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October 9, 2007

Open thread 93
Posted by Teresa at 10:04 AM *

Says Abi:

The elder dragon stirs atop his hoard
And wakens, stretching out his scaly wings,
Rejocing in the state of *having things*:
Possessions are, for him, their own reward.
He tallies up his silver and his gold,
Recalls the provenance of every gem,
But never feels the need to alter them:
He wasn’t born to make, but just to hold.
But *we* are not the same: we crave the new.
We strive to tell, to write, to sing, to build
Until the space around us is all filled
And still we carry on. It’s what we do.
So as our dragon rests his sleepy head
We humans need another open thread.
Comments on Open thread 93:
#1 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:16 AM:

At last, a Current thread!

(Waits for thrown vegetables from the direction of Hoboken)

#2 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:19 AM:

I thought currants were fruit rather than vegetables.

Never mind.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Ripe currants can be very tasty fresh.

#4 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:27 AM:

*stretching, scratching, swings tail*

Ah, that's better! Thank you.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:27 AM:

You keep it up, Abi, and I'll have to buy the DVD of Dragonheart.

#6 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:32 AM:

Serge, step away from the cheese.

Walk out of the store. Do not purchase anything.

#7 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Jakob: No no no. 93 designates "Love is the Law, Love under Will"; and everyone knows that it takes more willpower to eat your vegetables than fruits. QED.

#8 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Has anyone pointed out lately that "Fragano Ledgister" scans fairly nicely to Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay? It would make a great campaign song were he to run for public office.

I must have too much time on my hands....

#9 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:45 AM:

Does anyone here have any familiarity with the British Museum/Uni. Texas Press 'World of Myths/The Legendary Past' series? I've been looking at the collected hardbacks for a while, as I don't really have anything on the major myth collections, and was hoping these would be a good basic set.

#10 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Continued from end of previous Open Thread. In response to this poem, I told Abi I loved it but wanted to see it end with a final couplet that says something about the ongoing need to declutter my house. Or have my dragon-loving 15-year-old clean her room.

She offered:
But even we, when overwhelmed with stuff,
Must tidy up at times. Enough's enough!

That's going up on the refrigerator door this evening, with proper attribution, of course. Thanks much.

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:55 AM:

ethan @ 6... Humph... Your comment only makes me want to buy the DVD of Dragonslayer. Now THAT is cheese.

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Earl Cooley III #8: I will run, for the border.

#13 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:09 PM:

Earl #8: (apologies to Fragano)

There was a man, Fragano L
Who'd come comment on threads for a spell
He'd quote Locke in a comment
Write abi a sonnet
and end with a new villanelle

#14 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Agh. What do you call an earworm crossed with an intriguing name? Because Earl just set one off. Fascinating how a very well-worn neural track combined with a unique set of syllables starts consuming so many background cycles.

#15 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:23 PM:

Serge #11: OK! OK! I take it back! For the love of God, I take it back!

#16 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Fragano #12: The border, you say?

(Cue big band)

South of the border
down where poets play
writing a rhyming line
and drinking wine
(or Appleton if he may)
But up here we wonder
why couldn't he stay?
Fragano Ledgister -
your poems display!

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:28 PM:

I missed Eureka's season finale last week. Did someone record it? Say you did. Please.

#18 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:30 PM:

OtterB, thanks for asking Abi for the alternate ending, and Abi, many thanks for providing it. This will be on my fridge tonight, too.

#19 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Serge @ 17
If that was the two-parter ... I watched it Sunday afternoon. Things are left hanging (although Stark seems to be getting his personal life back together and becoming really human). I'd say more, but it requires Revealing Plot.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:39 PM:

R.M.Koske @ 18... Abi, many thanks for providing it. This will be on my fridge tonight

Watch out for excessive accumulation of rime on the rhyme otherwise you'll have to thaw the whole thing out.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:43 PM:

albatross & Jakob:


What have I done, that you should hurt me thus?
I did not think to injure one poor soul
and yet my words, as they swing past the pole,
seem to occasion merriment and fuss.
I'd not say anything (rather I'd cuss)
because in time I see my dearest goal
is to play here a better, purer role;
to every minus add a double plus.
But now, I have to turn from duller work
to thank you for your efforts at rhymed verse
and show I'm no foul spirit nor mooncalf.
A challenge of this sort I cannot shirk;
I'd write much better, but I fear I'm worse,
and smile discreetly when others might laugh.

#22 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:45 PM:

ethan @ 15.. You caught me in time. I was about to buy the two Dungeon and Dragon movies.

#23 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Fragano #21: 'Doggerel' I'd have accepted, but words that 'hurt you thus'? Sir, 'twas not my intent.

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:50 PM:

P J Evans @ 19... That's the two-parter, yes. I did see the first part. You wouldn't happen to have Part Two, would you?

Stark becoming human? What a concept. Heck, we had tough-girl Jo dream of Fargo as Zorro protecting her virtue from Stark as the evil landowner. So, why not that?

#25 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Serge, I was watching over at a friend's house, where it was recorded on the cable-system thing. I have no idea how to save or transfer from there.

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 01:32 PM:

PJ @ 25... There may be a way to transfer a recording from a DVR to TiVO to a disk, but I don't have either device. Maybe someone reading this could tell us. Anyway, if it's to much of a hassle, I'll just have to keep an eye on the SciFi Channel's schedule in case they repeat it. Speaking of their schedule, did you know that this weekend they'll show something called Wraiths of Roanoke, starring... Adrian Paul.

#27 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 01:38 PM:

Ta ra ra boom de ay
Fragano Legister
shows no wish to bang
the political gong.

But if he should enter a
gubernatorial
contest--he'd sure have
one hell of a song.

#28 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Reviewing the WW I discussion in the other thread prompts me to point out that von Trapp's WW I U-boat memoirs have finally been translated into English by one of his great*granddaughters. Odd factoid: his first wife was the granddaughter of the British inventor of the torpedo.

* not sure how many "great"s involved here

#29 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 02:02 PM:

jakob #9:

Do you mean "looking at" in the sense of browsing them on someone's shelves, or in the sense of seeing it at Amazon?

'Cause if it's the latter:

I've got three of them in paperback, bought a couple of UT Press sales ago, on spec, as it were, in case I needed some nice myths (with pictures) for some future fantasy or other. (Serial-number filing being all the rage.)

They're 80 pp each, have b&w illustrations, are in a style that reminds me a bit of Bulfinch and other purveyors of Myth.

#30 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 02:05 PM:

Greg L from previous thread:

Thanks for the whole time chart for Getting Stuff Cold.

Once again you guys have managed to floor me with the variety of things that it would never occur to me could be found on Wikipedia, but which are.

(How did I miss that mythbusters episode? Some of the others I've seen like three times.)

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 02:14 PM:

joann @ 30... How did I miss that mythbusters episode?

The concrete mixer's grand finale is now part of their show's opening credits. One of my favorites is the one where they built a rocket using technology available during the Civil War.

#32 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 02:16 PM:

In #14 Joe McMahon writes:

Agh. What do you call an earworm crossed with an intriguing name? Because Earl just set one off. Fascinating how a very well-worn neural track combined with a unique set of syllables starts consuming so many background cycles.

The well-known example of paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde was first pointed out by Isaac Asimov.

(Tip o' the hat to Mike Van Pelt for the quote.)

#33 ::: yabonn ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Lurkers as dragons, then ?

#34 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Dragons, shamgons, eh?
silent readers lurk, backlit
fluorosperic green

#35 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Jakob #23: I needed something that would rhyme with 'plus'. It also provided the 'fake-wounded' note that I wanted. I wasn't truly hurt, I assure you.


Sarah S #27: If I ever seek public office, I'll think of you as my songwriter, but you'll have to improve your spelling!

#36 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Serge #31:

actually I was talking about the time-to-freeze one, not the concrete mixer.

But speaking of exploding concrete mixers, has anyone else been watching "Build It Bigger"? The last episode Mr Tivo grabbed for us involved an exploding concrete nozzle, which we got to watch replay in slo-mo while a rock as big as the Ritz tried (and failed) to come out the end. (It came out the side instead.)

#37 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:16 PM:

Excuse me, in #36 I meant "time-to-chill". I've already proven that frozen cokes are Not Good.

#38 ::: Larry Lennhoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:16 PM:

#17: Try http://www.scifi.com/eureka/video/index.php to watch videos of recent episodes on your computer. Not the best way, but better than nothing.

#39 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Serge @ 22

No, no that's cheese whiz

#40 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Fragano #35

Oy gevalt!

I'm sorry!!! And, as is seemingly inevitable, I misspell your name within 24 hours of kvetching about people who can't spell mine!

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Larry Lennhoff @ 35... I had forgotten about that possibility. Thanks for the reminder.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Joann @ 36.. I wonder if the MythBusters ever tried to blow up a frozen Coke. They did blow up a few lava lamps.

As for "build it bigger", that sounds interesting. Very much so.

#43 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 03:28 PM:

I notice today's Snopes has a Mythbusters-style video clip on it. It doesn't have the same, er, visual panache, though.

#44 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Help!

Maia is having troubles with school, and my ability to help seems, at present, to be a tad less than ideal.

She needs online articles (preferably journal articles) which discuss "occupation based practice" (related to Occupational Therapy).

This is, of course, a term of art (it's an old use of occupation; what we might call today activity; not a job/employment).

If it is about work with horses that would be even better.

When I'm done/she's got something usable, I can explain some of the problems, but now I have to dive back into my searches.

Thanks.

#45 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Checking back...rereading Serge's #22...wait, what? There are two of those?!?

Yeesh.

#46 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Terry Karney #44 Try NARHA, the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, here They have some resources including this pdf on research written by an OT that might give her some starting points

#47 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:19 PM:

ethan @ 45... There was indeed a theatrical D&D movie, in 2001, I think. I never saw it even though it had Jeremy Irons in it. There was a later D&D movie that went straight to the SciFi Channel. Sans Jeremy, alas. At least the elf girl was cute, but the dragon had moth-eaten holes in its wings.

#48 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Terry, I haven't found anything on horses, but:

Price P, Miner S.
Occupation emerges in the process of therapy.
American Journal of Occup Ther. 2007 Jul-Aug;61(4):441-50.

Segal R, Hinojosa J.
The activity setting of homework: an analysis of three cases and implications for occupational therapy.
Am J Occup Ther. 2006 Jan-Feb;60(1):50-9.


Chan J, Spencer J.
Adaptation to hand injury: an evolving experience.
Am J Occup Ther. 2004 Mar-Apr;58(2):128-39.

Occupation by design: dimensions, therapeutic power, and creative process.
Am J Occup Ther. 2001 May-Jun;55(3):249-59.

those at least sound interesting. Pubmed is my friend.

#49 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:24 PM:

joann @37: Excuse me, in #36 I meant "time-to-chill". I've already proven that frozen cokes are Not Good.

Actually, frozen cokes are Good, provided you make them without freezing them in the (about-to-be-)ex-can, thereby creating a gods-awful mess in the freezer.

(Admittedly, I'm thinking more "slushy" stage than "cokesicle" stage. But the shrapnel-and-coke-everywhere stage is Right Out.)

#50 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Oops, bad link to research pdf in #46, should be www.narha.org/PDFfiles/research.pdf

#51 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Not my field, Terry, but I did a search on MedLine and found several articles on "hippotherapy," for what it's worth. Also found these, which I include as examples:

Snider, L. "Horseback riding as therapy for children with cerebral palsy: is there evidence of its effectiveness?" Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics 27.2 (2007)5-23.

Meregillano G. "Hippotherapy." Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America 15.4 (2004): 843-54.

Apologies for the wonky formatting--I'm typing in a hurry. If you don't have access to MedLine or its EBSCO equivalent, let me know; I can probably email you a couple of fulltext articles.

#52 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Sarah S #40: It happens, what can I say?

#53 ::: suralc ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Some place you folks have here. Just browsing through on a recommendation and love the civil tone.

#54 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:37 PM:

(Here's hoping suralc doesn't look too closely at the other active threads...)

#55 ::: suralc ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:46 PM:

ethan - I'm new to blogs, so my experience is limited. But from what I've observed, there is a general level of respect , regardless of opposing views, shown by commenters.

I just finished reading "Great Political Blog Posts of Our Time " and the comments, and if ever there were a post ripe for flame, that was it.

Either the proprietors have gifted hands, or people here have decided that honest discourse is preferable to some of the, well, shite I have seen elsewhere. Or both.

And Bravo Ezra!

#56 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:54 PM:

suralc: I think it's "both."

Welcome!

#57 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 04:56 PM:

Mary Frances: I understand about the not your line. If you could send a full-text of the former (my.name at gmail.com) that might help.

Things are less hectic (for the moment). The problem is USC has a terrible search engine for journals (Ovid. It might be swell, but I suspect it takes lots of training, which they don't give; so far as I can tell it doesn't take boolean modifiers. Maia says you have to create a search and then use secondary limiters to reduce the returns. The limiters [so far as I am concerned] aren't counterintuitive, they are anti-intuitive. I've been able to reduce the 10533 returns to zero, but nothing in between).

But the competition for her time (today) is gone, so I can work at a, slightly, slower pace.

Back to the trenches.

#58 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:01 PM:

suralc @55:
Either the proprietors have gifted hands, or people here have decided that honest discourse is preferable to some of the, well, shite I have seen elsewhere. Or both.

Both. You can't have it any other way; the absence of one will break the spirit of the other.

But it's a virtuous spiral, too. The community is self-sustaining when the principals are away, because we agree - to a large extent - with the values with which they shepherd the community. That's why we're here.

Welcome, by the way. You don't, by any chance, write poetry? Sonnets? Villanelles?* Pantoums? That sort of thing?

-----
* All the regulars are now rolling their eyes. There goes Abi, recruiting for the Making Light Company of Versifiers and Doggerel-Smiths again. But I like new poets!

#59 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Joann @ 29: Thanks! I'd just seen it through a bookshop window, and from the descriptions I found online I couldn't tell how academic the texts were.

Continuing the previous WWI threads: I assume that the argument that the US's entry prolonged the war assumes that the Central Powers would have won otherwise?

#60 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:13 PM:

suralc: We have our flaws. There have been, not completely wrong, accusations of "groupthink"

I think (just me) it's a case of, mostly, likeminded people reacting to things they disagree with.

By itself that's not so bad; but this is a discontinous medium, so a lot of disagreement can happen at once.

If the recipient's back gets up, well it can get heated (cf. the post you praised).

But it's one of the more pleasant places to get into heated discussion on the web.

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Abi... There goes Abi, recruiting for the Making Light Company of Versifiers and Doggerel-Smiths again.

Watch it, suralc. Abi is a rhyminal mastermind.

#62 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:18 PM:

As a longtime lurker (who reads nearly everything, and doesn't add much), I'll submit a bit of doggerel, with a nod to yabonn @ 33, who gave me the thought.

We lurkers are dragons
(or so we are told),
So circle the wagons--
We're here for the gold.

But can they be taken,
these coins cast from thought?
Does wisdom awaken,
or can it be caught?

I don't know the answers,
but have high regards
for the grand versomancers:
the Making Light Bards.

#63 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:24 PM:

I'd rather be a dragon with a flagon full of ale than a Hobbit with a habit of slurping beer from a pail.

#64 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:25 PM:

alsafi #62: Nicely done!

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:29 PM:

I'd rather be a dragoon by a blue lagoon, or maybe a tycoon landing on the blue Moon.

#66 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Terry Karney@57: By now you've gotten the email with the full article citation but NOT the full text. Again, my apologies. Silly me: I thought if the citation was in "Medline FullText," that meant full text was available. And when I tried through the journal link or secondary databases, the "fulltext" function was down.

I'm sorry. I tried to help--I know how much fun (not) it is when you are struggling with a deadline and a recalcitrant (or impossible-to-use) search engine; Maia has my sympathy.

#67 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Terry - I have access to a lot of journals online. Sending you one article, but it would help if you could give me a better idea of the project. Leaving work (and journal access) soon but will wait a bit to see if you get back to me on this in time to be useful today.

#68 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:43 PM:

I'd rather be dragging the ass that's dragging the wagon than be dragged by the ass behind the wagon, as was said by the wag that sat on the ass that was dragging the wagon.

Along came a dragon.

The End.


#69 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:59 PM:

bryan @ #68, that sentence needs to be a podcast.

#70 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:01 PM:

I'm thinking that suralc might write doggerel backwards.

#71 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Mary Frances: Got it. I think I'd found it, but I'm not sure (I've looked at a lot of paper titles in the past couple of hours).

I think the abstract is enough. I'll ask.

Susan: I got the thing you sent, and will forward.

I am not sure just what she needs. This is a place where her instructor failed the class; everyone thought the assignment was one thing but it wasn't.

So they now have to do the work, while keeping up with everything else.

Here is the assignment, as Maia explains it to me (the instructor didn't write it out, even after the misunderstanding)

She needs articles for which the end product will use evidence from an Ocuppational Science Journal, from which they will design a program. The present assignement is to find articles which describe practices which have already been designed around an occupation based practice model. Her group is working on designing a pediatric practice; she is looking for information on hippotherapy/therapeutic riding.

I think that hits the high points. If I got it, I will be better able to find things.

So abstracts are ok, because if they look good (IIUC) they can pull them through USC.

#72 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:39 PM:

One way to consider the anthropomorphic concept of Death is as a friend, someone who welcomes you at the end of your life, and ushers you to the next stage of existence, whatever that may be. Neil Gaiman's Death from the Sandman stories and Terry Pratchett's Discworld Death can be considered as being that sort of thing, more or less: Death as psychopomp.

Another way to consider Death is as an enemy; the great thief who steals away loved ones, and steals away the world from everyone.

This film is for those who for whatever reason tend towards the latter concept.

How to Cope With Death, by Ignacio Ferreras (3:20)

#73 ::: suralc ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:53 PM:

TomB is perceptive. Thanks for the welcome. I'll be here often.

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 07:24 PM:

I am a knight, my bearings a dragon
proper (indeed) on barry wavy field,
a sign that land or sea I do not yield.
Still I'm happier with leather flagon
(not being the sort who'd go on the waggon),
that sort of weapon's easier to wield
but none would dare to limn it upon shield,
but truly all my fortune comes from lagan.
Now, tellers of romances all agree
that dragons far from eating ladies fair
are gentle creatures, always kind and sweet;
an awful state, this one that's come to be,
when dragons fly unhindered through the air,
and never knight and monster come to meet.

#75 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 07:50 PM:

I'd like to thank you all for saving my sanity during an unexpected 6-hour layover in Denver. I quickly finished all the reading material I'd brought in carry-on, and the airport newsstand didn't offer much. (I didn't find the real bookstore in another concourse until the return trip.) There were approx 2 science fiction books to choose from. But the Making Light regulars all seem to think that this Charles Stross knows how to tell a good tale, and here was "Glasshouse" just out in paperback. So I bought a copy (and this is one of those cases where the tree carcass is definitely preferable to the evanescent electronic edition). All I can say is... WOW! And, now of course I have to read "Accelerando."

#76 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:19 PM:

Terry, here's another:

"Effects of Hippotherapy on Postural Stability, in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis" by Debbie Silkwood-Sherer, PT, MS, and Heather Warmbier, MPT. Published in the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, Vol. 31 No. 2 (June 2007)

#77 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:40 PM:

Jakob @ #59:

As I understand the argument, the premise is that the Central Powers and the Allies were running out of manpower, tired of war, and having domestic problems. Without America to spur on a last push from the Central Powers, and to reinforce later Allied attacks, the theory is that the First World War would have ended in a tie.

That would have rather dramatic effects on the next few decades - no punitive treaty at Versailles, a more isolationist America, and a different kind of lesson about what happened when great powers threw down for real in the 20th century.

(One alternative outcome, where the Central Powers won after recruiting female soldiers for the Valkyrie Corps and instituted a post-war militant matriarchy, should at least be good for a SciFi movie of the week. As long as it has a role for Claudia Black.)

#78 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:41 PM:

How interesting: Mr. Google assures me that Hippotherapy is not a typo.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:46 PM:

FungiFromYuggoth @ 77... the Central Powers won after recruiting female soldiers for the Valkyrie Corps and instituted a post-war militant matriarchy, should at least be good for a SciFi movie of the week. As long as it has a role for Claudia Black.

I can't wait for the DVD.

#80 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:54 PM:

joann@30: Once again you guys have managed to floor me with the variety of things that it would never occur to me could be found on Wikipedia

Well, I knew where to look. I certainly didn't google "rapid cooling drinks" and work my way there. I'd seen the episode, and started on the wikipedia mythbusters page. (actually, I started on the Mythbuster home page, but they didn't reveal much information other than that they attempted to cool beer in sand with fire.)

They tried to come up with various inventions to cool a drink even faster, but turned out that ice+water+salt was way easier and pretty effective compared to any contraption they came up with.

Reminded me of the episode about soda and Mentos. They isolated the compounds that caused the reaction (I forget what they were), and then they tried to come up with some other reaction that would be even bigger. But turned out they couldn't find anything that was nearly as easy to find as soda+mentos and as cool of a reaction.

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Greg London @ 80... I can't remember which ingredient in the drink did the trick, but one contributing factor were the tiny hollows of the mentos themselves.

#83 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Earl: Why did you think it a typo?

To one an all who provided links, titles, encouragement and warm thougts, my thanks, Maia's thanks and all good wishes that bread cast on the waters shall come back to you one hundred fold.

Someone said that surviving grad school is one of the toughest things a couple can do, and let me say, I agree.

#84 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Old thinkers circle their wagons
Second-rate minds set the tone
I have no map for my dragons
and so I must search on my own

Hacking out new code in Java
Sequencing genomes for fun
Chipping off pieces of lava
Pinholing pictures of sun

Children just playing with rockets
hacking with maple and math
Acorns and bugs in their pockets
buoyancy shown in their bath

Old men still mulling their data
Anomalies puzzling them still
can't put off thinking till later
Till death they shall not have their fill

This girl sees patients and wonders
if she could connect all those dots
That guy sees germs of a theory
in pages of rough-printed plots

Dragons are what we are seeking
and seek them we shall, till we're dead
God has the map; there's no peeking
though you dream it's there all in your head

in microscopes, telescopes, flagons
in isotope ratios in bone
I have no map for my dragons
and so I must search on my own

#85 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 10:13 PM:

Some random musings on what makes an author a Great Author: At least part of the distinction is something like this...

Common authors can write tales that are appealing the first time you read them, because they're new -- like some pretty object that draws your attention for a while -- but when you reread them, they're not nearly as interesting the second and third times, because they depended so much on novelty.

In contrast, the Great Authors write stories that are more like something you'd put up on your wall, or keep on your desk just to look at, because they're special in their own right. Every time you read them they still affect you strongly, and distinctively. That is, they affect you similarly every time -- if your response to them changes, it's because you've changed.

This came to me as I had decided to take a break from my memorial reading of Wheel of Time, having (again) found Fires of Heaven to be difficult going, even more so than The Shadow Rising.

So, I picked up the first volume of the Sandman graphic novels for a break. (Those were among the last things to go on my bookshelves post-move -- but by the same token, I made sure they were up front and accessible!)

And I found myself crying over "The Sound Of Her Wings"... again. It's not like I cry so easily, especially over fiction. But, beginning with that story, Gaiman reaches something really basic, something that stretches back as far as the poem he quotes via Morpheus, and further. And every damn time I read that tale, I'm moved to tears.

Another hint is when the author's work just becomes part of people's semantic memories... as when reading Serge's joke in #20, I immediately flashed from "rime" to the "Rimer's Tree" from Tad William's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. And apparently I wasn't alone, as in the very next comment, we see a "mooncalf" poke its nose out from Fragano's verse....

#86 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Oops, I desiblified Tad Williams' name with a misplaced apostrophe....

On a lighter note, Aaron Neathery did a "mad" riff on self-cooling soda in his guest strips for Shaenon Garrity's Narbonic.

#87 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Serge - if you haven't watched the last episode of Eureka yet, it's available at iTunes for $1.99. (And you can, ahem, back up your iTunes purchases, so maybe you can watch it via your dvd player.)

I subscribed for Season 2, but I haven't watched any of it yet - I'm saving it for watching on the road in November. I hope this season of Eureka is as good as the first one!

(back to lurking, all dragon-like)

#88 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:40 PM:

"Elizabeth: The Golden Age"

Jesus. What a gasbag of a movie. Damn shame, too. A lot of pretty stuff to look at, but christ what a waste of *so* much money.

Probably the most beautiful but most inept naval battles I've ever seen. You know you are an incompetent filmmaker when you totally eff up The Destruction of the Spanish Armada.

(If that's a spoiler for anyone, you deserve it.)

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:46 PM:

Sharon M @ 87... I hope this season of Eureka is as good as the first one!

It's even better.

#90 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:54 PM:

Terry Karney #83: Why did you think it a typo?

I plead ignorance. My edumacation wasn't quite as eclectic as it was for many of the luminaries here. When I saw the word "hippotherapy" I thought in terms of what if there were a Mad TV comedy skit where a hippopotamus petting zoo goes horribly wrong.

#91 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:56 PM:

Michael #88: You mean the Spanish don't invade England? Arghh! You've ruined the movie for me.

Actually, one of the more fun Harry Turtledove books concerns an alternate history in which the Armada succeeds, _Ruled Britania_. And the main two characters are both rather famous writers in OTL.

#92 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:59 PM:

#90 Earl:

I was visualizing a really hardcore variant of that massage technique where the person walks on your back. ("The last back treatment you'll ever need.")

Though any book on hippotherapy ought to be written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton.

#93 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:03 AM:

albatross #91

Pavanne is a dance
It's also a book.
Perhaps it is one
At which you should look

The English they lost
A battle at sea
The Spaniards did triumph,
Quite vigorously.

And Protestant England
It ceased then to be,
Stamped out by fanatic
Orthodoxy.

And centuries later
And late they arrived
Industrial trains
From somewhere on the side,

There came revolution
And iron to land,
Alternate histories,
See how they stand.


#94 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:19 AM:

I'd like to see an alternate history novel where we lose the war with Grenada. The medical students on the island unleash a genetically altered virus that makes everyone really really nauseous.

"Du-u-u-u-de! Don't interrupt our education with your stupid invasions, okay?"

#95 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:39 AM:

Jakob @ #59:

90 years ago, in 1917, Russia was defeated and Italy was almost knocked out of the war by the Battle of Caporetto. There were mutinies in the French Army. Although Turkey wasn't much better.

The defeat of Russia released large numbers of troops for operations in the West.

So, without the USA, there was a possibility for the Central Powers to be in a strong enough position for a negotiated settlement.

Unfortunately, as a consequence of Blockade and the manpower absorbed by the military, their economies were in a death-spiral. A bit of French stubbornness, and there might have been a genuinely undefeated German Army forced to an armistice by economic collapse.

In other words, the betrayal myth of OTL might have been closer to the reality.

Throw in the influenza, and you could end up with something pretty dark and grim for a post-war Europe--famine, disease, Empires seeing Bolshevists behind every ill.

#96 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:46 AM:

Brad DeLong points to work on a lolcat version of the Bible. Just so everybody here knows.

"10. o, wait. wen teh perfict coemz, teh not perfict will diez, lolol.

11. wen i wuz a kitten, i speakded leik a kitten, thinkded liek a kittenz, reezined liek a kittenz. wen i wuz becomez a cat, i no haz kitten waiz ne moar."

Teh Gospel of John is pretty good, too.

#97 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:48 AM:

A question:

How many novels, having won major awards, stay in print?

I know I've read some Hugo-winners in tatty editions picked up second-hand, printed around the time they won the award. Others get reprints, eventually.

But maybe being in print now isn't such a good measure? It's just easier to check.

#98 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 02:34 AM:

albatross @ 84

Very nice!

#99 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 03:19 AM:

Steve C.

My wife keeps threatening to design a virus that specifically targets assholes, with a mortality rate proportional to the amount of gape of a given subject. That's the sort of virus the med students of Grenada should have developed. Think of hte effect on the halls of power; Washington, DC, especially around K Street, would be completely depopulated.

#100 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 04:18 AM:

Administrative Note #1
=============================================
The old e-mail associated with this alias is actually defunct, on account of moving two states further East from when I originally created the account. (Frakin' Comcast....) As a result, I am having to use a new e-mail. Not wanting to lose the thread-post chain forever (or risk being labeled as things I'd rather not be labeled as) I am posting this here, under the old e-mail, to be followed on by another post with the new e-mail.

Administrative Note #2
=============================================
I've argued with a heap of people over the last 6 years. Some self-identify as liberal, some as conservative, some as libertarian, and some as nothing in particular. Re-reading the LibHawk thread it occurs to me that not once, in that entire 6 years, did anyone ever really sway me from my original positions; nor did I have much success in swaying them from theirs. In point of fact, if I drift back in my mind through all the internet discussions that have been political in nature, and in which I participated to any degree, almost nobody said, "Whoa! I never thought of that before! You might be right!" People (myself included) tended to stick to their guns, and more often than not, things got angry, and then we all really had cotton in our ears.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is because I had something of a come to Jesus moment. A friend of mine, and with whom I have disagreed heatedly on many political issues over time, said to me, hey, you know what, I am sick of all the internet debating. And he didn't just mean between the two of us. He meant between himself and the whole cyberverse. He was exhausted. He felt like all that was being accomplished was a whole lot of people getting pissed off at each other, and for what? What good was it accomplishing or doing anyone in their lives? It was anger for the sake of anger, rancor for the sake of rancor.

I sat back and thought pretty hard about that, and had to conclude that he'd touched on an almost spiritual meme: when does dialogue cease to be dialogue, and instead become a corrosive on the soul?

By nature, I'm not a guy who enjoys being angry, nor staying angry. And when I think of all the internet debates I've been party to since 2001, I must conclude that I've wasted vast personal resources getting upset over all kinds of shit and at all kinds of people, and it never actually accomplished anything positive. Not a lick of good came out of any of it, either for me or for the people who participated.

So he and I made something akin to a pledge.

For the next 90 days I'm swearing off political cyber-debate. Cold turkey. Here. On the other forums I frequent. Gonna pull the needle out of my arm. I can't stop the rest of the world from enacting the final scenes of "Needful Things", but I can cease my participation in the soul-corrosion. Either as a giver or a taker of said corrosive.

Because in the end, what good is accomplished--personal, political, social, psychological, spiritual?

Not much.

Assuming the 90 days goes well, I might get out of the arguing racket for keeps. At least on political issues. I might not give up having an opinion, but I can eschew expressing it and harping on things through communication modes which lend themselves to corrosive, pointless results.

Anyway, just wanted to put it out for the group.

#101 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 04:21 AM:

Administrative Note #3
=================================================
New e-mail. The bookmarks for old/new have been established, in case anyone in the future cares to track back through my posts.

#102 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 04:31 AM:

Dave @ #85: I have often felt similarly about the television version of "The Maxx". While no condensed or televised adaptation of a comic or novel ever truly succeeds in being 100% true to the original material, I keep coming back to "The Maxx" as one of those startling and unexpected gems that one occasionallty finds amid the dross of cable 'entertainment' TV.

Along with "Liquid Television", I like to think that "The Maxx" (and "Daria") was one of those animation projects that MTV got right, in spite of there being every indication that they'd get it wrong. Chalk it up to writing, I guess? And strong source material?

Anyway, I just wish "The Maxx" could be had on DVD. We've got the three-DVD deluxe "Æon Flux", so when the hell are they gonna give us a DVD for "The Maxx"? If that never happens, I will be seriously, seriously upset.

#103 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:23 AM:

Terry #83: Someone said that surviving grad school is one of the toughest things a couple can do, and let me say, I agree.

Any tips? The SO started her PhD a few weeks ago; for added fun, she's doing it part-time (although her supervisor has said he'll transfer her at the usual point if she produces a good enough report, which she should.)

#104 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:38 AM:

CRV @100 & 101:
First off, good resolution. I go through periodic waves of resolving to hold as few opinions as possible*, and discuss them rarely.

And although internet discussions can change minds, they're rarely successful at it. I'm not sure the success rate is worth the effort.

Secondly, if I were you, I would repost the account move information in Comment 100 into a new comment under the new address, with a pointer to the old address in it. Just c&p the following text into your posting:

<a href="http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/commentlist-oneauthor.php?author=CommunityRadioVet&email=roadwarrior1974@comcast.net"> my old View All By</a>

Then someone doing a View All By on the new you can click a link to trace back to the old you.

-----
* Which is still a fair number; I need to have opinions to function in society.

#105 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:49 AM:

CRV @100 and All,

Today's NYTimes has a nifty article on email (mis)communications that's applicable to any online conversation.

In short: "e-mail can be emotionally impoverished when it comes to nonverbal messages that add nuance and valence to our words. The typed words are denuded of the rich emotional context we convey in person or over the phone."

"the absence of a channel for the brain’s emotional circuitry carries risks...we tend to misinterpret positive e-mail messages as more neutral, and neutral ones as more negative, than the sender intended...'When you communicate with a group you only know through electronic channels, it’s like having functional Asperger’s Syndrome — you are very logical and rational, but emotionally brittle'..."

What this means is we must have more Fluorospheridae gatherings*.

-----------------
*I'm still planning to hold one at Denver's Worldcon.

#106 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:55 AM:

#78: How interesting: Mr. Google assures me that Hippotherapy is not a typo.

I naturally assumed it involved travelling to some African country, there to wallow in glorious mud. Sounds rather nice.

#107 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:05 AM:

ajay: Sounds like a transport of delight.

#108 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:22 AM:

Hmm. I dropped by here to leave a link in the latest open thread, which now seems rather off-topic. Ah, well.

Here is what I was going to post: a singing Tesla coil which I have been assured plays the Tetris theme music.

I suppose this fits with the Mythbusters/things-go-splodey theme, tangentially at least.

Back to the hoarding of words--is being a blogdragon related to being a bookworm?

#109 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 07:21 AM:

Jakob #107: It is, but then the gasman cometh.

#110 ::: Main Ally Clue ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 07:21 AM:

Disentangle the Making Light posters to win no valuable prizes!

1. Solar Bats
2. Kind impala
3. Silken Mitre
4. Nth tor gnome
5. Bring lasagna
6. Weird plankton
7. Camel with hole
8. Oily ace oilier
9. Doggie transferal
10. Foggy Uniform Thug
11. Mom Dad jeans clad
12. Vindicate Rummy too
13. Thy cold horrid host
14. Alien hyperdance knits
15. Hygienic Kibble Logjams
16. Oceanographers rename buckets


#111 ::: miChael weholt ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 07:33 AM:

#110: Main Ally Clue: Disentangle the Making Light posters to win no valuable prizes!

The only one I can't figure out is:

7. Camel with hole

#112 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 07:40 AM:

alsafi #62, welcome, I enjoyed it. Perhaps welcome isn't right for someone who's been lurking regularly? Congratulations on your coming-out poem

albatross #84 *applause*

#113 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 08:51 AM:

re, #92: I thought hippotherapy was an exotic veterinary specialty, though I agree that the manual should be illustrated by Boynton.

#114 ::: Gesso ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Nenya@108:

Maybe blogdragon is to bookwyrm. I'll certainly cop to having a hoard of papery treasures that take pride of place (ie, anywhere vaguely horizontal that is not a chair) in my dwelling...

#115 ::: myrthe ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:20 AM:

albatross @ 84
*ow*

bravo.

#116 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:20 AM:

I had been invited to a party by a kind impala. "Bring lasagna," she told me, "it's pot luck." So I said goodbye to my parents, both of whom were wearing Levis, and went to mount my camel, but fell off because the poor thing had a hole right through its hump.

"Fine," I thought, "I'll go by boat." But before I had gone very far I found my way blocked by some immovable masses of floating logs crowded together, which, strangely enough, were mixed in with a lot of very clean iron buckets of the sort one might use for hauling water out of wells. On the riverbank, a couple of oceanographers were playing cards and chatting. "We can't keep calling them hygienic kibble logjams," said one. "We should rename those buckets. When I pull mine out of the water, they're always full of weird plankton." "Really?" said the other one. "Show me thy cold horrid host." The first oceanographer complied, but warned, "Don't dip your cards in the bucket! You don't want to make your oily ace oilier." "It might make the game more exciting," opined the second. "It would vindicate Rummy, too."

At that point they heard me calling for help. At first they were inclined to ignore me. One said to the other, "We don't want to get involved with some foggy uniform thug." I was quite offended when I heard this, but looking down at myself I could see how they might have got this impression of me. I wished I had put on my brightly coloured alien hyperdance knits instead. Then I felt in my pocket, and lo and behold! I found my silken mitre. I put it on my head and it had an immediate and positive effect on the oceanographers. They helped me to shore and onto a sledge drawn by huskies, guided through the gloom by some solar bats which glowed as they flew before us.

This method of doggie transferal soon brought me to my destination. I was fashionably late; numerous editorial staff, many of them very short, had already arrived. After I had greeted N-1 of them, the Nth Tor gnome found a dish for my lasagna and gave me a glass of wine. It was certainly a memorable evening.

#117 ::: Koneko ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:46 AM:

Dragons once walked these lands, long ago,
But in their place now are screws and rats;
Where once molten fire scoured the hills,
Mere mammals build homes, houses, and flats.
But immortal fire is a strange affair
For where the ancient light once burned,
Word-fires arise, their substance, smoke and fuel
Academic; the lesson was learned.
Beasts are destroyed, monsters abolished,
And dragon slayers now only bore,
But in a world where nothing is real,
Dragons show their claws once more.

#118 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:00 AM:

Administrative Note #4
================================================
abi, excellent idea!

my old View All By

#119 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Fragano, #109...

But he can't pass heat from a cooler to a hotter.

#120 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Dave Bell #119: Unless, apparently, you use a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube!

#121 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:53 AM:

Kathryn @#105:

The lack of intonation in text communication far predates the Web -- it's been a problem literally since the beginning of E-mail. Back when I got started in the mid-80's, there were omnipresent FAQs trumpeting the issue, but in this Eternal September, few places even bother to try and educate all the new users....

#122 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:59 AM:

#120: No Science Villain should be without a Ranque-Hilsch Vortex Tube. In extremis, you can connect it to the gas dump valve of your zeppelin* - producing an instant jet of incandescent hydrogen!


*You have a zeppelin, right? You don't? Amateur.

#123 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:09 AM:

David Harmon #121

It does seem like an endless task. At least Newsreaders have killfiles to filter out the obvious dreck - I haven't yet seen anything similar for blogs (but then I haven't looked very hard).

Not that it really applies here - the signal to noise ratio is much higher in Making Light than other places.

#124 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Dave Bell #119: For that you'd need twenty tons of tnt.

#125 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Jakob: Forbearance, lots of it, on both sides.

All I can look at is how it affects us. There's never enough time; always too much to do. Things which would have been minor nuisances explode.

Pick up more than your share of the load (dishes, laundry, shopping, what have you).

If you can, get involved in the subject (I know a lot more about OT now than I ever thought I would). If you can help with some of the scutwork of the program (like finding articles) things seem more a team effort than the one person having to fight all the battles, while you have all the fun.

If you can really get into it, you can act as reader; and pick up some of the load (that does, however, require that the person in the program knows how to use a reader).

I think the way to look at it is, perhaps, one's beloved is suffering a dread disease and needs all the suppport one can manage, with as little resentment of how it's dominating everything, as possible.

Oh yeah, and reminding yourselves it will pass. Often.

#126 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:11 AM:

A couple of thoughts from one of the war threads: There was talk of being in the resistance if the US were conquered by Canada or the UN or whoever. I can understand the impulse, but historically, most people accept getting conquered. At what point is it reasonable/moral to just accept that you've got a new government?

If George Bush surrendered to a foreign power, would you feel bound by it? What if he didn't surrender and told Americans to keep fighting?

Should there be laws of resistance comparable to laws of war?

And in re Iraq and WWII: The defeat of the Axis worked out extraordinarily well. I can't think of anything else like it in history, but I could be missing something.

Maybe it would be a good argument to say that expecting a WWII outcome from conquest is like expecting to get rich by betting your life savings on the double zero. It's possible in principle, but really, you shouldn't.

#127 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Starting with Katherine's post on Obsidian Wings, I've been reading about Khaled el-Masri today. Because I can't find a way to formulate thoughts about this that won't get me the same treatment he got, I'll just say this: it no longer makes sense to talk about the United States being on the verge of fascism. We crossed that line a ways ago and we're not looking back.

#128 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Terry #125:

I think the hardest thing for me, when my wife was in grad school, was accepting that right then, her work was more important than mine. That if there was a push between her writing her thesis and me finishing something up for work, I needed to let her write her thesis while I took the baby. The second thing that was hard was realizing that I still had to set some limits and priorities for my own time and interests, or I'd be squashed flat.

And years later, there's still some residual resentment/stress about my job and outside commitments vs. hers, even though she finished up several years ago. It's like those pressures were so intense, they shaped us even though they're long gone now.

#129 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Terry #83: Someone said that surviving grad school is one of the toughest things a couple can do, and let me say, I agree.

Jakob #103: Any tips? The SO started her PhD a few weeks ago; for added fun, she's doing it part-time (although her supervisor has said he'll transfer her at the usual point if she produces a good enough report, which she should.)

In 1992, I got married and started a PhD program. My new spouse was 2 years into a PhD program in a different department at the same university. Of the relationship and 2 academic careers, only 1 academic career survived to 1997 (and that was as part of a 10-year PhD completion.) My advice is to beware of academic advisors that do not approve of students being married--either in general, or your particular marriage. When everyone in a lab group is divorced, if they have not married in the last 18 months, it's a danger sign. Also beware binge drinking.

#130 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:44 AM:

My major tip for the spouses of those pursuing PhDs is NEVER to ask, as you both climb into bed, hoping to sink into comfortable slumber, "How's the dissertation writing going?"

I swear I didn't sleep for a year until my beloved learned that lesson.

#131 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:48 AM:

126: At what point is it reasonable/moral to just accept that you've got a new government?

I'd say there are two tests: legitimacy and morality.

Assuming that governments derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed (not from, for example, the Divine Right of Kings, or descent from George of Hanover, or whatever) - if a government, however erected, has that consent, then it's legitimate.

Note the difference, too, between consent and support. I may not support Gordon Brown as PM, but I am willing to consent to be governed by him, on the grounds that his rule is the result of a process of election which I support.

Similarly, if Britain annexes the US, but most Americans decide (rather like post-war Germans) that Britain was justified in doing so, and that they may as well accept the annexation - then its rule is legitimate, and trying to overthrow the British colonial government by force isn't legitimate.

Second point: moral. It's still not moral for Britain to do so - because it's waging aggressive war. Can resistance be justified because of this "original sin"? I would say not - it doesn't affect the legitimacy of the current regime (see above). But it can be justified by immorality during the occupation; if the widely-consented-to British government goes around torturing people, or disappearing people, or whatever, then it's governing immorally, and resistance (even against a legitimate government) is morally justified.

#132 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Another round of early morning fun; so many threads of whimsy.

CRV: I've changed a number of opinions from print/internet discussion (and tone of typer/lack of voice is a problem which has existed since the invention of writing. For years I didn't do letters because I was afraid I would give some permanent offense [because the noxious remark would be fresh at every reading] I've gotten over it, though it probably restrains some of my baser thoughts from being realised on the screen).

It wasn't, usually, something on which I had a really strong opinion; but one on which someone else did. I've come, as I get more practice, to the point that some of the one's I have great investment in I can walk away from (there's a person who posts to my blog; extolling the utility; even to virtue, of torture.

He's yet to figure out that I ignore him. It's best for my blood pressure/the integrity of my household goods.

But things which weren't so close to me have been changed (and some of them to the point of being dearly held). That's why I debate. Hope, that most pernicious of blessings, keeps rising that those at intellectual loggerheads with me will change their minds. I assume they feel the same (so long as I think them being honest).

So I'll not give up the struggles, mostly because I know there are those on the fence who watch.

I commend you the realisation that it's more grief for you than fun (I've taken breaks; weary in spirit and heavy of heart the fight wasn't in me).

And now I'm off to toss hay at the hippos.

#133 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Earl #82:

Cool device. It's rather overspecified, though, except in one particular: how *long* does it take to cool off a drink can?

#134 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Heh. Reading Spook Country by Joel GreyWilliam Gibson on my lunch break, just came across this exchange:

"[My mother] complains about my father...she thinks he's obsessed with American politics. She says it makes him too angry."

"If this were my country," Odile said, wrinkling her nose, "I would not be angry."

"No?" Hollis asked.

"I would drink all the time. Take pill. Anything."

#135 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Sarah S #130:

I headed that one off at the pass by doing a deal with my husband: "It's finished when it's finished. These things happen at one second per second. If you don't ask me how it's going, sometimes I'll tell you." Which I would do once every week or two, when sufficiently emboldened by wine.

Fortunately, he is of the opinion that anything can be solved with a sufficient application of computer power and RTFM, or whatever the subject-specific equivalent might be. Not that any of this helped while I spent a whole semester in another country.

#136 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:22 PM:

yabonn #33, albatross #34, etc. The conversation's wandered on, but I just got back to this.

The fluorosphere has dragons in the deeps
They lurk unseen, below the give and take
We argue, quip, and rhyme; the discourse sweeps
Across the forms unknown beneath the lake

Do not mistake for trolls their silent presence
No need to disemvowel, there's no pain
They stretch their wings and bask in the fluoresence
Neither flamed nor flaming, they remain

Sometimes we are privileged to witness
One breaching, leaping high into the light
To leave behind a verse or thought whose fitness
Makes us glad for glimpse of dragon flight

#137 ::: Suzanne F. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Sarah S. @130

IMO, it's best to never ask that question, ever.

I carry around a field hockey stick to use on askers of that and similar questions ("So, when will you be done?").

#138 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:53 PM:

OtterB @136:
I like.

#139 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:54 PM:

Terry @ #71 -

Did you get the other articles as well? Do you need more?

#140 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:55 PM:

Ajay #131: I suspect there's also a practical aspect, that has to do with what you expect everyone else to do. If there's an invasion or coup, and you expect widespread resistance and outrage, you may join in spontaneously. If you expect everyone to stay home and silently accept it, then no matter how much you hate it, you may find yourself bowing to the inevitable.

#141 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Sarah S #130, Suzanne F. #137: That much I know.

One of my mates in college had a t-shirt made up for him when he was writing up. On the front was a cartoon of him wielding a 2x4 above the text: 'Ask me about my thesis and I will BREAK YOUR LEGS!!'

#142 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:02 PM:

The intonation problem isn't just a fluorosphere/email thing. I transcribe most of the interviews in Locus, and it can be hard to suggest a light tone when something's not an obvious joke. I usually resort to using exclamation marks to convey a lighter tone. (And now you know how to decode a Locus interview!) Apologies to anyone who hates that device.

#143 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Ethan #127:

I'll admit, I haven't followed this story, for the same sort of outrage fatigue as some people on that thread reported. But was there any explanation anywhere about why we could try spies and terrorists in our court system, but we couldn't allow a court to find out details of what kind of torture we're using? I mean, the outline I've seen sounds like it doesn't make any sense. Is there some way to understand it that does?

Alternatively, is there an explanation of why the SC would make this decision?

#144 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:06 PM:

alsafi @ 62, Fragano @ 74, and albatross @ 84: Wow! This is shaping up to be quite the poetic thread, isn't it? I hypothesize that planting an abi sonnet at the top works on a similiar principle to seeding clouds: it gives the poem something to coalesce about.

#145 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:13 PM:

albatross #143: I mean, the outline I've seen sounds like it doesn't make any sense. Is there some way to understand it that does?

I'm thinking the answer is no. I admit, I'm coming late to the whole thing, too (I second the "outrage fatigue" emotion), but, poking around as I've done today, it seems to be lies and nonsense all the way down.

I think there's no word at all from the SC about why they chose not to hear the case, which is normal, but stupid. Although I think one of the commenters at Obsidian Wings was right when they said that, with the justices we have, maybe it's better that they don't rule on this.

#146 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:33 PM:

(No dragons here, just math.)


Proof by induction
showing one case shows the next
and I show the first

#147 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Susan (et alia): The stuff she got was sufficient unto the day.

With luck (seemingly in short supply with this instructor) such chaos won't arise again.

If it does I will avail myself of those who have the advantage of being further from the center of the storm again.

#148 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Dragons and flagons of fresh wine in season
Maps showing monsters with both rhyme and reason
Fire-breathing lurker that shows up and sings
these are a few of my favorite things

Threads full of poetry, puns and some knitting
Disemvoweled spammers and astroturfer-twitting
Recipes, politics, morals and math
POD follies and Patricks hot wrath

When the Bush wins
when the nets clog
when I'm feeling sad.....
I simply remember my favorite blog
and then I don't feel so bad

#149 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 02:49 PM:

I want to add to the poetry roundup, but I'm all out of inspiration (and possibly skill); all that comes to mind is a rendition of the Spam song, with the word "sock" in its place.

#150 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Note to self - swallow coffee before reading albatross postings.

Just in case.

#151 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 03:02 PM:

CRV: If I agree with you about nothing else, I agree with you that the TV adaptation of The Maxx rocks. It's a classic in our household, one of the first things my husband shared with me from his trove of beloved media. (He showed me The Maxx, I introduced him to Tori Amos, we were both already Rush fans, and as for Sandman, we each insist the other introduced us to it.)

Ditto for Liquid Television, especially Aeon Flux. Thank you for reminding me that I need to order that DVD.

Now, I don't want to ruin a good post or seem unappreciative, but I still think I'm hearing something a little self-congratulatory in your Admin Note #2, along the lines of "Let the rest of the Internet (including all those people at ML who dogpiled me) engage in soul corruption; I shall virtuously abstain!" It may be that I've become over-sensitive to self-congratulatory elements in rhetoric, to the point of reading it in where it isn't. So I mention it here mainly to calibrate: am I just paranoid? Do you see that if you reread your post? Do others perceive it? Is it there, but I should just shut up about it rather rip shreds out of a truce flag?

#152 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 03:33 PM:

Nicole @151:
I didn't read it that way. I read it as, "This pastime is not good for me, and is not doing what I want it to be doing (convincing anyone of anything). Therefore I'll stop."

There is perhaps a declaratory tone, but I do proclamations like that when I'm trying to break a habit. Makes me stick to it, knowing all those people heard me say it.

#153 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 03:39 PM:

albatross @ 148

I like it, and I second the sentiment.

#154 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 03:50 PM:

albatross @ #148, Oh my. Who's the 21st-century equivalent of Julie Andrews? That needs to be forwarded to her, stat.

#155 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 03:57 PM:

re the "what if we were invaded" subthread:

In what has got to be one of the wierdest cases of synchronicity I've experienced in a long time, when I was Googling "Let's blow the whole thing up" in an attempt to find out where I heard it, I came across a terrific interview with Ronald Hutton wherein he analyzes the Gunpowder Plot. It's a great read if only because he interviews terrifically (at least on paper). But it's particularly relevant because he pays particular attention to the tensions among English Catholics and the political tensions between them and the government.

But I have to say I'd never expected to pull up a detailed analysis of Ehglish history while trying to find something I thought I saw on the Muppet Show.

#156 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Pardon me: is there an index of threads somewhere that I can't find? I'm just looking for Jim Macdonald's pancake recipe (which is really wonderful, thankyou) and the post where someone said how to tweak it if your ingredients are different. I am out of buttermilk. Should I acidulate the milk I have?, or add baking powder?

#157 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 04:59 PM:

I wanted to fit this into the rollover for the Sidelight pointing to Holtzbrinck USA's name-change to Macmillan, but yar boo sucks technology fale us agane.

So, without further ado, "The Suicidal British Prime Ministers Song." (Attributed to Colin Fine.)

Sir Harold Macmillan spent a fortnight drillin'
Through his skull to let out "vapours".
The Earl of Bute took his brain right ute
And replaced it with newspapers.
The Duke of Portland had himself trepanned
With a couple of butchers' cleavers.
Lord Liverpool sawed round his skull
And prised it off with levers.

Sir Robert Walpole took a scalpel and set to with a will
Clement Attlee rather flatly used a Black and Decker drill --

Ted Heath, Ted Heath took the bit between his teeth
And drilled straight up with the brace underneath.
Sir Robert Peel with nerves of steel
Put a needle through his beadle with never a squeal.
Bonar Law, Bonar Law took a circular saw
And crept up on himself from behind
And Douglas-Home used a thing that went "Boom"
And really blew his mind.

Viscount Palmerston's the calmest an' the coolest of them all:
He sat and smashed his skull in with a solid silver ball.

#158 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Googling

"pancake recipe site:nielsenhayden.com"

gets me this as the first result.

What do I win?!

#159 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:13 PM:

*slaps forehead*
You know, I'm always telling people to use Google, but I've only had one cup of tea so far so I'm not firing on all cylinders. Thankyou. Want a glow in the dark cross-stitch skull?

#160 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:25 PM:

Question about Jo Walton's "Ha'Penny". I'm not quite through with it, and I don't think it's really a spoiler, but I'll be on the safe side anyway.

Bar bs Iv'f fvfgref vf zneevrq gb na ngbzvp fpvragvfg anzrq Jnygre. Nf sne nf V'ir abgvprq ng yrnfg, jr unira'g orra gbyq uvf ynfg anzr, ohg V trg gur srryvat V'z fhccbfrq gb xabj jub ur vf naljnl, naq V qba'g. Nalbar?

#161 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:29 PM:

I would be quite glad of the pattern, ema! That would be a fun thing to stitch for next year's TLAP Day.

#162 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:35 PM:

What's a TLAP?
I don't have a pattern, was going to *ahem* Google one, as I am currently in the grip of a glow in the dark embroidery cotton obsession. I'm doing a sugar skull embroidered tshirt for one of my sons, and a jack o'lantern door hangy whatsit for a swap, and am like the weasel in Foghorn Leghorn cartoons looking for a new glow in the dark project :)

#163 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:43 PM:

TLAP day=Talk Like a Pirate day, September 19th.

#164 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 05:44 PM:

I would guess tlap=Talk Like A Pirate.

#165 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Yes, Talk Like A Pirate Day, with Jolly Rogers and such...but of course a glow-in-the-dark skull would be even more appropriate for Dia De Los Muertos, which is actually coming up soon and is more likely to be why ema brings it up in the first place.

*smacksself*

It was the sugar skulls that finally clued my dimwitted self in.

Also, abi, thanks for the calibration check (and apologies to CRV). I shall endeavor to ratchet down a bit on my tendency to read things into things that aren't in fact the things I'm reading.

#166 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Todd #160:

Gur boivbhf pnaqvqngr jbhyq or Jnygre Mvaa, jub jnf gur bar jub npghnyyl gbbx gur pbageby ebq bhg bs gur Puvpntb ernpgbe gb fgneg gur punva ernpgvba, naq jnf jvgu gur Znaunggna Cebwrpg, ohg ur qvqa'g trg zneevrq hagvy gur 1960f, hayrff vg jnf n frpbaq zneevntr naq uvf fba qvqa'g zragvba gur svefg bar. Vf gur jvsr anzrq Znel? (V'z jnvgvat n ovg gb beqre vg fb V pna rafher orvat nebhaq gb pbyyrpg vg.)

#167 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:24 PM:

re #158: ..... waiting here anxiously to find out whether Wilkins-Rogers has discontinued my preferred pancake mix.....

#168 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Never to be confused with "Talk like a parson" day.

#169 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:30 PM:

#160 - Taking the sisters as inspired by the Mitford sisters with rather more filing than a roman a clef then consider Pamela Mitford's husband - Derek Ainslie Jackson:
Nancy Mitford, whose books include Noblesse Oblige, about the behaviour of the British aristocracy, also informed on her sister Pamela.

She {Pamela] and her husband Derek Jackson "had been heard to declare a) that all Jews in England should be killed and b) that the war should be stopped now 'before we lose any more money'", the files show. Nancy Mitford spied on sisters by Paul Reynolds BBC News Online world affairs correspondent Web

Jackson's first experimental success was the spectroscopic observation in 1924 of the hyperfine structure of the caesium atom. To estimate the nuclear moment.....Derek Ainslie Jackson (1906-1982): Some Recollections of a Great European Spectroscopist B. Bleaney Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 55, No. 2 (May, 2001), pp. 285-287 (available on the web)

Jackson was later a Scientific Officer at Fighter Command.

My own view - and disavowing immediately any thought that my view is or ought to be taken as the author's or need be adopted by anyone else - is that the characters are on the one hand

(1)entirely and completely Jo Walton's characters - and to be considered as such with no fan fic or slash or anything else based on a spurious claim that the character is really ........

(2)sufficiently like real people, including some real people we can all - or at least might be able to - name as to be entirely plausible.

For no particular reason I am reminded that AJ Budrys once told me that one of the characters in Rogue Moon was exactly a man he knew at International Harvester - and that he met the man only long after the book was in print.

In particular I would, speaking for myself, no more consider the Small Change trilogy a roman(s) a clef than I would consider Tolkien a writer of allegories.

#170 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:34 PM:

OtterB #136: **APPLAUSE**

dangerous monster or strong kindly friend
dragons are both and fill our universe
though barred from normal vision by a curse
into the background they most subtly blend
still if by gentle force our authors rend
the veil that our illusions serves to nurse
the sight of dragons leaves us none the worse
but we our thanks to segoy ought to send
and dragons aren't the only beasts we seek
to populate our world with magic joys
there are so many beings we could name
to set alurk on distant mountain peak
to teach us that all creatures are not toys
and make the world more noble and less tame

#171 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:39 PM:

abi: May I beg for the sonnet about the dragon collecting different kinds of fire? Or if you've written it and I missed it, a link thereto?

Xopher: If you're still in Houston and have any spare time, please call -- transportation isn't a problem! I sent you an e-mail with our phone #s.

Kathryn, #105: Well, yes and no. In a true online community such as this one, it's quite possible to get to know people well enough for your mind to "fill in" some of the non-verbal nuances, because they follow from the modes of expression that people routinely use. For example, I've had a number of people, after meeting me for the first time after knowing me online for a while, mention that I write exactly the way I talk, and that now they "hear" my posts in my RL voice.

None of which, of course, is to say that more Fluoropheric gatherings would not be a good thing!

albatross, #146: Very nice indeed! That could be a really useful mnemonic device.

On the recommendation of Randolph's SO during our visit this past weekend, I've just finished reading S.M. Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers, and I have two things to say:

1) WOW.
2) How much of the description of Indian culture is reasonably accurate, modulo the usual alternate-history tweaking? I did catch the Bollywood reference. :-)

#172 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Joann 166: Ur zvtug svg, ohg onfrq ba uvf ynfg anzr V'z thrffvat ur jbhyqa'g or pbzsbegnoyr va gur Trezna Ervpu?

Clark 169: Ah, interesting; I'd read a little about the Mitford sisters, but hadn't noticed that about Pamela's husband. Based on the note in the acknowledgement about fictionalized speaking parts but real non-speaking parts (not to mention Pip's husband), it seemed plausible that Walter was a real person even if his wife was not.

#173 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 06:53 PM:

#166 - The Tizard Mission was pre-Hess but the world changed with Hess
e.g. this from Wikipedia on Tube Alloys:
When there was no reaction from America to the reports of the MAUD Committee, Mark Oliphant crossed the Atlantic in an unheated bomber in August 1941. He found that Lyman Briggs had merely put the reports in a safe. Oliphant then contacted Ernest Lawrence, James Conant, Enrico Fermi and Arthur Compton and managed to increase the urgency of the Americans research programs. The MAUD Reports finally made a big impression. Overnight the Americans changed their minds about the feasibility of an atomic bomb and suggested a cooperative effort with Britain. Harold C. Urey and George Braxton Pegram were sent to the UK in November 1941, to confer but Britain did not take up the offer of collaboration. The offer lapsed without any action being taken. emphasis added and cascading changes taken to be self-evident.

I'll stand by my belief that too close an identification with a single individual falls off into something rather like a Baker Street Irregular reading of that canon or a finding that Nero Wolfe the greatest detective of the last century was descended from the greatest detective of the preceding century - good fun but far astray from the text. Kingston Ontario is a far cry from Oxbridge and the Met Lab is a far cry from the Mitford sisters

#174 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 07:52 PM:

Mr. Myers @ #173: "a finding that Nero Wolfe the greatest detective of the last century was descended from the greatest detective of the preceding century"

He wasn't?

(Of course, I'd fight to the death anyone insinuating that Archie inherited any of Watson's character traits; AG was much cooler.)

#175 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 08:14 PM:

#174 - Baring-Gould clearly establishes that Archie inherited coolness and spunk from his father's mother - no connection to Watson's wife be she first or second.
Likely Kipling had the whole family in mind when he wrote:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,

Still Watson and Archie did have it in common that they each tended to carry a gun at need - though Archie never needed reminding.

#176 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 08:24 PM:

albatross @ #148 *grin*

Fragano Ledgister @ #170 "more noble and less tame" - I'm all for it.

#177 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Linkmeister: Esp. in that no small part of what made it work is that Archie was a crack detective in his own right.

Which, for all Watson's sterling traits, he wasn't.

Lee: yes, time will make up for some things (and I echo the statement that people who know me say I write as I speak).

#178 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Note to self re: abi's advice @#150: differentiate between coffee and gum. ;-)

Nicole @#158: You win a pancake recipe, of course!

Personally, how I'd react to America being conquered would depend a lot on who was doing the conquering. Our current gov is pretty bad, but as they say, things can always get worse.

On the other hand, if the conqueror was, say, Canada, I'd probably be cheering (after I quit giggling). ;-)

#179 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Terry @ #177, "Archie was a crack detective in his own right"

One of my favorite scenes when Wolfe reappears in "In the Best Families," is the one in which Archie tells Wolfe that during Wolfe's absence he (AG) has raked in twice as much as Wolfe had been paying him.

#180 ::: Christopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:38 PM:

I know you guys are light-years ahead of people like me when it comes to dealing with comment trolls. Have you ever compiled a set of "troll management" advice in a single post, or anything like that? If so, could you post a link to it here in this thread? It would be greatly appreciated.

#181 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:54 PM:

I think this is a post you want, though I won't use the definite article-- it's just the first I found.

I hope this works.

(edited from preview: it worked! Baby's First HTML!)

#182 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Christopher: I think it's a concentative effort. We tend to take them at face value; address their points and then, when they start calling out bingo numbers, we point and laugh.

Sock puppets are different.

At my blog, I don't get trolls much. The closest I get to a recurrent one, I just ignore. The rest of my commenters, mostly, do the same. Since he is someone I know in person, and those who respond to him also have a relationship with him, outside of the net, so that has something to do with it.

#183 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Patrick @ 157: Is that TTTO The Philosopher's Drinking Song?

#184 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:01 PM:

Christopher @180,

You could start with Virtual Panel Participation- both the essay and the comment thread. But that's from 2005: our Hosts have become even more awesome in their moderation wisdom.

Their moderation knowledge shows up often. For example, yesterday's Sock Puppet post implies one important part of moderating-- check IP addresses. Well, two-- check for sockpuppets, note IP addresses...

#185 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:21 PM:

One small point-resource for someone looking for earlier atomic scientists is this list of Manhattan Project personnel: www.nndb.com/group/738/000055573

#186 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:34 PM:

Fragano #170: I also loved that last line. "More noble and less tame."

Lee #171: Thanks!

I also enjoyed the Pershawar Lancers. I really liked the world, but thought the Russians were too unabashedly evil and one-sided. I think he wrote at least one short story in that world, as well.

#187 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:37 PM:

#122 - near a friend's cottage is a signpost reading "Schwartz-Bunnemann" (simply another cottage owner). But we decided that Schwartz-Bunnemann has just the right sound for a stfnal device:

"Activate the Schwartz-Bunnemann drive!"

"Captain, the Schwartz-Bunnemann effect makes that very dangerous."

"Signal detected on the Schwartz-Bunnemann, sir."

"We've burned out the Schwartz-Bunnemann compensators, and we're doomed."

etc...

#188 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:43 PM:

I also enjoyed the Pershawar Lancers. I really liked the world, but thought the Russians were too unabashedly evil and one-sided. I think he wrote at least one short story in that world, as well.

"Shikari in Galveston", IIRC. I have never read it, however.

#189 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 10:51 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @151: [..] we were both already Rush fans [..].

You are talking about the band?

Myself, not especially, but when you consider the alternatives...

#190 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:26 PM:

Fungi@71: what is your understanding of "tie"? Does it mean Germany pulls out of (a) France, (b) Belgium, (c) Alsace? I don't see a tie as requiring that -- which would make for a different set of lessons from your suggestion, i.e. it's still possible to readjust homeland borders.

Nenya@108: how is it possible for anything in an open thread to go off-topic?

albatross@148: Nice. For the other side, have you heard the original words sung to "Pirate Jenny"? (Bolcom&Morris did that a few years ago, from someone else's arrangement.) Surreal....

#191 ::: Christopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 11:42 PM:

To everyone who responded: Thanks very much!

#192 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:01 AM:

Nicole @ #151:

I'm a big fan of classic Rush. Stopped being into them after Presto. "Hold Your Fire" and "Power Windows" are two of the best, uncelebrated prog-rock albums of the 80's IMHO. My wife doesn't like Rush. Though ironically, Rush fandom is one of the things I have in common with her first husband.

Tori Amos was a KRCL-FM find for me; just like Curve and They Might Be Giants. My wife and I both got into Tori with "Under The Pink", not so much with "Boys For Pele". She's got wicked talent at the piano. And I am always supportive of female pop stars who tend to eschew pop tendencies; such as Bjork. But Bjork is a whole thread all by herself...

I introduced my wife to Sandman via the autographed graphic novel treasury I kept, from my comic book daze. That series always ranked as one of the most adult, if not the most adult, I ever collected. Very deep writing. Though I love the line from The Maxx when Sarah gripes, "Death isn't some cute chick!"

My wife and I co-discovered The Maxx. We rushed out and got the video after catching a re-re-re-run of the show on MTV in 1996. Expected something a little quirky and off the wall when we threw it in the VCR that first night. Never knew we'd be struck speechless by the end of the film, at once awed and bothered to an equal extent. Our stomachs hurt.

MTV needs to get off its corporate duff and do a full-DVD set of Liquid Television and The Maxx. My wife and I would buy both in a heartbeat!

One nice thing about the 3-disc Æon Flux is that it includes roughly one half hour of Liquid Television material from the first season. Unfortunately, I don't think first season Liquid Television is that good. I rather liked second season, with 'Dog Boy' and 'Winter Steele'. Though I still chuckle at 'The Art School Girls of Doom'. Funny, I never noticed, back in 1991, that they were guys in drag!

As for the self-congratulatory thing... Yeah, OK, re-reading my post, it does sound grandiose and self-back-patting. "I SHALL NOW RID MYSELF OF THE UNCLEANLINESS, WHICH UNFORTUNATELY YOU ALL STILL WADE THROUGH!" So I apologize for that. I wasn't aiming at this forum, so much as pop American political culture at al. Has there ever been a time in modern American history when more people spent more time and money arguing endlessly about things upon which nobody will ever reach a consensus? I suppose I feel like it just reached a too-toxic level, inside myself, and I had to step out of the tornado before I lost my mind.

Again, my apologies if I came off with a big head about it.

#193 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:10 AM:

KRCL-FM, YEAH BABY!!! (screamed in Plankton-voice)

Sounds silly, but getting back to my community radio roots is one of the big plusses about coming back to Yewtaw.

Spent two hours down there tonight, helping answer phones for Fall 'Thon. Their new building (heh, new, they've been there 7 years now...) is a vast improvement over the semi-homeless-shelter they occupied in 1993.

Shared a few laughs with one or two of the guys who were actually there in 1992-1993. Found out what happened to a few other people. The pot-smoking hippy former program director is now in Texas, and his son is at the U of U being an ultra-right-wing conservative. Somehow, that fits, like Alex Keaton from Family Ties.

Anyway, such a gas to be at the station. Community radio, gotta luv it.

Now if I can just get my biodiesel guy I know here to sign up as a business underwriter....

#194 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Hmm, not sure why it reverted to the old e-mail...

#195 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:24 AM:

Sign on a grad student's office door:

"You do not exist.

Neither does my thesis.

It has priority."

#196 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:16 AM:

Patrick #157: Thank you. I have been trying to get the complete words for that ever since Colin sang it to me. The reason I couldn't remember them is because being utterly prostrate with laughter seems to destroy my memory, as well.

#197 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:17 AM:

But of course you know of its counterpart, the one that concerns the, ah, venting activities of SF writers?

#198 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:29 AM:

Captain, we are being swallowed by a rogue Schwartz-Bunnemann entity!

Sir, the Schwartz-Bunnemann wormhole should be appearing -- now!

Chewi, you've put us smack in the middle of the Schwartz-Bunnemann asteroid belt. Get us out of here!

Aaaargh!!

#199 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:58 AM:

All this poesy on dragons, and prose about the works of the noble Ms. Walton, and none has yet pointed out the obvious crossover point:

Tooth and Claw

Forsooth, say I.

#200 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Shame on all of you for gluing my eyes to the computer screen and forcing me to miss my bedtime. Fie!

What I sat down to say was that earlier tonight I keyed in a seven-digit phone number, not even a #$%^*! area code, here in North Carolina, and seconds later I heard my husband's voice--in India.

I couldn't make this stuff up.

#201 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 02:44 AM:

"rejocing"?

#202 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:58 AM:

198: None of these, of course, should be confused with the Schartz-Metterklume Method.

The Peshawar Lancers was OK, but slightly too derivative of Flashy - though Count Nikolai Ignatieff really existed (in the 19th century) and had a very interesting life. And the technology didn't ever quite ring true... airships and calculating engines, but no motor cars or automatic rifles? Hmm.

#203 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 06:35 AM:

Lee @171:
I hadn't written it, and when I sat down to do it, it turned out not to be a sonnet.

The forest fires burn hotter
But campfire coals are richer
Till quenched by sand and water
From fire-pail and pitcher.
The lust for human glimmer
Made all I had seem lightless.
My hoarded fires burned dimmer
In contrast to Man's brightness.

To feed my need for fires
I left my mountain fastness.
A gleam like flaming pyres
Entranced me through the vastness.
Beyond my wooded valley
I saw a light, bright-burning
I made a winging sally
Emboldened by my yearning.

The roads were rich with red lights
Like coals they shone. I craved them
Yet brighter glowed the headlights.
I burned to keep, to save them.
But other sparkles drew me
As bees are drawn to flowers.
For I could, as I flew, see
The neon-shining towers.

I found a roof and landed
Where shadows would surround me.
My hidden perch commanded
A view of all around me.
And what I saw amazed me
When peering through the windows.
What did men as they gazed see
In panels with their dim glows?

I stayed awhile and learned from
The humans with their bright things.
I heard of "cash", and earned some,
Enough to buy the right things.
For in the nights, while dreaming,
I knew that I must go back.
My hidden fires, still gleaming,
Without my care would go black.

Returning to my treasures
Within the mountains lightless
I rediscovered pleasures
Outwith electric brightness.
The embers glowed more redly
The fires had brighter spark
The lightning looked more deadly
Against a forest's dark.

But still I miss the cities
That glisten, gleam and shine
With countless coloured pretties
All crying to be mine.
But Wi-fi goes a long way,
And now my laptop's working.
I buy my lights on eBay,
And on this blog I'm lurking.

#204 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 06:44 AM:

abi@203:

*speechless admiration*

#205 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 06:52 AM:

Great Scott, abi. And you can read it as a tragic or a hopeful story. Very impressive.

By the powers! Is there no end to this woman's talents? (Personally I'm clinging to the hope that abi can't do HALO jumps, because if she can I'll feel inferior in every way.)

#206 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 07:30 AM:

I can't speak of Indian (or Pakistani) culture in the subcontinent but the culture of The Peshawar Lancers rang true for Indians in Britain (celebrate Christmas AND Diwali*; British food with Indian touches combined with Indian food** - been a while since I read it so some of the details escape me, but I don't think I needed to look up any of the Hindi loanwords). I wasn't completely convinced by the technology either, especially as airships in an alternate history is traditional, and most of the choices fed back into the plot in one way or another; S M Stirling either chose his technology to serve the story or paid close attention to the limitations when devising the plot (or both).

Interestingly Stirling said "Maybe I can now convince the publishers that books with UK settings and/or lead characters are not necessarily market poison." a few days ago on Charlie Stross's diary. I wonder if one of the reasons for writing Lancers was a way of sneaking this idea onto them via an Anglo-Indian?

Too derivative of Flashy? Perhaps. I think it was also inspired by the things Flashman was a reaction-and-inverted-tribute to.


* The council in Leicester leaves the same lights up for both
** If I plan a menu without considering it I almost always leave off beef and pork; a reflex left over from my student days when I couldn't afford it anyway and one or more people randomly turning up wouldn't eat it.

#207 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 08:58 AM:

#207 Neal:

It sure seemed to me that he was trying for steampunk, which required the calculating engines and airships kind of technology. Besides, he probably has some reason to like the name of the high efficiency external-combustion engines they used.

I wonder about how inevitable our technological progression is; if we could run back to 1900, would we end up with the internet in 2007 99% of the time, or 5%, or is it a one in a million, but there'd be some equally magic-looking technology to replace it?

I always find it fascinating to find natural experiments where technology evolved separately in two different places. Looking at the US and USSR space programs and military designs gives a flavor of that, though of course there was information going back and forth. And looking at technology between Europe and China in the middle ages gives another.

In some cases, the next step of some technological or scientific discovery seems inevitable; this leads to "races" between scientists or inventors to be first to do something. How does the saying go? When it's railroading time, railroads get built. For example, there were well-publicized races to get the first telephones, light bulbs, and commercial power services going. Public key cryptography was apparently invented three different times (Cocks in secret, Merkle in an obscure form that nobody seems to have understood, and Diffie and Hellman in public). There are a bunch of compression algorithms that were developed more-or-less in parallel (once you've seen LZ77 and LZ78, about a million variants suggest themselves, especially if you also get Huffman coding, arithmetic coding, etc.). Calculus was invented in parallel by Newton and Leibnitz. There are probably a million other examples.

And sometimes, someone comes up with a key insight, but the stars don't quite line up to get that insight out there in the world. Mendel knew something about genetics, but doesn't appear to have had much effect on anyone else. We can see in retrospect that he was onto somethign big, but nobody at the time seems to have noticed. (Darwin could really have used the idea of genetics.)

Other times, you get some big advance in either science or technology, that makes all kinds of other stuff possible. This is "railroading time" stuff--once you've got statistics and genetics and evolution, *someone* is going to put them together into the modern synthesis. Once you have the basics of electricity, someone's going to build a working light bulb and a decent electric motor.

One of the cool things is when you see technology that was possible long ago, but never discovered. I gather that mortars and stirrups and halters that don't choke horses are all examples of this, but there must be zillions more, some enormously important.

#208 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:02 AM:

CRV @ 100: Often, when I find myself frustrated and angry over an internet debate, I realize that it happened because I came to instruct, not to learn. I was there to tell everyone my cool and interesting ideas and show how neat and shiny they were. More importantly, I wasn't there to hear how anyone disagreed with me, or had other ideas on the subject. When I do this, I'm setting myself up for disappointment: even if I convince everyone, or everyone already agrees with me, it's boring, which is in some ways worse than being dog-piled.

Debates where I came away happy and satisfied are the ones where, however things ended, I had come to learn. Maybe I was playing with an idea that I wasn't totally committed to, or maybe I was trying out someone else's ideas. Maybe I was just feeling egoless that day. The beauty of this approach is that I can always learn something from a debate: what weak points others see in my position that I hadn't, how my position can be altered and improved, the benefits of my position vis a vis others. Even if what I learn is that my argument is pretty lousy and unconvincing, well, that's progress. No matter what happens, I come out a winner, because I've learned.

Disclaimer: This isn't meant to be an attack. If it feels like one, I apologize in advance: it's poor manners to pick a fight with someone who's sworn not to fight back. I have no idea if any of this is true for anyone other than me. Maybe it will help you, and maybe I'm totally off. FWIW, etc.

Lee @ 171: I often think that written English is my first language, and spoken my second; I suppose then that I ought to say I talk like I write.

#209 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Then you get parallel tracks like phages in the Soviet bloc vs. antibiotics in the West. (I'm reading Viruses vs. Superbugs right now; I'm not keen on the style--perhaps the fault of the translation--but it's an interesting story.)

#210 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:08 AM:

Who was it who wrote that we'd have had space travel in the 1500's if the Libraries of Alexander hadn't burned?

#211 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Re: The Dentistry Particle...there's a nice discussion of dentistry licensing in Frank Norris's great, and grim novel McTeague, which if you haven't read, is a truly bizarre and grisly and wonderful book--much-neglected these days.

#212 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:35 AM:

Earl @ #210: I can't speak to an SF author who wrote that, but I know Carl Sagan expressed a similar opinion in his COSMOS series. He was of the belief that if the scientific method that was just beginning to be toyed with by the Greeks had not been ultimately smooshed by Platonic mysticism, it's hypothetically possible that we'd have reached the atomic age 300 to 500 years earlier than we did, and that by the late 20th century A.D. we'd have had our first starship surveys returning from the nearest suns in our niche of the galaxy: Barnards, Tau Ceti, etc.

An endlessly fascinating mental experiment, if you ask me. What might have been, had we just....

#213 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Heresiarch,

No, actually that's an illuminating way to look at it. I'm constantly mulling ethical and philosophical issues all day long in my head, whether I really concentrate on them or not. Many times, if I come to any sort of debate about a given issue, I've already mentally staked out my territory. In my mind I'm not thinking, "I'm going to teach these people a lesson..." But it probably comes off that way.

Thanx for the alteranative viewpoint.

#214 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Abi #203:

"Say, what's going on at the top of that mountain? It looks like it has been covered in *christmas lights*."

#215 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:54 AM:

As someone mentioned very recently around here somewhere*, some newly-discovered papers show that Aristotle came with an epsilon of developing differential calculus, which is the bedrock of mechanical and a lot of electrical engineering. We all owe that over-zealous Roman soldier a good roasting in Hell; if he hadn't been so eager to kill an old philosopher we might be importing asteroidal iron even now.


* so many threads, so little time

#216 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:56 AM:

abi @ 203

Very impressive. Of course, if you are a dragon, it explains an awful lot of things, including why your poetry is so good.

#217 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Bruce (StM) #215: Or, if we feel like being gloomy, it might have moved humanity's* extinction up a few thousand years. I like the asteroid idea better, though.

*I am tired. I just tried to spell that humaniti'es.

#218 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Brenda @#200: Shame on all of you for gluing my eyes to the computer screen and forcing me to miss my bedtime. Fie!

Eh, they do that to me all the time.

I'm pretty dubious about technological determinism: IIRC, even the wheel was only developed in the one area where they happened to have decent draft animals and suitable terrain, and it spread with the draft animals. Other places, a wheel was just a toy, because it was just as easy to carry stuff or drag it.

A lot of tech is oriented toward solving particular problems, but those problems in turn depend heavily on prior developments in society, and contingencies of the moment. Not to mention all that stuff prompted by various wars....

#219 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:11 AM:

One good effect of the The Dark Is Rising movie is that its existence inspired me to re-read the books for the first time since I was little. Thus far they hold up remarkably well against my memory of them.

Question, as I begin Greenwitch: Does anyone know why on earth Will's dogs would be named Raq and Ci?

#220 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:16 AM:

albatross @ 207: There's a Gene Wolfe short story about an alternate history where hot air-balloons were invented in the middle-ages. In the preface to the collection, he mentions a fascination with the same subject you discuss, and relates a tale from the Greeks of a man who revolutionized hoplite warfare by cutting a semicircle out of one side of their shields (allowing the formation to pack tighter.) It was the biggest advance in warfare in three centuries, and could have happened at any time before then. Scientific progress is weird.

On the other hand, Newton and Liebnitz. That always gets to me. When must things be discovered, and when are they merely happy chance?

#221 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:21 AM:

re. the dentistry particle -
Wow, Patrick channels Milton Friedman; who'd'a thunk it? I can't tell if the false information in the piece is because the writer is ignorant or because he's deliberately parroting right-wing arguments on this topic by way of satire, but it's always wise to inform oneself on a topic before spouting off.

True or false, boys and girls...?
(1) Foreign dentists cannot practice in the U.S.
(2) The U.S. government licenses dentists

(I could add in the medical version of this quiz, which starts with "You need an M.D. to practice medicine in the U.S.")

#222 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:27 AM:

In #215 Bruce Cohen (writes:

some newly-discovered papers show that Aristotle came with an epsilon of developing differential calculus, which is the bedrock of mechanical and a lot of electrical engineering. We all owe that over-zealous Roman soldier a good roasting in Hell; if he hadn't been so eager to kill an old philosopher we might be importing asteroidal iron even now.

Archimedes, perhaps?

#223 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:34 AM:

CRV @ 213: I'm glad it was useful.

I thought of another way of putting it: I have useful debates when I engage with other people's ideas. I have unuseful debates when I spend my time defending my own.

#224 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Albatross @ 148: Thanks for the earworm! And since I find the original lyrics cloying, I will have to memorize your version so I don't drive myself insane!

And since this is an open thread, may I write a fan note? Someone who knows me very well, gave me Charles Stross' Iron Sunrise, The Atrocity Archives, and Halting State for my birthday. Holy Moses. I've been high all week. Amazing.

Have I mentioned that going home after work and reading for eight hours straight does not allow for much sleep?

#225 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:49 AM:

@222: Aristotle [sic] would have discovered calculus if not for that time traveler biographied by de Camp ...

#226 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 11:07 AM:

Alas, to me all verse is blank.
Rhythm and rhyme, scansion, meter:
These are but babble to my ears.
I illustrate my lack of skill
With these scribbles, these random tracks
that with a feline lack of grace
criss-cross my keyboard, leaving... sense?

My medium is light, my muse –
I see she does not have a name,
Wiki though I might. Spirit of
the LCD, of CRT,
of CCD, of film, of light,
what is your name?

Nameless, you follow me across
the shining sea of sky. Click now!
You command me, and I do it.
A shrine, lizard most unholy,
A thousand paper birds entrapp'd,
A maid engarbed in maidly robes,
Another by sleep ensorcelled,
ghosts of young men, of empire dead.

And fen. A multitude of fen.
Fen in kilt, in fez, and cos,
play with idea, with sword, with pen.
A thousand new books lie unread;
words elude, dream to nightmare turn'd.
And worse yet, gallery of images
that, by order more urgent
than my muse's, recorded – not.

[missing verse]

Returning to the land of rain,
from flight to flu, my muse
at my shoulder commands – Share.
Let others see what they have missed.
Still more will my sibling Mneme
encounter as they wander past
your pictures that do grace her house.

So, day by day, pictures do I add.
Every worldly week that passes,
in the house of Mneme one day
does flickr by.

#227 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 11:13 AM:

About the Greeks:

The elder offspring was in an Evergreen program a couple of years ago which bulled its way through the Western Canon in three quarters. One of the discussions we had, in regard to Plato, reached this consensus: Plato's influence over later thinkers is the Platonic ideal of never underestimate the power of a bad idea.

#228 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 11:18 AM:

It was indeed Archimedes who came close to calculus, as reported on the Charlie Rimmer's Socks thread (??). Which is just as well for counterfactuals; any Aristotle alternate history story could hardly be more exciting or outlandish than the real story of Alexander.

I seem to remember a David Brin story in which a character says something like, if aliens have been trying to help us, couldn't they have shown us how to make glass lenses as we can figure out the rest for ourselves. The Romans had clear glass; what if they'd made lenses?

#229 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 11:34 AM:

Albatross #186: Thanks.

#230 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 11:55 AM:

ethan 219: No idea about Raq, but Ci (pronounced "ki", because the c in Welsh is always hard) is the Welsh for "dog".

#231 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Re "My Favorite Things" as earworm: What annoys me most is the way its (mostly) dumb lyrics ruin what is actually a gorgeous piece of music. "Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings" stands out, amidst drivel -- that's what it all should be like.

Cassandra Wilson may have done it as what it should be, a slow waltz, but for me it still bears a dreadful aura of nastily piping children.

#232 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Dave Luckett #229: Ah, thanks! I figured Ci might be Welsh or Scots or something, didn't expect it to be so straightforward. Raq, on the other hand, doesn't seem like it comes from the Isles.

#233 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:16 PM:

No one here needs an online source for research materials for medieval Iberia, right? And no one here needs another new large online time sink, right? So there's really no point in my inserting a link here to LIBRO, the Library of Iberian Resouces Online, is there? Because there's no one here who'd take a second look at titles like Irrigation and Society
in Medieval Valencia
, or a translation of the Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris, or The Visigothic Code.

Please note that I am not making the pun about Visigothic code being the version that came before Morse code, and that none of you need to either.

#234 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:51 PM:

CRV, #212: Hence the fascination with writing, and reading, alternate-history stories. It's always interesting to speculate about what might have happened if this or that turning point had gone differently.


#235 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 12:55 PM:

abi #203: A most Elphin dragon that. Wonderful.

#236 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:05 PM:

It seems to me, though I'm not the best player,
we treat the world of dragons as a game.
For their attacks and hungers we don't blame
but celebrate, as if we did not care,
for vanished village or for mountain bare
the beast that desolated with a flame
the marvellous places we had sought to tame.
We praise the dragon, curse the dragonslayer.
Of Perseus we seem to say the least
although we know that upon alien strand
his spear straight-pierced the monster's horrid gorge;
instead we sing of the great hungry beast,
and in our narrow, comfortable land,
do execrate the hated name of George.

#237 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:06 PM:

fidelio #232:

Now if that had been "Irrigation and Society in Medieval Venice", I would have been beyond chuffed.

#238 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:07 PM:

would this be the point to yet again bring up the fact that someone should really collect and publish Verses of the Fluorosphere: the poetry of Making Light?

#239 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Sisuile #237:

But it's an ongoing project. What do you want, a new volume every two weeks, maybe? (These guys are prolific.)

#240 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:17 PM:

re #226: SNORK!

#241 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:34 PM:

Ooh--OtterB @ 136, I like! And abi @ 203, and... wow.

(this one--meant for the "Great Political Blog Posts of Our Time" thread, though the point to post it there is long past--has been keeping me up at night.)

That "someone else is worse" does not excuse.
Murder makes of theft a lesser crime,
But it does not mean thieves do no time.
The world's goodwill's not all we lose
With these hateful tactics. When we choose
A lesser evil, it's an evil still.
The dead care not how humane the kill,
But we'll be called to 'count for every bruise.
Torture, secrets, and imposéd coups
Do not on others only take their tolls
But also leave their traces in our souls;
Evil deeds stain all with evil's hues.
Through blood we tiptoe where the worst have trod;
The marks are plain, for all we go unshod.

#242 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @ 222

Arggghhhhh! Of course it was Archimedes! *gnashing of teeth and dense smoke from the ears*

Getting up at 3:30 AM does not improve my memory a bit.

#243 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:41 PM:

A propos de rien, I have an online friend in NY who is looking for a cheap/pro bono lawyer who can help her with a harassing landlord. Any ideas? If you have good contacts, either post here or drop me an e-note at t.s.whitmore at att dot net.

#244 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:45 PM:

@230: "My Favorite Things" has lyrics?

[ /trane]

#245 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 01:52 PM:

fidelio #232: We'll keep that last under seal.

#246 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Fragano @ 235, alsafi @ 240

Both well done; thanks for keeping the thread full of poesy. I'll be back in the rhyme mines in a day or so; things are hectic just now.

Fragano, special thanks for mentioning how pesky those georges are.

#247 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Fragano @235: Bravo!!!!

#248 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 03:32 PM:

fidelio @ 232

Argh. I'm supposed to be doing a german film crit and you distract me with Iberia!!

#249 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Re the hamsters and cucumber particle:

Something in me wants to take that, recast it into black and white, and crank up the speed a little. Then add silent film dialogue, with ornate frames, all done in LOLcats.

I CAN HAS CUCUMBER?

OH NOES! THEY BE TAKIN MAH CUCUMBER!

etc...

I'm not going to, but then, I don't need to now, do I?

Add so

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:04 PM:

The Dentistry Particle...

As Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise:
"You can't handle the tooth!"

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:08 PM:

Abi @ 203... Of all the depictions of dragons in movies and such, have you ever come across one where you found yourself thinking "This is a dragon as I envision them" ?

#252 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Er, isn't that the same palimpset that got the public attention some months back and mentioned for it in Making Light back then? Or is it a different one?

http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2002/november6/archimedes-116.html

#253 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:20 PM:

#251

I think so. Apparently there's a book coming out on it. (Most peopel can't remember things that long, after all!)

#254 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Serge @250:
Of all the depictions of dragons in movies and such, have you ever come across one where you found yourself thinking "This is a dragon as I envision them" ?

Since I think dragons would have characters as varied as humans*, there are many dragons that work for me.

Smaug was my first real dragon, since my mother read us the Hobbit when I was four

Yevaud, Dragon of Pendor**, far smarter and far colder than Smaug, whom I first heard about at about eight

Oolong†, of course, whose greed was turned toward knowledge

Draco‡ is probably the best screen dragon I've met, for complexity of character. His motivations are a little too comprehensible, but that's film for you. And Sean Connory has the voice of a dragon‡‡

Mike Ford, perhaps, as well††

But to a certain extent, I also write the dragons I envision. So you can add a couple more to the list, based on the things you've seen here.

(Must get Tooth and Claw)
-----
* though their bell*** curves are on different axes than ours
** A Wizard of Earthsea
Tea with the Black Dragon
Dragonheart
‡‡ Which makes The Hunt for Red October an entirely strange film. A dragon comnmanding a submarine? How can this happen? How can this be?
†† What? No? Well, I bow to those who knew him
*** and the sound of the bells, if cast and rung, would drive men's thoughts to cold avarice

#255 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:42 PM:

#250 Serge

I *have* come across what I believe to be the anti-dragon. In Baum's Tik Tok of Oz a dragon is used as a sort of mass transit system. Any dragon I could imagine wouldn't dream of...well...here:

"Perhaps the most singular thing about the dragon's appearance at this time was the fact that he had a row of seats attached to his back, one seat for each member of the party. These seats were double, with curved backs, so that two could sit in them, and there were twelve of these double seats, all strapped firmly around the dragon's thick body and placed one behind the other, in a row that extended from his shoulders nearly to his tail.

"Aha!" exclaimed Tubekins; "I see that Tititi-Hoochoo has transformed Quox into a carryall."

"I'm glad of that," said Betsy. "I hope, Mr. Dragon, you won't mind our riding on your back."

"Not a bit," replied Quox. "I'm in disgrace just now, you know, and the only way to redeem my good name is to obey the orders of the Jinjin. If he makes me a beast of burden, it is only a part of my punishment, and I must bear it like a dragon. I don't blame you people at all, and I hope you'll enjoy the ride. Hop on, please. All aboard for the other side of the world!"

#256 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:43 PM:

i highly recommend tooth & claw.

never read any other of walton's books, although i imagine i will when i go visit my sister & brother-in-law again (they gave me tooth & were at both farthingparties).

#257 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:45 PM:

fidelio @ 232:
Please note that I am not making the pun about Visigothic code being the version that came before Morse code, and that none of you need to either.

But you're not excluding puns about Seekrit Conspiracies involving famous Visigothic artists? (Or, perhaps more appropriately, famous Visigothic encylopedists?)

#258 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Raq is the devil/deceiver/Source of Evil in Fool on the Hill (Matt Ruff). I'm guessing that there's some sort of back story to that, since quite a lot of everything in that book has roots in something.

#259 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 04:57 PM:

abi @ 253... Draco‡ is probably the best screen dragon I've met

I was thinking the same thing. Having a voice like Sean Connery's can't hurt either. In the bad-dragon dept... The one in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad wasn't too bad. There was one scene in Dragonslayer that was particularly effective, as Vermitrax is seen crawling in a tunnel like a giant bat. Mind you, that was the only worthwhile scene in the whole movie (aside from the one where we find that the cast's best actor turns out to be its best actress).

Why not a dragon in charge of a nuclear submarine? Few things can top the fires of a nuclear reactor, after all. There's probably a sonnet in there. Or a short story.

#260 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Sarah S @ 254.. Hmm... I seem to remember recently reading a Locus review of an alternate-History where magic works and dragons are use to power steam locomotives.

By the way, are fire-breathing dragons mostly a European thing? Chinese dragons were associated with Air, not Fire. I think.

#261 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:13 PM:

eric #257: Oh, I'd forgotten that. I can't imagine that Will Stanton's dog would have the name of Evil, but it's interesting at least.

#262 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:23 PM:

Open thread, so: limerick contest.

#263 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:33 PM:

Re guinea pigs and cucumber:

I have a friend who, if I were to show him the link, would almost certainly react thus:

"The guinea pigs sound interesting, but I don't like cucumber... what, you mean it isn't a recipe?"

#264 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Jules... You never heard of cucumber and guinea-pig sandwiches? Yum!

#265 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Serge @ 259

I think that classically, Chinese dragons are associated with water (air isn't one of the five Chinese elements). The Dragon King of legend is a sea-god.

As to the fire-breathing, I have no idea.

#266 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Re cucumbers: several years ago I told my cucumber hating son that we would be having slugs and cucumbers for dinner, (after about eleventy million questions of "What's for dinner?", I think) and he replied "But I don't like cucumbers!" in an appalled tone.

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:56 PM:

alsafi @ 264... I stand corrected. Say, in Miyazaki's Spirited Away, the dragon flew around like a snake in water, but I can't remember if he was associated with any specific element. Of course, Japanese dragons may be different.

Different depictions of dragons... I rather liked the dragon in Boorman's Excalibur. And Pierre Pevel's Les enchantements d'Ambremer (think of Paris in 1900 but with Faerie creatures casually walking around) had dragons capable of assuming human shape, but with their main occupation being as librarians. (No, I don't know if that was influenced by Tea with the Black Dragon, which Abi mentionned above.)

#268 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 05:57 PM:

My only Dutch pun is about cucmbers.

But by the time you explain a pun, it isn't worth it.

So I won't tell you it.

#269 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Huh. Haku did seem to be associated with air, though he'd been a river, and that was how he and Chihiro/Sen had first met--when she fell in him. But I think the mythic cosmos in China* mooshes the sky/water concepts together to some extent, which would account for it. Oooh, and now I have a new thing to research!

I'd write a lot more, if I didn't spend so much time looking things up.

-----
* IMO Spirited Away owes more to Chinese folklore (and Rackham-esque touches) than Japanese, despite being a Japanese film.

#270 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 07:23 PM:

I'm copying this over from my LJ because I think it's such a good story.

I started the December Asimov's last night which opens with Connie Willis' novella All Seated On the Ground. This is a fabulous story. There's the SF part -- aliens arrive and pompous people try to talk to them, but our lowly protagonist and a choir director find the clue. The pomposities won't listen to them, but they continue to look for how to talk. This part is great, a real SF mystery. But in addition, there's little barbs at Bush and his adminstration, evangelicals, pompous academics, etc., plus a little light romance. Truly a great story and worth buying the Asimov's for.

#271 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 07:29 PM:

*looks uneasily at the thread title*

Here's some news of the weird, only it's from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Horror novelist boils girlfriend's flesh

An aspiring Mexican horror novelist has been arrested after police discovered his girlfriend's torso in his closet, a leg in the refrigerator and bones in a cereal box.

Methinks he was a little too thorough in his research.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 07:46 PM:

alsafi @ 268... I think the mythic cosmos in China* mooshes the sky/water concepts together to some extent, which would account for it. Oooh, and now I have a new thing to research!

What have I wrought?

It'd make sense to combine air and water because, well, rain falls from the air. As for Spirited Away, I figured that Myazaki probably took things from all over the place and combined them into his own story. (I've been wondering if showing that movie to my 6-year-old nephew would be a Bad Idea. Probably.)

#273 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Marilee @ 269... It's next on my list of to-read.

#274 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 08:58 PM:

Daaamn. You can buy anything on ebay.

#275 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 09:55 PM:

It's been a while, but IIRC, the Asian dragons (from a root before the divergence of their cultures) included representatives for most or all of their elements. Rather than being "monsters" as in the West, they were what we'd consider demigods and "spirits" -- in China at least, they were part of the Celestial Bureaucracy. Always sentient and deeply magical, never mere beasts!

They were also much more varied in appearance and personality than in the Western conception, ranging from the serpentine forms which got them translated as "dragons" to us Westerners, to turtle-like creatures to more exotic beings such as the ki-rin, and surely others I haven't heard of. (Not necessarily friendly to humans -- they had their own roles independent of humanity, and presumptuous mortals could seriously tick them off.)

A general dragon source:
Obviously, there are a zillion sites out there about dragons, but The Serene Dragon has been around a few years, has a huge collection of types, sources, and stories, and when I originally found it (by way of a search for peahens) the maintainer was quite nice.

#276 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 10:01 PM:

On closer examination, that site hasn't been updated since 2003, but it's still got a huge collection....

#277 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2007, 11:33 PM:

I notice that the Turkish ambassador has returned to Turkey, as a result of the House Foreign Relations Committee allowing a resolution on the Armenian genocide to go to a vote of the full house. At any other time, I would applaud this vote. Right now, it puts our troops in Iraq at risk, and makes a Turkish invasion of Iraq more likely. Allow me to congratulate Nancy Pelosi for making the wingnuts into honest, er, whatever they ares.

#278 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:33 AM:

Well, the obvious solution to that is to kick Turkey out of NATO if they're naughty and begin the Axis of Evil Regime Change Tango on their behalf, right? That would also solve the Cyprus problem, and give the Kurds more land (along with the northern third of Iraq) for their homeland. Whee!

#279 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:47 AM:

When winter whites the mountain meads,
And wicked winds the summers slay,
And night and noon wear widow's weeds,
Dark dragons in the passes play.
Of dark the daughters, lost to light,
Children of chaos and old night.

Of all, the direst dragon had
The crags at Carrine as her home.
Her hoard was heavy - gold to glad
Her heart. She reckoned not to roam.
And yet, the yen to go was growing.
The wilds were wordless, nothing knowing.

Scales like shields, might none may measure,
Yet her wisdom was awaking.
Dragged from dragon dreams of treasure,
From her bed of bright gold, shaking
Shining jewels, she rose unheeding.
For no hoard could help her needing.

Paltry seemed her pearls, her prizes,
And the paladins, the plunder.
Words she wanted. So arises
She of Carrine Gate, and thunder
Rolled through all the snowy summits.
Poised like peregrine, she plummets.

Hence she came to human hearths
Where words are wrought of different dreaming.
Words, to walk the wizard's paths
And spells to shape another seeming.
So to learn, the Carrine Worm
Took upon her human form.

Made as maiden, mild as Maytime,
So she came to croft and crafter,
Helped in harvest and the hay-time,
Shared our striving, learnt our laughter.
Thus, by little laid on less,
So she came to humanness.

Not a grotto, golden-gleaming,
Now she needed, nor yet knightly
Knaves to gnaw on. So that seeming
She retained, and reasoned rightly
Dragon days were borne behind;
And henceforth home's with humankind.

So still she's with us. Who shall say
What law or lord she may be bound by?
Whose the house where last she lay
Or any mark she might be found by?
Only this that one would say:
Beware of wenches on the way.

When winter whites the mountain meads
And skies grow steely, grey as glass,
Then listen as her laughter leads
Across the crags to Carrine Pass,
And follow, if your fear be small,
Or fail to fare that way at all.

#280 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:53 AM:

What do the blogger folk do
To help them escape when they're blue
Astroturfers, spammers, the clueless and the trolls
The poster who on lunch break has lost all the goals,
When there is work to be done,
We'd rather be here having fun,
With Patrick and Teresa and Avram and with JIm
Oh what do blogger folk do,
Sink or swim?

Often I am told
They stomp a noxious troll,
And watched Teresa filet all the words,
When the feat's complete,
All all the vowels are gone,
Amusing comments comes in larger herd,
And that's what blogger folk do, so they says.

They stomp trolls?
So they say.

Arise posters, arises posters,
The threads continue to grow posters,
See knitting, plants, and politics
And poetry fill up the screen
The words pour in with lots of vim,
And wow can some of be mean!

What else do the blogger folk do
They must have a real life or two,
The children some at home have,
The day job though it sucks,
The time off line gone shopping
Or feeding the ducks
When all the doldrums begin
What keeps the posters in their skins
They have some secret weapon
We haven't dug up yet,
Oh what do posters all do, posts to whet?

They sit around and post more
That's what we all here do,
And that's what blogger folks do...

#281 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Yes, Rush the band. Surely no one here thought I was fond of the talk show host?

I used to have a bunch of bumperstickers, made by an online acquaintance, that said, "RUSH IS A BAND, DAMMIT."

I think anyone who says "I was a fan of [Band] until [AlbumTitle]" really ought to at least take a listen to the very latest album, just in case the band's output has looped back around to intersect with their tastes once more. You never know.

(CRV: For Rush, that would be Snakes And Arrows at this time. Have you heard it yet? What do you think of it? I adore it. But then I also adored Presto, it was totally my gateway drug, but I understand many folks found it too tame and overprocessed.)

#282 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 01:41 AM:

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet: Knitted Flying Spaghetti Monster Hat

#283 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:02 AM:

Nicole @280: There have been times I could have used an "O'Reilly is a publisher!" bumper sticker, myself.

#284 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:12 AM:

Serge @ 258

That brings up a story request. It was very short no more than a couple of thousand words, maybe shorter. A metallurgy company is losing very expensive quantities of some highly radioactive alloy; they believe it's being stolen but no search, not matter how careful, has ever found any going out. It turns out that gurve puvrs sbhaqre* vf npghnyyl n xbobyq jub unf orra qevaxvat gur zbygra zrgny bhg bs gur pehpvoyr. Arther Porges, maybe from the early 60s?


* Ur jub ehaf gur sbhaqel.

#285 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:30 AM:

Randolph@276: I notice that the Turkish ambassador has returned to Turkey, as a result of the House Foreign Relations Committee allowing a resolution on the Armenian genocide to go to a vote of the full house.

They're apparently willing to go to war over how we describe something that happened a century ago. The Hatfields and McCoys got nothing on these guys.

#286 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:48 AM:

Rush? I always think of the classic old Aussie ABC TV Series Rush (imdb) set in the gold fields during our gold rush, with the incredibly catchy George Dreyfus theme music (MP3 excerpt) quoting folk tunes, and the incredibly swoonable-at brooding, mysterious Sgt McKellar (next step after Captain Scarlet). You can get DVDs not of the original series (curses), but of a more recent revoiced parody they called Olden Days, by the comedy group D-Generation, part of their The Late Show.

#287 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:49 AM:

Greg, #284. It's a serious accusation, even now. The problem is, it's true. The other problem is, stating it plainly puts our troops at risk. And, of course, the very thought threatens their, er, honor (no, that's not your honor, your honor, that's your, er, nevermind).

#288 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 04:47 AM:

Fragano at #234: Did you mean "elfin"? The fine people of Elphin have lots of stories about St. Patrick, and a pub called The Elf Inn, but nothing about dragons that I know of.

#289 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:17 AM:

abi #267: 'kwamkwammers'? Come to think of it, I can't think of many other monolingually* Dutch puns†.

*English/Dutch ones, yes. (Cf. the infamous 'I fok dogs')

†'Voer eendjes, geen oorlog' springs to mind.

#290 ::: Zarquon ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:03 AM:

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared, in two equal parts, between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

IPCC and Al Gore win Nobel Peace Prize.

#291 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:12 AM:

Zarquon beat me to it. (If I hadn't been in the middle of cooking dinner, would have been rather faster off the mark.) Well, well, well …

#292 ::: Doonbogglefrog ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:32 AM:

Zarquon beat me, too. But I posted it over in the Doris Lessing thread -- vaguely relates, right?

Now if only the "Draft Gore" movement would get some traction with Gore.

#293 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:44 AM:

David Harmon @ 274... Thanks for the reference.

#294 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:48 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 283... This sounds like something that Unknown would have come up with.

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:50 AM:

Dawno @ 281... Heheheh...

#296 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:28 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers): Thanks. Some Georges are more annoying than others.

#297 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:40 AM:

Randoplh Fritz @ 286... no, that's not your honor, your honor, that's your, er, nevermind

Not gill-cup!

#298 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:44 AM:

The Guinea Pig movie good, especially that cinema verité moment where they slam into the camera, but I prefer Hamster Eats a Carrot.

#299 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:53 AM:

Huzzah! Al Gore, along with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007.

Well deserved, sir; congraulations!

#300 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Heh. 'Swhat I get for being eager to post; still, it's good news worth repeating.

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:55 AM:

Mind you, Gore getting a Peace Prize, and that from a bunch of smelly furriners, probably disqualifies him as President of my country. Still, I really want him to run. Now, have you ladies & gents added your names to that draft-Gore petition?

#302 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:00 AM:

Dave Luckett #278: **APPLAUSE**

#303 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:05 AM:

Niall McAuley #287: I mean Elphin. That's because Abi was imitating "The War Song of Dinas Vawr".

#304 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:13 AM:

Dave Luckett @278:
Fantastic!

Fragano @302:
I was indeed riffing on Dinas Vawr, though due to childhood influences he always comes to me through the intermediary of TH White.

#305 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:23 AM:

Second the applause to Dave Luckett @278. Excellent.

I also enjoyed Paula Lieberman @279 ... is there a tune I should be able to put this to?

#306 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:34 AM:

273 Greg: But you'll have to outbid Admiral Bob's National Defense.

#307 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:35 AM:

Hooray, Al Gore and IPCC! Now if only the motherfracker would run...

#308 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:40 AM:

abi #303: I read The Once and Future King after I had read both 'The War-Song of Dinas Vawr' and 'The Lament for the Makers'. I had an odd childhood.

#309 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:50 AM:

Huzzah! Al Gore! Huzzah!

Voted for him last time he ran. I'd vote for him again.

#310 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:51 AM:

re 167: Drat. But they did send me the recipe.

#311 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Greg London #308: The "Re-elect Gore" slogan kind of writes itself, doesn't it?

#312 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:09 AM:

Ethan, maybe that would explain the pen floating above my desk this morning and the noticable chunk of missing paper.

;)

The man certainly demonstrates "In Service of his county" though.

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:22 AM:

Greg London @ 311 In Service of his county

Bloom County?

#314 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Is it just me but are the ad-servers here really interfering with pages loading? I'm on my MacBook, in Parallels Desktop for Mac, in W2K, using Firefox and the pages seem to load fine. But I generally prefer to be over there in OSX land, in Firefox there, and when I do that I often get a ton of stalled pages (with name of ad-server in the lower-left supposedly "transferring"). If I try to start scrolling anyway, either the page doesn't move at all, or I get these weird effects of part of the comment thread scrolling in, say, the lower 1/3 of the screen while the upper 2/3 remains frozen.

I dunno. Maybe it's my machine, but it doesn't happen all the time. When it does happen, shutting down Firefox (and wiping the cache), and restarting it doesn't seem to help.

I'm not complaining about the ads. I know they are necessary. I'm just saying, is all.

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:00 AM:

ethan @ 310... The "Re-elect Gore" slogan kind of writes itself, doesn't it?

Let me know if you come across that bumper sticker. I want one.

#316 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Serge #314: I'll be on the lookout.

#317 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Regarding Raq the dog: Romany, children's author and the host of a popular children's program on the BBC in the 40's, had a dog named Raq who appeared on the show and in his stories. In story, if I recall the chronology correctly, I think it would be reasonable for Will to have read/heard Romany

Out of story, I suspect that Romany and Cooper are both making a common allusion, perhaps to a second foriegn language. My first thought was to try Romani (aka gypsy), as Romany was Roma (thus explaining his choice of pseudonum). I couldn't find any good dictionaries online, however.

#318 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:19 AM:

#313 Michael W. -

I don't get stalled pages I can blame on the adserver, but if I open multiple threads in multiple tabs, sometimes it locks up the screen refresh on Firefox (under OSX) so that no matter which tab the top bar claims I'm looking at, nothing changes. Sometimes the left third of the page will freeze much like you're describing, so that changing tabs changes the right 2/3 but not the left 1/3.

I've always blamed it on Firefox for OSX just not quite being up to snuff. I use Safari mostly, but it doesn't work for ML for some reason I can't recall at the moment.

#320 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Someone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE collect all the poetry in Making Light and put it somewhere where we can buy it -- please!

#321 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:49 AM:

I have a horticultural request: if any denizens of ML live in an area where pomegranates grow, and has access to a plant, I would be delighted to pay to have a couple fruits shipped to me.

They aren't winter-hardy around here, but I want to have a go at growing a plant (vine? shrub?) in a tub. My attempts to sprout seeds from store-bought fruits have so far been unsuccessful, and I suspect the refrigeration they get in transport kills them.

Anyone who can help me out, drop me an email with your shipping cost and I'll send you a check and my address. Or I can do PayPal if you're set up to receive payments. :)

#322 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:02 AM:

DavidS #316: Well, that's something I'd never heard of. The Susan Cooper books were written in the 70s, and I always imagined them to be taking place about when they were written (or, at any rate, in the eternal "present"), which would mean Will probably didn't watch the show, though his parents or twenty thousand older siblings or someone may have, and at any rate any of them might have liked the books. Sounds reasonable.

A bit of googling tells me that raq is Romani for "beloved dog," though in my utter ignorance of the language I'd be more willing to believe that such a simple, single word just means "dog." Either way: Will Stanton's dogs appear to be named, essentially, Dog and Dog. I like it.

Thanks, peoples!

#323 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Carrie S

Try here:
http://www.bayflora.com/pomegranates.html
They have one that's hardy to 10F.

#324 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:23 AM:

They have one that's hardy to 10F.

I'd still have to cover it in the winter; though we don't get many days below 10F, we do get some, pretty much every winter.

I wonder if pomegranates are like apples and other fruit trees in not growing true from seed. If so I might have to go with a cutting or a started plant.

I've found a bunch of sites that sell the plants, but they all charge ridiculous amounts--generally, more than the cost of the plant itself--for shipping. I try not to buy anything that's going to end up costing me more for the shipping than the item.

#325 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Todd Larason at 282: You have my sympathies. I'm not sure a bumper sticker would help, though - I could totally see the O'Reilly Factor spinning off the publishing imprint responsible for putting Ann Coulter in my local Borders (which deserves some punishment, surely, for smacking its anti-theft adhesive bar right on top of the gorgeous illustrations in 1001 Nights of Snowfall, but having to hawk copies of Godless in Boulder, Colorado seems a little extreme).

#327 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Carrie, I've got a 15-year-old pomegranate shrub at my parents' New Orleans-area home. I planted it from the seed of a storebought while I was in high school. It never got above three feet high, but that may have something to do with the pot it lives in. It has flowered several times but never fruited. I don't know whether that's due to the seed it grew from or the lack of other pomegranate bushes within cross-pollination reach.

They definitely seem to like the tropical and sub-tropical zones. Our across-the-street neighbor had also grown one, one season, and bonzai'd it. It actually fruited, too, a pomegranate the size of a lima bean. I also once saw one fruiting in front of an apartment building in Cozumel.

#328 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Randolph Fritz @ 325... Thanks!

#329 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:54 AM:

Carrie S, I wish your timing was better; there are pomegranite starts at the Patricia Calvert Greenhouse at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, and I could send one to you, but I won't be there when the greenhouse is open until the next Fall Bulb Sale.

I understand your desire; everything about the plant is lush and gorgeous. I don't know, though, if they are propagated from seed; if they are, the fruit probably has to ferment for the seeds to mature.

#330 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:55 AM:

re 323: You might want to try the 'nana' variety, which you may be able to keep in a pot. It's hard to imagine it growing outside in Lewes, but there you go. It's a widely available variety.

#331 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Interesting response to the Al Gore/IPCC Nobel at worldchanging.com. The wingnutosphere is going to be buzzing like a stick-stirred nest of hornets.

#332 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:05 PM:

OtterB @ 304: Paula's piece @279 fits very nicely to the tune of "What do the simple folk do?" [MIDI], from Camelot.

#333 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:29 PM:

This page probably tells you more than you want to know about pomegranates, but it's very helpful. They should be hitting the markets in the next few weeks - they're just now showing up in my local farmers' markets.

#334 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:40 PM:

PJ, that link gives me a Not Found haiku.

#335 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:40 PM:

re #330: Of course, and a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

#336 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Diatryma: Try this link.

#337 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:47 PM:

It looks like something went flakey when I pasted it - Jakob's is the one I found. (Aren't computers wonderful?)

#338 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Re Tooth & Claw: I've read no Trollope and don't really have a thing for dragons. Would T&C be wasted on me?

#339 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 01:40 PM:

A link to an interesting article on group dynamics on the web and elsewhere.Shirky Article

#340 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 01:49 PM:

They should be hitting the markets in the next few weeks - they're just now showing up in my local farmers' markets.

My local groceries have them now, mostly teeny not-quite-ripe ones, but I've found a couple worth eating.

Pomegranate season is one of my favorite seasons. :)

Nicole and JESR: I've seen a few websites that claim they can be propogated from seed, but I haven't yet managed the trick despite trying every variant I can find. It's possible I've just been unlucky in my choice of seeds, of course.

#341 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Having a moment of duncery here...is there a word for the DRAMATIC bit at the end of a chapter if it isn't, per se, a cliffhanger?

#342 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 01:59 PM:

ethan #340: You mean like 'climax' or 'dénouement'?

#343 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Hmm. PJ's "Everything you always wanted to know about pomegranates" page claims that they'll sprout spontaneously on pretty much any soil, which implies that the ones I've been getting are either stunted by their shipping conditions or somehow deliberately treated.

On the upside, it says that they're "uncertain" from seed but not as bad as apples et al, which means I'm likely to get at least edible fruit if I ever manage to get one to sprout, flower and fruit (self-fertile, but having more than one plant improves the fruit set).

#344 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Now I'm going to have to try a pomegranate. This could end very, very badly, and will certainly end very, very messily.

#345 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Intelligent questions about "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

#346 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:11 PM:

#339 and others:

Random vaguely relevant comment: I saw a Good Eats episode on pomegranates a few weeks ago on Food Network. I don't know if it's still around somewhere (they eventually seem to come out on DVD), or if you'd find it useful or interesting....

#347 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:12 PM:

todd,

I've read no Trollope and don't really have a thing for dragons. Would T&C be wasted on me?

i've read no trollope & don't have a thing for dragons, & i loved it. but maybe it helped that i have a thing for austen.

#348 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:12 PM:

Nick Anderson (Houston Chronicle) has a funny editorial cartoon on Gore's prize.

Cartoon

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

Diatryma: It's likely to be very messy indeed (and distinctly bad-tasting) if you try to treat it like most other fruits, and even experienced eaters have occasional seed explosion accidents.

Basically you have to get the seeds out/off of the pulp before you can eat them; the pulp has a mouth-puckering taste that's hard to describe but isn't pleasant. And if pomegranates have a default internal arrangement like apples or oranges do, I have been unable to detect it--that is, chunks of pulp studded with seeds and seperated by thin papery walls occur in all pomegranates, but I've never disovered a default number or arrangement of them.

Some people advocate removing the seeds while the main body of the fruit is submerged in water. This cuts down on the blast radius of seed explosions and washes away excess juice as it occurs, but can be hard to manipulate.

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Susan @ 344... isn't that totally amazing fiddle feedback thing the Devil plays (which sounds like Hendrix gone bluegrass) a hundred times better than that high-school-band piece-of-crap tune Johnny plays?

Of course, this forced me to go watch MTS3K's short film "Mr B Natural"...

#351 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:24 PM:

If you peel the pomegranate under water, the seeds sink and the waste floats. It's very helpful. Also, it keeps the juice from going all over (and the juice stains fabric). The easy procedure is to cut through the skin first, then break it - roughly- into sections. After that, into the water. There really are sections inside, but they aren't at all obvious from the outside. (For the botanically inclined, it's a berry, like a tomato.)

#352 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:24 PM:

alsafi, #240: Very nice indeed. I have to wonder whether the mothers of the wingnuts accepted, "But he started it!" as an excuse.

Dave, #278: Oooh...

Because it's an open thread, The NIH format for professionally citing a blog post.

#353 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Many, many thanks, Carrie S. They should have a default internal arrangement, but it probably varies; apples have five seed chambers ('locule' is the word I know, but there may be a more precise definition), my porch bell peppers can have one to four, but just about everything has some internal structure. The pomegranate picture in the link looks like it has five locules, so if you were to take a cross section of the fruit, you'd see five seed chambers.
Of course, this is all based on a picture and knowledge of fruit and flower structer, not actual experience with a fruit. I think I'll stop by the co-op on my way home, see if I can buy a couple. One to eat as recommended, and one to dissect, then eat.

#354 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Fragano #341: Can it really be called either of those things if it's just the end of a chapter?

#355 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Yeah, there's always some number of locules (what a neat word) arranged radially, and usually one centrally at the stem end, but sometimes there's one at the flower end, too, and sometimes the radial ones seem to do an alternating higher-and-lower thing. Basically I've gotten to the point of just peeling the rind back and looking for the edge of the seed chamber thus uncovered.

#356 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:33 PM:

ethan... Fragano... A dénouement applies to the grand finale. It means the untieing of the knots, which, in English, is where the loose ends are supposed to be tied. Go figure.

#357 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:36 PM:

To be precise*, it's the arils one is trying to get at to eat, not the seeds. Dried pomegranate seeds are used in Indian cooking as a mild souring agent, but that's the only context I've come across where it really is the seeds that one wants.

The arils are the beautiful, ruby-red capsules that burst filling one's mouth (or splattering one's favorite white shirt) with tasty, juicy, stainy goodness. Yum!

*Note to self: when you find yourself wondering "would it be too nitpicky to bring up this correction?" remember which blog you're reading...

#358 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Carrie S @320:

Wouldn't your rather have the plants?

Pomegranates

#359 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Lexica's right; pomegranates are a lot like raspberries on a larger scale. The seed proper is hard and not especially tasty, but is surrounded by juicy red flesh/pulp (not the white pulp that provides structure) which is the good part.

#360 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Lori: I'd rather not have to pay more for the shipping than for the plant itself. Edible Landscaping is cool, but they charge the earth for shipping.

#361 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Ah, I see -- yes the shipping is expensive. I've used them for years and have gotten used to the cost...

#362 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 02:53 PM:

You can also smush half a pomegranate in one of those hand-lever-operated orange squeezers, add crushed ice and 4 cl of gin, and enjoy.

The juice stains, as noted earlier in the thread, so don't drink so many that you start missing your mouth.

#363 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Here's a place in Georgia with pomegranates. The smallest size is $20, and they say shipping cost is 25% of the order total (so $5). The "Sweet" (the one under "dwarf") is listed as hardy to 0.

#364 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 03:04 PM:

re 302:

"The mountain sheep are sweeter
But the valley sheep are fatter;
We therefore deemed it meeter
To carry off the latter."

All right, how many blogs would have a significant number of people who've read Thomas Love Peacock? The above quote is from memory, not from research.

#365 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Susan @344: I always thought the 'gotcha' was either Johnny's 'sin of pride' in thinking he could beat the Devil, or that Johnny would have become more prideful than he already was thinking that he had beat the Devil (and ripe to be plucked later).

#366 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Yeah, definitely dissecting a pomegranate this weekend. The arils vs seeds thing is cool-- I know strawberries are aggregate fruit, and each of the things we call seeds is actually a fruit in itself, but this is new to me. I don't remember what the fruitlets of raspberry are; I want to say they're drupes, like cherries, peaches, and coconuts.
Plant anatomy is great for Scrabble, too.

#367 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Jakob @288
'kwamkwammers'?

Yes*†‡.

'Voer eendjes, geen oorlog'

[*]

-----
* a cucumber in Dutch is komkommer
kom means "I go", and the past tense ("I went") is kwam
‡ So what do you call a week-old cucumber?

#368 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Diatryma, you're right, they're drupes.

#369 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 04:03 PM:

re #362: Looking at the gardening scuttlebutt sites, I would say to avoid "that nursery in Georgia", as one post put it. Mislabelled stock, crewed up orders, .... They don't even show up on Dave's Garden Site (which anyone planning to do nursery mail order should consult, btw), which is a pretty good sign that DGS had bad press for them and they threatened Legal Stuff.

I don't see another on-line source for it, so maybe you want to take your chances, but just so you've been warned.

#370 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Fragano @235
True, but...

Myth, that is intolerant
Of the coolly competent
And that treats with chill disdain
The practical mundane
Worships story and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives
Pardons arrogance and greed,
Calls heroic every deed.
Myth, that will no hero waste,
Pardons vampires and their taste,
And will pardon Happy Feet,
Pardons them, for being neat.

#371 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 04:22 PM:

Fragano, that's nice to know. Being in CA, I'd not be buying from them anyway (too far for shipping something like that). My first choice is local, then I'll start looking for elsewhere in-state. Lori's looked interesting, though. (Ooh, American persimmons!)

#372 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 04:32 PM:

"Is it just me but are the ad-servers here really interfering with pages loading?"

Oh yes, definitely. The ads have little Javascript bugs on them, and they really slow things down. I highly recommend the noscript Firefox extension.

#373 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Fragano @ 235... Not in Dragonheart. Nor in Gordon Dickson's The Dragon and the George.

#374 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Abi #369: I suspect that Auden is laughing in his grave. Lovely.

#375 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:22 PM:

ethan #353: Chapters can climax, but not have all their knots undone.

#376 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:33 PM:

Fragano @ 374... Chapters can climax, but not have all their knots undone.

Sounds like a naughty book.

#377 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:37 PM:

P J Evans #370: I think you meant to thank C. Wingate, and not me.

#378 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Serge #372: I must confess to not having read either.

#379 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Serge #372: I must confess to not having read either.

#380 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 05:59 PM:

That McSweeney's article is just perfect. I hate that song. What always bugged me the most about "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" was, in the face of what a gracious loser the Devil was, what an unsporting winner Johnny was. I mean, did he really have to call him a sunnuvabitch?

#381 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Fragano @ 376

Probably. (Dynamic RAM with a refresh problem. Not to mention trying to get work done.)

OTOH, I did notice that abi's poem upthread took flight from the back of a Peacock. (And Peacock's stuff is available at Project Gutenberg.)

#382 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:03 PM:

And now I've been hit by the stereo monster. What can I do in recompense? Here goes:

voice of the dragon that so loudly calls
we hear it and we do not understand
what sort of creature comes upon the land

the king drinks deeply in his ancient halls
around him still carouse a noble band
voice of the dragon that so loudly calls

before next summer winter's horror falls
against the firedrake not a man will stand
for all his armour and his boastings grand
voice of the dragon that so loudly calls

the knight who would have ridden to the cave
answered the riddle and retrieved the gold
his bones are scattered on the mountain cold

and all of us from king right down to slave
know what the price has been for acting bold
the knight who would have ridden to the care

in such a time would any rise to save
the fearful land and in honour grow old
you know what tale has many times been told
the knight who would have ridden to the cave

the final hero is of humbler kind
the one who's chosen as the expert thief
in whose sharp eyes few seem to have belief

the keepers of the land are in a bind
they fear that there will not come swift relief
the final hero is of humbler kind

so many options but none come to mind
all might have ended with another grief
but fortune spoke and we have crowned a chief
the final hero is of humbler kind

others may tell the story in their way
gilding the truth and shining up the fact
reciting verse with heady action packed

just how the hero did the dragon slay
while hard with pains and horrors he was racked
others may tell the story in their way

the climax comes on just such a bright day
as when we saw the citadel attacked
but we are overcome with decent tact
others may tell the story in their way

#383 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:04 PM:

As I'm sure you'll all be shocked to hear, I've violated some rules somewhere by baking rock cakes for my own birthday. As a birthday gift* our ancient family recipe (from 1955 but I've updated it for 21st century tastes and labour saving devices) can be found here.


* Giving gifts on your birthday probably breaks some rules too. Tut.

#384 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Serge #375: Je ne dis rien.

#385 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:14 PM:

If it's good enough for hobbits, then it's perfectly fine behaviour, in my opinion.

#386 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:29 PM:

Randolph Fritz @ #371

I use prefbar, which allows me to toggle colours, javascript and popups off and on from the main screen. Many other functions are available, and the toolbar is customizable as well.

#387 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:55 PM:

Fragano @ 383... Oh well. One could have referred to a book's binding in a totally different meaning.

#388 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:56 PM:

Michael Weholt, #313, that happened to me when I was on dialup. Now the ads just take a couple more seconds.

R.M.Koske, #317, that happens to me with Firefox on Win XP and if I change to another program (usually Agent, which I keep up for mail), Firefox will change properly.

Carrie S, #348, I always just cut the first section carefully and then take the seeds out one by one as I eat them.

The WashPost had a list of Blackwater Fever symptoms.

#389 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Neil Willcox @ 382... I think that Abi's rule against baking your own birthday cakes applies only when chocolate is the prime material. Not sure though if it includes rocks.

#390 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Serge #386: One could have.......

#391 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 07:53 PM:

PODdy Mouth - Daily Dirt on POD and Self-Publishing suspended


No, it's not the original Poddy Mouth. It's a new site with a similar name that's been filling a need for information for writers interested in either POD or self-publishing avenues. The URL at https://poddymouth.wordpress.com/ states that it's been suspended, but not why.

I have my suspicions as to why, but it's too soon to mention those since it wouldn't help matters if I'm wrong. However, I think it would be useful if the site could be resurrected on another site because it's opinionated in a good way. So, if anyone knows the operator of this particular suspended Poddy Mouth, could you contact that individual and ask her to contact P&E?

#392 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:09 PM:

Say, is it that unusual for a 9-month-old kid to be walking around? It's going to be strange, meeting my youngest nephew at the end of the month now that he definitely has grown beyond the lump-of-flesh state. Hmm... He's probably still too young for me to succeed in corrupting his mind with comic-books.

#393 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:19 PM:

And now PODdy Mouth seems to have been restored and is no longer suspended. Still, I'd like to contact the operator if anyone knows her.

#394 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Serge, it is not unknown for a nine-month-old to walk. And I'm so very sorry for the child's mother, for once the child is walking, he enters the stage of being perfectly mobile and having absolutely no sense of their own vulnerability, and there is no rest.

Why, yes, I had one of those.

#395 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:30 PM:

JESR @ 393... once the child is walking, he enters the stage of being perfectly mobile and having absolutely no sense of their own vulnerability, and there is no rest

No kidding. My sister-in-law lives in the Oakland hills, in a house with lots of stairs.

#396 ::: mk ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 08:45 PM:

According to the Yarn Market News, August 2007, June Hemmons Hiatt's book The Principles of Knitting is being rewritten and reorganized, with new material. Hemmons Hiatt signed a contract with Simon & Schuster, and the revised edition is slated for Fall 2009 publication. Hemmons Hiatt said "the revisions have been more extensive than expected. This is not a reprint; this is a new Principles of Knitting, and I hope knitters will find their patience has been rewarded. It isn't often authors get a chance to make something better, and I don't want to rush this." The YMN blurb also mentions that this book is frequently in the bookfinder.com annual Top 10 list of most wanted OOP books.

In a complete change of topic, I kept forgetting to post the follow-up to the "whop yo jaw" conversation with Linkmeister: based on what I've learned, it's a generational thing (late 1950's early 1960's), with some regional variation in the accompanying hand gesture. It means "I told you so," and likely that I heard it as a child and misunderstood it based on the context, for example, as Aunty M having told Aunty B that she made the cake with tomato soup and Aunty B saying no way, it doesn't taste like tomato, and Aunty M showing her the recipe.

#397 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Serge, by the time my daughter had been walking for two hours, she'd chipped an incisor by falling against the bath-tub; by the time she was eighteen months old, she tried to run away twice (and since she stalks me on the internet: yes, you did, once you tried to walk to grammies and ended up clear down by the road, where the corral is now, and once you tried to blend in with the crowd so you could go to Mrs. Peggy's class with your brother).

I hope your nephew at least sleeps at night; the very young non-sleeping toddler is a whole lot of work.

#398 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Marilee, #387 -

Switching to another program doesn't seem to help when it does it to me, unfortunately. The only thing for it is to close the window and try again.

I do wonder if it isn't some bit of a particular ad - shortly after I posted my complaint/comment, it started doing it every time I tried to load the "Weirdly Similar" thread, but not on any other threads. I switched to reading that thread on Safari* and after a few hours, tried it again, and it worked fine.

In spite of my rather detailed complaints, I don't mind it much. I only use OSX at work and the page runs fine for me at home under Win XP. I mostly mentioned it in case the extra info helped Michael get some resolution to his troubles.

*I recall now why I don't usually read ML using Safari - it doesn't understand the HTML magic that takes you straight to a specific comment. So if I'm on the front page or the "Previous 1000 comments" page and want to go to the oldest comment I haven't yet seen, I end up somewhere apparently random in the middle of the thread. Not an easy way to follow the conversation.

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:42 PM:

JESR @ 396... To put it mildly, your daughter was a handful? Kind of like the little girl in Adventures in Baby-sitting who had a crush on the god Thor, to the point that she carried a hammer everywhere...

As for my youngest nephew... I think he sleep a lot. He certainly enjoyed sleeping on my chest when we first met.

#400 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Re: Serge #398:

OK, everybody, all together now:

Awwwww.

#401 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 09:49 PM:

ethan @ 399... Thanks. By the way, my littlest nephew was born on the same day as Rush Limbaugh. When I pointed that out to my sister-in-law, she exclaimed "Gross!"

#402 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:01 PM:

Serge @ #391, my eldest walked at 9 months, and it was pretty stressful. They don't develop a fear of heights (and sudden dropoffs) until they're a bit older than that. (She didn't sleep much, either.)

#403 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:01 PM:

RM #397 -- Safari does anchored links (the HTML magic you mention) just fine, normally. On Making Light it doesn't interact well with the 'larger type' or 'even larger type' option, unfortunately, so you could choose to switch back to 'small type' if that's a better trade-off for you.

#404 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:04 PM:

Neil @ #382, I dunno. My cousin gave gifts on her 40th birthday, and it was super.

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Lila @ 401... So it seems like an perambulating 9-month-old isn't that unusual. My wife says that she was walking around at that age and that she was fearless. Yes, she was a handful.

#406 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 10:50 PM:

Marilee@387: The WashPost had a list of Blackwater Fever symptoms.

Heh. :)

In other news, the Vatican is self publishing 800 copies of the minutes of the trial of the Knights Templar. Apparently the Vatican decided that 700 years was long enough that they could declassify some information regarding the case.

Anyway, as far as book binding tasks go, they tried to replicate the stains on the original copies, leather bound, and they even tried to replicate the wax seal used by the 14th century inquisitors. They're asking for $8,000 dollars per copy.

#407 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:02 PM:

Fragano #381: One of your best, which is saying something.

#408 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 11:57 PM:

JESR #393, Serge #394:

My mother used to recount the time she looked out the back window and saw my eldest brother, at just that age, disappearing from view as he happily climbed a stepladder to the roof. Somehow, she recovered sufficiently to have three more children.

#409 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 12:41 AM:

Serge, actually, my daughter got a hammer for her seventh birthday.

She's a wonderful human being, in fact, beloved by one and all, girl genius, et'c and so on, it's just that for a long time there I was pretty sure I'd never get any sleep again.

Leslie in CA, a cousin of mine managed to get on top of the refrigerator before she could walk. Babies are terrifying, no doubt about it.

#410 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 12:45 AM:

And I forgot to say awwwww... at the picture link. There's just not any babies around here, and I'm jealous. Makes me forget my manners.

#411 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 01:02 AM:

JESR #408, I must say that's impressive.

Serge, Theo is adorable.

#412 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 04:31 AM:

I think I forgot to say that I find the Rock Cake recipe quick, easy and not too messy for when you want to make cakes in a hurry. They're supposed to look uneven, which plays straight into my cooking strengths. You can hardly taste the flints at all.

Forgetting to mention these is a lesson in why you shouldn't "just check" your email when you come in from the pub.

#413 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 05:48 AM:

Neil @411: "You can hardly taste the flints at all"

You mean you don't take the rocks out at the end?

#414 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 08:17 AM:

Todd Larason, #402 -

You're right, of course. I forgot about that. I do prefer the type larger, so staying with the default size doesn't work for me. Firefox seems to have no trouble with them even after I've changed the type size.

Am I the only one who finds that the smaller and smaller default text sizes are a problem? ML's default size isn't that small compared to some of what I've seen. What's causing this? For a long time I blamed it on the fact that I had a higher-resolution monitor than most web-designers were expecting. But now I think what I've got is about standard, and I'm not even running at the highest resolution my computer is capable of, because that makes everything too small. I could get used to the idea that I'm simply getting old, given a little time, but my slightly-older-than-me hubby keeps his computer at teenytiny unreadable and always has. Should I just accept that my vision stinks? (You'd think that wearing glasses since the fourth grade would have been an early clue.) But if that's the case, why is it only recently a problem on the web?

All this is only an issue at work, where I use OSX and can't install and extensions to Firefox. At home, I've got a FF extension that automatically resizes the text to whatever I resized it to the last time I visited a page. I do very little adjusting anymore. (The extension is called NoSquint, if anyone is interested.)

#415 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Leslie @ #407, JESR @ #408: I believe it. My nephew could climb the ladder to my parents' aboveground pool before he could walk. Through constant vigilance on all our parts, he has survived to a successful adulthood.

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Leslie in CA @ 407... she recovered sufficiently to have three more children

Good thing too otherwise you wouldn't be with us. I'll mention your comments about Theo to his mom. Apparently, not only does he walk, but he is apparently very curious. Then again, maybe he already walks because of his curiosity.

#417 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 10:16 AM:

JESR @ 408... my daughter got a hammer for her seventh birthday. She's a wonderful human being, in fact, beloved by one and all, girl genius

And you looked forgivingly as she turned the farm equipment into a coffeemaker. Until the day lightning came out of the barn and a little-girl voice could be heard saying "It's alive! Alive!!!". Then everything turned into a scene from The Iron Giant.

#418 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 11:22 AM:

R.M. Koske @ 413 -

Change "OSX" to "Windows" and I could have written your last paragraph word-for-word. In my case, the Mac at home is the one with the useful extensions. On the PC at work (which doesn't like the combination of anchored links and larger text, either) what seems to work is to let the page load and the text resize, then click the "go to URL" button at the end of the address bar. The browser loads the anchored link, then resizes, after which you're no longer looking at the comment you were trying to see. Clicking "go to" makes it relocate the anchor.

#419 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Serge @415,

I can believe the curiosity; he's looking at you with such intense concentration in that photo.

And yes, I'm decidedly grateful for Mom's stout constitution.

#420 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Serge at #416, no, in fact, that would be my nephew, ten years my daughter's junior and a unique individual in his own right. The morning after his parents spent the night installing a new dishwasher, before they dragged their middle-aged carcases out of bed, he had gotten out the socket set and disassembled the whole thing all over the front lawn and was working on the schematics for a robot.

My daughter's nefarious plan is to make everyone fat with more and more elaborate desserts; this summer's garden party was topped off by a trifle of dark sweet cherries, muddled with sugar and the juice made into syrup, almond custard, and ganache (I forget the cake part, since merely being in the house with the thing had negative effects on my HgA1C and I stayed as far away as I could get while it was around).

#421 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 12:37 PM:

JESR @ 419... It sounds like your nephew and your daughter both could apply for a job in Eureka. ("No, Bobby, you may not use your death ray to heat up my crême brûlée.")

#422 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Serge, they'd fit right in, although some one would have to be appointed dedicated safety officer.

I was corrected in email: it was her tenth birthday, and she also got a hacksaw and a "pretty, pretty dress." The Nephew will be ten next spring, and I think I may get him a soldering set and a book about making garden structures from copper pipe, since my sister doesn't think he's old enough to learn to weld, yet.

#423 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 01:17 PM:

abi wrote: I am determined to resist [the inner itch to write a sonnet] for the mental image of a fire magpie, which picks up and collects different types of fire.

So I thought I'd write one instead. It took me longer, determined to complete it, than it took abi, determined to resist, to write her version (shoulda known!), but since it's done, here it is:


The common magpie loves all things that shine:
The sapphire and the sequin both the same.
Its nobler cousin's feelings are more fine:
The fire-magpie lines her nest with flame.
She wings unseen through ev'ry human land
To find, and then, when found, to swoop and snatch
A pretty flame from unsuspecting hand.
(You curse the wind, and strike another match.)
From match and candle, beacon, lantern, lamp,
The hotdog cooker wheeled from street to street,
The friendly blaze that guards the hunters' camp,
She takes her pick of little gems of heat.
For centuries, she gathers up the best;
Then phoenix, fire-cuckoo, steals the nest.

#424 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 01:17 PM:

JESR @ 421... they'd fit right in, although some one would have to be appointed dedicated safety officer

I don't know. Fargo doesn't have a safety officer and he almost destroyed the whole town a few times.

That being said, there is no shortage of intelligence and of the will to use it in your family, eh?

#425 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Leslie in CA @ 418... he's looking at you with such intense concentration in that photo

Probably wondering what that hairy thing on my chin is.

#426 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Paul A @ 422... Thanks for the poem.

#427 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Dave Luckett #406: Thanks. I blush.

#428 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 02:22 PM:

Oh, man, I get busy for a few days, and don't have much time to watch the poesy detectors, and people start coming out of the woodwork with beautiful things. Makes me feel like a magpie picking pretty bits out of the web (thank you, Paul and abi). I don't mean to leave anyone out, but there are just too many to mention here, you're all wonderful. But, I'm sure none of you will feel slighted if I do mention that Fragano's work at #381 was at another level altogether. Marvelous!

#429 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Serge @ 423

I think STNG could have used an executive chef instead of an engineering officer: "Captain, we're entering a patch of Pan Particles; they're dissolving all the ship's no-stick surfaces!" or "Another exit from warp drive like that last and I can't answer for the condition of tonight's dessert!"

#430 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 02:37 PM:

JESR,

I don't know whether to just commiserate or feel less crazy about those years, knowing that others had those problems. Our oldest, at about four, was convinced he could fly, if only he could get high enough for a good launch. Luckily we lived in a ranch house at the time; a one story roof was quite enough height to get him down from.

And he was the one who took everything apart. Unfortunately he usually lost interest at that point; if he did put things back together it was usually in a hurry and in a slapdash manner. He never could keep a working alarm clock. And he didn't listen to me when I tried to explain audio grounding problems; he was seventeen, with his first beater car, and he was going to make the stereo system work. Well, it played, didn't it?

Oh, and Serge, that is one intensely cute kid. Awwwww, indeed.

#431 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Broce Cohen @ 428-429... There are lots of things that could have improved St-TNG. At least DS9's Promenade had a Klingon chef whose specialty looked like a salad bowl filled with worms, but he sort-of made up for it by serenading his customers with a Klingon violin.

As for my latest nephew... Thanks. I'm still bummed that, when I first held him, he fell asleep on my chest, soon followed by yours truly, and his mom never thought of taking a photo of that. Like I said earlier in this thread, last time, he was still at the eating-pooping-peeing lump-of-flesh stage. It's a totally different little guy I'll see when I fly to the Bay Area, two weeks from now.

#432 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 03:16 PM:

Serge, there's a tendency to creativity coming from my brother-in-law, too: when he was in middle school he built a shop out in the woods and then spent the afternoons and weekends until his sixteenth birthday building himself a car.

It's really a good thing that he turned his skills to farming instead of crime, or the entertainment industry.

#433 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 03:29 PM:

Bruce, I'm still looking for a railroad watch for my nephew to take apart and reassemble; the one I used to mess about with was in a jammed four-drawer file cabinet stolen shortly after I was married. Digital watches are just no good for the purpose.

My family is full of extreme cases: the first time I met one of my cousins he was twenty feet up a skinny paper birch. It was his little sister who did the refrigerator climb. Another cousin, as an adult, took a week of his vacation every year to go work the king crab fishery.

Of course, my son is at the opposite extreme; the day before he committed to walking, he practiced standing up and sitting down and standing up and sitting down the whole afternoon. He's now putting himself through college with a goal of having no debt and a salable degree at the end of his studies.

#434 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 03:33 PM:

Paul A @422:
That's great! It takes what I first saw (which then got away from me) and brings it to a fruition I never anticipated. Of course the phoenix would steal the fire magpie's nest.

Bruce Cohen @427:
May the spirit of Mike Ford arise and shave my eyebrows off if I ever feel slighted by praise of another poet.

Particularly when you're right.

#435 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Paul A. @ 422:

Oooh. Very nice.

/me adds herself to the list of people requesting a collection of the ML poetry.

I think it'd have to be an annual thing; bound copies for the joy of having books, and e-files to be searchable.

#436 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 05:05 PM:

Carrie S:

I was in my local Lowe's this morning, and they had, in the garden department, 5-gallon 'Utah Sweet' pomegranates for $21. In that size of container, they're about three feet tall. Just so you have a checkpoint for size and price.

#437 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 05:06 PM:

Paul A #422: Nicely done.

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #427: Thanks.

#438 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Lexica, #417 -

Ooh, I'll have to try that trick. Thanks!

#439 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 06:26 PM:

JESR @ 431... there's a tendency to creativity coming from my brother-in-law

Sometimes I think about the family that spawned me and I wonder if I was adopted because I have almost nothing in common with them, when it comes to personality traits or abilities. Not quite. I think that I am what my father would have been if he had had access to more education than 7th Grade.

#440 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Nicole, #379: In redneck dialect, "sonovabitch" can be either a cussword or a term of affection, and sometimes partakes of both senses at once. Think of it as the white-trash equivalent of "nigga".

Paul, #422: That's lovely!

#441 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 07:40 PM:

As far as millionaire-or-felon goes, I'm recently back from a family wedding. Stories included "I once shot my mom with a replica Civil War revolver", the lightning strike on the porch (Bob with an improvised bottle-cap rocket filled with gunpowder), the sodium, and this one kid who cleaned up the YMCA change machines with slug quarters, faked his way out of being a suspect for local fireworks trouble, and invented a rifle-style slingshot based on the Flintstones. It's that last that makes us wonder-- he's not in the family and we don't know him any more, so for all we know, he's in prison.

I don't want my children to have my childhood. I want my children to alternate between Pamela Dean characters' various childhoods and my father's.

#442 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 08:22 PM:

about the radio-playing lawsuit - when I was in restaurant school a long, long time ago, our professor warned us that if we played records or the radio in a business, sooner or later we'd get a visit from a Musak salesman, and if we didn't sign up they'd report us to the relevant authorities to get sued.

I don't think this is new.

#443 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2007, 08:26 PM:

JESR #409, I was at the post office Monday and ours has a counter parallel to the one where the clerks work and you wait in line behind that. I was talking to a baby in a carrier on the floor by the clerks' counter and the lady next to me (much shorter than I am) looked at me like I was nuts. Then I realized she couldn't see the baby.

Serge, Theo looks like he's waiting for wisdom from his uncle.

Bruce Cohen, #429, we solved that problem in our house. I like taking things apart and my 17-month-younger brother likes putting them together. When necessary, I fix things and put them back together, but I'm mostly limited to things that will fit on my lap these days. I think my keyboard gets more cleaning than anybody else's.

#444 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 02:43 AM:

Happy surprise in the mail day, especially appropriate the day after hearing that Gore got the Nobel Prize. Worldchanging is sharing the wealth from the better-than-expected sales of their big book. Got a check big enough to pay for the copies I bought as Christmas presents last year.

#445 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 08:10 AM:

Marilee @ 442... Theo looks like he's waiting for wisdom from his uncle.

Coughgagsplutter...

#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Maybe it's just me, but my TV-viewing is rather sparse, now that the 'real' season has begun. I had more to watch during the summer season, with the closer, Eureka, Doctor Who, burn notice, the 4400, the dead zone and probably a few other things that I forget. The main season has numb3rs, House, cold case and criminal intent, and that's pretty much it. I am enjoying journeyman, not that its premise is extremely original, but I like the cast. Unfortunately, I wonder how long it'll be before it gets canceled.

#447 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Marilee, there are, sadly enough, people who don't realize that flirting with babies and smiling at small children when they're being well behaved is one of the most important duties and joys of adulthood.

I need to go to church more often; a little girl I met when she was two has a baby of her own, and when I went to meet him she took one look at me and gave me the smile she used as a preschooler, and her son amplified it, looking from her face to mine.

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 01:29 PM:

JESR @ 446... a little girl I met when she was two has a baby of her own

I can't hink of a more drastic realization that Time is passing. In 2004, I went back to my home town after a 9-year absence. What reminded me of Time wasn't the fancy shopping mall where fields and a drive-in used to be. It was to meet my friends's youngest daughter: less than one year old in 1995, she had now become a bookworm who casually and correctly used words such as 'lugubrious'.

#449 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Amen, Serge. I met a friend and her daughter about ten years ago in a reunion group at a bar; the daughter was about fifteen and a soon-to-be heartbreaker. The last time I'd seen her she was a gumdrop or something in a local production of The Nutcracker.

#450 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Serge @445 - About the new shows this fall, you might want to check out Pushing Daisies. I thought the premise sounded dreary, but a friend pushed me to watch it, and it's adorable! Sort of a Tim Burton/Dr Seuss/Douglas Adams mashup with loads of charm. It remains to be seen if they can keep it up for a season, but so far it's a treat.

The first episode of Reaper was also hilarious, but it's turning out to be rather formulaic, alas. We'll have to see if they can pep it up and really take advantage of Ray Wise as the devil.

#451 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 03:08 PM:

Serge: I second oliviacw's emotion on Pushing Daisies. I thought it sounded abysmal, but it's pretty great. Charming as all get out, and the narrator is hilarious. I wanted to watch Journeyman, but I watched the first five minutes of the pilot, turned it off, and said "NEVER AGAIN!" Hated it. Thirty seconds in I said "I'm never going to care about these characters," and the others in the room said, "Uh-huh." Too bad, because the lead guy's kinda dreamy.

I was excited about Gossip Girl, which let me down. For some reason I haven't even tried Bionic Woman, though if it's online I'm going to try to catch up. I'm almost done with the third season of Desperate Housewives (got slowed down because the person I've been watching it with moved away just before the last disc, so I have to wait until I visit her to watch it), and once I'm done I'm going to try to catch up with the current season, because that show is damn good. Of course, I'm surgically attached to NBC on Mondays from nine to ten.

I don't have cable, so Doctor Who and Eureka (which I've never seen) and stuff are out of the question. Ah well.

I'll always have my Buffy DVDs. Unless someone steals them. Stay away! I've got a knife!

#452 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 03:40 PM:

oliviacw... Pushing Daisies? Duly noted.

Ray Wise as the Devil? We should team him up with Christopher Walken as Gabriel? Comedy ensues.

#453 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 03:42 PM:

ethan @ 450... Sorry to hear that Journeyman didn't click for you. Probably just as well since it's doing badly in the ratings.

#454 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Serge @ 445

There's Torchwood, but I think you said it's not available in Albuquerque. There are some non-sf, or barely-sf shows I like that are very YMMV: "Side Order of Life" and "Tell Me You Love Me", as well as "Californication" which only works because of David Duchovny and Evan Handler, who are two of the finest comic actors in Hollywood. I just wish that Tea Leoni was in it too. But other than the actors and some occasionally surgical dialog, it's mostly explicit sex (which can be funny, I'll admit) and bile against Southern California, which isn't as articulate bile as it should be.

Some other shows, sf and non-sf, in the current season I like and do recommend in general: "Friday Night Lights", "Blood Ties"*, "CSI"** , "My Name is Earl", "Mad Men"†, "Pushing Up Daisies"††, and "Dexter"‡.

And I've been watching reruns of "Brimstone" on Chiller and being reminded how good that show was and how criminal it was to take it off the air. John Glover's take on the Devil alone was worth not cancelling it.

* Slight cheat; I haven't seen it yet, but it's cued up on my DVR waiting for Eva to get back from Pittsburgh.
** The original, Las Vegas version, accept no substitutes.
† Possibly the best show on right now.
†† I pray they can keep this one going; the first two eps were wonderful, but it must be a king-hell strain to keep up this level of weird.
‡‡ I didn't like "Dexter" at first, but Eva kept on me and I find it occupying space in my head that might have gone to lesser work. The thing that makes it work is that it's not about serial killing, but about a serial killer. Thus it avoids the trap that "Criminal Minds" fell into: fetishizing the abberant mental symbology of psychopaths.

#455 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Bruce Cohen... No Torchwood here, alas. I'll probably wind up buying it when it comes out on DVD.

Ah, yes, John Glover as the Devil... I seem to remember the Foul Deceiver being so glad that humans had invented elevators becuase, before, he used to have to walk all the way up from Hell.

One show I miss that didn't last long, thanks to religious conservatives apparently, was The Book of Daniel.

#456 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 09:43 PM:

And now, for something completely different... The opening credits from "Jason King". They just don't make TV shows like that anymore.

#457 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Fragano@381: Does that structure have a particular name, or did you invent it to get the right reflections for this poem? It \looks/ like the sort of thing people came up with many centuries ago (cf the ballade), but I've never seen anything like it before; it's very effective for the topic.

#458 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 10:14 PM:

JESR at 446: yeah, unless the well-behaved child takes one look at this grinning stranger and starts screaming. Which happened to me yesterday evening at church. My hair's pretty short but I don't usually scare the children.

#459 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Ew, Cory Doctorow and Ursula K. Le Guin have gotten into a copyfight.

#460 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 11:48 PM:

Serge @ 455

Oh, the moustache! Oh, the hair! Oh, the humanity!

#461 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Serge @ 454

No Torchwood here, alas. I'll probably wind up buying it when it comes out on DVD.

So far, given the shows I've seen, I'd recommend that. I like that they're playing Captain Jack differently, and a little deeper, I think, than they did originally on the Doctor.

#462 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2007, 11:58 PM:

My younger brother's hair once made a little girl cry. He had played in a concert with his five-inch spiked mohawk, and then come to sit with us in the audience for the rest. On our way out, the people in front of us, with two-year-old girl, said something like, "Yeah, she was a little freaked by the kid with the mohawk, but-- hey, there he is!"
The girl turned and screamed her head off. I guess a seventeen-year-old trombone player with spiky hair is scary when you're small.

#463 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:41 AM:

#458, NelC: my two comments on the matter.

#464 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 02:11 AM:

Lee, I'm familiar with the usage, but he didn't mean it as a term of affection. He wuz jest gloating. It doesn't make him look good.

#465 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:01 AM:

Assuming that there is sufficient interest to make a ML poetry collection a reality, how would such a collection be organized? By posting order, author, theme or form? Should the poems stand on their own, or should there be a commentary to provide context?

#466 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:50 AM:

Since I've finally, finally read Farthing, and since La Walton is often seen about these parts, this is for her:

Damn. Damn. Good job, writing that book. Damn.

#467 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:51 AM:

abi #366:

'Voer eendjes, geen oorlog'
[*]

'Voer' being a colloquial form of 'voed', and 'oorlog voeren' meaning 'to make war', it translates as 'feed duckies, don't make war.'

Except punnier.

#468 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 05:36 AM:

461:
-- River, why don't you come on out?
-- No! Can't! Too much hair!
-- Is that it?
-- Hell, yes, preacher. I didn't have stuff to get done, I'd be in there with her.

#469 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 06:58 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 460... I did sport a mustach like that in high-school. Even had a goatee. For a time. Then my face returned to its glabrous state. My current facial pilosity has been here since right after 1980's worldcon in Boston. A traumatic experience that was. Oh, and before you ask, I have been trimming my beard since then. I don't think the ZZ Top look would have seemd particularly attractive to my wife-to-be.

#470 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:04 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 461...I probably should indeed go the DVD route considering my recent realization that the SciFi Channel cuts stuff out of Doctor Who. Luckily, some people posted on YouTube some of the missing scenes, such as the Master's music video as he gloats over having taken the world.

#471 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:55 AM:

Diatryma @ 461... What year was that?

#472 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:57 AM:

OK... We've got 470 posts in this thread, not including this one. Is this the point where Faren's Computer starts acting like it's the Little Engine That Could, only it can't?

#473 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:07 AM:

Jakob @466:
So not unlike the English "Make love, not war"? But with ducks*.

Thank you for the explanation.

-----
* Ducks. Why did it have to be ducks?

#474 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:22 AM:

Abi... Why did it have to be ducks?

Who said that? Anatidae Jones in Quackers of the Lost Beak? Or Groucho Marx in You Bet Your Life?

#475 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:24 AM:

Coming soon... Duck Savage, Mallard of Bronze...

#476 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:27 AM:

Jules @412 - You mean you don't take the rocks out at the end?

Well we're on chalk here and... hang on a minute I need to check something to see how plausible it is.

[Look up Wikipedia sound effect]

Okay, I'm back. The chalk is removed from the cake by the addition of small amounts of vinegar to dissolve it, but sometimes this leaves flint deposits. If you do get a flint, you can use it to make cutlery for afternoon tea. Flint - the original multi-tool.

This comment brought to you by the Flint Marketing Board: Tools for Humanity for two and a half million years.

#477 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:32 AM:

Serge @473:
Me, these days.

I was trying to teach my 3 year old daughter a little Dutch. We were in Amsterdam one day, and she saw a duck* on a canal. "Look! A duck!" she cried.

I taught her the Dutch for that**, but unfortunately, she seems to have stuck to the whole phrase rather than parsing it. So now when she sees anything and wants me to look at it, she says, "Kijk! Een eendje!"

All over the Netherlands†.
-----
* Actually, it was a moorhen, but let's not get technical here.
** "Kijk! Een eendje!"
† My God, it's full of ducks.

#478 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:36 AM:

The time is now HtD minus 5* (est)**

-----
* excluding this comment
** +/- 2

#479 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:36 AM:

Serge at 470, he was a junior in high school, he graduated 2004, so... 2003, April. He'd had the mohawk for about a month; it was a spring-break surprise. Once Mom stopped crying, she helped him style it every morning. It lasted until May or June, when he went to France with his class.
Spikes were a good look for him; he was all cheekbones at that age.

#480 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Diatryma @ 478... My youngest sister-in-law was quite upset a few months ago when her 8-year-old son went the opposite way and had his mop shaved to a near-buzzcut. Is it just me or have boys throughout History tried to annoy their parents by way of their hair?

"Alaric!"
"Yes, Brunhilda? What has Gunther done this time? Stop sobbing, woman."
"He's shaved his beard off."
"What?!"
"And... and his hair is so short he now looks like a Roman!"

#481 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:48 AM:

Abui @ 476... This reminds me of the early 1990s. I was living in San Francisco's East Bay. It was late evening. I knew I'd need some money next day so I drove to the nearby ATM. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed two ducks standing close to the ATM. The male was looking away, but the female kept staring at me the whole time. Most unnerving. I was able to escape before she stole my wallet.

#482 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:49 AM:

abi: The time is now HtD

Hunt the Duck?

#483 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Exploiting the open thread, references from discourse.net:

Crooked Timber's variant of the new Republican logo....
http://crookedtimber.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/republican_cthulhu.jpg

#484 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 09:42 AM:

abi @ 472

It has to be ducks; they're ubeakquitous.

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 09:42 AM:

albatross @ 482... I like it!

#486 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Bruce Cohen @483:
They are often billed as such, yes.

HtD estimation is clearly an inexact science.

#487 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Abi... HtD estimation is clearly an inexact science.

Didn't Richad Feynman work on QED, aka Quantum Electro Ducks? Those darn quack particles!

#488 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:08 AM:

I hope Faren's Computer hasn't read this xkcd comic-strip.

#489 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:18 AM:

abi@477: Half to Death? Perhaps indicating that you think this thread will reach 962 (+/- 2) comments?

#490 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:22 AM:

Abi @ 476... My God, it's full of ducks.

Like Arthur C. Clarke's Black Monolith?

#491 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:24 AM:

Serge, I think it's the lack of control and the more permanent change. JM had Dad's permission to mohawk it up, but neither of them mentioned anything to Mom. I am very, very glad I wasn't present at the time; she decided people would think she was a bad mother because her son looked like a delinquent.
Clean-cut. Buddy Holly glasses. Trombone player. Not an Eagle Scout yet, but on his way. That's what made the mohawk awesome.

What is the half-life of an open thread? Or does it depend on the content?

#492 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:26 AM:

479: Ah, a chance for me once again to display my fake classical erudition!

"First the rebels revolutionized the style of wearing their hair. For they had it cut differently from the rest of the Romans: not molesting the mustache or beard, which they allowed to keep on growing as long as it would, as the Persians do, but clipping their hair short on the front of the head down to the temples, and letting it hang down in great length and disorder in the back, as the Massageti do. This weird combination they called the Hun haircut" ("The Secret History", pp. 35-36, Chapter VII).

Also, I reckon this is the true message behind the story of Jacob and Esau - that your parents will distinguish you from your brother primarily by haircut, and changes in style will only upset things.

#493 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:31 AM:

HtD?

See, I was certain that the mention of Indiana Jones and ducks in one comment would bring a predictable avalanche quotes and references from a most dreadful source. I was wrong, and I apologise for having though so poorly of you all.

I will not sully your innocent eyes with the reference in question, though there are clues dotted about in this comment.

#494 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Diatryma @ 490... I think that Abi's HtD comment was about how many posts it'd take before Faren's Computer starts protesting when trying to open a thread. I think.

#495 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Diatryma @ 490... Buddy Holly with a mohawk? The mind boggles.

#496 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Abi @ 492... I will not sully your innocent eyes with the reference in question

Drat.

#497 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:45 AM:

I don't know about Faren's Computer, but mine usually begins refusing to open threads after about 450 comments. (I don't know why: it has more than enough RAM.)

#498 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Must be the bad jokes, PJ.

#499 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:49 AM:

I want some of THIS coffee. "Perfection in every cup", the ad says.

#500 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:50 AM:

Ubjneq gur Qhpx?

#501 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Serge @495:
If, after a suitable period, no one has found the rather pointed references I've left behind, I'll spell the link out in full. Stop me when I've been clear enough.

If this comment seems punctuated by indirection and mystery, so be it.

#502 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:56 AM:

Serge @495:
(trying again, having failed in one element of what I was doing there.)

If, after a suitable period, no one has found the rather pointed references I've left behind, I'll spell the link out in full. Stop me when I've been clear enough.

If this comment seems punctuated by indirection and mystery, so be it.

#503 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Niall @499:
Yes

#504 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:04 AM:

Abi @ 502... How embarassing. I had thought that might be it, but decided against it. That'll teach me.

#505 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:04 AM:

Abi @ 502... How embarassing. I had thought that might be it, but decided against it. That'll teach me.

#506 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:20 AM:

Serge #498, I want this coffee.

#507 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Why is everyone ducking their responsibilities? That's what I want to know.

(Like water off a wossname's back, that is. Or me name isn't C.M.O.T. Dibbler.)

#508 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Fragano #506

You want to see ducking of responsibilities? Wait until the heavy bill for all this frivolity comes due....

#509 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:42 AM:

ajay (#491) Is that the earliest textual reference to the 'mullet' hairstyle?

#510 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Fragano #506: Shameful isn't it to see them swanning around like that?

Sarah S #507: They've bittern off more than they can chew...

#511 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Fragano #506: Shameful isn't it to see them swanning around like that?

Sarah S #507: They've bittern off more than they can chew...

#512 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Jakob #510

Rather mallardept of them, isn't it?

#513 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Sarah S #511: I seagullible people like that get goosed far too often.

#514 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:03 PM:

508: as far as I know, yes.

The meaning of the HtD reference cootn't be any more obvious. The grebeous inability of some of the commenters to understand it is becoming moorhen more embarrassing.

#515 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:12 PM:

I haven't seen a post from Xopher here recently. Is he okay?

#516 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Bruce, he's fine. He's been on vacation.

#517 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:28 PM:

You're all people of taste and discernment who already know about The Sinister Ducks, I expect.

(Yes, that Alan Moore.)

#518 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:33 PM:

Sarah S #507: Verily, but life takes its teal on us all.

#519 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:34 PM:

On coffee:

If the coffee pot wasn't in the kitchen, there have been some days lately when I'd get no exersize at all.

Progress:

I'm back to my very own old macally keyboard. I went up to Yelm and bought a pair of logging boots yesterday, as an alternative to the massively expensive women's motorcycle boots I'd been considering. (They are meant for mud and cow manure, not a fashion statement). I am hoping this means that the two great bars to productivity are now gone, and I can write what I need to write and walk where I need to walk.

Further bulletins as appropriate.

#520 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Jakob #510: Some people are just easily gulled, while others grouse a bit too much, and yet others may be goosed. The key thing, I have found, is always to be the first one to give the bird.

#521 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:44 PM:

ethan (#465): Since I've finally, finally read Farthing.... Me too, and now I get to review the sequel (also a bit belatedly, for my December column). I still have all the dern writing to do in the next few days, but a reviewer's lot *can* be a happy one.

Serge: Glad I read your computer joke attempts when less cranky than at the end of the previous thread. But you'll still be Mister Maalox to me, whenever you go there. (See that cranky post for the reason why.)

#522 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Faren #520: Hearing about the sequel was what pushed me to finally read the thing. Unfortunately, my library's taking its sweet time getting ahold of copies. I'll give it another week or so, and then I'm taking my limited funds to the bookstore and buying a copy.

#523 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 01:24 PM:

The noble qualities of these puns make me feel like a pheasant.

#524 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 01:31 PM:

Watching as the usual gaggle of paronomasiacs flock into the post and proceed to ruffle feathers while showing no egrets about it.

#525 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 01:39 PM:

I'm presuming by this point that everyone's found the hidden links in posts 492 and 501.

#526 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Faren @ 520... Glad I read your computer joke (...) you'll still be Mister Maalox to me

Dare I say I'm... ah... relieved that you could stomach my joke?

#527 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:10 PM:

abi @ 524... Hmmm... No hidden link. I wonder if something is blocking it at this end, the way popup ads also are.

#528 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:15 PM:

ethan @ 505... I'd rather get Claudia coffee. Black, of course.

#529 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:18 PM:

To restate 501:

If, after a suitable period, no one has found the rather pointed references I've left behind, I'll spell the link out in full. Stop me when I've been clear enough.

If this comment seems punctuated by indirection and mystery, so be it.

#530 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Abi, thank goodness the subject wasn't colons.

Can I offer the thread a chew toy? A friend of mine is trying to rewrite the first-draft mission statement of a worthy organization that does supportive stuff for people suffering from a particular ailment.

Here's the first version these good people came up with:

"To promote programs of research, advocacy, education, support and awareness to discover treatments and a cure for [NameOfDisease] and improve the lives of all it affects."
My friend's first try at recasting it:
"To improve the lives of all those affected by [NameOfDisease] by funding research into its causes and treatments, educating and supporting those it affects, and promoting ..."
There he broke off, dropped down several lines, and typed
want to finish with something like "advocate for those it affects" or "raise public awareness of its effects" or something ... struggling to pare it down and make it work."
Anyone here want to have a go at it, or venture suggestions on how to fix it?


#531 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Attn: Neil Wilcox

So, rock cakes. Is there an alternate recipe which involves normal all-purpose flour? I'm willing to go with actual yeast on this.

#532 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Teresa, maybe it would work better like this?

research into its causes and treatments, promoting public awareness, and educating and supporting those it affects

It puts more space between 'causes and treatments' and 'educating and supporting', so those clauses both seem to stand out a little better.

#533 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Teresa, my ear say that the words "affects" and "effects" are getting overused; it doesn't like hearing so much repetition.

Unfortunately, most of the synonyms occurring to me are ones that aren't quite right. I mean, "those suffering from [ailment]" is too much of a downer, as is "victims of [ailment]."

How about...

"To improve the lives of all those living with [NameOfDisease] by funding research into its causes and treatments, educating and supporting those it affects, and acting as their advocate in the public sphere."

Any better? Still seems a little clause-heavy to me, but perhaps that's just mission statements for you.

#534 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Here is an interesting instance of plagiarism involving my academic community:

Australian actresses are plagiarizing my quantum mechanics lecture to sell copiers

In this case the plagiarist is an ad agency who claims that the commercial use of Prof. Aaronson's words without attribution constitutes Fair Use. The comment thread is about evenly divided between "sue the scoundrels" and "you Americans are so litigious".

#535 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Abi @ 528... I should have remembered what kinds of trick an International Woman of Mystery would resort to. Ducktoring a document's periods, of course...

#536 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:03 PM:

Serge @534:
I got the idea from Teresa, who hyperlinks spaces. But I am not so cruel.

#537 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:08 PM:

How about this:

"To promote research, advocacy, education, support and awareness programs for [NameOfDisease], and to improve the lives of all it affects."

I dropped the part about finding a cure partly because it seemed redundant and partly because it seemed to attach only to "research" in a way that seemed hard to handle. And also because mission statements need to be really short and punchy.

#538 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:11 PM:

If you don't want 'suffering from' or 'victims of' perhaps 'living with' would substitute.

#539 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:15 PM:

I like C. Wingate's version @ 536. Nice and succinct, while still communicating the essential information.

#540 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Abi @ 535... "Oh, don't be cruel..."

#541 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Teresa @529:

How about:

To improve the lives of those living with $disease by funding research into its causes and treatments; educating, supporting, and advocating for patients and their families; and increasing public understanding of the condition.

#542 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 05:01 PM:

abi (524):
I cry trademark infringement.

#543 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Can I register my discontent over "living with [disease]"? To me it feels puffy and euphemistic. Why not just "with [disease]"?

#544 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Nicole @530 - The Rock Cake recipe doesn't use yeast and there's a reason for it; if you made it with yeast and let it rise etc. they'd tend to be round and bun-shaped rather than rugged and rocky (I didn't say it was a good reason). I don't have a picture, but google gives a few relevant pictures.

If you have a favourite plain flour you want to use, I'd suggest using it and adding baking powder.

All that said, there's no reason why you can't use plain flour and yeast. However be warned that then they'd be what I'd call fruit buns*, which has a double meaning in American English.

* You could add a little nutmeg and mixed spice to make them spicy fruit buns too.

#546 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Neil - Thanks! I may try that. Both versions. They sound yummy.

Diatryma - Yes, I thought of that, too... and ended up using it!

#547 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Serge #544 - I don't know if that's the worst Stallone movie ever made, but it's gotta rank near the top.

#548 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 06:19 PM:

Steve C @ 546... As for myself, I try to avoid anything Stallone if I can. In this case though, the movie's tagline stuck to my mind, like some pedal infection acquired in a gym's less-than-clean shower stalls. There is also the time "The Demolitionist" had its coming-attraction boohed by the audience. I must say it's not that surprising as people were there to watch "The Age of Innocence".

Meanwhile, I seem to remember reading in the late 1970s that he was going to play the main character in a biopic about, yes, Edgar Allan Poe.

"Nevermore! Yoh!"

#549 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Serge, I hope your avoidance of Stallone doesn't extend to Death Race 2000, which is awesome for many reasons, including that they paired Stallone up with a female sidekick who also has a hilariously weird speaking voice. Also, his is a minor role, and the awesome David Carradine is the lead.

Also, the dictator who rules America in it is the leader of the Bipartisan Party. That, my friend, is hilarious.

#550 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 06:49 PM:

Teresa @ #529:

The writer's trying to cram too many things into one sentence, some of which are grammatically incompatible in in English. I'd stick with something brief, like "Promoting awareness, support, and treatment for those with $disease, by:", and then break to a bullet list.

#551 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 06:53 PM:

ethan... Ah, yes, Death Race 2000... It was the summer of 1975, the first when my summer job didn't involve spending hours with the sun beating down on me as I weeded my uncle's fields.

#552 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:00 PM:

"Also, the dictator who rules America in it is the leader of the Bipartisan Party."

I can see someone trying that.

#553 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Drat, bit by "the the wraparound"....

#554 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:12 PM:

I hope everyone observed how eloquently I used "awesome" and "hilarious" twice each in four sentences in my description of Death Race 2000. Take notes, all you "writers."

#555 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Serge @ 547

If you're talking about "Demolition Man", I have to disagree; it's a very funny movie, at least in spots. The action scenes suck, but that makes the comedy funnier by contrast.

#556 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:51 PM:

abi @ 528: Clever! In honor of the soundtrack I must note that your technique is a way to conceal it.

#557 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 07:51 PM:

re 539:

Actually, it works just fine to have the text of this version, omitting the bullets entirely.

#558 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 08:16 PM:

C. Wingate @ #551,

Somebody is.

I find it ludicrous, but I'll give them fractional points for the idea.

#559 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 09:30 PM:

Dave MB @533: To me the only crime is one of manners or laziness. It would have been polite for the ad agency to ask permission from the author to use the words as written, and sensible to rewrite them slightly if they weren't going to do that. Lack of generosity, too: attributing the text on a website or email press release would have cost nothing, and an offer of a small fee would have been nothing next to the cost of shooting the ad. But I simply can't see it as a litigious issue; the negative publicity has probably done enough damage to the agency's reputation.

#560 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:09 PM:

Lee 171: Alas, I didn't come on here much while I was in Houston...and I was pretty much going flat out the whole time, as it turned out. The gang down there wants me to come back soon (they suggest Christmas, but that's my BF's birthday, and also I think that's A Little Soon).

Bruce 514: Yes, Lizzy 515 is correct...I've been off visiting old friends and making new ones (the latter in many cases the immediate descendants of the former) in Houston. Not much time to be online.

#561 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Welcome back, Xopher.

#562 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:30 PM:

ethan @ 553... Take notes, all you "writers"

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

#563 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2007, 11:35 PM:

Tania @ 555... I tried that technique with accents. Alas, it failed. By the way, I can't believe that Abi used her spy tricks to lead us to Howard the Duck. Of all things, it had to be Howard the Duck. The horror, the horror!

(Yes, ethan, I do have some standards, low as they may be.)

#564 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 05:12 AM:

A belated response to Serge @ 250:

Too oft I find among the books I read
A dragon undeserving of the name
He’ll sacrifice his life in times of need—
A beast most loyal, generous and tame.
No proper dragon plays the faithful dog
And simpers at a human’s beck and call
A better model’s found in wicked Smaug
Who served no man or dwarf; just ate them all.
As enemies, their deeds give rise to myth:
One glimpse of wings and armies turn and flee
As friends, they are a force to reckon with
But aid their allies most capriciously.
His horns his crown and the wide sky his home,
Each dragon is a kingdom all his own.


P.S. Meter question: Does "lessons" have two syllables or three? I know this sounds like a stupid question, but I swear it has three: Le/sun/ss. For some reason that "s" seems to get a beat of its own. [It seems like "n" and "s" cannot liase properly, like, f'rinstance, "r" and "s."]

Xopher? Anyone?

#565 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 05:47 AM:

Poetry: this comic looks like a challenge to ML poets. Probably one with dinosaurs in the answer.

#566 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 05:57 AM:

557: The Unity Party? That sounds familiar. The leader is Gloria Monday, presumably.

#567 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 06:16 AM:

Alan Braggins @ 564... Nothing rhymes with "buttocks"

I am not going there.

#568 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 06:19 AM:

Heresiarch @ 563... Thanks. The dragon as a lone wolf... I like that too. I'm not sure there have been many so depicted. Except for Smaug and his granddaddy Fafnir.

I'd say it's two syllables.

#570 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 06:45 AM:

re 557: I'm afraid "unity" is a pale imitation, an oxysubmoron. Also it's been done. A lot.

#571 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 06:50 AM:

I just noticed what Patrick put in his particles list. No, not the hot theremin action, althoguh that's pretty neat (and would have been even better interspersed with shots of a dancing green slavegirl from Orion). I mean the particle below that. What have you wrought, Tania?

#572 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 09:28 AM:

Serge @ 566

I won't go there either, but here's the map for your trip: "it sucke".

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 09:38 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 571... I can't hear youuuu... la-la-la...

#574 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 09:44 AM:

Tried my first, basic, from scratch, bread recipe last night. Bought a little scale even to do everything by weight instead of volume.

500 grams flour
175 grams water
175 grams milk
7 grams dry active yeast
7 grams salt

Put it in the bread machine, and I ended up with a 500 gram loaf of bread. (the exact weight of the final loaf is a bit fuzzy. I ate a slice before weighing it, and had to weigh what was left and then approximate how much the missing slice weighed.)

Anyway, either I misread my numbers somewhere, or I'm trying to figure out how the conservation of mass does not apply to baked bread. does all the water and milk evaporate?

Also, every recipe I've found says "Add ingredients to your bead machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer." I got the machine used, and there's no manual. So why would the order matter? And what order would probably be recommended?

#575 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 09:44 AM:

Serge @ 570

You mean "Neil before Zod"? I, for one, welcome it as a parable of the need for order in society, the kind of order the good general can bring to us benighted humans.

#576 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 09:52 AM:

#559 Xopher: Welcome back!

#553 Heresiarch: How odd. I'm *sure* lessons has two syllables, but when I say it, that transition from n to s takes up a beat at the end of a line, but maybe not in the middle. I'd probably use it in a poem with two syllables, but that's just because I modify my pronunciation to fit the desired beat when I'm reading poetry.

#577 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:03 AM:

I'm sure much better bakers will be posting shortly, but most simple bread recipes mix the dry ingredients together, not including the salt, then add the salt, then add the wet ingredients. According to "The Bread Bible", salt can kill yeast if it comes in direct contact, so it is good to have the yeast mostly coated in flour first. Also, until some liquid gets in there, the yeast isn't doing anything, so you can make your timing more accurate by putting in the liquids last.

Anyone know more?

#578 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Random open-thread comment:

I had a really neat experience the other day, involving poetry and my older (6 year old) son. Since he was a baby, I have sung to him to help him go to sleep, and one of my favorite songs is Suzanne Vega's "Night Vision," which is pretty clearly a lullaby with room for many extra verses.

Anyway, he was telling me he was scared of being in a darkened (not really dark) room. And I sang the verses to him, and explained them, and he *got* it. It was the neatest thing I'd seen in a long time.

The verses run like

By day give thanks
by night beware
half the world in sweetness
the other in fear

when the darkness takes you
with her hand across your face
don't give in too quickly
find the thing she's erased
....

As we went through the lines, he got what they were saying, on both the literal level (find the outlines of thing in the dark and you can figure out what it is) and the second meaning of it not being so frightening to be in the dark when you have a way of thinking about what you see. (I'm not sure how old he'll be before he gets the last couple of lines, which sums up a lot of how I feel about raising my kids.)

I would shelter you, and keep you in light
but I can only teach you night vision

Somehow, growing up, I got the idea that music and poetry and literature was fluff, and that the important stuff was math and engineering and science. I kept caring about the "fluff" because it was beautiful. But it took me a long time, maybe until about ten years ago, before I got that those things I called fluff were, in many ways, more important than the hard stuff.

#579 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Greg #573: That does look a little screwy - some of the water and milk will evaporate, but by no means all.

As for the order, dry yeast is activated as soon as it gets wet, as is baking powder, so putting things in out of sequence might muck things up. I wouldn't worry too much about it - I assume the machine mixes things up once it's on anyway.

#580 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Greg @573: As I understand it, as well as evaporation from the liquids, quite a lot of the starch from the flour is turned into CO2, most of which escapes.

I'm not sure why the order is considered to matter particularly, but my bread machine's manual suggests adding all the dry ingredients first, followed by the wet ones.

#581 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Regarding when to add yeast, although it isn't specified by most recipes that use dried yeast, I tend to mix my yeast with a little slightly-sugary water about 5 minutes prior to adding it, and then add it last with the liquid ingredients. It avoids any doubt that the yeast's been killed somehow (there should be a foam forming on top of the surface by the time you add it if it's still alive), and seems to produce slightly lighter results.

#582 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Jules #580: I find that fresh yeast generally gives a superior taste and rise.

I haven't done any proper bread baking in a while alas, but all this talk is making me want to have a go again - maybe this weekend...

#583 ::: otterb ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:54 AM:

albatross @ #577, nice story
I also have had to learn that fuzzy is not equivalent to trivial/stupid/unimportant.

#584 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 11:25 AM:

#580: That's called "proofing", for exactly the reason you give (proof that you've got live yeast).

Besides that, it gives the yeast a headstart over any bacteria that might be in your milk or eggs, "waking it up" (and probably letting it multiply a bit) before you start mixing it with other, potentially "live", ingredients.

#585 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 11:27 AM:

Otterb and Albatross, I realized some years ago that I never considered being a humanities major because that's fun and easy-- I like it, so I can't possibly do it as a career, right? While there is some merit (I can write in my spare time, but not clone) it's a weird way to order the world. I internalized 'don't take the easy way out' to such an extent that anything less than beating my head against a wall feels like slacking.
Working on that particular issue. Just because it tastes bad doesn't mean it's good for you....

#586 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 11:29 AM:

Reference to the Cthulonic Republican logo (cf #482):

Republican sign
elephantine tentacles
Grand Old Ancient Gods

#587 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Both of the bread machines I have recommend putting in the yeast last, in a little hole you poke into the flour.

From memory: Water, eggs, salt/sugar/whatever, flour, yeast.

#588 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 12:39 PM:

re 564, I'll give the challenge a go:

Lean ham good, pig feet bad.
Compromise; eat just hocks.
Oops! Sorry! You've been had.
Proof, alas, your buttocks.


#589 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 02:22 PM:

I'd just like to thank everyone who told me I was missed while I was away, in this and other threads. I was having a great time, but now I'm feeling all valued and stuff. Which is great. Thank you all!

#590 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Xopher@588: You are one who is always valued! (This fiendish writer is merely a lurker but should also tell you so more often.)

#591 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Serge @ 570: You and me, we're just sharing the wealth, and PNH is our advanced distribution system.

My annual review is scheduled for tomorrow. I was involved in a minor fiasco earlier this year, though not without plenty of warning on my part that it was going to happen. Should be interesting to see how much I get raked over the coals for that incident, if at all. Otherwise, they should be fairly content with my performance.

Last year I got dinged for not strictly observing the dress code. At least this year there's the possibility of getting whacked for something legitimate.

#592 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Heresiarch 563: Meter question: Does "lessons" have two syllables or three? I know this sounds like a stupid question, but I swear it has three: Le/sun/ss. For some reason that "s" seems to get a beat of its own. [It seems like "n" and "s" cannot liase properly, like, f'rinstance, "r" and "s."]

It has only two. In English, syllable counts are pretty strictly by chunks with a vowel attached (don't get me started on liquids). So 'oh' and 'strict' are both one-syllable words, even though the latter takes much more time to actually say.

Good poets, obviously, are aware of this property. Robert Frost is not my favorite poet, but he did write my favorite two-line poem:

The old dog barks backward without getting up.
I can remember when he was a pup.
The first line actually has one more syllable than the second, but takes much longer to say, and that fact is part of the extraordinary force of the poem.

#593 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 03:19 PM:

This is a drive-by, as I'm actually busy, and haven't read much of the thread. It's not quite a rhyme - more like an identity - but it is off the top of my head.

I've travelled from Cairo to Saqqara, but Ox-
yrhynchus is simply too far.
The ship of the desert is hard on the buttocks:
will nobody buy me a car?

I think there may also be such things as futtocks, but Zod only knows what they are.

#594 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 03:24 PM:

Tania @ 590... Oooooh, yearly reviews... Huzzah! Not. I'll probably will get my ass kicked in February, or at least my knuckles rapped, for reminding (politely, yes) my manager to keep me involved in the decision-making process of a project I am supposed to be in charge of.

#595 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 03:27 PM:

candle @ 592... Zod says you don't want to know what or where they are.

#596 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Me back @543 - Just realised that once you're using yeast rather than self-raising flour and adding spice to your rock cakes, you might as well put a flour and water cross on top and call them hot cross buns.

Wikipedia article on Futtock Shrouds (which aren't quite where I thought they are on a mast)

After talking about hot spicy fruit buns and futtock shrouds I'm not sure this is the appropriate place to welcome Xopher back, but I will anyway.

#597 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 03:43 PM:

On the importance of punctuation (as discussed elsewhere) I amused a friend on Saturday by replying to their text asking where I was with:

I'm in Soho, square.

(I should say that they're actually pretty hip and down with the kids. When we met up we spent far too much of the evening making the "square" sign behind people's backs and cracking up)

#598 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 03:47 PM:

William Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine defines "futtocks" as "the middle division of a ship's timbers; or those parts which are situated between the floor and the top-timbers".

[I am not Zod]

#599 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Dear open thread:

May I just vent a moment? I watched last night's episode of Heroes, and it included the following (non-spoiler) atrocity, spoken by one of the Katrina-survivor New Orleanian characters:

"Half the folks in this county are still living in FEMA trailers...."

That noise you hear? Is my teeth grinding.

Really, truly, when setting your story in a real, verifiable place with a very recent history of upheaval, it's really, truly useful to acquaint oneself with little details of geography. Including such things as which neighborhood this character might have hailed from (Gentilly? Lower Ninth? Pearl River? St. Bernard Parish?), and, oh, maybe the not entirely unknown detail, verifiable by any map of the area or any discussion of local politics that the nation got all interested in during election 2006, that LOUISIANA DOESN'T HAVE COUNTIES.

On the other hand, my Dad tells me that K-Ville is rather good. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it, but he says it rings true.


PS. Also, that VISA commercial they play during NFL games--the one that shows much Saints-fan jazzy festivity in the French Quarter getting held up by the guy who chooses to pay cash--that one annoys me. Because a non-trivial amount of French Quarter retail and dining establishments don't take credit card, actually. You go down there without cash, you're going to be making the acquaintance of that fee-charging ATM that's a staple of all those identical Decatur Street souvenir shops, that's what. I want to like that commercial for all the crawfishy/fleur-de-lis/wrought-iron-balcony warm fuzzies, but I soooo hate that VISA campaign's message of "you're a dweeb and a drain on society if you use cash," and I hate it even more with the added subtext "and if you, as a retail business owner in downtown New Orleans, don't take cash."

But hey, at least the Saints finally posted a win Sunday. I watched that happen over the heads of a bar full of screaming Rockies fans. That was fun. That first touchdown of the game made me laugh my head off.

OK, I'm done now.

#600 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 05:52 PM:

Nicole @ 598

Oh, darn, I missed the Aints winning one? (Actually I'm glad; there are very few teams that deserve winless seasons, and the Saints are not one of them. IMO, the Rams and the Cowboys ....)

#601 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Nicole @ 598... The first VISA ad in that series had the catchy "Power House" music, but I never care for its message that you must do as everyone else does otherwise you impede Society's smooth function. Or as they said in that episode of Star Trek, you are not of the body.

#602 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Nicole @ 598: Yeah! I caught the county bit, only because we don't have counties or parishes, we have boroughs or census areas. Huge tracts of the state are unincorporated.

I will "Grr" in support of you. I'm not much of a sports fan, I usually end up cheering on the Bills because I have a good friend that's from Buffalo. That being said: Geaux Saints!!


#603 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Nicole 598: I'll bet you a Black Hole Brownie that the writer wrote it correctly and it got changed because "people will think we're attacking the church" or some similar stupidity amounting to "if we use the correct term no one will understand."

#604 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 06:42 PM:

The proprietor of the cafe-and-convenience-store in the lobby of my office building was grumbling to me just this morning about how credit cards are more work for him and slow things down.

#605 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 07:04 PM:

albatross@577, one of the reasons I got into life coaching a couple years ago was that my life up to that point was all computers, engineering, and other similar. Life coaching was a way I could help people directly. I still like it when I solve some really hard engineering puzzle, but it's a different kind of fulfillment when I help someone deal with some really difficult issue in their life.

#606 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Nicole @ 598

I watched the first ep of K-Ville, and it seemed accurate from what I know of New Orleans from a few visits there and having a son and daughter-in-law who live in Baton Rouge*. But I haven't watched it since because I thought it was basically a cookie-cutter formula show, with 2-dimensional** characters, and a standard plot. Not at all bad of its type, but there's much better television on these days, and not that many hours in a day for me to be watching it.

* OK, I don't know much.
* Or fewer.

#607 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 08:00 PM:

The first two episodes of Bionic Woman were rather lackluster, but last week showed some improvement. Of course that may have been a fluke. It helps though that Katie Sackhoff is there to counteract the main character's blandness.

As for Life, it might grow on me.

#608 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 08:15 PM:

particle: 10 Things I Hate about Commandments

Bwhaaahwhwhahahwhawhwhwwhawhhahwhwhahawhawhwha!


particle: Things you can do with a pumpkin.

I think those things must be made out of styrofoam or something. No real pumpkin looks like that.

;)

#609 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 09:56 PM:

MLers in the news

My niece was alarmed-to-tears by my appearance when she was ~2; damfino what I looked like to her. (Nothing extreme: hair over ears, chin beard, small handlebars, the latter two all grey.) She's since become very particular about fashion, so maybe that was just her way of saying I had the wrong look.

abi: back when I was lighting shows for Harvard Law School, one of the characters claimed to have hidden an extra clause in a microdot disguised as a period in a contract's text.

Jakob@578: as a first approximation, a volume of starch makes 1000 volumes of gas (maybe only 300 if the starch is flour sifted before measuring); since rising bread doesn't usually foam like brewing beer, I doubt that the yeast eats more than a tiny fraction of the mass.

Nicole@598: are parishes \seriously/ functionally different from counties? If not, consider how indignant I could get that newscasters (even locals) always call my home a state. (Formally, MA is a commonwealth.)

#610 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Didn't somebody just say Preview only works if you look at it? Let's try this again: MLers in the news. (\May/ still be subscription-locked.)

#611 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 11:50 PM:

CHip: You know, I actually am not sure. Title-wise, parishes have boards and a president, where counties have a board of commissioners. Whoop-de-do. History-wise, it has a lot to do with the French and Spanish colonial period. Functionality-wise, I have no idea if there's a significant difference. But I do know this: no resident of New Orleans would ever say, "Half the people in this county..." anything.

Xopher: I never thought of that. It sounds likely. I would like to believe it is true. But then there was so much about the New Orleans scenes that were cliche-heavy and detail-free in ways that might have easily been rectified that I'm not counting on it.

Were natives of other Heroes locales doing similar *headdesk* motions all along, and I just didn't notice? Thinking back, those weren't much big on geographical details in the script, either. Hundreds of repetitions of "Kirby Plaza" doesn't count.

*sigh* Maybe I'm just noticing this stuff now because the new season characters are getting on my nerves. Don't even get me started on Claire's new boyfriend.


Bruce Cohen: Thanks for your take on K-Ville. Dad's comments on the show were from after the first episode. I haven't asked him about it since, but I expect he wouldn't be too bothered by characters of dimensions locales doing the *headdesk* over those scenes, and I just didn't notice?

*sigh*

Bruce Cohen: Thanks for the update. Dad's take on the show was from after the first episode. I haven't asked him about it since, but I expect he wouldn't be too bothered by characters of dimensions Dad's comments on the show were from after the first episode. I haven't asked him about it since, but I expect he wouldn't be too bothered by characters of dimensions locales doing the *headdesk* over those scenes, and I just didn't notice?

*sigh*

Bruce Cohen: Thanks for the update. Dad's take on the show was from after the first episode. I haven't asked him about it since, but I expect he wouldn't be too bothered by characters of dimensions

#612 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 11:53 PM:

Did I just hit CTRL-V about a million times and not notice?

Whiskey tango foxtrot, over?

#613 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Are there any TV shows that get their locale geography right, outside LA and maybe Manhattan?

I've only been in Seattle a few years and don't know the city terribly well, but none of the shows I've watched set here feel right. It took a season and a half for me to even figure out that Dead Like Me was supposed to be here.

The parish/county thing was especially jarring though, yes.

#614 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:55 AM:

That Porn for Physicists link in Teresa's Particles just went into my Favorites.

#615 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Todd Larason, when Grey's Anatomy showed a few scenes which were actually shot in Seattle, I was fascinated; then they did that absurd ferry crash and I dropped it. It's less horrible than, say, "Here Come the Brides" which was shot in the usual forest locations up in the San Gabriels, but on the whole, most "Seattle" shows give one a great impression of Vancouver BC, which is altogether too flat to be convincing.

(And the Space Needle in "Dark Angel" was about 1/4 scale).

#616 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:26 AM:

Todd @ #612, "Are there any TV shows that get their locale geography right?"

Magnum PI did, mostly.

#617 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:33 AM:

Oh, I forgot Grey's Anatomy was here; I haven't watched it. I was thinking of Frasier, The 4400, Dead Like Me and Reaper. I've also lived in Portland (no shows set there I can think of) and Oklahoma City (just found out that Holly Hunter's current show is set there; haven't watched any of it yet).

#618 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:44 AM:

Serge #600, on VISA commercials: I never care for its message that you must do as everyone else does otherwise you impede Society's smooth function.

Those commercials really piss me off. I don't understand why anyone would want to be a cog in clockwork, but apparently that's what they're pushing.

Nicole #610: Don't even get me started on Claire's new boyfriend.

I don't approve of any boy who starts a romantic moment by telling the girl to shut up. He's slightly dreamy, though.

Todd Larason #612: Are there any TV shows that get their locale geography right, outside LA and maybe Manhattan?

I've never felt masochistic enough to watch any of the shows that take place in Providence, so I don't know how they do for accuracy. I know that there was an episode of Family Guy* where it showed people standing in front of the RISD gates, and then showed them from the other side, and what was behind them was exactly what's across the street from the gates, which was nice. But why anyone claims that the characters on that show have Rhode Island accents is beyond me.

*I despise that show, but have been exposed to it in mass quantities against my will.

#619 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:49 AM:

Oh! When the X-Files went to Rhode Island from time to time, they would have been hard pressed to be more inaccurate than they were, though David Duchovny did an excellent job saying Quonochontaug like he'd been saying it his whole life. But there is most certainly not a hospital there, let alone one where a stroke victim would be treated for any length of time.

Regardless of how wrong they got the state, though, it was still exciting.

#620 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:50 AM:

Apart from wanting to note that I see the cygneture humor of this place is wordplay, with puns topping the bill, this is really to Greg, re bread machines.

Because of how bread machines work, the ordering of wet/dry ingredients matters because it will affect gluten development, the incorporation of air and the activation of the yeast.

What machine have you got (there are minor variations in how they work)? You might be able ot find it online.

Our machine goes:

Flour
sugar/salt
water/oils
yeast

#621 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:20 AM:

Serge @ 567: You're welcome. I don't think the dragon as loner is that unique, though. It seems like the traditional view to me. Friendly social dragons seems to be the new development. (And I don't mean to knock it too hard--I love the Temeraire books, and I grew up on Pern. But I tend to think to myself, ah, here is an interesting variation on the theme of dragons, rather than, ah, here is a Dragon.)

I didn't like that last couplet--it jarred unpleasantly. So instead:

Beware of dragons is my blunt advice
Or else you’ll find that you’re the sacrifice.

albatross @ 575: I know. I know there's no way that it's anything other than two syllables, but nonetheless, it fouled up the rhythm of the line when I tried to substitute "lessons" for "models," which it shouldn't have. Meh. As you can see, I decided to avoid the issue altogether.

Xopher @ 591: Thanks for the response. I'm still curious why the final "s" sticks out like that in "lessons" but not in "models," though.

#622 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:18 AM:

612: "Inspector Morse" used to do very odd things to the geography of Oxford. When I was a kid I always enjoyed my father's splutters of "But - that's All Souls' gate! And now he's walking through Trinity! And that quad's in Exeter! Oh, for heaven's sake..." Tragically, I now do the same thing myself. (28 Weeks Later was frankly appalling on the geography of London, incidentally.)

#623 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:37 AM:

#621: "Silent Witness" did equally weird things to Cambridge. I think one time she was walking through the Backs on the way from one part of (New) Addenbrookes to another.

#624 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Heresiarch @ 620... True, the loner dragon used to be the rule, not the exception. But weren't such dragons usually the evil kind? ("What do I care if you're a virgin? You're meat, and it's dinner time.") I was thinking more in terms of one who could be on the side of the Good Guys, but, like the Atomic Bomb, you have to handle it very carefully.

#625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:32 AM:

ethan @ 617... I don't understand why anyone would want to be a cog in clockwork

Don't you know, young man? 9/11 changed everything. We are at war.

#627 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:49 AM:

A friend of mine is teaching an introductory creative writing class-- very introductory. She requires that they write some flavor of SFF. They were surprised by one story in which dragons were not ravening beasts.
I am confused when dragons are less than friendly. Not just Pern and Kazul, King of the Dragons, but the first dragon book that really stuck with me was dragon-centered.
I don't know if it says anything about my general character that dragons are always good, but there it is.

#628 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:13 AM:

Speaking of Pern... I've never read the stories, but my wife did so she was quite excited when she heard that it was going to be made into a TV series. That was a few years ago though. The whole thing was cancelled, and I don't know if they ever reached the filming stage.

#629 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Heresiarch (#620): I'm still curious why the final "s" sticks out like that in "lessons" but not in "models," though.

Obviously because, at least in modern times, nothing sticks out of models.
I can't find a better explanation.

----

Dragons are paragons of something
That won't actually care really
Whether the sword was fling,
Or of eyes made by blood weary:

Greed is a gift to the world unknowing,
The final sheath of a searing folly
In the dark hand in hand growing
Till the flame has outgrown its belly,

When, one no more questing,
And one no more hungry
In union satisfied and empty

The knight and the beast bring
To hearts fear of the mystery,
And love of the puzzling.

Pffff... a failed attempt. Started well, then somewhere along the way I broke it and never managed to get some fragments back.

#630 ::: DaveMB ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Spenser For Hire, the Robert Urich series based on the Robert Parker novels, had a habit of teleporting across Boston and Cambridge during its car chases -- Spenser would drive into a tunnel on Mem drive and drive out in South Boston someplace.

Cheers, on the other hand, got a lot of the local color correct.

#631 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Terry@619, thanks. I'll try that order tonight when I mix up the next batch.

I don't know what machine I have off the top of my head. I've been meaning to see if there's an owner's manual for it somewhere online. It seems pretty basic, I think it only has an on/off button, and a select and start button. Doesn't seem like there's much the manual could tell me, other than the order-of-ingredients thing. But I'll put it on my to-do list for tonight.

#632 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:05 AM:

albatross #620: I'm still curious why the final "s" sticks out like that in "lessons" but not in "models," though.

It's probably because it's hard not to add a phantom t after the n in lessons. Moving your tongue from the one sound to the other is harder in lessons than in models.

#633 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Todd Larason @ 612

There was a brief fad for using Portland, OR as a setting in the 90's before the production companies discovered that Vancouver, BC* was cheaper to work in, and looked more like a big city.**

On the other hand, there was an undeservedly short-lived† series called "Nowhere Man" that used this area very effectivly. They even found a location out east of here that could pass for Nebraska.

* There's one in Washington State, too, just north of here, so adding a province ID to the name is sort of a tic with people in the Northwest.
** To which I say, amen, and may they enjoy it. Portland is already too big as it is; I like Vancouver, but it's too big for me to live in.
† On full season, not that bad, I guess. It's just that the end of the final episode explained everything that had been a mystery in the season before, all inconsistencies resolved, but did it in a way that presented a far more compelling mystery for the main character. Damn, that show had a good writer!

#634 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:31 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 632... Nowhere Man. I enjoyed it too. Something tells me that its creator was a fan of The Prisoner...

#636 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:05 AM:

ajay @ 621

There was one show shot in Portland* which had a shot of the main character walking out the front door of his mansion (the President's Residency at Lewis & Clarke College, which was a mansion built in the early 20th Century, back when they still knew how to throw their money around, and donated to the school) out onto a rocky bluff overlooking the ocean, 80 miles away. My first thought was,"Oh, cool! They've got stepping disks!" My second thought was mildly unprintable.

* and I've been driving myself crazy trying to remember what show it was; all I do remember is this egregious bit of non-Euclidean geography.

#637 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:10 AM:

re 623: I remember a bit in Pilgrim's Regress about how "wyrm must eat wyrm," which tends to imply that they are solitary.

re 632: In Dead Poets Society they managed to turn Delaware into Vermont by removing the entire state between Wilmington and Middletown inclusive. Every slope you see in the movie is either NW of New Castle or leads into the school pond.

#638 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Xopher, #559: I figured it was something like that. No worries, and if/when you do come back, the offer still holds. Side note: you'll stand a better chance of us being available if you're here midweek than just for a weekend visit -- we're on the road a lot of weekends.

Heresiarch, #553: To me, "lessons" has two syllables. I do sort of see what you're saying about the n/s transition, but in my brain it doesn't translate to a full extra syllable; it's more like a trailing grace-note, if that makes any sense.

Lexica, #603: Not to mention that the fees charged by the credit-card companies cut into the merchant's profits. If you have a choice between running a charge as a debit-card or a credit-card transaction, the merchant will really appreciate you running it as a debit -- the fees are much lower.

Serge, #634: Kitten poker?

#639 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Serge @ 633

Yes, and a fan of Walter Hill, too. One of the episodes was an homage to his movie "Warriors".

#640 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Ugh, Lee, I'm sorry to hear that. For some reason, our bank doesn't record the payees for debit purchases. Combined with our heavy card-usage and frequent failure to get the receipts entered before the statement comes, debit purchases lead to a lot of "mystery payee" entries in the accounting software, so I don't wanna use debit if I can avoid it.

I've always been annoyed at the Visa commercials as well, because a competent cashier can convert a $20 bill into change and a receipt faster than the credit card machine can spit out the slip to sign. As a cashier, the only cash customers that got on my nerves were the ones were the ones who felt the need to tell me all about why credit cards were evil and/or ask the joking question "You do still take cash, don't you?"

I've run into only one place that didn't take cash- the cafeteria at my work switched to a prepaid cashcard system for a while. The no-cash policy lasted a year, and now they're back taking cash in addition to the card. The only way they've kept people using the card is by having limited cashiers taking cash, so the cash lines are longer. If they add one more cashier taking cash, the card system will likely wither and die from customer disinterest.

#641 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Lee @ 637... Kitten poker? I hope not.

#642 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Creative geography... 1978's Superman moved the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas's neighborhood to California. And the scene that's supposed to be the Mojave Desert as he chases that missile? That's New Mexico.

#643 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Kitten poker? Like Clem on Buffy?

#644 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:55 PM:

Is this the point where I can go on my rant about what time wasters the self checkout lanes at the grocery store are? Or about how efficient cashiers are the most important investment a retail establishment can make?

#645 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:12 PM:

C Wingate... True, cashiers are more efficient. Baggers are another story. Untrained. Unclear on the concept that one puts the heavy stuff at the bottom, not on top of the eggs or buns. I guess baggers can't be choosers.

#646 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Bruce Cohen @632: Thanks, "Nowhere Man", added to the list to watch, even if it's just one season.

Do you remember any of the other Portland-set series? I lived there '97-'03 or so, and it feels like most of the NW productions had already moved to Vancouver BC. I just remember one movie with a couple recognizable shots (Hawthorne street, the Burnside bridge and Mary's, and no problems finding a parking place anywhere).

#647 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:18 PM:

#644

Urrgh!

(I've been known to leave the store, then re-stack the contents of the bags. But most of the baggers at the stores I go to have enough experience to put the bananas under the bread. Also the self-check lines tend to be very short, at the places that have them: they aren't that wonderful.)

#648 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Heresiarch 620: ethan's right in 631 (and possibly elsewhere). /n/ is a nasal-air consonant, and /z/ (sandhi pronunciation of the [S] plural) is an oral-air one, so you have to change the airflow between them. /l/ is oral-air just like /z/, so the articulation is a bit smoother.

If you learn to speak Russian this will cease to feel like a separate syllable. Ditto if you learn any of the UK dialects in which 'extraordinary' is pronounced as two syllables: roughly /kstrodnriy/.

#649 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:34 PM:

I solve that problem by presorting the groceries as I put them on the conveyor belt: heavy stuff first, all the frozen/refrigerated stuff together, light/fragile stuff last. That way they can pretty much just bag it in the order it arrives.

#650 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:41 PM:

I try not to let the checker bag my groceries at all. This works if I can fit everything into my huge backpack, and sometimes even if I can't. I rebag right there, making everyone wait, if it's too egregious. They watch, and (optionally) learn.

I've also decided I need to get some reusable bags (hemp would be ideal) and schlep them in my backpack. I feel guiltier about the plastic bags every time I throw them away. I did save them for a while, but I never did reuse them, and they just took up space.

#651 ::: Rozasharn ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:50 PM:

@ Heresiarch, Serge, C. Wingate:

Traditional dragons are large, top-level predators. It makes perfect sense that they'd be solitary: One dragon needs a huge territory to supply enough prey.

I personally like social dragons just as much as those of solitary habits, but I don't know why there's been a general drift toward social dragons.

#652 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:54 PM:

I checked the pumpkin sidelight.

Did I ever provide a link to one of my efforts at book-cover design?

Oh, what the heck, it's just linkage.

A possible fantasy/romance crossover without wardrobe accidents.

My version of a current SF best-seller, done in a more crime-thriller mode before seeing the actual cover art.

I'm sure that the art departments at any real publisher could tear my work to shreds, but I reckon they're better than a lot of self-published/e-book covers.

Linked Artwork published under Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0. No claim of rights is made or intended regarding any other art existing at the time of publication.

#653 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:56 PM:

I've been looking into reusable bags lately, for many of the reasons Xopher mentions. These Acme Workhorse Bags are the top candidates so far. Since I don't have a car, leaving a set of reusable bags in the trunk until needed isn't an option; for a bag to be useful I need to be able to tuck it away in my regular bag so I have it wherever I go. That knocked hemp out of the running — too bulky and heavy. I like that these Workhorse bags are light-weight (1.5 oz) and compact (folding into a 2"x2"x3" self-contained pouch).

#654 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Baggers ... we hates it!

I'm a real perfectionist when it comes to bagging groceries (paper bags, please) because I'm a trained professional. My first job in high school was bagging groceries for tips at the Ft. Belvoir commissary. Tips worked out to quite a bit more than the $1.25/hr minimum wage.

If I don't take enough reusable bags with me, I always ask for paper bags, which I can actually re-use before recycling. They're perfect for newspapers, for instance. Two of the paper bags can carry lots more groceries than those #$*(%! thin plastic things, which can do real damage to your fingers if you carry very many of them for more than a few seconds.

#655 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:12 PM:

For me the evil plastic bags work better, because I can hack the "carry a bag in each finger" trick. At one point I left the local Safeway carrying twelve bags.

#656 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:14 PM:

TV Geography: Lincoln once acquired an alp, which was reasonable enoough for The Prisoner of Zenda. And it looked much nicer than the usual view from the location.

#657 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:18 PM:

I alternate between paper and plastic-- paper if I'm running low on recycling bags, plastic if I don't get to the bagger soon enough. Plastic bags are reused as necessary; I try to keep the catbox clean. I do wish the recycling people would take the paper bags along with their contents; once they've been in the bin, they are Unclean.

I think the social dragon thing is part of the general fairy-tale subversion. The princess is no longer beautiful, but smart and strong; the hero is no longer mighty of thew but smart and polite; the villain is no longer the dragon but the system itself. They're fairy tales for the people who read fairy tales now, rather than back in the day.

#658 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Diatryma @ 656... the villain is no longer the dragon but the system itself

...or it's Patrick Swayze with long hair.

#659 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Xopher #647: ethan's right in 631 (and possibly elsewhere)

Waddaya mean, possibly? I'm right everywhere. (Actually, I realized after reading your post that I didn't get it entirely right in mine.)

C. Wingate #654: Good lord, how many fingers do you have?

#660 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:39 PM:

ethan... C Wingate is David McCullum after he went thru the Evolving Machine.

#661 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Dave Bell @651
What I get when I click on your links are two invitations to join Tiscali.

#662 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Tracie @ #653, "My first job in high school was bagging groceries for tips at the Ft. Belvoir commissary"

I've shopped there with my parents. Mid-1960s.

I worked part-time as a clerk at a stop-n-shop commissary on Guam, and then as a tips-only bagger at the main Navy commissary there. A good bagger can get more into a bag than is good for his/her income (most shoppers seem to tip on a per-bag basis).

#663 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:50 PM:

(various) re - re-usable bags.

The local grocery chain (Wegmans, the one true supermarket, of which all other supermarkets are but a reflection) has been selling really nice, sturdy black re-usable bags (I think they're nylon fabric) for a few months now, and for cheap ($.99/ea) - I bought half-a-dozen, and they carry astonishingly large amounts of stuff - I've seen half-a-dozen 2l soda bottles loaded into one with room to spare. I don't always remember them - but that's okay, they also have recycling bins for their bags, and I use the ordinary flimsy bags to line trash bins and the like.

The other local chain, Tops, has, predictably, also started carrying similar bags, for the same price, but those are white. I suspect they are also perfectly adequate, but not *quite* as good as the Wegmans bags... :-)

And, because it hasn't (amazingly) been said yet -

the grocery store that failed's initial bad decision -

"Baggers? We don' need no steenkin' Baggers!"

#664 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Is anyone else finding the site a little flaky right now? I've spent two periods of about 5 minutes unable to reach Making Light today, and the recent postings doesn't seem to be updating very quickly.

#665 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Abi @ 663... Et tu?

#666 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Serge @664
I didn't do nuffink.

#667 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Abi... Confess! Or you shall face the Spanish Inquisition!!!

#668 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Serge @666
Well, that was unexpected. And which one of us has the Comment of the Beast, then, hmmm?

#669 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Amazingly, Abi, with all the posts I've cluttered this site with in more than 2 years, I had never generated the Comment of the Beast. Does this mean I get to bend Reality to my whims for the rest of the day?

#670 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:58 PM:

I am not polydactyl. Part of it is that at the Safeway they tend to underload the bags a bit, and part of it is that they are fairly methodical about keeping the light squishy things segregated from the hard heavy things, so I usually end up with a few bags where one finger can handle two of them.

My problem with the reusable bags is that they are just one more thing to clutter the house/lose.

#671 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Xopher, #649: We reuse plastic grocery bags all the time, to the point where we have a bag stuffed with them hanging in the kitchen. They work very well as substitutes for the small-size trash-can liners, and any time someone has to grab a few smallish items on their way out the door it's faster to grab a grocery bag than go hunting for a canvas tote -- plus, if the smallish items are food you're taking to a party or potluck, the bag itself is disposable, so you don't have to worry about keeping track of it. We do end up tossing some of them, because we get more in than we reuse, but they're handy to have available.

Diatryma, #656: Fairy tales are like folk music -- subject to alteration to suit their time and circumstances. Personally, I prefer the newer sorts of fairy tale in which the heroine gets to actually do something instead of just standing around and looking pretty!

Of course, some of my favorite folk songs are those like Sileas' "False Sir John," in which the woman outwits the villain and pushes him into the river where he'd intended to drown her. And she doesn't cave in when he pleads for mercy, either!


#672 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 04:42 PM:

That's one gorgeous shawl in the particles, though it's really more of a mourning veil, not a shawl. If I was younger, skinnier, and gothier I'd be tempted.

#673 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:01 PM:

tavella @ 671

I noticed they weren't afraid to show the one spot where it's actually in need of repair. It's truly wonderful lace.

#674 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:18 PM:

In a different flavor of lace, I'm currently very taken with the Hanami Stole (pattern available here, but the pictures on the first one are nicer, imo).

The other project I'm eyeing is the Mariah cabled hoodie from Knitty, but even perfunctory Googling turns up many reports of serious flaws in the pattern. There's a knitalong group for it on Yahoo, which has reportedly addressed some of the problems, but I find myself thinking that if I'm going to have to significantly redo the pattern, why not just start from scratch? I have the Garment Designer program from Cochenille, and I've been needing a reason to dive in and learn to use it... Hmm.

#675 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:07 PM:

abi @660

Bother, it's a typo.

This is the first

And this is the second

(This should work now...)

#676 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Don't shoot the messenger; I only point out the news that Scalzi finds.

#677 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Fred Meyer usually has a plastic bag recycling bin in the lobby. I end up drving around for a month of two with three bags of bags in my car before I remember to grab them when I run into the store. That also is the day I remember to grab the canvas bag I keep in the car so I don't have to use plastic bags. My cludgy memory is helping keep the plastics industry in business.

#678 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:26 PM:

Bruce (StM): Yee-ikes. "Different paths," indeed.

..."Black sheep," indeed! (Hilarious!)

#679 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:27 PM:

#673: I'm coveting that stole myself, trying to think how many people I can make it for to justify buying it for myself.

Re plastic bags - we keep all the ones we bring home and they get used to double bag smelly garbage, pick up dog poo, and transport items short distances. I usually have a fabric shopping bag inside my handbagbag for small numbers of items, but mostly I carry a bag big enough to carry home several kilos of shopping anyway. I really love these bags: Envirosax.

#680 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Lexica, #673:
I've been coveting a cabled-sleeve cardigan for a while. I have seriously been considering turning Durrowat Magknits into a cardigan. I didn't know about Mariah - thanks!

Regarding plastic bags: I've started being pretty diligent about refusing bags and/or bringing a reusable bag to the store, to the point where now I've got to find solutions for small bin liners and kitty litter disposal. The current tactic is to get my parents (who neither avoid getting plastic bags nor recycle them very frequently) to share some of their stash. I haven't figured out how to explain to my father why I'm going to the trouble of avoiding getting bags if it leads to the trouble of getting bags from elsewhere.

#681 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:31 PM:

Todd Larason @ 645

Ah, never forget, Google is your friend. Look here for a list of movies made in Oregon between 1915 and 1997. I'd forgotten about "Zero Effect", which somehow put Vista House, which is out in the Columbia Gorge, perched practically in the middle of the air, in downtown Portland.

#682 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Lee mentions good things to do with plastic grocery bags in #670.

I use them (and newspaper bags) instead of plastic wrap in many applications. Not to actually wrap food in, but to seal a dish or pot full of leftovers.

When the amount of bags I have accumulated gets rediculous, I make a special dog-walk to a nearby grocery that has a great recycling area. (They take certain types of plastic bottles and tubs that apartment bins don't.)

I plan on getting reusable bags, but I don't like the ones I've seen. I may just deploy my collection of trade-show tote bags.

#683 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:41 PM:

We've got a canvas tube thing which we stuff plastic grocery bags into, pulling from the bottom as needed for trash can liners and other assorted uses. I used to have hundreds, but finally got into the habit of taking them down to Safeway to recycle along with the newspapers I take to the neighborhood school for the same reason.

#684 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:51 PM:

I too use plastic grocery bags (often doubled) to dispose of cat litter trash.

I recently purchased two large canvas bags from my local grocery, and I bring them with me when I go shopping. I am no longer accumulating plastic bags, not in the quantity I once did, anyway.

I donate plastic bags to the pottery studio I work at. Potters and sculptors can always use plastic bags.

#685 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:21 PM:

We usually get paper bags because we need them to hold glass bottles and small pieces of paper and cardboard for recycling. Sometimes I forget to tell the cashier* and I end up with plastic bags; I use them to store things in the fridge, or to hold parts of my lunch when I go to work.** And if (when) we have some left over, we put them in a basket until the neighborhood plastics recycling day. Then we get all the old recyclable plastic out and take it down to the pickup point, usually a couple of miles from here at Portland Community College. We'd need to do that anyway, since the morning paper is delivered wrapped in a plastic bag.§


* who's also the bagger, which is why I don't mind at all that someone else is bagging; some of these people have been doing it for decades; they know their business.
** I don't like to assemble a sandwich or a salad in the morning to take to work; they usually get soggy and stale. So I put the individual parts in separate bags and assemble at lunchtime.
§ Six months out of the year it's either that or don't bother with the paper; it'll be a soggy mess by the time I wake up. Comes from living in a temperate rain forest.

#686 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:54 PM:

Our local food bank really appreciates donations of plastic or paper bags.

#687 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Tote bags are used as premiums for donations to various non-profits and for subscriptions to magazines. I have ones from the local public radio station, Sports Illustrated, the local medical center where I once spent a night, and from the World Wildlife Fund.

Remembering to throw one of them in the car when I head for the grocery store is another question altogether.

#688 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:11 AM:

The title William Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine sounded familiar — why, yes, that's the one with this entry, for "Retreat":


RETREAT, the order or disposition in which a fleet of French men of war decline engagement, or fly from a pursuing enemy. The reader, who wishes to be expert in this manoeuvre, will find it copiously described by several ingenious French writers, particularly L'Hôte, Saverien, Morogues, Bourdé, and Ozane; who have given accurate instructions, deduced from experience, for putting it in practice when occasion requires. As it is not properly a term of the British marine, a more circumstantial account of it might be considered foreign to our plan.

Made of snark!

#689 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:43 AM:

ethan, #617, although I don't like the idea that we all have to use a function that doesn't exist locally, I do love the Busby Berkeley-style choreography and photography from above.

Heresiarch, #620, the reason it happens in lessons and not models is where your tongue is at the end of the singular word.

C. Wingate, #643, I'm normally a fan of technology -- I use the machine at the post office all the time -- but one look at the self-checkout lanes at the Giant and I stuck to the 15 or fewer lane. Not only do I have to tell it too many things, but it doesn't have the judgement that the cashiers do.

Xopher, #649, Lexica, #652, my grocery takes their plastic bags plus the newspaper bags for recycling so I don't worry about using the plastic bags. Plus, most of the reusable bags are big enough that I would spend time telling the cashiers I can't carry things that heavy.

C. Wingate, #654, does that mean you have two sets of opposable thumbs?

As for using plastic bags for cat waste disposal, I use litter that is flushable.

And as for tote bags, I just bought one with the new Girl Genius Art Nouveau picture on it! (Interesting that there's left-handed and right-handed mugs -- makes sense!)

#690 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Marilee @ 688... To be fair, the self-checkout machines can be useful if you have only a few items, and the human-operated checkouts are all busy. But they can also be extremely annoying if you first went to the drugstore located within the store. Try to take the already-paid-for medications past the scanner and the latter has a fit and someone has to come and reassure the poor little device that you're not a criminal mastermind out to destroy everything that is good and decent about America.

#691 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:15 AM:

Serge @ 623: "I was thinking more in terms of one who could be on the side of the Good Guys, but, like the Atomic Bomb, you have to handle it very carefully."

Ah, I see. I always imagine that dragons range from sociopathically evil to grudgingly good (but still perfectly willing to eat you if you irritate them). Above all, they should be powerful, capricious,* and arrogant.

I feel about social, friendly dragons the same way I feel about happy, feel-good magic. It's fun, but in some ways it feels a little flat. If it doesn't exact a price, it violates my sense of universal balance. You can't let wonder into the world without letting in a little terror too.

*I was REALLY glad when that line worked.

Xopher @ 647: See, that's the word-nerd response I was hoping for, full of nasal-air consonants and suchlike. Thanks!

Lee @ 637: I probably only thought it might be it's own syllable because I'm studying Chinese, which has some free-floating consonants, including "s." All I'm really sure about is that is messed up the line, which made me curious.

#692 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:47 AM:

When I attended LACon III back in '96, I got a tote bag with an icon of a big-headed Little Green Man in a Vitruvian-Man pose. It said, "Alien Life Detected! We Come in Peace." I didn't know what it was at first -- it turned out to be a promotional item for the movie Mars Attacks. When I remember, I use it for groceries now. My local groceries give a 5 cent credit for a reused bag, and at the rate I'm going I should make back what I spent on going to the con in a couple of centuries.

#693 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 06:29 AM:

Questions regarding non-gender-specific pronouns:

Do people actually say "hir" and "sie" out loud, in everyday conversation?

Won't they be confusingly misheard as "her" and "he"?

What's wrong with "them" and "they"?

*is genuinely puzzled by this*

#694 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 06:51 AM:

WRT plastic bags, morsbags.com have a quick and easy pattern for making your own reusable bags. I've made a few for friends (and me) this year and they really are quick and easy. Very handy for a quick trip to the grocers, newsagents, etc. And they seem to stand up well to heavy loads too.

#695 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 07:18 AM:

As one on whom gender-neutral pronouns are often used, I can report that "hir" and "sie" are pronounced sort of like "hear" and "zee". But they do not make the most sense to me, as such words go. Probably because I know a little German, which has a sie of its own.

I tend for my own use to prefer zer, ze, and zem, also spellable with exxes in place of the zeds. Others, however, may call it as they like.

#696 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:08 AM:

Terry@619: What machine have you got

It's a Breadman Plus. I was googling just now, and I see that I'll have to look for a Model Number somewhere on the machine.

In related news, I tried another loaf last night. I must have screwed up the first one, because this one weighed in at 750 grams. I'll blame it on the digital scale's "zero" feature, which seems a little flaky. last night I just weighed my measuring cup when it was empty (107 grams) and then added 107 to whatever weight I needed.

Also, I tried "proofing" the yeast by putting it in water for a while before putting it into the mixer. I'll have to google around for that, because I don't think it foamed or anything, at least not in any big way. But the bread came out with little bubbles in it, like normal bread, so I assume the yeast did something. But it did seem a little dense.

I guess I was expecting it to foam up like whip cream on hot cocoa or something.

Oh well. Back to the lab.

#697 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:48 AM:

Sliding the topic from plastic bags to cat litter to sewage treatment...

I tried using flushable litter to avoid having to carry out cat litter, but my toilet won't flush the clumps of urine. So for a little while I just flushed poo.

Part of my reasoning was that I've seen it argued many times that we shouldn't use disposable diapers because landfills are not designed for dealing with feces, but the sewage system is. Then I discovered that flushing cat litter is implicated in sea otter deaths in California. Apparently a parasite common in cat feces is ending up in the ocean and killing the sea otters. I stopped flushing anything.

Why the heck is a parasite making it to the ocean alive? Is it because the sewage system is optimized for human waste, and there's nothing in the system designed to kill this parasite since it doesn't come from humans? Or is it that raw or partly raw sewage is being dumped into the ocean and the otters are paying the price? I'm kind of annoyed by the idea that semi-raw sewage is hitting the ocean, killing animals, and the answer is "Don't flush cat litter, and oh, by the way, collect feces from feral and outdoor cats too, so it doesn't end up in the storm drains and kill sea otters."

I also wonder - should I even be worried about this locally? I'm fairly inland, but Atlanta's water treatment is notoriously poor. So I carry the litter to the dumpster in a plastic bag.

No wonder so many people don't bother to try to be green. It is damn hard.

#698 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:02 AM:

Once upon a time there was a movie called Innocent Blood, a vampire flick purportedly set in Pittsburgh. I say "purportedly" because it got the geography even more wrong than stuff set in this town usually does. Highlights included:
* driving along the same stretch of four-lane divided highway about five times in the course of one car chase (because there's only so much four-lane divided highway anywhere near downtown)
* going in the inbound lane of one tunnel, through a tube in a second, out the outbound lane of the first tunnel onto a bridge that is inbound-ward of yet a third tunnel, and making a sharp left into the parking lot of a motel in a suburb ten miles away
* a character demanding "How do I get to [Neighborhood A]" whereupon the action immediately cuts to a very distinctive intersection in [Neighborhood B]
* entering a restaurant downtown and passing through the interior of a restaurant in the Strip District
* the Vegas-esque neon sign on the downtown strip club (our downtown doesn't have room for strip clubs, being roughly ten blocks by twelve)
* the conflation of the train station and the old county jail, both as standins for the city morgue
* and (though it's not a geography problem per se) the seriously-meant involvement of the large and important Pittsburgh Mob.

#699 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Wastewater is... ew. Plants are designed so they'll get most of everything done, but some always makes it through. The plants are made to handle a certain flow on average days, and to be able to handle a much larger flow for rainstorms. But if there's a huge storm, a lot of plants can't treat the wastewater effectively, not if they're also dealing with storm drain runoff. They have a choice of sending everything through the plant, where it will not stay long enough to be treated and will probably break the treatment process, or bypassing the plant and sending the raw wastewater out. I'm not sure how things like combined sewer systems, where your drain and the street drain lead into the same pipe, or separated ones, affect the entire process.
I expect that the parasite is getting through by being in a spore or spore-ish form. If its normal life cycle includes living outside a host, waiting to be ingested by another one, it must be in a fairly hardy form. Is it Toxoplasma? It's the only cat-related parasite I know.

I'm still looking for a cat litter that both clumps effectively and keeps the smell down. I have two kinds right now, one for each goal.

#700 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:51 AM:

RM #639:

The DC Metro shifted over to having all their parking paid for with prepaid cards. (You can buy the cards with cash from a machine in the stations.) This followed a big scandal, where it turned out that the cashiers had stolen lots of money over many years. I guess it was easier to just eliminate most employees' opportunity to see any cash than to fire the guilty ones and institute proper controls, though it seems odd that Wal-Mart and McDonalds can manage proper controls, but the DC metro system can't. (This may have been a politically acceptable way of firing all those people, which might make sense if the previous controls were so bad, there was no way of knowing who was dishonest.)

#701 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Diatryma, #698:

Yes, Toxoplasma. And thanks for your thoughts on it. I can certainly see that there has to be a "good enough" point and that storm runoff would affect it. I feel a little better about the whole thing, but I'm thinking that I'll keep not-flushing.

My kitty stops covering his business if the box gets more than two uses, so I'm not as clear on how well it works for the poo smells, but the clumping litter I'm using is extremely effective against ammonia smell. It's called Odor Lockers and even when I scoop, I don't smell ammonia, only pine. I think it makes nice solid clumps, too. (This is the flushable litter that my toilet can't flush. YMMV.)

albatross, #699:
Hm. I wonder if that was any of the motivation at my work? I would have thought the business was a small-enough scale that theft wouldn't go unnoticed, but you never know.

Our cards have a system where you can add cash to an existing card from a machine as well, but it irked me to have to stand in line to get to a machine to tell me how much was left on my card, stand in line to get cash out of the ATM, stand in line (at the first machine again) to add cash to the card, and then have no small bills or change to use in the vending machines upstairs. They had the nerve to tell us it was "just like a credit card." I started bringing my lunch.

I wonder if the prepaid parking has reduced usage of DC Metro?

#702 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Diatryma (#698), re search for good kitty litter: Tidy Cats "Multiple Cats" (the one with the red lid) works fine for us -- we only have one cat, but Emperor Horton is huge. Of course, we live in a dry climate, and smells might be worse where it's humid.

#703 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:42 AM:

It's a lot easier to put the cat-litter clumps into a bag (I double-bagged it) and put it in the trash. (I don't think any of the local dumpster-divers will bother with it.) Plastic bread bags work pretty well for this; if I dumped all the litter, I used larger bags. This also gets rid of plastic bags ....

#704 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Last night, one local TV station reported on an old man who may have exposed himself to kids on the streets. They kind of undermined their own reporting by displaying the man's photo with the caption 'supsected flasher'. That's Albuquerque for you.

#705 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Just heard on the BBC: Deborah Kerr has died at 86.

#706 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:57 PM:

My thoughts on /y/a/o/i/ grocery sacks:

I hate the plastic ones. I'm pretty sure one could do a study of human impact which traced nothing but the frequency of plastic grocery sacks hung up in vegetation. However, I do not do much of the grocery shopping, since I do not drive and live at the top of a steep hill and, of late, my right knee has taken to folding up and dumping me on my face while walking downhill. My husband shops; my husband loves plastic grocery bags, which he uses in preference to a briefcase or file box or sock and underwear drawer. So they get into the house at a rate that makes it necessary to drag a pile of them to Fred Meyer's (see Tania, above) and stuff them in the bag recycling bin at least twice a month.

This is despite using them for trash can liners and garden tools: there's nothing quite as handy for transporting divided perennials than doubled grocery sacks. They also work nicely to isolate the flowering tops of weeds on their way to the dump or other permanent disposal, or to tie over the tops of standing perennials which one wants seed from (to be cut off the plant and hung to dry before company comes, of course).

Paper sacks work for long-term storage of fruits and winter vegetables in much the same way wooden boxes used to be used (damn, I miss peach and apple boxes of the old style!) but also are much desired by the local food-bank.

And my friend the paper artist at the Oly Farmer's Market takes plastic newspaper bags with gratitude.

#707 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Serge #704: That reminds me of a road sign I saw once in Kingston, New York: 'DETUOR'.

#708 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:06 PM:

Fragano @ 704... Thanks for telling us. I should probably watch our DVD of King Solomon's Mine tonight. Maybe Turner Classic Movies will show Black Narcissus.

#709 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Serge, I'm queueueueueing* up the soundtrack from The King and I. Maybe I'll get John to watch From Here to Eternity this weekend.

Oh, annual review went fine, one reference to the fiasco, no "dress code" issues, so I got a 4% pay raise. Which means I'm possibly keeping up with inflation.

*just for you, ethan

#710 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Thanks, Tania. I consider myself an educator.

#711 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Thanks, Tania. I consider myself an educator.

#712 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:43 PM:

I use plastic bags for lunch sacks and for keeping project materials together. Once they get holes, I can get rid of them with a clean conscience. (They get either filled with something that has mass, or stuffed into a larger bag that's going out, and the top tied to keep the contents inside, either way. Landfill operators are happier when the bags aren't blowing around.)

#713 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Tania... Glad to hear about the review. As for the dress code, it may not have been an issue, but no more wearing warrior-princess outfits to work, eh?

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:32 PM:

Did ML just have an episode of unavailability?

#715 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:44 PM:

#713: I don't know if it was the site itself or some intermediate node along the way, but I had problems reaching ML for a while.

Also, I hope the rumors are true that there will be another Serenity movie. (I do wonder how Joss is going to involve the entire original cast though.)

#716 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Serge @ 713

Sure looked like it from here. (I had trouble with another site, too.)

#717 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:50 PM:

re 688/689: Giant's self-checkout machines are designed for hopeless idiots who've never used anything of the sort before. They fight you vigorously if you make any attempt at getting them to move faster, so there's no benefit gained from knowing how to use them; and heaven help you if you have anything that doesn't have a barcode or a number on it. Add that to my Luddite reluctance to put a $20 bill in a machine, and I only use them if the express lines are really bad, I have exactly one (scannable) item, and I can pay for it with a fiver or less. They also say to me that "we don't think that getting you out of the store quickly is a high priority." Bloom (Food Lion's sorry attempt at an upscale store) has scanners that you can take with you, but you have to sign up for them. The only Bloom near us is one that I only ever stop at on the way home from work to pick up an item or two, so I'll never find out how well this works.

Back when we had cats, our solution to the litterbox problem was those liners that wrap all the way around the box. You turn it inside out when "emptying" the box, so you end up with a bag of poo. In our county the trash goes to a co-generating incinerator, so if you use a non-clay litter it all gets tourned into electricity. The toxoplasmosis/otter thing looks real, but one has to wonder how much of a factor the feral cat population is.

#718 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:54 PM:

John Chu @ 714... I'm all for another Serenity movie, even if it's a direct-to-video release.

#719 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:08 PM:

Squeeeeeeeeee!!! to the possibility of the Serenity movie, though I should know never to get my hopes up this far in advance when my beloved Jossypoo is involved.

Glad to hear that the departed characters will likely be involved. As to how, well, death has never* stopped his characters before...

*OK, make that rarely.

#720 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Speaking of Serenity, did anyone else catch Death at a Funeral? A naked Alan Tudyk was in that (he accidentally ingested a psychedelic), and he was very funny in a very funny movie.

#721 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:17 PM:

John @714: Four guesses: ghosts, simulations, flashbacks, or a prequel to Serenity.

#722 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 06:16 PM:

OK, anyone know what law can be used to make this loser stop following my boyfriend around? I looked up stalking, but at least in NJ and PA it seems to be about causing the person fear of some kind ("reasonable fear of bodily injury" is a phrase they use a lot), and this guy just won't leave my boy alone. He just wants to "hang out" (i.e. hook up).

Needless to say, my boy has told him repeatedly that he wants nothing to do with him, and to please stop calling, emailing, and texting. The last message from Loserboy came hand-delivered by one of his bodyguards (Loserboy is from a super-rich family).

Today someone in a Lincoln town car with tinted windows was following my BF as he drove to work. (Yes, we're sure. Nonsensical changes of direction were all copied by the tail.) For reasons I won't go into, my boy was able to get some coppage on this fairly quickly, but it's really out of hand.

I told him to talk to the family lawyer and see about getting a C&D (cc'd to the guy's wealthy parents, in hopes they'll decide he should live in Switzerland for a couple of years), but I don't know enough about the law to know what can be done.

Anyone?

#723 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 06:39 PM:

Xopher, I think that sort of thing is 'reasonable fear of bodily injury', as in if your bf keeps refusing, the bodyguards (or their body-guardee) might resort to beating him up.

I wouldn't hesitate to call in legal fire, at this point. It looks like a reasonable (not to mention normal) thing to do. Following someone around is not-normal behavior in a big way.

#724 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 06:40 PM:

madeline,

What's wrong with "them" and "they"?

"he" used to be the proper pronoun for someone of neutral gender, until about thirty years ago (i remember a lesson in elementary school english class, where "everyone turned in his paper" was the correct answer, but since this was already the eighties, that sounded wrong to everyone, including the teacher).

since the paradigm shift thanks to second-wave feminism, etc., "he" isn't neutral anymore, & we effectively have no correct neuter singular pronoun. people who care about gender equality or more-than-two genders have tried to introduce various new words to fill this hole, "sie," "tey," etc. "it" is disrespectful, & "they" is plural, which matters to people who care about clear & correct grammar.

nevertheless, i think we're heading for an english where "they" is officially both singular & plural.

#725 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Greg: Pretty much proofing yeast isn't needed. It won't act like vinegar and baking soda.

If you feel the need to test the yeast, it takes about 10 minutes to find out. You will get some bubbles, but not a serious foam.

For the machines, as a rule, the yeast ought to go in dry. Because of how the liquids work in a machine, unless the yeast is in with a lots of available foods (wet flour, or sugars) the yeast will be weakened, and the rise will be reduced.

That's because the time for rising is timed. If you did it by hand you could just wait until the reduced amount of yeast in the starter caught up to what you needed, but the machines don't allow for that.

#726 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Serge, oddly enough... I used to have a plastic sword with giant plastic jewels in a decorated cardboard scabbard that was taped to the side of my desk. I would use it to smite the unworthy. The sword was a gift from a co-worker who said I reminded her of Xena. The scabbard was a lunchtime craft projeect my student assistants put together. The sword now resides in a box at home, waiting to be set free in a workplace that appreciates all it stands for.

The hospital also isn't that keen on Halloween costumes. Boo, hiss.

I use the self-checkout all the time, with no problems. Often enough that I know the produce codes and bulk foods SKUs. Fast, no hassles. If I have coupons, clearance, damaged goods, or something else unusual, I go to a real cashier.

#727 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:45 PM:

I just got home from seeing The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising. Terrible. Terrible. I could handle big changes to the story if it had been in the service of a good movie, but it was Beyond Being Bad. Awful. Not even Christopher Eccleston managed to do anything halfway worthwhile. I bet even Serge couldn't find anything to like in it.

They've also changed things so very much that I can't imagine that they'll ever be able to adapt the rest of the series to make sense with this one.

#728 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:25 PM:

R.M. Koske, #696, I hadn't heard that. I'll ask our city's water people about it.

#729 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:37 PM:

miriam 723: Singular 'they' has a long history in English. It's attested back to the the 14th Century. It's only comparatively recently that the prescriptive grammarians* have started kvetching about it.


*You know, the people who insist that you mustn't split an infinitive, end a sentence with a preposition, or violate any of the other rules that can be "mechanically applied by semi-literates."

#730 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:48 PM:

P J 722: The tail turned out to be the same bodyguard that showed up yesterday. Loserboy's father found out, and Loserboy is going to have to take a polygraph test, because apparently he denies stalking my boy. I hope his father tears him a new one.

#731 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:57 PM:

#726: Even the trailer for "The Dark is Rising" looked shabby.

I hope "The Golden Compass" lives up to the promise of its great-looking trailer.

#732 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:01 PM:

xopher,

thanks for the link! i'm long since persuaded that "grammar" is what people speak, but there are some usages which put my teeth on edge. they-singular always felt right, & i'm glad to hear it is.

#733 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Can't think of another place for this, so: just got back from a fiction workshop where the money quote for my work was--

This is "like Tor edtions of Conan the Barbarian."

So I told Janet Fitch that I would be certain to let Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden know she said that.

#734 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:48 AM:

Xopher @ 728

the people who insist that you mustn't split an infinitive, end a sentence with a preposition, or violate any of the other rules that can be "mechanically applied by semi-literates

Oh, you mean those doofusses who read "Crepuscular Mechanics" every month, moving their lips with the pictures they look at?

#735 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:52 AM:

Tania @ 725

I used to have a plastic sword at work too. It was +2 to hit versus Management, quite handy in my work.

Who says you shouldn't wear your Warrior Princess duds at work? How else will you know you're ready to handle the odd corporate raider?

#736 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:21 AM:

@Xopher (728), re: grammarians who insist one must not split infinitives... I was just talking about that with my students the other day. It's because of the old Latin construction of verbs, no? Is that incorrect?

Regardless, I told them not to worry about it. I've told them, in fact, that they can do whatever they like, writing-wise, so long as they can get away with it.

#737 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:50 AM:

A.J.Luxton #694: I tend for my own use to prefer zer, ze, and zem, also spellable with exxes in place of the zeds.

But does that work in everyday conversation? If you were to use any of those words with me I suspect I'd mis-hear them as "her", "he" and "them".

Xopher, miriam -- thanks! I'm still smarting over a correction made to one of my English Lit. essays, 20 years ago, where the teacher crossed out "they" and replaced it with "he".

What I'm thinking of is the kind of unthinking, natural conversation where they, them and their fit so well:

"One of my friends is being published by Penguin."

"Oh yeah? Who's their agent?"

Does that really jar? Do the people who bother about it when it's written down still bother about it when they're speaking?

#738 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 07:21 AM:

'They/them' works almost all the time, but there are a few instances I can think of where it doesn't:

"A.J. bought their lunch" sounds like I bought lunch for two-plus other people, rather than my own. Rendered with a name, it jars rather a bit.

And anywhere the sentence is set up for either singular or plural, 'they' sort of implies plurality, leading to potential misunderstandings.

Don't get me wrong, I know someone who uses it as their pronoun. There are just these grammatical holes.

Ze/zer/zem do work better as written than spoken words, but even if a person heard the words as 'he, her, them' it would still work out to a neutral after about a paragraph or so (once they figured out the subject of all these pronouns was the same person) -- which means they 'taste' like a neutral all rolled together, even when misheard.

Mmm, words. *smacks lips*

#739 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:53 AM:

737 AJ:

IMO, clarity of what you're trying to say trumps all gramatical rules. On one hand, gender neutrality often makes writing more awkward and harder to read, and deserves to be ditched. On the other hand, sometimes a big part of what you're trying to get across in some writing is that some person you're discussing might be of either gender, in which case it makes sense to use "they" or something to make that clear.

In crypto papers, it's very common to alternate genders of made-up characters in some description, so that "Alice generates a public key, and sends it to Bob, who forwards it to Carol." The advantage here is that so long as you have only two parties, you can use "he" and "she" to describe them. To push it a little further, you can have Alice, Bob, and the computer, thus getting she, he, and it. Or you can include the second person singular so you get we, she, he.

At any rate, I have my doubts that gender-neutral language has much effect, but we seem to be moving that way. Each writer should decide how (he,sie,they,s/he,he/she,he or she) will react to these changes to the language.

#740 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:22 AM:

Tania @ 725... The sword was a gift from a co-worker who said I reminded her of Xena.

What? Nobody donated that round killing thing (as it was called in the episode where Lawless played a dippy princess who had to pretend she was Xena).

I can well imagine what people would say if I displayed my gladius in my office. It's a reproduction, but its point is very sharp. I'd probably get a visit from building security. Or someone envious would steal the sword before Sec heard about it

#741 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:29 AM:

albatross @738:
gender neutrality often makes writing more awkward and harder to read

In university, I realized there was a version of gender neutral language that I called "church gender neutrality"*

The point of cgn was to be awkward and clunky on the ear. Otherwise, who would know we were being all gender-neutral and enlightened? It was active vandalism of the language to make a point.

It took me years to get over my aversion to gender neutral language.

------
* I attended the Newman center (Catholic student church) in Berkeley in the early 1990's. You would not believe some of the things that went on. I still don't.

#742 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:40 AM:

Gender neutrality... Things work differently in other languages. In French, for example, the words themselves have a gender and that's what determines which possessive will be used, not the bioplumbing of the owner. So, since 'turtle' is a feminine word in French, and if Bob and Anna each have a turtle, each person's turtle will be referred to as her turtle.

#743 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 10:46 AM:

When a 30ish Phoenix newswoman reported the death of Deborah Kerr, she pronounced it to rhyme with "cur," not "car". Made me feel old.

#744 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Simon Pegg is going to play Montgomery Scott in JJ Abrams's Star Trek movie. Woohoo!!!

#745 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:13 PM:

A.J., I think that they is used in situations where the gender of the antecedent is unspecified.

For example, "Nancy bought her lunch." I am female, so I used her. If we don't know the gender of the person, use they/their, e.g. "Someone left their lunch on the table."

#746 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Xopher @ 729

We can hope. I'm rooting for legalities involving loserboy and his bodyguards, minus your bf.

#747 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 01:30 PM:

Serge: Bones and Kirk have been cast, too: Karl Urban as Doc, and Chris Pine as Kirk. The former makes me think that some time before TOS the doctor must have suffered a wasting disease, and the latter (after I looked up the young man in imdb) that he's got way too much hair and the wrong eye color to grow up to be William Shatner.

*sigh*

Movies. What can one do?

#748 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Will 735: Yes, it's because Latin verbs are single words. But English Latin same not is (note that they do NOT argue for Latin syntax in English in the general case, the numbskulls).

Madeline 736: I'm still smarting over a correction made to one of my English Lit. essays, 20 years ago, where the teacher crossed out "they" and replaced it with "he".

Well, one still has to please one's teacher if one wants a good grade. That may mean doing stupid things from time to time, like writing a whole sentence with 'one' instead of 'you' like a nawmul puhs'n.

A.J. 737: If you know someone's name, you generally know their gender as well. I'm not advocating 'they' as the pronoun for specific individuals! Online, of course, we don't always know the gender of a specific individual (I don't know or don't remember yours, for example). Online writing is more tolerant of neologisms, though, so I'd use 's/he' and 'hir' in such a case, or more likely just avoid the whole thing by addressing the person directly: 'you' is nicely genderless.

Serge 741: Wow, that IS weird. I never knew that. In languages I know, the pronoun has its own gender, but takes an ending dependent on the gender of the following noun (and the case etc.). So frex in German, 'his machine' would be 'seine Maschine', and 'his pencil' would be 'sein Bleistift'; if a female owns the machine and the pencil, they would be 'ihre Maschine' and 'ihr Bleistift' respectively.

You're saying that the French equivalents of 'ihr' (fem. owner masc. noun) and 'seine' (the reverse) do not exist. Is that really what you meant? Because if so I really have to hang my head in shame that I didn't know something so unusual about French.

Nancy 744: Just so! Well put.

P J 745: From your keyboard to the gods' monitors.

#749 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 01:41 PM:

There is another potential gender-neutral situation that many people seem to be not noticing here, and I'm wondering if I've missed something in A.J.'s response, or if I'm the only one who didn't miss it.

I thought A.J. and Madeline were talking about a situation where A.J., the individual, is standing in front of you. A.J. has chosen not to identify with either gender, and you need a pronoun.

Did I misunderstand the discussion?

#750 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Nearly 750 comments. We need a new open thread, Ms. Shoemaker.

So Jesus Christ walks into a bar...

#751 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 01:59 PM:

re #740: oh, yes I would!

If you believe Thomas Day, part of the reason why RC church English is so clunky is because they like it that way.

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Xopher... No need to hang your head in shame. Anyway, here's an example.

so-and-so lifts his/her turtle (and 'turtle' is feminine)

Patrick soulève sa tortue.
Teresa soulève sa tortue.

so-and-so lifts his/her computer (and 'computer' is masculine)

Patrick soulève son ordinateur.
Teresa soulève son ordinateur.

#753 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:00 PM:

JESR 746: And Anton Yelchin as Chekov! Kudos to them for casting someone who can actually speak Russian. I sure hope he's only in the later parts (where Leonard Nimoy plays Spock etc.), though...Chekov would have been in grade school, if that, when Kirk was in the Academy, and Anton Yelchin isn't THAT young.

#754 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:05 PM:

JESR... Xopher... Physically, none of the cast looks like they'd grow up to look like the original actors. As long as they can act... I'm not that keen on Karl Urban as McCoy, but then again I wasn't that keen on him as Eomer.

Heck... We've had James Bond played by dissimilar actors, and I remember some people being very unhappy at the idea of a blond Bond, and who cared once he was on screen?

#755 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:05 PM:

Xopher @747: Yes. In French, the only third-person possessives are son (his/her/their, masculine noun), sa (his/her/their, feminine noun) and ses (his/her/their, plural noun).

Same is true in Spanish, to an even greater extent: both masculine and feminine are su and plural is sus. Possessives only different gender in first & second person plural forms, but in those cases distinguish masculine plural and feminine plural (nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras for first person and v- instead of n- for second person, neatly following the pattern that "we" is nosotros and "you (pl)" is vosotros).

#756 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Serge @751: 'computer' is masculine

Somebody made a mistake there. Pretty sure I have an ordinatrice here. :)

#757 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Serge and Xopher, I think Sisto has a small resembance to Nimoy, but as for the others... oh, well, as the suits always say "only the hard core fans will care, and they're a tiny part of any audience."

I should be used to being marginalized by now, but, you know, not so much.

#758 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Serge, Jules: when I studied French it all made sense that words would have gender (or else Mr. McConnell made sense explaining it), but 40 years on I'm not so sure. Since he was still alive a year or so ago (he found himself mentioned in my blog in a thread extolling teachers) maybe I should write him and ask him to explain it again.

#759 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:20 PM:

I'm actually one of those throwbacks who is happy to use "one" instead of "you". I would tend to use the latter when the addressee is part of the class from which the putative individual is drawn.

I'm happy enough to use the "pluralist" solution; all I ask is that people leave what is already written alone.

#760 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:27 PM:

JESR @ 756... When I showed my wife who'd play Spock, her reaction was that this Quinto guy was way too good-looking. As for your being one of them hardcore fans... Well, who knows? You might actually love the movie. My one wish is that they would reboot the whole darn thing, like they did for James Bond.

#761 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Me @755: Ah. It looks like the mistake was IBM's. They chose the word, after asking advice from a linguistics professor. The professor suggested both ordinateur and ordinatrice, expressing his preference for the latter, but IBM decided to use the masculine form, and the rest's history. Source, in case I missed any subtleties in the translation.

#762 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Serge and Jules: OK, what you're saying is that possessive pronouns don't have their OWN gender in French (and Spanish). I didn't know that either, but it's not as huge a gap. (I thought the 'son'/'sa' was a sandhi like English 'an'/'a' -- I'm sure glad I never really acted on that assumption!)

It actually makes French easier to learn. Would that English had pronouns like that!

Now if only I could find a Pimsleur course for Quebec* French. I love Montreal and have no particular interest in going to France, so the Parisian variety is of much less use to me.

*Forgive me; I can't remember which way the accents go in that one.

#763 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:39 PM:

r.m.,

Did I misunderstand the discussion?

that's the way i understood it. i've gathered from conversations around here that aj doesn't (on the internet & in real life) identify as either male or female, if they can help it. but maybe others didn't know that.

aj, i see your problem with "they." as i see it, "they" is pretty much a done deal for what a hypothetical person or a person of unknown gender is called. i'd guess the "sies" & the "zes," then, will keep being used by a very limited group, & will be seen as speaking of a third or middle gender, rather than neutral.

#764 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Jules... I think 'ordinateur' originally was a term that refers to God as being the one who brings order to things. Order... Obviously the person who had that brilliant idea never worked in the wonderful world of computer programming.

#765 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Speaking of computers... How is Faren's Computer doing?

#766 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Xopher @ 761... Now if only I could find a Pimsleur course for Quebec* French.

Maybe I could teach you to swear like a French-Canadian. No scatology, but lots of references to elements of catholicism.

#767 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Serge: I'm more interested in "Pardon me, Sir, but which way is the subway?" and "Is this dish entirely vegetarian?"* Also, my friends Henry and Renée tell me there are some absolutely wonderful cartoons which are available only in Canadian French.

*And perhaps "Would you like to come to my hotel with me," but only if my current relationship meets with disaster and I decide to go slutting in Montréal.

#768 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Xopher #729 What Big Daddy may be more worried about is a civil suit.

Hope this is resolved soon. There's nothing like feeling you have to watch every step, for fear of tripping over someone you don't want to deal with, espceially with that someone is so completely insensitive to your reactions to the situation.

#769 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Xopher @ 766...

"Pardon me, Sir, but which way is the subway?"
"Mes excuses, monsieur, mais où se trouve le Métro?"

"Is this dish entirely vegetarian?"
"Ce plat est-il entièrement végétarien?"

And the most important one...

"Would you like to come to my hotel with me?"
"Aimeriez-vous venir avec moi à mon hôtel?"

#770 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:11 PM:

fidelio 767: I hope so. And that's why I told my boy to talk to HIS family lawyer and see about a C&D (cc'd to Big Daddy). Right now, Loserboy's mendacity is serving him well.

Serge 768: Thanks. There's no way you can teach me the accent in writing, of course...and do you really say 'vous' to someone you're inviting to your room for a night of passion? I had understood that the Quebecois did rather less vouvoiement then the French. And I'm not planning on asking a whole group! :-)

#771 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Xopher @ 769... True. Not much vouvoiement in Quebec, but plenty of tutoyage. In that case, and assuming you're not planning to invite more than one person:

"Would you like to come to my hotel with me?"
"Aimerais-tu venir avec moi à mon hôtel?"

A word of warning... The French noun for 'kiss' is 'baiser'. Be careful about using 'baiser' as a verb as it then means 'to fuck'. Don't ask me why. The less crude verb for 'to kiss' is 'embrasser'. Not 'embarasser', unless you are planning to kiss then to embarass.

#772 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Serge @ 770

Ah, I see that 'embarasser' does the same in French as (I understand) 'embarazar' in Spanish.

(Personal amusement: seeing a t-shirt which says, in large letters, 'Chinga su madre', and underneath that, in smaller letters, '(Have a nice day)'. Ohhh-kay.)

#773 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Serge at 759: In fact, the hardcore Trek fan in my house is my husband; he only pays attention to other SF/F if it features Claudia Black, Amy Acker, or Alyson Hannigan. (Although he's developed an interest in "Chuck" which gives me hope he may be branching out).

I'm just a visual distractor; if things don't look right, I can't pay attention to the plot or dialogue at all.

#774 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Xopher, run, don't walk, down to the bookstore and get yourself a copy of Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear, and read it this weekend, please.

It has lots of useful information about how to deal with this type of situation.

#775 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Serge: So "Here's a kiss for now; I'll fuck you later" would be witty wordplay in French?

#776 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:59 PM:

P J @ 771... I googled it and sure enough it means something very rude. The site where I found the translation felt it was necessary to add the comment: "Highly offensive to say the least. Not to be used unless you're ready to fight."

#777 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:04 PM:

"Here's a kiss for now; I'll fuck you later"
"Voici un baiser. Je vais te baiser plus tard."

News at Eleven! American man gets slapped in the face(*) in Montreal! President Bush declares war against Canada!

(*) A slap in the face is ''une gifle'.

#778 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:10 PM:

JESR @ 772... Let's keep our fingers crossed. (By the way, would you know where one can find good Harry Mudd fanfic on the internet? Or is that a conceptual contradiction?)

#779 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Xopher, sounds unpleasant. I hope it gets fixed -- for whatever value of fixed, though lawyers are preferable to firearms -- soon.

#780 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:38 PM:

OK, everyone, as of now I'm away until probably Monday afteroon, so STOP POSTING now so I won't have a lot to catch up on when I get back. OK? Sound reasonable?

#781 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Serge @777: Tell you what, I'll ask my friend and beta Matthew, who's sort of my door to the wisdom of the elders of fandom (his mother illustrated Kirk/Spock fanzines) and who collects unusual fics. I got scared off Trek fandom within a year of my first online experience, and have avoided it since. I took a look at the Crack Van and found nothing there, except a tantalizing dead link to a Leslie Fish site.

#782 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Sounds good, JESR. As for you, ethan... Bwahahahah!!!

#783 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:43 PM:

R. M. Koske #748: I thought A.J. and Madeline were talking about a situation where A.J., the individual, is standing in front of you. A.J. has chosen not to identify with either gender, and you need a pronoun.

Did I misunderstand the discussion?

Yes! Sorry. I should've explained myself better.

I've noticed that some of the commenters here on ML make a point of using "hir" and "sie" when they're referring to off-stage people of unspecified gender. I was wondering if they happily used the same odd (to me, anyway) words when making everyday spoken conversation. If I started using "hir" or "sie" here on my rock no-one would understand me.

I hadn't thought at all about A.J.Luxton's situation of needing a gender-neutral pronoun for personal use. It's a completely different thing, isn't it? Traditional use of "they", "them" and "their" is for when you're referring to hypothetical or unknown people who could be of either gender. Not the same as referring to a specific and known person. I think I'd prefer "zer", "ze" and "zem" in that situation too.

It's just occured to me that perhaps the people who've been using "hir" and "sie" all this time were actually referring to specific and known gender-neutral people, and I've been misinterpreting them all along.

#784 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:47 PM:

Serge...I wouldn't say that to someone unless it was already pretty clear how the evening was going to go. In which case I'd expect a laugh, not a slap. And I'm not usually attracted to the sort of man who delivers slaps anyway.

#785 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:55 PM:

Xopher... True. By the way, when using the word 'baiser', no matter what the context, pronounce the 'S' like a 'Z'> If you don't, the other person might think you're saying 'baisser', which can mean 'go lower'. Unless that is what you want to say.

#786 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Aah! In that case, the answer to your original question (for me at least) is no, I don't usually use the new gender-neutral words in speech, but I'm also much less concerned about being grammatical in general when I'm talking.*

I haven't completely committed to using the new neutral pronoun forms in hypothetical situations in writing, but (in spite of the long tradition) using the plural pronouns for neutrals feels ungrammatical to me. When I can't avoid the situation without a really awkward sentence, sometimes I do use the neutral pronouns. I'm more likely to do it with less-traditional groups, where I think people are going to be more familiar with the entire concept of a person not choosing a gender. I need to just pick a solution and stick to it, I suppose.

*I'm southern enough that, when I'm with other southerners, I'll actually say "fixin' to."

#787 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 05:12 PM:

Xopher @ 747:

I'd love to see people lobbying for classical Greek syntax: fuzzy the cold mine fuzzy the head mine it makes.

As a movement, though, it would probably never work; it wouldn't fit on a bumper sticker at all.

#788 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 05:14 PM:

We're now up to 256 (2^8) extrasolar planets. I think that's darned shiny of the universe, and I shall be spending the weekend dancing portions of the complete new planets dance cycle*.

----------
* stylized representations from one lone dancer to multiple dancers orbiting each other.

#789 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 787... That is indeed very neat, that so many planets have been found. It seems like a lifetime away even though it was but the early 1990s when some were expressing doubt at the existence of extra-solar worlds.

Dance for the rest of us.

#790 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Sarah 786: Awww, where's your entrepreneurial spirit? It could be a cold mine.

#791 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Serge @788,

Funny how far away that planetless universe feels now, but it wasn't that long ago. When A Fire Upon The Deep or Snow Crash were being written we didn't have extrasolar planets.

For Extrasolar Planets Weekend! I also suggest celebrating with round and elliptical foods. Tomato slices on bruschetta, for example.

#792 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Xopher @ 789... It could be a cold mine.

Going down the flue.

#793 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 790... It's a weird feeling when one actually lives thru History and thru a Change, isn't it?

As for round and elliptical food, I could alwasy have some hard-boiled eggs. ("Honk!") Shush, Harpo.

#794 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Am I the only one who isn't surprised that they're finding extra-solar planets?

The surprise is their nature; big hot gas giants circling their suns in a matter of days? Sheesh, never ran into one of those in a Known Space story.

#795 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 07:23 PM:

A quick serious question: does the UK book market not obey the same laws that the US one does, Yog's in particular? Someone I respect has just paid a book doctor to read their manuscript, for the usual reasons.

Why is he doing this? Because he has already enumerated the four ways to become a published author: be famous, be friends with an editor, work for a publisher, or have an agent.

The absence of "write a good book and submit it to a publisher who buys it, and then you get an agent" from that list makes me wary that either he's being scammed, or the UK market is sufficiently different that this is not actually a scam over there. Which is it?

#796 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Squee! I just got a really nice rejection letter. I'm so excited! I rate a personal rejection letter! From an actual editor! With actual comments! EEEEE!!!

*flaps hands giddily*

[nb: not sarcasm. genuinely delighted.]


#797 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 07:58 PM:

Sarah @ 786

You clearly need to get a car with bigger bumpers.

#798 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:03 PM:

My mother has taken the news of extra-solar plants - and what she perceives as the ensuing "well, who'da thunk!" from Science - as proof that her religion (mormon) is "true", and that sometimes it's smarter than science.

So, um, yay, extrasolar planets?

#799 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Mary Dell @ 795

Congratulations. I hope the next letter from an editor is an acceptance.

#800 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 790

Would you mind if I celebrated with a pizza? Pepperoni is probably most appropriate (round slices), but I'm not very fond of it, so I'll go with sausage balls.

#801 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:33 PM:

Serge, I remember in high school chorus, when we were doing "Belle qui tiens ma vie," my friend Jerome, a native French-speaker, got DESPERATELY embarrassed when our director asked him to help translate the lyrics and he got to the line "pour mon mal appaiser / Donne-moi un baiser." I'd had enough French by then to find his discomfiture educational.

And, on the gender-neutral pronouns: no, I don't use them in speech, or, for that matter, very often in writing, although I'm acquainted both online and FTF with a number of people who don't fit the gender binary or choose not to identify with it. The gender-neutral pronouns drive me BUGGY because I can't make my mind's ear know how to pronounce them. My solution has always been to re-cast the sentences so as not to need pronouns.

It worked very well with Switchknife, even unto flirting. I miss Switchknife a lot. Has anyone here heard recent news?

#802 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @#790:

A binary fried egg system for me...maybe with a slice o'ham.

#803 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:42 PM:

nerdycellist @ 797... extra-solar plants

Darn triffids!

#804 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:01 PM:

Rikibeth @ 800... "pour mon mal appaiser, Donne-moi un baiser."

Hmm... All it means, translated freely, is that the man is telling his girlfriend that he'll feel less ill if she gives him a kiss. Nothing crude about it although the line has probably been used a lot by guys throughout History who were hoping that the kiss would lead to the word's other meaning.

#805 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:03 PM:

Mary Dell @ 795... If you get that excited when you get a rejection, I dare not contemplate the intensity of your happiness, should you get an acceptance letter.

#806 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:18 PM:

Serge @803, I know that, and our French teacher Jeannette stepped in to explain the difference between the noun and verb forms (it was a mixed faculty-student chorus), managing to do it in a ladylike fashion, even, but it was such FUN watching Jerome get flustered.

#807 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:30 PM:

Rikibeth... Ah, the dangers of an imperfect knowledge of the language best suited for l'Amour (says Serge, totally impartial of course, as he channels Charles Boyer by way of Pépé le Pew)

#808 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Serge @ #806, I'll grant that English is anything but the best language for such pursuits (thinking back on various embarrassing episodes), but I think the Italians might dispute your claim that French should be ranked Number One.

#809 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Linkmeister @ 807... the Italians might dispute your claim that French should be ranked Number One.

I'd have expected the Scots to dispute my assertion, not the Italians.

#810 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 10:13 PM:

The December 24/31 2005 issue of Science News had an item about how the Spitzer Space Telescope having observed 6 brown dwarves in the infra-red. What it saw are microscopic clumps of dust grains and tiny crystals in orbit. Basically, they are in the early stages of planet-making.

#811 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:17 AM:

At least one major ISP isn't waiting for Net Neutrality to be defeated.

#812 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Serge @#804:

Well, the last time I submitted something I got a form rejection and then the magazine promptly ceased publication, presumably to make sure I couldn't ever sub to them again. So this is a big step up for me!

#813 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:21 AM:

Back a while, ML had a post about the Village Voice being acquired by New Times Media, the corporation that grew out of Phoenix's NEW TIMES alternative paper.

NEW TIMES is in the news itself this week. NT has been a watchdog on our notorious county sheriff, Joe Arpaio, for years. No love lost, on either side.

Several years ago, the New Times website published a piece that included Arpaio's home address (which is available on a number of governmental websites). Arpaio and his cronys threatened to have New Times personnel arrested.

New Times response was to put Arpaio's home address, in large type, on the cover of the NT printed weekly edition.

The threats to arrest NT reporters and editors have continued off and on since then.

Last week, Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas finally acted and submitted a grand jury subpoena to New Times individuals, including publishers Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.

The thing about this subpoena was that it not only demanded information about the various news articles NT has published, both in print and on the Web, but it also demanded virtually ALL information on EVERY person that had visited the NT website since 2004.

(Hey, that includes me!)

New Times responded with a long article this week, by Lacey and Larkin, giving the background and recent developments in the Arpaio/NT feud, including portions of the grand jury subpoena.

Disclosing grand jury proceedings is not in accord with the law, but Lacey and Larkin argue that the subpoena is so outrageous and so broad that they have a public duty to report its contents.

The issue of NT with the article was distributed to newsstands Thursday morning. Shortly before noon that same day, Lacey and Larkin were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of disclosing grand jury documents, handcuffed, transported, fingerprinted, mugshot, and jailed. (Yes, on a misdemeanor charge.)

Reaction has been swift, loud, and almost entirely against Arpaio and Thomas's actions. Earlier today, Thomas held a press conference to announce that the charges were being dismissed against Lacey and Larkin, the prosecutor in charge of the case, Dennis Wilenchik (who's been controversial in other cases), had been "dismissed" (apparently this does not means "fired"; he'll still handle civil lawsuits involving the county), and that the whole affair had been "badly mishandled".

Thomas also said he had not been aware of the contents of the subpoena. Yeh, right.

Shorter Thomas: "I'm not a bad guy, I just don't know shit about what my own department is doing."

More details at PhoenixNewTimes.com

#814 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Mary Dell @ 811... I hope that the publication that just rejected you isn't about to pass away, especially if I'm subscribing to it, otherwise we'll have to call you Typhoid Mary Dell.

#815 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:48 AM:

Mary Dell@795-
Congratulations! I mean seriously, that is really cool.

#816 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:56 AM:

Yer sayin' then, pal, thet ra Sco's havenae the mussage un the troosers departmunt? Ye'll be needin' ra heed pit on yer, an' chance ut.

#817 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 01:03 AM:

Serge @#813: I attribute the other magazine's demise to the awfulness of that particular story. The time it spent in the slush pile allowed me to awaken to its true nature, so it shall lie for eternity in the remote fastness of my "old, bad stories" folder, where none dare look upon it.

This story is a bit better than that, so I think the magazine is safe.

#818 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 01:09 AM:

Nina @ 814... Long time no see. Long time no hear.

#819 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 01:18 AM:

Thanks, Bruce and Nina. Silly to get so excited about it but it's nice to get that little bit of encouragement.

#820 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 01:18 AM:

Mary Dell @ 816... I wonder what would happen to a blog if you posted the earlier story on it.

#821 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 01:21 AM:

Dave Luckett @ 815... Of course I wasn't intimating anything derogatory to the proud Scots, whether they be of the Isles, or of the Antarctic. Or of the Sahara.

#822 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 04:23 AM:

Speaking as someone married to a Scot, I think I'll not so much speak as smile knowingly. Or, perhaps, smirk.

#823 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 08:15 AM:

R.M. Koske: yes, you got it right. I think I further confused the situation by mentioning an individual who goes by "they, their, them."

Madeleine: I think one of the troubles of the discussion -- and, of gender itself -- is that English, and English-speaking brains, assume that a gender-neutral is by necessity an unspecified gender, a big blank spot. The plural pronoun blurs the distinctions between somebody, nobody, and everybody.

This is wired into many of our social subroutines about gender as well. Boys over here, girls over there, A.J. at the buffet table drinking punch and scratching xer head...

I've been noticing, since I made the decision to publically identify myself as third-gender, that language around me has gotten very peculiar. Either I make a hole in it, or it draws a net around me. Some of my friends can't get their heads around the new adaptation in daily verbiage, and are referring to me as 'he' or 'she'. I have said this is fine for now, since making changes in the infrastructure of the language is hard -- but it's a little bit disorienting to be, conceptually, a woman in one conversation and a man in the next (and to have these phase-shifts not correspond with my personal, actual phase-shifts.)

Well, I did say some years ago that I wanted my life to be a bit more like one of my friends' postmodern science fiction stories.

--

Mary Dell @ 811: That's not as bad as it might be -- I have a friend who keeps submitting to places which *accept* his stories, then go out of business directly prior to the issue in which his stuff was to be printed.

#824 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 08:19 AM:

-- and how could I have forgotten to say: I hope the next one survives the story *and* buys it!

#825 ::: Doug Burbidge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 08:20 AM:

The 20th anniversary World Solar Challenge starts in ten and a bit hours. 38 cars will race 3000 km from Darwin to Adelaide. The fastest cars will take 4 days; my car will take... longer.

http://www.wsc.org.au/
http://worldsolarchallenge.blogspot.com

I'd like you all to pretend that I have written this post in the form of a sonnet, since my mind is way too frazzled from mortal combat with the current sense board to actually compose such.

#826 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Abi @ 821... I'll not so much speak as smile knowingly. Or, perhaps, smirk.

(scene deleted from Star Trek's The Naked Time)

"Captain Smirk on the bridge."
"I see you're feeling much better today, Mister Stuck."
"Alien ship approaching."
"Open hailing frequencies, Ohlala."
"Engine room calling, Lame T-shirt."
"What is it this time, Spotty?"

(And it went downhill from there and the Blunderprize was destroyed and other things too horrible to contemplate.)

#827 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Buce @ 812

I was reading about it over at The Next Hurrah, and trying to figure out how all that information about the readers would be, in any way, relevant to a case against the editors and publishers. (I'd just about bet that some of those readers would be in the DA's office, too. Or the legislature. Political embarrassment ensues.)

#828 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 08:58 AM:

Patrick... Hahahahah!!! ("What?") I just clicked to your Particle about the Dalek Pumpkin.

#829 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Serge @#819:

Blogs seem to be impervious to bad fiction.

#830 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Mary Dell @ 828... Maybe there has to be the possibility of pecuniary exchanges for the toxicity to kick in.

#831 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Mary Dell @811: Well, the last time I submitted something I got a form rejection and then the magazine promptly ceased publication, presumably to make sure I couldn't ever sub to them again. So this is a big step up for me!

Bizarrely, the same thing just happened to me. Making it twice, for a total of three submissions.

#832 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Jules @ 830... I guess neither Mary Dell nor you can say that you write deathless prose, eh?

#833 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Serge @#831:

But we can say "this one's a killer!"

#834 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Jules #760 'Computadora' and 'ordenadora' (para no decir palabra mala) are feminine in Spanish.

#835 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:36 PM:

P J Evans #771: Some Anglophones (those from the UK and Ireland) have a problem with 'grosero', which looks so much like 'grocer', but isn't.

#836 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Careful what you say, Mary. I once sent one of my stories to Terry Carr... and he died.

Man, I felt so-o-o-o guilty. Thankfully, when I later sent that same story to Patrick, he survived.

#837 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Serge #806: Pero, todos sabemos que el idioma más apto para el amor y la grosería es el castellano.

#838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Dear readers... Our next issue will contain Mary Dell's Epithet to Epitaph, a rousing tale that is sure to
a
r
r
r
g
h
!
!
!

#839 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 02:03 PM:

Fragano @ 833:
Jules #760 'Computadora' and 'ordenadora' (para no decir palabra mala) are feminine in Spanish.

In Spain, the standard word for 'computer' is 'ordenador', which is masculine.

(I'm guessing 'ordenadora' might translate as something like "[female] person who computes" -- as in fact "computer" meant in English before the 1950s -- but I'm pretty sure Serge [@ 751] was referring to computing machines...)

#840 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 03:45 PM:

In 1980 my fellow employees and I gave the mid-range computer that kept the bills going out and the payroll running a male name (Phred; yes, it was overly cutesy). I have no idea why we decided it was male.

PCs have always been gender-neutral to me.

#841 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Castille, Fragano? I guess so, especially if one looks like Antonio Banderas.

Regarding 'grocery'... The French word for 'grocery store' is 'épicerie'. Yes, it has the word for 'spice' in it.

#842 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 05:12 PM:

I'm packing up the house of an elderly relative who passed away, and today I'm going through the library*.

Durant's history of the world series- all 2 linear feet of it- worth keeping? Worth reading?

------------
* Which feels wrong, like being a dragon in another dragon's cave of gold. Or like being Bilbo. At any rate, libraries shouldn't be taken apart, but it must be done.

#843 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Peter Erwin #838: You're right. I goofed. (I swore I heard 'ordenadora' from my mother, ah well.) I suppose that it would be necessary to ensure no confusion with ordeñadora.

On the other hand, ordenadora is used in the sense of 'ordinating' as in ley ordenadora.

#844 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Serge #840: Not Castille but Castillian.

#845 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 05:49 PM:

I stand corrected, Fragano.

#846 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Kathryn from Sunyvale @ 841... feels wrong, like being a dragon in another dragon's cave of gold. Or like being Bilbo.

Next time I go to the Bay Area and I'm supposed to see you, but I don't, I'll know what happened.

#847 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Kathryn @ #841, There's a discussion thread at Library Thing about that collection. I own it by virtue of joining Book-of-the-Month Club back in the 1970s (I picked the whole set as one of my joining premiums).

I've never been able to read the whole thing; Pre-Internet I found myself dipping in and out when I wanted something general about a period or subject. As you say, it takes up a lot of shelf space, but I've never been able to steel myself and throw it out or give it away, either.

Nowadays, with the Net, I don't know if it's worth keeping.

#848 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 06:52 PM:

Linkmeister @846

Thanks for the link. A good fraction of the library came from bomc- some never removed from the shrinkwrap. But there's also a compact OED- Joy!

My partner, who should know better, asked me to "only take the books you'll read, and donate the rest to the friends of the library." My reply was "I'll only know what's good and worth keeping once I read them, now won't I." We agreed that I have to carry all them down all the flights of stairs, then.

#849 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 10:50 PM:

A.J, #822, I'm surprised to find Raphael Carter's RAQ gone, but at least it's archived. So is the Gender-Neutral FAQ. I've always used the sie, hir, etc.

#850 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 10:52 PM:

I just glanced at the TV listings. At 8:00 pm:

AMC: "The Birds"

On the line right below it:

AP: "Winged Migration"

#851 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 11:13 PM:

TCM is showing Brigadoon. Not my favorite musical, but, hey, it's got Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. I wonder what a sequle would be about. Does the village reappear completely submerged, or buried under tons of snow, or in a scorched radioactive desert with mutants trying to eat Gene and Cyd's brains?

#852 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 11:56 PM:

It's been a long, annoying day with unfortunate truths about people I've known all my life having to be acknowledged and then when I get home he brings up Brigadoon.

I don't have the energy for my normal pasty-white-complexion-from-screaming-at-the-top-of-my-lungs rant that this one usually calls up.

Let's just say that if you consider a village with members who presumably have rotting teeth because of a lack of dentistry or any of the other painful health problems from the period, or the likelihood that the majority are illiterate and smell like apes in rut and that it will never get better (unless the village takes a direct hit by a nuclear warhead on the day it shows up--and if they don't take a direct hit but materialize in a hot area after a nuclear bombardment we get the joy of eternal radiation sickness)...well, I sincerely doubt that the minister who cut the deal with God was actually talking to who he thought he was talking to.

Oh, and I suspect the final draft of the deal was written on an Underworld typewriter.

#853 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 12:40 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 851

I'm sorry to hear things are going so badly just now; I hope thay improve very soon.

Brigadoon was always one of those musicals that just made me itch; it wasn't about anything that made sense, it didn't have really great music, singing, or dancing*. So I never really thought the premise through to its absurd conclusion. Having done so, I don't think the movie is worth that much spleen. As the engineers at White Sands used to say, "It can't get high enough to crash".

But don't get me started on "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

* Kelly did so much better in so many other movies; this is almost a reproach to his memory.

#854 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:34 AM:

Marilee -- I've run into the RAQ, too, and am equally disappointed to see it missing and equally grateful for Archive. (Turned up some good Tolkien essays that way, the other day, too.)

#855 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:41 AM:

When I was a little kid, my older brother was in a JCC Summer Stock production of Brigadoon. I have NO idea why they picked it, and can't remember well enough to guess.

They more usually tried to pick musicals with Jewish content, but had a rule against doing Fiddler On The Roof more than once every four years, since the troupe was open to grades 7-12 and they didn't want to make anyone do it more than twice and certainly not two years in a row. They did put Fiddler on every four years like clockwork, though.

I just remember my brother looking very doofy in a wig and tam'o'shanter.

#856 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:50 AM:

Things are getting tense between Turkey and Iraq. Well, it was a house of cards all along. The real risk all along, the nightmare I saw, was the possibility that the war would spread. It's not...quite...there yet. Skillful diplomacy, or dumb luck, may stop it. I'm stressed, unhappy, and up late. Maybe this won't look so bad in the morning. But I don't think so. This is one step closer to the big war.

"Keep in mind we don't know how many parties there are. There's all these people with different motivations, all of whom think a little, limited war will solve their problems [...] put all those little limited wars together and, well, looks remarkably like one big unlimited war."--Me, May 2002.

#857 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 06:06 AM:

I was in a production of Brigadoon when I was in high school, and we all agreed that our version was better than the movie. I quite liked acting in it, but then, I got to sit out the wedding dance because the stage wasn't big enough for everyone to be dancing. A few of us were relegated to the "mountains" behind the dancers, where we enjoyed a picnic. It was my job before each show to go to a bakery and pick out some pastries to eat while we watched them dance. Good times!

#858 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 07:07 AM:

Browsing around from the "Brokeback to the Future" particle, I stumbled upon Brockeback of the Rings, which is perhaps equally amusing.

#859 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Bruce Durocher... Sorry to hear that things are not going well.

#860 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:26 AM:

Bruce Cohen... C'mon, you know you want us to get you started on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

As for Brigadoon, maybe the village doesn't get destroyed the next time it shows up, but the Authorities have cordonned off the whole area and are studying the villagers and experimenting on them to see how they managed to travel thru Time.

One thing I want to know about the original movie is how many Scotsmen of the 18th Century went around wearing plaid tights.

#861 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Re Brigadoon: in spite of my fondness for Gene Kelly, I have never been able to make it past the opening number.

#862 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:46 AM:

The one musical with Gene Kelly I never could get into at all was Les Girls, about 3 showgirls in Paris who are in love with you-know-who. In fact, the whole movie left me feeling icky.

#863 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 10:35 AM:

Serge@689: I've never seen the situation you describe; you'd think they'd simply tag the prescription to be paid at checkout, so as not to confuse the human cashiers. IME, the greatest advantage of the machines is that they're the only multi-server queues in most stores, so there's less guesswork about choosing a line that will move at a reasonable speed. Whole Foods in our area don't have machines but most do have MSQ for the express checkouts, which is fine when they're fully staffed. (Oddly, the largest&newest one I know of doesn't.) Unlike C. Wingate, I have no scruples about using a credit card for something as trivial as one head of lettuce, so I don't have to worry about the machines' cash-handling skills.

I'm surprised people have trouble with plastic bags; don't your grocery stores take them back? WF uses type 4 instead of type 2, but they take their own back; practically everybody else has a big barrel to take anyone's 2s. This may have been an offshoot of Boston's recycling program, which I don't think of as especially advanced but haven't compared with other cities'.

The first time I saw the movie of Brigadoon, my reaction to a relative's sappy comment at the end was to compare it to Zelazny's story about "the set", who spend most of their time in suspended animation and only wake up to party. Z made it clear this was horrible even on a much shorter scale. (I admit the possibility that the bad teeth etc. managed to avoid the Clearances, but aside from that it's all downhill.) When the show was written, completely isolated villages were still vaguely believable -- nobody realized how airplanes and the internet would make such hideaways impossible; now they'd be under glass in a museum if they were lucky, or being Studied as Serge suggests, or as massively disoriented as the older vampires in Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night et seq.

#864 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Is it that odd that my approach, when someone says they don't identify as either female or male, is to ask them what third-person pronoun they prefer? So I refer to piranha as "zie" and cheerfully alternate "he" and "she" for Raphael Carter.

It may be relevant that one of my online haunts is alt.polyamory, where some of us use "zie" for "unknown/unspecified person of no specific gender" and for "person whose gender I do not wish to reveal" as well as for "person who identifies as neither male nor female." This means that "your doctor" is "zie" unless you've told us otherwise, as is "the person I'm choosing not to identify here" (because gender, like age, nationality, or occupation, can be identifying information).

#865 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 10:42 AM:

790 Kathryn:

I recommend red-hot grilled pumpkins, to celebrate the nature of the planets we've found so far.

All the extrasolar planets are cool, I agree. I once heard (from someone in the field) that some researchers were going along the path to discovering them about 20 years earlier than the actual discovery, and messed some trivial thing up, thus failing to be first. I wish I remembered more details.

It seems to me that this changes one of the terms in the Fermi equation, in the sense that it now seems that lots of stars have planets. (We can't see any that could have life, yet, I don't think.) And this raises the old question of where all the other life is--a question that is ripe for speculation, since there's no way for us to answer it with available data.

#866 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 11:02 AM:

CHip @ 862... Regarding the checkout of prescriptions, that's because the drugstore is a separate entity within the grocery store's building.

As for Brigadoon... Yeah. I'm not sure I'd want to spend my life in their situation. Like my wife and I were saying last night, one of the villagers is depicted as a bad guy because he wants to leave. Sure, he knows that, if he leaves, Bad Things will happen to everyone else, but is it any wonder that he is so angry?

Assuming that none of those other horrible things happen that we brought up about a sequel... I suddenly find myself envisioning Brigadoon making it farther and farther into the Future, all the way to the heat death of the universe. Hmmm... What does Stephen Baxter's Brigadoon sound like?

#867 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 11:10 AM:

albatross @ 864... it now seems that lots of stars have planets. (We can't see any that could have life, yet, I don't think.)

Of course, most of the planets we've found dont seem to have life because they're the biggest and so the easiest to find. I wonder if those who doubt the existence of alien life will say that this proves their point: there are even more planets out there than we thought and still we haven't heard from anyone. Mind you, doesn't Fermi assume that alien life not that far from here will develop technology that involves radio communications?

Meanwhile, if Life were indeed shown to exist out there, would it be one of the greatest discoveries of History? Would it change anything as far as human affairs are concerned? No. They wouldn't care one damned bit because it doesn't affect them.

#868 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 11:54 AM:

Serge #866: I would be worried if Life were found on other planets.

#869 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 12:09 PM:

OK, I'm here to register a complaint. Last month I started watching "Torchwood". I liked it a lot. I was trepidatious about "Who" and asked for a good jumping off point. PNH gave a suggestion which I followed: Go get the 9th Doctor. So we watched, and it was good. And lo, we did then have to acquire the next series, with Tennant. And we got over our sorrow that 9 was gone, and cleaved unto Doctor #10. Boy howdy, did we cleave.

And then my roommate did search of the internets and find that Tennant was going to be in the RSC's Hamlet. And I did tell her to "STFU. We are not going to England until we go somewhere else!" and all was forgotten until someone up-thread happened to mention that Patrick Stewart was going to be Claudius.

So now... we have tickets to both Hamlet and Love's Labour Lost. For next year. And we have to pay off the credit card debt incurred last year in Ireland, but it looks like we will be visiting the England yet again. Dammit.

It's looking like I will take the slenderest thread of an excuse to return to the UK. Anyone want to dogsit a corgi mix next November?

#870 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 12:28 PM:

Fragano @ 867...I'd be more worried if Life Out There were more like this.

#871 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 12:43 PM:

albatross @ 864

Just because I'm obsessive about attribution: that's the Drake Equation, named after Frank Drake, the astronomer who undertook the first SETI observations, a radio scan of Tau Ceti (no pun intended, it's the closest G type star beyond the sun). Fermi comes into it via the Fermi Paradox which asks if there's intelligent life, why haven't they developed interstellar travel and shown up here? A more recent version asks, why haven't they taken up macroengineering and built something we can see from here?

So far, almost all the terms in the Drake Equation are fuzzy to the point of hirsuteness; we know how many stars there are, and how many of them are singles; the implication being that planetary orbits around multiples would be unstable. Turns out, not so much; if the planetary orbit encloses all the stars of the group (more than two is pretty unlikely, I'll grant), the orbit can be stable. Now we're starting to learn what the odds of having a planet around each star are, so that leaves only a bunch of terms we know even less about, and whose effect on the equation is likely to be rather non-linear on the solution*.


* Frex, there's probably a hard lower limit on the time required for the existence of life before the appearance of intelligent life can occur. Not that we have any idea what that limit might be.

#872 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Speaking of musicals, here are some bits I found on IMDb.com about Fred Astaire:

"...Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album (...) Made a cameo appearance in John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Imagine (1972) film, escorting Yoko through a doorway..."

#873 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 12:52 PM:

CHip, #862:
I've lost track of what kind of "trouble with plastic bags" you might be mentioning, but I don't like getting them even if I can put them in recycling (and no, my store doesn't have recycling bins for some reason, I would have to take them to the recycling center with the rest of my stuff) because recycling plastic isn't like recycling aluminum. Aluminum (or glass, or any metals, AFAIK) recycles into more aluminum that you can use for exactly the same thing. Plastic, on the other hand, only downgrades when it is recycled. You can't make new plastic bags out of old, you can only make, I dunno, fiberfill for sleeping bags or something like that.

The old phrase "Reduce, reuse, recycle" is actually in the order of preference. Reducing what resources you use in the first place is the most energy- and resource-saving thing you can do. Reusing is next, and recycling is last.

Vicki, #863: Just ask. Well, ain't that sensible? I'll have to remember that. :)

#874 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 870... There's Frank Drake's Equation. But what does Ludwig von Drake's Equation tell us about Life in the rest of the Universe?

("Duck!")

#875 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Serge @ 873

Given that the average temperature of the universe is less than 3 Kelvins, it tells us that it's Cold, Duck!

#876 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 874... Some would say that talking about Life Out There is nothing but one silly canard.

#877 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:22 PM:

Go read the Sidelight on "Belief in Evolutionary Psychology"! Don't unrot13 until you've read it.

Guvf vf bar bs gur shaavrfg guvatf V'ir ernq va n ybat gvzr. V ernyyl, ernyyl jnag gb frr fbzr hauhzbebhf vqvbg gnxr vg nf fgenvtug naq gel gb nethr ntnvafg vg. Ab bar pbhyq or gung hacreprcgvir, lbh fnl? UN!

Znaa-Rffre! <tvttyr>


#878 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Serge, and anyone interested in ST fic recommendations/archives, the first results from asking Matthew, who asked a friend:

the only thing she was able to find that was Mudd-centric was a webpage by an old-school zinewriter that Sherry warns me features a heavily Mary-Sue like element to it, even though it's semi-readable.


For general trek TOS fic sites, she recomends Orion Press... (mute your speakers before you go there, annoying transporter sound effect every time the page refreshes)...

The other site she rec'd, Trektales, doesn't have much of a searchable index, nor is it searchable by the google function.

He went on to say that he was going to ask another friend today, but warns that the guy is into cracked-out crossovers; I myself find that encouraging.

#879 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:31 PM:

CHip @ #862, There are differently-numbered gradations of plastic grocery bags? I didn't know that; I sure can't tell it from what I get at the local Safeway.

#880 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:43 PM:

JESR @ 877... Thanks.

#881 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Serge #869: That would be most disturbing, were it not for its essential daffiness.

#882 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Fragano @ 880.. Even more disturbing is the theory that most of our universe is made of cold dark mallard.

#883 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 04:47 PM:

Serge @ 881

Could be worse; I thought that was cold malice.

#884 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Bruce Cohen... I'm still waiting to hear what it is you don't want to say about Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

#885 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Brigadoon: bad film redeemed by "Almost Like Being In Love", a beautiful performance of a beautiful song.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: an hilarious film marred by, you know, all the sexism. But the dancing! The acrobatics! The jumping over saws and running on logs and pirouetting with axes while singing about lonely old polecats and "Ma Nature's lyrical with her yearly miracle. Spring! Spring! Spring!" and the thigh-slapping song about the Sabine women and Howard Keel and that chap who plays Frank so passionately and "a man can't sleep when he sleeps with sheep" and vampy Dorcas. It's got it all, I tell you!

But Calamity Jane is better.

#886 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Serge #881: Such theorists are loons.

#887 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Fragano... No kidding. They even talk about the quack being a subatomic particle.

#888 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 06:27 PM:

Madeline Kelly @ 884... It's got it all, I tell you!

Including Russ Tamblyn, eh?

You know, if I had to name a top favorite musical, it wouldn't be one of the usual suspects. It'd be 1953's The Band Wagon, with Fred Astaire. Goofy, silly, with Oscar Levant trying to reassure Fred that Cyd Charisse is not too tall for him. ("She' three feet tall. Tops!") And the song There's No Business Like Showbusiness.

#889 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 06:51 PM:

Serge #885: There'll be a bill to pay, mark my words.

#890 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Serge @ 883

Yeah, what Madeline Kelly said. The choreography and the dancing are magnificent, most especially including Russ Tamblyn; the singing is terrific, most especially including Howard Keel. But OMG, the sexism! It's a comedy about abduction and rape!

*pauses to climb down off the walls and slow breathing. -Snick- as claws are pulled back into sheaths*

But if I had to choose a favorite musical (please don't make me do it) it would probably be "An American in Paris". There are musicals with individual dance numbers that are truly great, but I don't know of any other musical with this many numbers that pushed the boundaries of the musical theater form of the time and got away with it brilliantly.

Oh, and now I've got my breathing under control, speaking of Russ Tamblyn, did you see the guest appearance he did on "Joan of Arcadia" as God, opposite his daughter?

#891 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 889... It's a comedy about abduction and rape!

Yeah. And it has a man who lies (or rather, does not tell the truth) to a woman about what she's getting into.

As for An American in Paris...It'd probably be a very close second to The Band Wagon, as far as my top favorites are concerned. It's not like there ever was any doubt that Leslie Caron would choose Gene Kelly over her friend Georges Guétary, but it was a fun trip. And the dream sequence at the end... Holy crap.

#892 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Musicals!

I have a soft spot for early techicolor musicals, especially - everything's better with super saturated color - but my favorite is still Guys & Dolls.

Several excellent songs, wonderful stagey sets, and Brando sings! Sinatra acts! I think I need to netflix that one, it's been a while.

#893 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Technicolor, even. Sheesh.

#894 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Sharon M... And let's not forget Jean Simmons.

#895 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 12:26 AM:

Sharon M, and Serge: also Stubby Kaye; there is very little that cannot be improved by the addition of Stubby Kaye.

#896 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 01:47 AM:

I have a soft spot (probably in my brain) for Paint Your Wagon. Clint Eastwood singing...

When we had a pregnant marmot excavating under my dad's house, we kept making references to the musical while dealing with the vermin situation.

Fragano - since you mentioned it on your Facebook page - HOSPITAL??

#897 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 03:41 AM:

Fragano @888...

Bzzzzt. You lose. Repetition: the "bill" joke was already used by Sarah S @507.

#898 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:23 AM:

Tania, I'd forgotten about Paint Your Wagon! Any musical that can feature songs about talking to trees, calling the wind Maria, throwing out the can of beans, wandering stars and, best of all, "the best things in life are dirty!" -- that's a musical to love for all time.

But Calamity Jane still beats it, for me. Sometimes in musicals the songs lack energy or interest or relevance -- everything stops while they have a bit of a sing, and then off it goes again. And sometimes it's the other way around -- everything comes to life during the songs, but inbetween it's tedium and bad acting.

Not so Calamity Jane! Doris and Howard throw themselves into every single scene. The songs are fun, entertaining, and help to progress the story beyond mere "this is how I'm feeling just now" (which seems to be the case in so many musicals -- using the songs to tell, not show). The dancing, such as there is, is energetic and funny. It's got mistaken identity, star-crossed lovers, cross-dressers (in both directions), gun fights, horse chases, Howard Keel dressed as a squaw, a Cinderella storyline that kind of works, that surreal scene where Calamity and Katie redecorate the cabin and grow flowers in only three minutes, and of course Doris Day nailing "Secret Love" in one take. What's not to love?

#899 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:19 AM:

JESR... there is very little that cannot be improved by the addition of Stubby Kaye

Indeed. Looked at Cat Ballou (if you must).

#900 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:30 AM:

Hey, people forgot On The Town. Gene Kelly. Frank Sinatra. Vera-Ellen as Miss Turnstile. Jules Munshin almost falling off the Empire State Building. Betty Garrett driving a taxi. Ann Miller generating jokes about the Kinsale Report.

"New York, New York!"

#901 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:47 AM:

I have a certain weakness for Coppola's Finian's Rainbow. Keenan Wynn does his thing. Fred Astaire still struts his stuff. And Petula Clark. Petula Clark... Sigh...

#902 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:53 AM:

Nerdycellist @868 - Complaint noted. Don't forget to clap and cheer madly after the first line of Hamlet.

#903 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 07:03 AM:

Jules #896: Why, thank you.

#904 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:29 AM:

Rice for words. Go and see.

#905 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:36 AM:

Li'l Abner - Stubby Kaye as Marryin' Sam and Julie Newmar as Stupefyin' Jones.

Mmmm.... musicals.

#906 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:38 AM:

Not to mention "Jubilation T. Cornpone". That's a lyric, son. Song, that is.

#907 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:25 AM:

It may well be that Kiss Me Kate's official stars were Howard Keel(*) and Kathryn Grayson, but they had the show stolen by Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore as Lippy and Slug, mobsters who by the end of the movie take their bow with the song "Brush Up Your Shakespeare".

(*) aka Edward James Olmos's father-in-law.

#908 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:55 AM:

A Making Light Index update. The projects have been going faster than I thought they would, and I've got enough of it together that it might be useful now, so I've taken them live over at Wyrdsmiths.

They're linked in the upper right-hand corner under Writers' Resources as "A Writer's Index to Making Light" and "Making Light General Index." At this point they're both running from the beginning of Making Light through to mid 2004, but I'll continue to update until I've got them current and at some point I will probably go back and add in Elctrolite as well.

#909 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Thanks so much, Kelly. This is terrific.

Thanks to one of the old posts, I have now corrected line 8, page 150, of my copy of Making Book. It does make better sense this way.

I also find, via google, that Silkience is not only a shampoo brand, but is also a yarn brand. Maybe that's the universe's way of apologizing to Teresa for the printing mishap.

#910 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:54 AM:

Hey, I like Cat Ballou, 100% nonsense, made from the finest materials.

And why has no one mentioned A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum? a musical where the best character is silent?

#911 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Note to self:

Do not attempt to punctuate until the coffee kicks in.

#912 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 12:14 PM:

What, no love for Cannibal: The Musical?

#913 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 12:16 PM:

JESR... True. Cat Ballou unfortunately had Jane Fonda in it, but that was made up for by the Greek Chorus of Stubby Kaye and Nat "King" Cole. And it had Lee Marvin.

As for Forum... How could we forget to mention this very silly movie?

#914 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 01:00 PM:

While I agree that following the premise of Brigadoon to its logical conclusion results in a horrific scenario, the show has two of my favorite songs in it: "Come to Me, Bend to Me" and "The Heather on the Hill."

I'd have to say my favorite, if I had to pick one and I'm glad I don't, would be The Fantasticks. Dark humor, gonzo wackiness, and some of the most beautiful songs that were never on Broadway: "Soon It's Gonna Rain," "Try to Remember," and that wonderful duet, "I Can See It," dark as it is. It's also the source of one of my favorite silly songs, "Never Say No." And how could I forget "They Were You," one of my favorite love songs to sing to my boy (I think I made him cry.)

And now the original cast recording is bittersweet, because it has the great Jerry Orbach as one of the clueless fathers.

I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Once Upon a Mattress, which is wonderfully funny (lead role written for the comedy of Carol Burnett—you haven't lived until you've heard someone belting out a massive show-stopping number about how she's "Shy") and also has some very beautiful music: "Many Moons Ago" (which happens to work very nicely for my voice), "Normandy" (the break, from "I know a meadow covered with mustard flowers..."), and "Yesterday I Loved You" (which I keep quoting to my boy: "tonight I love you less than I will tomorrow morning!").

Then, of course, there are shows like the great South Pacific, in which not one single song is less than magnificent, and which has positive social commentary, comedy, tragedy, and moving, realistic characters. Instead of just resolving some goofy conflict, they are all changed deeply, especially the heroine, and for the better. Those that survive, that is...and even those that don't achieve something important.

I could go on forever, I guess. Don't you wish it'd go on forever and would never stop?

#916 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 01:17 PM:

Xopher @ 913... the great South Pacific, in which not one single song is less than magnificent, and which has positive social commentary, comedy, tragedy, and moving, realistic characters

That's Rodgers and Hammerstein for you. Heck, Carrousel dealt with domestic abuse.

#917 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 870:
Just because I'm obsessive about attribution: that's the Drake Equation, named after Frank Drake, the astronomer who undertook the first SETI observations, a radio scan of Tau Ceti (no pun intended, it's the closest G type star beyond the sun).

Hopelessly nitpicky astronomical correction:
The closest G-type star is actually Alpha Centauri A.
(But it's so far south that you can't see it from Green Bank, W. Virginia, which is where Drake was doing his observations.)

#918 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 02:08 PM:

Bruce #870: Argh! Brain glitch.

#919 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Serge 915: Well, as far as the depth of the characters, I'd say that's more James Mitchener than R&H. The songs they do get full credit for, though.

#920 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 02:20 PM:

I just saw this today. Webcomic featuring flying ship battles with predictably bad results for civilians. (pg 1, pg 2, pg 3, front page of site.)

I was thinking of those of you who like militaria, SF, and comics. (That's...a bunch of you? Right?)

#921 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Xopher @ 918... But maybe R & H were drawn to Michener's story because of its subject matter. In The King and I, they had people discuss the Bible as a story not to be taken literally, but with some lessons in it. And Flower Drum Song was about people coping with the culture they came from and the culture they're now part of.

#922 ::: Annie G. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Xopher at #913 And now the original cast recording is bittersweet, because it has the great Jerry Orbach as one of the clueless fathers.

Xopher, I speak in fear and trembling of being wrong, but...I had thought that Jerry Orbach originated the role of El Gallo, not one of the fathers? Isn't that him singing Try To Remember on the original cast recording?

in any case, The Fantasticks is one of my favorite musicals. I also love Into the Woods, but then I'm a sucker for Sondheim.

#923 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Peter Erwin @ 916

Ooops, you're right. My northern chauvinism coming through.

Serge @ 915

Yes, and "Flower Drum Song" is about racism. Great stuff. This is why I have to keep two separate categories of musicals in my head: the ones with dancing and the ones without. Otherwise there'd be no way to compare them.

#924 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 02:54 PM:

I was hoping for an Open Thread 94, so this would be higher up but....

I found a wonderfully addictive game/food donor site.

Free Rice

There are 50 levels of vocab, and each correct answer gives money to the UN World Food Program.

I'm hovering at 49, with a run of about half a dozen at 50, as my record best.

#925 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Serge 920: Oh, yes, I'm sure that's true. They get full credit for social conscience; the writing credit for those characters and their story belongs to Mitchener, that's all I was saying.

Annie 921: Good heavens, you're right! I cannot imagine how I made that mistake. And I literally grew up with that album playing all the time.

#926 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Re Scots, Love and Language: I am amused at the conflation of how well a language (in this case Broad Scots) might be used to express the ideas of romance, and the actual ability of the speakers of said language.

Me, I happen to be damned fond of English as a means of flirtation, mostly because my fluency in no other language (of which I speak three others, to various degrees fluency) isn't enough to carry off flirtations. That includes Russian, which I speak well enough to manage the intentional pun, on occasion.

#927 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Musicals -- this is the best one (Original Broadway cast version):

"Each evening from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot...
Think back on every tale that you remember
of Camelot.

Ask every person if they've heard the story,
and tell it strong and clear if they have not.
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory --
Called Camelot..."

Some of the drops DO sparkle.

#928 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:03 PM:

I'm partial to "Pajama Game" and "Pal Joey."

"If They Asked Me, I Could Write a Book" from "Pal Joey" turns me to complete mush.

#929 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 926...
(At least, I'd get the accent right, if not the voice.)

C'est moi! C'est moi, I'm forced to admit.
'Tis I, I humbly reply.
That mortal who
These marvels can do,
C'est moi, c'est moi, 'tis I.
I've never lost
In battle or game;
I'm simply the best by far.
When swords are crossed
'Tis always the same:
One blow and au revoir!
C'est moi! C'est moi! So adm'rably fit!
A French Prometheus unbound.
And here I stand, with valour untold,
Exeption'ly brave, amazingly bold,
To serve at the Table Round!

#930 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Hmph. I see no one listened to me. How very rude.

I may be slightly late, but I want to say this: hooray, new planets!

#931 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:53 PM:

ethan #929: Just assume we withheld posting until just the second you got back online, whereupon we instantly produced another hundred plus messages to welcome you back.

#932 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:56 PM:

South Pacific also has the best play-within-a-play ever.

#933 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:59 PM:

On the Town: Foo. Okay, so Sinatra can sing but not dance (at least, can't dance at anywhere near Kelly's level). So do they have him lean decoratively against a lamppost and let Kelly dance around him? Do they make him the dance equivalent of a comic straight man and let Kelly be the "funny one"?

No, they do not. Instead, they just don't let Kelly dance either. I repeat, foo. And phooey.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a tough one. Wonderful singing, wonderful dancing, and a premise I find enraging and deeply offensive.

It reminds me of a meeting my mother told me about, when she and the rest of the theatre department were deciding what shows to produce that year. It was Mom's turn to do the Shakespeare (ya gotta have a Shakespeare production every year), and the department chair suggested that they do The Taming of the Shrew. Mom said that she'd be glad to direct it, and she intended to treat it as a drama about domestic violence.

The chair decided they should do The Comedy of Errors instead.

#934 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Mary Dell @ 908, you're welcome. Going through the archives has been a lot of fun and I'm quite looking forward to another month or three of doing so to get the first pass at the indices finished.

#935 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Thanks, Serge -- "Camelot" was the first musical I heard when I was growing up.

The musical that dominated my teen years was "Jesus Christ Superstar" and when I was in college it was "1776."

And no one has mentioned "Man of La Mancha?" (Again, I prefer the Broadway cast over the film version.)

#936 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:09 PM:

fidelio @903 + Terry @923: until I noticed that the game topped out at level 50, I was getting rather cross that whereas I couldn't advance beyond level 50, occasionally I'd be spontaneously dropped down to level 49 despite *not* having missed a word.

Also, the words up thataways start to repeat after a while, but I suppose that's to be expected?

#937 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:25 PM:

albatross @930
Just assume we withheld posting until just the second you got back online, whereupon we instantly produced another hundred plus messages to welcome you back.

...and hacked Moveable Type to frig the posting times. Not outwith the bounds of possibility, not when we're doing it for the one and only ethan!

#938 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:27 PM:

Joseph is about three hundred times more fun than Superstar.

The new 1776 DVD is super-- all the missing parts put back. I also think Martha Jefferson works better without the Broadway belting.

I have to say that (at least as evidenced from the cast album) the movie Camelot is inferior. It's also rather bowdlerized, as was Sound of Music. (My only other real beef against the latter is that Julie Andrews' slide on "My Favorite Things" sets my teeth on edge.)

#939 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Favorite old musicals: that's too tough. The King and I. Carousel. The Pajama Game. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Oklahoma. Kiss Me Kate. Guys and Dolls. Uurgh. Can't do it.

Favorite new musical, less tough: it's a toss up between Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd.

#940 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:37 PM:

albatross @ 930... Just assume we withheld posting

Think the kid will fall for it?

#941 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:38 PM:

C. Wingate @ 931... South Pacific also has the best play-within-a-play ever...

...with Ray Walston wearing a cocoanut bra.

#942 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Music Man.

#943 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:52 PM:

I once was involved in an amateur production of South Pacific. No, I didn't play the French guy. There was this woman I worked with at the office who was in that production who asked me to read all of the Frenchman's lines so that the actor would have a more correct pronunciation than if he listened to an Italian like Rossano Brazzi. That was neat. I still have their booklet somewhere.

#944 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Goodness, no mention of Singin' in the Rain yet?

#945 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:15 PM:

albatross #930, abi #936: Aw, thanks, guys! You really shouldn't have.

#946 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:21 PM:

ethan @944:
No, we shouldn't have, actually. We typed most of the content on an Underworld, which has left several of your favorite commenters soulless*. And we had concurrency issues and had to commandeer a time machine to do loopbacks. And we broke‡ it, so now the owner is mad at us.
-----
* And three clinically insane†
† You get to guess which ones!
‡ He didn't need that chameleon circuit anyway. Honestly.

#947 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Music Man, Singing in the Rain - and oh, South Pacific. I really love (in the movie) how anything even slightly mushy is preceded by the whole screen turning that odd yellow color. It was a good indicator of the boring parts for the much younger version of me.

#948 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:34 PM:

I'd love to see Damn Yankees again just to watch Ray Walston sing "Those Were the Good Old Days".

I see cannibals munchin' on a missionary luncheon...

#949 ::: lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Please forgive the redundancy. A very good friend of mine noticed corprewland's "LOLcat Wasteland" in the sidebar and sent me an email with the subject line "in ur shadow of dust, showin u fear". Not realizing that somebody had already done the parody, I wrote in reply via email:

I. The litter-Box

My cruelest month, let me show you it: i has
a lilac in teh dead land, in ur
memory bein desire, in ur
roots bein rain.
Winter can keeps us warm, keeps earth
in ur snow forgettin, tells life
"yes you can has tubers."
Summer? OMGWTF! In ur Starnbergersee
bein ur rain, in ur colonnades
Bein a photon. U can has Hofgarten!
It was can be coffee time nao.
[miaow]
O hai. Archduke can has sled,
Which I did not want. He said, `Mittens,
Mittens, u no lets go.' Nao zoom.
In ur mountains, there i bein free.
Reading time nao, then south: brb.

I can has clutching roots, branches bein
in littrbox? Rofl,
U can not has: they be in ur sun
breakin ur images,
killin ur shelterin tree, eatin ur relievin cricket,
stealin ur sound of water. But
i has a shadow under red rock
(u can has shadow under red rock)
and u can not has normal shadows:
fear in a handful of dust -- let me show u it.
[Miao]
"I r hyacinth cat!
This r hyacinth poem..."
You did not want, i no had
speech and eyes, zombie cat
was a zombie, wtf.
Light can has a heart, it says "...."
[Miao]

Madame Whiskers, clairvoyant cat,
has serious cold, but
is seriousest cat in Europe:
let her show you her pokemans. U can has
wetcat pokeman, and u can has
sekrit pokeman,
which i no can has. i do not find
longcat. Do not want bathtime.
i has a party. it r ring party.
kthx. u be tellin Mrs Boots
i bringz cheezburgr
they no can be stealin.

Invisible city
bein invisible under ur smog,
london bridge has a posse ---
surprise! death can has had so many.
their feets were plannin a move,
goin all up ur hill and down ur street.
Oh hei! "stetsoncat!
"u can has mylaeship,
"in ur garden, plantin ur corpse,
"it has charged its lazers? will fire this year?
"oh keep the dog far hence, that's friend to man,
"or will be stealin my bucket!
"You! [Miao]!"

II. A Ball of Yarn

[... Again, please excuse my independent reinvention, my lack of independent inspiration, and my not having carried anything into part 2.]

#950 ::: lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:45 AM:

(BTW, this community has the best and most time-generous writers and critics of any that I know of. If you'd take the time to let me know what's good and what's less-good-than-I-mistakenly-had-thought about my Eliot/LOLcat parody, I'd be gratified beyond words.

Well, beyond my words at any rate.

#951 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:00 AM:

OK, I donated 2000-and-change grains of rice. I spent most of my time at level 48, with occasional dips down to 45 and climbs up to 50. There were quite a lot of words I didn't recognize but could puzzle out from my knowledge of Latin and Greek. Also quite a few where the supposed synonym wasn't, really, but was close enough that I could tell it was the intended answer -- I'm really skeptical of its use as a vocabulary builder. I daresay that most people here would do about as well as me.

#952 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 10:41 PM:

Linkmeister@878: I don't know what other cities have for shopping bags; here, the big grocery chains all use #2 (HDPE), but Whole Foods and CVS (big drugstore chain) use #4 (LDPE--softer feel, doesn't crinkle). No idea why the variation. Boston and several suburbs will take all 6 (7?) kinds of plastic containers, but not plastic bags, so those have to go back to the stores.

JESR@909: Who in Forum is mute? I don't think any of the merchandise girls are that interesting...or were you thinking of Once Upon a Mattress?

Xopher et al.: have you read the Michener? I looked through the book once; as far as I could find, most of the musical came out of one two-page sketch. Seems to me (or what's left of my memory) that most of the depth of Nellie and Emile came from R&H. (I don't remember how much Michener did on Cable, if any.)

My favorite? Maybe Company, because it was the musical Sondheim found his voice in (and the one I found Sondheim by). Or almost any other Sondheim musical; Lloyd Webber isn't intelligent enough, and the predecessors are too much of times I like to think we've grown out of. I saw a lot of old movie musicals that I brought in to a sick friend, and most of them leave me tepid (at best); a musical is implausible by definition, but it's nice when they try to make it plausible. I do have a soft spot for The Most Happy Fella; some of the characters and numbers are horribly formulaic, but there are some wonderful moments when the leads show-with-music because the music itself stretches the bounds ("How Beautiful the Days").

#953 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Lighthill:

Random question: Is your name a Vinge reference?

#954 ::: lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 11:58 AM:

albatross@952:

Indeed it is! But it's also a common enough surname that it doesn't twig many people's pseudonym filters, which was more or less the effect I was going for.

#955 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 12:20 PM:

CHip @ 951

The one that Buster Keaton played?

#956 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 01:11 PM:

lighthill @948
Well, I like it. But you're not going to get much in the way of detailed criticism here - we tend to post, but not dissect. I've occasionally got comments back when a line in a sonnet is a foot short or long, but beyond that, the best one tends to get is a "well done".

(You do know we're fond of LOLcats poetry here, yes? If not, well, there's three or four hours of your life you won't get back again.)

#957 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 01:24 PM:

lighthill: Well done.

#958 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 08:00 PM:

lighthill #948: That's wonderful!

#959 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:26 AM:

JESR, #772: Generally speaking, I'm with you on that. Several notable examples:
1) The Black Stallion movie, in which they cast a 6-year-old kid to play Alec Ramsey... who is FIFTEEN in the first book!
2) The Outsiders movie, in which they cast Matt Dillon (who is fairly dark) to play platinum-blond Dally Winston.
3) The BBC Brother Cadfael series, in which they cast two different tall, blond actors to play Hugh Beringar -- who is repeatedly described in the books as being both very short (scarcely taller than his wife, who isn't a tall woman) and very dark ("black-avised"), which I take to mean looking as though he has some Mediterranean ancestry.

The first two bothered me enough that I've never actually spent the time to see either movie. The third... okay, I've seen and enjoyed a number of the episodes, but the discrepancy still makes my teeth itch.

Oddly enough, I'm not having that response to the idea of the rebooted ClassicTrek movie. I think perhaps watching Bones has gotten me used to the idea of "okay, this is happening in an alternate universe". (TV!Brennan is so completely unlike book!Brennan that it's the only possible reaction.)

Serge, #928: And farewell to Robert Goulet, who played that part as a young actor and went on to play King Arthur in his maturity. (Not to mention also being in Brigadoon.)

C. Wingate, #937: Not quite all the missing parts; the third verse of "Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve" isn't there. But at least we have "Cool, Cool Considerate Men" back!

#960 ::: Lee sees possible spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 12:06 PM:

Or maybe just not-their-first-language confusion, @960.

#961 ::: David Goldfarb thinks it's definitely spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2010, 02:27 PM:

"Eye operation" in German as the name? Nobody real calls themself "eye operation".

#962 ::: Serge sees SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2010, 05:49 PM:

Anybody else saw the episode of "100 Center Street" where movie bad-guy Eli Wallach explained to the stern judge the difference between burlesque and vaudeville?

#963 ::: Rikibeth sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2010, 05:49 PM:

Cleanup on aisle 93?

#964 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2010, 06:00 PM:

It's odd how appropriate that spam is to this particular thread.

93/93 to all the Thelemites....

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