyone that sees it differently.

'All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness'

I hope that makes my position clear. Feel free to engage me on any topic. If it's a debate, I like to argue but I hate to fight. I like to strip away all the 'crap' around a discussion or contention and get to the heart of the matter. Most often my goal in discussions is understanding, not necessarily agreement.

#986 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 09:39 PM:

CosmicDog 995: That strikes me as a remarkably intelligent attitude toward Scripture.

#987 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Xopher :@#980

(washing, pitting, and boiling down a large supply of sour cherries)

But not kirsching them? Puritan.

#988 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Mary 987: No, I plan to disappoint them instead.

#989 ::: Bruce Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 01:23 AM:

ethan @ 940

I'm really sorry to hear about your employer's loss. I do hope you find a better one soon, one who will appreciate you better.

#990 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 01:23 AM:

CosmicDog (#985): Most often my goal in discussions is understanding, not necessarily agreement.

Echoing Xopher's #986, that strikes me as a remarkably intelligent attitude towards, well, everything. One of the things I enjoy most about Making Light is having intelligent people disagree with me. Sometimes that means I change my mind (after all, it's one way to be sure I still have one); if not, at least I examine my views.

In this case, I understand (yet disagree with) your concept of the source of various scriptures, while both understanding and agreeing with your philosophy on their uses.

#991 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 08:42 AM:

Does anybody know if Connie Willis is visiting New Mexico right now? If she is, then it might indeed be a Willis sighting I experienced when we drove to Taos yesterday. (Couldn't be weirder than in 2005, the day before Seattle's NASFiC... My wife was shopping in a little boutique and, after neing asked by the salesperson what she did for a living, which is to write F/SF, was told that just one hour before another such writer had been there. Some person called Anne McCaffrey. Who, it turned out, didn't attend NASFiC.)

#992 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Yes, we're broken, and we don't know how to fix it.

We can't post to the front page, and the list of recent comments--both on the front page, and on the separate "last 1000 comments" page--doesn't update.

Attempts to "rebuild" from the regular MT interface get this error message:

Can't call method "site_path" on an undefined value at lib/MT/Template.pm line 177.
"lib/MT/Template.pm" is a real file, one of zillions that make up our MT installation. Line 177 reads:
$lfile = File::Spec->catfile($blog->site_path, $lfile);
I'm in Seattle, about to start teaching Clarion West; Teresa is in the throes of getting ready for something she can't announce until tomorrow. Obviously we need a Movable Type maven to poke around inside our installation. I'm going to make some inquiries, but I thought I'd post what I know here, just in case someone passing by has a clue what to do.

#993 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 09:24 AM:

To be clear: Making Light is broken. We can't add anything to the front page. We're getting an error message we don't understand. It's either a database problem, a Movable Type problem, or something changed without our knowledge at our hosting provider's end.

The Movable Type file referenced in the error message, "lib/MT/Template.pm", has not been changed since September 30, 2006.

Anyone who wants to pass this information along, or refer to it on other sites, please feel free to do so.

#994 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 09:57 AM:

Interestingly enough, it appears I can post new Sidelights, and they appear on the front page. Which suggests that whatever's gone wonky, it's particular to Making Light, not general to the overall database.

(Sidelights and Particles are maintained as separate blogs within the nielsenhayden.com Movable Type installation; their content is pulled into Making Light's sidebar via simple include statements in the Making Light index template.)

#995 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Anyone who wants to pop over to my place while Patrick and Teresa's living room is under tarps and scaffold, be welcome.

I've even made a special open thread.

#996 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Attempts to edit/delete comment spam give me the same error message.

#997 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 02:18 PM:

I know absolutely nothing about this, but animal cunning suggests to me that the variable "site_path" might not be correctly defined or there might be a permissions problem. Is there a "config.pm" file that contains the definition of "site_path," and has it changed recently?

Is it possible to temporarily rename "config.pm" and/or other "pm" files through FTP and re-upload known good copies from a recent backup (remembering that you might need to run chown and chmod afterwards to reset appropriate permissions on replacement files)?

If the foregoing doesn't look pertinent in the context of Moveable Type, then just ignore it. I just did what I usually do when I don't understand a computer problem and ran a plausible Google search.

In broader context, this sounds like the same thing that just happened to John Scalzi.

#998 ::: Dave Young ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 02:58 PM:

I'm just guessing, too, but it looks like this might be happening:

*MT needs to load a template that's linked to a file.
*So it loads the blog that the template's attached to and accesses the blog's site_path (to find the directory the template's file will be in).
*But it can't load the blog in question, so it quits.

#999 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Can't actually help much, but I can at least interpret the runes --- what MT is complaining about is that the variable '$blog' has no defined value at that point in the perl code. The code itself almost certainly has not changed; the reason it can't find a value for the variable is almost certainly due to changes elsewhere, perhaps because a configuration file has changed (or had its file permissions reset).

Finding where '$blog' is supposed to be assigned a value earlier in the same function might help pinpoint what's going on --- but it might not; a

my (..., $blog, ...) = @_;

is regrettably less than helpful...

#1000 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 03:14 PM:

I read this as meaning that one of the values in this line is not defined: $lfile = File::Spec->catfile($blog->site_path, $lfile);

I've been chasing aro