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July 14, 2007

Open Thread 88
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:36 PM *

Happy Bastille Day!


I love this series of messages: 97, Susan; 103, Ajay; 105, Jakob; 110, Nerdycellist; 123, Ethan; 124, Ajay; and 132, Susan.


Comments on Open Thread 88:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Ye sons of France, awake to glory;
Hark! hark! what myriads bid you rise!
Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary,
Behold their tears, and hear their cries!
Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding,
With hireling hosts, a ruffian band,
Affright and desolate the land,
While Peace and Liberty lie bleeding?
To arms, to arms, ye brave,
Th'avenging sword unsheath;
March on, march on, all hearts resolv'd
On victory or death.

Now, now, the dang'rous storm is rolling
Which treach'rous kings, confederate, raise;
The dogs of war, let loose, are howling,
And, lo! our fields and cities blaze;
And shall we basely view the ruin,
While lawless force, with guilty stride,
Spreads desolation far and wide,
With crimes and blood his hands embruing?
To arms, ye brave, etc.

With luxury and pride surrounded,
The vile insatiate despots dare,
Their thirst of power and gold unbounded,
To mete and vend the light and air.
Like beasts of burden would they load us,
Like gods, would bid their slaves adore;
But man is man, and who is more?
Then shall they longer lash and goad us?
To arms, ye brave, etc.

O Liberty! can man resign thee,
Once having felt thy gen'rous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts, and bars confine thee,
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Too long the world has wept, bewailing
That falsehood's dagger tyrants wield;
But freedom is our sword and shield,
And all their arts are unavailing.
To arms, ye brave, etc.

-- Claude Joseph Rouget de l'Isle
Translated by Percy and Mary Shelley

#2 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 08:44 PM:

Lessons taught but never learned
All around us anger burns
Guide the future by the past
Long ago the mould was cast

For they marched up to Bastille Day
La guillotine claimed her bloody prize
Hear the echoes of the centuries
Power isn't all that money buys

(from Bastille Day by Rush)

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Everyone should learn the words to the Marseillaise in French, so that if circumstances call for it, they can help perform the F2F equivalent of disemvowelling. There's a good demonstration of the technique in Casablanca.

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 08:59 PM:

We've got new generals our leaders are new
They sit and they argue and all that they do
Is sell their own colleagues and ride upon their backs
And jail them and break them and give them all the ax
Screaming in language that no one understands
Of the rights that we grabbed with our own bleeding hands
When we wiped out the bosses and stormed through the wall
Of the prison they told us would outlast us all

Marat we're poor
And the poor stay poor
Marat don't make
Us wait anymore
We want our rights and we don't care how
We want our revolution -- NOW!"

#5 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 09:16 PM:

following in OT#87 to avoid the dread 1000-post bug:

Lee@955: My favorite, learned here, is Chino ("Christian in Name Only"). That's probably too obscure for mundane use; it's also prejudicial, but IMO the defining characteristic of all those groups is an un-Christ-ian intolerance.

Greg (from abi's substitute thread): Newsweek panned Phoenix, and the local reviewer was approving but not in raptures. A friend summarized it as leaving out (most of) one of the two plots; to me this was particularly grievous as they had time for a lot of cameos (instead of either making them real threads or dropping them) \and/ exaggerations or outright additions to what was in the book (which at ~350K words didn't need any additions, IMO).

#6 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 09:34 PM:

James Macdonald @ #4, the best version I've ever heard of that is sung by Judy Collins on the 1966 album In My Life.

#7 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Open thread thanks to Tom Whitmore for spending time with a couple of AWers Saturday at his store. We had a great time and I look forward to going back and browsing some more.

#8 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 10:00 PM:

When I saw Jim had added this thread and the Trauma thread right before I went to bed last night, they were in the opposite order. Why the change?

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 10:01 PM:

When love and law together take up rule
we'll wonder why we let the hostiles in,
we'll wonder why we thought love sin
and hold the one who does so a damned fool.
Let each of us, with patience like a mule,
take up the task to let clean sunlight in,
make honest pleasure come in for the win
and send the foolish master back to school.
All of our joys seem better in the sun
when cooling rain has dissipated heat
and swallows soar in the brightening sky.
We know then that before the day is done
we will with some most happy duty meet,
and know the world will thank us by and by.

#10 ::: JD ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 10:24 PM:

i remember when the stars fell from the sky
i, the knight of the second chance
breathing in the forms floating in the darkness
i walk the precipice of a dream
about to plunge into the deeper unknown
it all vanishes, to awaken to the emptiness
the still clear void beyond reason
the end was like the beginning
a wondering about things that were not
a breath of life inhaled as the moment balanced
upon a single sliver of destiny, like yes
within an infinite nothing, blank, like no
the superposition of all things, about to collapse
to fall upon either the every, or the not
it wasn’t rigged: the coin fell where it might
just as He said it would: “Let there be light.”

#11 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Something fun to try at your next family barbecue:

When playing Monkey in the Middle with a mix of children and adults, the adults must behave like zombies. Slow, stiff-limbed, not too bright (vocalization optional)--this way the little folk have a chance at getting the ball (on the bounce, at least), and the adults get to be extravagantly silly.

It's called "Zombie in the Middle," of course.

#12 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 01:49 AM:

One of the YouTube excerpts from Casablanca is the Wacht am Rhein/Marseillaise scene. One of the YoiuTube commenters claims to have done it for real, at a truckstop in Normandy, with a bunch of apparently-German truckers in the role of the bad guys.

It's a different version to the one linked to upthread, starting a few seconds earlier.

It's said that one reason for the effect of the scene is that a lot of the extras were refugees from Europe. But look at the dialogue--there's hardly any, and so much is carried by the expressions of the lead characters. As long as you realise there is a difference between French and German, you don't need to understand a word you hear. You have a group of people in one tyope of uniform singing a song, you see the faces of the rest of the people in the bar, both civilians and in different uniforms--why do you think there are people in French uniform still wearing their Kepi--and it all builds from there.

It's not a silent movie, but it has the portability of being wordless.

#13 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 02:03 AM:

The French People back then had three advantages over us in America today -- they knew the names of the prisons, the number of them, and where they were.

#14 ::: Samantha Joy ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 02:47 AM:

So, I understand that many, many people are sick of political wrangling and sniping.

But, srsly, President Bush announces that, yes, someone in his administration leaked the name of an undercover CIA operative in order to punish her family, and tells us all just to get over it and move on and it passes with no comment whatsoever from y'all?

#15 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:00 AM:

Vive la France! Vive la revolution!

#16 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:05 AM:

Samantha, I'm rather glad that we don't notice these things in this place.

Some of the old fannish net-haunts have been killed off by politics. There's more apparent awareness of SF in than there is in rec.arts.sf.fandom (If you've ever had to deal with DEFRA, you'll know what Speculative Fiction is).

#17 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:10 AM:

Samantha Joy @14,

If I (or other folks here) have a question about your comment, are you going to be back to answer it?

For example, if you were going to be back, I'd first want to ask you which threads you'd read to test your theory.

#18 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 07:31 AM:

#14: I remember an awful lot of discussion here about the administration disclosing classified information. Perhaps one of us is from an alternate history? (Just got up to the June 2007 Asimov's. Interesting story from Harry Turtledove where the premise is "What if FDR had provoked WWII?")

I don't know if anyone has posted a specific reaction to the administration's confession and its view that with Libby's "punishment" has handled matters. (The posting gets fast and furious some times and I don't always keep up.) However, I do know that chastising people for not reacting is not the best way to introduce a topic to an open thread. I guess it works, but it's liable to make people think less of you, whether you want them to or not (cf. #17).

As for the administration reaction, I'm unsurprised that it doesn't make any sense. Libby wasn't convicted for the leak. He was convicted for lying about the leak to the grand jury. So the matter is no where near settled. Say that there were a governmental process which regularly disclosed classified information as an unintentional side effect. Wouldn't you want an investigation to to find and repair the process? Now imagine if disclosing classified information was the intention. Isn't finding the leak's source even more important?

I'm also not surprised because it's exactly the same reaction Republicans, in general, had to the 2000 election. It pretty much boiled down to "This may not have been the fairest election, but what's past is past. Let's just move on." (This is not to say that Republicans in general have this reaction to the White House leaking classified information. This is just to say that we've seen Bush reaction similarly in similar situations.)

So, Samantha, the answer to your question might be: Well, it'd be like reaction to the notion that, yes, the sky is chartreuse. But it's been chartreuse for the past 2442 days. At some point, it ceases to be unusual. One might also think that not only is the sky chartreuse, but it has always been chartreuse. It says so in all the science books.

As for my opinion on Bush and shenanigans, if the ending of Harry Turtledove's story suits FDR, then it certainly suits Bush.

#19 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 07:57 AM:

Samantha Joy @17
There is not* an editorial board among the commentors on Making Light that determines which stories deserve discussion, to ensure that everything is covered, or that balance is maintained, or that this site represents a fair picture of the political landscape.

Even among the admins, what gets posted is dependent on where the roving spotlight of transitory attention comes to rest for long enough to start a thread. Of late, that spotlight has been on matters outwith the site, and rarely on politics. They, too, have lives.

My suggestion would be that you take advantage of the openness of the thread to post something on the subject. Maybe you can start a discussion going. Then this aching gap will be filled.

Shorter me: the soapboxes here don't always come pre-populated.

* that I am aware of. This is not to say that there isn't one, but Ockham is stropping his razor.

#20 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 08:08 AM:

Samantha Joy @#14:

You forgot to say "You people..."

#22 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 09:40 AM:

Samantha @ 14

Your statement is not exactly accurate. The President said that he was aware that "perhaps" someone from his admisitration leaked the name of a CIA operative. He didn't admit knowledge or that is was a vindictive act. He just simply said that Treason against the United States of America is beneath his notice. We kind of already knew that.

#23 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 10:37 AM:

I'm reminded of that time when I went to school in the US for a couple of weeks.
Culture shock: there was a feeling of malaise among us French students when we realised the school had the Star-Spangled Banner sang every morning. A feeling which was only mirrored when, trying to be courteous on the first day, they decided to put the Marseillaise on for us to sing, which was answered with impassive silence, most of us not even standing (I think I remember one did, not really knowing how to react politely).
Never could get the American student sitting next to me to understand that it was because we loved our country we weren't singing.

So, yeah, thank you, Bastille day was happy. As far as I could see people did what you ought to do on such a day: strolling, shopping and invading restaurants, overall having a good time.

My favourite version of the Marseillaise must still be Serge Gainsbourg's, if not only because it keeps ironically closer to the original manuscript.

#24 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Since this is an open thread I thought I might throw out a random costuming question (or two).
I am not an historian but I am curious, so please excuse the silliness of the queries:

1) While watching a whole bunch of Sharpe episodes over the weekend, I noted that many of French the soldiers are wearing what appears to be a flour sack over their hats. Is this a cheap costuming thing* or is it somewhat accurate. Also, if it was accurate, why did they wear flour sacks on their hats?

2) In the Elizabethan era, the fashionable gentleman wore his cape jauntily draped over one shoulder and fastened under the armpit. Was there a reason for this too? I can see the peascod belly mimicing the shape of armor, but I'm not sure where the diagonal-armpit-cape comes from.

* Well, bad cheap costuming - "We've run out of budget for our French soldiers; here, throw these flour sacks over some extra top hats; no one will ever know!"

#25 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Samantha Joy @#14:

We might, fannishly, quibble about inaccuracies in your statement (as per CosmicDog) but I think most of us -- even the most grumpy, like me -- prefer to reserve our political ire for blogs & threads that are specific forums for that. (My own attention, at the moment, is directed mostly towards the recent bill, which passed the Senate with no dissenting vote, that accepts as fact the idea that Iran is guilty of acts of war against the U.S., and authorizes Mr. Bush to take certain steps, without furnishing much of a leash or toddler-harness to prevent him from taking the additional and probably-disastrous ones that he almost certainly plans on.)

#26 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Switching topics to other vaguely French-like things: Has anyone else here seen Ratatouille? I had heard, going into the movie, that this was the best film yet out of Pixar.

I don't know that I necessarily agree with that, but it's certainly a justifiable statement. The animation is amazing, and the story-line is fantastic.

Complaints: It occasionally felt as though the story were a bit rushed, and I personally felt that the could have done more with the whole synaesthesia aspect of things.

#27 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Switching topics to other vaguely French-like things: Has anyone else here seen Ratatouille? I had heard, going into the movie, that this was the best film yet out of Pixar.

I don't know that I necessarily agree with that, but it's certainly a justifiable statement. The animation is amazing, and the story-line is fantastic.

Complaints: It occasionally felt as though the story were a bit rushed, and I personally felt that they could have done more with the whole synaesthesia aspect of things.

#28 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Sorry for the double post (that's what I get for hitting the STOP button because I've seen a typo).

#29 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Malthus: I saw, and loved, "Ratatouille". I had to go straight from the movie theater to the grocery store and then home to cook ratatouille.
Neither "Big Night" nor "Tampopo" succeeded in making me that hungry. I haven't seen "Babette's Feast", so I can't include it in my comparison.

I agree with you re visual beauty. Before this the only animated films I'd seen that made me gasp with pleasure were Miyazaki's (some of the shots in "My Neighbor Totoro" brought tears to my eyes). It did feel a bit rushed, but part of that may have been the false "ending" about 2/3 of the way through.

#30 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 12:39 PM:

nerdycellist, 24: I think the flour sacks were to keep their shiny brass helmets either clean or unnoticed by riflemen.

#31 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 12:44 PM:

the war in iraq,
victory is not in sight,
on to the next one

#32 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Visually, I think my favorite bit is nsgre Rtb chgf gur svefg ovgr bs engngbhvyyr va uvf zbhgu, ohg orsber gur synfuonpx, lbh pna frr gur lrnef whfg qebc njnl sebz uvf snpr. V whfg gubhtug gung jnf fghaavatyl jryy qbar. Gurer jrer cyragl bs bgure nznmvat fprarf, ohg gb zl zvaq, gung bar jvaf ba furre iveghbfvgl.

How about yours?

#33 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Nerdycellist @#24: Because of the movies I saw as a kid, I always assumed the cape-over-one-arm thing was to leave the sword arm free. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and assert that the buckle that holds the thing on is called a "swash."

Malthus @#28: Ratatouille was a hoot. I particularly liked the swarming effect. And the synesthaesia was neat--reminded me of Fantasia, a bit. However, I'm a little tired of the Pixar fish-out-of-water plotline, which is becoming like the kiddie version of the hero's journey. Having seen most of the others (I skipped Cars) I already knew what the beats would be in this one. And the little preview for the next one--about a Robot who "discovers what he's really meant for"--just reinforced that tired feeling. The dang robot even looks up at the sky and gets STARS IN HIS EYES in the tiny clip they showed. I'm going to bet that his fellow robots will try to hold him back, but his wacky non-robot friend will encourage him to follow his dream. Any takers?

I did enjoy the movie, though, and the short alien-abduction thing they played with it was really funny.

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 01:33 PM:

MD² 23: Never could get the American student sitting next to me to understand that it was because we loved our country we weren't singing.

Please forgive my ignorance. I don't understand. Why would it be unpatriotic (or whatever) to sing the Marseillaise?

#35 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 01:44 PM:

TexAnne -


Covering shiny helmets makes a lot of sense, but then forces me to question why they went into battle with shiny helmets in the first place.

#36 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 01:46 PM:

nerdycellist #35:

Same reason the Brits wore bright red coats?

#37 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 02:10 PM:

The Palace of Versailles

The wands of smoke are rising
From the walls of the Bastille
And through the streets of Paris
Runs a sense of the unreal

The Kings have all departed
There servants are nowhere
We burned out their mansions
In the name of Robespierre

And still we wait
To see the day begin
Our time is wasting in the wind
Wondering why
Wondering why, it echoes
Through the lonely palace of Versailles

Inside the midnight councils
The lamps are burning low
On you sit and talk all through the night
But there's just no place to go

And Bonaparte is coming
With his army from the south
Marat your days are numbered
And we live hand to mouth

While we wait
To see the day begin
Our time is wasting in the wind
Wondering why
Wondering why, it echoes
Through the lonely palace of Versailles

The ghost of revolution
Still prowls the Paris streets
Down all the restless centuries
It wonders incomplete

It speaks inside the cheap red wine
Of cafe summer nights
Its red and amber voices
Call the cars at traffic lights

Why do you wait
To see the day begin
Your time is wasting in the wind
Wondering why
Wondering why, it echoes
Through the lonely palace of Versailles

Wondering why, it echoes
Through the lonely palace of Versailles

Al Stewart

#38 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 02:46 PM:

This is a fun collection of cartoons featuring various usenet types. Apologies if this has already showed up as a Sidelight or Particle or somesuch! I just found it from a link in cuteoverload's glossary.

#39 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:06 PM:

nerdycellist @ 35

Uniform regulations for armies usually come from the fertile imagination of rear-echelon chair-warmers, who have absolutely no idea what goes on in the field. For at least the first two or three years of the big buildup of American troops in Vietnam in the mid-sixties, the standard rank badges and name tags issued to army soldiers were bright yellow on green. There was another type, black on green, that was *optional* for combat areas, but often wasn't available at stateside bases. Of course, no soldier in anything close to a state of sanity would wear the yellow ones, which one of my drill instructors called "neon stripes, designed to advertise you to the Viet Cong". So as soon as they got to Vietname they changed all the yellow stuff on their uniforms to black.

Somewhat later sense finally penetrated to the windowless office in the Pentagon where uniform regulations are dreamed up, and everyone going to Vietnam was automatically issued the right rank badges and such. In the case of Napolean's troops, I'll bet the penetration took longer.

#40 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Terry Karney @ 37

Thanks for that post. Sometimes I get to thinking that nobody else remembers Al Stewart. Nice to know I'm wrong about that.

#41 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:27 PM:

OT question:

I just finished Georgette Heyer's A Civil Contract. I have access to a whole pile of other books by her through my school library. What should I read next?

#42 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:28 PM:

nerdycellist #35: It was a leftover from the eighteenth century. Bright, highly visible uniforms were important on a battlefield on which the quite literal fog of war would descend. Plus, I suspect, a lot of the spit and polish that produced highly-visible, not to mention shiny, uniforms was part of an effort to develop esprit de corps.

#43 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Hoping there might be some food experts who could point me in the right direction. Let's say, hypothetically, that I don't know anything about food nutrition whatsoever, and needed to learn more. Anyone got a book, or even a URL that would be a good ten-thousand foot viewpoint and intro with practical advice on putting said knowledge into practice?

#44 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:41 PM:

I'd suggest Frederica, or possibly The Nonesuch; those two complete the three Heyer books that never seem to go back into the boxes in the loft (though I never tire of A Civil Campaign, nearly a quarter of a century after my pseudo-grandfather gave it to me in a vain attempt to wean me off of SF&F). Other firm favourites are Devil's Cub, The Convenient Marriage and Bath Tangle.

I am not much enamoured of The Grand Sophy, but I know many Heyer fans are. I'll let someone else speak on that. Nor, sadly, do I tend to appreciate her non-Regency stuff.

#46 ::: Tania aka Marquise de Swissheboucle ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:54 PM:

Nancy: The nice girls over Smart Bitches Trashy Books reviewed Devil's Cub back in April of this year. The comments have a number of other Heyer recommendation. Have fun!

#47 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Greg London @ #43: I've always liked the information at the Harvard School of Public Health

#48 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 04:02 PM:

I don't know if it's appropriate to self-pimp on an OT (I'm sure you will tell me). I wrote a short story this morning about when my mother passed away last year. I posted it to my blog and ficlets. I am still trying to deal with the hurt and loss in a way that is somehow, strangely, positive. I would appreciate any feedback, if anyone is willing.

#49 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Well, These Old Shades, Devil's Cub, Regency Buck and An Infamous Army are more or less a set, since the characters overlap from one to the next. The periods run from the mid-18th century (at a guess) to Waterloo.

#50 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 04:35 PM:

But These Old Shades is (imo) not so good. Devil's Cub and An Infamous Army, on the other hand, are two of my favorites.

#51 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Nancy, #41: Every Heyer fan has different favorites -- books that ping the reader's individual buttons. Some of the ones I really like, and the reasons why:

Venetia and The Grand Sophy both have strong-minded, determined heroines who are willing to buck convention to get the man they want. However, they are very different characters; Venetia is more the type to work within the system, while Sophy proceeds along her chosen path with a sublime disregard for the opinions of lesser mortals. I've always felt that Sophy would be a very uncomfortable kind of friend to have in real life, although she's extremely entertaining to watch from a distance!

The Quiet Gentleman and The Unknown Ajax both feature the kind of male lead who is initially underestimated, but proves to have much more strength and substance than one might first imagine; watching them effectively confound all opposition is a lot of fun.

I second the recommendation for Devil's Cub, but in order to fully appreciate it, you really need to read These Old Shades first; the protagonist of the latter is the father of the male lead in the former.

Also, The Black Moth is clearly a precursor to These Old Shades; although the names of the dramatis personae changed between books, there's a very clear reference to the plotline of the former in the latter. Some characters from the same family line make an appearance in An Infamous Army, but that's one I don't recommend; if you really want to read a Regency romance set during the Napoleonic War, look for Prior Betrothal by Elsie Lee instead.

The Masqueraders and False Colours are almost-Shakespearean comedies of mistaken identity; the former has some political intrigue (from the Jacobin uprising) thrown in.

Cotillion is a classic illustration of "the nice guy finally gets the girl" -- even though she initially thinks she wants the handsome, dashing asshole instead.

The Nonesuch features a beautiful, tempestuous diva of an ingenue (think "the head cheerleader") who finally gets her well-deserved comeuppance; the real heroine of the story is her long-suffering governess, who ends up with the rich, handsome hero. If I had the talent, I would LOVE to adapt this story into a musical, for the sheer thrill of having the soprano and the tenor be the Bad Guys!

One Heyer that I don't recommend is The Reluctant Widow, because it pings one of my negative buttons. The heroine is flung headlong into a confusing, distasteful, and (eventually) dangerous situation, and yet all of her perfectly understandable qualms are treated as trivial female whining by the hero and his adoring coterie of relations and servants. This is a story which could easily be rewritten into a much darker form, featuring emotional abuse and horror, and I have real trouble seeing it as a light-hearted romance.

#52 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Lee @51:
If not The Reluctant Widow, then not Cousin Kate either, which gives me much more squick by far.

But I read These Old Shades after Devil's Cub, and didn't like it, nor need it to understand DC. I kind of like the father as a shadowy figure.

And if you like strong women and men who deserve a strong woman, add Black Sheep to the list.

#53 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 04:52 PM:

As an long time Heyer enthusiast, I will only contribute that I love An Infamous Army, and that I heartily second everything said above about Venetia.

But actually, I am reporting some mild weirdness on the site. The right hand column typeface is very large compared to the center and left hand columns, and the typeface of the comment thread to Jim's Trauma:Shock post is also quite large. The post itself is a normal size. Odd.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 04:56 PM:


I havenb't noticed that with the type sizes myself. But I'm using WinXP.

Unknown Ajax, yes! Lady of Quality? Faro's Daughter? The Toll-Gate?

#55 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Mary@45, Tania@47,

Wow. Thanks for the links.
Looks like exactly where I need to start.
I've got a lot of studying to do.

#56 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Lizzy L @53: Regarding site weirdness, I'm getting the exact same thing you're describing. Had been about to post a comment on the 'We're Back' thread (where recent weirdness is commented on), but you've covered it here.

P J Evans @54: I am using WinXP myself, so it doesn't seem that could be the variable.

I am using Firefox/, if that bit of info helps any.

#57 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Ignorance forgiven, Xopher.
I mean, if I can sometime forgive myself mine which, proportionally to the total pool of knowledge, is unconfortably close to infinity, I should have enough forgiveness left for anyone else's. People trying to quote me on that will be met with usual *but-I-am-clinicaly-mad-and-don't-remember-saying-that-anyway-lalalalalalalalalala* cop out.

What do you mean, my logic's deficient too ? @_@"

Hum... anyway...

For loads (you could say left leaning, but in my experience it's not always as clear cut as that) of people of my and the preceding generation the Marseillaise tends to feel like a pompous, needlesly militaristic chant with more than dubious xenophobic undertones (whether the feeling is justified or not is open to debate). Open singing of the Marseillaise out of official displays has long been the thing of the far right (the pseudo-controversy there was in France some years ago about the - clearly marked for the occasion as second generation immigrants - players of the French national soccer team not singing the Marseillaise along while it was being played was ridiculous: no one I know does, not even those in the military when they're off duty). I guess not singing was for us akin to sending this protest message: "this is not what we are", and was patriotic in the sense that none but us could actually do that.

[Cynical me wants to add this other way to read events: that's not something we'd do at the time. We were not used to doing it. We didn't.]

Hope I make sense.

The controversy about the actual text of the Marseillaise isn't new (see Jaurès's take on it, and he wasn't first), but I guess it was particulary prevalent in post 70's France, given its political climate. It would have been easy to find the hymn being ridiculed in mass media then (Gainsbourg was not alone in this). This has become rarer recently, though. There's been a gradual switch on the political scene in the 90's with a - for me disquieting - strong bipolarisation on republican symbols: some (among those our sometimes uncomfortably protofascist new President, which doesn't help) try to see their value renewed, while to others they've become reviled objects in, I think, an interesting reversal. The way I see it, that second faction is the republican equivalent of satanists, validating in displays of hatred the sacrality of what they claim to reject.
Fiercely interesting times ahead.

#58 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 05:32 PM:

re uniforms: In the black powder age, being able to see the troops was important.

One of the quirks (reported often) of firing so many pieces at once, was a stillness which settled, no matter how the breeze was behaving when the shooting started.

Secondly, knowing where one's supporting troops was matters; so being able to look and see that, the 14th Fusilliers was moving forward could be the difference between staying in square, and moving forward.

And knowing which unit was which (at a detailed level, not just "French") also mattered. It's why commanders paid attention to the Order of Battle (because a company of skirmishers, even in ranks, was an easy-ish mark to a company of grenadiers).

The introduction of smokeless powder, and the adoption of open order, put paid to flashy uniforms on the battlefield. Being able to hit someone, reliably, at more than 400 yards; without huge amounts of training and equiment, well being seen became less useful.

Bruch Cohen (STM): Yeah, I like Al Stewart. Been to a couple of his shows, and (because I used to be active on the "Making Light" of Al Stewart fandom, I was the amazed recipient of his autograph on a birthday card.

That he signed it wasn't notable (he will sign his name to anything one offers him), but he appended a note (good luck). Since I was in Iraq at the time, it meant a little.

Greg London: What aspects of nutrition are you trying to find out about?

At one level, "On food and cooking" by Harold McGee, is great (there are specific appendices on nutrition, and how Americans deal with it) as well as really detailed writing on how food works.

#59 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:00 PM:

What aspects of nutrition are you trying to find out about?

Er, well, at the most basic level, something like: This stuff is good for you. that stuff is bad. (in what way it is good or bad might be informative.) These foods contain this good stuff. those foods contain that bad stuff. Look for this on a label, avoid if it says X, use if it says Y.

I have been completely oblivious to what I eat and nutrition in general for, well, for ever. I've been informed that won't work anymore.

The hypothetical book would be something analogous to "Impatient Perl", practical, do this, don't do that, some description of the underlying functionality as to why, but to the point, action oriented.

Knowing the way I make excuses, if it's too complicated, or if I have to read an encyclopedia of books before I can even go to the grocery store, then I'll weasel out of it. I get easily frustrated around certain things, and food is one of those things.

#60 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:02 PM:

Sideways cape for sword - makes perfect sense! Thanks Mary (#33). Since most of my exposure to that particular fashion choice has been either contemporary portraits which don't move or modern re-enactors who don't want to get their $1000(+) outfits all shmutzy I have totally missed the practicality of a cape-but-not-a-cape for easy sword-fighting. I suspect that, like the peascod bellied doublet, the diagonal cape for was more for decoration than actual quick drawing. But then again, Elizabeth did outlaw duelling - it must have been a problem.

Thanks all for the military uniform insight too. I knew that 19th century uniforms were not so big on camoflauge, what with the red coats, shiny epaulets and braid and some hats with truly redonkulous plumage. I guess they had to draw the line somewhere and that line was at "reflective headgear". It sounds like they wore their little muslin hat-cozies when they were sneaking about trying not to be noticed, but removed them when facing the enemy on the field of battle.

Yay! Learned something new today!

#61 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Greg @ 59

You wan a book like the American Heart Association cookbook, or one on diet. ('Nutrition' tends to tell you more than you want about minerals and vitamins, and I gather you want more general information than that.)

This is where label reading is useful. Generally speaking, sugar, fat, and salt are bad in large numbers.

Ingredients get listed in order of content, so if sugar is in the first three or four, and you're avoiding sugar, don't eat it. Same goes for most other things: if it's at the top of the list, and it's on your no-no list, don't eat it. Flour (and wheat gluten): real problem, because one or the other is in almost everything.
Liguid oils are generally better than solid fats (palm and coconut oils are an exception). Monounsaturated fats are generally better than polyunsaturated.
Avoid high-fructose corn syrup if you can.

#62 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:19 PM:

58: IIRC Napoleonic troops couldn't even hit someone reliably at 200 yards. A single man has a good chance of surviving individual musket fire at 100 yards; and, by the time he's reloaded, you have him at the sword's point.

Muskets were really poor tech; noisy, smoky, slow, short-ranged and inaccurate. The Duke* actually asked the government to look into raising a unit of longbowmen for his army; but the skill base had atrophied. It takes years of training and physical conditioning to make an archer, who can fire twelve to fifteen killing shots a minute at 300 yards - British troops couldn't do that again until the introduction of the Lee-Enfield - but (the musket's only advantage) only weeks to make a musketeer.
Funny to think of red-coated archers fighting at Talavera or Assaye...

*You know. The Duke. There is only really one Duke.

#63 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:29 PM:

On cryptic coloration in battle: the Rifles, of course, wore dark green with black buttons for that very reason. Also, no shiny bits on their shakoes. Read CS Forester, "Death to the French", for a gritty account of the Rifles in the Peninsula (makes Sharpe look like a lightweight).

Also, the obsolete word "camisade" meaning a surprise attack:

"What about the armed multitude, then? Easy does it; we shall know more o' them anon... oh, all right then, they're Spanish soldiers from Cartagena, wi' arquebuses primed, d'ye see, and naked blades, preparing a camisado [which is not a highly-seasoned Catalonian stew, but a night attack, so called because they wore their shirts over their armour]. Eddication, by th' powers!"

-- The Pyrates

#64 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Flour sacks on French helmets - the sister of a friend of mine was an extra in a Sharpe episode* and they were quite keen on correct uniforms. So helmet covers of some sort are probably historic. It may be that in Post-Revolutionary France some Cavalry Sergeant who knew how things worked found himself in charge of uniforms, and got them covers for all the cavalry work that didn't involve knee-to-knee charges (99.9% of it).

On the other hand, as regards sneaking and hiding, I'll note that Sharpe's men seem to have the closest to camoflage as uniforms, but Sharpe normally gives away his advantage of suprise and range in an ambush by shouting "Rifles!" and charging into the middle of the enemy.

* I think it was Sharpe's Sword but I can't be sure. Since she was on the opposite side to most of her friends every bayonet was aiming for her - if you know what you're looking for, you can see this for about half a second.

#65 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:33 PM:

Many years back, I played a SF miniatures game called "Starguard." (I still have hundreds of the figures, FWIW.)

The rules carefully specified how the figures were to be painted. One of the forces -- the Starguard marines -- had gunmetal helmets with a colored stripe indicating their "element" (like a platoon) with a box in that indicating their rank.

Somewhere along the line it became practice to just paint the whole helmet the bright color. It was just easier. My cousin suggested that troopers would try anything to avoid being assigned to elements with red or yellow colors, or to avoid having a promotion that led to having a gold officer's box painted on there.

#66 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:35 PM:

I've crossposted with Ajay, but I seem to have actually added something. For once I don't feel stupid for not checking before hitting post. Hooray!

#67 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Monounsaturated fats are generally better than polyunsaturated.

That's one of the areas that causes my eyes to glaze over. So, based on that rule, the numbers on the second table over here explain why people say canola oil and olive oil are good for you?

I feel like I just wrote a "Hello World" in nutritional language and am waiting for it to tell me I have a syntax error somewhere. Maybe I need to readjust my expectations on how long this is going to take me to figure out...

#68 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 07:03 PM:

Greg @#59: The rules I try to use are:
Eat as close to the animal/dirt as is reasonably possible aka avoid processed foods
Eat a variety of colors red/green/blue/purple/yellow/etc.
Be willing to try new foods*
All things in moderation**

One of the advantages to working in a hospital and socializing with the dieticians is I can call them up and ask for information. I described you as a computer geek that would deal ok with a RTFM approach, but it better be user friendly. They suggested the following:

American Dietitic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide

Nutrition for Life

Hot, new, explosive discoveries regarding nutrition seem to come up about every two months. And they contradict previously accepted dogma, as seen in last week's Telegraph article on full fat dairy products.

Knowing what is going into your body and how to keep yourself healthy is good, but it sure is confusing.

*whole kiwi fruit look wrong to an eight year old that was raised with livestock, but they sure do taste good
**except foods you're allergic to!

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 07:36 PM:

ajay @ 62... You know. The Duke. There is only really one Duke.

If I remember correctly, in the Sharpe movies, he was referred to as Nosey, when he was nowhere near. I wonder what else they called him.

#70 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 08:00 PM:

Tania, #68: Eat as close to the animal/dirt as is reasonably possible aka avoid processed foods

Greg, this is probably the single best thing you can do to improve the overall healthiness of your diet. If you lack the time and/or enthusiasm to cook regularly, one-pot meals and Ziploc containers can be your best friends. We have a large freezer which normally contains lots and lots of individual-sized servings of things like chili, chicken soup, pasta with sauce, black bean soup, curry with rice, already-baked frozen potatoes, etc. It's terrifically convenient to just pull out one of those and heat it in the microwave; add a side serving of frozen veggies and a piece of fruit, and you have something quite like a TV dinner, only better for you and (often) more filling.

If you get into this sort of thing in a big way, or if taking a homemade lunch to work has become critical, you might want to look into Bento boxes -- a step up from "put everything in Ziplocs and shove it all in a paper bag". I have several friends who swear by a combination of make-ahead and bento boxes, so that putting a lunch together is a matter of two minutes' assembly in the morning.

High-fructose corn syrup (generally abbreviated as HFCS) is the biggest thing I'm trying to eliminate from my diet right now -- and it's hard. The manufacture of it is heavily government-subsidized, to the point where it's cheaper than sugar, and as a result it's in damn near every processed food there is. Soft drinks are Right Out for the most part, though I've found a few brands that don't use it. Virtually anything sweet, and a lot of things that aren't (soups, sauces, etc.) will have it. An awful lot of stuff marketed as "healthy" has it, too. I have issues about most artificial sweeteners, so I look specifically for things made with sugar, but if you need to cut back on sugar you may not have that luxury.

#71 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 08:19 PM:

Serge at 69: They called him "Old Hookey" -- same reason they called him "Nosey." Check out a picture of him and you'll see. He was also called "The Iron Duke," and "Beau Douro," or just "The Beau." Those are the ones I remember. There were more, I am sure.

#72 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 08:22 PM:


Thanks. I decided to order the "American Dietitic..." book. After reading the summary, and skimming through the two websites (one from you and one from Mary), I figure I need a hardcopy I can mark up and make notes on. I don't think I can read a website and remember all this. The book is 600+ pages, so hopefully I don't have a meltdown when it shows up on my doorstep.

PJ @ 61 (and Lee @ 70): Avoid high-fructose corn syrup if you can.

good lord, you've wiped out 90% of what I eat.


#73 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 08:55 PM:

I'm not sure how helpful this suggestion will be, but my favorite small book on nutrition is a British book, Nutrition, Diet and Health by Michael J. Bigney, Cambridge University Press (1986 paperback edition), which I picked up in the book-trade section of the cafeteria of the place where I was working at the time.

It has brief descriptions of the various types of nutrients, what they do, and how to eat them; it also has some surprisingly lively prose, for example this excerpt from p. 70:

Consider an English gentleman, who, with his mad dog, walks out in the mid-day sun. He perspires heavily in the intense heat and loses water and salt, but proportionately more salt. The concentration of sodium in the fluids bathing the cells rises above the desirable level. Thirst ensues. The gentleman abuses his dog, curses the colonies and adjourns, hastily, for a cold lemonade. Later that evening, he feasts on salted groundnuts and anchovies, leading to a sudden rise in sodium absorption (sodium freely crosses the gut). Once again, there is more salt than desired in the fluid bathing the cells and he becomes thirsty. This time he abuses the servant, curses the colonies, thinks of England and downs a thirst-quenching beer. Thirst, real thirst, is a most distressful experience, aptly summarized by Coleridge's hallicinating Ancient Mariner: [Coleridge quotation omitted]
#74 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 09:00 PM:

They finished reading Lord Foul's Bane in five years! And understood it 1 time!

More than I can say.

#75 ::: Mary Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 09:11 PM:

Regarding Georgette Heyer Favourites:

"A Civil Contract" is definitely one of my favourites. It grew on me as I got older; I could better appreciate the dynamic of the pretty adolescent crush being a terrible personality match! I think the complexity of personalities is way beyond the usual "romance" while still having the style and interactions (and some of the stock characters) that make Heyer so much fun.

I don't think anyone here has mentioned another of my favourites, "The Spanish Bride". It is based on the real-life marriage of Harry and Juana Smith, and as I discovered when I put Harry Smith's autobiography on-line at the Celebration of Women Writers website, many of the most enjoyable incidents in the book are taken directly from Harry and Juana's own writing. One of the things I lover about Heyer is that she puts lots of period detail in, without making it annoying.

I should also mention that I've put up an on-line edition of "The Black Moth" at the Celebration. The original printing is in the public domain in the United States. I had lots of fun finding period illustrations that matched the descriptions of the characters in the book, and adding them to the on-line edition. It's definitely one of my favourite books on the site. (Another is Dorothy Sayers, "Whose Body?" as first published in the U.S., but that's a whole other line of posts...)

#76 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Greg, #59, does your health insurance have consults to a nutritionist? Once something is wrong with you, your "good" and "bad" may not be the norm. For example, because my kidneys are spilling protein, I can only have 40gr protein a day. Most people won't have that kind of restriction.

#77 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 09:43 PM:

does your health insurance have consults to a nutritionist?

I... have no idea. I'll have to ask around for that one.

#78 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 10:11 PM:


My partner has a button-making machine, and we will have dealer tables at NASFIC. If there is sufficient interest, we could bring along a bag of buttons to help Fluorospheroids identify each other. My design concept: the word "Fluorosphere" around the upper rim, with a light bulb beneath, and space at the bottom to write one's posting ID with a Sharpie marker, on bright-yellow paper (the better to represent light and catch the eye of fellow travelers).

It would help if we had some idea of how many to make. If you're going to NASFIC and would be interested in having a button, please comment below and/or drop me an e-mail at the mailto link from my name. Thanks!

#79 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 10:36 PM:


Marion Nestle's What To Eat might also be something you'd want to check out. Structured around a trip down grocery store aisles, she details what can be found, what the words on the labels actually mean, how nutritionally useful the food is for you and some various potential hazards from foods.

#80 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 10:51 PM:

I think you have to be a teenage girl to love These Old Shades; it was my favorite book ever when I was fifteen or so, but when I tried to reread it in my thirties, not so much.

#81 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:44 PM:

CosmicDog @#48: Perhaps because there are so many professional writers and editors here, I haven't normally seen non-pros (such as myself) discussing their own efforts in depth at ML. And asking for a critique can be a bit awkward when the room is full of people who do this for a living...that's my sense of it, anyway.

Probably the best place to go to get support for your writing is Absolute Write - it's a very helpful community of writers, and many ML regulars are regulars there as well. That said, I'd be delighted to read your story and offer comments (speaking purely as an amateur, but one with some experience of loss, at least). Just email me with the best way to find it and we can take the conversation offline - I'm

#82 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:02 AM:

Mary Dell,

Thank you for your suggestions (both here and over there). I really appreciate it.

#83 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:35 AM:

CosmicDog @#82: My pleasure!

#84 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 01:59 AM:

This weekend my yearning for shelving to place my cookbooks upon was satisfied. Behold... My New Shelves

Really, I'm not a difficult person to make happy. Of course, I now realize just how many cookbooks are AWOL, and I need to find them. Rascally little buggers.

#85 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:20 AM:

For anyone that has someone in their life that has body image issues, and complains about how s/he never takes a "nice" picture:

Faith Hill before and after retouching

#86 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:43 AM:

Greg, let me warn you, there's a lot of really awful advice out there. There's a whole industry dedicated to churning out a new fad every few months (the business advantages are obvious, the serious detriment to the health, both mental and physical, of anyone who tries to keep up with that sort of snake oil hawking may be less so). I suggest you avoid anything promising weight loss, most particularly anything that tells you to cut out entire food groups from your diet (such as fat, sugar, carbohydrates).

Couple of links to help cultivate a healthy cynicism: Michael Pollan in the NYT earlier this year says: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. and then goes on to explain why this works and why a lot of dieting advice is nonsense if not positively dangerous. And Steven Bratman on orthorexia, his term for the mental disturbance that can result from making a near religion out of following arcane rules for "healthy" eating.

Good luck, though. Educating yourself about what you eat is a really good idea, if daunting.

#87 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:46 AM:

The current issue about food that's worrying our household is the lack of country-of-origin labels. I'd really like to avoid Chinese exports for a while, but our illustrious FDA seems to be in avoidance or denial about this as it is about so many other things since January 20, 2001.

(Which is not to say it was wonderful, fully funded, and had enough inspectors even prior to Bush, but at least I didn't feel it was actually conspiring against me back then).

#88 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:52 AM:

#57 ::: MD∑

I love to bellow out the chorus of the Marseillaise -- both the words and the tune are transcendently inspiring -- but I suspect that the verses sound better if one doesn't understand French.

On another hand ... the Shelley translation, like the Bill of Particulars in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, seems to me to have special significance in the modern (American) political context. (*sigh*)

#89 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 07:37 AM:

# 62 The Duke. There is only really one Duke

Yes, but I didn't think John Wayne was around during the Napoleonic wars...


#90 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 08:18 AM:

Tania (#84): Am I the only one who feels the retouch work was clearly overkill here ? I mean, what was wrong with the original picture ? o_O"

@Don Fitch (#88): "MD∑"

Shhhhh... that's my secret ridiculously overpowered japanese cyborg self. Don't want that info to spread too much. At least not as long as I haven't done my software update and my spamdar hasn't be properly recalibrated.
How do you know, anyway ?

Oh, and songs almost always sound better when you don't understand them.
Well, at least I think so.
(French comic Antoine de Caunes had a sketch in which all he did was translate carefully selected english pop songs in french. Though he sometimes resorted to voluntarily poor translations, most of the time he didn't even have to. People were laughing. Which didn't prevent them from buying and enjoying the original records.)

#91 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Greg London: You might want to take a look at The Hacker's Diet. It was devised by John Walker of AutoCAD fame, and takes the geek engineer approach to diet and nutrition. It's been a while since I looked at it, but I seem to recall it had some stuff on nutrition. Good stuff anyway.

#92 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:33 AM:

MD2@ #90: I completely agree re the Faith Hill picture. Good grief. Now it's not enough to be skinny and gorgeous; you have to be skinny, gorgeous AND look like you've been dipped in plastic.

Re song lyrics: one of the things I like about listening to Bollywood songs is that I don't understand the lyrics and therefore can't be annoyed by their banality and/or failure to rhyme and scan, as I so often am with English lyrics.

#93 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Re: Heyer: _The Grand Sophy_ has a really horrible anti-Semitic episode that is like running into a brick wall, particularly since it was written in 1950 or so.

I will second the recommenations for _The Unknown Ajax_ and _Frederica_.

#94 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:40 AM:


The last of the kilted soldiers shuffled into line on the top of the ridge behind Belle Alliance. Their austere chief swept a critical eye along their ranks before turning to his staff.

"Waa-al, I dunno what they'll do to the French, but darn it, they frighten me," drawled the British commander from his position atop Mont Saint-Jean. "And stop that darn chawin', Yer Majesty."

The Prince of Orange spat out his tobacco and looked guilty.

"Now, whar the heck are those Proosians?"

"I think I see them over there to the east, Your Grace," suggested the Earl of Uxbridge, pointing vaguely in the direction of Ligny with his telescope. The great general regarded him with disdain.

"Son, if you can see 'em, they ain't Proosians."

#95 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 10:47 AM:

MD2 (90) -

Thanks for that. I just got finished responding to my sister in law, who requested a picture of my new haircolor. I told her I wasn't sure I wanted to take pictures anymore; that while I've made peace with the wacky fat chick in the mirror (even bad dressing room ones! and I don't take my glasses off first anymore), I still somehow have problems with photgraphs. Of course I knew about airbrushing and all that - but I guess it just never sank in until looking at that little transformation.

#96 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Mary @ 75

Oh, yeah, I forgot about The Spanish Bride!

Greg, I'm supposed to be on a low-fat diet. (Mostly it is, just not as low as it maybe could be). Label-reading is a good habit to get into. As far as the nutritional labelling goes, the stuff at the top is important, the vitamins/minerals less so, unless you have weird needs (I tend to have a low banana level; it's actually a legitimate reason for eating fries, but I can't do that often).

#97 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Found in the printer at work:


It's so reassuring to know these things about my office.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Blue blobs, Susan?

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:14 AM:

"Gothic dolphins! Not bombs!"

I saw this anti-war slogan on the side of a building not far from BART's Oakland West station yesterday.

#100 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Individ-ewe-al at 86, that article by Steven Bratman is wonderful. It is so very easy to obsess about food. I'm not a therapist or any kind of professional people-analyzer, but it seems to me that particularly for people who have grave medical problems, making those decisions about what to eat, how much, etc. allow one to re-assert some semblance of control over one's own body, and going to extremes in those decisions may provide some kind of psychological comfort. I find I have some of those tendencies. My own personal antidote to obsessive food monitoring is an occasional helping of my favorite dessert -- coffee ice cream.

#101 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Indivd-ewe-al@86, thanks for that link. it was longer than I was expecting (had to read it over three sittings), but probably the best 10,000 foot level perspective on eating well.

hm, better book mark it while I'm thinking of it...

#102 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:33 AM:

ajay @ 94

It's a good thing I finished the bagel before I read that, or I'd have to clean both monitors ....

#103 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:34 AM:

#97: the question is: what is the next line going to be?

an evening of improv comedy and music on the theme of the Decameron
Tonight, 8.30 at the East Mudflat Community Center
Tickets $15 from










Maintain surveillance and await further developments. Two further surveillance teams authorized for short term use - review by 8/12. Incursion status maintain at HOLD-A. DDO/NE, DDOPS, RDO/MA informed.

Signed: Katherine J Levi
Acting Senior Agent
Arkham Field Office

#104 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:38 AM:

75/96: The Spanish Bride is indeed excellent. And I think I may have been confusing it with An Infamous Army when I praised the latter so highly.

#105 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:43 AM:




#106 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:49 AM:

One of the things about that Faith Hill picture is that some of the weaknesses in the original could have been sorted with a few tweaks in the lighting and posing.

I do wonder just how close the "before" picture is to the starting point for the cover shot.

#107 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:50 AM:

P J at 96: What does this mean? I am totally flummoxed.

(I tend to have a low banana level; it's actually a legitimate reason for eating fries, but I can't do that often).

#108 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:57 AM:


Low potassium leading to possible muscle cramps. (Trust me, you don't want to go there, especially since they like to happen in the middle of the night.) Also Does Things to blood pressure. I now eat a banana every day; orange juice is also good.

#109 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:06 PM:

P J 108: And pickles. And avocados, but they're high in fat, though it's the good kind.

#110 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:12 PM:


with Special Guest

18+ SHOW - DOORS @ 8:00

#111 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:12 PM:

P J, thanks. I couldn't figure out what "low banana level" meant -- you meant potassium, yes? Yes, I also eat a banana a day to keep the potassium level up, but there are plenty of other high potassium foods: avocado, salmon. I still don't get the fries comment.

For those of you who want to increase your potassium intake but don't like bananas, go here:

High Potassium Food Summary

#112 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Another way to look at the "processed" issue, though this only helps in the grocery store and not in a restaurant:

No ingredients list: Good. This means it's something like fresh produce, grains, unprocessed meats, milk, eggs.

Short, comprehensible ingredients list: Pretty good. Your eyes don't glaze over from the length, and you don't need an organic chemistry book -- or a "nutrition" book -- to figure out what stuff is.

Long lists of multisyllabic ingredients that don't correspond to recognizable foods -- Bad. Now we're into the realm of heavily processed foods.

And don't sweat the details. Cut down on the animal products, increase the veggies, and you can hardly help but improve your diet.

The "don't eat something your great-grandmother wouldn't have recognized as food" advice (which may in fact be in that NYT article linked above) got a lot of bad press, from people complaining that *their* great-grandmother wouldn't recognize things like most fresh veggies or any form of spices, but in the spirit it was intended, of "try to avoid foods that were invented in a lab in favor of things that *someone* on the planet a hundred years ago would have recognized as food" there's a lot of truth to it. My own personal great-grandmother may never have seen an avocado in her life, but guacamole has a long history indeed, and plenty of people's grandmothers' grandmothers would not only recognize it but have a much better recipe than I do.

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Lizzy L @ 107... I tend to have a low banana level

There's got to be a bad joke somewhere in there.

#114 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Okay, that link didn't work. Trying again.

High Potassium Food Summary

#115 ::: Mote ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Hm, there seems to be a distinct lack of knitting content in this OT...

Teresa, have you seen Ravelry yet? I got my invitation to the beta a little while ago and it's a curiously addictive little site.

#116 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:18 PM:

P J Evans @#96: I have a low banana level

I don't know what this phrase means either, but I'll be trying to work it into my conversation from now on.

#117 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Lizzy L

Baked potatoes are high-potassium; so are fries. Broccoli. (I have a list. Unfortunately, some of the good-for-me stuff is also stuff that doesn't help the potassium count, like whole-wheat bread.)

#118 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Greg London @72:

Some studies have shown that the rise in Type II Diabetes in the US maps to the rise in use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in processed food.

You are actually better off if you eat real sugar in moderation.

One of the simplest strategies for eating healthy is to buy most of your food from the outside aisle of the grocery store (unprocessed foods) rather than the center aisles (processed foods).

#119 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:37 PM:

113: No bad joke, but a Mike Ford song...

Ja, wir haben kein Bananen
Unter den Bananenbaum,
Schreib' sein Antwort in die Spannen,
Auf der Seite gibt's kein Raum.
Hier Bananen sind betrunken
Wie von Foster anbesicht,
Bring die Freude, bring das Funken
Ach, Bananen sieht man nicht.

Yes, we do have no bananas
Under the banana trees.
Answer briefly if you can, as
Space is short. (Use margin, please.)
All bananas here are drunk
Just as Foster saw them done;
Bring the joy and bring the funk --
But bananas? We got none. (trans. by elise)

#120 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Tania, #85: Wow. That's just sickening.

MD^2, #90: What was wrong with the original? Go read the annotated version (linked further down in the article), where they extrapolate the art director's commentary. Don't do this immediately after eating.

#121 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:54 PM:

Serge (99) it appears that a Gothic Dolphin can be:

1. A pervy-looking garden fountain.
2. A kind of door knocker.
3. A traditional decorative element.
4. A band.
5. A film maker.
6. A threatening piece of jewelry.
7. A source of confusion to persons other than yourself.
And I can't quite pin this one down, but it may also be a brand of surfboard.

#122 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 01:16 PM:

re Flour sacks: the best explanations I can give are 1: It kept the dust off the hats, so that; come the fray, they would still be bright..

2: For Cavalry, when scouting (it's most crucial role), being seen was bad, and relieving the glint of the most visible aspect (e.g. a hat/helmet, some eight feet off the ground) would be a good thing.

I think, vis-a-vis firing, that the Martini would allow a rate of fire (with trained troops, but the Long Service Armies had that, even the Victorian short service armies had that) could be gotten to 12 rds per minute. The Rifle Muskets (the famous minie ball, of the US Civil War) would allow a rate of fire up to about six rds per minute (for crack troops) because, unlike the muskets which preceded them, the bullet was smaller than the barrel, and so didn't require as much force to get the bullet seated. They also didn't foul as quickly.

Aimed fire? Not so much. Even now, with auto-loaders, getting one shot off, aimed, is figured to take 6 seconds (US Army standards).

That's at target up to 300 meters away, and assumed to be, at least, kneeling.

Since brilliant uniforms had gone the way of the dodo (saving the French, with the high command's belief that élan, was what won battles) after Sedan. The Brits were in khaki, the Germans in feldgrau and the Amis in a muddy green, that's probably accurate for the period from 1870 on (with the introduction of the Mauser, Krag, and Lee-Enfield).

The British were the best, at rapid fire, with it being desired that a soldier could fire (IIRC) 20 rds per minute, hitting the target with all shots.

That required a reloading of the magazine (which was 10 rds. the largest of the day, and in a detachable magazine; also innovative, though the standard practice was to load it with charger/stripper clips).

It should be noted, the idea was (and in practice, until well into WW1) was to fire at masssed troops, so the targets were fixed, which aids in keeping up an accurate, rapid rate of fire.

The smoothness of the action also made a big difference. It's much easier to cycle the SMLE, without dismounting ir from the shoulder, than it is with any other issue rifle I've used (the sniping rifles, such as the Remington Model 700 are a completely different beast. I can work the action on of those, out of the box, no modifications, with just my thumb and forefinger which means it's almost never needful to dismount it from the shoulder).

Re Wellington: There's a portrait of him three miles from my house (The Huntington Library, Museum and Gardens). His nose was, if the portrait is to be believed, not large, but very sharp, almost bladelike.

#123 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 01:17 PM:


"You! You, with the purple blobs, go call 911. Come back and let me know when you've done it."

#124 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:04 PM:

123: dammit, ethan, I've been working on that script* for weeks...

*The Fluorosphere vs. The Blob. After an unusual meteorite crashes into the Flatiron Building, only a ragtag international crew of sf fans, paramedics, knitters and nuclear physicists stand between New York and the alien creature that absorbs everything in its path!
High concept - "it's Tremors meets the Algonquin Hotel group!"

121: Gothic Dolphin Therapy:
"It's wonderful! When you swim with them and touch them, you can sense this overpowering suicidal gloom and self-obsession..."

#125 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Quick food browsing advices: eat fresh if you can afford (it does cost more, both in invested time and raw materials. There's a reason obesity has now become a stigmata of the poor), avoid any processed food containing glutamate when it shouldn't, avoid any processed food using sugar when it shouldn't (they use it in lower price ham instead of salt nowadays... yuk), avoid trans fat saturated food.

Lila (#92), re song lyrics: did not dare to state things that bluntly. ^_^"

nerdycellist (#95):

/restrained mode off

No, no, no, no, no !

Oh, damn it, FUCK the imagery thugs. Don't let them strangle you. Don't let the noise they make mask their crime. I've had enough of people around me fucking their life away because they feel constrained in the ugly, narrow perspective imposed by people whose sole idea of beauty is looking at a sunrise through a photochromic window !

I know all this might sound ironic coming from someone who only allows to be taken on photo once every ten years, and then only for admistrative purposes, but seriously, I've had enough of that. I've had enough of people starving themselves for fear of looking plump. I've had enough of people not daring to grasp what's right in front of them because they wrongly feel undeserving. I've had enough of people not being beautiful because they can't believe they are.
Fuck that !

/restrained mode on

edit: was about to discard that, as I think it's infinitely less useful than actualy showing the photo manipulations. And somewhat pretentious. But, well, I guess it can't hurt to restate the obvious till it's engraved on people's mind.
Sorry anyway.

Lee (#120): You almost made me have a heart attack for a second there. Don't know why but upon reading you I thought I had misunderstood the fact that the commentary was a re-imagining.

On another, completely unrelated notice: finally received the first shino of my ceramic collection.

*does the snoopy dance*

#126 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Inspissated mucus? Why not caliginous sebum?

#127 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Ethan @ 123

you have killed me.

#128 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Serge #99:

We've come under swift attack
there is no safety in the bay,
we can observe, both night and day,
these moping dolphins dressed in black.
We've taken quite a lot of flack
for saying what we had to say
but these are not of common clay
we've nothing here to hold them back.
A lot of us would use a bomb
to drive these creatures from the sea,
still we have got to recognise
they wear their garb with true aplomb
their sadness comes from being free
and they view us with weary eyes.

#129 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:04 PM:

MD^2 @ 125

Why I don't buy 'reduced fat' peanut butter: they replace the fat with sweeteners. Same number of calories, and the fat is, in fact, not much less than the regular stuff. (I should use 'old fashioned' because it's lower in trans/hydrogenated fats, but having to use a jackhammer to get it out of the bottom of the jar is ... well, I don't like jackhammers that much.)

#130 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Lizzy L. Thanks for the list of high-potassium foods; I loath ripe bananas, so summer, when I sweat out my K, is also the time my intake is iffy, and leg cramps are never far behind.

I'm not participating in the food discussion as I am at one of my low points for feeling happy about what I can and cannot eat; there are points where I just get tired of being diabetic, and would like to quit and go look for some other chronic condition which didn't have so much math involved.

#131 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:36 PM:

I am just convulsing with laughter at The Book of Ratings, web version, which I just tripped over.

I particularly liked the lists of state quarters ("Abraham Lincoln stepping through the irregular outline of a time portal into an unspecified point outside Chicago."), dinosaurs ("This creature's name means "egg stealer." It is so named because it does not steal eggs. When the first Oviraptor fossil was found, it was on top of some eggs, so the discoverers drew the obvious conclusion that it was stealing them. This is because it was discovered by the LAPD."), D&D monsters ("Here we have yet another monster with no reason to exist in a dungeon-free ecosystem. It's genetically adapted to graph paper, for God's sake!"), angels ("Your job may suck, but you have to admit nobody has yet asked you and your co-workers to form a vehicle."), and aspects of Santa ("big ol' Santa and his big ol' sleigh being hauled around by a bunch of shar-pei sized ungulates").

#132 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:46 PM:






#133 ::: yabonn ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:47 PM:

#34 Xopher :

"Why would it be unpatriotic (or whatever) to sing the Marseillaise?"

Embarrassing, more than unpatriotic. A short and dirty explanation would be that it's a national pride to consider oneself, as French, above all this, but :

- it is (arguably) self defeating
- it is not true enough anyways
- most of the rest of Europe does it better

There are places, times and rituals for that kind of things (footbal games, that 14th of july weird military parade) ; school is definitely not one of these.

I think that explain MD²'s silence, and his answer.

#134 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Okay, knitting.

After trying DPNs and double circular needles (what a sense of being in Nebraska too close to a suddenly loosed roll of baling wire), I have with delight fetched up with the Magic Loop for both individual socks (32") and two-at-once (47"). I am working up the courage to do a steeked vest or sweater with self-variegating yarn, inspired by the Yarn Harlot's current project. Or one of them.

Ha, went to the dictionary to add "steeked" and LeetKey asked if I wanted to ROT-13 it.

#135 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:56 PM:

MD2: Congratulations on the shino tea bowl. As an amateur ceramicist -- not really a potter, I do sculpture mostly but sometimes I do pots -- I love shino (carbon-trapping is so way cool) but rarely use it. I tend to leave it to specialists. Also, "the imagery thugs" is very nice. I agree, fuck 'em.

JESR: you are welcome. Please allow me to extend the hand of sympathy re diabetes. I don't have it (yet -- could happen) but I took care of a brittle diabetic for many years -- it sucks big time. One good thing I can say; it's a whole lot easier now to check your sugar (remember Clinistix?) and the drugs are better (Lantus, yes) and we have pumps and stuff. But it still sucks.

#136 ::: yabonn ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 04:14 PM:

#133 yabonn :

Gah. Should have refreshed that thread before posting.

At least you can compare and contrast now, Xopher :)

#137 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 04:15 PM:

ajay @ 121... Gothic Dolphin Therapy: "It's wonderful! When you swim with them and touch them, you can sense this overpowering suicidal gloom and self-obsession..."

Coming soon, a SciFi original picture, Frankenstein vs Flipper...

#138 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 04:16 PM:

P J Evans (#129): I actually never use "reduced fat" or "light" product either. I don't trust them and I found them lacking taste-wise.

What I had in mind when advising to avoid trans fat saturated food is all those products that have an anormaly high ratio of it.
I've seen some waffles you people wouldn't believe...

Personally, the only time I would even think of using peanut butter is to cook some mafé rice.

yabonn (#133): A short and dirty explanation would be that it's a national pride to consider oneself, as French, above all this [...].

I really like that explanation for the silence, not so much for the answer ( :? if by answer you meant my subsequent post). Not sure I understand the "most of the rest of Europe does it better" part, though.

Lizzy L: thank you, on both accounts. ^_^ Fell in love with shino as soon as I saw some. It's what got me into ceramics in the first place.

#139 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 04:37 PM:


I can imagine. The waffle recipe I use (yeast-raised) calls for two eggs and oil. But it makes enough for four people at least. Great waffles, though. My parents usually decorated them with applesauce, or berry preserves.

Peanut butter: sandwiches that can be made at 5:30am for eating at 4pm, with no refrigeration available. Wher I work now, there's a fridge, but it's usually full. (At the moment, I'm sharing a cube with 4 dozen tamales, split between chicken and cheese. It's ... difficult (shut up, stomach).)

#140 ::: yabonn ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 04:56 PM:

#138 MD² :

The answer was the one you gave to the american student, about the "principled no-Marseillaise".

About the other european countries : seen from there, we are already a tad high on the flag-o-meter. Sing Marseillaise a lot (in the ritualised occurrences : political reunions, strikes, etc), and that military parade, for example.

Catchy tune, though.

#141 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 05:27 PM:

ajay 121: Careful! Don't mix up emo and Goth. I was given a scathing rundown on the difference by a Goth kid I know. They have almost nothing in common.

Q: Why is there no emo porn?
A: Emo boys would love to make porn, but they're too sad right now.

Q: Why is there no Goth porn?
A: There is: Dracula, The Hunger, The Lost Boys...

#142 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Greg London:

Like lorax @ 112 says: short (or no) ingredient list = good. Long list full of polysylabic chemical-sounding names = bad.

Veg and fruit = good.

Eat "bad" (high-fat, high-sugar etc.) things that you like by all means - but in small amounts.

I'll second the recommendation to read the "Unhappy Meals" (Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants) article recommended by Individ-ewe-al @ 86 as well. The ten numbered points at the end give the main recommendations.

I go for organic fruit & vegetables if I can - can't help thinking that consuming less agrichemicals is a good thing.

#143 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 06:38 PM:

One important thing to remember about the military uniforms of the Napoleonic period is that there were not so wonderfully weatherproof. While some military headgear was made of leather or steel, most was less durable. Spend a couple of months marching through a European summer and the combination of rain and sun made you smart military shako look a trifle bedraggled. Your gorgeous and brightly coloured plume looked shagged out from a night of hard squarking. And all the dyes had taken a hammering.

So you were issued whith a shako-cover to keep the weather off. It might be rather ugly oiled canvas, a bit more than a flour bag. Likewise your greatcoat: rather plain, and not at all brightly coloured, but it survived the weather.

Terry, the minimum requirement for British infantry in 1914 was 15 hits in a minute. The record is 38 hits, held by Sgt. Snoxall, shooting at a 12-inch target at 300 yards. Some contemporary accounts claim that 30 rounds was thought unremarkable for a good soldier.

The British Army apparently did a lot of dry-firing training, with gadgets intended to ensure that the soldier learnt to keep the gun aimed while he worked the bolt.

Meanwhile, on YouTube

#144 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 06:48 PM:

dcb, #142: Unfortunately, a great deal of so-called "organic" produce is misleadingly labeled. Sure, they didn't spray any pesticides on the plants in that field -- but that field was smack-dab in the center of a bunch of other fields that got the living bejeezus pesticided out of them (pest control by the barrier method!), and how pesticide-free the field in the middle actually is depends a lot on which way the wind was blowing when the surrounding fields were treated. The exception to this is locally-grown produce, which you won't find at the grocery store but might see at the farmer's market.

#145 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 07:51 PM:

I'm curious about the specific reason that The End of the World: A Love Story comes recommended in the Particles. Is there some specific Neat Thing to look for, or is it a pleasantly eccentric old book in general?

#146 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 08:41 PM:

MD2 @139: I've seen some waffles you people wouldn't believe...

...Pop Tarts on fire, in the toaster of Orion. I've heard Special-K crunch in the dark near the Bran Muffin Gate. All those breakfasts will be lost in time, like oatmeal down the drain....

#147 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:12 PM:

On British army practice with rifles: marksmanship was greatly stressed, and the British were, alone among great European powers, able to go with an all-volunteer long service professional army.

As late as 1940, this was still of value. Rommel records that he and a staff group, dismounted from vehicles in northern France, came under disconcertingly accurate rifle fire from "tommies" who were at least a mile away at the time - too far for the shots to be heard. He only realised that he was being shot at when someone dropped dead. Probably troops trained to this standard were as effective armed with SMLE's as with assault rifles, and much more so at long ranges. But of course the lead time was far too long when raising a mass army.

#148 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:13 PM:

Am I the only one who was watching Eureka? If not, am I the only one who noticed that Allison's password was rvtugfvkfrirasvirguerrbuavar, nf va "Wraal, V tbg lbhe ahzore"?

I can't believe they did that. Wow, I know Allison's password. That might be useful if Global Dynamics were a real place.

#149 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:13 PM:

lorax@112: one addendum: even a short ingredients list can have things recognizable as "sugar" too far up; from what I've heard this is something to watch for, as sugar shots are hard on the metabolism. (cf MD²@125)

John Walker pushes hard on exercise, but doesn't mention the most important fact: diet without exercise tends to make your metabolism slow down to live on what it's getting, where the whole point is to get your body to live beyond its means.

Greg: one thing that's been touched on a couple of times here but often gets hidden under elaborate prescriptions in books: eat \less/. Eat slowly and stop when comfortable (not "full"). (Even in a restaurant; aside from piece-order places (tapas/sushi/...) there is only one restaurant in this city that I don't take a doggie bag home from -- which also means I have pre-cooked good stuff on hand.) That and working my way from whole milk down to skim have kept my cholesterol under control and my weight ~15# under what it was when my doctor started grumbling about my post-college bulge (at age 28; I'm 54 now).

#150 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:19 PM:

Susan...knowing where you work only makes this worse.

Any word on the dance stuff?

#151 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Xopher, I will be watching Eureka, in 2.5 hours.

Damn, this living on a spherical planet stuff! It's so very much the opposite of instant gratification.

#152 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 10:06 PM:

JESR 151: See if you can spot the password before you look at the rot13 in my post.

#154 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:13 PM:

#108 ::: P J Evans : "Low potassium leading to possible muscle cramps. (Trust me, you don't want to go there, especially since they like to happen in the middle of the night.) "

Yup. And when you wake at 3 a.m. with that agonizing and board-hard muscle between knee and ankle, it's really difficult to avoid thinking "Gee, and the heart is a muscle, too", which is not conducive to getting restful sleep even after the pain has gone.

#155 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:53 PM:

Xopher: you are not the only one. It didn't register with me until a few seconds later, then I had to back up and check to make sure they really did that.

Nathan's, on the other hand, was abguvat V erpbtavmrq. (It's possible that's some overly paranoid spoiler-protection.)

#156 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 12:09 AM:

Julie L @ 146


It takes real talent to make high tragedy out of breakfast.

#157 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 12:51 AM:

JESR, #130, we don't know why, but my body doesn't hang on to water and use it, it just goes out, unless I have electrolytes with it. So years ago, the doctor told me to drink 32oz of Gatorade a day and that worked -- I didn't have to get an IV at least once a week. Well, my last two labs have had my sugar at 103 and since renal patients are at high risk of diabetes, I can't have Gatorade anymore. I found two reasonable products, both powders in "stix": Crystal Lite Hydration On-the-Go (has aspartame, which is bitter to me), and Sqwincher Lite (has Splenda -- the seller puts a new pack up all the time and you pick the flavor).

Xopher, #148, the cable was out. I think I'm taping it now (rather than a different episode).

#158 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:36 AM:

Dave, the whole "Mad Minute" business with the SMLE was a bit of a dead end. (Literally, for the German troops at Mons and Ypres.) It depended on the enemy acting in a pre-WW1, even pre-Boer, style, making a mass attack and willing to accept casualties.

The French did it. The Germans did it. The Japanese had done it against the Russians, and made it work.

Since the "Mad Minute" involved aimed shots, I reckon that, man for man, you were getting more hits with SMLEs than with the Vickers guns. And the poor dumb bastards who think all they have to do is run fast enough so you don't have the chance to fire many shots before they can bayonet you; they're dead.

Yes, the Japanese proved that sort of attack could work. Against the Imperial Russian Army.

#159 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 06:26 AM:


SCENE 129. SEA WORLD EXPERIMENTAL FACILITY. EXT. NIGHT. FLIPPER confronts FRANKENSTEIN in the ruins of the HIDDEN POOL. Rain falls all around them.

FLIPPER: (series of squeaks and buzzing noises)
SUBTITLE: You created me, Frankenstein. You taught me to jump through hoops in exchange for fish and to dance around on the surface of the water like some sort of demented clockwork bath toy. And then you rejected me. You, my father!
VICTOR: Back! I should never have brought you into this world. I intended you to be a creature of grace and beauty! Instead you are abhorrent to me - an unholy aberration!
And another thing. Where the hell did you get that copy of The Sorrows of Young Werther?
FLIPPER: (SUBTITLE) I found it on the beach.
VICTOR: It's waterproof, then?
FLIPPER: (SUBTITLE) Yep. It was just lying there.
VICTOR: How on earth do you turn the pages?
FLIPPER: (roaring) That is your work, Frankenstein! YOU GAVE ME THUMBS!

#160 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 07:52 AM:

Dave Bell: It gives one pause. If they could (and did) do that with SMLEs, what would have happened with SLR's? Provided, of course, that they were used with the same aimed-shots method.

But the fact was that even with Martini-Henry single-shot rifles, trained regulars in lines - especially behind breastworks - produced beaten ground that no bayonet charge could cross, and that was in 1875 or so. Hell, Pickett's Charge got stopped mostly by musketry, though, true, there was artillery in support. In the Crimea - 1854 or so - the dear old Thin Red Streak shot a whole heap of Russians to pieces before the latter could close. And even before that, Du Picq was saying that the greater mass of fire was decisive, and that you couldn't "repress the flesh". Why anybody thought you could take steady entrenched infantry with the arme blanche, as a rule, I have no idea.

Yes, sure, there are wildly unlikely events in any war. Good infantry squares that got busted by knackered light cavalry, and were then sabred to hell and gone. Captain Bluntschli's remarks are absolutely true. But, as has been said, though the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, that, nevertheless, is the way to bet.

#161 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:36 AM:

P J Evans (#139):Na, I hold nothing against that kind of waffles. My trouble lies with some of the industrialised ones I've seen that run up to 60% trans fat (will have to check the exact number later. My memory is hardly to be trusted).

Julie L (#146): I knew someone would bite. And what a bite... ^_^

#162 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Waffles, diabetes, knitting, military history, Frankensteinian Flipper -- ah yes, now I know I'm truly back on the Open Thread! Many thanks to our fine hosts.

#163 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Open Thread 88, and not one piano remark? Not even a Peano postulate!


I once heard a remark among archers that there were very few wars in which some archery had not taken place - some bright spark in WWI brought his bow along, Special Forces in Vietnam even got the bow and arrow classified (actually, an explosive arrow), etc. Fred Easton (inventor of the compound bow) claimed once that more casualties in all of history have been from arrows than rifle bullets. He might be right, but it's special pleading given that it isn't "all gunpowder-propelled projectiles".

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:20 AM:

ajay @ 159... And then Flipper logs on to YouTube... or is it YouTub?... to watch the video of "Fish Head".

#165 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Coming soon (maybe): sleek, sexy space suits!

#166 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:57 AM:


Crossbows at least were in the 1960s Green Beret manuals for sentry removal. A bow is 'silent'. And the mountain tribesmen (Montagnards) of the Central Highlands and Laos used bows.

The story of the bow falling out of use is interesting (see John Guilmartin, Gunpowder and Galleys):

- a bow takes a lifetime of training and practice. A musketeer can be trained in a few weeks. The Tudors struggled via legislation to keep their militia bow-trained (with only mixed success).

- plate armour got good enough to stop arrows at long ranges. So it was more efficient/ economical to switch to arquebuses.

(in the case of naval combat, an arquebus can penetrate a plank, an arrow loses its kinetic energy penetrating a plank).

Then the troops abandoned plate armour, because they weren't fighting bows any more (and musketry had gotten good enough to defeat it). And arquebuses (heavy balls, lots of powder) were replaced by muskets with lighter balls, and less powder (no armour to penetrate)

So by the late 17th century, troops would have again been vulnerable to archery, were there any archers left (in Europe).

In North America, of course, the bow was a staple weapon of warfare until the rise of the smokeless breachloading carbine.

The fantasy thrillers of Glen Cook (especially The Dread Empire but also The Black Company) are quite good on the tactical deployment of archers.

#167 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:58 AM:

165: I like the boots, I must say. My inner Captain Kirk approves.

#168 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Lizzy @100, glad you liked it. I heard of Bratman from Amanda at Ballastexistenz. Orthorexia is one of those concepts that I really appreciate knowing that there's a word for.

Greg @101, sorry I didn't warn on the length of that article. I'm pleased to hear it's pitched at the sort of level you're looking for at the moment. (Now I'm slightly paranoid that I found it originally because of a sidelight or particle here, which would be rather embarrassing.)

Lorax @112, yes, the great-grandmother comment is from the article I linked. It makes a very poor soundbite out of context, but within the setting of the article and not taken too literally, it's sensible advice, as you explain.

MD² and others, I agree that the key thing is to avoid additives that shouldn't be there. If what you want is an icecream cone, then it's supposed to contain a high percentage of fat and a fair amount of sugar. That's healthy, (in moderation, like anything healthy). If what you want is a meat pie, it shouldn't contain sugar, or highly processed fats of dubious origin. Neither of them should contain stuff you can't identify without a serious background in organic chemistry.

A lot of "diet" and "low-fat" (or "low-carb", depending what's trendy right now) alternatives are worse for you than the natural products they replace. You end up ingesting things that the body doesn't easily recognize or process as food, many of which turn out to be poisons on long-term exposure. And even if not, they mess with your body's ability to determine when you've eaten enough of a particular foodstuff.

#169 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 11:20 AM:

#165 - I remember that John W. Campbell was a big fan of the skintight (and not gastight) spacesuit. The argument for not-gastight is thermal control; considering how big a consideration that is for current space-suits, there's a lot for it. Of course, you need a bit of "thermal impedance" to keep warm enough ... maybe a woollen sweater over the skin-tight.

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 11:32 AM:

Faren @ 161... I'd like to see Brian Dennehy join the astronaut corps and try to fit into that skintight PowerRanger thing. I mean, I'd rather not.

#171 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Valuethinker: The ranges at which an arquebus were useful are short enough that a longbow will still go through even the best (e.g. fluted maximillian) armor.

Dave(s): Part of what made the battle of Mons so devastating was that the British practised firing in pairs, with only one memeber of the team firing, while the other was reloading/getting ready.

So the fire, from every point, never slacked.

German reports were of encountering a batallion of machine guns.

But Mons was the death of the British Army, because the training time to replace them wasn't there.

It wasn't just the firing drill, but the sense of identity. Those were professionals. They saw their duty not so much to the country, but to the regiment, and they took insane risks to see the regiment's honour was saved.

It certainly didn't help that the Army didn't think civlilians could be trained to anything like the standard of fire, much less ésprit de corps; which was part of why the insistence on mass attacks, it was all they thought the citizen soldier could do.

As for Gettysburg, the US Civil War was strange, in that it's the only war, since the invention of gunpowder, in which the long arms of the troops killed more than the guns of the artillery.

It led to more skirmishing, and some open order combat (Grant's army, in the Battle of the Wilderness). The rifle musket was effective, in volley, at greater ranges than the cannon of the day. Even at closer ranges the rifle was still problematic (esp. to more open formations) because the rate of fire was so disparate, and at 600 yards a company could shoot a battery to pieces before the battery could do more than kill, at best, a couple of dozen troops.

At Cold Harbor there were several batteries which had the carriage and limbers of the guns knocked to splinters by rifles.

But the european powers wrote it off as a silly artefact of the ignorant Americans, not relevant to a real war; esp. because the new guns weren't vulnerable to rifle fire, so the tried and true ways were once again the way to go.

#172 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 11:56 AM:

ajay #159: I feel like a waterproof copy of The Sorrows of Young Werther would come in handy in a lot of situations. For instance, I could take it outside right now and read it in the rain. You're on to something.

Faren #165: That spacesuit is beautiful. I can't wait to wear one.

#173 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Susan @ #131, thank you! Bookmarked! I particularly like the Legion of Doom ratings, because coverage of Superfriends at Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension is one of my guilty pleasures.

Faren @ #165, that spacesuit is going to spin off multiple technologies of use in physical therapy. For example: compression garments for burn victims (they prevent scar hypertrophy).

#174 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:00 PM:

I don't know if anyone would be interested, but one of my colleagues just showed me this implementation of our search system on a concordant* New Testament. I think it's kinda cool.

* Which is to say, a NT that uses one and only one word to map to each Greek word. To a material degree, anyway.

#175 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Xopher #148:

I still don't know how last week's episode ended (I posted a plea for help over in Abi's living room away from home, but nobody answered before here came back up).

So, can you, or anybody else, make up for some temporal discontinuity and let me know what happened in the last 6-7 minutes of the "Phoenix Rising" episode that the Tivo declined to record? (The last thing we saw was Allison visiting Nathan.)

Mucho thanks.

#176 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:05 PM:

Faren #165:

Any bets on whether Newman read Have Space Suit, Will Travel at an impressionable age?

#177 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:38 PM:

Rumors say that a bow, silent itself (when properly setup), doesn't silence the target nearly so quickly as a "hush puppy" silenced firearm - hence better used on dogs or geese rather than sentries - cf Ruby Ridge.

Not disagreeing for an instant but inviting more comment along the lines of my interest.
#171 - thought the citizen soldier could do

As noted various places here and discussed in other threads command and control for many years involved visual supervision by high command.

High command including prince commanders took the field - for many years sometimes in armor that did provide protection at long visual range - and took to the battlefield - Waterloo was a bet the country battle under direct command in which the respective commanders could see and direct most of the action on the battlefield - granted that off the battlefield action, mostly joining up, could equally affect the battle.

In the fine old military tradition of being prepared to fight previous wars, it has been suggested that among the desiderata of WWI high command was to maintain direct contact from the high command to the individual soldier for purposes of this command and control. And so conceptually each solder advanced trailing a telegraph wire for constant contact all the way to supreme headquarters - only in this way could the hypothetical breakthrough be properly exploited when it came.

Interesting to look at the divide between the citizen soldier and the command in Europe then and ponder the relations between the citizenry and the high command in general.

#171 the US Civil War was strange

My favorite discussion of the shift in tactics forced by the rifled musket is Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage (the thesis explains too much and so weakens the argument by moving beyond tactics to explain grand strategy but a good read filled with lots of references just the same) Offensive tactics, which had been used so successfully by Americans in the Mexican War, were much less effective in the 1860's because an improved weapon, the rifle, had vastly increased the strength of defenders.anon Amazon reviewer

Hence the Southern high command was prepared for their last war and so such things as Pickett's charge with the attendant losses - and again perhaps a willingness by the high command to bleed its own side.

#178 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Abi #174: That's a nice application.

#179 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:12 PM:

I am working up the courage to do a steeked vest or sweater with self-variegating yarn, inspired by the Yarn Harlot's current project

Isn't that thing gorgeous? I'm a sucker for color and I'm trying very hard not to get inspired because I don't need another project right now...

#181 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Jen 155: Ha, I caught it in real time, with no tape! Do I win anything? As for Nathan's, zr arvgure.

joann 175: Gur arj qverpgbe jnf ubyqvat gur byq qverpgbe'f unaq, naq gur furevss fnj vg. Gura ur jrag naq gnyxrq gb gur bgure thl jub erzrzorerq gur bgure gvzryvar, ncbybtvmrq sbe npphfvat uvz, naq fnvq onfvpnyyl qnza guvf fhpxf. Naq gur bgure thl fnvq ur'q vairagrq n zber fcrpvsvp zrzbel-renfvat qrivpr, naq gung gurl fubhyq obgu sbetrg. Gur furevss jnfa'g fher ur jnagrq gb...fb gur bgure thl fnvq "V'yy znxr vg rnfl sbe lbh," naq oynfgrq gur furevss jvgu vg. Nsgre gur furevss yrnirf ur fznfurf gur zrzbel guvat va n entr naq fnlf "V'yy ARIRE sbetrg." Qver zhfvp. Raq bs rc.

#182 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less, by Mark Bittman in the NYT.

For values of "10 Minutes" that probably don't include the water boiling, that is.

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Lila 180: I hope he got an A.

#184 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Lila@180, that's some funny stuff right there.

I can sympathize with exactly that sort of situation he is describing. I recall a school project I had to build an FM modulator and demodulator, from scratch, no IC's to do the work, and the thing was amazingly sensitive to noise, air temperature, proximity of humans, weather patterns, and the beating wings of a butterfly in the south pacific. It would work perfectly one day, and then complete crap the next day. When I was ready to check off with my professor, we sat down, I explained what I did, described the basic design, listed the some of the problems, and when the prof asked to demonstrate on the scope, I said, "well, first we'll have to get everyone to leave the lab". Everyone laughed. I said, "no, seriously".

I think that was my last analog class. I couldn't take it anymore. It's been all digital, all the time, ever since.

#185 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Xopher, I doubt it. I poked around a bit and found his webpage; he did indeed switch majors.

Something to be grateful for in the program from which I recently graduated: good, well-maintained equipment, and appropriate practice subjects (each other).

#186 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:32 PM:

Xopher #181:

Thanks! It makes sense. Now here's a weird question: this is the first Eureka episode I've ever seen. is no help, and as near as I can tell, the site is only doing stuff for the current season. Is there anywhere I can go to get up to speed on certain important details, like who the hell is Henry anyway?

#187 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Kate #182:

Looks like we have a shared problem vis-a-vis Edouard de Pomaine's French Cooking in Ten Minutes

#188 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Faren Miller writes in #165:

Coming soon (maybe): sleek, sexy space suits!

So I pointed out on 16 May.

Apparently MIT has seen fit to issue a press release, so we're seeing some news coverage of the Biosuit. Note that they haven't built an entire suit, just an arm here or a leg there, and so the photos show a sort of mock-up of a suit.

It may also interest you to know that the institute that financed this research, along with some of Jordin Kare's propulsion work and other advanced spaceflight studies, will close its doors permanently next month. NASA needs the money for other stuff.

#189 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:42 PM:

joann @ 186... who the hell is Henry anyway?

He's a scientist, like everybody in Eureka who's not the sherriff or the sherriff's daughter. I'm not sure that the town's dog isn't a scientist either.

#190 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:50 PM:

joann @ 186


Henry is the genius do-everything engineer, who used to work for NASA. He tinkers.

The sheriff is a former US Marshal who wandered in (with his teenaged daughter) and stayed - he's actually slow compared with the rest of the community.

The red-headed shrink is a Bad Guy for whom you should not feel sorry, since she's killed a few people already.

Stark is a sort-of-bad guy for whom you can feel sorry, but don't make a habit of it, since he gets into trouble quite well on his own.

Fargo gets into trouble very well, because he doesn't think before acting; he's a sucker for stuff because he likes feeling Important.

#191 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Serge #189, PJEvans #190:

Thanks ever so. Why does the kid Kevin need occu[ational therapy? Or is this not a plot point?

#192 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 03:57 PM:

PJ@190, is that "The 4400"? Oh, wait, no, that's "Eureka", the other version.

Whatever zeitgeist we've got going on right now, (I think it's Harry Potter overflow), I'm not sure I like it.

#193 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:03 PM:

joann... PJ forgot to mention the Evil AI House that the sherriff lives in. As for why the kid needs therapy, I don't know, but, considering that one episode ended with his making a putty rendition of Level Five's Artefact, we haven't seen the last of him.

#194 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:04 PM:

joann 191: Kevin has Something Wrong With Him. They haven't said what. He IS one of the geniuses, but he's autistic (or something).

Greg 192: The 4400 have weird powers because of where they were taken. The inhabitants of Eureka have come there because they have weird powers (mostly just being really, really smart).

If that's not enough of a mnemonic for you, try this: Eureka is smart and funny, while The 4400 is stupid and boring.

#195 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:14 PM:

Serge #193:

"Evil AI House"?

Does it suffer from poltergeist events?

#196 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:22 PM:

joann @ 195... The house's problem is that someone cut corners by having its sickeningly helpful persona built on top of an earlier warmachine AI. There was one episode that showed that this is not a Good Idea.

#197 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:26 PM:

MD² waaay back @ #90: I think Faith Hill looks just fine in the non-retouched picture. I get frustrated with young people that don't realize the huge amount of work that goes into pictures they see in magazines, versus snapshots taken on the fly.

Xopher @ #194: Hey, don't go knocking my 4400! I am frustrated as all get out with the pacing.

#198 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Also: the evil AI house (I just think its priorities are a little off) is SARAH, and Fargo wants to get the rights to use Sarah Michelle Gellar's voice for the house.

Stark is who Rodney McKay would have grown up to be if he was tall, dark, and handsome (or had started to shave before he got his first PhD).

Also, about independant experiments in aid of education: my last semester at WSU I attempted to run a simulation to test one parameter of an elaborate computer model which was supposed to map hunter-gatherer population change onto an optimal environment with a coherant settlement system. The project was chosen with the purpose of helping me understand the author's definition of the decision matrix around mating and reproduction. Problem was, using his assumptions about mortality rates and population size, I could not keep the model going long enough to test anything: his figures resulted in population extinction in five-ten years.

I can only assume this was a useful thing to prove, as I got an A- in the graduate seminar class.

#199 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:38 PM:

Tania... I've been a fan from the 4400 since the beginning. I was a bit dubious about the new season because it was feeling like a retread of the original what-superpower-did-this-person-get stories but without the lost-years aspect. Luckily there has since then been the episode where the heroine's sister acquired the power to make people tell the truth. That being said, I want Alice Krige to come back.

#200 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Serge: I missed Sunday night's episode, but hope to catch it this evening. Sometimes I feel like we're having "as you know, Bob..." episodes, and want a bit more forward movement.

However, I did like how April negotiated a clothing allowance. Very nice.

Our mystery cable has gone away again, so I missed Eureka this week. And John is mourning the absence of TCM from our screen.

#201 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Yeah, I forgot about Kevin. Autistic, I think, but otherwise a genius; he can remember stuff he's seen and reproduce it perfectly, if it's treated as art.

Taggart, the weird pseudo-Aussie who's great with animals and has real trouble with people (which is why he's usually out in the woods).

The guy who runs the restaurant and can make pretty nearly anything you ask for.

The deputy sheriff who's an ex-Ranger and gives the sheriff a hard time about the really exotic weapons stored in the (very odd) gun safe.

(You know, Eureka looks like a fun place to live, if it doesn't kill you first. A lot of residents seem to be redshirts.)

#202 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 04:53 PM:

PJ, your mention of the gun safe and a couple of other things makes me ask: what happened to the last sheriff, or is this Not A Good Question?

#203 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:05 PM:

joann, my memory is not what it was, but it seems to me that the old sheriff, played by Maury Chaykin, wanted to retire and was pretty much a party to the run-around that got the new Sheriff to take the job.

And Jo, the Deputy Sheriff, is a complex and fascinating woman, to say the least (and the closest thing to Aeryn Sun currently available on TV).

#204 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:10 PM:

(Reminder to self: writing doesn't combine well with a discussion of how far it is from Grants Pass to Portland, especially when the latter is extended to searching the assorted atlases around my feet).

Please excuse random and senseless acts of capitalization.

#205 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:11 PM:

JESR @ 203... Has Jo mellowed out, or am I imagining things?

#206 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:12 PM:

JESR #203:

Ah. I was afraid that something truly abominable must have happened to the last guy. Maybe that would have been too obvious.

Thanks, everybody, for all the expo.

#207 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Ah, the old sheriff. He got munged up by the time machine in the very first episode (it ate his lower legs) and that's why he retired. That was after it ate a dog and half an RV. (That was Wally's (or was it Walt?) pet project. It ate him too; the last itme we saw him they were still trying to get him back to normal time. Wally's wife got killed by the shrink, who was afraid she'd talk.)

Not your average SF show. Characters with pasts, conflicts, motives, all kinds of potential futures.

#208 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:21 PM:

Stark is who Rodney McKay would have grown up to be if he was tall, dark, and handsome (or had started to shave before he got his first PhD).

There is, you will probably not be surprised to learn, Atlantis/Eureka crossover fanfic. Some of it's a lot of fun too, at least if you like slash.

#209 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:25 PM:

Kate #182:

Now that I've gotten round to actually reading the article, I'm way impressed. I noted that there was a link for readers to share their 10-minute meals. I'm not about to float my ideas all over a Newspaper Of Record, but I'm quite willing to expose them to the gentle light of the Fluorosphere.

Any takers?

To get the ball rolling, I'll offer:

* half a tin of sardines (I like mine with the hot sauce) over pasta, cheese on top. (Serves 1; my other half is too appalled, but the cat is intrigued.)

* nachos (more prep time, very little cooking time): spread restaurant-style flour tortilla chips with bean dip (I use Guiltless Gourmet spicy), place on cookie sheet, sprinkle with grated cheddar and/or jack, top with jalapeno slices. Broil until bubbly.

#210 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Jen Roth, I'm hoping Rageprufrock picks up that particular genre again, myself; the stuff she wrote last year ("Summerhouse" was one) was a right giggle. There are links to it somewhere in this thread at the S'cubie Board.

I particularly cherish Fargo's reaction to the news that McKay will be working at Global Dynamics.

#211 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Serge @205, we have yet to see enough of Jo this year for my requirements; I suspect there's a lot of the first two episodes which was put there to attract viewers who missed last season.

#212 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 06:53 PM:

joann @ #209: My bachelor night alone favorite:

1 can tuna
soy sauce
sesame oil

Pour over hot rice. Yum.

Clean the fridge quesadilla surprise is fun:
odd condiments/sides that need used: capers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.
Combine ingredients on the premise of "if it works on a salad or in another dish, try it on a quesadilla".

I've never tried pickles on a quesadilla, but after the raclette thread, I'm tempted. I'm not sure how tempted, but tempted naetheless.

#213 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 07:10 PM:

That was a great link! I've just been trying to come up with feasible light summer dinners; not too filling, not too time consuming. I've gotten tired of all my old tricks and after a while, everything starts to taste the same, since I've been using the same seasonings for everything. I'm also trying to get away from the crappy frozen blocks of salty fat that are my fall-back in the summer.

I will happily steal any recipe someone posts here.

#214 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 07:24 PM:

There are (incredibly brief) summaries of Eureka's first season episodes at IMDB - here.

The first season is available via iTunes, and they have some info on each episode there, too. (But there isn't a season pass option for season 2 yet. And the second episode isn't up yet. Shoot.)

#215 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 08:06 PM:

Not-so-idle linguistic curiosity...

I know that Godwin's Law, roughly stated, says that in an online discussion, whoever is the first to bring in a Hitler/Nazi comparison has lost the argument, and that no further meaningful discussion can be had after this occurs.* Is there any equivalent shorthand description for the first person to use an Ayn Rand reference in support of their ill-thought-out position?

* With obvious exceptions for things like James Dobson saying that gays should be made to wear identifying labels. When someone is advocating a thing that only the Nazis have done in recent history, Godwin's Law does not apply to people pointing this out!

#216 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 08:27 PM:

Lee @ #215, well, if there isn't, you can be the first. Galt's Law, perhaps?

#217 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 08:54 PM:

Linkmeister #216: As Godwin's Law is named for its formulator, I think a Law regarding references to Ayn Rand should be called Lee's Law.

#218 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:00 PM:

is there a godwin's law for orwell quotes/references?

cause boy do those get an argument nowhere. & right & left seem to be equally fond of them.....

#219 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:02 PM:

PJ waaaay back @129 -- if you want to use old-fashioned peanut butter, there is a device (not a jackhammer) which may be of some assistance. It's a lid with a built-in stirrer through the top. I haven't tried this, but it looks workable.
Peanut Butter Mixer

If you're really dedicated to the proposition, you can also throw some peanuts and salt into a food processor and grind your own -- but we've clearly left the realm of convenience food behind at that point.

#220 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:13 PM:

#209: I put sardines with hot sauce on rice.

And a little kim chi if I have it on hand.

#221 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:35 PM:

Fragano, ok by me, although there may be other laws with the same name. That's partly why I picked the one I did.

#222 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:37 PM:

Annie's Mac and Cheese - doesn't have the horrible metallic tang of Kraft etc. - with mango chutney.

I also love mango chutney on buttered toast, or English muffins.

#223 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Open thread topic sidetrack: I just ran into the problem cited below with my pocket-sized Canon Powershot SD110 digital camera.

In the first half of October, 2005, a number of digital camera and camcorder manufacturers issued service advisories involving a range of digital camera models (as well as some digital camcorders and PDAs that incorporate image sensors). In each case, the story was similar - CCD (image sensor) failures, particularly in conditions of high heat and humidity, led to cameras capturing images with either no picture at all, or with extreme distortion and severe purple or green color casts.

Further info here.

In my case the playback mode showed pictures from the memory card just fine, but when I moved to record mode the LCD monitor was black.

The good news is that if your camera is on the list the company will usually repair it for free, regardless of warranty status (although different companies may have slightly different policies).

I took mine in and was told it would have to be shipped to the Mainland for repair, but I'd have it back in 2-3 weeks free of charge.

#224 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:45 PM:

About a Godwin's Law equivalent for Ayn Rand, the closest I can get, currently, is The Fair and Balanced Ordinance.

Warning: the Jurisimprudence Wiki crashed Safari, so if you can move to another browser, it may be wise to do so before clicking that link.

#225 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:46 PM:

About a Godwin's Law equivalent for Ayn Rand, the closest I can get, currently, is The Fair and Balanced Ordinance.

Warning: the Jurisimprudence Wiki crashed Safari, so if you can move to another browser, it may be wise to do so before clicking that link.

#226 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:17 PM:

Victor & PJ @219: If you're getting real peanut butter (the kind that has oil that separates out while it waits on the shelf for you to come take it home), a colleague gave me this hint: buy it a few days before you need it, and store it upside down for a couple days before you open it.

The oil will have at least partially migrated upward into the peanut butter, making the stirring operation much simpler.

#227 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:37 PM:

Joe @ 226

My mother used that trick. It works, for a while. Then you have to get out the jackhammer again.

I figure as long as I don't go overboard on regular pb or other high-fat stuff, I'm reasonably safe. I'm much more likely to get gallstones than fall over from clogged arteries - my mother, again.

#228 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:43 PM:

JESR: Pru's stories were the ones I was going to rec, of course.

Thanks for the link to the S'cubie thread; I'll have to dig into it to see if there's anything I missed

#229 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:43 PM:

JESR: Pru's stories were the ones I was going to rec, of course.

Thanks for the link to the S'cubie thread; I'll have to dig into it to see if there's anything I missed.

#230 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Um, given the news of a chunk of Manhattan goin' all splody and stuff, is everyone in that neck o' the woods ok?

#231 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 12:41 AM:

Lila @180


I couldn't stop laughing for almost 5 minutes. Good thing I wasn't drinking at the time.

This relation between temperature and resistivity can be shown to be exponential in certain temperature regimes by waving your hands and chanting "to first order"

After reading this gem, I formulated a converse of Clarke's Law: "Any sufficiently advanced performance of ceremonial magic is indistinguishable from technology."

#233 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:47 AM:

Lee #215:

What are the effects?

a. People who think Rand was God feel obliged to jump on the bandwagon, while singing hosanahs?

b. People who think Rand was the Devil feel obliged to disagree, while saying something snarky about Rand calculated to cause group (a) to start flaming wildly?

c. People who read some of Rand's stuff, think she had some interesting ideas/points but wasn't God, maybe get some reference from the conversation and move it along?

d. People who never read anything by her scratch their heads, say "huh?", and skip to the next message?

(c) and (d) don't hurt anything, but (a) and (b) seem like they belong in a more generic category.
Maybe invocation of faith. I say something which requires members of a certain faith to feel obliged to speak up, and which polarizes a discussion along these lines. Useful conversation ends as people choose up sides, neutrals and sensible people flee, and flamage commences.

There are all kinds of examples of this, and it's based on community beliefs/assumptions. I've made reference to Rand's writing before, but as there's not a large community of her followers here, it doesn't seem to do much polarizing. (In other communities, it would have a different impact.) In some communities, fairly common comments about Christian fundamentalists here would be polarizing comments that would lead to a flamewar. And so on.

ISTM that intentional polarizing comments are made to kill a discussion, or to draw in help when losing the argument. And sometimes, they're made unintentionally, leading to a sort of brushfire.

#234 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:55 AM:

Anti-politics: A political system or belief that relies on people not behaving like distinguishable individuals who can make their own decisions. The use of a simplified economic model in political debate may be argued about.

#235 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:58 AM:

I just found out that Alasdair Gray has posted two very nice BBC documentaries about his work. Highly recommended to his fans.

#236 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:13 AM:

Appropos of nothing:,,2129738,00.html

I'm sure I remember reading about something similar done in the US? Not that I'm convinced the trick demonstrates what its author thinks it does. Or indeed anything.

#237 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 08:21 AM:

It occurs to me that any movie could be changed to match the end of The Usual Suspects

#238 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Russ @ 236: Yes, that one's been pulled off many times before (and has been covered here, I believe, if only my Google Fu were up to the task of tracking down links). The question is, do the journalists writing these things really think what they're doing is original or meaningful in any way?

A thought: perhaps they're doing it as an exercise in Godel-Escher-Bach-style self-reference. They submit the story to their editors, who are too ill-versed to recognise the blatant unoriginality of the idea, so they print the stupid thing. Our expressions of outrage here then neatly mirror the ones in the story and voila, the circle is closed. Anyone want to say "I was staggered" to start the ball rolling?

#239 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:27 AM:

Dave Bell @#237: Return of the Jedi would have been cooler this way...instead of doing it backwards, with you-know-who becoming all nice and shit.

#240 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:27 AM:

Dave@237: Usual Suspects.

I was more than a little dissapointed by that film. I can't come up with any reason for the guy to bother going to the police and telling them, indirectly, that he is He Who Shall Not Be Named. If he's supposed to be hyper intelligent, I'd think he'd either disappear before hand, or go in and tell them nothing and dissappear after.

Plus, by the time the credits roll, I was thinking "Then what was the point of all that stuff before hand?"

But yeah, I think any story could end with the Usual Suspects ending mainly because there wasn't anything in the ending that was signalled by the rest of the movie. it was sort of deus ex machina, if you ask me.

As for Mister Potter, as someone who has seen every movie before reading the books, and who hasn't read all the books, I just want to get it over with. The movies, without reading the books first, are pretty flat, the "Phoenix" being the worst so far.

I've read the first two books so far. I've decided that I'm not going to bother reading the rest until I know Rowling doesn't jump the shark in the ending. She reminds me of another author (who shall remain nameless) who has a word smithing style that I love to read, but who can't seem to come up with a sensible/interesting/logical/non-shark-jumping ending in anything of theirs that I've read.

#241 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:29 AM:

I don't suppose it would have occurred to either the reporter or the clown pulling this stunt that the probable cause is the slush reader thinking, "Aye aye, another loony. Thanks but no thanks. No other comment, because it only encourages them."

No, suppose not.

#242 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Xopher: Eureka is smart and funny, while The 4400 is stupid and boring.

I've probably seen three episodes of 4400, and the last one ended with me thinking, "why was I watching this?"

I need to reprogram the DVR to grab Eureka instead of 4400. As soon as I get a DVR.

#243 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:58 AM:

joann (#209): pre-made broth (generally from cooking a poule-au-pot, but I also sometimes use shiitake dashi) saved in the fridge + some rice + offal to make a quick rice soup.

Russ (#236): the trick is so common here it's more than probably done at least once a year (or maybe it's just the same article being recycled again and again, wouldn't put that past some papers people, given what I know from my dealings with a few of them).
Someone should point to them that, practical and economical constrainsts aside, there still are many reasons why highly successful and/or meriting authors from the past might not get published today.
Just because they're good doesn't mean they're marketable. How many "great classics" wouldn't even be sold today, hadn't they been recognised by competent authorities as belonging to a pool of meriting works that need to be read/studied ?
Just because they were significant to the general public at the time they were published doesn't mean they still are.
Just because no comments were made by the editor doesn't mean the fraud wasn't identified.

But I guess it's more fun to flatter readers by propagating the idea that the art world is mainly composed of a bunch of overpaid cynical idiots that couldn't find great (make it "good", great is rare enough that we can spare them, can we ?) art if it kept coming back to punch them in the gut every morning.

Andy Wilton (#238): love that self-reference theory. Makes the world a much better and interesting place than mine.

#244 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:01 AM:

Bill Higgins (#188) Oops, sorry I missed your earlier reference! But with things apparently shutting down, I guess we may have to wait for the haute couteur designers to produce it instead. (Just saw the BBC show about them and their immensely well-heeled fans on PBS last night, and some of the prices for *those* clothes seemed astronomical, even if not quite the crazy amounts of everything NASA seems to do.)

#245 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Well, the original Godwin's law simply refers to the increasing certainty of Hitler references *showing up* in an increasingly long thread. The bit about the argument being over (and lost) at that point is the better-known corollary.

Rand references seem to work differently. The corollary still seems to hold (at least in any forum with more than a smidgen of Rand devotees), but the base law doesn't-- at least in most forums I've seen, Rand doesn't seem to have the same tendency to eventually pop up as Hitler does.

Basically, I think there's a breadth-vs.-depth difference here; everyone knows and (almost everyone) loathes Hitler, and he's generally treated as an epitome of modern evil. Relatively few people care about Rand, but those that do tend to get passionate about her.

There's a class of subjects that work a bit like flypaper: to riff on the original Godwin's law, as mentions of a "flypaper" subject increase in a forum, the odds of it being dislodged (at least in an unmoderated, active forum) approach 0.

The first flypaper subject identified by Usenet admins was abortion (see the history of net.abortion et al.) Ayn Rand also probably falls into this category: once she *does* pop up, she can stick, either from Rand devotees and detractors in the forum battling it out, or (in sufficiently high-profile forums) from Rand devotees airdropping in to defend her and her doctrines.

And I think we can thank Godwin's Law itself (and its propagation) for preventing Hitler from being flypaper in online forums.

#246 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Russ@236: he did not change the opening line, one of the most famous in world literature: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

If I were an agent and saw that line, I'd think the person submitting it was quite unoriginal, and therefore not someone I'd want to represent. Same goes for all the times I hear Shakespeare getting quoted. Or any other classic work.

I'd be thinking "Write your own damn lines", not "Ah HA! He wants to see if I recognize a good novel, as if the original had never been published." Only problem is, the original WAS published, and that reduces any interest in any book that happens to be just like it.

An author's job is not only to write stuff that is "good", but also to write stuff that is "new".

Imagine an article about some guy who submitted a patent application for vacuum tubes, and when the patent office rightly rejects the patent, the article uses that to say that the patent office doesn't respect new inventors. That's basically the argument being presented here.

#247 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 11:19 AM:

MD² @ 243: Just because they were significant to the general public at the time they were published doesn't mean they still are.

This reminds me of Milan Kundera's argument in Le Rideau about the importance of context to a work of art: he says that a work of Beethoven, if newly created today, would be "perceived as ridiculous, false, incongruous, even monstruous"*. In other words, anyone who didn't recognise the Austen would be perfectly right to reject it anyway.

Dave Luckett @ 241: Bending over backwards to give the reporter the benefit of the doubt, he may have missed the obvious explanation simply because the slush reader's behaviour (ignoring a loony so as not to encourage that kind of thing) is the exact opposite of standard UK journalistic practice. I mean, if you ignore lunacy and it really does go away, what are you going to write about instead?

* "ressenti comme ridicule, faux, incongru, voire monstrueux" - that man's French is a continuing admonishment to me on my own clumsiness. Still, I can honestly say that I never thought I'd be able to read him in the original: of course, it helps that he changed languages sometime in the 90s. :)

#248 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 12:10 PM:

#236 - The thing I noticed in that Guardian article that I hadn't seen before is that one rejection letter says "It seems like a really original and interesting read."

Which to me says that Penguin need to rewrite their form rejection letter, or alternatively, the journalist missed the reader's irony.

I think the way to do the experiment properly is to set up two (or more) large modern english-speaking civilizations that have no direct connections, then try to sell bestsellers/classics/critically acclaimed work from one into the other*. Or has someone come up with that idea and turned into a story already?

* Has anyone read any books that seem to come from another universe? Other than Ayn Rand, obviously.

#249 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 12:23 PM:

Linkmeister #221: My older son describes Godwin as a dragon who, unleashed by gratuitous references to Hitler, devastates villages.

#250 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 12:39 PM:

A book review in the New York Times about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

He says he bought the book at a local store, so that makes it OK. I'm surprised Rowling and company managed to keep it under wraps as long as they did. Information wants to be free, and all that.

#251 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Greg 250: A friend who works in a library has just barely kept it from being put out prematurely, at least twice. The new hires don't quite get that "If you have it and a customer wants it, give it to them" doesn't work with books. I suspect that's what happened in that bookstore.

If the bookstore (or a library) gets caught at it, the fines are five figures, I'm told.

#252 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:11 PM:

#250: According to an msnbc story, Rowling is a bit miffed that the NYTimes published an early review.

Amazon just sent me email that my copy is being prepared for shipment.

I picture a chain of giganormous UPS cargo-blimps lined up in the sky over Amazon's secure storage facility* in Nevada, being loaded one by one with palettes of Harry Potter #7 under the watchful eye of bonded security guards.

* Which, now that the Potter series is over, will be turned over to Halliburton to use as an Undisclosed Location.

#253 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Xopher @251 -- Part of the problem here is that the books are being sold in stores that aren't regular bookstores.

Last time some drug store sold copies early because the clerks weren't aware of the release date policy.

I'm just staying away from any website that might 'spoil' the book. The hardest decision I'll have when I get my copy is controlling my desire to sneak a peak at the ending.

#254 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:15 PM:

the fines are five figures, I'm told.

Uh, figure skating, stick figure, action figure, figure of speech...

hm. I wonder what the fifth one is.

#255 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:23 PM:

Greg 254: hm. I wonder what the fifth one is.

Go figure.

#256 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:23 PM:

Greg London @ 254... I wonder what the fifth one is.

Claudia Black's, maybe?

#257 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Oh, for CHRIST's SAKE . . . Fox News reports that watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood ruined a generation of kids because Fed told them that they were special:

Yeah, Fred Roger's empathy and kind words could go a long way to explaining why I feel like repeatedly whacking Fox News commentators in the face with a greasy moped chain.

#258 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 257... Do they also blame the Sesame Street Gang?

#259 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Have you guys heard about these three Welshmen that invented a device and developed a process to convert motor vehicle emissions into bio-diesel? I blog about here and the original story from Reuters is here. Sometimes I may be fatally optimistic, but, well, what can I say. I really hope this takes off; it could change the world (for the better, for once).

#260 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Just looked at the "rice glutton" critters. They're cute. I was really expecting some pictures of things that greedily eat rice and won't stop until they die. You know, a warning about pets or something.

Really funny.

#261 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Xopher: Go figure.

I wonder if that's a recursive call.

Serge: Claudia Black's, maybe?

I decline to answer that question on the grounds that it might incriminate me.

#262 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Stephen Jones, I guess the writer missed the "What do you do with the mad that you feel, when you feel so mad you can bite" song, then?

Which I've been humming to myself a lot this week, especially Monday, when it was 85F and about a thousand percent relative humidity, I was trying to write, and there were four other people in the house all working on a different piece of my last nerve.

#263 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:53 PM:

The NYT review didn't have anything I'd regard as a spoiler in it. I just finished rereading book six at lunch today so as to be prepared to spend Saturday reading book seven. I also had a nice phone call with Amazon in which I explained to them that UPS does not deliver to PO Boxes and they explained that they have a nifty operation going with UPS handing off to USPS, the explanation of which was unfortunately too long to fit in the margin of the form-email. So to the fleet of brown blimps, we can also add light blue blobs of postal workers madly fanning out across the landscape.

I am suffering from some literary whiplash at having read both HP6 and Glasshouse in the same 24-hour period. (Note to self: the next time you get the urge to read all the novel nominees, allow more than five weeks for the task.)

#264 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Greg 261: I wonder if that's a recursive call.

Only if I yell it at you more than once.

#265 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 01:59 PM:

Random unanswerable query: I grant that I had a long stretch during which fantasy was not on my radar, but how is it that Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry trilogy has escaped me until now? Was I the only one of the broader public sucked in by Book One? (Sucked in has the value of "reading it straight through from 10:30pm - 2:30am last night.")

#266 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Weirdnesses in life lately:

(1) Claudia Christian, drunk as a skunk and not nearly as entertaining as she thinks she is.

(2) Being nicknamed Romana in my office after someone actually picked up a Who reference.

(3) Realizing that this cool and very danceable bit of music is actually a hymn.

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Greg London @ 261... I decline to answer that question on the grounds that it might incriminate me.

I don't think anybody would hold Claudia's figure against you.

#268 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Stefan Jones #257: And racial sensititivy can be blamed on Kermit the Frog singing 'It's not easy being green'?

#269 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Lori @ #253: I'm avoiding anything spoilerish. Which means I've crossed my eyes while looking at a screen until I closed the window so I couldn't read the text.

I'm helping out with a bookstore's party tomorrow night, and working on a Tonks costume for the event. I'm probably about 10 years too old, and a little bit too curvaceous/upholstered to be Tonks, but she is a shapeshifter...

#270 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:03 PM:

Serge: I don't think anybody would hold Claudia's figure against you.

must... resist... naughty... pun... must... resist...

#271 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:03 PM:

Susan #266: #(3) would be 'Simple Gifts'?

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Greg London @ 270... Resistance is futile.

#273 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:07 PM:

Greg #254:


#274 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Susan #263: The NYT review didn't have anything I'd regard as a spoiler in it.

Good. After upthread, I was afraid I'd have to avoid the Arts section today.

#275 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Fragano @ #271:

No, I knew about that one, and prefer it with the "Lord of the Dance" lyrics. This one is "In the Name of the Dance". Poor dance, it gets so overloaded with metaphor.

You don't have to speak, you can do it in the Dance
You don't have to hide, you are safe within the Dance
All of us are free in the heart of the Dance
So mote it be in the name of the Dance

#276 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Serge: My husband would like to hold Claudia's figure against himself. Thoroughly. If he did, she'd probably kick his ass.

Fragano @ #267: Illiteracy and obesity blamed on "C is for cookie"?

Linkmeister @ #265: GGK sucks me in every time. I adore the series because of reasons that might be considered spoilerish. If you haven't read Tigana, check it out next. Until I listed to an Agony Column interview with GGK, I never thought of Tigana as being an allegorical tale of genocide.
::slaps forehead and says 'duh'::

#277 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Susan #275: Alas, I'm not familiar with it.

#278 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:21 PM:

joann Good. After upthread, I was afraid I'd have to avoid the Arts section today.

Oh, sorry, should have mentioned that part.

It does delve into some details, explaining the phrase "and the deathly hallows", and giving a slightly more specific body count than Rowling did (For Pete's sake, it's like the military reporting casualties, "light", "heavy", or something), but nothing I'd call a spoiler.

#279 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Tania #276: And innumeracy blamed on The Count.

#280 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:23 PM:

It's not completely information-free, but it doesn't drop any hints about how things actually end. Two of the three pieces of concrete information in it were clearly stated at the end of book six. I suppose the third (what a "Deathly Hallow", as in the title, is) might make especially spoiler-sensitive people twitch, but it didn't bug me. There is also a mention of a major plot fork, but it doesn't say which fork is followed. And Rowling has made no secret of the fact that major characters will die, so the fact that the review notes that some do is not too problematic; it does not specify which.

If you're trying to maintain total information lockdown, avoid the review.

#281 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:26 PM:

And innumeracy blamed on The Count.

Hey, I can count just fine. The only problem is whenever I count out loud, I have an uncontrollable to insert a vampiric laugh.

One.. Two.. Three.. Ha ha ha... Four... Five...

#282 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Fragano @ #277:

Well, it only just came out. I provided a link above if you want to hear an excerpt.

#283 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:31 PM:

I didn't like the Fionavar books that much - too much the Tolkien pastiches. But I love The Lions of Al-Rassan and was reasonably pleased with The Song of Arbonne. They're supposedly making a movie of Lions, which I both anticipate and dread. Tigana has been bouncing around my to-read pile forever.

#284 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Wild guesses at Deathly Hallows plot twists designed to mask actual spoilers:

Bill & Fleur's wedding crashed by [REDACTED]

Aunt Petunia discovers latent magical powers, saves Harry's ass.

Dumbledore's shade orders Harry to study with Hogwarts' professor turned hermit, now living in a swamp in Cornwall.

Draco, reduced to taking evening classes at the Islington Community Magick College, takes on soccer hooligans and has the snot beat out of him.

Hermione strangles Black family house elf; frames Percy.

We meet Murray Cooper, an American wizard, whose familiar is a possum.

Last Horcrux is a cute bunny which Harry is forced to beat to death with a chamber pot.

#285 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Greg London #281: Ah, now there's the problem.

#286 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Tania @ 276... My husband would like to hold Claudia's figure against himself. Thoroughly. If he did, she'd probably kick his ass.

And well she should although I am having difficulties visualizing how that'd work out. Claudia must be very flexible.

#287 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:42 PM:

I gather that Fionavar was early on in Kay's career, and that he worked on The Silmarillion. It seems understandable he'd have some carry-over influence, if that's true.

Anyway, once I finish this set, it's on to his later works, which get universally high praise over at Library Thing.

#288 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:43 PM:

I liked Fionavar, and while I have a couple of quibbles with it, it completely won my heart with the scene about the dog at the end...

#289 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:47 PM:

Susan #283L Tigana has been bouncing around my to-read pile forever.

Well, move it to the front. Now. It will make a great after-wotsis to HP. (I actually found it as intense as Glasshouse, but MMV.)

Tigana is one of my top re-read books, and is right up there for desert-island action. (In fact, I once took it to a Large Bunch of Islands and Bridges where I didn't expect to find much fiction in English.)

#290 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:51 PM:

After I read HP7 on Saturday, I still have to read the Novik before the Hugo voting deadline on 7/31. Then I will probably read the rest of that trilogy. Then I have two more library books (one of which is Accelerando). Tigana isn't even on the radar at the moment.

#291 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Well, a family in India has found a simple, yet elegant solution to the problem of the elderly, by dumping their dear grandmother in a trash heap. We in America warehouse our elderly like civilized folk so that they can die in pools of their own filth of infected bedsores crawling with maggots and fire ants. Much, much preferable to a trash heap out in the open, where your best hope is to get rained on while waiting to die of starvation.

That's what I get for reading BBS News, I suppose....

#292 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:56 PM:

It will make a great after-wotsis to HP.

a great after whatsis?

#293 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Yes, the problem is usually with smaller drug stores, etc. Any bookseller that sells HP7 before midnight Friday (or rather, midnight Saturday) probably shouldn't be a bookseller any longer.

I have to work at my bookstore Friday morning and then at our party that evening. I'm going to spend the interim at the theater watching Order of the Phoenix, just so I don't embarrass myself too much talking to customers. Never read them, you see.

Greg@250, Michiko Kakutani is a woman. Quite a polarizing figure, too, seeing as how powerful her opinions are.

I've always wanted one of the suits Robinson talks about in the Mars trilogy. Plus, green visors are the kewlest. Is that a specific sort of UV filter, or is it designed to fight off some sort of red-fatigue that might trouble Martian colonists?

And I agree that mention of Orwell's 1984 is a similar conversation ender. If you're going to make extreme comparisons, why not use 1937 Russia? Using Orwell just makes his book, really one of my favorites, a punchline. The upside, I guess, is that it does make people curious. Sold a copy to a vapid woman the other day who had to pull out a scrap of paper to remember what it was she had been recommended*. Even then, she asked for 1985. I hope she actually reads it.

*I don't have my stylebook handy. Any thoughts on whether I can use this construction?

#294 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:08 PM:

So, having not read the book, but just seen the "Phoenix" movie, maybe this is explained in the novel:

Jura Uneel unf ivfvbaf bs Fvevhf orvat gbegherq ol Ibyqrzbeg ng gur zvavfgel bs zntvp, qbrf guvf bpphe va n havirefr jurer Rzcver Fgevxrf Onpx qbrf abg rkvfg?

V zrna, ernyyl, ubj uneq jbhyq vg unir orra gb znxr n pnyy gb fbzrbar bire ng gur Cubravk urnqdhnegref gb svaq bhg gung Fvevhf vf fvccvat zbpun naq zhapuvat n jrer-ovfphvg? Cevaprff Yrvn, V zrna, Urezvbar rira fnlf "Vg znl or na Rzcvevny genc". Juvpu fur nggrzcgrq gb qb va Rzcver Fgevxrf Onpx nf gur Fgbezgebbcref ner qenttvat ure njnl. ("Yhxr! Genc! ... Genc!") Ohg ng yrnfg gurl jrer ernyyl orvat gbegherq.

Vs gurl unq gur gvzr gb sneg nebhaq gnxvat gur rivy ynql va cvax gb gur Qnex Sberfg, trg ure unhyrq njnl ol pragnhef, svaq fbzr jvatrq ubefrf bs gur ncbpbylcfr, fnqqyr hc gur tnat, naq syl gb Ybaqba, juvpu ol genva gnxrf n pbhcyr ubhef, gura pbhyqa'g nalbar or obgurerq jvgu n sevpxra GRYRCUBAR!!!!

Be gur zntvpny rdhvinyrag?


#295 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Earl @ #291, I understand and agree with your indignation aimed at both American and Indian neglect of the elderly, but since my own mother died (aged 89) in an assisted living facility under hospice care two weeks ago, can I make a plea for gentleness if this topic continues?


#296 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Gursky@293 -- I think you need an indirect object for 'recommend', and that your construction instead uses this customer as a direct object. But mostly it feels wrong.

#297 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Yeah, that was exactly my question, Victor. As strnge as it sounds, "what it was she had had recommended to her" is pretty clunky. My question was whether I could get away with streamlining it by cutting the indirect object and use just the passive. I think I like it better, but maybe that's exactly because its a neologism.

#298 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:24 PM:


Uneel frevbhfyl qvfgehfgf gur Zvavfgel. Jub jbhyq ur pnyy?

#299 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:31 PM:


Vg'f rfgnoyvfurq va rneyvre obbxf gung jvmneqf qba'g unir cubarf naq qba'g xabj ubj gb hfr cubarf - Ze. Jrnfyrl nggrzcgf gb pnyy gur Qhefyrl erfvqrapr jvgu irel onq erfhygf.

Urezvbar naq Uneel obgu xabj nobhg naq ner noyr gb hfr cubarf, ohg vs gur jvmneqvat pbzzhavgl va trareny qbrfa'g hfr gurz, gurer cebonoyl nera'g nal rvgure ng Ubtjnegf be ng gur Oynpx erfvqrapr/BC UD.

Gung vfa'g gbb fnl guvf vfa'g xvaq bs n cybg ubyr, ohg vg'f orra gbb ybat fvapr V ernq gur obbx gb xabj jurgure vg'f orggre nqqerffrq va grkg.

#300 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Susan Poter @ 263

Brings to mind some interesting mashups:

Harry Potter and the Router Virus of Doom

Harry Potter and the Open Sourcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Redaction of Memory

#301 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Greg @294:

Va gur abiry (V unira'g frra gur zbivr lrg) Uneel hfrf n zntvpny pbzzhavpngvba zrgubq (nf qvfphffrq, jvmneqf qba'g hfr gryrcubarf) gb ernpu BBGC urnqdhnegref; ur'f nafjrerq ol Xernpure, gur rivy ubhfr-rys (qba'g xabj vs gur punenpgre vf va gur zbivr be abg) jub yvrf naq fnlf ur unfa'g frra Fvevhf.

#302 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Greg, re: Order of the Phoenix

Gur Jvmneqvat jbeyq qbrfa'g unir cubarf.

Gur zrgubqf bs pbzzhavpngvba ninvynoyr gb Uneel naq uvf cnyf ner orvat zbavgberq ol Hzoevqtr naq cbffvoyl ol gur Qrngu Rngref nf jryy. Ba gbc bs gung Ibyql unf n qverpg yvar gb Uneel'f zvaq.

Uneel qvq unir nabgure zrgubq ninvynoyr gb uvz, ohg sbetrgf nobhg vg hagvy nsgre Fvevhf qvrf.

Fb sylvat gb Ybaqba jnf gur orfg gurl pbhyq qb.

I haven't seen the film yet, but it sounds like some vital info isn't being communicated to the viewer...

#303 ::: ethan sees more fracking spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Tania #276: Illiteracy and obesity blamed on "C is for cookie"?

I've actually seen that claim made seriously, accompanied with cries of "Well, it's not good enough for us!"

#304 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 03:57 PM:

You'd think that after it happens eight or nine times I'd make sure it didn't happen again.

No spam here, move along...

#305 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Susan #290:

Understood. Just give Tigana priority as soon as the devoirs are out of the way, is all I ask.

#306 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:14 PM:

Harry Potter and the Odor of the Phoenix...

Harry Potter and the Gibblet of Fire...

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Kidney Stone...

#307 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:24 PM:

ethan @ #303: ::snort:: Let's not even start with rubber duckies making bathtime fun.

Possibly NSFW

#308 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Lila at 295: I'm so sorry. My mother died in December under similar circumstances (assisted living, hospice, etc). I miss her every day. I am not able to cope with stories such as the one Earl linked to. Stories about elder abuse make me completely crazy. This is not a bad thing.

#309 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Stefan@298: Uneel frevbhfyl qvfgehfgf gur Zvavfgel. Jub jbhyq ur pnyy?

Nalbar jvgu gur beqre bs gur cubravk gung pbhyq gryy uvz Fvevhf vf jngpuvat gryrivfvba naq abg orvat gbegherq ol ibyqrzbeg.

to everyone who's read the book:

Rira vs lbh qrpvqr gur orfg guvat gb qb vf tb gb ybaqba naq uryc fvevhf, vg fgvyy qbrfa'g znxr frafr gb tb fgenvtug gb gur zvavfgel jura ur pbhyq tb gb gur beqre bs gur cubravk naq trg ervasbeprzragf.

Gurl jnvgrq ybat rabhtu gb trg gur ynql va cvax pncgherq ol pragnhef, svaq rabhtu ubefrf bs gur ncbpnylcfr, trg rirelbar fnqqyrq hc, syl nyy gur jnl gb ybaqba, naq gra zvahgrf gb fgbc ng gur beqre bs cubravk, rfcrpvnyyl jura vgf cerggl boivbhf gb nalbar ernqvat gur fgbel gung guvf vf n genc, vf gbb ybat gb jnvg???

Zber naq zber vg vf gheavat vagb fgnaqneq ubeebe fgbel gebcrf. Fraqvat bar crefba gb vairfgvtngr gur abvfr va gur onfrzrag, nsgre frireny crbcyr unir ghearq hc qrnq, vf gur fbeg bs guvat V ybngur.

#310 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Harry Potter and the Half Bloody Prints: A Mystery for Muggles

#311 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:57 PM:

Harry Potter and the Giblet of Fire is exactly what we called it when I worked at a bookstore. While I do enjoy the Potter books more than most, I'm a mite cranky that I have to go right to the bookstore on Saturday morning, plug my ears, pay for the book, and then do nothing but read until I'm done. It feels almost like an assignment. But I guess there are worse things - like dishes, or flea-proofing the apartment.

I love most of Guy Gavriel Kay's books, my favorite still being "Song for Arbonne", which is widely considered to be one of his weaker efforts. But it was the first book of his I "discovered", and first read it when I was a shy young singer at a ren faire. Make of that what you will. The only ones I couldn't get into were "Last Light of The Sun" (seemed like a Boy's Only tale - never finished it though) and Finoavar, which despite involving drama students and a cellist, never engaged me enough to get past the first few chapters. Maybe I'll try it again in a couple of years. To this day I remain grateful that I didn't attempt LOTR until I was nearly 30; I think I might have rejected it out of hand during high school and college.

#312 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:00 PM:

Oh, and another Harry Potter/Phoenix plot problem:

(rot13 for your convenience.)

Gur jubyr guvat jvgu Qhzoyqber abg gnyxvat gb Uneel, sbe na ragver frzrfgre be zber, orpnhfr Qhzoyrqber jnf nsenvq Ibyqrzbeg jbhyq hfr Uneel gb trg gb Qhzoqber, vf whfg qhzo. Vg'f yvxr n qbpgbe qrpvqvat abg gb gerng na Oynpx Cynthr cngvrag orpnhfr ur'f pbagntvbhf. Abg gerngvat n ceboyrz bayl znxrf vg jbefr. Whfg yvxr abg gerngvat n uvtuyl pbagntvbhf crefba pbhyq xvyy n ybg bs crbcyr ba gru cynarg, unatvat Uneel bhg gb qel, yrggvat uvz oybj va gur jvaq, pbhyq yrg ibyqrzbeg xvyy n ybg bs crbcyr ba gur cynarg.

Vg'f lrg nabgure pbairavrag jnl gb rkcynva jul Uneel zhfg fnir gur jbeyq jvgubhg nal bhgfvqr uryc, ohg gung'f n jevgre'f gbby, abg arpprffnevyl onfrq va nal sbez bs pbzzba frafr.

Ng yrnfg va ybeq bs gur evatf, vg vf rfgnoyvfurq gung gur evat bs cbjre unf n uvfgbel bs gnxvat bire gur zvaq bs nalbar jub jrnef vg, gurersber sbe Tnaqnys gb nibvq gbhpuvat vg znxrf frafr. Rirelbar jnagf gur evat naq vf jvyyvat gb xvyy sbe vg, orsber gurl orpbzr vgf znfgre. Juvpu vf jul vg jnf fhpu n ovt qrny gung Sebqb jnf zbfgyl vzzhar gb gur evat, naq jul vg jnf fhpu n ovt qrny gung Snevzve jnf noyr gb fhccerff nal qrfver sbe gur evat ur znl unir unq.

ohg va "Cubravk", uneel vf cerfragrq nf gur evat bs cbjre, univat fbzr fbeg bs zragny pbaarpgvba gb ibyqrzbeg. Naq qhzoyrqber pna'g pubfr abg gb "jrne" Uneel. Ur rvgure vagrenpgf jvgu uvz be ur qbrfa'g. Va nal cnegvphyne vafgnapr jurer ibyqrzbeg pbhyq pbzr guebhtu uneel gb qb unez, vg jbhyq nyjnlf or orggre vs qhzoyrqber jnf gurer gb uryc uneel. Rira va gur ovt svanyr, gur ovt svtug va gur zvavfgel bs zntvp, jura ibyqrzbeg npghnyyl gevrf gb gnxr bire uneel naq cbffrff uvz, Uneel bayl fheivirf orpnhfr qhzoyrqber gnyxf gb uvz naq erzvaqf uvz gung ybir vf jung znxrf uvz fgebatre guna ibyqrzbeg.

#314 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Susan, I think maybe Fragano guessed that hymn because the Shakers did, indeed, include dance in their worship.

And the first time I heard the "Lord of the Dance" lyrics it blew my mind, since that title equates Christ with Shiva, a comparison I've read in comparative lit texts but did not expect to encounter in a Missouri Synod (fundamentalist) Lutheran Church.

#315 ::: Samantha Joy ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:23 PM:

James@21, thank you for the pointer to that thread. I had already seen that one; it was the lack of reaction to the "can you just get past it now" statement that surprised me.

Don@16 and Dave@25, yes, I understand your points.

To everyone else who responded: I was surprised. I expressed surprise in an open thread, which I believed to be the appropriate place to do so. I did not chastise anyone, I wasn't chewing anyone out, and I wasn't rude. I really didn't deserve the dogpile.

#316 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:23 PM:

Greg -- THAT'S the rationale the film used?

Vg'f jnl bss jung'f va gur svany svtug fprar va gur obbx. Va gur obbx Qhzoyrqber vf svtugvat naq fcrnxvat gb Ibyql abg Uneel.

Vg'f Uneel'f ernpgvba gb jung Ibyqrzbeg fnlf gung fnirf uvz. V guvax lbh arrq gb ernq gur obbxf.

Bu, naq gur xrl gb jul ab fgbc ng gur Beqre'f UD vf gung Uneel unf n "ureb" pbzcyrk. Ur'f tbggra hfrq gb fnivat gur qnl naq yvxrf vg.

#317 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:43 PM:


::Vg'f jnl bss jung'f va gur svany svtug fprar va gur obbx. Va gur obbx Qhzoyrqber vf svtugvat naq fcrnxvat gb Ibyql abg Uneel.

Lrnu, va gur zbivr, uneel ybbxf yvxr ur cnffrf bhg, naq ibyqrzbeg qvffnccrnef. N unmr fheebhaqf uneel, naq uneel'f rlrf punatr naq gura uneel fnlf fbzrguvat (V sbetrg jung), naq lbh trg gur vqrn gung ibyqrzbeg vf gelvta gb cbffrff uneel fbzrubj, naq uneel vf gelvta gb svtug uvz, ohg ybfvat. Qhzoyrqber xarryf orfvqr uneel naq fnlf fbzrguvat gb uneel yvxr "erzrzore, jung'f vzcbegnag vf ubj lbh ner qvssrerag, abg ubj lbh ner nyvxr", ng juvpu cbvag, uneel fnlf fbzrguvat nobhg ubj ur unf sevraqf naq crbcyr jub ybir uvz, naq ibyqrzbeg qbrfa'g, naq uneel fnlf ur srryf fbeel sbe ibyqrzbeg, naq ibyqrzbeg yrnirf uvz.

:Vg'f Uneel'f ernpgvba gb jung Ibyqrzbeg fnlf gung fnirf uvz. V guvax lbh arrq gb ernq gur obbxf.

V'yy jnvg gvyy V svaq bhg ubj onqyl qbar gur raqvat vf.

:Bu, naq gur xrl gb jul ab fgbc ng gur Beqre'f UD vf gung Uneel unf n "ureb" pbzcyrk. Ur'f tbggra hfrq gb fnivat gur qnl naq yvxrf vg.

N ureb pbzcyrk gung trgf fbzrbar xvyyrq vf hanpprcgnoyr, VZB. Gur zbivr gevrf vgf orfg gb cerfrag gur ceboyrz nf vs Uneel unf ab bgure bcgvba, ohg jnyxvat vagb ibyqrzbeg'f genc, vtabenagyl tenoovat n cuebcurpl fcurer jura lbh qba'g xabj jung vg jvyy qb, pbhyq unir whfg nf rnfvyl tvira ibyqrzbeg pbageby bs gur jbeyq. Gung uneel jnf noyr gb xrrc gur fcurer sebz ibyqrzbeg jnf n znggre bs yhpx gung bayl znxrf uvf ureb pbzcyrk npprcgnoyr jura hfvat uvaqfvtug. Unq ibyqrzbeg tbggra gur fucrer naq ibyqrzbeg gnxra bire gur jbeyq, uneel'f fghcvqvgl, ureb pbzcyrk, enfu guvaxvat, jbhyq unir orra gur ernfba gur jbeyq jnf cyhatrq vagb qnexarff.

#318 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Samantha Joy @315,

The combination of
1. looking like a first time poster- I looked at the "view all by" which had only one post under that email and
2. the use of "y'all"-- which to me read as a variant of "you people"

made that post look like a drive-by, that is, like a form of trolling. I can understand it was an accident to use that email address, but if what looks like your first post has an accusatory tone, then reactions (even from people who might remember names well) will be changed accordingly.

If instead you'd asked "hey, it seems like no one has commented on this here?" you might have either/both started a good discussion or heard any of these:

1. It has been discussed in other blogs [with links].
2. Making Light had melted down over the weekend, so overall volume of comments and particles had dropped
3. One political thread on ML had overheated, and so was being let alone for a bit to cool off.

#319 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Susan (266):
(1) Claudia Christian, drunk as a skunk and not nearly as entertaining as she thinks she is.

She's worse when she's sober, and has foolish/lousy taste in hangers on.

#320 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Greg -- the scriptwriter REALLY botched it, then.

Gung'f whfg vg -- nyy gur fcurer vf, vf n cebcurpl. Vg'f abg n jrncba, vg jba'g tvir Ibyql gur jbeyq.

Gurer jnf arire nal arrq sbe Uneel gb tb gb gur Zvavfgel. Qhzoyrqber jvgarffrq gur bevtvany cebcurpl naq pbhyq unir gbyq Uneel nobhg vg ng nal gvzr.

Vs nalbar vf gb oynzr sbe Fvevhf' qrzvfr, vg'f Qhzoyrqber, abg Uneel. Naq va gur obbx, Qhzoyrqber gnxrf shyy erfcbafvovyvgl sbe guvf zvfgnxr.

#321 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:53 PM:


Uneel vf va znal jnlf na vzchyfvir wrex. Be, zber punevgnoyl, n genhzngvmrq becuna jub qbrfa'g gehfg nhgubevgl naq erthyneyl gnxrf ba zber guna ur pna purj. Guvf unccraf va rirel obbx.

#322 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Terry 319: And here I was about to say that it's typical of drunk people to be less entertaining than they think they are. Shut my mouth.

#323 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Given how complex "Order of the Pheonix" is, I'm astonished the film got in as much as it did.

The screenwriter did a better job of it than was done on "Goblet," which was kind of frantic.

#324 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 06:16 PM:


::Uneel vf va znal jnlf na vzchyfvir wrex. Be, zber punevgnoyl, n genhzngvmrq becuna jub qbrfa'g gehfg nhgubevgl naq erthyneyl gnxrf ba zber guna ur pna purj. Guvf unccraf va rirel obbx.

Nu, V thrff gung, va gur raq, gurl ner puvyqera'f obbxf, naq V fvzcyl pnaabg znvagnva n flzcngurgvp ivrj bs Uneel jura ur qbrf fghcvq guvatf gung pbhyq trg n ybg bs crbcyr xvyyrq. Fgnaqneq gebcrf sbe puvyqera'f obbxf ner "Gur nqhygf whfg qba'g haqrefgnaq" naq "gur nqhygf ner vapbzcrgrag be rivy", jvgu gur pbzovarq bhgpbzr bs "jr xvqf jvyy unir gb fnir gur jbeyq bhefryirf".

V'ir ernq gur svefg gjb obbxf, naq V'yy or tbvat nybat whfg svar, naq gura V uvg n cbvag jurer guvf gebcr vf pyrneyl gur bayl cbffvoyr jnl gung gur fgbel znxrf nal frafr, naq V fhqqrayl svaq zlfrys guebja pbzcyrgryl bhg bs gur obbx.

V pna pbzcynva gung gurl qba'g znxr frafr sebz na nqhyg'f cbvag bs ivrj, ohg vg vf n puvyqera'f obbx, jvgu puvyqera'f snvel gnyr gebcrf, gur znva bar orvat gung gur puvyqera zhfg fnir gur jbeyq gurzfryirf orpnhfr nyy gur nqhygf ner gbb fghcvq naq pyhryrff gb qb vg.

Nu jryy, vs gung'f gur bayl jnl gb rkcynva gur cybgf, V qba'g guvax V'yy or noyr gb ernq gur erfg bs gur obbxf. Vg'f znqqravat gb jngpu uvz or na vzchyfvir wrex, trg gur jbeyq va gebhoyr, naq gura fnir vg guebhtu jung zbfgyl nzbhagf gb yhpx be qrhf rk znpuvan'f.

#325 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Hitchcock in Prospect Park. I'll see y'all there.

#326 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 06:34 PM:

Lori@320 (rot13)

::Vs nalbar vf gb oynzr sbe Fvevhf' qrzvfr, vg'f Qhzoyrqber, abg Uneel. Naq va gur obbx, Qhzoyrqber gnxrf shyy erfcbafvovyvgl sbe guvf zvfgnxr.

Vs Uneel unq fcbxra jvgu nal nqhyg va gur Beqre bs gur Cubravk naq fnvq "Ybbx, V whfg unq n ivfvba gung Fvevhf Oynpx vf ng gur zvavfgel, orvat gbegherq ol ibyqrzbeg, gelvat gb trg fbzr fcurer", gur ragver abiry jbhyq unir pbyyncfrq.

Rirelbar va gur beqre bs gur curbavk jbhyq unir fnvq, "Gur cebcurpl qbrfa'g qb nalguvat, ohg vs lbh jnag gb xabj jung vg fnvq, vg jnf oynu oynu oynu. Bu, naq jr'yy fraq va Fvevhf naq gur beqre bs gur cubravk, jvgu n ohapu bs cbylwhvpr, fb gurl ybbx yvxr lbh (Uneel) naq lbhe tnat, naq frg n genc sbe ibyqrzbeg naq nal qrngu rngref gung fubj hc."

Jvgu gur zntvpny rdhvinyrag bs negvyyrel naq nve fhccbeg va gur arkg ebbz bire.

Naq vs jr pna'g xvyy ibyqrzbeg, jr pna ng yrnfg pncgher rirel fvatyr bar bs uvf qrngu rngref jub fubj hc.

(Nz V gur bayl bar jub unf n ceboyrz jvgu gur ahzoref va gur Uneel Cbggre jbeyq? uhtr fpberf bs Zntvpvnaf tenqhngr sebz Ubtjnegf nybar rirel lrne, jvgu fvzvyne fpubbyf nyy bire gur jbeyq, naq gur beqre bs gur cubravk unf bayl 5 pbzong zntrf va vg????????? Gurer fubhyq or sevpxra cyngbbaf bs pbzong zntrf ba fgnaqol gb svtug guvf fbeg bs penc. Naq juvyr zhttyrf unir fngryvgr enqvbf, gurer qbrfa'g frrz gb or n jnl gb unir vafgnag zntvpny pbzzhavpngvba. JGS?)

bs pbhefr, gung engure vagryyvtrag erfcbafr jbhyq unir pbzcyrgryl erzbirq Uneel sebz gur cybg yvar, naq ur jbhyqa'g unir orra va gru ovt svtug.

Vafgrnq, gur jubyr fgbel vf razrfurq va guvf abgvba gung gur nqhygf fubhyqa'g gnyx gb Uneel. Fvevhf gevrf gb gnyx jvgu Uneel naq crbcyr cebgrfg. Qhzoyrqber tbrf bhg bs uvf jnl gb nibvq uneel. Uneel nfxf jung'f tbvat ba, naq abar bs gur nqhygf jvyy gryy uvz, naq ur'f nyernql snprq, naq sbhtug, gur qnex ybeq ubj znal gvzrf abj?

Xrrcvat Uneel va gur qnex jnf gur bayl jnl sbe gur fgbel gb unir gur raqvat vg unq, ohg gura xrrcvat Uneel va gur qnex qbrfa'g znxr nal fbeg bs frafr, rkprcg sebz n "Vg'f n puvyqera'f obbx, jvgu puvyqera'f snvel gnyr gebcrf".

Uneel pna or n xvq tebjvat hc naq znxr puvyqvfu be vzzngher qrpvfvbaf, gung'f svar. Ohg, tnqqnza vg, gur nqhygf fubhyq npg yvxr nqhygf, abg yvxr ubj puvyqera ivrj nqhygf.

#327 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 06:44 PM:

Greg, you're assuming that JK Rowling is a good writer. She isn't. Furthermore, she's too famous to need an editor. Just reread Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, and you'll feel much better.

#328 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:06 PM:

TexAnne @327: Even better to read those books by Diana Wynne Jones. My son and I are still loving the Archer's Goon book, years and years after I first read it to him. Such goodness!

#329 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:20 PM:

311: Harry Potter and the Giblet of Fire is exactly what we called it when I worked at a bookstore.

Bow before Voldemort! Bow before Voldemort NOOOOOOW!!!
Voldemort is a very demanding Voldemort.

(sigh; I miss those guys)

#330 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Xopher: Lets just say that the most pleasant of our interactions was odd, and the worst made me wish to never see her again.

She was, so far as I could tell, sober on both of those. She was reasonable quiet when drunk; though she wasn't stinking drunk, just a bit past happy; so far as I could tell, on the occaisions I saw her less than sober.

#331 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Guerr dhvpx abgrf:

1) Gur BBGC vf ABG na bssvpvny betnavmngvba. Vg vf znqr hc bs n fznyy pnqer bs ibyhagrref jub ner tbvat ntnvafg gur bssvpvny yvar gung Ibyqrzbeg unf abg erghearq. Zbfg bs gur zntrf ner rvgure va qravny be gelvat gb xrrc n ybj cebsvyr be fvzcyl nera'g gehfgrq rabhtu ol gur BGC gb or oebhtug vagb gur pbafcvenpl.

2) Gurer ner inevbhf jnlf bs vafgnag zntvpny pbzzhavpngvba. Uneel hfrf fbzr bs gurz va obgu gur zbivrf naq gur obbxf. Ubjrire, nyy bs gur jnlf ernqvyl ninvynoyr gb Uneel naq uvf cnyf ner haqre fheirvyynapr (be ng yrnfg cbgragvny fheirvyynapr) ol Hzoevqtr.

3) Gur nqhygf nebhaq Uneel bsgra graq gb or cebgrpgvir bs uvz va fbzr pbhagrecebqhpgvir jnlf. Vg unccraf.

#332 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Just to clarify.

My message@331 above is in response to Greg's message@326.

#333 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:51 PM:

Sorry for the third post in succession.

I just remembered that there is another Michael who also sometimes posts here. On the occasions when I do post here, I usually post as "Michael I" in order to distinguish my posts from those from the other Michael.

For some reason I forgot to do this for 331 and 332 above.

#334 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Speaking of Harry Potter - has anyone else seen this article "The trials of the Hogwarts IT director"? It's quite good.

#335 ::: TBC ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 08:27 PM:

I've been reading the Black Company series by Glen Cook, and I'm up to book 5 (or 4 depending on where you put The Silver Spike) which is Shadow Games, but it looks like it has gone OOP at Tor. This seems strange because the other 9 books are all in print and a compilation of books 1-3 is scheduled for November. Since there's no way I'm paying the pirate squirrel crazy used prices over at the big internet box, maybe one of you nice, knowledgeable people can reassure me that it should become available again in the foreseeable future? I'm stuck in the middle!

#336 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:10 PM:

Fiendish Writer @ 328

Yes! "Archer's Good" was the first of her books I read, and I just loved. Went out and found everything of her's I could get my hands on. Absolutely delightful, even if you're middle-aged and not reading it with your kids.

#337 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:44 PM:

In honor of the number of this thread:
Standard pianos have 88 keys. Bosendorfers and others excepted.

Frank Zappa had a Bosendorfer.

What's standard for an accordion? Harpsichords?

Note: comments to this subthread do not need to be ROT-13'd

#338 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Carol Kimball #307: Ner lbh fher? Lbh pna'g or gbb pnershy.

Weirdly, that doesn't really look like rot13 to me.

#339 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Carol @ #337, As one who practiced accordion for several years and owned one for years beyond that, I really ought to know, but I don't. Huh.

#340 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Carol 337: With harpsichords there isn't even a standard number of keyboards, so I doubt there's a standard number of keys.

#341 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Although there are a smallish number of instruments that are widely admired and known to have the range for particular composers, and the probable number of numbers of keys they have are... well, low double digits, same as the number of probable temperaments.

#342 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:28 PM:

With the Harry Potter frenzy approaching (7am Saturday morning here, 9am for the lucky Western Aussies), a radio talk show host asked for people to phone in with their wildest, weirdest, least likely, conclusions to the story. Some were fun. My take was a variation on "he woke up", where it's all an escape fantasy by Harry, who _is_ an abused child, while, e.g., locked under the stairs. Apart from causing huge disruption to the reading world (worse than the 3rd Matrix movie disappointment), it does actually make some sense out of some of the problems of the books.

I was loaned some to read in hospital, and still think of them as 'switch off your brain and go along for the fun of the ride'. And there have been a few serious themes touched on, maybe enough for a thoughtful child to go on further, as well as all that punning fun, which might lead into further study.

#343 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 11:03 PM:

I was searching for loldemorts just now, and it appears that an appallingly large number of prolific people have picked Loldemort as a user name on many websites. Ah, well.

Michael I @ 333: I'm so glad that one of my namesakes doesn't post here. He spells his name "Earle" but it's frequently typoed to "Earl" by his myriad detractors, which has, in the past, lead to some unfortunate confusion; he's a lawyer for a cult, the name of which I will not mention here, because ML comments are indexed by Google these days, and I'd rather not get sued.

#344 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Stefan (#257) Could someone sit the Fox News types down to watch Mr. Rogers talks to the US senate? It probably wouldn't help, though.

re t's Addendum: <g> I agree. Plus I found a new word that might be a useful insult — 'you inspissated clod!' — rather more useful than scirrous/scirrus (~hard & knotty), which was in the last pathological report I had to translate.

#345 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 11:43 PM:

Mez @342: My take was a variation on "he woke up", where it's all an escape fantasy by Harry, who _is_ an abused child, while, e.g., locked under the stairs.

Huh. One of my friends just posted his own treatment of that concept.

#346 ::: Mote ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 11:53 PM:

Linkmeister @ #265: The Fionavar trilogy was good, but my favourites by Kay have always been Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors. It pleased me inordinately to see someone use a pseudo-Byzantine setting to good effect.

#347 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:19 AM:

Aw, I hadn't seen the addendum up top until Mez pointed it out just now... Thanks, Teresa. Being promoted to the front page is a bit of a thrill.

#348 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Stefan #257:

Is this some weird psychological thing, about finding evil designs in childrens' characters? Remember how the Teletubbies were going to make all the kids gay, except for the ones who'd already been converted by Ernie and Bert? And Cookie Monster is going to make them fat, and violent cartoons are going to make them all axe murderers, and....

It's just odd....

#349 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:34 AM:

Gursky #293:

It's interesting to ask why 1984, "Orwellian," etc, are conversation-killers in so many contexts. They are, I'm just not so clear on why.

It's also odd that bringing up Stalin or Mao (who both presided over even more murders that Hitler, though mainly by sticking around longer and ruling larger populations) doesn't have quite the same impact on a thread.

#350 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:51 AM:

TBC @ #335: Check out the Science Fiction Book Club for Black Company collections. And used book stores.

I have mine out, waiting for me to get around to re-reading them, especially with the "newer" books that have been released in the last 10 years.

#351 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Albatross #348:

My alternate take on the Teletubbies is that they were bioengineered by a secretive morlockian underground society (they're the ones who raise the speaker horns out of the ground to say "Time for Tubby bye-bye" and provide for the Teletubbies' every need; they also created the advanced technology of the Windmill) in order to placate Baby Sun, who is a hideously powerful madgod who would destroy the underground society in an instant if he found out they existed.

#352 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:26 AM:

Anyone seen Barbarella? The Teletubbies are clearly based on the evil children in that movie, but opposite in every way.

In Teletubbies they're friendly children living in an intact spaceship; in Barbarella they're evil children living in a wrecked one.

In Barbarella they're in the middle of an icy wasteland; in Teletubbies they're in a sunny meadow.

In Teletubbies they play happily with their toys; in Barbarella they have their toys attack and kill people.

Hell, even the rabbits get in on it: in Teletubbies they're normal cute little fluffy white bunnies, while in Barbarella they're diseased-looking black rabbits crawling around ookily.

The parallels are, at the very least, uncanny. I seriously think it must have been deliberate.

#353 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:46 AM:

#351: I came to the same conclusion, sans the mad sun god.

The Morlocks are gray felt clad, skinny, big-eyed Tubbies.

#354 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:09 AM:

Albatross @ #349, I think it's understandable that Mao and Stalin aren't conversation-stoppers. Unlike Hitler's Germany, China and the Soviet Union remained closed societies after the deaths of those two. Historians and journalists haven't had the access to the files or the survivors, so the Western world didn't and doesn't fully realize what happened. I admit to being startled when I first learned, long after high school and college, that the Soviets lost 20 million people in WW II. I knew there had to have been a lot of deaths, but I was never told of even an approximate number.

I also wonder whether the Chinese and the Soviets had that bureaucratic compulsion the Germans had to document everything they did, down to the amount of Zyklon B ordered in a given month. If not, the full truth may never be known.

#355 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:21 AM:

According to the Amnesty reports that I have read, the genocides perpetrated under Stalin and Mao, and at their instructions, were caused by far simpler means than Zyklon-B. Take away the victims' food, and their means of producing it, and they die. Simple. By the time they realise that their government has every intention of starving them to death, it's usually too late for them to do anything about it. And, of course, no documentation is necessary. Even better, the whole business can later be disavowed. Where, after all, are the witnesses?

As to the Russian twenty million dead in WWII, there is no doubt whatsoever. The war against Hitler was won in western Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine by the Red Army, which was in turn a reflection of the courage and endurance of the various Soviet peoples. By comparison, the suffering of all other peoples save the Jews of Europe and the Romany pales into insignificance.

Even today, the average Russian would express contempt at the efforts of the western allies during the "Great Patriotic War". The whole of Russian history and culture lies behind their extraordinary paranoia, but their suffering during that war only contributed to it anew. The pity of it is that the British, at least, did their utmost to help, and the Soviet government was itself one of the main architects of the Russian agony, while piling on agonies beyond reckoning entirely of its own making.

#356 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:53 AM:

Since there are so many bunnies in Teletubby land, a mashup with Rayman Raving Rabbids would be a bit of fun. heh.

#357 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 05:59 AM:

#355: It's always worth considering: had Stalin been, in 1938-42, a loyal agent of the Nazi Party, dedicated to the downfall of the Soviet Union and the victory of Germany, exactly what would he have done differently?
He had most of the Soviet general staff - including all their experts on armoured warfare - shot in the late 30s. He gave command posts to incompetent cavalrymen. He killed more than half the army's senior officers. He ignored intelligence reports of an impending attack - worse, he threatened those who sent them with execution. He collaborated with Hitler, providing training grounds, raw materials, fuel and diplomatic cover right up to the eve of the invasion. He deployed the Red Army so badly in June 1941 that two million of its soldiers were in captivity after only five weeks of war, and 90% of its aircraft had been destroyed. He followed that up by ordering them not to retreat from Kiev, and lost another half million in the encirclement. He even suggested surrender in late 1941, being prepared to give up Ukraine and most of western Russia to Hitler. He put obstacle after obstacle in the way of Allied cooperation with the USSR.

Is there anything else he could have done - save ordering outright surrender - to make German victory more likely?

#358 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:35 AM:

ajay #357: Kept the Siberian divisons in the East, to guard against a Japanese attack?

#359 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:47 AM:

This evening we watched "CSA: The Confederate States of America" which we'd recorded a couple of days ago. I was astonished at just how far the producers were willing to take it; some of the interstitial "commercials" were rather savage in their satire (and all based on real products, too). About halfway through the word "Draka" started flashing before my eyes in neon letters a foot high; the film's view of the American spirit was that jaundiced.

There's a particular version of the Manifest Destiny of the White Folks that SF succumbed to in the first half of the 20th century especially, that has great resonance with the theme of this movie, something that I thought at the time Steve Stirling's Draka books were an expose of. However much we at ML, or even SF fans in general may find this view of the world repugnant, the American culture in general has rarely been willing to listen to critiques of it, and even more rarely been willing to allow the critiques to be made from within. The only mass-distribution US films I can think of that have been this open in showing the deepness and intensity of the racial tensions in American society are some of Spike Lee's movies: "Bamboozled" and "Jungle Fever" in particular.

"CSA" made me cringe in the same way that "Bamboozled" and the Draka stories did. They all made me see that a) a lot of the basic attitudes I absorbed from the culture around me, growing up when I did, are at best morally bankrupt, and b) just how horrible thay can appear to someone who is the target of them.

#360 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 08:15 AM:

Dave Luckett @ 355

To my knowledge, the only doubt about the number of Soviet casualties of WWII or of their own fratricidal policiesi is just how much higher than 20 million the real number is. I have heard figures cited between 40 and 50 million, and I have no way to refute the arguments for them.

As you say, most of the reason for the relative ignorance of the Soviet genocides is the lack of records kept and the lack of access to the records in the West. I worked for several years with a survivor of the planned famine in Ukraine after WWII; I had heard about the Ukrainian pogroms against the Jews, but not about the Russian campaign against the Ukrainians.

ajay @ 357

If Stalin had truly been an agent of Hitler, (We've been reflectively and recursively Godwinized!), he would never have kept Vyacheslav Molotov on as his co-conspirator and foreign relations right hand. Molotov was unrelentingly xenophobic; he would never (did never, despite his treating with Von Ribbentrop) have made any deal with or submitted in any way to a foreign power except as it favored his long term goals of personal power and protection of Russia from outside forces.

As for military blunders, I think that's an occupational hazard of autocrats. Hitler was a large part in Germany's losing the war (the bombing of London and Coventry, delay and then cancellation in the invasion of Britain, failure to destroy the RAF when he had the chance, etc). Why should Stalin, who was at least as mentally disturbed as Hitler, and at least as naive in military matters, do any better?

#361 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 09:00 AM:

Mez @ #344: that clip brought tears to my eyes. I'm trying (and failing) to imagine his receiving such a respectful hearing today.

I once heard a speech Mr. Rogers made to the National Press Club. Three things stuck with me:

1. WYSIWYG. Mr. Rogers spoke to adults in the same tone he used to speak to children, as you see in the clip.

2. He had a great sense of humor. The host asked him what two famous figures he could be considered a cross between, and he said, "I like to think of myself as a cross between Albert Schweitzer and Arsenio Hall."

3. It's easy to regard Mr. Rogers as a milquetoast who had no idea how harsh the real world was--if you forget what kind of work he did when he was off camera. He described to the press club a young client of his who had been unable to learn to read. They found that the problem was that the child could not focus on a page of print. Why? He was unwilling to look closely at anything after witnessing the murder of his mother by her boyfriend.

#362 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 09:02 AM:

In fairness, Hitler probably did not possess the means either to destroy the RAF or to mount a cross-channel invasion of Britain in 1940. The equipment needed simply did not exist. The flat-bottomed river barges that were proposed to be used would have been fortunate, in favourable weather, to average three or four knots, and many could have been used only once. Since the earliest conceivable date would have been mid-September, that would mean setting out and making most of the crossing in darkness, across a stormy and unpredictable sea in the teeth of a naval superiority that would have been supreme at night. A disaster, on the face of it.

Maybe they might have got three or four divisions ashore, but they could never have resupplied them. Although the British were certainly threadbare, they could surely have dealt with that.

Hitler certainly did make enormous blunders, but the failure to invade Britain wasn't one. The two worst were invading Russia when he didn't have to, and declaring war on the US, also when he didn't have to.

#363 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Carol @ 337: Accordions don't have a standard number of keys, or even a standard _type_ of key. There are piano accordions, which have a row of piano keys on one (the treble) side, and button accordions, which have small buttons instead on that side. Both types have small buttons on the bass side. The number of keys on a button accordion can go from about 10 treble + 2 bass to 33+18, with up to five stops (like organ stops) -- though there are lots of variations. Piano accordions get big, going from about 26+48 to 41+120(!) keys.

Disclaimer: my spouse plays the concertina.

#364 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:29 AM:

Oh, one last Harry Potter issue. Voldemort doesn't appear to have learned the basic rules of being an evil overlord. Here's one I personally found to be true.

I will not turn myself into a snake. It never helps."

#365 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Bruce Cohen: As for military blunders, I think that's an occupational hazard of autocrats. This could obviously be applied to our sad follies in Iraq, but it extends beyond the military. Flailing away with vetoes for the good and pardons for the bad, our "What me, checks and balances?" admin. does everything so wrong, you'd think they were sent by the Martian warlords to prep us for an easy takeover.

#366 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:47 AM:

albatross (348)-

Wait, my big butt is Cookie Monster's fault? To whom should I complain? And does this make Bert and Ernie responsible for my heterosexual cohabitation with a roommate even in my advanced (post college-age) years? Perhaps my own housekeeping skills have been unduly influenced by Oscar. It all begins to make sense. Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep.

A while ago, the folks at CTW decided to give Cookie Monster a new song - "A Cookie is a Sometimes Thing". For pete's sake, if you need to make a puppet tell kids about eating vegetables, develop an Asparagus Monster or something. Leave my blue fuzzy gluttonous buddy alone.

#367 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:56 AM:

nerdycellist, AMEN!! Besides, they already had Captain Vegetable.

#368 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:00 AM:

I wonder if some of the power of mentioning Hitler over Stalin or Mao or any number of other, second tier mass-murderers is that the Germans look and act sort of like us. It's easy to see that the China that Mao took over was really, really different from the US, and the Russia that the Bolsheviks took over was also very different. But Germany was a wealthy, advanced country with an educated population and functioning government and laws and courts. In that sense, the Hitler example is more threatening, because the example seems more likely to actually apply to us.

#369 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:05 AM:


C is for carrot, that's way too crunchy
C is for califlower, that's not so yummy
C is for coleslaw, that's sour and yucky, oh
Cookie cookie cookie starts with C!


#370 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:23 AM:

I never saw Cookie Monster as a role model. He was so over the top that it was obvious he was trying to have too much.

Whatever he did became, "Cookie, cookie, cookie," and so failed.

So obsession was shown to be counterproductive.

I think adults give kids far too little credit.

#371 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Cookie monster sometimes angered me. As a kid from a - well, not impoverished, but sort of student housing, communal gardens and DI clothes kind of household, I found the wasting of cookies in his puppet mouth to be annoying. Yes, I was jealous of blue fun fur and googly eyes.

Still, that character was meant to mirror the behavior of a certain age of kid - I think 3 years old - so that younger children would undertand and empathize with him. And yes, as Terry mentioned, his thing for cookies was counterproductive, showing 3-year-olds how silly a cookie monomania can be. But done by example without lecturing, perhaps it was probably too subtle for some adults.

#372 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:36 AM:

Cookie Monster on his favorite PBS program: 'Masterpiece --'
Kermit: 'Theatre! That's Masterpiece Theatre!'
CM: 'Right! Masterpiece Theatre, with Alistair Cookie!'

#373 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:39 AM:

What about Ernie and Bert?

#374 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Anybody else currently in the Bay Area felt the earthquake at 4:42amPT?

#375 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:09 PM:

Slept right through it, Serge. I heard it was a 4.2.

#376 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Dawno at 342... That sounds right. I think California is telling me not to go back to New Mexico. Either that or it can't wait to kick me out.

#377 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:15 PM:

I saw an ad for Stardust on TV last night. It looks very nice.

#378 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:30 PM:

PJ Evans @ #372: I've always remembered that one as "Monsterpiece Theatre".

Could be wishful thinking on my part.

#379 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 01:50 PM:

#357 and #358 - Get entangled in a war with the Japanese in Siberia rather than win it. Or at least shoot Zhukov after he won there.

On the sending Jane Austen to Publishers thing, the Independent got a publisher to write an opinion piece explaining why he and other publishers are always missng good books. Covers most of the points made here, this time and previously.

#380 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:06 PM:

ethan @#353: I always thought that the teletubbies were Eloi. This is why when it's time for tubby nite-nite, they become uncooperative.

From Wikipedia: Having solved all problems which required strength, intelligence or virtue, they have slowly become dissolute, frail animals. While one initially has the impression that the Eloi live a life of play and toil less abundance, it is revealed that [...] (full article, with spoilers, here).

#381 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Can someone point me toward the discussion of the reporter who submitted [classic work of fiction] to [publishing house] and was rejected? It was one of those gotcha experiments that was held up as "look, traditional publishers have rejected the deathless prose of (Steinbeck? Hemingway? Someone.) - you should all self-publish." I think if was Patrick who debunked it nicely.

I did try the search box, but since I can't remember any of the specifics, it's not getting me very far.

#382 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:16 PM:

I feel like if I were reading a slush pile and came across a Jane Austen novel thrown in, I might open it up, glance at it, think, "Oh, another lamewad who thinks it's still 1800" and toss it aside. I mean, it's the 21st century, people.

Mary Dell #380: Ah, but how do you explain their complex relationship with the Noo-Noo?

#383 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:20 PM:

JESR #314: Of course, Sydney Carter, who wrote the hymn, wasn't a Missouri Synod Lutheran; he was a Quaker. One notes that it has been used as an epigraph (to a sf novel) by Andrew Greeley.

There's also a neo-Pagan version in which the Lord of the Dance is the Goddess's son. I'm not sure about its copyright status.

#384 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:38 PM:

JESR @#314:
Susan, I think maybe Fragano guessed that hymn because the Shakers did, indeed, include dance in their worship. could anyone possible mistake words like "In Bethlehem I had my birth" for anything but a religious reference? Even I caught that one. One has to seriously wonder about Michael Flatley.

"In the Name of the Dance" is rather more dancy and less hymnlike (and non-Christian). I haven't decided quite what I want to dance to it (slow cross-step foxtrot? hustle?) but it makes me feel dancy.

#385 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Re: me @ 381

Today's lesson: read through the whole thread before posting. I see the Jane Austen rejected thing got mentioned many comments ago. In case anyone's still looking for the previous post, I did find it at January 2, 2006.

Sorry for the repeat.

#386 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Fragano 383:

When she danced on the water and the wind was her horn,
The Lady laughed and everything was born;
And when she lit the Sun and the light gave Him birth,
The Lord of the Dance first appeared on the Earth.
Leslie Fish (I think it was) also wrote a more Pagan tune for it, not in any way to denigrate the quality of "Simple Gifts." If all goes well this should deeply confuse future folklorists!

Sarah 385: I open a second window (in IE) or a second tab (in a civilized browser) to write my comments in. That way I comment the thread as I read it, but I can delete anything that's been covered later in the thread. When I get to the bottom, I hit Refresh, then post.

#387 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:53 PM:

ethan @#382: The Noo-noo is the Time Traveller, of course.

#388 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Adam Roberts* wrote a serious critique of the Teletubbies as SF here. He comes to the conclusion that they're cyborg eloi of an even more child-like nature than Well's eloi.

Noo-Noo isn't explained in his article.

*SF Author and Critic and (also) Professor of English

#389 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:00 PM:

I wonder what promted this:

President Bush has ordered the CIA to comply with the Geneva Conventions' Article 3 ban on torture.

He seems to be all over the place with the Executive Orders these days. At least this is a good one (IMHO).

#390 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Fragano @383: Carter was heavily influenced by the Quakers (and served with a Friends Ambulance Unit during the War) but he was formally C of E (confirmed as such, buried as such, and some of his songs, such as "The Vicar is a Beatnik" assume a C of E context).

He was perfectly willing to admit a conscious influence on "Lord of the Dance" from a statue of Shiva he kept on his desktop...

#391 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 04:51 PM:

ajay @ #329: you win the Internet for today. Or yesterday. Whatever.

#392 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 05:05 PM:

I figure, since this is an open thread, it's okay to post about this here.

I am seriously worried after reading Bear's post:

There are similar posts on Daily Kos.

I don't think the $100 recommended for jump bags will be enough if they start seizing bank accounts. Drawing out more cash in the next few days or weeks might not be a bad idea for some of us.

Or my tinfoil hat is too tight, take your pick.

#393 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 05:24 PM:

#392: If Bush pulls something like that, you'll be fully justified in beaning Young Republicans on the head with cinder blocks and rifling their wallets for needed funds.

They'll be easy to find; look for the only people left gushing about how wonderful Dubya is.

#394 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:19 PM:

Greg, something I haven't seen mentioned about the book OotP:

Rneyl ba, Fvevhf tvirf Uneel n cnpxntr gb hfr vs Uneel arrqf uvz juvyr ng fpubby Uneel fjrnef ur'yy arire hfr vg (jba'g rira bcra gur cnpxntr gb svaq bhg jung'f va vg) orpnhfr ur'f nsenvq vg jvyy cebzcg Fvevhf gb yrnir gur fnsrgl bs gur ubhfr naq ohevrf vg va gur obggbz bs uvf gehax. Naq gura sbetrgf nobhg vg.

Uneel qbrf gel gb gryy Fancr va Hzoevqtr'f bssvpr, ohg gura nffhzrf Fancr qbrfa'g sbyybj hc ba vg. Fancr qbrf, svaqf Fvevhf dhvgr jryy ng Tevzjnyq, naq arire trgf onpx gb Uneel.

Gur jubyr cbvag bs gur obbx vf gb chapgher Uneel'f ureb pbzcyrk. Gurer'f n fprar ng gur raq bs gur obbx jura Uneel svaqf gur cnpxntr va uvf gehax naq yrneaf ur unq jung nzbhagrq gb n frpher yvar gb ernpu Fvevhf, bar bs n cnve bs vagrepbaarpgrq zveebef gung Fvevhf naq Wnzrf unq hfrq gb pbzzhavpngr lrnef orsber.

Bu, naq Ibyqrzbeg jnagrq gur cebcurpl orpnhfr ur bayl xarj unys bs vg. Gur erfg bs vg zvtug unir tvira uvz fbzr uvag ba jung uvf rarzvrf jbhyq qb arkg.

#395 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:45 PM:

HP books 1-6 meta-question for the 'sphere. Contains no spoilers or content about any of them.

Assume you have a friend who wants to read Hallows sometime before the spoilers leak everywhere. However, he's never read any of the previous books.

What would be a minimum path to Hallows making some sense? Could it be done in 600 pages (not all the same book) and 2 movies, for example?

I came up with a partial recommendation, but I don't have all the books on hand, and I won't go online to search, not today:

1. Read the first third of Stone, and then see the movie.
2. Skip Chamber.
3. See the movie for Prisoner, and also read chapters ?? of the book.
4. Skip Goblet.
5. Read ??, see the movie?
6. Read at least ??

#396 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 06:59 PM:


Just when I thought I might have *some* free time, I see that the Girl Genius 101 class has caught up with the start of the advanced class. This means I have 2 and a half years' worth to read...

I might be some time.

(Although it seems their server isn't coping with the load particularly well...)

#397 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:24 PM:

Xopher #386: That's the one. Thanks.

#398 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:27 PM:

James #390: Ah, I see. I seem to have been misled by Wikipedia (and/or conflated Carter with Donald Swann).

#399 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Susan #384: Michael Flatley, if I recall correctly, said that 'Lord of the Dance' was an Irish folk tune. Given its entirely American origins (not to mention Flatley's coming from the Irish city of Chicago), that's truly ignorant.

#400 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Kathryn @ #395,
I wouldn't even try to winnow it down that tightly, but only because I don't think there's enough time available. I suspect spoilers will be emanating from European press and fandom within three hours of the release hour.

It's 1330 HST right now, meaning England is 2230 or 2330, meaning either .5 or 1.5 hours till the book hits the stores, meaning he or she has about 3.5 to 4.5 hours to catch up.

#401 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:50 PM:

Linkmeister @400,

Yes, but let's also assume he's got an internet that can be turned off, and he's capable of doing so, for up to the entire weekend.

I've heard that my internet can do that. However, I don't know what would happen to me if I tried to turn it off.

Today's been an interesting experiment in my ability to ignore the web. I'm not good at it.

#402 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:52 PM:

* * * SPOILERS * * *

Ebfrohq vf n fyrq.

Znygrfr Snypba vf znqr bs yrnq.

Xnvfre Fbfr vf gur perrcl ynzr thl.

#403 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Jules @ 396

Oops. I've been reading Advanced Class from the beginning over the last week or so, and having a really nice experience on my new laptop. All was fine at lunch today, and now I'm getting Internal Server Error along with a Page Not Found trying to get the Error Page.

#404 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Somehow I only just now got to the end of the June issue of Wired (I read magazines from front to back, I can't help it), and saw those awesome steampunky laser gun toy things. A few of them have what look like tubes of different-colored goo sticking out the back, presumably so that different chemicals could combine and create some kind of zappy effect?

Obviously, these things ain't real, but I was wondering if anyone had any idea what the gooey liquids be supposed to be. Or however I should have phrased that.

#405 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 07:57 PM:

I'm going to try to avoid media and web coverage too but it is going to be tough; my copy should arrive Monday or Tuesday and I'll probably need a week to finish the book.

For this weekend:

* Long walks with the dog while listening to an audio book

* Movies, hopefully without blabbermouth kids in the audiance.

* Long sessions of Colonization with CDs playing.

Man, this is getting silly.

#406 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 08:10 PM:


It isn't silly- it's just that with most books we don't have to worry about spoilers. You put that much time into a series, you'd like to maximize the delight / intensity of the ending.

I've got my pre-ordered book ready to pick up at midnight. I have to admit I've been tempted by that dreadful leaked photo version, so that I'm not up all night reading.

#407 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 08:12 PM:

Jules @ 396

Oops. I've been reading Advanced Class from the beginning over the last week or so, and having a really nice experience on my new laptop. All was fine at lunch today, and now I'm getting Internal Server Error along with a Page Not Found trying to get the Error Page.

#408 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 08:23 PM:

CosmicDog (389) noted: President Bush has ordered the CIA to comply with the Geneva Conventions' Article 3 ban on torture.

Yabbut he won't say what he means by that. He can't give any instance of a practice that this changes. In particular, he won't say if waterboarding is in or out.

Is this really a good thing, or just bumf? It's not hard to read his lips—if they move, he's lying.

#409 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 09:26 PM:

Stefan @ 402


#410 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 09:51 PM:

Fragano @ 399: Regardless of the foibles of the Lord of the Dance, we do have him to thank for his superpowered dance-off defeat of the nefarious plans for world domination announced by Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, on the Oprah show. Thank goodness the documentary videographers of Mad TV were there to capture the event and bypass the subsequent Oprah cover up....

#411 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:21 PM:

ethan @#404: extra-lethal noble gasses?

#412 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 06:16 AM:

Okay, I just finished the last Harry Potter book here in the Central Time Zone, and all I'll say is that Rowling has broken the curse of the less-good odd numbered books--this one is the best of the batch, and I'm glad I stayed up to read it.

#413 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Jules @ 396

Oops. I've been reading Advanced Class from the beginning over the last week or so, and having a really nice experience on my new laptop. All was fine at lunch today, and now I'm getting Internal Server Error along with a Page Not Found trying to get the Error Page.

#414 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 12:53 PM:

171 Terry Karney

Take your point about arquebuses. The deciding factor re longbows may simply have been the manpower one.

What you are hinting at about the British Army in 1914 was the impact of the Boer War on their doctrine and tactics.

The humiliation a bunch of Dutch farmers administered to the British troops led to a whole new way of fighting: camouflage uniforms, aimed rifle fire, entrenchments etc.

Other than the Russians (who had their own problems) in 1905 arguably no one else 1865-1914 quite had the same bloody nose.

Although of course the warning signs were there at Solferino and in the Franco-Prussian war. From memory the Prussian Guards division lost 8,000 men at Gravolette-St. Privat in 30 minutes of aimed fire from the French rifles.

Despite the widespread use of machine guns in colonial battles, just about everyone (even the British) underestimated the impact of their introduction on the Western Front. Hence the Royal Machine Gun Corps, rather than organic machine gun units. John Ellis (the Social History of the Machine Gun) reckons it was the aristocratic refusal to see that the world had changed, and that Europeans could be bested by the same weapons as the dark natives.

Bruce Cohen

Very surprised you had not heard of the Ukrainian famine (which included Russians and Byelorussians as well), aka 'the Liquidation of the Kulaks'. It's well known, historically.

If you want a science fiction treatment of how this rule by starvation would have worked, Cyril Kornbluth's 'Not this August' about a Russian conquest of New York state, is pretty good (call it the 1950s Red Dawn or Amerika, but being CM Kornbluth, not at all predictable). Kornbluth had fought at the Battle of the Bulge (the stress to his heart eventually killed him) and it makes his battlefield descriptions incredibly gripping.

In ranks of number of people killed, I think history ranks it:

- Genghis Khan (who knows, but in the millions)
- Josef Stalin
- Chairman Mao
- Adolph Hitler
- (I'm not sure where we'd put Pizzaro & Cortez - 10 million people died, but perhaps mostly to disease?)

That ranking takes into account the people Hitler willing starved to death (Tooze shows the invasion plans for southern Europe and Russia were predicated upon sub-survival diets for prisoners of war and conquered civilians) and the Holocaust, but not the 25 million (latest number I believe) Russians killed plus the millions everywhere else as a result of war, rather than direct action.

It does rather put fears of Islamic extremism into some context: the greatest murderers of history (bar Genghis Khan) were inspired by western political ideologies.

#415 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Fragano @ #399:
Michael Flatley, if I recall correctly, said that 'Lord of the Dance' was an Irish folk tune. Given its entirely American origins (not to mention Flatley's coming from the Irish city of Chicago), that's truly ignorant.

Can't speak to that issue, but I am more-or-less inured to rampant ignorance on dance/music issues. [insert standard rant here]

What I was thinking of was his show, in which he casts himself as Lord of the Dance, complete with one "miracle" (featuring rather lame sleight-of-hand), a staged quasi-crucifixion, and a return from the "dead". I mean, the guy's quite a good dancer and definitely highly scenic with the bare chest and leather pants, but he seems to have mistaken himself for Jesus.

#416 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Harry Potter 7:
I've managed to stay unspoilered other than the bits in the NYT review. My copy has arrived in the mail in a cute box printed all over with instructions to the muggles to not deliver before today. It actually says "muggles". I have to try to repair my lawn mower with duct tape and mow my lawn, then I shall reward myself with reading. I should be able to finish it by this evening and will be off-net until then.

#417 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 02:08 PM:

I do have one question for anyone who's read the book--I've re-read the relevant passages (I think!) and am still puzzled:

Ubj qvq Arivyyr trg gur fjbeq?

#418 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 02:53 PM:

A warning to beware that the antecedent of your pronouns is what you think it is.

"You can now go on almost any fossil marketing website and find mammoth hair for $50 an inch. It has grown beyond anyone's imagination."


#419 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Susan #415: A common mistake that, usually afflicting politicians, but I suppose that dancers, singers, and so on suffer from it.

I don't claim special knowledge about music, but I do know a little about it (and am married to a musician and musicologist).

#420 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Earl Cooley III #410: There's that...

#421 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Susan #416: Just got mine too. Identical box with warning to muggles. I'd no idea that all postal workers were muggles, given their magical abilities to deliver mail years after it was posted.

#422 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Harry Potter 7: the younger spawn finished reading it some time after 4am, and is now snapping at anyone who has the temerity to point out that, if she's planning to be awake, clean, and fed before she has to be at work at 5pm, it might be advisable to haul her butt out of bed.

Me, I'm so very over hardcopy these days.

#423 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 04:56 PM:

John A Arkansawyer #417: Bayl n gehr Telssvaqbe pbhyq chyy gur fjbeq bhg bs gur ung...

#424 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 05:06 PM:

Madeline: Thank you. I was looking for too literal an answer, but that makes perfect sense, now that you say it.

#425 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 05:19 PM:

John, it was my pleasure. Really. All my on-line friends have gone off-line until they finish reading it, and my husband will take a couple of days to get through it, so I'm just sitting here bursting with not being able to discuss it!

#426 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 05:50 PM:

John @424, Madeline @425

A meta question on having read it:
Ner lbh univat n uneq gvzr svthevat bhg jung rkcerffvba gb chg ba lbhe snpr jura abg gnyxvat nobhg gur obbx?

Whfg svavfurq vg guvf nsgreabba, naq zl cnegare (jub unfa'g ernq vg lrg, naq jvyy gnxr n srj qnlf orpnhfr jr'er ohfl gur erfg bs gur jrrxraq) unf orra jngpuvat zl ernpgvbaf. Fvapr V'z abg n tbbq cbxre cynlre, V'z univat gb guvax uneq nobhg bgure zrzbevrf fb gung ur pna'g gryy rknpgyl jung rzbgvba V'z srryvat ng obbx'f raq.

#427 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Kathryn: Lrf! Zngg pnzr qbjafgnvef naq vaivgrq zr gb tb bhg sbe n jnyx whfg nf wnzrf, yvyl, yhcva naq fvevhf nccrnerq va gur sberfg jvgu uneel. Ybgf bs fheercgvgvbhf jvcvat njnl bs grnef naq cergraqvat gb unir unl-srire. Ur jnf nyernql pebff jvgu zr sbe gryyvat uvz gung ng yrnfg bar fnq guvat unccrarq (zl bayl qrsrapr: qbool unq whfg qvrq).

#428 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 06:02 PM:


V nz na rkcrevraprq chg-ba negvfg, naq V'ir orra univat ab gebhoyr gryyvat crbcyr guvatf yvxr, "V ungr gb gryy lbh guvf, ohg, fbzrobql qvrf va guvf bar," be, "Uneel qbrfa'g jnxr hc naq svaq bhg vg jnf nyy n qernz."

Ba gur bgure unaq, zl oebgure-va-ynj jub vfa'g ernqvat gur obbxf jnf irel unccl gb pnyy zr hc naq nfx zr jung gur frperg jnf. "Jung frperg?" V nafjrerq. "Jub qvrf," ur ercyvrq. "Bu," V fnvq, "Ibyqrzbeg qvrf." Gung fngvfsvrq uvz. Gura V fgnegrq va ba, "Jryy, naq Fancr. Naq Serq. Naq..." Nobhg gurer V urneq uvf rlrf tynmr bire.

#429 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 06:06 PM:

By the way, did you know that the rot13 of Kathryn is Xnguela? That's a nice name, and I expect to see it used somewhere.


Wbua N Nexnafnjlre

#430 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 06:11 PM:


V tbggn fnl, nalbar jub qvqa'g xabj ng yrnfg bar fnq guvat jnf tbvat gb unccra va guvf obbx unfa'g orra cnlvat nggragvba gb gur cerivbhf fvk.

#431 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 06:27 PM:

John and Madeline-

And the rot13 of book contains it's own phoneme.

My partner and I will be at two fan-heavy parties this weekend. He's suggesting I make badges: "Yes I've read it" "No, not done yet." But since I'm on the faster side of average for reading, I'm not sure how many other Yes's there'll be (at least ones awake enough to talk about it).

V'z gelvat gb guvax bs hafcbvyrevfu pyhrf gb pnyy gur frg bs crbcyr jub'ir svavfurq vg. Pbhyq whfg pnyy vg gur Frira Svsgl Avar pyho, sbe rknzcyr.

Naq rira jvgubhg uvz ernqvat vg, jr'ir orra pbzvat hc jvgu n yvfg bs gur gbc gra fcbvyref, guvatf yvxr:

Jub'q n guhax n uryyzbhgu pbhyq fjnyybj nyy bs Ubtjnegf?

#432 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 06:37 PM:

John: Lrf. Ohg jura V fhttrfgrq gung vg jnf hayvxryl gung gur obbx jbhyq ernyyl tb "uneel xvyyf ibyqrzbeg ng gur irel ortvaavat naq gurl fcraq gur erfg bs gur obbx univat n cnegl naq orvat avpr gb rnpu bgure" ur fnvq ur qvqa'g frr jul vg pbhyqa'g or yvxr gung naq V ernyvfrq V jnf qrnyvat jvgu n zna jub ernyyl ernyyl ERNYYL qvqa'g jnag gb unir nal uvagf ng nyy, abg rira sebz gur fgber bs uvf bja rkcrevrapr.

Kathryn: V'z gelvat gb guvax bs hafcbvyrevfu pyhrf gb pnyy gur frg bs crbcyr jub'ir svavfurq vg. Pbhyq whfg pnyy vg gur Frira Svsgl Avar pyho, sbe rknzcyr.

Ubj nobhg "Sebqb yvirf!"? Or is that too spoilerish?

#433 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 06:44 PM:

Jules @ 418: Your quote also contains a subtle message about the importance of hyphens: a fossil-marketing website is a website that markets fossils; a fossil marketing website is a marketing website that hasn't been updated since 1998.

#434 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Greg London: Another nutrition link.

#435 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 07:25 PM:

Jules @ 396

Oops. I've been reading Advanced Class from the beginning over the last week or so, and having a really nice experience on my new laptop. All was fine at lunch today, and now I'm getting Internal Server Error along with a Page Not Found trying to get the Error Page.

#436 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 07:37 PM:

I just got back from watching Sicko.

God Damnit.

Overheard in the men's room: "I think everyone in the country should watch that movie."


Yes they should.

#437 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Susan, Fragano, I had the same package waiting on my ramp when I got home from bookgroup.

#438 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 08:11 PM:

My apologies for the multiple posts. Firefox had a comment posting stuck in its form, but didn't show any text, so it resubmitted whenever I refreshed the thread. This should now be fixed; if it happens again I will use the larger hammer to fix the problem.

#439 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 08:37 PM:

I'm now only on page 69.

#440 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 10:13 PM:

Quick Recipe: Fettucine with Smoked Salmon

1. Cook fresh fettucine
2. Heat up cream to slow simmer & add smoked salmon to warm through.
3. Add #2 to cooked fettucine, stir to mix & season with salt (if needed) and black pepper.
4. Chop up fresh dill & sprinkle on top.

Worked well as a quick-cook camp dinner on our last holiday.

#441 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 11:03 PM:

Okay, that was worth it. Good thing I got my lawnmower sort of repaired and my lawn mowed before I started, 'cause it's dark out now and I just realized that an entire tupperware of Shrewsbury cakes is not actually an adequate substitute for lunch and dinner.

#442 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 08:30 AM:

John @ 417:

Gurer'f tbvat gb or ng yrnfg bar irel cvffrq tboyva.

Post-book conversations last night saw many variations of a paraphrase from Star Wars:

Thousands of [insert fan group here] suddenly cried out in agony and were suddenly silenced.

#443 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 09:06 AM:

OK, the idea of a Harry Potter spoiler thread has obvious merits. But how will those of us who don't want it spoilered for us know when the topic drifts to high energy physics|bioethics|Jesus/Anubis slash, or becomes a sonnet contest, or acquires a piñata in need of smashing?

Perhaps I'd better read HP pretty quickly. I've never read any of the books, so I have to get cracking.

#444 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Xopher #443: That's exactly what I was thinking! Including the "I'd better read all seven real quick" thing.

Sigh. And even if I do read the first six, it'll probably be seven or eight years before I get to the end of the library's waiting list for the seventh one.

#445 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 10:55 AM:

I was going to congratulate Our Hosts and their inspiration for the Special Spoiled Potterbook thread. In fact, I will still congratulate 'em. It's an excellent idea.


It seems to be having a "Big Red Button" effect on me (<ShatnerMode>Must ... Not ... Look</ShatnerMode>)

#446 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 11:07 AM:

ethan: if it's like the previous 6, copies will start showing up in thrift stores after about a year.

(Yes, I went to the midnight release party and then stayed up all night. Finished about 7:45 a.m. Would have been sooner, but one of my dogs had massive diarrhea sometime in the small hours all over my beige rug and I stopped to clean that up.)

#447 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 11:48 AM:

And a lot of people seem ordered multiple copies to cut down on fights over who gets it first and are already trying to sell the extras. It won't take all that long for it to reach the thrifts.

#448 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Soon Lee # 440:

Good recipe. We use plain yogurt (when we can find any) and something, anything, other than dill, as my husband is of the opinion that any place other than pickles is dill blasphemy. (Something tells me it's going to be rather hard to ever get him to vacation in Scandinavia.)

#449 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 12:06 PM:

My copy arrived in the mail sometime yesterday afternoon; I wasn't expecting it to actually show up until Monday. I then proceeded to show remarkable restraint by stopping at page 175 to cook and eat dinner, and then actually allowed my husband to con me into watching a TV show about saws. I'm a bit further on now, but am not committing death march--for one thing, reading in bed is giving me a literal neck and shoulder pain. Join you guys in the spoiler thread in a day or so.

#450 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 12:19 PM:

joann 448: What a deprived life your husband leads. No sour cream with dill, no dill Havarti, no dill bread (a particularly yummy treat), no cheese mashed potatoes with garlic and dill. Not to mention that coarsely chopped fresh dill is good in salad.

Pickled, it loses most of its flavor. In fact I would say that he fundamentally doesn't like dill, since he dislikes it fresh and flavorful.

But then I grew up in Michigan, where dill grows wild.

#451 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 12:28 PM:

Xopher @ 450... Michigan, where girls go wild? ("No, Serge. Where dill grows wild.") Oh. Nevermind.

#452 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 12:38 PM:

Serge 451: You silly French person.

#453 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Xopher @c 452... Is this where I do my impersonation of Pépé le Pew? Oui, oui.

#454 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Serge #453: Pas encore, this is where you do your imitation of Jean-Paul Sartre.

#455 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 02:21 PM:

On dill: My brother-in-law lives in a beautiful village on the very shores of Loch Ness. The only time we ever visited, he had a local fisherman deliver a 12-pound salmon to the back door. He then informed me that I had better cook it, he having more faith in my powers than I did.

The fish was longer than the kettle, or any cooking vessel he possessed. All I could do was cut it into steaks, sear it, and, noticing that he had dill in the garden, try to remember how to make dill mayonnaise.

My God, it was wonderful.

#456 ::: broundy ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 02:37 PM:

For those who want to catch up on the last six Potter books in the most efficient manner, A Guide to Reading Harry Potter, by Defective Yeti. (scroll down)

#457 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 03:29 PM:

I was at the library yesterday, and checked in the catalog to see what the waiting list looked like for Harry Potter. Apparently, county-wide they purchased 115 copies: all were checked out or being transferred to another location to be checked out, and there were 768 people in the queue. Assuming that everyone keeps the book for the full 3 weeks, it'll take 5 months to work through just that queue!

#458 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 03:40 PM:

In my statewide system (admittedly, it's the smallest state) it's currently 409 holds on 190 copies. Gadzooks.

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Fragano @ 454... Wouldn't you rather have my Toulouse-Lautrec impersonation? Admittedly, my being 6 feet tall makes it rather unconvincing.

#460 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 03:56 PM:

My county-wide system has 487 holds on 561 copies. But that's not counting all the people (like me!) who picked it up yesterday.

The real winner is A Thousand Splendid Suns, the new book by the author of The Kite Runner: 1470 holds on 519 copies! (That's at least twice as many total holds as I've ever seen before.)

#461 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 05:01 PM:

Minuteman Library Network (suburban Boston area):

Harry Potter: 1159 holds on first copy returned of 412 copies.
A Thousand Splendid Suns: 1548 holds, 324 copies.

#462 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Serge #459: Hmm. That would make it difficult. I'll settle for your Charles de Gaulle interpretation.

#463 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Serge #459: Hmm. That would make it difficult. I'll settle for your Charles de Gaulle interpretation.

#464 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Hawai'i state system: 747 holds for Deathly Hallows.

For comparison, another highly requested item was Nora Roberts' High Noon. There were 240 holds on that one in its publication week two or three weeks ago.

#465 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 06:26 PM:

Dammit, the numbers sidetracked me. I meant to say that in the Hawai'i system the highly-requested books are only allowed out for one week per library patron.

#466 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 06:45 PM:

Fragano @ 462... Thankfully you didn't ask for my Brigitte Bardot impersonation, which would be even less convincing than my Toulouse-Lautrec.

#467 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 07:15 PM:

I do a Brigitte Bardot impression at least once a week, usually in the shower.

Just singing, people. Sheesh.

And no, it's not any good.

#468 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Is disliking dill a supertaster thing (similar to the cilantro effect)?

#469 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 08:42 PM:

Earl @468,

I taste the soap in cilantro, but I'm not a supertaster. If you don't taste it- imagine covering a sprig of cilantro with Ivory soap before you eat it. That's what a sprig of cilantro tastes like to me.

I'd thought that the cilantro effect is like the artichoke effect- although in a different direction.

With artichokes, there's a chemical that- if you're affected by it- makes everything else taste slightly sweeter. If that chemical does nothing for you, then artichokes would seem like an odd and pointless cooked flavorless leaf.

#470 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Cilantro tastes soapy to me, but only mildly so--as if you'd dipped it in clean soapy water and rinsed it almost enough. Oddly, I once had a stew with a great deal of cilantro in it (at a Peruvian restaurant) and the cilantro flavor completely overpowered the soapy flavor.

#471 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 09:48 PM:

I don't mind spoilers, so I skimmed the HP thread. It's all HP up to 85, the current end.

And in other good news, my lipid panel results came back and my triglycerides dropped 100 points! Only 19 above good! And how did this happen? Almost certainly the change from Gatorade's high fructose corn syrup to Sqwincher Lite's Splenda. Still hydrated, and I hope my sugar is under 103, which is what prompted the change because kidney patients are at high risk for diabetes.

#472 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 10:40 PM:

YAY Marilee!!!!!

#473 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 12:17 AM:

Marilee, YAAAAAY.

#474 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 12:32 AM:

Hooray, Marilee! Also, thanks for the Harry Potter thread update.

Cilantro to me tastes like rotting death, and is overpoweringly awful in any quantity. Oddly, coriander tastes delicious to me, slightly soapy, and utterly unlike cilantro. Cilantro being the leaves and coriander being the seeds, that is.

Wikipedia tells me that cilantro supposedly tastes like parsley but "juicier," whatever that means, and slightly citrusy, which I didn't know until just now and which clears up the mystery of why everyone seems to love it so much. That sounds good. It's just when my mouth fills up with the stench of death that I get turned off.

#475 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 12:56 AM:

W00t for Marilee!! That's fabulous!

#476 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:56 AM:

A friend of mine despises the taste of cilantro, and at a large dinner outing (where the rest of the table knew of his cilantro avoidance behavior) he was given some Hawaiian cilantro, which looks quite a bit different from regular cilantro: "Try it, you'll like it, it's Hawaiian!" Trusting soul, he popped the unfamiliar leaf in his mouth, and with ninja-like reflexes, immediately spit it onto the floor of the restaurant. Our faith in causality was strongly bolstered by the incident.

#477 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:02 AM:

Ethan #474: I thought cilantro was the Mexican name for coriander?

#478 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 05:00 AM:

Back in January I went to the online catalog for the Berkeley public library and searched for Deathly Hallows. Of course, it didn't show up. So what I did was, I bookmarked the search. And repeated it once a day in the course of my regular Web-browsing, up until mid-February when they finally did list the book and I was able to jump in and put the very first hold on it.

And it was indeed available last Saturday and I went and got it and read it that day. (Not quite in one sitting, I took a short break in the middle.)

(Last I checked, there were something like 155 holds on two dozen or so copies...of course, this is the library for just one city, not a whole state.)

I consider this less geeky than camping out overnight to be first in line to buy an iPhone, anyway.

#479 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 05:41 AM:

On July 23, 1993, Abi and Martin tied the knot. I have long wondered about how they came to meet, she being from the Bay Area, he from Scotland. In 2007, I decided that I'd get to the bottom of this. No expense was spared as I approached an International Woman of Mystery who unearthed this photographic recording of the event.

Happy wedding anniversary, Abi.

#480 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 08:40 AM:

ethan @ #474, coriander smells like bedbugs.

(actually I've never smelled a bedbug, but coriander smells pretty rank to me)

#481 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Happy anniversary, abi! I'm glad you were successfully stolen away from that mean man who flips that giant coin.

Soon Lee #474: It is, but at least in my local usage (and I think general American usage as well), coriander is used only for the seed, and cilantro, only for the leaves. It's a useful distinction to have, seeing as coriander is an odd but tasty spice and cilantro is an obscenely horrific deathweed.

Lila #480: Hmm. Maybe I like the smell of crushed bedbugs. I don't plan on researching this issue. Sometimes a spirit of scientific curiosity is trumped by the gross.

#482 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:12 PM:

Heh...the Hub sent me a huge bouquet of red roses to work, which is especially cool since he's in Scotland and I'm in the Netherlands.

Serge, I think you're in an alternate universe there. The actual sequence of events required (among other things) an earthquake, 15% partial thickness burns, and a snowstorm so bad the RAF had to come to the rescue. Dancing would have been easier.

#483 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Earl #468:

I don't believe he's a supertaster, but he does also dislike cilantro. (He's basically OK on the other herbs.)

Of course, not all aversions can be put down to supertasterism. I've got several dislikes based entirely on smell; if for some reason the smell is masked, I'm fine with whatever it is as a taste.

#484 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Found in link on "pimp my rice paddy" page:

Mysterious envelopes with money found in Japanese government office restrooms.

#485 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:18 PM:

abi #482: The actual sequence of events required (among other things) an earthquake, 15% partial thickness burns, and a snowstorm so bad the RAF had to come to the rescue.

I think you need to be more specific in Step 2. (Not to mention the other ones, but that's a direct quote.) You've tantalized us enough ...

#486 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:19 PM:

abi @ 482... Hmm... Maybe that International Woman of Mystery provided me with a photo from Star Trek's Evil Universe. I was having trouble reconciling the photo's Deadly Dame with the Nice Lady I met in Berkeley back in April.

#487 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:33 PM:

A lass named abi lived by the Bay,
her accomplishments more than I can say.
Along came a Scot
Martin - charming and hot
Their anniversary is today!

Happy Anniversary abi and Martin!

PS - I'm trying to run out the door to drive for eight hours, so I'm a little distracted. But, my good wishes are sincere, even if my verse is a bit weak.

#488 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 01:58 PM:

ethan 481: It is, but at least in my local usage (and I think general American usage as well), coriander is used only for the seed, and cilantro, only for the leaves.

That is to say, coriander and cilantro come from the same plant, but the latter is an herb (leaves) and the former is a spice (all other planty bits; the seeds, in the case of coriander).

I personally love cilantro, but then the amount of habanero oil I mix with my gouda (yes, gouda) would make Teresa shudder. Which makes me wonder if there's a negative correlation between liking spicy food and hating cilantro? I don't taste anything icky on cilantro, but us eaters of the extremely spicy are well known to have fewer tastebuds.

Those of you who taste the ick factor in cilantro: how spicy do you like your food? Very mild, mild, medium, spicy, very spicy?

Actually, same question to the people who (like me) like cilantro just fine?

#489 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Xopher #488:

Like cilantro more than somewhat, like my food spicy but prefer that my tongue not develop smoking blisters.

I've recently found some jarred jalapeno slices (Vlasic) that are almost too hot; I regard most of the other offerings, excepting Mrs Renfro's and Shotgun Willie's, as either too squishy or too wimpy or both. Hmm, is there some kind of connection between cripness and hotness?

#490 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Xopher #488: Thanks for saying that more clearly. I knew there were issues with that sentence when I wrote it, but I thought, well, it makes sense to me...

And I generally like medium to spicy on that scale, and for the most part very spicy is Right Out.

#491 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:30 PM:

I get along fine with cilantro, and it with me. I'm a spicy food fan in its Mexican format; I haven't eaten enough Indian or other varieties to judge.

#492 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:39 PM:


Joanne: He's not going to like Central Europe either. Ukrainian mess halls, in the summer time are wonderfully redolent of dill.

Cilantro/coriander = same plant. Also called chinese parsley. I recall the look on a guys face when he asked why all us gringos tried to be Mexican by eating cilantro. When I told him of it's being brought to Mexico from Europe, and all the other places it's used... well it's rare to see someone actually crestfallen.

I like cilantro, but Italian Parsley tastes soapy to me.

I also dislike artichokes, because I have the sweet receptor reaction. It ruins everything else I'm eating, and what it does to wine ought to keep it out of everything on the menu of restaurants which serve wine.

I realise this is an extreme position, but there have been all sorts of good looking meals I've had to forgo because they had artichoke.

#493 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:42 PM:

I used to loathe cilantro beacause of the soapiness, until one day I discovered that in the presence of sufficient capsaicin (a fairly moderate amount; it didn't need to be enough to cause 15% partial thickness burns), the soapiness disappeared while leaving the rest of the flavor profile accessible. Eventually the soapiness seemed to decrease even without capsaicin, and now I rather like cilantro.

I'd describe the de-soaped taste of cilantro as somewhat resembling cumin-- rather earthy, but also slightly musty/musky as well as somehow greener/leafier.

#494 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Happy anniversary, Abi!!! A thousand more.

#495 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 02:56 PM:

ethan #474: What does fresh (as opposed to rotting) death taste like?

#496 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 03:05 PM:

I like cilantro. Since learning that some people think it tastes soapy, I have occasionally discerned a faintly soap-like taste, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment.

I like things moderately spicy.

#497 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 03:11 PM:

I prefer mild spice for most food, and I have never thought of cilantro as being soapy! More like tangy parsley, and not really very exciting at that. I have no qualms about eating (or smelling) cilantro, but it's not really something I seek out, either.

#498 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 03:22 PM:

I like cilantro straight up (eat it off the stem while I garden).

I like my food sort of spicy. I don't like really hot (and jalapeño I don't like the flavor of, though in cheese it's changed enough to be nice).

Thai food I can take hotter than I can take mexican.

Chinese varies.

Indian is a different beast altogther. I like it hot, but lots of the spicing isn't based on peppers.

#499 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 03:29 PM:

Ukrainian mess halls, in the summer time are wonderfully redolent of dill.

That's exactly why I have an aversion to it. I spent a couple of weeks in Ukraine in the summer of 1991, and every meal featured dill. Potatoes with dill! Tomatoes with dill! Cucumbers with dill! I reached my dill saturation point very quickly.

To this day, I can't stand the smell of the stuff. Only exception made is for pickles, because dill pickles don't actually taste like dill.

(Don't believe I've ever had cilantro. Can't stand coriander, though; reminds me of anise and licorice and all that other icky stuff, and just smelling it for a few minutes can make me queasy. I don't like cumin, either; it's like eating dirt. Or so I imagine, not having eaten actual dirt.)

#500 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 03:42 PM:

After three weeks, the dill started, as an aroma, to be a bit much, but only a bit.

But I've had lots of food which didn't have dill; restaurants, were less dilly than mess halls (by which I meant army mess halls).

I've eaten a lot of dirt (both in the metaphoric sense of landing hard in it, and of having it in my food).

Cumin doesn't taste like dirt, though I might call it earthy. I like it a lot.

#501 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Fragano #495: Presumably, slightly better than cilantro.

#502 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:05 PM:

I'm in the "soapy cilantro" faction and I like hot food, but not insanely hot. Newman's Own Salsa's Hot version strikes me as only mildly hot; I can go up several notches from there. The hotter Szechuan, Thai, and Indian foods are too hot for me, as are some of the more macho Tex-Mex dishes I've tried. Like Terry, I dislike the flavor (not the heat) of jalapeños. Wasabi is okay in small doses. I like ginger--fresh, pickled or candied.

(I also like artichokes, but mainly as a vehicle for garlic butter or lemon butter. Never noticed the sweetness factor. And just to round out the picture, I like fresh dill, don't care for dill pickles, and dislike anise/licorice sorts of things, except for fennel, which to me has only a very faint anise flavor.)

#503 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:10 PM:

I gather that cilantro aversion is a different genetic switch to supertasting -- it's merely that if, like me, you have both, you get to maximise the disgustingness of cilantro...

I'm another one who loves coriander-the-seed and loathes cilantro-the-leaf to the point of not even wanting to be at the same table as someone eating it. Personally I'd describe cilantro-contaminated food as smelling as if an elderly and ill tomcat had sprayed over it.

#504 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:14 PM:



#505 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Love cilantro, although have found that there are some seed strains sold labeled as coriander which are not as pleasant green. also fond of anise and licorice but not caraway, for what that's worth.

Like hot food but am particular about the source of heat: white pepper, to me, smells of diaper pail, and I vastly prefer Habnero to Cayenne sauces.

#506 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Julia #503: Personally I'd describe cilantro-contaminated food as smelling as if an elderly and ill tomcat had sprayed over it.

Which is exactly how my husband characterizes some plant (not cilantro) that comes up every spring around here and which I can't smell at all. Hmmm. Maybe it's a sensitivity to catbox smells? (Although we have a catbox complete with senior female cat and it doesn't offend him anything out of the ordinary.)

#507 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Joanne @506: Somewhere or other I ran into an explanation involving some people having an enzyme that physically alters some component of cilantro to a different chemical -- so we are actually tasting something different, rather than having a much higher sensitivity.

#508 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:35 PM:

joann, there's any number of plants in the same family as cilantro (Apiaceae) which smell intensely bad; hemlock (Conium) is cat-pee smelling enough that I can smell a crushed plant at a quarter-mile, and one of the plants of that genus killed Socrates. It's also a family which includes food plants which can cause liver toxicity over time, like parsnip and salsify, and others, like celery and carrots as well as asise, which are common allergic migraine triggers.

The other probable stink-fest suspect is Dog Fennel, which is not actually a fennel (another member of Apiaceae) but intead a kind of chamomile, which is a member of Asteraceae.

The unifying factor on all these plants is that they're biennials with fleshy rootstocks; I suspect the unfriendly chemicals are all just ways of keeping the burrowing rodents and root weevils from eating the roots.

#509 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 04:47 PM:

ethan #501: Okay.

#510 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Speaking of vile things, chamomile is vile. I find mint teas to be flabby.

Horseradish (and wasabi, which is different; though most wasabi powders are mostly horseradish) I can eat in big bites.

I recall a friend saying once that horseradish was as nothing. I told him it was potent. He took a chip (Frito's scoop, or some such) and ladled up a teaspoon or so. His face folded in on itself, like a Tex Avery cartoon.

In a fit of, minor cruelty, I took a chip, and ate at least as much, while he chugged a beer.

JESR: I find the restructuring, to make all the plants have ceae endings really annoying. I miss umbelliferae.

Curly Parsley has a toxin, which prevent all but one bug from attacking it.

#511 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 05:28 PM:

I get why some people describe cilantro (leaf) as soapy & tastes of bedbugs as I can sometimes detect it myself; the soapiness & what I describe as green shield bug. I don't find those aspects unattractive probably because its fresh-green aroma dominates. FWIW, I like moderately spicy food.

#512 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 05:38 PM:

I love cilantro. REALLY love it. I taste no soap, and I find the flavor to be damn near aphrodisiac.

I generally prefer my food medium-spicy, to my own definition, which means I am able to taste other flavors besides heat in it, but what's medium-spicy to me is unbearably hot to less spice-tolerant folks. I find most commercial "hot" salsas are my "medium," and I've been known to spike V-8 juice with three drops of Dave's Insanity.

This is not meant as boast, as I also know plenty of people whose preferred heat level leaves me grabbing for the milkshakes.

I also think dill is wonderful and chicken soup is incomplete without it.

#513 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 06:07 PM:

Terry, I'm trying to retrain myself on the newer forms of botanical names, since, in the RL crowd I run with, using the old forms marks one as less than authoritative. But I have to have the wikipedia page open to prompt me on spellings and forms for the new names when writing.

What especially bothers me is the disreguard for oral communication for some of the names: Gramineae trips much more lightly from the tongue than Poaceae.

#514 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 06:07 PM:

Rikibeth @ #512, Not to indulge in one-upsmanship, but rather in a spirit of collegiality, I used to add 2-3 drops of Tabasco to Snap-e-Tom to jazz up a Bloody Mary.

#515 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 06:19 PM:

joann @ # 506, I suspect differences in scent perception between individuals are quite common. My husband, for example, thinks paperwhite narcissi smell like bug spray, to the extent that he can't be in a room with a pot of them. I, on the other hand, love them (so I grow them outdoors and leave them there).

JESR, do you happen to know why dog fennel is so called? My dogs do seem interested in it, but that may be simply because it's tall and therefore a convenient pee-target for other dogs.

#516 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 06:25 PM:

Linkmeister #514, what's Snap-e-Tom? Sounds fascinating.

Tabasco is good stuff, but a lot lower in Scovilles than Dave's Insanity Sauce.

I had a pleasant surprise at a local restaurant recently -- I asked for tomato juice with my brunch, and they poured from their jug of house-made Bloody Mary mixer. Loaded with horseradish! Yum.

#517 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 06:54 PM:

JESR: Part of it is that I am familiar with the old names, part of it is they are more euphonius.

Leguminosae sounds better to me than fabacaeae, and umbelliferae is melifluous, compositae describes what it is.

Just marks me as an old fuddy-duddy.

#518 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 06:57 PM:

#499 ::: Jennifer Barber

...I don't like cumin, either; it's like eating dirt. Or so I imagine, not having eaten actual dirt.)

Some years ago we were delighted to find a large bag of Chinese (i.e. from China) 5-spice powder in an Asian market far from home.

It had nowhere near the oomph of the smaller, more expensive packets we'd been buying, and an unpleasant grittiness. After giving it a rest and trying again (several times), we finally decided it was, in no small part, dirt.

#519 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:05 PM:

I love horseradish. The first time I went to a seder the "bitter herbs" were horseradish, the kind with beets mixed in, and I kept nibbling them all night.

I made some wasabi buttercream one time, as a joke. It wasn't nearly as horrible as it sounds (which rather spoiled the joke, actually); its chief flaw was that it was, oddly, too sweet.

A dislike of cilantro doesn't appear to correlate (or at least not very strongly) to a dislike of spicy food.

Hmm. Maybe I'll buy some cilantro on the way home.

#520 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:13 PM:

Lila, it smells like the excretion of the canine anal glands, for one thing. And dogs will roll in it, if given access, with the kind of glee they usually reserve for icky dead stuff.

#521 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:16 PM:

I also think dill is wonderful and chicken soup is incomplete without it.

Yes! And I also love cilantro. Hey, wait a minute, I thought dill in chicken soup was an old family recipe. Maybe we're long-lost cousins...?

We put spinach in chicken soup, too.

#522 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:20 PM:

JESR, thank you! I'd wondered about that for years.

#523 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:25 PM:

Linkmeister #514: Is Snap-e-Tom what Mel Brooks complains about being in airline bloody maries (marys?) in that scene in High Anxiety where he and Madeline Kahn are disguised as an obnoxious elderly couple because they have to get on an airplane but the police all have his picture because they think he killed a man, but it was really Braces with a plastic mask of Mel Brooks's face on, and if you're loud and annoying psychologically people don't notice you, that he calls "the snappy with the peppy?"

Because I've always wondered what that was.

(Simpler version of my question: What is Snap-e-Tom?)

#524 ::: Vian ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:46 PM:

#523 ::: ethan

Well, in Australia it's a homonym for probably the most popular brand of cat food, so my immediate reaction to people putting hot sauce in it was to feel sorry for their cats (or to admire the culinary sophistication of the American feline).

#525 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:54 PM:

OK, how about another question I should already know the answer to...

Can someone explain steaming to me? I have a little steamer basket (metal thing that opens like petals) and I have no idea how to use the thing - or even if it's the most efficient way to steam stuff. What kind of receptacle should I use - pot, bowl, parchment packet? Stove or microwave? How much water? How long?

I've just gone to the farmers market and got some awesome green and yellow zuchinni that were darn tasty grilled, but I'd love to learn to cook them without lighting a fire. Also, there were some wonderful looking beans (green and otherwise) I'd like to try, but I don't want to cook them the only way my mom ever showed me - boiling.

I figure if I can master this one technique, it will lead to a healthier nerdycellist. Since I figured out the hibachi at the advanced age of 34, surely I can handle steaming stuff.

#526 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Xopher, #488, I don't like cilantro, but if I'm eating food that's meant to be hot, I want to sweat and my nose to run.

#527 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Lizzy L #521, perhaps long-lost cousins (is that L for Lakin? Or Lukacs, that being what it was several generations back, I'm told?) but at least with ancestors from the same part of the globe -- mostly around Minsk, but with some Hungarian branches, as well.

Actually, the dill is on my mother's side of the family. The One True Ingredient on my father's side (where the Lakin/Lukacs branch is) is parsnip.

My own hybrid version includes both. Sweet AND fragrant. My father's side wins at matzo balls, though. Separated eggs and stiffly beaten egg whites make the best texture. His mother taught me when I was ten.

We don't put spinach in ours. I wonder if that's not an adaptation of schav, sorrel soup? With sorrel being hard to find in 20th-century American middle class markets, schav was often done with spinach and sour salt.

#528 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 08:39 PM:

Can someone explain steaming to me? I have a little steamer basket (metal thing that opens like petals) and I have no idea how to use the thing - or even if it's the most efficient way to steam stuff. What kind of receptacle should I use - pot, bowl, parchment packet? Stove or microwave? How much water? How long?

I dunno if it's the most efficient, but you use it by putting it in a pot that's big enough for it but small enough that stuff doesn't fall out between the petals when they're resting against the side of the pot. You put enough water in the pot that the water level stays below the level of the bottom of the blossom, then put the veggies in and turn up the heat till the water boils. And then steam till they're steamed. :) You'll want a lid on the pot, too.

#529 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 08:41 PM:

I forgot, there's two other noxious cat-pee smelling plants which are particularly offensive in spring.

One of them is the common hedge-plant box (Buxus sp, a member of the Buxaceae, strangely enough); some clones are stinkier than others, but all of them smell bad enough that one wonders why the stuff was ever domesticated.

The other is a group of mint-allies, not genus Mentha although distinguishable from that genus mostly through small details of the flower, and called, in general "Horsemint." (The Wiki has Mentha longifolia listed as "horsemint"). I was picking some nice wild mint once and got a few stems of the not-mint, and my hands smelled as if I'd been working with some of the nastier natural dyes that use urine for a mordant, until I finally cut my fingernails flush and soaked my hands in water with lemon.

#531 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 09:12 PM:

Oh, cilantro.

The first time I tasted it, and noticed that no one else was gagging, I decided that other people were somehow tasting something different.

I can't speak to Ethan's interpretation of the rotting death taste, but to me, cilantro doesn't just taste like soap. It tastes like soap and blood.

I still hold out hope that someday people will stop putting cilantro on everything, especially things that do not indicate they are contaminated by cilantro.

#532 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 09:13 PM:

That must be the snappy with the peppy, because Mel Brooks complained about there being too much boining.

#533 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 09:22 PM:

nerdycellist: Steaming.

Put water in the bottom of the pot. Place the steamer in the water. When the water boils, place what you want to steam in the steamer.

I line the steamer with cabbage, or lettuce leaves. That keeps the food from direct contact with the steel, since some things will react.

If steaming dumlings (like pirogi, potstickers, or gyoza) make sure to line the steamer so they won't stick. Also keep them from touching each other.

Smaller pieces cook more quickly.

#534 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Sharon, I feel that way about cooked spinach (it makes me retch) and bell peppers.

My greatest cross, when it comes to food, is that the things I don't like/can't stand, are ubiquitous.

Bell peppers, most broccoli, cooked spinach (the vegetable of choice in veggie dishes, like lasagne) avocado.

#535 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 09:39 PM:

My memories of Snap-E-Tom come from airline days of yore, as one of the choices in miniature cans like orange or tomato juice (or as the spicy-hot mixer for Bloody Mary drinks).

I'd never seen it in a "real" sized can till the link above.

Like V-8, unusually high in sodium.

#536 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Xopher@488: I grew up with spicy Mexican but never had a huge tolerance for heat and now have less; get along fine with cilantro.

#537 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Oooh, I've seen the picture now. Snap=E-Tom looks GOOD!

#538 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Following up on Ethan (481) and Xopher (488): I have to put a vote in here for the non-American English speakers. In my understanding, cilantro, Chinese parsley, and coriander are all used for the greens, but the seeds are exclusively 'coriander seeds'. Madhur Jaffrey and Jamie Oliver back me up. Oddly, my Jamie Oliver book has 'coriander' (but not 'cilantro') in the index, but 'cilantro' in the recipes, which suggests that someone did a not-quite-careful-enough English-to-English translation for the US/Canadian market.

And nerdycellist (525): A couple more hints - make sure the water is below the bottom of the steamer (to avoid poaching). Green beans and cut zucchini shouldn't take more than two or three minutes to cook to tender-crisp. While lining is a good idea to prevent sticking, if your steamer is stainless steel, you probably won't have to worry about anything reacting with it (I use a stainless steel colander to steam in and I've never had a problem).

#539 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 11:37 PM:

One more thing about steamers: metal ones so very do not belong in the microwave, unless you're just into blowing things up.

Like the local electrical distributing system.

#540 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2007, 11:46 PM:

A site I found while trying to dig up the reference to cilantro aversion being linked to an enzyme:

#541 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 12:00 AM:

Public Service Announcement: at 22:50 CDT the Harry Potter thread was still exclusively about Harry Potter.

#543 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 01:00 AM:

Julia Jones #540: That site is awesome! I'm definitely in the green wedge in this pie chart (in fact, "rotting something," while probably not exactly what people said to get in that wedge, is a perfect description of what deathweed tastes like to me).

I'm kind of terrified of the picture on this page, because surely if you burn deathweed, you just release death vapors all over the place. Great caption, though.

#544 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 01:02 AM:

Oh, and TexAnne #541: Thanks for the update. It's a load off my mind knowing I'm not missing anything. Not that I'm not missing anything. You know what I mean. Anything else.

#545 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 01:41 AM:

debcha #538: It is my understanding as well that unless specified (as seeds, ground or powder) coriander/cilantro defaults to the green bits.

It's interesting how one can get caught out by regional usage. I once offered to cook dinner for a friend & went to some trouble to ensure that they had all the ingredients - when I said 'ginger', I meant 'root ginger', they heard 'ginger powder'. The ability to improvise in the kitchen is handy.

#546 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 02:02 AM:

I see others have looked up the Snap-e-Tom info, but here's the Del Monte product info sheet (pdf). Ingredients are:

Water, tomato paste, green and jalapeño chile purée, salt, onion purée, citric acid.

It now comes in 32oz, 11oz, and 6oz containers. When I used to drink I'd take a 6oz can and pour it over ice in a highball glass. Add as much pepper, celery salt (failing an actual celery stalk--fresh produce was hard to come by on Kwajalein) and Tabasco as desired, add vodka and stir.

#547 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 04:16 AM:

#534 ::: Terry Karney @ 534

Cooked spinach. Yuck! I've never understood why, when probably 50% of the general population hates the stuff, it is widely believed that all vegetarians love it.

Baby spinach leaves, fresh, in a salad, are different.

#548 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 05:47 AM:

TexAnne @ 541... What about the comments in that thread about sex and trains?

#549 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 09:53 AM:

#524 - The pickiness of the felines is apparently due to an inability to taste "sweet" - so pet food makers can't cover up bad ingredients as easily.

No word on their chili receptors, though. Birds don't taste "hot" but most mammals do, which is why some people add hot pepper to bird seed to repel squirrels.

#550 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 10:43 AM:

I admit to being a major fan/practitioner of creamed spinach. Some varieties have jalapenos and/or cheese. Awesome. (I will note that I hated spinach as a child, but readjusted my thinking somewhere around my 20th birthday.)

#551 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 10:45 AM:

The worst noxious plant odor in these parts comes from soggy juniper bushes. Right after a rain they smell fine, but later (usually in the middle of the night, after I've left my windows open) they give off a *strong* odor of skunk -- and yes, I've smelled the real thing.

I also dislike the sickly-sweet miasma of red wine (with no experience of the super-expensive varieties). As for taste, I'm fine with artichokes and avocados (yum!), and not-too-overcooked broccoli, but cucumbers always remind me of chlorine: nauseating.

#552 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Fresh spinach (cooked just until it wilts) is not bad, to me, and uncooked is tasty, but the commercial stuff that comes frozen is only good for spinach dip. Canned spinach is - well, I think it's only suitable for compost.

I like Snap-E-Tom mixed 50-50 with V8 - a 6-oz can of Snap-E-Tom and a 8 or 12-oz can of V8, whatever the standard 'small' can is for that. It produces a somewhat milder version that, IMO, improves both of them.

The Oxford/Penguin Companion to Food says that most people of European ancestry have trouble with the smell of cilantro. The burrito place near work asks if you want it, before they put it in.

#553 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Snap-E-Tom is OK, I guess, although the best mixed-vegetable-with-heat juice I've ever had was one Knudsen apparently no longer makes. Back when I was still able to consume alcohol for recreational and health purposes, I used it in a sort of Super Bloody Mary I called "Mama's Crazy Salad," in which "Mama's Crazy" were the operative words.

In a 22oz glass: Celery, green onion, hot pickled okra, picked onions (pref British bar onions and not cocktail onions), pickled green beans, (Any pickled or fresh veg of your preference can be substituted, althouth I advise strongly that you avoid fresh broccoli and raw mushrooms,the former squeaks and the latter become little vodka bombs) 4oz frozen vodka. Fill to top with hot style mixed vegetable juice or regular vegetable juice and 1/4 tsp Tabasco, D.L, Jardine's Texas Champagne, or other flavorful hot sauce (Dave's Insanity Sauce can be substituted, but then so can Zostrix). Serve with a pickle fork for stabbing the vegetables.

With a few whole-meal crackers, it's a healthy meal AND a cure for bronchitis and midwinter lassitude!

#554 ::: Paul Estin ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 12:39 PM:

I have a question about the TIME PERIODS for eligibility for the HUGO vs. NEBULA Awards, and how those time periods (and the differences between "Nebula Year" and "Hugo Year") have CHANGED over time.

I was compiling a chronological list of all the Hugo and Nebula Award winners, for two categories, novel and movie [Dramatic Presentation Hugo, Best Script Nebula]. One thing I noticed right away is that, when the same work is a nominee or winner in both the Hugo and Nebula, sometimes the year is the same and sometimes it isn't. The pattern changes over time, which makes me suspect that the rules for eligibility (re time period) has changed for either the Hugo or the Nebula or both.

(For brevity, I'll call "NY" the "Nebula Year", the year attached to the Nebula award or nomination, such as "1965" for "Dune", or "2004" for "Paladin of Souls". I'll call "HY" the "Hugo Year", such as "1966" for "Dune", or "2004" for "Paladin of Souls".)

For novels, the pattern seems to be:

Prior to 1993, NY = HY-1. For example, "Dune" won the 1965 Nebula but the 1966 Hugo.

After 1996, NY = HY. For example, "Paladin of Souls" won the 2004 Nebula and 2004 Hugo.

1993 to 1996 (and maybe later), it varies; sometimes NY = HY and sometimes NY = HY -1. For example, of the nominees for the 1995 Nebula, "Beggars and Choosers" and "Mother of Storms" were 1995 Hugo nominees, but "The Terminal Experiment" was a 1996 Hugo nominee.

For Nebula Best Script vs. Hugo Dramatic Presentation, I haven't looked as closely, but it seems clear that the pattern of years is different than for novels. In most years, NY = HY. "Sleeper" won both 1974 awards, "Young Frankenstein" both in 1975, "GalaxyQuest" both in 2000, "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" both in 2004. On the other hand, "Serenity" won the 2005 Nebula and the 2006 Hugo.

So, can anyone clarify for me what the "eligible time periods" are for the Hugo and Nebula (for novels and for dramatic presentations/ scripts), and more importantly, how those definitions have changed over time? Thank you.

#555 ::: yuubi ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 12:54 PM:

cat-vacuuming sighted.

#556 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 03:19 PM:

yuubi #555:

Special circumstances in two kinds.

Honorable mention.

That said, deeply unsettling photo. For some reason, I'm thinking T.S. Eliot.

#557 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 03:26 PM:

My internet connection at home has been down for a couple of days* so I've been mostly out of the picture, only able to read ML for short periods at work. This leaves me with some very belated bits of business:

Marilee, congratulations on your lipid panel. Many happy returns.

abi, congratulations on your anniversary. Myths will be told and legends shall grow around it.

Rikibeth @ 527
Aha! I finally found someone else who uses sour salt in soup. It's something my grandmother used to do routinely (she came from north of Kiev). Recently my partner started making a chard soup (using red chard) that I converted to hot and sour with hot oil and sour salt; I love it.

JESR @ 539
Very true, don't put metal into a microwave, unless you want to use it as a smelter.

Weighing in on the herbs and spices: I really love cilantro, like coriander and like cumin in moderation (but really love it when used on greek lamb recipes). I'm into hot and spicy foods; I keep several jars of Mrs. Renfro's around for perking things up, and like the taste of jalapeños and habeñeros. I like horshradish (and once bit a chunk off a horseradish root and chewed it, which turned out to be a bd idea, not because of the taste but because it gave me stomachache), but am not very fond of wasabi.

As far as genetic taste markers, I can't taste PTC, but can roll my tongue up (I've been told these are complementary abilities, not sure I believe it). I hate the taste of aspartame, and don't like other artificial sweeteners much, good thing I prefer salty foods to sweet.

Here's a link to an article on the Psychophysics of taste that might interest you, since you brought this subject up.

* First, qwest's local servers in Portland went on strike for several hours, then when I reset my DSL modem after they came back, it forget all of its configuration, including the username and password. This took awhile to solve, because it also wouldn't display its admin page until I'd spent some time persuading it. On top of which, the new Belkin wireless base station I bought (and had so much trouble setting up) started dropping connections and requiring a reset every 15 minutes or so. I solved that one by taking it back to the store and replacing it with an Apple Airport basestation, which required about 15 minutes to configure and get running reliably. Note that the 15 minutes included 2 automatic firmware updates.

#558 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Anybody got some helpful advice for surviving in a town without water? It looks like Cheltenham's water supply may be offline for a fortnight, and it looks like I won't be able to skip work and become a refugee unless martial law is declared. My skin is already itching....

#559 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 04:02 PM:

TexAnne writes in #541:

Public Service Announcement: at 22:50 CDT the Harry Potter thread was still exclusively about Harry Potter.

Thank you. I was wondering, but I wasn't going to look, because I'm still in Book 4. I'm very slightly ashamed to be two novels behind the movies, but reading all the Harry books quickly is not a priority.

#560 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 05:04 PM:

NelC #557: Try drinking the blood of virgins instead.

#561 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 05:08 PM:

I'm about half-way through book 7. I made myself stop at about 12:02 am last night.

I plan on leaving a big chunk for tomorrow.

For someone who "can't write," Rowling can sure make one ripping yarn.

#562 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 06:13 PM:

I'm guessing I wasn't the only one who went "Bwa?" when LJ and then wouldn't load. So:

A number of high-traffic sites, including all Six Apart sites, are currently down.

There may be updates in the SixApart Twitter, which is linked from the post above.

#563 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 06:48 PM:

ethan @559: Virgins? In Cheltenham?*

*This old joke brought to you by courtesy of the British Museum, Department of Prehistory and Europe.

#564 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 07:05 PM:

I just have to note that recently, every time I open this thread from the top and have to scroll down past Fragano's post of "Marseillaise" lyrics, my brain cell has instead been setting them to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad".

#565 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Nel C #557: Wiping down with bottled water may help a bit. On the other hand, given that you're in Cheltenham, perhaps doing without water may be a good thing:

Here lie I and my three daughters,
Who died of drinking Cheltenham waters;
If we had stuck to Epsom Salts
We wouldn't be lying in these here vaults.

You can also use the same kind of wipes you'd use for nappy rash, and I suspect there'll be a run on those.

#566 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 07:22 PM:

Ah, I hadn't realized washing was the problem. Try bathing in the blood of virgins.

#567 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Holy Crap! What a wicked bummer to get one of these...

Some Potter Fans Find Pages Missing

ATLANTA - Harry Potter charmed millions of readers this weekend, but the spell was broken at least briefly for some fans when they found pages missing from their precious copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

The book's publisher, Scholastic Inc., says a few hundred of the 12 million copies of the book are reported to have pages missing. The gaps have left hardcore Potterphiles rushing to stores to exchange them _ or filing them away as mementos of the book's epic release.

Leanne Greer, 36, had gone on "lock down" _ no television, radio or Internet _ after buying her copy of "Deathly Hallows" at about 7 a.m. on Saturday. She said she finished reading page 306, then discovered the next 33 pages of the book were missing.'

#568 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 07:40 PM:

NelC @557,

Are you able to purchase water in larger containers? Is there a camping supply store nearby where you can buy a solar shower? (No knowledge of this site- was just looking for a .uk link)

I'd purchase a solar shower, heat it up outside, and then bring it inside to hook onto your shower for a nice hot daily shower.

Here are some general tips on storing water from the Burning Man website. While the Burning Man event itself is located in a very dry location, the tips are still useful.

"The bottom line: 1.5 gallons (6 liters) of water per day per person.
Now a few words of caution:

First, on using used containers: even if the container is rated as "food grade" and you thoroughly clean and disinfect it, there is still a high probability that there will remain a taste from the previous contents. Keep in mind that if your water tastes crappy, you will be less likely to drink it and will risk dehydration (which can lead to serious injury, even death). It is highly recommended that if you do bring water in used containers that you use that as utility water for cleaning and bathing, running mister systems, and such, and keep your drinking (and cooking) water only in new containers.

Second, never use garbage bags to store drinking water. The lining of garbage bags is usually impregnated with chemicals that retard spoilage and suppress odors, and are not safe for human consumption.

Third, keep your water bottles out of direct sunlight and away from strong odors. Sunlight is energetic enough to cause chemical reactions in the bottle's plastic, imparting unpleasant odors and tastes to the water. Also, if there is anything in the water, like bacteria or algae, the sunlight will foster growth, which could cause illness as well as bad taste. Keep in mind that the "milk jug" style plastic (polyethylene) breaths, allowing outside air to reach your water. Do not store your bottles near any chemicals or other things with strong odors -- don't store in a box next to a bag of onions unless you like onion flavored water!

And lastly, store your empty bottles with the caps loose or off. The desert heat can make the air in the bottle expand and alter the bottle's shape (round bottom or ruined handles) and can even split the seams.

#569 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 07:49 PM:

If you need to sterilise the water, you can (Provided you have sunlight), make a solar still.

With a large catchment one can actually purify a lot of water.

#570 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 08:01 PM:

NelC @557,

I should note that you might be able to find 'solar showers' for £10 or less (the price at that link is quite high).

Also, notes on solar showers...
I've found that the water gets reasonably warm even on cloudy days.
While you don't need to get specialty camping soaps (or shampoo) for home use, I'd use soaps you know are easy to rinse off.
If you're splitting it between two people, then there's more than enough water for an initial rinse and a complete rinse after a (water off) complete hair wash (including a separate conditioner) and thoroughly soapy washcloth wash. If you've got three people using it, then you could cut down on the initial use- still use it directly for your hair, but use it to wet your washcloth otherwise.

#571 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Re bathing in limited water:

When I was in Iraq, we had no great amount of water. With a rag I was able to take a "bottle bath" with not more than 3 liters of water; which included washing my hair.

Done with care, one can keep clean that way, pretty much indefinitely. I did it for three months (it was 28 Mar, to 12 Jun between showers, though the one on 12 June was the only one I got until I arrived at Landstuhl on 28 June, where I soaked in hot water for about an hour; in plain violation of the posted rules [which said the showers closed at 2200. I was in it from 0100, to about 0145).

#572 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Can anyone recommend a good site or brand for diabetic snack bars? Snack bars for diabetics, that is. Mom just got diagnosed, and has a mild case, so doesn't need to take any drugs, but she needs to change her eating habits and we're looking for something that's high in protein and low in carbs, that she can carry in her purse and munch on when her students are talking to her and keeping her from going to lunch. She's turning 80 next week, so we're not bothering with the notion of telling her to blow her students off for the sake of her health, because that would definitely be a New Trick.

Anyway, I'm hoping to discover some sort of Yummy Lo-Carb Food Stick for her that isn't too challenging dentally (ie: no beef jerky) and doesn't require refrigeration, so she can carry it instead of a Granola bar. Google is turning up various sites but I don't know if any of them are trustworthy or tasty, particularly when half of them are of the "cure your diabetes naturally!" type.

Any pointers? Thanks

#573 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 10:01 PM:

Addendum: it seems, upon further reading, that bars with carbs are good as long as they have special not-spikey carbs. Or so the Glucerna people I may order some of those for her, but I'll wait to see if anyone here has suggestions first.

#574 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 10:07 PM:

#554: Until recently, Hugo rules were relatively simple: eligibility is for a calendar year, with the awards selected in the following year and referred to by the year of award rather than the year of eligibility. The rules were changed a few years ago such that a book published outside the U.S. in year N-1 and in the U.S. in year N may be voted eligibility for the year N+1 awards; this is unbalanced, but so is the population of Hugo voters.

Don't ask me about Nebulas; I'd rather try to explain the infield fly rule \and/ Leg Before Wicket, and probably have a better chance of getting them right. I've heard they have a "rolling nominations" process that covers more than a year, so your observations are plausible.

#575 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Mary Dell: these folks may be helpful.

American Diabetes Association

#576 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 11:30 PM:

nerdycellist, #525, you have the answer for using your steamer (in Asia, you frequently get woven baskets you use similarly), but the best way to steam without making too much heat is in the microwave. Put the veggies in a bowl or dish with edges with a bit of water and cover with wax paper. Timing depends on how solid the veggie is and how much there is.

NelC, #557, this is why you save water all the time. Since you haven't, you could use baby wipes, but won't your municipality hand out jugs of water?

#577 ::: Melissa Devnich ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 11:47 PM:

NelC #557: The Peace Corps method for sterilizing drinking water (for instance, from a well) is: Filter through a bandana to remove dirt & guinea worm eggs; add 1 drop of bleach per 1 liter; let set for 20 minutes. For bathing, we typically poured in a splash of bleach but didn't worry about the rest.

#578 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 11:49 PM:

Mary Dell - My coworkers at an outpatient diabetes education center like Kashi Bars. Remember with carb counting that fiber is a null carb.

I have a meeting with the patient educators tomorrow, I'll ask them what snacks they currently enjoy/recommend. They get samples of various "diabetic friendly" products, and they always try them out and check out the packaging before passing things on to the patients/clients. They can give lots of personal testimonials on the side effects of sugar alcohols.

It'll be about 24 hours before I can share what I learn, I hope that's not too long of a wait!

#579 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:25 AM:

On my way to work this morning, it occurred to me that:

1. All sets are (improper) subsets of themselves.
2. The empty set is a subset of all sets.
3. The set of all sets of which the empty set is not a subset IS, in fact, the empty set (by 2), but since it's a subset of itself (by 1), it contains the empty set as a subset, which means that it isn't what it was defined to be at the beginning of this sentence.

I feel certain that something is wrong with this reasoning, since it leads to a contradiction, but I can't work out what it is. Can any of you mathematicians help me out?

#580 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:36 AM:

Lj is back up.

#581 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:45 AM:

In Providence there's a band called The Set of Red Things, and they always make it clear that The Set of Red Things is not a member of The Set of Red Things. I like them.

#582 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Xopher, all I can say about that one is that it reminds me of Achilles racing the tortoise, and I still don't get why the logic there doesn't work.

#583 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:32 AM:

Greg, #240: As for Mister Potter, as someone who has seen every movie before reading the books, and who hasn't read all the books, I just want to get it over with. The movies, without reading the books first, are pretty flat, the "Phoenix" being the worst so far.

As someone who has read none of the books and seen all of the movies, my opinion has been (1) that I didn't miss a whole lot thereby (with the exception of GoF, after which I had to ask my Potter-geek friends a few questions), and (2) that the movies have been getting steadily better. My partner and I were both of the opinion that OotP was the best yet, and we're very pleased that the same director is going to do the 6th movie.

John, #412: So has Rowling been having too many lunches with the writers of the Trek movie scripts, or what?

Earl, #476: That kind of sneak-tricking behavior with food really sets off my alarms. To me, that's not the sort of thing you do to a friend.

Xopher, #488: Cilantro doesn't taste icky to me, but neither does it taste especially good; I tend to eat around it in salsa, for example. I've always put that down to my dislike of "greens" in general. As to how I like my capsaicin, anywhere from "just a little" to "hot but not incendiary" depending on the dish.

(FWIW, this taste was entirely developed as an adult -- my parents were both firmly in the "any heat is too much" camp, and I had to work my way up the Scoville scale a bit at a time. The salsa that got me started on the trip, which was "yeow, hot!" at the time... I could now drink it like water were I so inclined.)

Fragano, #495: Meat.

Jennifer, #499: because dill pickles don't actually taste like dill

Huh. That's funny, because to me, dill tastes like pickles, and that's the problem! I can deal with sweet-pickle relish just fine (in small amounts), but I tried dilled carrots once and they tasted like pickles, ugh.

JESR, #505: Oh yeah, the source can make a lot of difference. I'm okay with most fleshy peppers, but not at all fond of any kind of peppercorn, and black pepper is just plain awful -- small cooking doses are tolerable, but the amount that the average American uses as a condiment will ruin anything.

I grew up eating Good'n'Plentys, so I love licorice/anise candy and will happily eat all the black gumdrops or jellybeans that no one else wants. I like the smell of fennel better than the taste of it. Caraway is Right Out; I've been known to spend 10 minutes carefully picking all the caraway seeds out of a slice of rye bread before eating it.

Terry, #510: Horseradish is also Right Out for me. But I can handle a lot more ginger than most people are comfortable with, including Blenheim's Extra Hot Ginger Ale. Sometimes I eat candied ginger as a snack.

Linkmeister, #514: This may be just me, but I find that adding very small amounts of Tabasco to things like soup or stew makes a good salt substitute. You don't add enough that you start noticing heat, but somehow in small doses it enhances the other flavors present.

Terry, #534: Seebling! Red and yellow bell peppers aren't totally obnoxious (and can often be fished out or eaten around), but green pepper is everywhere, and it flavors the entire dish much more strongly than its riper brethren.

I used to be able to make myself eat broccoli, but the older I get the less I'm inclined to do so; it's the only topic on which I've ever agreed with George Bush. Spinach is just plain nasty, and avocado/guacamole... well, someone else can have my share.

One of my largest pet peeves is ordering something at a restaurant and having it come with extra ingredients that weren't listed on the menu. If I'm lucky, I can work around the problem, but there have been times when I had to send a dish back to be remade without the icky ingredient. This strikes me as something which could be downright hazardous to people with food allergies!

#584 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:53 AM:

Dave Luckett@581: Yes, Achilles must complete an infinite series of distances in order to overtake the tortoise. What we now realize that the Greeks didn't, is that an infinite series can have a finite sum. So Achilles overtakes the tortoise after crossing a finite distance in finite time.

#585 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:13 AM:

David Goldfarb: That is the neatest statement of the difficulty that I have ever seen in words, words being the only way I shall ever be able to state it. I shall have to remember it.

Ahem. (That, incidentally, is not meant as a flamer bingo. It is meant to signal extreme diffidence, a certainty that what I am about to say is obviously foolish, and I know that it is, but can't see where the idiocy lies.) But if a series of numbers is infinite, how can it have a finite sum? Clearly it can, as is demonstrated by the the fact that Achilles overtakes the tortoise, but (and this is my usual problem with any mathematical logical progression) I can't see how it follows from the premise.

But what I really want to know is, when I've got a mathematical blind spot the size of the Great Red one, why do I bother my head about stuff like this?

#586 ::: Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:18 AM:


Yes, every set (including the empty set) is both a superset and a subset of itself.

"The set of all sets of which the empty set is not a subset" (call this set S) is the empty set. That is, S has cardinality 0 -- it has 0 elements.

That is not the same thing as saying that the empty set is an /element/ of S. If it were, then S would have cardinality 1 -- 1 element.

The key concept here is that "the empty set" and "the set containing the empty set" are two different sets. The first has cardinality 0, the second has cardinality 1.

I hope this explanation is helpful, and doesn't just add further confusion.

#587 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:39 AM:

Dave Luckett: Because the size of the numbers is decreasing faster than the number of numbers is increasing.

Put like that, it sounds very fuzzy, but using differential calculus it is possible to turn that statement into something mathematically rigorous. So you have two choices: either go study calculus, or trust me.

(To be perfectly honest, my own calculus is far too rusty to demonstrate it myself...but I remember that it can be done.)

#588 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:51 AM:

David Goldfarb: But that does make perfect sense! And that is, again, the clearest explanation of the thing that I've ever seen.

Have you ever considered a career in tutoring mathematics dummies?

#589 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:27 AM:

Xopher @ 578: I believe what you have there is a paradox of set theory. I wonder if it's not even a version of Russell's paradox: that always seems to rear its head when you start talking about sets of all sets which don't have property X. (Personally I prefer Grelling's paradox, but only because "autological" and "heterological" are cool words.)

#590 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:42 AM:

Mary Dell @571,
Do you have a Trader Joe's nearby? I ask because the TJ's near me in California have a decent selection of individual bars across multiple brands... good for taste tests, because otherwise the bars come by the box (or are too expensive individually).

Once you do find what you like, buy online- it'll be much cheaper than most stores.

As I recall- been a couple of years- the Atkin's bars were good, although they could taste too much like a candy bar. They now have granola and crisp style bars- I'm not as familiar with those.

#591 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:06 AM:

Andy Wilton @ 588

Yes, this is a variant of Russell's "Spanish Barber" paradox. As such, it's a demonstration of Gödel's Theorem: that a sufficiently powerful structure (in this case, formal set theory*) can't be complete (in this case, it cannot contain both the empty set and "The set of all sets of which the empty set is not a subset"). Now set theory would be rather useless without the empty set, so maybe we have to give up the other?

One way to look at it is that just because you can name an object with some description of its properties doesn't mean that object exists in some particular axiomatic formal theory**. For a very lively explanation of exactly this point, complete with outrageous examples, egregious puns, some lovely photographs of video feedback, and a persuasive explanation of how Gödel's Theorem relates to theories of consciousness (!), I recommend "I Am a Strange Loop" by Douglas Hofstadter.

* Which, like most mathematical structures is a web of theorems, propositions about the relations among basic objects, whose connections in the web are proofs that the theorems are consistent with other theorems according to the rules of logic, and are ultimately consistent with some set of basic, unprovable propositions called axioms.

** IOW, a given theorem may not be consistent with (provable from) a given set of axioms, but may be consistent with a different set

#592 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 07:36 AM:

#557 et seq: I'm sure that the people recommending solar stills mean well, but... it's England. If we had reliable, sustained sunshine, we wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

Also, I'm assuming that NelC still has electricity or gas - right? So solar stills for purification, and solar-heated showers aren't necessary, because she can heat water.

The only tip I have is to use non-purified water as much as possible - for flushing toilets, etc. Also, remember that water doesn't have to be drinking quality to be OK for washing as long as you keep it out of your mouth.

#593 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Lee @582: At the time, I had no idea what Hawaiian Cilantro was, so could not warn him "don't touch it, it's evil". I do warn him when I know that a particular restaurant's items have cilantro mixed in without that fact being noted on the menu (cilantro in rice is a common offender).

#594 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:25 AM:


just to let you know, the ADA "Complete Food and Nutrition Guide" finally arrived. Have skimmed through it. Looks like it's exactly what I need.

When I finish reading it (christmas?), I'll post an update.


#595 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:11 PM:

ethan @565: How many virgins would it take to fill a bath? I guess I could get by on the blood from one or two if I stick to sponge (blood-)baths.

Yeah, it's not quite New Orleans here in Gloucestershire, though the margin looked narrow for a while. The electrical grid almost went down when the Severn flooded Gloucester, but heroic measures by emergency workers, the Army and RAF managed to keep things dry. But when Tewkesbury was flooded the local water purification plant got drowned; it's going to take a few days for the waters to drop and then more time to get the plant cleaned up and working again.

Meanwhile, the roads are mostly okay, the supermarkets are still being supplied, and the council and the Army have put out water bowsers, so things aren't desperate, just uncomfortable. Thanks for the tips, guys: the baby-wipes are a good call, and I'll keep my water bottles out of the sunlight. Don't think I'll need the solar shower, though.

#596 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:27 PM:

Lee: Bell peppers are, in moderation, something I can eat around. Add them to a sauce, and that gets harder.

Ginger is a treat. Candied, fresh, pickled, slived, stewed, in a sauce as a garnish. Blenheim's is nice, but I've had some with more kick (sadly it was a one-time thing, and I wasn't able to find the label again). The only caveat with potent ginger beers is to not drink them warm, the carbonation, I think, increases the rasping nature of the spice.

re Solar still/bathing. Yes. Though if the water is too fouled, it needs to be boiled, regardless, because sewage can lead to infetions of torn skin (I've been in places where I was glad the shower head was low, and washing my hair was an exercise in making sure the water ran away from my face).

#597 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Two PSAs.

One: The Harry Potter thread is still just wild about Harry (and nothing else).

Two: Emma Bull's new novel, Territory, is FAR FAR FAR better than all the Harry Potter novels put together.

#598 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Greg London @ 598: Excellent! I'm off to see the Diabetes Center educators in about 1.5 hours, where I get to ask about diabetes friendly snack foods. Oh, and get some work done too.

#600 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Stefan @ 566

I had that happen with the trade paper edition of HP6. Returned it to store, checked all the other copies on the tables (same thing), then took refund and went by Costco, which had it (correctly bound) for less money. Somewhere out there is a box with the complementary misbound volumes.

#601 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:02 PM:

Karl 585: Gluh. Need to sleep on that.

Dave 587: Take a look at Koch Snowflake and you'll see how an infinite number of iterations eventually makes no difference at all to the actual size of the thing. The Koch Snowflake (when complete) is an example of a closed curve with an infinite perimeter, yet enclosing a finite area.

(Math types: I know it can't be "complete" really. For you I would say the perimeter measurement diverges, while the enclosed area converges.)

I find such things like spicy food. They hurt my brain just a little, but they has a flavah liek cheezeburger.

Andy 588: So it IS a paradox? I'll read those later; thank you!

#602 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Why is the Cheney Junta still occupying the Executive and Judiciary Branches of the US Government....

Cheney Junta OUT NOW!!! The bases include crimes against humanity (how many dead in Iraq?), perjury, abrogation of the US Constitution, torture, oathbreaking ("uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States of America), obstruction of justice, etc. etc. etc.

#603 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Ajay @590,

If no water is coming out of the pipes, then solar showers might be the most convenient way to have a hot / warm shower. With the solar shower it's 1. fill, 2. put in heating spot, 3. move to shower spot and shower.

While one can heat water on the stove for a bath, that could take much more water and time, not to mention the water cooling too much as the next batch of water is heating up.

With either a solar shower or a stove-heated bath, the greywater should be saved and used for flushing.

#604 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:15 PM:

And the amusement story of the day:
Maker of toilet aquarium swims into new territory
By Ronald D. White, Times Staff Writer
July 25, 2007

Toilets and pet fish have an unhappy history, but AquaOne Technologies is changing that — one flush at a time.

This wasn't how the Westminster-based company set out to make its name. Really. The serious-minded small business was founded seven years ago with the worthy goal of ending the biggest single source of wasted water in any household: leaky and overflowing toilets.
But the real inspiration struck during a brainstorming session on how to demonstrate the H2Orb at trade shows using a clear acrylic toilet.

They were dads who had all flushed their share of dead guppies and goldfish over the years, and the same thought hit all of them: What if we had fish in that tank and flushed it and the fish stayed and didn't go down the drain?

"We all got a good laugh out of it and quickly forgot about it," recalled David Parrish, the chief operating officer for AquaOne. "Then I heard that Richard Quintana and our chief designer were actually trying to build one."
The pictures make it clearer what they've done: a fish tank around the main tank.

#605 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Oh, and hooray for the tabloid the Globe, which claims that the mystery wiring on the Schmuck during the last presidential campaign debates, belongs to a defibrillator, that Schmuck has heart trouble.

Meanwhile, a friend suspects that Cheney got a heart transplant during one of his lamely explained absences.

Neither of the above slimeballs seem to have paid visits to hospitals in Boston....

regaring my previous post, the latest crap Truthout's been reporting on includes

regarding the apparatchik who gagged fish and wildlife scientists and flouted the Endangered Species Act, and

regarding apparently illegal political partisanship.

Oh, and another... Sen Ted Stevens of Alaska under investigation...

#606 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:34 PM:

Paula @ 603

I understand all three of Alaska's congresscritters are being looked at.

#607 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Earl, #591: After re-reading your original comment, I now ask: did anyone else among the people who were pushing the cilantro at your friend know what it was? If they didn't, then I withdraw the charge of sneak-tricking.

Having been a victim myself a few times of people pulling something like that and then saying, "Oh, I thought you just thought you didn't like X because you'd never had it properly made," (or sometimes "but if you didn't know it was in there, you wouldn't know you weren't supposed to like it"), this is a bit of a hot-button issue for me. Among other things, it could be lethal if the issue was a food allergy rather than mere personal distaste.

And thank you ever so much for the Blenheim link! There's no local distributor here, so it's good to know how I can get my fix. :-)

#608 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:55 PM:

NelC - One more water saving tip - if you've used water for washing/washing up etc. (grey waste) it can be used to water plants.

(better to be used for flushing, but depending on circumstances etc. )

And, at the risk of telling you things you already know, the offical Severn Trent Water news and advice is on their website here.

Google give me far too much information on the blood of virgins; since I have to sleep tonight, I'll leave that to someone else to look at.

#609 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:55 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 603... a friend suspects that Cheney got a heart transplant during one of his lamely explained absences

If I only had a heart...
A brain...
Da noive...

#610 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Re: Alaska's congresscritters.

Oh yes, yes they are. They all are being investigated.
::chortles with glee::

Ok, I actually don't completely despise Ted Stevens. These days it is hard to find a pro-choice, pro-public broadcasting Republican. Considering the other Republicans available in my state, he's one of the better ones. He doesn't use his love of Jebus as a reason why we should vote for him.

However, the kid glove handling his son is getting for taking bribes while a state legislator, is just wrong. So very wrong. Ben Stevens is identified in every way but by name in the charging documents that the VECO execs signed confirming their guilty pleas.

Don Young is an embarassment to humanity, never mind my state or nation.

#611 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Dave Luckett@587: Glad I was able to help.

I remember once I saw that selfsame paradox illustrated in a DC comic from the '60s. Their explanation was given in a footnote: "Note: this paradox does not take into account the rate at which the two are moving." Which is, to quote Wolfgang Pauli, "not even wrong."

#612 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Mary Dell @ #571: The first thing the dietitians suggested is that you see if you can get your mom into a diabetes self-management education class, where she can learn some of the tips and tricks for healthy living with diabetes. Of course, they are biased.

Anyway, the snacks they like to recommend are the Kashi bars I mentioned earlier, Murray products, and small portions of raw nuts.

The one dietitian was quite adamant that I mention portion sizes, and making sure that snacks are of a reasonable size.

Here's a list of snacks:

• 4-6 whole wheat crackers with small amount (less than 1 oz) low fat cheese or (1/4 c low fat cottage cheese)
• 4-5 whole wheat crackers with small amount (less than 2 T) of peanut butter
• 1 slice toast and less than 1 oz melted low fat cheese
• 3 c air-popped popcorn, low fat
• 3 gingersnaps or 5 vanilla wafers or 8 animal crackers
• 3-2 ½” sq graham crackers
• 6-12 each or 1 oz tortilla chips and salsa
• 12-18 each or 1 oz baked potato chips
• ¼-½ c cooked dried beans/peas with a small amount of Italian dressing
• ½ sandwich (low fat ham, chicken, fish, not breaded, avoid bologna, hotdogs)
• 1 c low fat milk
• ½ c low fat milk and ¼ c fresh fruit
• 3 pieces of dried fruit
• ½ c fresh fruit
• blended drink of ½ c low fat milk and ¼ c fresh fruit
• ½ c fresh fruit and less than 1 oz low fat ham
• 1 c vegetable/broth soup
• 3/4 c dry cereal (low sugar)
• 1/3 c dry cereal and 1/2 c low fat milk
• ¾ oz pretzels
• ½ of a 2 oz bagel
• ½ English muffin
• ½ pita
• 2 rice cakes
• 1 small roll
• 1 tortilla
• ½ c cooked pasta or rice or potato
• ¼ c regular pudding or ½ c sugar-free pudding
• ½ c regular or no added sugar ice cream
• 1 c low fat yogurt with artificial fruit flavor/sweetener
• 1/3 c frozen yogurt
• ½ c frozen yogurt, no sugar added
• ¼ c sherbet or sorbet
• 1 granola bar (such as Kashi brand)

#613 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Tania, Kathryn, and Lizzie: Thanks very much for the tips and pointers. Tania, I'm emailing your snack list to my Dad, since he's the cook and grocery shopper in their house. In the meantime I've ordered them some Glucerna snack bars and will check out the Kashi bars. I'll have to find out if there's a TJ in the town where my parents live (I'm a couple hours away from them, unfortunately)...TJ stuff is always pretty good.

The hospital gave them a couple hours of self-management training, but Mom's still working out how to use the blood-testing machine when she's got arthritis and so-so vision, so we're not going to push her to learn more than that yet...she's cool with eating what Dad tells her to eat, for the next few weeks anyway. We didn't know the thing about fiber carbs not counting, though, so things make a bit more sense with that piece of info. Dad should probably go to a self-management class himself, actually, since he's going to be able to understand it better than she will. (Mom is brilliant, but the language and creative parts of her brain seem to have filled her entire head early in life, leaving no room for stuff like working a toaster or counting carb exchanges.)

I never thought I'd say it, but right now I'm kind of glad my MIL is also diabetic...nice to have some guidance on-call.

Thanks again for the tips.

#614 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 12:04 AM:

Since Open Thread 86 has over 1000 comments...

via BoingBoing, Dude action figures.

#615 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 10:35 AM:

NelC (#593 et al.): I've been watching the English floods on US TV, thinking how apocalyptic it all looks -- didn't Ballard do a Drowned World book? -- so it's good to hear from a survivor who's trying to continue with an almost normal life.

Meanwhile, south of my part of AZ they're having flash floods and rescuing people from raging washes that used to be peaceful rills (or entirely empty). They still do mention the much larger floods in your area, but they pronounce that shire with *way* too many syllables.

As for the political discussion that pops up here now and again, last night my primary guilty TV pleasure ("So You Think You Can Dance") had all the remaining dancers do individual versions of the same routine, clearly antiwar -- it ended with a peace sign -- and performed to some half-familiar song about a future where their generation will come to power. Good mojo there!

#616 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 03:33 PM:

"By Shelley Murphy and Brian R. Ballou, Globe Staff

"A federal judge, in a scathing rebuke of the FBI, ordered the government to pay a record $101.7 million for its role in wrongfully sending four men to prison for a 1965 gangland murder in Chelsea...."

One of the notable things about the abomination of justice that put four men on death row for a murder the FBI framed them for, is that the Schmuck applied his first presidential directive gag order to it. That is, the the case hit the Congress of the United States of America, of two men who died in prison, and two more who spent more than 30 years imprisoned, for a murder the FBI knew the four men were innocent of committing, and the US Congress started investigated.

The Schmuck in the Oval Orifice ukased a Presidential Directive that in the imbecilic claim of "national security" blocked Congress from access to the FBI records of the case, even though the atrocity of justice has occurred three decades prior.... my own suspicions are the members of the Schmuck's family or associates were involved in something massively stinking that was related to FBI miscreancy and the Schmuck was e.g. protecting Daddy from deserved infamy.... or perhaps, it was merely the Schmuck being a paranoid brain-damaged junkie.... the information has stayed buried.

It is one of many many many reasons I deplore and despise the Schmuck, that he protects the guilty, those who colluded to sentence four men innocent of murder to death for a murder they were framed for, by the parties whom the FBI KNEW had committed that, and OTHER murders, and in effect were granted a license to murder by the FBI--and continues to protect the associates of those who colluded to send four men innocent of murder to death row.

The only reason they weren't put to death is that Masschusetts stopped executing those convicted of capital crimes. And two of the men nonetheless died in jail, and the other two were only released after decades of effort by an attorney who belongs in the ranks of those with the moral courage of those Profiles of Courage--as opposed to the Profiles of Cowardice such as belong to Rove, the Schmuck, Cheney, Gonzales, etc.

#617 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 04:28 PM:

To the textile geeks... I'm currently helping my dad clean out his house, which has accumulated more stuff in 20 years than I thought possible. A lot of this is due to my mom's textile habits. I have a fair amount of crocheted doilys (sp?) and such, as well as some handmade lace that was probably made by one of my great-aunts. It has not been kept in ideal conditions, and I'd like to see it go to someone who will appreciate it. How do I clean it properly, and does anyone have any suggestions for how to get it into the hands of someone who will take better care of it? I also have some handkerchiefs with (I think) handmade lace edges. All of the cross stitch stuff will go to my mom's needlework guild, but the crocheted stuff has me baffled. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

#618 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 08:21 PM:

Elizabeth at 615:

The best thing you can do regarding the fabrics and laces is to get them to a quilting store and have them look at them and give you advice. They will have several kinds of gentle cleaners and know which to recommend. What area of the country are you in?

#619 ::: kathryn from sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Elizabeth @615,

Back in Open Thread 83, I asked about the linens, lace and other clothy things from the house of a great-aunt who passed away. Replies to my comment may be applicable to your situation.

And I'm not done yet with that cleaning and organizing, so any tips you get could be applicable to mine.

By the way, if you are a person about to leave your stuff untouched for years until other people sort it out, please don't leave the full-pelt marten stole in an upright position on your shelf. Opening the door to see what first looks like a mummified cat isn't fun. No, really, not fun.

#620 ::: Peter ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 09:19 PM:

So I've been following the Member's Project through American Express, which has turned out to be kind of interesting. The idea was that members submit projects, then members vote on which they want to fund. And American Express then funds it up to something like US $5 Million. (the whole shebang is at

One of the finalists ended up to be an organization called Population Services International. They are providing clean water for just pennies! PSI turns out to be led by an American Express cardholder who also happens to be a P&G employee. In fact, the project is in turn funded by UNICEF, and behind them, Procter and Gamble, which apparently lists the program as its signature social marketing program. The idea is to sell Pur water filtration packets to developing countries at cost. Further they've started to sell these packets for profit in the US and use that money to plow back into PSI.

It's not quite astroturfing, a topic that continues to be pop up around here now and again. But is there a word for what's happening here, something about swooping in to capture a co-branding moment? Or does this just serve AmEx for trying to turn a credit card into a vehicle for social entrepreneurship to begin with?

#621 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 10:01 PM:

USA Today tries to define the fanboy.

#622 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 11:21 PM:

Faren @ 613, would that "half-familiar song about a future where their generation will come to power" be
Tomorrow Belongs to Me? (words; MP3) Maybe not ;)

#623 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 03:32 AM:

I'm in central Illinois. And if anyone could recommend a shop that offers open sewing or basic tailoring/sewing classes, that would also be much appreciated. I just took up sewing at the beginning of the year, so I'm still at the point where I need lots of help.

There are lots of old books too, kathryn, but those I will at least try at a used book shop, before donating them to the library fundraising sale. Don't worry, the only thing that I actually got rid of was the complete set of L.Ron Hubbard books. I've tried that at the used bookstore before, with no luck.

#624 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 04:03 AM:

Marilee @ 619, That's an interesting article. I wonder if the American Fanboy is as powerful a demographic as the Japanese Schoolgirl?

#625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 08:30 AM:

Well, well, well... We were channel-surfing last night when we had to stop at G4's videograme network. They were reporting from ComicCon and there were Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg talking about the next Indiana Jones movie. This was the end of their visit so we missed any revelations. Good news we did catch... Karen Allen is back. Yay! Bad news, Indy has a 20-year-old son along. Why couldn't it had been a daughter instead of a son? That'd have made it more bearable.

#626 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Serge @#623:
Indy has a 20-year-old son along

That would be Shia LeBouf, from Tranformers.

#627 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 09:12 AM:

Mary Dell @ 624... Well, that's about as promising as my finding out that the SciFi Channel's Flash Gordon has Gordon played by Lana Lang's boring boyfriend in Smallville's original episodes.

#628 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Serge @ 625

Now that is too bad. But in the same spirit as Indy having a daughter, why couldn't Flash Gordon be played by Kristin Kreuk, Lana Lang herself? OK, she'd make a lousy college running back, but she certainly can play a person with an adventurous spirit.

#629 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Epacris (#620): No, that's not the song. Something more rock'n'roll, even though it's closer to emo than to twist & shout. But thanks for trying.

#630 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 626... Riiiight. Maybe the show will turn out to be quite enjoyable. Honestly though, I expect it to make me want to go rent Flesh Gordon instead.

#631 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Xopher (#578, 585, 599): In case sleeping on it didn't get you anywhere, here's the problem:

The set of all sets of which the empty set is not a subset IS, in fact, the empty set (by 2), but since it's a subset of itself (by 1), it contains the empty set as a subset, which means that it isn't what it was defined to be at the beginning of this sentence.

Let S be the set of all sets of which the empty set is not a subset. That is, for all T, T is an element of S exactly when the empty set is not a subset of T. You've noticed that the empty set is a subset of S. This is not a contradiction. The definition of S requires that the empty set not be a subset of any element of S, and that is true (because there aren't any elements of S). The definition of S does not require that the empty set not be a subset of S itself. So everything is right except the last clause asserting a contradiction that does not exist.

It's easy to make the mistake of mistaking properties of a set with properties of its elements. I think Plato did the same thing when he defined things called forms that captured the essence of some kind of object. The form of all dogs would be a trait that contained all aspects of dogginess. But if I recall correctly, he decided that the form of all dogs would itself be some kind of dog. This runs into all kinds of paradoxes.

For instance, we could consider what kind of objects are ordinary specific objects, as opposed to forms. Then there would have to be a form of all ordinary specific objects. But if forms are instances of the thing they describe then that form would have to be an ordinary specific non-form, which is inconsistent with it being a form.

A final caution--defining "the set of all sets with property P" is not guaranteed to work, even though it does in this case. The way it's done rigorously is to define the class of all sets with property P, then prove (if you can) that the class is actually a set. In this case, most mathematicians wouldn't bother, because it's clear that S is a set.

#632 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 01:42 PM:


I posted this a couple of days ago; I guess it got stuck in the moderation queue because of a bogus link. Hope this spreads a little more light.

Andy Wilton @ 588

Yes, this is a variant of Russell's "Spanish Barber" paradox. As such, it's a demonstration of Gödel's Theorem: that a sufficiently powerful structure (in this case, formal set theory*) can't be complete (in this case, it cannot contain both the empty set and "The set of all sets of which the empty set is not a subset"). Now set theory would be rather useless without the empty set, so maybe we have to give up the other?

One way to look at it is that just because you can name an object with some description of its properties doesn't mean that object exists in some particular axiomatic formal theory**. For a very lively explanation of exactly this point, complete with outrageous examples, egregious puns, some lovely photographs of video feedback, and a persuasive explanation of how Gödel's Theorem relates to theories of consciousness (!), I recommend "I Am a Strange Loop" by Douglas Hofstadter.

* Which, like most mathematical structures is a web of theorems, propositions about the relations among basic objects, whose connections in the web are proofs that the theorems are consistent with other theorems according to the rules of logic, and are ultimately consistent with some set of basic, unprovable propositions called axioms.

** IOW, a given theorem may not be consistent with (provable from) a given set of axioms, but may be consistent with a different set, and in either case be "true", or at least not false.

#633 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Envy me, for I am going to the Olympic Peninsula beaches on a sunny day in July!

Pity me, for I will spend three hours each way in a small space with two young adults still in the "Mom and Dad are not all that" stage.

#634 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 02:24 PM:

JESR @ #631, In the next lexicography you write, use that as an example of "Mixed feelings."

#635 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Anyone ever heard of the movie On the Silver Globe, by Andrzej Zulawski? It's been unavailable for a long time, but tomorrow Facets is reissuing it, and a week ago I got a free screener of it--the only perk of my internet magazine movie reviewing gig.

Anyway, it's one of those made-in-a-Communist-country-over-a-period-of-ten-or-more-years-and-never-finished-because-of-government-interference transgressive almost-masterpiece avant-garde batshit crazy movies, and it's kind of awesome. As I was watching it I kept thinking of all the hilarious pitches at the beginning of The Player, and in my head I was like, "It's like Lord of the Flies meets The Blair Witch space!" or "It's Dune as directed by Stan Polish!"

Just wondering if anyone's seen it, and what on Earth anyone else might have made of it. It's apparently also based on an early SF trilogy, from the first decade of the 20th century, which has been translated into like ten trillion languages but not English. So it's a conveniently unattainable thing for me to be newly obsessed with.

#636 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Serge 623: Indy has a 20-year-old son along. Why couldn't it had been a daughter instead of a son? That'd have made it more bearable.

Sez YOU, you heterocentric...*splutters*

Serge 625: Lana Lang's boring boyfriend in Smallville's original episodes.

There you go again! Eric Johnson is a GREAT actor. The character was dead boring, I agree. But if you haven't seen him in Scorn you really have no idea what his acting range is. The character he played was astonishingly different from Whitney, and so convincing that the original guy's close friends (Scorn is a true story) were stunned by how exactly he captured him.

Besides, he's a hottie.

Dan 629, Bruce 630: Thanks. Both of those make sense. Dan, I knew there was a flaw, but as Bruce points out there's a set there somewhere (one I can define) that does contain a contradiction, and that doesn't necessarily mean I'm wrong, just that set theory is incomplete or incorrect.

#637 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 03:22 PM:

ethan @ 633

"It's Dune as directed by Stan Polish!"

I've never heard of it, but based on that description either "batshit crazy" is an understatement or you have one of the weirdest minds of the 20th Century ("Unfortunately, Colonel, we live in the 21st Century"). The very idea of Stan Brakhage directing Dune has tripped most of the circuit breakers in my head, and I'm currently running on backup power while service is restored.

#638 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Xopher @ 634... you heterocentric

Not in the least. It's just that adventurers seldom seem to pass on their adventuring genes to any daughters.

As for Flash Gordon... We shall see.

#639 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Xopher @ 634... Besides, he's a hottie.

Men are so superficial.
Oh. Wait.

#640 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Faren @613: Well, Cheltenham was the least affected of the three towns – no photogenic flood damage – so life is almost normal here. Except for all the closed restaurants, cafes and fast-food shops, and the bright blue (and quickly emptied) water bowsers on street corners. And a lot of people decided to take the weekend away starting at about lunchtime today, no doubt heading for areas where they can have a good bath, whatever the other attractions.

#641 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 04:59 PM:

#623 Serge

They were reporting from ComicCon and there were Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg talking about the next Indiana Jones movie. ...Good news we did catch... Karen Allen is back. Yay! Bad news, Indy has a 20-year-old son along. Why couldn't it had been a daughter instead of a son? That'd have made it more bearable.

Perhaps the same tunnelvision pertains regarding "fanboys" and the assertion about how science fiction readers are primarily hormone-crazed adolescent boys and adult males who don't have a normal social life, and any female interested in the stuff is really either a drag queen or aberrant or irrelevant, and and non-socially dysfunctional male SF fan is aberrant, etc.

Oh, and add in, when was the last time that there was a female lead was built like an ordinary woman works out, and not someone with either anorexia or a natural physique that only one half of one percent of the population have?

[That is, the starvation/FEED ME! appearance]

#642 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 639... the assertion about how science fiction readers are primarily hormone-crazed adolescent boys and adult males who don't have a normal social life, and any female interested in the stuff is really either a drag queen or aberrant or irrelevant

At the same time the G4 Channel's usual hosts are one moderately geeky guy, and two pretty girls, who aren't anorexic. I don't get it.

#643 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 05:53 PM:

482: The actual sequence of events required (among other things) an earthquake, 15% partial thickness burns, and a snowstorm so bad the RAF had to come to the rescue.

Well, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

You could have got your love affair scripted by Jane Austen. True, the dresses aren't too comfortable and the language is formal; but it would have been perfectly OK otherwise.

You could have had it scripted by Dorothy Sayers. There would have been a good deal of quotations, and the occasional body, but all in the best possible taste.

But no - you had to get yours scripted by Jim Macdonald. You're frankly lucky you both got through it alive. (At least it was an informative experience...)

#644 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 05:53 PM:

482: The actual sequence of events required (among other things) an earthquake, 15% partial thickness burns, and a snowstorm so bad the RAF had to come to the rescue.

Well, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

You could have got your love affair scripted by Jane Austen. True, the dresses aren't too comfortable and the language is formal; but it would have been perfectly OK otherwise.

You could have had it scripted by Dorothy Sayers. There would have been a good deal of quotations, and the occasional body, but all in the best possible taste.

But no - you had to get yours scripted by Jim Macdonald. You're frankly lucky you both got through it alive. (At least it was an informative experience...)

#645 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 07:52 PM:

I've put up signs and written multiple haiku today, in recognition of hard working SysAdmins everywhere.
A grateful Tania thanks you.

SysAdmins rule us,
l337 heroes fighting teh lame.
Benevolent geeks

#646 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Serge & Xopher: what's the time frame of the new Indy Jones movie? While I would indeed like to see a female adventurer in the "heir apparent" role, if the movie is set before 1970, I'm inclined to cut them a little slack on the basis of period authenticity.

(This is also why I thought the Wild Wild West movie had a credibility problem. Yay for casting a black lead, Boo for doing it in a period setting where it was just not believable.)

#647 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 09:26 PM:

Bruce Cohen (StM) #635: You think you're having trouble with your circuit breakers? Try writing a review of Stan Brakhage's Dune. I'm stickier than stuck.

#648 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2007, 09:34 PM:

ajay @ #641/2: it was worth double posting.

#649 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 04:34 AM:

ajay @641/2
But no - you had to get yours scripted by Jim Macdonald. You're frankly lucky you both got through it alive.

True, dat. Every time I acquire a new member of my very nearest and dearest, I acquire a major scar to go with them. (Jim has yet to write Slice, Dice, Out in a Trice (the EMT's guide to C-sections), though I expect it will be gripping reading when he does*.)

* "You will need to clamp the umbicillus at this point. I always carry a No 2 vascular clamp in my kit for moments like this. If you don't have one, grab one of those plastic clips you can get to reseal potato chip bags."

#650 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 07:25 AM:

abi @ 647... I always carry a No 2 vascular clamp in my kit for moments like this. If you don't have one, grab one of those plastic clips you can get to reseal potato chip bags

Have you been watching MacGyver again?

#651 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 07:25 AM:

abi @ 647... I always carry a No 2 vascular clamp in my kit for moments like this. If you don't have one, grab one of those plastic clips you can get to reseal potato chip bags

Have you been watching MacGyver again?

#652 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 07:28 AM:

Shocking confession:

I have never watched MacGyver, ever, in my whole life.


#653 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 07:41 AM:

Lee @ 644... what's the time frame of the new Indy Jones movie?

The last I heard, it was going to be set in the 1940s after the War. True, the period does allow them to get away with the heir apparent ot being female. On the other hand, there were women around back then who were quite physical, like Katharine Hepburn, I think. Besides, these movies are fantasies (*) and don't have to reflect reality.

On the other hand, there is the movie based on Wild Wild West. I could have accepted Will Smith as James West if they had gone the colorblind route, like Brisco County did with Lord Bowler. Unfortunately, they kept reminding us of his skin color, which strained my suspension-of-disbelief subroutine beyond its capacity. (By the way, I loved Kevin Kline as Artemus Gordon, but did you know that George Clloney was originally cast in that role? They had to let him go because he kept playing Artie as if he really was James West.)

(*) Not like the LoTR kind of fantasy, but the kind where we know that this is not the way reality works, but we accept it for the duration of the fantasy.

#654 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 07:45 AM:

abi @ 650... Neither have I, but I've caught enough bits and pieces to get the idea that the character is quite good at using things for purposes other than what they were designed for. (And there was the recent "priceless" ad where Richard Dean Anderson reprised his role. Tube socks were involved.)

#655 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 08:00 AM:

abi at #650 write:

> I have never watched MacGyver, ever, in my whole life.

I first encountered MacGyver on Jordanian tv, and immediately assumed that it was a show too bad to air on domestic American tv, and had thus been dumped cheaply onto less sophisticated regions of the world. If only I'd been right...

#656 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 08:09 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 653... The mullet hairdo was hard to take, wasn't it?

#657 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 09:11 AM:

No idea what vintage this (non-icky) sequence is. Russian, obviously. WWII? A decade before or after? I don't know how to research the uniforms. The impulse to caption the photos is almost irresistible. Note the fashion-forward cap backwards towards the end.

#658 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 09:20 AM:

#644, Lee

What about e.g. Amelia Earthart, she was a female adventurer of that time! The clampdown and redaction of women out of non-housewifery in US myth and legend came with the demobilization from WWII and hypocrisy of the 1950s following, which included the wholesale disempowerment and booting of women out of the financial-and-social emancipation they'd had/jobs they'd been working in industry when a significant percentage of 18-45 year old males, particularly the 21-35 range ones, were in the US military (there were also women in the US military, though not so many, including my mother and two of her older sisters, an aunt by marriage, etc., but the percentage of women in the military was a lot lower for the same age ranges than the percentage of able-bodied men).

While I never have seen the film True Grit I read the book; there were a LOT of women who were business owners and civic leaders in the Wild West. "Miss Kitty" of Gunsmoke being an affluent m/a/d/a/m/e saloon owner and respected civic leader, was not extraordinary and not anachronistic. During the time I was in Colorado, one of the former mining towns of Cripple Creek or Victor held a centennial celebration re-enactment of the funeral of the most famous madame the town had ever had... she was a wealthy and highly respected member of the community and her funeral was apparently the social event of the century for the town....

There have been famous female adventurers and travelers throughout history, Lady Stanhope for example was one of them. There have been women such as Om Seti, born and raised in England of English ancestry, but convinced she was a reincarnated ancient Egyptian woman, who relocated herself to Egypt when legally adult.

There have been women raised as heirs to family businesses not normally thought of as endeavors for women, but with their families having established the daughter as heir and treated her as such long before her inheriting the leadership of the business, the fact that the head of the company is a woman, is something that got overlooked.... it's a situation similar to e.g. what happened to a friend, she was a school kid, and the mothers of her Caucasian appearance classmates would complain about people with dark skins. My friend wondered how these women could be so utterly blind as to not have noticed that she was brown-skinned and part of the group they were complaining about and so prejudicial about and opposed to the existence of.

That is, women running businesses they inherited that they were brought up in, the business partners and associates of, didn't see as women in business, they saw them as business people and not as "women" for the purposes of doing business.

I've seen that sort of thing myself, when I was in a corporate section called the Advanced Systems Organization as a company I worked for, and people from Systems Engineering would complain about "those people from ASO..." I'd point out that I was in AOS, and their responses were, "But you're not one of them!"

The same thing for that matter gets mentioned in Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, in the discussion about the neighbors making exceptions for their neighbors that they're friendly with, with intolerance for the Howard Families rising, but on an individual basis members of the Howard Families being approved of and protected by the same people ready to join up in mobs to eradicate the Howard Families as a whole.

#659 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 658... Let's not forget Pancho Barnes. Weren't there women who were called the Pink Angels whose job was to fly WW2 fighter planes to where they were needed even though they weren't allowed any actual fighting?

#660 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 09:46 AM:

abi 652: You should watch one. That's all you need. They're all the same.

#661 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Carol @657: I'd have guessed post-war; in fact, if you look very closely at frame 3, you can see a date on the bottle that looks like 22 (month) 1956, which doesn't seem unreasonable.

An absolutely brilliant set of photos btw - any idea where they're from?

#662 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Faren Miller #629: Won't Get Fooled Again by the Who?


#663 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Jakob @ 661: thanks for ferreting out the date -
no idea where this came from. Forwarded by a friend by a friend...

I would dearly love to see more, too.

#664 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 12:46 PM:

I've never seen the show Faren refers to, but Google took me straight to the official show site, where I was quickly able to ascertain that the song, which I've also never heard, was John Mayer's Waiting On the World to Change.

Really, all knowledge is contained on the internet these days. As long as you keep in mind that (as we used to say about fandom) not all of that knowledge is true, you're good to go. Soon we won't even need short-term memory, which for many of us will be just as well.

#665 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Serge #659 -- You're thinking of the WASPs. Unlike e.g. the WAVEs in the Navy, they weren't granted military service time/veteran status until very recently, long after many or most had died.

The USSR actually had female combat pilots, including ace Lily Litvak.

#666 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Paula @ 665.. Thanks for the information. I think I had also read that some well-known actresses had been among the WASPs, including Katharine Hepburn. I think.

#667 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @ 664

Part of my treatment regime for ADD for the last seven years or so has bee to almost always have a wireless-capable laptop with me. Aside from having the internet long-term memory available whenever I'm in a coverage zone (now very common for WIFI), I have calendars and todo lists that constitute my extended short-term memory. I'd be in much poorer shape without it. And I doubt I'd have ever been able to find my way out Cleveland without the maps.

#668 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Ugh, "Waiting on the World to Change"? I hate that song. Vile lyrics about how if you realize that there are bad things going on in the world you should do nothing about it because surely it can't last forever. Worst song of the year, bar none.

#669 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Patrick (@664) Faren (@629) My comment @622 was an attempt at a slightly wry joke if you know the source & nature of the song, as seen & heard in the show 'Cabaret'. It fits Faren's description, but is probably right at the opposite pole of the song described. It also circles right back to refer to the very start of this thread. My Golden Duck record at humour stands!

Here's a short audio clip of a stage version. And this full version on youtube, clipped from the Cabaret film, has a fuller explanation of its origin & history. Some of the 'related' videos are not happy to watch, or see the comments on.

#670 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Epicris @ 669:

Not only was your horrifically funny song suggestion immediately connected, but the damned thing has been playing in my head (sometimes with flashing short video clip of that beautiful blond Hitler Youth) ever since.

#671 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Riki'beth (#662): I'd know that one -- t't'talking about *my* generation! Incidentally, some network news(?) show occasionally used the instrumental intro to that song as a background for something or other [ADD strikes again], and I'd always be thinking of the lyrics, totally inappropriate for whatever they were telling or showing.

Patrick (#664): Thanks for ferreting out the info. I hadn't been able to bring myself to check the show's website, even though I enjoy the dancing, the kids' personalities, and (every now and then) the music used for the dances.

#672 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Faren, #671: Not to mention it having been used for a car commercial! Not exactly the message I would want to be sending if I were a manufacturer: "My product is just as junky as the ones you're already sick and tired of!"

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