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October 22, 2007

Open thread 94
Posted by Patrick at 06:49 PM *

Crooked Still perform the classic earworm “New Railroad.” Bluegrass needs more cellos!

Comments on Open thread 94:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:54 PM:

(It's not the hanging that I mind, it's the being in the ground so long.)

#2 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 07:13 PM:

I popped this into the end of the last open thread but thought it worth mentioning again since that one closed down not long after.

The Making Light indexing is going faster than I thought it would, so I've taken the indices 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.

#4 ::: Sharon Mock ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 07:55 PM:

In the wake of the current firestorm, San Diego area fans have set up a couple of check-in sites.

Yahoo! newsgroup:

(Zak and I are not in danger. I'd like to say we are in no danger, but that's an impossible statement to make given this weather.)

#5 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:06 PM:

Quick, before it gets pulled - check out Robot Chicken's 300 parody.

#7 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:15 PM:

Friday is October 26th, the full moon, the start of MileHiCon, and the Anniversary of the Creation of the World. Mark your calendars.

...paraphrased from John McPhee's Basin and Range:

According to conventional wisdom at the end of the eighteenth century the earth was between five thousand and six thousand years old. An Irish archbishop, James Ussher (Primate of the Anglican Church!), counting generations in his favorite book, figured this out in the century before. Ussher actually dated the earth, saying that it was created in 4004 B.C. Shortly after Ussher's publication of Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti, Vice-Chancellor Lightfoot of Cambridge University confirmed the year, and refined the calculations and determined that the Holy Trinity had created the earth on October 26th, at

Geologists today will give parties on the twenty-sixth of October. Some of these parties begin on the twenty-fifth and end at nine in the morning.

#8 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Bluegrass needs more cellos!

Heck, the general case of that is also true: 'most everything needs more cellos.

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Mary Dell @ 5... Is this better than Mel Gibson's tale of the Revolution?

#10 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 08:50 PM:

Did you know that the Battle Hymn of the Republic has six verses?

(For some reason, even the hymnbooks that include it these days don't often have the sixth verse...)

#11 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:00 PM:

Carrying over from the previous open thread ...

Steve C. @ 947

Damn right, "Damn Yankees"! I have a DVD that I take out every three years or so. Between Ray Walston and Gwen Verdon, I don't know which I prefer to watch*.

But that brings up another issue when talking about dancing. No question that Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly are two of the finest dancers who ever lived. But would anyone disagree with me that (and I'm just talking about males here, so I won't trip over too many things that are hard to compare) Bob Fosse deserves to be up there too?

* Actually, I do; Gwen Verdon moves much better, and besides, I'm het, what can I say?

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

Not only does most everything need more cellos, but most everything needs more banjo, too. Harmonica's missing from too much modern music, also, for that matter.

Was it just me, or were Celtic roots especially clear in that particular tune? I was beating out the rythym on my knee, and recognized it as *very* similar to a bagpiping rythym...

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:33 PM:

Skwid @ 12... most everything need more cellos

Personally, I think there's too much violin in modern movies.

#14 ::: Robert Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:38 PM:

Best use of cello in popular music: Nirvana's version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" aka "In The Pines."

#15 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:39 PM:

and too much sacks at the grocery store....

#16 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:40 PM:

Skwid @ 12... most everything needs more banjo

Kirk couldn't agree more.

#17 ::: Jonathan Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:46 PM:

Serge @ 13 -- that's sax and violins.

#18 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Skwid @12, It's not just you. Some of the many roots of American folk / bluegrass music incorporate those hardy celts who wandered up into the Appalachians and have kept modally tuned instruments and harmonies alive a few more hundred years.

Cellos, yes! I have a particular fondness for a recent album, Fire & Grace, by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, having gotten to hear them live in CA one year either just before or after the annual string-music workshop he runs just north of the Bay Area in the Valley of the Moon. She seriously fiddles! that cello, even standing up! Yum.
Other cello fiddlers of note, without recordings, alas, are Fred Nussbaum in the Portland, OR area, and a genial fellow whose name I don't know yet who has recently moved to the Berkeley area and showed up at open band night a couple of months ago at the local English Country Dance series, much to everyone's delight.
One cello-fiddler of note with recordings: there are a few splendid albums out by Mark O'Connor (fiddle), Edgar Myers (Bass) and Yo-Yo Ma (cello) exploring American Appalachian country and bluegrass rootways -- Appalachian Journey, Appalachian Spring, and there may be another I'm forgetting just now.

O, Joy: those bigger boxes are splendid fiddles, too.

Thanks for linking this tune, Patrick. Love it!

Speaking of completely other forms of fiddling with one's hands, how many readers of Making Light who also knit have found themselves over at Ravelry (yet) ? This couple went and had an idea that turns out to be much like a LibraryThing for fiber arts, and did a slow rolling beta-opening this summer to (wisely) keep from breaking things as it scales up. They opened to beta testers, think they'd get maybe a hundred volunteers or so and immediately had a line packed with tens of thousands of folks! They're building a very nice database structure using Ruby on Rails, have their core structure in place, excellent beta-testy whacking goodness going on, secured some funding and purchased servers, and are rolling out the invites very quickly. There are already hundreds of affinity groups, in the way of such things, and -- well! -- come on in, the water's fine. is where to start. The wait's tremendously worthwhile (and gettin' shorter daily).

#19 ::: dave ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 09:55 PM:

An off-topic question for the military types: when you deploy to other countries as part of a military operation, do you need passports and if so, do they get stamped with entry and exit stamps?

Obviously, an invading force wouldn't need them, but if you were deployed to a base in Europe, would you get stamped in and out?

#20 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:00 PM:

Popular music? More cellos?

Be careful what you wish for.

I've been told that Apocalyptica is only the 2nd best cello group/Metallica cover band. Not sure who #1 might be.

#21 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:04 PM:

dave @ #19, I dunno about now, but back in 1972 I was sent to Japan for 20 months; no passport required. I came back to the US for leave in January 1974; still no passport required when I went back to work.

Now, I flew into Yokota AFB both times, so the Status of Forces Agreement might have stated that service personnel didn't have to have passports if they were flying from one AFB in Hawai'i to another one in Japan.

#22 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Did you know that John Boorman originally wanted Deliverance to show dueling xylophones?

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:10 PM:

Jonathan Cohen @ 17... I can't believe I missed that one. I am so ashamed. Just don't harp ("Honk!") on it.

#24 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Bruce Cohen #11

I think Fosse was one of the all time great showmen, but I'm not that familiar with his own dancing - I'll have to see what I can find. Certainly as a choreographer, he was tops.

Comparing Kelly and Astaire is interesting. It seemed that Astaire was the more sophisticated and urbane, while Kelly displayed a more down-to-earth style. On the whole, I like Gene Kelly more, but they both moved with a physical grace that is bestowed on very few.

If I could have for just a few hours a show-business talent or two, I'd like to dance like Gene Kelly and sing like Sinatra in the 50's.

#25 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:23 PM:

On the Battle Hymn of the Republic in #10:

Was the sixth verse shown in Wikipedia ever published widely in Howe's lifetime? The song's first publication, in the Feb. 1862 Atlantic, doesn't include it, and neither does the version at the start of Florence Hall Howe's 1916 book _The Story of the Battle Hymn of the Republic_.

Of course, it's not uncommon for there to be extra verses in manuscripts or in performances of songs. (Woody Guthrie created lots of verses, original and variant, for "This Land is Your Land" over his lifetime, for instance.)

#26 ::: Ashley ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:29 PM:

Long-time lurker here. I know that here at Making Light there is a lot of discussion about publish-on-demand services and scams. In my hometown a bookstore that carries almost nothing but Author House books just opened. The manager said that they have a contract with Author House to carry their books. I've never heard of a physical bookstore carrying almost exclusively POD books... has anyone heard of this before?

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:41 PM:

I am of the opinion that everything needs more violas. More orsinos might be nice too.

#28 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:43 PM:

#26: Never heard of such a thing.

#18, Ruth Temple: Teresa has been rhapsodizing about Ravelry for some months now. She just recently (finally) made it up the waiting list to get an actual account, but I don't think she's had time to do anything with it. She's described the site as "crack for knitters." It does sound brilliant.

#29 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:45 PM:

On one of the Tor podcasts, Patrick is talking about recent & upcoming Tor releases, and he discusses one I hadn't heard of that sounds interesting to me: an alternate history / world walking book in which the alternate universe has a stagnant Soviet-dominated Europe; the teenage protags open a gaming shop in Rome. The cover has a Soviet Realist arm grasping a 10-sided die. Unfortunately my hearing isn't what it used to be, and I can't make out either the author or the title -- anyone recognize this?

#30 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:46 PM:

There's always room for Cell-o.

#31 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 10:56 PM:

I thought it was October 23. (At 9:00 in the morning. No word on whether that's Jerusalem time or GMT.) To quote Gaiman and Pratchett: "The Earth's a Libra."

#32 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Cello, cello.... Any Rasputina fans about? They're a rather peculiar cello trio with a bit of a steampunk aesthetic. Heretical of me, but I like their cover of "Wish You Were Here" even better than the original. (Don't get me wrong: Pink Floyd's managed a number of unmatchable songs. I simply thought that was one of them until I heard the Rasputina version in a cafe.)

#33 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:31 PM:

#29: It's Harry Turtledove's The Gladiator. Edited by TNH. A fun read.

#34 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Didn't the credits theme from "Angel" feature a 'cello?

#35 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:41 PM:

Dave @ 34, I am almost positive that it does, but I haven't seen the show in years. I used to just watch the intro and then change the channel.

AJ Luxton @ 32, I love Rasputina! The world needs more all-girl cello bands. If you like them you may want to check out Emilie Autumn; she's a violinist-singer-songwriter with a style she describes as "Victoriandustrial," and is sometimes accompanied by her corseted cellist Lady Joo Hee.

I know it's classical rather than modern, but my favorite cello part ever comes from the Brahms Concerto in A Minor for violin and cello. The Vivace non troppo, the third movement, is fantastic.

#36 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Apocalyptica is number 2? I can't imagine who number 1 is...unless they count S&M, which would be absurd.

Rasputina is *very* fun. Been a fan of theirs for a while, now. Also: Nigel Kennedy's Hendrix interpretations. I saw him perform "Hey Joe" at a Dallas Symphony Orchestra event accompanied only by a stand-up bass...blew the house away.

#37 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Ooh yes, Rasputina. Did you see this? Rasputina does Baby Got Back.

#38 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 12:14 AM:

What the world needs is more banjolellies.

Fishtank Ensemble -- Turkish March

(And shaimsans (and punk accordions)).

#39 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Rasputina: Oh hell yeah. And speaking of their covers, I have a theory that if listening to their version of "Brand New Key" doesn't make you feel like doing something naughty, you might not actually be alive.

Zoe Keating, one of the former members, is now doing solo work using loops and improvisations; she's on one of the same looper mailing lists my brother is. It's deeply cool stuff.

Also, those of you who are banjo fans (as I have become in the last few years) ought to check out the catalogue at, making available some of the best underground/dark folk/wyrdfolk music around. It's run by Timothy Renner, himself a fine banjo player (formerly of Stone Breath and several other acts, now a founding member of Crow Tongue along with Shane Speal, the self-proclaimed King of the Cigar Box Guitar) and is probably one of the best mailorder labels on the web; they're reliably fast, the prices are more than reasonable, and they don't charge shipping.

(No commercial interest of my own in plugging this stuff, other than a deep desire to see it stick around for a while so I can keep getting my creepy folk music fix every so often.)

#40 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 12:54 AM:

I'll see your Apocalyptica and Rasputina and raise you a Great Kat, who, apparently, is the dominatrix shredder of the classical world, which I for one am happy to know, as I wouldn't have been at all suspicious one even existed in the first place.

And then, of course, I'd call the bluff with Lorraine and Malena. Because, seriously, could Neil possibly be associated with people any cooler?

I just don't think so.

"Just Me & Eve" remains one of my favorite songs ever.

#41 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:12 AM:

Patrick, thanks for the link to Crooked Still's vids. They accompanied my evening's work. I was sorry to see that Rushad is leaving the group--it's notable that they're replacing him with two musicians, a cellist and a violinist. No surprise that others heard Celtic sounds in there. O'Donovan's breathy delivery and the group's love of jazz-orchestral arrangements always reminded me of the New Age/Celtic groups like Clannad.

There was also a vid in the collection by Kerfuffle, an Irish group of prodigies. I hadn't heard of them, but I'll be seeking out more of their music. Don't get much Celtic accordion in these parts!

#42 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:23 AM:

A.J. Luxton #32: Hooray, Rasputina! Their version of Barracuda (and Brand New Key, and You Don't Own Me, and Wish You Were Here, and All Tomorrow's Parties, and every single other cover they've done) verges on better than the original. Not to belittle their own orginals--The New Zero, f'rinstance, might be in my top 20 favorite songs ever. Three times now I've missed my chance to see them live, and it saddens me.

#43 ::: Allen J. Baum ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:27 AM:

Bluegrass couldn't have less cello, after all, but yes..

Thank you, thank you Patrick - now I have to go out and buy Crooked Still CDs. I thought I'd been Bluegrassed out at Hardly-Strictly-Bluegrass a few weeks ago. I was wrong.

Pretty amazing pedigree for this band; I'd wager there aren't many professional bluegrass musicians (or non-bluegrass - yea, I know about Brian May) with Phd.s (from MIT, no less).

I saw (new fiddler) Brittany Haas playing with Dave Grisman at a Bay Area fundraiser while she was still in high school, I think - so I'm going to have to pay attention to when they play around here. Their tour dates seem to be mostly east coast, though.

#44 ::: IsaacH ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:23 AM:

Generally, everything could use more cellos. But the world could definitely use less Apocalyptica. I wonder what kind of pickups they use...?

#45 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:25 AM:

Jeralyn Merritt digs up some Joan Didion writing about Santa Ana Winds.

Kevin Drum says he's lived in Southern California all his life and doesn't recognize the phenomenon Didion describes.

Whether Didion or Drum is correct, her prose is gorgeous.

#46 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:28 AM:

Steve C. @ 24

Fosse could do all of the things he choreographed, and for a number of years his primary dance partner was Gwen Verdon, just so you know who he could keep up with.* For images of him dancing, start here

* The only thing he couldn't do with Verdon was stay married to her; but, married or not, they were great dancing partners.

#47 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:55 AM:

Access to YouTube is, rather understandably, blocked from my workplace. Thus I can't tell whether the link at #46 is to a clip from this film. But Bob Fosse was one of the dancers in Kiss Me Kate, which I remember was mentioned recently in the discussion of musicals for, for instance, "Brush up your Shakespeare". I do remember noticing him in the "It's too darn hot" dancing.

I'm quite fond of Singin' in the Rain as a musical, apart from other reasons, due to something I share with Donald O'Connor. I don't remember it being mentioned in that discussion. I once watched it (while doing other things) with the sound off. It certainly gives you a different perspective. Interesting.

#48 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:07 AM:

The Fosse clip, according to the YouTube poster, is:

"...from a 1955 movie called "My Sister Eileen," which starred Betty Garrett and Jack Lemmon. There are a few more numbers from this movie on youtube available from other users."

#49 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:20 AM:

A friend of mine plays pop song on cello. Apparently he's doing original stuff now, but my favorite was when he did Johnny Cash covers in a country bar near Osaka.

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 06:53 AM:

Mez @ 47... My understanding is that, when O'Connor did his solo number (OK, not quite solo, since a dummy was involved), they basically let him loose, and what you see is what Inspiration had him think of as he improvised. I think. What? You callin' me a lyre?

#51 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 07:15 AM:

Ruth Temple @18, Patrick @28 -- re Ravelry. I've been on for awhile, and "crack for knitters" and other fiber folks isn't an exaggeration. Remember how cool Windows once seemed? (C'mon, admit it.) And how MSDOS all of a sudden felt clunky and primitive? That's an analogy for comparing Ravelry to other tools used by internet-oriented knitters such as googling, bloglines, yahoo groups and wikis. Not only are the features great, the basic atmosphere there is welcoming and constructive.

I've been wondering if Ravelry will inspire similar sites for other hobbies, and if so, which ones. One attractive aspect of this format is the sheer scope of the enabling possibilities, but the potential for social cross-pollination makes it just as interesting.

#52 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 07:19 AM:

Yeah, the last discussion I had about the different styles of Astaire and Kelly led to the conclusion that Donald O'Connor was a better dancer than either - it's worth watching Singing in the Rain again just to watch him instead of Kelly. I don't suppose he really improvised the 'Make 'em Laugh' routine, but I am pretty sure he designed it.

Michael Wood in America in the Movies has a nice (and light) discussion of the Kelly/Astaire question, where he concludes that Kelly's dancing shows more obvious effort - as if he were forcing himself to be in high spirits, where Astaire just moved like that naturally. It seemed an interesting reading. (I recommend the book, by the way - I'm afraid the link is only to purchase rather than to read it.)

Meanwhile, in 'My Stepmother is an Alien', Kim Basinger turns on a TV showing 'The Man Who Came to Dinner', and there is a quick clip of Jimmy Durante doing a routine (I think the song is 'Ever Had The Feeling That You Wanted To Go'). Has anyone seen the clip online - the Durante one, not the Basinger one - or will I have to rent the whole movie?

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 07:35 AM:

candle @ 52... Maybe that's what I remember hearing, about O'Connor, that he came up with the "Make 'em laugh" routine all by himself. (Apparently, Irving Berlin wasn't happy at first that its music was, more than a bit inspired by his "Be A Clown".)

Interesting, the comparison between Astaire and Kelly's styles. Kelly always went for the more athletic approach. I think he was from a working-class background. Must have been fun, growing up loving dancing and being 5'7 tall...

#54 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 08:35 AM:

I'd take Astaire over Kelly and the Castles over either.

#55 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 08:53 AM:

#18 #28

Yep, Ravelry is totally crack for knitters. I'm signed on there as "Miss Print" which is the name I blog under.

What I like best is the ability to drool over everyone else's finished projects, and dream about making them for myself some time...

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 09:11 AM:

Susan @ 54... I personally prefer Kelly, but the important thing is that theirs were different approaches to something they all loved in their own way (*). My understanding is that Astaire and Kelly respected what they each did. It was interesting watching Astaire in 1953's The Band Wagon, where he poked fun at his older movie persona, starting with an auction where nobody wants to buy his character's top hat. Later on, he and Cyd Charisse launch into a Mickey Spillane pastiche where he got to be more physical, like Kelly would have been, I think. Me, I can't dance to save my life. But I enjoy watching people who can.

(*) says Serge, hitting the obvious on the head with a jackhammer.

#57 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 09:27 AM:

I thought it was October 23. (At 9:00 in the morning. No word on whether that's Jerusalem time or GMT.) To quote Gaiman and Pratchett: "The Earth's a Libra."

Barely... my birthday is also today, but I was born so late that the conversion to GMT pushes it into tomorrow morning, thus placing me smack on the cusp of Scorpio. (Yeah, I once did my "chart".)

#58 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Open thread.

From this morning's Washington Post, the lead paragraph of a review by Tom Shales of the CNN documentary "Planet in Peril":

Wasn't "Planet in Peril" one of the chapter titles from the original "Flash Gordon" serial? Thus another way to define the good old days, back when perils to the planet seemed almost entirely the stuff of science fiction.

#59 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Bob Fosse and Carol Haney in the specialty dance in Kiss Me Kate, and, of course, Carol Haney in "Steam Heat"... sigh I wanted to be Carol Haney as a dancer. I want to be Carol Haney as a singer -- who am I kidding?

But yes, Bob Fosse was an amazing dancer as well as choreographer.

#60 ::: Christina ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 10:25 AM:

I love Crooked Still -- "Shaken By a Low Sound" is brilliant. Thanks for posting the video!

For those that care, there's a new Tracy Grammer EP due out soon, with a couple of Dave Carter songs on it.

My current obsession is L.A. Guitar Quartet. Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown" sounds pretty damn cool on four guitars.

#61 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 10:58 AM:

For cello fans out there, Rasputina, the hard rocking cellists have a spectacular new album.

#62 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 11:23 AM:

It just sort of boggles the mind that this is happening: a Naruto/Star Trek cross-over convention.

The only thing I can imagine that the two fan groups have in common is that they both like to wear costumes. I'm just fascinated by what a potential train wreck this might be.

#63 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 12:04 PM:

In the laurel, birds
Compete with leaves for space. They
Sing: "New day! New day!"

#64 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Language Hat pointed me to a cool vocabulary game named Free Rice, where correct answers accumulate microdonations to the United Nations against world hunger.

#65 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Thus another way to define the good old days, back when perils to the planet seemed almost entirely the stuff of science fiction.

WarMing the Merciless?

#66 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Catching up on this thread has resulted in a brainworm of the Cronos Quartet's version of "Purple Haze."

Worse things could happen.

#67 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:13 PM:

#64 David, I tinkered with FreeRice for over an hour then realized it didn't matter what vocabularly level or how many words you had missed --- they were still going to donate rice. I spent entirely too much time stressing over my vocabularly prowess on that one... charity IS stressful.

#68 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:16 PM:

David @ 64 This is fun.

One of the words I got was "rugose." Got it right, too. :-)

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Faren @ 65... WarMing the Merciless?

"No! Not the Bore Worm!"

#70 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:42 PM:

From today's Tomato Nation:

I don't know about you, but if I were in the fire zone in SoCal and I heard that Governor Schwarzenegger had called FEMA for aid, I'd be like, "You know what actually, we're good. No, it's fine, seriously. No, we'll just…dig a moat or something, really, don't get up. Please."

#71 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 01:58 PM:

Ah, Crooked Still. Such a pity Rashad (the cellist) is leaving the band ... even though they are replacing him with a cello *and* a fiddle (which should tell you something right there), I fear Crooked Still is about to become Just Another Newgrass Band. Such a waste.

I loves me some Rasputina, too.

For those looking for something different in their cello-playing, might I recommend checking out Lindsay Mac. She straps on her cello like it's a guitar and strums away. She's truly something to watch (and hear).

#72 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Caught a few minutes of "Brigadoon" on TCM the other night--the "Almost Like Being in Love" number--and was struck by how balletic Kelly's dancing was. I used to characterize Kelly as more obviously athletic than Astaire, but now I'd add that Astaire looks more ballroom-and-tap, while to my untutored eye, Kelly took quite a few moves directly from classical dance. My wife's reaction was, "Wouldn't you love to see Bob Fosse doing this dance?" Actually, Kelly doing Fosse choreography would be really interesting. . . .

As for singing--Frank is terrific, but I'd give a lot to be able to sing like Astaire. (Try to do "Cheek to Cheek" sometime and make it sound easy.)

#73 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:01 PM:

I love both Kelly and Astaire, but my favorite bit of dance from a film is Cyd Charisse dancing on the volcano in "Sombrero."

(The choreographer was Hermes Pan.)

#74 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:10 PM:

That Free Rice game is fun. Infuriating, because it and I don't agree on some things, and its presentation isn't exactly what I would like, but fun. And I like any vocab game that knows more words than I do.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 73... Wasn't "Sombrero" the short film where Cyd and Ann Miller danced with Ricardo Montalban?

#76 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:06 PM:

re: banjos + cellos, no discussion could be complete without mention of Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots. Mmm, southern gothalicious! (You can see crappy videos on youtube and they've got some tracks on myspace, neither of which I can get to from here, or I'd provide the links myself. Sorry.) And Dwight from Slim Cessna's Auto Club is the reason I couldn't listen to anything without banjos in it for an entire year. (It's still difficult, but I managed to wean myself off with mandolins and have safely recovered to standard guitar-tolerance.)

#77 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:09 PM:


Richard Schickel said about Fred Astaire that, ""He made us feel if we could sing at all and if we could have sung to a girl, we'd probably imagine that we would sing a little like Fred Astaire."

I love that.

#78 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:13 PM:

JKRichard @#67: I spent entirely too much time stressing over my vocabulary prowess

Hey, even if you poke randomly, the rice still trickles in. The vocabulary level is just a nice touch, I guess they're trying not to bore or intimidate people.

Diatryma @#74: Infuriating, because it and I don't agree on some things

Yeah, the "meanings" aren't always exact matches (a vole is not a field mouse!) but I haven't yet seen anything that couldn't be waved away as a "fuzzy match".

It occurs to me that all the answers seem to be the same word-type (noun, verb, adjective) as the challenge -- the way they present words in isolation, they could easily make things even tougher by offering fake-out answers of different word-types.

#79 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:33 PM:

I just did 500 grains of rice worth of vocabulary. I can thank the Modesty Blaise books for being able to recognize "ecdysis" and was amused to have to pick out the meaning of "grok".

#80 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:36 PM:

If you poke randomly, the rice does flow in — but only about 25% as rapidly as if you choose the correct answer. Choosing a wrong answer returns the message "Sorry, not quite correct. Please try another word." Only a right answer gets "You have just donated 10 grains of rice."

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:47 PM:

"ecdysis"... I came across its derivative "ecdysiast" in the Hulk comic-book. You see, Rick Jones was about to tie the knot, so the superguys decided to give him a super bachelor's party and hired a stripper. Captain America actually blushed.

#82 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Serge #81:

Shows up in Heinlein's "The Year of the Jackpot", too.

For the record, I usually sit at 49. I may improve on this now I've figured out that if I have a hunch and then go pick another definition for logical reasons, the hunch is the correct one.

#83 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 04:09 PM:

I hover between 44 and 46, with occasional bursts of 49. I'm good at words relating to science-- 'ecdysis' and 'flocculent'-- but go with hunches if I can't figure out the root. It's a much more interesting way to kill ten or fifteen minutes than Solitaire.

#84 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 04:16 PM:

I I remember a PBS special where Donald O'Connor talked about Cagney's dance style and did it, then talked about Kelly's style and did it, then talked about Astaire's style and did it. Which proves the old line about Kelly having been the bravest dance arranger in film history, because who else would have risked being on the same stage as O'Connor?

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 04:30 PM:

joann @ 82... Shows up in Heinlein's "The Year of the Jackpot", too.

A classier source than the Hulk. Comic-books will rot my brain. ("Will?") Shush.

#86 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 04:44 PM:


that's where i knew "ecdysiast" from, too. i'm not sure if that should reasssure you or not....

#87 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 04:56 PM:

miriam beetle @ 86... i'm not sure if that should reasssure you or not....

Not sure that it does, but I feel slightly less alone in my rotten-brain state. Did I ever tell you where I learned to speak and write in English? Sure, there were mandatory classes in high-school, but I did most of my practice from watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and reading comic-books. ("Why am I not surprised?") Behave, ethan.

#88 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Serge, "Sombrero" has three storylines, and Montalban is in one of them. I don't remember Ann Miller being in that one. Heck, I think I'll go look it up on IMDB...

#89 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 05:09 PM:

My dad taught me ecdysiast. My dad is cool.

#90 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 05:32 PM:

JESR @ 66

Gak! You started one up in my head, but it's not the Kronos Quartet, it's Bobby McFerrin, announcing in a plummy voice that he's going to do Bach, and then diving into Purple Haze. I saw him do that live a few years back with a full symphony behind him, and now it's on full video loop in my brain.

#91 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 05:48 PM:

Red Cross donation link for Southern California Wildfire mess:

#92 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Astaire was grace itself, Kelly was strength and courage and intensity, O'Connor was quite possibly one of the greatest dancers of all time, any style (I'd love to see him do something really modern, beyond the Kelly style; anybody ever seen that?).

But to my mind, there are two things that made Fosse the most interesting of them all to watch. First, he was a really fabulous choreographer, in a style that speaks to me even more than Kelly's or Astaire's, though I love to watch them.

Second, Fosse was a very atypical male dancer. Watch him in a pose, or a slow move. He had as much strength and control as most male dancers*, but he had far more flexibility, as much as many female ballet dancers. When he held a pose, his line was absolutely gorgeous. It's not exactly dancing, but you can see his flexibility in "The Little Prince" where he plays a snake.

* Granted he wasn't a leaper, but that's a specialized talent.

#93 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 06:01 PM:

I love cellos. I have a thing for rich, dark, low tones; cellos fit that jones perfectly. When I started watching "Inspector Morse" I would always switch the channel well before it started because I didn't want to miss that lovely theme music. I found a CD of the composer, Barrington Pheloung, and worked hard at wearing it out. He's quite good, not a raving modern, but not a throwback to the 18th century either.

#94 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 06:25 PM:

My friend's ex-marching band husband feels most bands are way under-tubaed. He feels a proportion of five to one's about right -- and he's a trumpet man.

Yes, Ravelry!

#95 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 06:56 PM:

The Angel theme has cellos too (also windchimes! I had an mp3 of this on my computer for ages). I had a cellist boyfriend at the end of high school. He was stark staring mad, but the cello serenades were wonderful.

#96 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 07:51 PM:

Not only does the Angel theme have cellos, but the Forever Knight theme included a fakey synthesized cello. Vampire = Cello.

I for one think there should be more uillean pipes and low whistles - in just about everything.

#97 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 08:02 PM:

For either learning to read or for gaining vocabulary, there's the same three methods: Practice, practice, practice!

Comic books, sappy romances, whatever... one of my stepbrothers was borderline LD for reading, but AD&D gave him enough motivation to push through and gain proficiency (so he could read the rulebooks). Now he's a jet-setting executive....

Same deal for cartoons, soap operas, etc. and listening proficiency. Anything goes!

#98 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Somewhere in the category of very common words just not processing correctly on some days--

I've grown accustomed to all those symbols on the car in front of me, and sometimes it's fun to puzzle new ones out. Darwin fish, Jesus fish, FSM, etc., and an unfamiliar one caught my eye today. After studying it a moment, I groused to my husband, "What the hell is that, now? The Church of the Dowsing Snowman?"

", that's a V8."

#99 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 08:47 PM:

An open thread question for the fluorosphere (aka, please help me scratch this linguistic itch):

The phrase "big girl's blouse" - sometimes "useless as a big girl's blouse" - I've always understood from context to mean very useless indeed.

But why? Why is a big girl's blouse so useless? Why would it be more useless than the blouse of a small or medium sized girl?

Bonus question: "safe as houses", meaning very safe indeed. What? Why? Investment advice that escaped into the wild?

#100 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 08:50 PM:

I think you may be parsing that wrong. At least, I've always taken it as big (girl's blouse), not (big girl's) blouse.

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 09:17 PM:

rams @ 94... You bring up music and Ravelry in the same post and I find myself thinking of Ravel's Bolero. Thanks. Truly.

#102 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Jen Roth @100:
Could be - but either way, why would girl's blouse be the equivalent of very useless?

#103 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 09:54 PM:

Sharon, it's British idiom.

#104 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 10:31 PM:

In #14 Robert Thornton writes:

Best use of cello in popular music: Nirvana's version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" aka "In The Pines."

My brother John set out to collect every performance of that song he could find, on tape, LP, and CD. He liked the spookiness of it.

You inspired me to punch "In the Pines" into Youtube. Wow. Lots more covers John never collected. Plus a nine-minute clip that is claimed to be the only film ever shot of Leadbelly. (He's humming "ITP" under the credits, but, alas, it's not one of the three songs we see him perform.)

#105 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 12:49 AM:

I just looked at the particle "Use lethal force before you're fully awake".

Words fail me. I thought they had laws, even in the USA, against crazy people owning firearms?

#106 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Serge #87: Hey, I have nothing but respect for comics and Bugs Bunny. Now, if you said that you learned English from Kevin Costner and a dragon with Sean Connery's voice, that'd be different.

Bill Higgins #104: Did your brother acquire the spooky Snakefarm version? That somehow managed to be the first version I ever heard, though these days I prefer the Leadbelly.

#107 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 02:06 AM:

Dave @ #105, I'd like to think that was a spoof, but I doubt it.

Guns under the pillow are fine for 007, but for the average householder?

#108 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 02:42 AM:

Nice music; too bad it was so poorly-mixed that the lyrics disappeared into the background. Reminded me of the way Howard Shore used wordless human voice as an instrument in the LOTR soundtrack.

Dave, #34: Yes, it did. And now I'll have it as an earworm for the next few days.

I played cello from 4th grade thru high school. My music teacher wanted to put me on the violin, but I heard someone playing the cello just once and was hooked. I tend to prefer low voices to high ones as well -- bass/baritone is more appealing than tenor, and alto/contralto more so than soprano. The tenors get all the glory on the opera stage, but give me Samuel Ramey any day!

Anybody else planning to be at MileHiCon? If you are, come look me up at the Pegasus Publishing booth!

#109 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 02:52 AM:

The strangest story I ever heard about exercising the Second Amendment while caffeine-impaired concerned a man who woke up in the middle of the night and mistook his own erection for an intruder. Grabbing his pistol, he shot the intruder.

I'll let you google for this if you want to find the story.

#110 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 05:26 AM:

Odd synchronicity -- I've had "Make 'Em Laugh" stuck in my head all night, alternating with The Decemberists' "Chimney Sweep" for maximum genre shear.

Fans of cellos *and* esoteric instruments might enjoy the French SF-horror film Delicatessan, which features an extended cello-musical saw duet.

The aforementioned Decemberists also have a penchant for using unusual instruments in modern-ish music. I went to a concert of theirs in Boston with a friend who plays Irish music, and after the first number the lead singer traded his guitar for another stringed instrument, and she nudged me and said, "That's a bazuki!"

I wish the Crooked Still site had more, longer samples of their songs... I like the sound, but there's no particular song or songs that really grabs me yet.

*tries to convince himself he doesn't need more CDs right now anyway*

#111 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 06:51 AM:

I have nothing but respect for comics and Bugs Bunny. Now, if you said that you learned English from Kevin Costner and a dragon with Sean Connery's voice, that'd be different.

Not sure what that means, but I think the kid is again making fun of where I get my cinematic pleasures.

Meanwhile, last night Turner Classic Movies showed Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows. In French. With subtitles. As far as I could tell, Jeanne Moreau is in love with one of her hubby's employees. Moreau's boyfriend of course bumps off the hubby when the latter stays at the office late one Friday night. The boyfriend then gets stuck in the elevator all weekend while Moreau wonders where he is. And there's a subplot about a young couple stealing the boyfriend's car that was parked in front of the office. I think. The whole thing made me want to watch the "Fromage Grand" skit from Monty Python's Flying Circus. The latter was also in French with subtitles, but it had the virtue of being mercifully short. And it had Carol Cleaveland sitting in the middle of a dump with a head of lettuce in her lap.

#112 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 06:54 AM:

I don't know the origin of "big girl's blouse" but I've always heard it used* to mean unmanly i.e. not willing to do very silly or dangerous things, rather than useless. In other words, if you fail to (for example) down your pint at the required time you're not a man, you're not a girl, you're just a girl's blouse** that's been grown to the size of a man.

* Including by me
** Because a girl can be manly, but girly clothes can't. That's my interpretation.

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 06:55 AM:

Linkmeister @ 107... Guns under the pillow are fine for 007, but for the average householder?

James Bond vs the Tooth Fairy in Golddenture?

#114 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:26 AM:

Ethan #106 wrote Hey, I have nothing but respect for comics and Bugs Bunny. Now, if you said that you learned English from Kevin Costner and a dragon with Sean Connery's voice, that'd be different.

'There's no such thing as a drrrragon'. (Connery as James Bond in Dr No, accent slipping.)

#115 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:41 AM:

Keith @61, awesome! I will go look that up. The only one I have is Thanks for the Ether (and doesn't it remind me of the weird and fun parts of high school?)

Bill Higgins @ 104, I once went to see a rockabilly band in Quogue. (It is an extremely long story why.) During the break, someone -- I think it was their drummer -- hopped up on stage, grabbed the huge bass, and accompanied himself solely on bass while singing that song. Later he and the band's lead singer delivered one of the most blistering renditions of "Jackson" I've ever heard. It was really fantastic.

I have recently woken up from a long dream in which there was something between a Making Light convention and Viable Paradise. Most of the dream was taken up by convention registration stuff -- people going around checking you off a list and handing you paperwork and nametags. One of the registration folk turned out to be a long-forgotten high school acquaintance, which was fun. There were going to be writing workshops, the first of which was a timed-writing on a prompt having to do with dragons, or perhaps aliens, invading.

The whole thing was being held outdoors, in a beautiful and apparently permanent sunset, but a rather desolate area. Possibly offplanet?

Finally, the registration was over and we all sat down ready to write about dragons (or perhaps aliens). And at that instant my alarm clock went off.

Bah. I want to know what you all would have written. I want to know what I would have written!

#116 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 08:27 AM:

Re the Lethal Force particle:

Right at toddler level. **shudder**

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:06 AM:

Caroline @ 115... There were going to be writing workshops, the first of which was a timed-writing on a prompt having to do with dragons, or perhaps aliens, invading.

What, an ML con without panels about knitting? Or about poetry?

#118 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:13 AM:

Hey everyone,

WAY off topic interruption looking for intelligence on the ground in SoCal. I'm supposed to travel to LA tomorrow morning to focus group a case. I believe we are staying at the airport, and the conference center we're using for the focus group is at the airport too.

My question is about air quality. I'm a severe asthmatic, well controlled with medication, but very sensitive to pollutants with particulate matter, like, for example, smoke. I'm trying to find out how bad the air is right now in LA near LAX.

I really just need to decide if I think it's safe for me to be there, because if I'm likely to end up in the ER I should probably duck out of this trip.

Thanks to anyone who knows.

#119 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:29 AM:

Serge @ 117, I'm sure those were coming, if the *&!@#$ alarm hadn't gone off.

You see, I hadn't actually pulled out the schedule to look at it yet. It was in a folder.

#120 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:43 AM:

I also had a "Making Light" dream, a few nights ago. I was looking through a catalog of crafts items (probably beading stuff), and all of a sudden there was a big section with luscious yarns, threads, etc. (Hmm, "yarns" and "threads" sound like what ML has even without knitting discussions.) I planned to tell everyone here about it, but then the alarm went off....

Aiiii! You're taking over our dreams! What next? Mind control?

#121 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Sidelight: "Might as well face it, you're addicted to Civ"

Hello, my name is Greg, and it's been six weeks since I've played Civilization.

(together) Hi, Greg.

#122 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:52 AM:

Low is usually better than high-- it's more forgiving, certainly. I was a first soprano in high school, properly shrieky (and too loud, but I have a bigger voice while singing than while speaking). I was a little sad, because in children's choir, I was an alto, like all the cool older girls.
There's a reason you don't hear a great deal about female a capella groups. Men just sound better. Or feel better, when the basses come in. You can feel soprano voices too, but that's in your teeth, not your ribcage.

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:55 AM:

Faren... Aiiii! You're taking over our dreams! What next? Mind control?


#124 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 10:08 AM:

#118--According to the folks at (go to their site, type "air quality Los Angeles" into the search box, and select the forecast link from the list you get--then, when you get to the forecast map, select the Air Quality tab--using the normal forecast link on the home page doesn't give air quality.), smoke levels are high, and ozone levels are elevated.
I understand from the news on CNN that they're advising people living in the area who have breathing issues to stay indoors with the windows closed.
According to the Weather Channel website, the air in unhealthy.
Perhaps a teleconference would be in order.

#125 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Caroline @ 119... I'm sure those were coming, if the *&!@#$ alarm hadn't gone off.

At least the alarm spared you the agony of sitting thru the puntest. Wait. That last was a pun, albeit a lame one. Are you sure you're awake, and that this is Reality?

#126 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Caroline #115: The only one I have is Thanks for the Ether

Get How We Quit the Forest. Right now. I find it exponentially better, if only because the production feels more sympathetic to their goals--but I also think the songs are better.

I also did not know there was new Rasputina. I must rush out and purchase.

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 10:40 AM:

Is there a band out there called "Ethan and the Ethers"?

#128 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 10:52 AM:

The airport area (90046 or El Segundo or Marina del Rey) is usually not too bad for that sort of thing. The Santa Anas don't usually get there - the forecast is for ENE 0-5mph tomorrow, and the humidity is higher (like, going up to 50% in the afternoon). FWIW.

#129 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 11:28 AM:

ethan @ 126, it has gone onto the list (though I need to pay things like utilities before buying music; bummer).

Serge @ 125, I've never been sure of that, now less so than other times.

#130 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 11:34 AM:

Caroline @ 129... Enter the Dream Realm of Madame Teresa at your own peril. What is real? What is woven (or knitted) by the Mistress? None can tell - util it is too late. Hahahahah!!!

#131 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 11:34 AM:

But I get to sing "Nessun Dorma" and the best bit of "Au profonde du temple sainte", and you don't, so there.

#132 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Dave Lucket... "Au profonde du temple sainte"? Is that the actual title? If not, the grammatically correct title should be "Au fond du temple saint" or "Au plus profond du temple saint".

#133 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 12:01 PM:

Marilee @103: Thanks - I was hoping there was a why attached, but that's English for you.

Neil Willcox @112: It's a phrase I've mostly read, and I had been assuming useless rather than not-manly. I wonder what changes if I read it that way? Thanks!

#134 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 12:08 PM:

The mouseover message for the narcopuppies particle is broken; it contains malnested quotation marks, thus: "Note: that "date rape drug" they refer to is Gamma Amino Butyric Acid." and my browser (correctly) interprets it as "Note: that " followed by some other stuff that obviously isn't important or it would be inside the quotation marks.

#135 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Wait, I thought GABA was the actual brain chemical and GHB was the "date rape drug."

#136 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 12:42 PM:

I don't know if this is in wide currency yet, but it's new to me, and Google believes it hasn't been mentioned on ML yet:

Hang drum. (youtube)

more results

Invented only a few years ago, according to the notes, and not many musical instruments can say that.

(Cue riff on which instruments can talk.)

#137 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Dave @ 105

In this state, it was at one time a crime to have a loaded weapon in a child-accessible location. I'm not sure if it still is, but that would be accessible to a two year old.

I spent all of last night watching YouTube and it's all y'all's fault! BTW, I am still in love with Bobby McFerrin collaborating with Yo Yo MA.

#138 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Open thread rant: the Sac Bee this morning carried an article on projected health effects of global warming and quoted Inhofe, channeling Crichton, on how this was all politics and it would be more effective to bring back DDT to combat malaria. Inhofe is allowed to say that "DDT was banned worldwide thirty years ago because of its effect on wildlife."

I wrote a letter pointing out that this is untrue (all right, I called Inhofe a liar) and got this response from a party at the paper:

"Am I to take it that this Wikipedia entry about DDT is incorrect?

'DDT was subsequently banned for agricultural use worldwide, but its limited use in disease vector control continues to this day in certain parts of the world and remains controversial.' "


That's right, his source is Wiki-bloody-pedia. And no, the source does not say there is a "world wide ban" on all uses of DDT.

#139 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 03:41 PM:

In #136, Andrew Plotkin writes:

Invented only a few years ago, according to the notes, and not many musical instruments can say that.

The Zeusaphone can.

#140 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 03:52 PM:

In re the Belfast gangster and drag artist -- perhaps it ought to be an Onion story, but it's not. There was a much more straitlaced obit in the Telegraph.

#141 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 04:46 PM:

dave: No, as a rule the Standard of Forces Agreements actually preclude a passport stamp. Visas tend to have limits, (most are for six months). If a deployment goes long, then the record-keeping gets strange (as too the question of jurisdiction for crimes).

If it’s less than the period of the visa, then one might elect to stay over; when you didn’t enter for purposes of tourism/business.

re the Santa Ana, Sometimes it's just as Didion explains it.
I try to get stamps when I visit, but at exit.

Linkmeister: Japan’s SOFA specifically prohibits someone from staying after. If I want to visit Japan after a mission/deployment, I have to set foot in the US. Leave/passes during deployment are different.

David Harmon: I just tested it, and wrong answers don’t earn rice.

punkrockhockeymom: Depends on where you are. Pasadena, no problem, in fact most of L.A. is pretty much alright. It smells a tad smokey, but it’s not like being next to to a fire. How long will you be in town?

#142 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Andrew Brown @ 140... The Belfast gangster and drag artist makes me think less of the Onion than it does of a Monty Python skit. There was one where the British govt, to be more appealing to the public, had ministers explain things as if they were strippers. Seeing Terry Jones wearing shiny briefs while twirling tassels glued to his nipples was rather memorable.

#143 ::: Kathy Li ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 05:48 PM:

punkrockhockeymom: stay home. That would be my advice. Here's the air quality forecasts I can find. I'm only a mild asthmatic, and I am, admittedly, in San Diego where the smoke is probably far worse, and I've been spending the last three days running a HEPA filter and lying down and feeling like I have bronchitis. The winds are starting to turn around tonight, but the air won't be really clear until the weekend, I'm gussing.

Safe. Unevacuated. Go bag packed. Now. :-) You'd think I'd have paid more attention to those Making Light posts after the Cedar Fire.

#144 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 06:06 PM:

Bruce @ 92: I still think the most breathtaking dance routine on film of the Astaire era that I've ever seen was by the Nicholas Brothers in the film 'Stormy Weather'. After seeing that for the first time I was never as impressed again by Astaire or Kelly.

#145 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 06:25 PM:

FWIW: the forecast from the AQMD, the air quality people - it's the PM10 and PM2.5 that matter most:

AREA 1-HR 8-HR 8-HR 24-HR 24-HR 24-HR MAX
Los Angeles County: South Coast Air Basin
NW Coastal LA .06 .05 1.8 145 40 .03 99
SW Coastal LA .05 .04 1.7 145 40 .05 99

#146 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Re the Particle "Use lethal force before you're fully awake," I prefer to sleep with a spring-loaded scissor device that propels a derringer down the sleeve of my pajamas and into my hand.

#147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Bill Higgins... Me, I want adamatium claws. Perfect when someone wakes you up in the middle of a bad dream...

#148 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Well, well. Come to find out, the guy who was semi-stalking my boyfriend has quite a history.

He's in big trouble now. Thank gods.

#149 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:26 PM:

#24 - .....Comparing Kelly and Astaire is interesting. It seemed that Astaire was the more sophisticated and urbane, while Kelly displayed a more down-to-earth style.....

52 - ....Michael Wood in America in the Movies has a nice (and light) discussion of the Kelly/Astaire question, where he concludes that Kelly's dancing shows more obvious effort - as if he were forcing himself to be in high spirits, where Astaire just moved like that naturally.....

53 - ....Interesting, the comparison between Astaire and Kelly's styles. Kelly always went for the more athletic approach. I think he was from a working-class background. Must have been fun, growing up loving dancing and being 5'7 tall....

#72 - ... how balletic Kelly's dancing was. I used to characterize Kelly as more obviously athletic than Astaire, but now I'd add that Astaire looks more ballroom-and-tap, while to my untutored eye, Kelly took quite a few moves directly from classical dance.....

Somebody in this group IIRC suggested that Astaire danced as Astaire and Kelly danced in character - that is dancing as the role would dance in that place and time if moved to dance not as Astaire might dance a show-off set piece - something of the difference between an opera and recital. CF John Travolta dancing in character.

#150 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:32 PM:

The 'next page' links in the story in Xopher's link at 148 didn't work for me, but some guesses about URL formats lead to pages 2, 3 and 4.

Assuming stalker-fellow is Mr. Newman, he doesn't sound like a fun fellow to have in your life, no.

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Clark E Myers... I wouldn't know(*). But Kelly dancing with Leslie Caron was a different style than he usually went for, either when they first do it by the Seine, or by the stylized fountain in the dream sequence. Sexy doesn't begin to describe the latter.

(*) For one thing, those who do know these things might thump me on the head for thinking that I know.

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Xopher @ 148... He's in big trouble now. Thank gods.

It's nice when one sees signs that there is Justice in the world.

#153 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:42 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 146... I prefer to sleep with a spring-loaded scissor device that propels a derringer down the sleeve of my pajamas and into my hand.

You wouldn't happen to have an alter ego named Artemus Gordon, would you?

#154 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 07:48 PM:

I have just got home from seeing Black Maria the ballet. I just couldn't see how they could stay true to the spirit of the book in such a different medium, but they did, and all the characters (that weren't absent) were spot-on. So I am very happy just now.

#155 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 08:05 PM:

Todd 150: I hadn't figured that out. Now that I've read the other pages, I shudder to think what might have happened to my boy (who is quite young, but only the fact that he looks much younger than he is would put him in Newman's range).

In unrelated news, on Saturday I was at a party at the rectory of a church in Boonton (following the investiture of a new Rector). I went everywhere in that house except the garden; I stopped at the door to that mostly very attractive space, and turned back.

You see, there was a weeping angel out there. No WAY was I going near a weeping angel! LMAOAM

#156 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Xopher @ 155...No WAY was I going near a weeping angel!

Don't blink.

#157 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Serge 156: There were lots of other people watching. I backed away slowly, eyes wide open.

#158 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 08:30 PM:

Serge: "Au fond du temple saint" it is. From the Pearl Fishers, by Bizet. I will not attempt the title in French, my French being as faulty as my Latin. Tenor-baritone duet, and a demonstration of why tenors rule.

#159 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Xopher #155: What's the problem with weeping angels?

#160 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 08:55 PM:

#156 Oh MAN, that was scary!

#161 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:03 PM: need to see the Doctor Who episode "Blink" to understand. You will never again look at weeping angels the same way.

#162 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:18 PM:

Xopher #161: I see. I think.

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

Dave Luckett... No problem. Meanwhile, your Latin is most likely far better than mine, which is now all but forgotten and probably on the same level as that of Bryan ("Romanes eunt domus") of Nazareth.

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:29 PM:

(Since we're still talking about singing and dancing, I thought I'd post this again, hoping it won't get lost in the shuffle.)

Not long ago my wife and I watched Bogart/Bacall's Dark Passage, where Bogie plays a man wrongfully imprisoned in San Quentin who then escapes. At some point, Bacall takes him to her place. Looking at her records, he observes that she seems to like Swing music a lot. She corrects him by saying that she prefers Legitimate Swing. I googled that expression, and found a reference to it in an article about Liberty Swing, but without explaining what Legitimate Swing is. Does anybody care to light my lantern?

#165 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Xopher: I recall that story.

We can only hope is is treated to some portion of what he deserves.

#166 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:36 PM:

cmk, #138, All developed countries banned it, but that's not the world. And in 2006, WHO started advocating using it at home level carefully, because of the malaria. That's not the thrust of this article, but it's in there.

#167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Fragano @ 162... "Blink" is a great time-travel story juvpu vaibyirf npghny cnenqbkrf, naq gur dhnaghz rssrpg bs na bofreire ohg ng gur znpebfpbcvp yriry. And that probably confused you even more. OK, here's the spoiler: Gur "natryf" ernyyl ner nyvraf gung ghea gb fgbar jura lbh ybbx ng gurz, ohg pbzr nyvir gur zbzrag lbh ybbx njnl, thus the title.

#168 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Reading further in the story with the links Todd L found @ #150, even assuming the LA Weekly has an iconoclastic attitude like most alternative papers, that's one heck of an indictment of the LA court system, too. They had to move the former prosecutor's civil trial to Orange County? Sheesh. I thought it was just the LA cops that were insular.

#169 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 10:39 PM:

#109, Bruce, I'm so glad I don't have time to read this at work. I'm also glad for a flexi-keyboard, it can be washed off....

#138, DDT has proven to be very useful in malaria ridden areas, but when it's sprayed up into the niches and straw roofs, etc. where the mosquitos rest during the day. Surface spraying, not wholesale spray-it-all-over-everything. It doesn't get into the environment so much.

Dancing in general: I'm not a dancer. Astaire and Kelley are comparing apples and oranges as far as I'm concerned. They're both wonderful. So is Donald O'Connor.

#170 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2007, 11:21 PM:

fidelio @ 124, PJ @ 128 & 145, Terry @ 141 & Kathy at 143: THANKS. ML commenters ALWAYS come through.

Looks like I'm going. I'm going, however, with a back-up presenter and my boss's awareness that we might have to hole me up in the hotel and/or put me on the next plane back. We called the hotel and they said it's not too bad. The focus group folks said it's like a "bad smog day."

We pretty much have NO IDEA how I'll be. There's a long range of conditions for me between "fabulous" on one end and "dead" on the other. But just inside the fabulous marker is the "unable to do oral presentation" marker. Turns out you need pretty much normal oxygen and respiratory effort to control pitch and rhythm in speech. We can't test the themes of the case if I'm not eloquent. But I want to give it a shot since they've decided to let me present our client's case to the mock jury. Pretty exciting stuff.

Terry, I'm in town from tomorrow afternoon until Sunday morning. We are staying at the Hilton by LAX. I'll have access to email and such.

Car tomorrow at 7:15, though, so it is now time for me to get with the sleeping. I'm not QUITE packed yet.

Thank you!!!

#171 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:36 AM:

punkrockhockeymom... My best wishes to you!

#172 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 01:14 AM:

Clark E. Myers @ 149

where Astaire just moved like that naturally.....

Naturally plus a huge amount of rehearsal. Astaire was graceful, but not so graceful that he could dance like that without days of practice, and several takes to edit together. His genius was making it look easy.

#173 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 01:30 AM:

punkrockhockeymom: If you have the time/energy, you can come up to Pasadena, where the air is pretty good. I am assuming you don't have days free, but if you do, I can offer you a tour of the grounds of the Huntington Gardens and Museum.

A pint, or a cuppa, is offered, regardless.

Just hit my blog and drop me a line, I'll get it.

#174 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 172... His genius was making it look easy.

That reminds me of how Cary Grant never won an Oscar. His problem is that he made things like comedy look so easy. Much as I loved Gregory Peck, he couldn't do comedy to save his life. I'd look at him in Stanley Donen's Arabesque and find myself thinking that his character knew he was in a comedy. Compare that to Cary Grant in Donen's Charade.

#175 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 02:25 AM:

I almost succeeded in getting through the Wool Arts Tour without adding to the stash... almost. But, almost doesn't count. Instead I wound up with two more fleeces. One of these days I might actually get a spinning wheel....

#176 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Serge @ 174

His problem is that he made things like comedy look so easy.

You'd think the members of the Academy would know better. Comedy is hard, everybody in the biz or interested in it knows that. And Cary Grant was a wizard at making it look effortless.

That's why I'm always appreciative when some dramatic actor does well in a comic role; it's a whole other set of skills, and it takes a lot more care and experience to make a given level of talent look good.

#177 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Comedy is hard, everybody in the biz or interested in it knows that.

I don't think they do. We keep getting awful comedies whose very existence only makes sense if you assume that the people making them thought comedy was easy. And while the Oscars are ridiculous for a whole bunch of reasons, when was the last time a comedy won best picture?

#178 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 10:39 AM:

"Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."

This may have originated with George Bernard Shaw, but I first heard it attributed to Edmund Gwenn in 1985's Twilight Zone by an alien about to annihilate Earth. Besides, what do steenking aliens know?

#179 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:03 AM:

ethan @ 177

I've always attributed that to the fact that the people who run things in Hollywood are bankers. What do they know about comedy? Or anything else that doesn't go ka-ching?

#180 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:22 AM:

From the Grauniad America particle: "Which means what? Well, the paper was founded in 1821 "to promote the liberal interest" in the aftermath of the Peterloo massacre. Now, I confess that I don't know what that was. But it sounds bad, and I've been around the block enough times to know that journals founded in response to events like massacres tend to be pretty reliable, from my point of view, more or less across the board."

Oh, I am laughing so hard. I can't for the life of me tell if that's even meant to be funny. Either way, awesome. (And confidence-inspiring.)

#181 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:25 AM:

You have to go back 30 years for a comedy Best Picure - Annie Hall.

#182 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Heresiarch #180: 'Peterloo' was the sarcastic name applied to a massacre of protesters against the Corn Laws at St Peter's Fields in Manchester in 1819.

#183 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Wait, Braveheart wasn't meant to be funny?

"You can take our lives! But you'll never take us seriously!"

#184 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:48 AM:

169, 138

Tim Lambert at Deltoid is entirely on top of the DDT story, when and where it's allowed to be used, what the problems were, why it was stopped use (it wasn't Rachel Carson, it was widespread immunity).

There is some disinformation thinktank in Washington that keeps spreading lies about all this.

DDT doesn't break down in the environment, it is still killing birds in the Arctic, and politically it doesn't decay either, it seems, but retains its fundamental toxicity.

Yes Inhofe is a liar.

#185 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:53 AM:

I thought the grand finale of Revenge of the Sith was supposed to he a comedy. Here you have Obi-wan duking it out with Annakin in the middle of a lake of fire.

"The Senator is evil!"
"He is not, from his point of view."

Not exactly he kind of wit that Errol Flynn would exchange with Basil Rathbone while they were trying to skewer each other.

#186 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:17 PM:

#172 - yes of course, that's the point at issue - it's a movie after all.

Multiple takes and clever cuts for a perfect dancing performance that appears effortless - rehearsed endlessly - as opposed to the suggested Kelly notion that the character is doing the best the character can - an American athletic performance - hence the John Travolta reference to playing a character who is not so good a dancer as the best Travolta might do - or some of the folks who might have done their own singing but were covered by Marni Nixon instead. I wonder why there was a never a male cover artist at the same level - imagine Clint Eastwood bursting into Howard Keel talking to the trees.

#187 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Clark E. Myers @ 186... imagine Clint Eastwood bursting into Howard Keel talking to the trees.

"Do you feel lucky, trunk?"

#188 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Or Clint confronting Tony Shalhoub on his show?

"Do you feel yucky, Monk?"

#189 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:50 PM:

re # 186: I don't think Jeremy Brett did his own singing in "My Fair Lady." God knows what got into the producers of "Paint Your Wagon," but there's something oddly charming about egregious non-singers Eastwood and Lee Marvin attempting those songs. (Oddly enough, according to IMDB, Jean Seberg's songs were dubbed.) I'm so used to actors being at least competent singers that it's a bit of a surprise to find any who can't or who haven't had enough training to at least get along. It's especially odd in Clint, who's a musician.

#190 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:53 PM:

"Other People's Money" -- Only Cory could sell SF to Forbes, AND make me see exactly why they bought it.

#191 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:58 PM:

re 186: I suspect that a large part of it is that it's quite a bit harder to match the men's voices, especially in the heyday of the musical when a lot of the men had very distinctive voices. The flip side is that musicals which have demanding singing by the male star were few and far between, Oklahoma! being a conspicuous exception. In a lot of them the lead can get away with not really singing at all (see under "Rex Harrison"). The real male singing (if any) can be farmed out to a supporting character who can be hired to be a good singer. However, female leads are always sopranos and always have good voices.

It also helped for Marni Nixon that her voice sounds rather like what the std. actress of the period would sound like if she could sing.

#192 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 175:

A drop spindle is cheaper and more portable, but it would take stamina to finish up an entire fleece on one. I've found some pretty good deals on spinning wheels on Craigslist.

What kind of fleece did you get? I've finally finished scouring the Corriedale I got back in February, but I can only comb it when the munchkin is out of the house, so it's still pretty slow going.

#193 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Footnote: In Mulan, is it Marni Nixon singing like June Foray, or June Foray talking like Marni Nixon?

#194 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 01:31 PM:

Totally off any topic, but this is an Open Thread . . . .

Last night my 11-yo dd and I were watching Pushing Daisies. The three main characters entered an office to find a woman apparently dead at her desk. The guy-who-can-bring-people-back-from-the-dead poked her, but nothing happened. Not dead, eh? Further poking and slapping eventually woke her up. There was an exchange of dialog; in the middle of that, the woman fell asleep again.

Somewhere early in this scene, the kid turned to me and said, "Mom, that woman has narcolepsy."

I thought, "yet another cool thing my daughter learned from Teresa."

(I also thought, "that's not a very realistic portrayal of narcolepsy.")

#195 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Sorry I missed the musical/dance theme until today! I was raised on a steady diet of B'way musicals. When I was young, I preferred Astaire; now that I am old(er), I prefer Kelly. Not sure why that has happened. But I have always adored Fosse, who seems to exist in a separate universe.

When I was in my last year of high school, my mother would go to the tkts booth in Times Square one or two Wednesdays a month. I got out of school at noon on Wednesdays and went over to meet her. We saw every musical on Broadway and most of the comedies as well (and I went to the dramas with classmates). To give you an idea of when this was, we saw the original Chorus Line in previews.

My parents met in college while doing Arms and the Man.

This year, my daughter's 6th grade class will be working in partnership with the Encores program at City Center. Encores is doing three shows this year: Applause, Juno, and No, No, Nanette. Given the timing of the musical program at school, I think dd will be working on Juno or Nanette. It should be very interesting, whichever show it is. I'm kind of pulling for Nanette because Walter Bobbie is directing, even though Rosie O'Donnell is one of the stars.

(betcha didn't know I was a theater geek)

#196 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Melissa Singer is a drama geek, particularly about musicals. Nominative determinism strikes again.

#197 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 02:34 PM:

abi: I can't sing . . . or dance . . . .

But I have been known to buckle my swash.

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Melissa Singer... I wonder what the real Gene Kelly was like, besides his being a Democrat. After all, if I remember correctly, he reallyreallyreally wanted to make a movie out of Bradbury's Dark Carnival, with himself as Mister Dark. That didn't work out, but out of that was born Something Wicked This Way Comes. I could see him play characters like that. Take a look at Inherit The Wind.

#199 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 02:45 PM:

abi @ 196

How very ... nominal ... of her.

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 197... I have been known to buckle my swash

Melissa, Girl Pirate, Scourge of the Seven Seas?

#201 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Northern hemifluorospherans should take a look at Perseus tonight, an insignificant little comet called 17P Holmes (2007) has flared up into a naked eye object. I just looked, and it's clearly not a star in my 10x50s.

#202 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 03:27 PM:


In more ways than one.

Actually, right now, this very minute, I have a cage-hilt rapier sitting on my desk, repossessed from a non-profit theater company I lent it to a few years back that is now going under (alas, alack). Luckily the prop mistress is an old friend of mine and is making sure all the weapons go back to their original owners.

Many moons ago, when Madeleine Robins and Lucie Chin and I and many of our friends studied theatrical fencing and fightcraft together, we would, each May First, put on a free show in Central Park. Over the years I played many parts, pretty much all non-speaking because with an audience of hundreds and a large, open playing area, dumbshow works better than dialog.

I was never a pirate, though I have been sailing on a lovely, old (National Historic Landmark--the first mobile landmark, lol), two-masted schooner and raised sail and hauled anchor and all that. The year we did a pirate show, I was a virginal (*cough*) maiden, but I still got to skewer people (virtually).

#203 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 202... I still got to skewer people (virtually)

Goodness, New York editors are a really tough bunch to please.

#204 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 04:55 PM:

In case you might be interested, the Girl Genius site has some computer wallpapers for those who drop coinage into their Paypal tin cup. I especially like the "Coffee" one.

#205 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Incidentally, in the original sense of the word, swashbucklers don't buckle their swashes; they swash their bucklers (i.e. beat on their shields with their swords). It's an exocentric compound, like "pickpocket" or "chupacabras".

#206 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 06:15 PM:

[in passing--drowned under work.]

ENR reports:

"Similar to the mixed company often found on a construction site, tension is mounting between federal officials and the industry’s forensic engineers looking into Minneapolis’ deadly bridge collapse. While engineers probing the Aug. 1 disaster are anxious to reveal their findings to colleagues maintaining the nation’s aging bridges, federal officials are just as eager to keep them quiet until the government releases an official report."

+more at ENR's Bridge Collapse Update Center

#207 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Tim May @ 205... they swash their bucklers (i.e. beat on their shields with their swords)

I think there was such a scene in Alfred the Great, with the Norsemen (led my Michael York) loudly yelling and rythmically beating on their shields to unnerve the Saxons before charging.

#208 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 10:11 PM:

David @ 64

Yup, Free Rice is fun, even though I hover around 49 & 50 (& wonder if that's on a 100 scale). It's also fun to speculate on the people who chose the words & assigned the difficulty level to them. (I'm betting that at least several of those people are long-time SCAers and one either a marine biologist or a zoologist.)

#209 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 10:19 PM:

There are fifty Free Rice levels (I hit fifty today! Finally! Rejoice!) and the words apparently shift between them-- if no one can get a word, it moves up, or something along those lines. I think the very high-level words tend to be more sciency because they take specialized knowledge, but have synonyms-- I can't imagine 'synecdoche' or even 'metaphor' fitting in there. But for all I know, they're there already, and are moving around some.

#210 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 10:41 PM:

Don Fitch: It peaks at 50, the difficulty is not exactly assigned. When launched it was, but as people get (or fail to) the words, they are moved up, or down.

#211 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:10 PM:

me, carrying over (re bags): I libeled CVS; they shifted to #2 some time ago. (You still won't find multiple grades in a single chain AFAIK, but sometimes a chain will shift.)

I wonder whether the differences between Astaire and Kelly are what led to their casting, or vice versa? Astaire had a long line of upper-class parts with ballroom-dancing type scenes, which I don't recall Kelly ever doing and which would put a premium on smoothness rather than athleticism or expression.

Heinlein also had an ecdysiast (in this case professional rather than accidental) in "Gulf". Damfino which of the two I learned the word from.

Eleanor@154: You lucky !@#$%^&*!!. I heard about that just a few days ago, and have enough of a Jones jones that I'd consider flying there if I weren't so piled up. Did you also get to see The Wolves in the Walls: a Musical Pandemonium when it was in town? We drove to NYC for it; I was sitting there gaping in awe most of the time.

Bruce@186: cf Rex Harrison's autobiography, A Damned Serious Business, titled from one of the first things an acting teacher told him about comedy.

Russell@189: but there's something oddly charming about egregious non-singers Eastwood and Lee Marvin attempting those songs. I remember the billboards for this but never saw it; was it better than the spectacle of Marlon Brando trying to method-act his way through "Luck Be a Lady"?

Melissa@195: My parents met in college while doing Arms and the Man. Cool! I sneak-read that in English class due to the teacher spending IMO \way/ too much time on Yeats (considering it was a survey course from Chaucer to (at least) T. S. Eliot), persuaded the school's theater managers to do it, and played Major Petkoff. (I \think/ they were conning me when they said I should try for Bluntschli; the kid they cast later went to Juilliard, and I was already good at pompous older roles.) No carryings-on, but Raina's mother did mention Shaw had blown off her autograph request -- I hadn't looked up his dates to realize how long he lived or how early that play was. Just imagine what he'd said about Shrub if he were around now....

#212 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:16 PM:

Heard on tonight's episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent:
"Their clientele is all anorexic models and Eurotrash named Serge."

#213 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 11:24 PM:

CHip at 211: I just sat in front of my monitor screen griiiiinnnning like a banshee, imagining what GBS might have said about GWB, and then imagining what Chesterton might have said about GWB, and then imagining what Oscar Wilde would surely have said about GWB.... Unfortunately, the sound was off so I couldn't hear the words. But the expressions on their faces was priceless.

#214 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 12:47 AM:

Xopher at 190:
-- Only Cory could sell SF to Forbes,

Well, I say that most stock market articles are speculative fiction.

#215 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 01:50 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 214

Most of them sound like fantasy to me. And not the heroic kind, either.

#216 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Serge @ #212, And if you model for Polo Ralph Lauren you can be both!

#217 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 02:00 AM:

I seem to remember there are a bunch of fans of the great Paranoia RPG here. You should definitely check out the Valve first-person puzzle game Portal if you can; no direct rip offs from Paranoia, but the whole tone of the game is riffing on it, in my opinion. Bonus: insanely cute little closing song written by Jonathon Coulton (Code Monkey). It's a short game, but a whole lot of fun.

#218 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 03:25 AM:

Serge @ 204: I sprang for the Bangladesh Dupree one not long ago. Phil does do pulchritude.

#219 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:44 AM:

I have been sailing on a lovely, old (National Historic Landmark--the first mobile landmark, lol), two-masted schooner

"Watermark", surely?

#220 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:55 AM:

Serge #207: Your Michael York?

#221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 08:00 AM:

Fragano @ 220... Curses! Typoed again! Not that my wife would mind if I looked like him in his glory days.

#222 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 08:05 AM:

Joe McMahon @ 218... Phil does do pulchritude

He does indeed. Which makes them a tad inappropriate for an office environment. Meanwhile I'm flying to San Francisco tomorrow and will be working the whole week with my teammates instead of being 1000 miles away, and I contemplated bringing my "Mistake" mug. Then I decided that my manager might get the wrong idea.

#223 ::: Eurotrash Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 08:10 AM:

Linkmeister @ 216... if you model for Polo Ralph Lauren you can be both!

I'm not that skinny. Meanwhile, the last time a movie character had my name was with the crazy French scientist in The Core. Before that, it was Bronson Pinchot as a hairdresser in Beverly Hills Cop... I really want to play a corse in Criminal Intent because I'd then get to meet Leslie Hendrix.

#224 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 08:31 AM:

Serge #221: Not like Robert Redford?

#225 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 08:44 AM:

I have long harbored a desire to play, in a Law and Order episode, The Guy Who Finds The Body In The Teaser.

You're not onscreen long, you don't have to be particularly beautiful, yet it's an opportunity to create a character millions will see.

#226 ::: MC Pye ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:00 AM:

Serge, as someone involved in the production of reference works for use in quite important situations, and which stand as historical documents, I find a postcard-sized copy of's Mediocrity placed prominently in my section of our cubicle is a subtle correction to people planning to urge the cutting of corners.

They have a wide range of other good thoughts too; so many it's far too hard to choose.

#227 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:03 AM:

MC Pye @ 226... I have that calendar too. I'm sure my manager would love Achievement with, below the photo of a Pyramid. the caption "You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor."

#228 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:08 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 225... I'd also like to be in Eureka. Ah, to be handcuffed by Deputy Jo (maybe for illegal parking of my rocket backpack) just before the latest scientific mishap disintegrates me...

#229 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:22 AM:

Erik 214: Well, I say that most stock market articles are speculative fiction.

Not at all. They're speculative lies.

#230 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:26 AM:

Tim @205: The backward phrasing is a fencing joke, at least in my old crowd (and also a pretty funny Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon I have tacked up on my fridge).

Bill @225: It is a mark of how literal my mind can sometimes be that when I read, "I have long harbored a desire to play, in a Law and Order episode, The Guy Who Finds The Body In The Teaser," I spent a moment trying to figure out what sort of kitchen appliance a Teaser might be (having mind-read "teaser" as "freezer", apparently).

#231 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:46 AM:

re 220: Somebody else's Michael York.

#232 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Xopher @ 229... Not at all. They're speculative lies.

That reminds me of the scene near the end of The Rocketeer, when Jennifer Connelly realizes that Timothy Dalton's Errol Flynn-like character was really a Nazi spy.

"You lied to me!"
"I didn't lie. I was... acting."

#233 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Melissa Singer at 230-- I read 'teaser' as 'toaster' and was surprised at the specificity, but not the implied scenario.

#234 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 10:48 AM:

#217, Clifton Royston:
Ooh, Portal. I haven't tried playing it (that style of character motion in a game tends to make me nauseated, and then add in portal motion? Yikes) but my husband loved it and it was really amusing to watch over his shoulder. The computer is a really fun character.

#235 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 10:50 AM:

I find this sufficiently inspirational (in a twisted way)to have it on my desk at work. And now, I will go back to grading!

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 10:55 AM:

More from, this one about delusions...

"There is no greater joy than soaring high on the wings of your dreams, except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land but in the ocean of reality. "

#237 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 11:03 AM:

The shorter despair.coms are my favorites-- "The journey of a thousand miles sometimes ends really, really badly" may be the best.

#238 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Serge @ 236

Trying to browse the various images on I needed to enable their javascript in the Noscript tool I use in Firefox, and found myself picking a menu option that said (in part) "temporarily allow despair". This seemed quite appropriate.

#239 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Xopher @ 229

One of the more onerous tasks I've had in my years of garnering experience points in the high tech industry was tracking what industry analysts had to say about the company I worked for, and the relevance of its technology to the industry as a whole. In years of reading analysts reports from places like Gartner, I have yet to read one which showed signs that the writer had more than 10 or 15% of a clue. Of course what they lacked in understanding, they more than made up for in wild flights of imagination, or, depending on the disposition of the author, large doses of grumpy dismissal. I'm sure many of them lied to further the aims of their cronies or their own investments, but even if they hadn't lied, they would not have been able to tell the truth.

#240 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 12:56 PM:

In #230 Melissa Singer writes:

Bill @225: It is a mark of how literal my mind can sometimes be that when I read, "I have long harbored a desire to play, in a Law and Order episode, The Guy Who Finds The Body In The Teaser," I spent a moment trying to figure out what sort of kitchen appliance a Teaser might be (having mind-read "teaser" as "freezer", apparently).

The angel of my better nature urged me to write "The Guy Who Finds The Body," which of course would have sufficed. But I chose to go for the slightly grander phrase, aware that it might have been read ambiguously. Sorry.

#241 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 01:08 PM:

Bill @240:

So not your fault! I have some Asperger's tendencies and literalness is one of them. I don't always get jokes either.

Also, I just saw the Pushing Daisies episode where the dead guy was, indeed, found in the freezer, so the image and rhythm of "freezer" was still floating around in my brain.

And, finally, my brain likes to play with words. The flash that gave me "freezer" also gave me "taser" as well as made me wonder if there was some new brand of automobile or furniture I'd missed hearing about.

It was kind of fun, actually.

#242 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Bruce 239: Still lies. For fiction to exist requires that both writer and reader agree openly that the piece is not intended to be factual.

Bill 240: Have you ever wondered if the show's writers actually write those bits? I don't mean there's a difference in quality, but if I were in charge of that show, I would just get some good improv actors and say "OK, you're going to find a body in such-and-such location; come up with a 30-second scene between you that leads you there."

Now THAT would be FUN.

#243 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Xopher #242

A Pythonesque take on a Law & Order or CSI show would be amusing.

"He's dead"

"No, he's not, he's just resting"



#244 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Bruce Cohen @238
found myself picking a menu option that said (in part) "temporarily allow despair"

What I want IRL is the menu option that lets me temporarily block despair.

#245 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Body in the Toaster, huh? How about Lamb to the Slaughter?

That aired nearly 40 years ago and we still remember the episode every time we have lamb.

#246 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Exploiting the open thread: This is an interesting link to a version of the spammer bingo discussion we had earlier, but applied to industry fighting to avoid some regulation. As with the spammer bingo, probably all the cards are often correct and reasonable in the right context, but they get used a lot to try to bypass or silence debate.

Denialist Deck of Cards

#247 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Albatross, is that a Roald Dahl story originally? I know I've read it before, though not quite as elaborate. It's the kind of thing that sticks with you, though, so it might just be a common murder trope, like stabbing someone with an icicle.

#248 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Xopher @ 242... I'd like to see an episode of Criminal Intent where the Body is discovered by a mime.

#249 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Diatryma #247: I'm not albatross, but yeah, it's a Roald Dahl story.

#250 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:29 PM:

eurotrash serge,

Meanwhile, the last time a movie character had my name was with the crazy French scientist in The Core.

i can't remember specific examples, but people with my name in movies are usually 60-70 year old nice jewish ladies.

nevertheless i convinced myself, watching raiders of the lost ark (one of my favourite movies ever-so-coincidentally) for the first time, that the female lead was named miriam. & i don't want to hear otherwise.

#251 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:32 PM:

miriam 250: And Miriam Zimmer Bradley would have agreed with you.

#252 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:59 PM:

miriam #250: If it helps at all, you have a hospital named after you here in Providence.

No? It doesn't help? Sorry.

Hey, at least you don't have to deal with Tom Cruise having your name in the Mission Impossible movies.

#253 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:16 PM:

AJ Luxton @32 and various others above who have raved about Rasputina -- my goodness, thank you. I just got, and am listening to for the first time, their "The Lost & Found", which includes their cover of "Wish You Were Here". Do I just get everything else they've done next, or is there a particular order I should go in?

#254 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:27 PM:

Todd Larason #253: My humble is that How We Quit the Forest is their most essential album, Cabin Fever their least, and Thanks for the Ether and Frustration Plantation in the middle (far closer to the essential end of the spectrum, mind you--Cabin Fever is their only album I would call anywhere close to bad, though even it has two or three songs I wouldn't want to live without), though in very different ways. The live album is worth it just for the cover of "Barracuda," and the way they introduce it, and I just bought their new one but haven't listened to it yet. Dunno if that helps (or if it's worth it trying to sort out my tangled sentences*), but that's how I feel about it.

And yeah, isn't The Lost & Found awesome? I like their "Bad Moon Rising" faaaaaar more than the original. As I said before, I don't want to belittle their original songs, but they really are among the very best song interpreters out there. I eagerly await the day they release a full-length album of covers.

*Maybe I should take a page from abi's book and start using nesting footnotes rather than nesting parentheticals and asides.

#255 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 07:12 PM:

The only film or TV character with my name I've seen for many years was a different gender to me. Luckily for my morale there are several prominent people in the entertainment industry with the same phonetic name (spelling varies) who share my gender.

#256 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 07:18 PM:

Thanks, Ethan. Forest, Ether, Plantation and the live album have been ordered. Being the obsessive completist I am, I'll probably end up with Cabin Fever before too long as well, mind.

The allmusic review/summary of their newest album sounds spectacular too, but this is enough for the moment I think.

#257 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Xopher, #251, either I don't get the joke or you've misnamed Marion Zimmer Bradley.

I don't think there's ever been a movie with a character with my name.

I don't work anymore, so I don't think the stuff is quite right. However, from my bed, I can see a stand-up card of Mary Engelbreit's Snap Out of It and that's very useful.

#258 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 11:38 PM:

I'm mildly annoyed that the two most famous characters with my name are a psychic who kills her entire class and a woman who spent so much on shoes she could have bought a Manhattan apartment with the money.

#259 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Marilee, I don't know whether I have good news or bad for you. Searching with that spelling on imdb gives nearly 20 character entries from TV & films, ranging from 1939 to 2006. You might find some admirable, if you work your way through.

The same search for my name gives hundreds of results. It can be either a personal or a family name, multiplying things even more. OTOH, so many things can be used as a first/Christian/personal name in English, frex Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice is named Fitzwilliam Darcy, and when I worked in medical research I knew a Macdonald Christie who's now reached professorship in rather interesting subjects.

Carrie, maybe it's my avoidance of 'celebrity culture' but when I think of shoe-based extravagance, it's always Imelda Marcos. Is there another? (BTW, The film of Stephen King's book is on TV late tonight in Sydney.)

#260 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 01:42 AM:

Variations on my name are rampant. I like to claim Tania the spy in From Russia With Love.

I thought this might give folks a good chuckle, I saw the link on Jezebel:

From the BBC - Why heroines die in classic fiction.

Back a few years ago one of my friends developed scurvy*, another one pleurisy, and I had TB (latent). I used to joke that all we needed was a few other people to develop brain fever, angina, and megrims and we'd have all the major diseases from 19th century novels covered. My doctor was amused by my repeatedly calling the disease consumption, though he thought my Camille references were a bit over the top.

*She's not a picky eater, she was in Yakutsk during the end of the Soviet era and there was no produce to be had. She was eating raw garlic at one point, because it was a green and greens had not been seen for weeks.

#261 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 01:46 AM:

Ethan, thanks from me too for the Rasputina album recommendations; they seem to be right up my alley, and I'm wondering how I missed ever hearing about them.

#262 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 02:42 AM:

I'm sorry. I totally got stuck at post #37. And not because of Rasputina's cover of Baby Got Back, no, but because of that terribly addictive way YouTube has of playing hypertext free association, and, anyway, what I'm trying to say is,

Jonathan Coulton likes big butts too.

#263 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 03:12 AM:

Well, this looks like an interesting outbreak of discussion about Wiki-article-deletion politics:

It's linking to a bit of an organized movement, too; for those around here who care about such things, it might be useful to join forces.

#264 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 03:16 AM:

Marilee @ #257:

In deference to miriam's request, I am unable to explain to you that the heroine of Raiders of the Lost Ark was likewise really named Marion.

#265 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 04:47 AM:

I smell Christian Dominionist/theocrat disinformation campaign at work....

There's another one of the astroturfish things in circulation, "Dear Military Wife." Someone who I think is a military wife posted it in a newsgroup I'm in and I got ticked.... As a female military veteran, and daughter of niece of four women who served in the US military in WWII, I get pissed whenever I see one of these pieces of partisan shit that look like commercial paid schilling from that harpy Elaine Donnelly....

Warning, a lot of those things are pure unadulterated bombastic, politically motivated JINGOISM and SMARM, playing on people's emotions.
I'm a veteran, who spent 11 months at a remote site known as Thule, Greenland, north of the Arctic Circle.
I tend to get rather ANNOYED when seeing "women" depicted as all -civilian- and military as all -male-. This is NOT 1950, this is NOT 1973 when I got the litany from that jerk from Lousiana State University who was majoring in physical education and thought he was going to become an Air Force pilot, saying, "Women. They're women. Women shouldn't be pilots."

One of the people at my college dorm reunion was a Army colonel's husband, accompanying his wife who was an alumn of the dormfloor... The Colonel (that's colonel as in bird colonel, not lieutenant colonel...) said that there were two male cadets who literally quit in tears back when she was a cadet, because the two cadets had been instigators, engaged in belittling the women and the male non-white cadets in the summer training program they were all in, wound up being rated at the -bottom- of the unit, a minority cadet from the Caribbean got first, and the female cadet who today is a colonel, got rated second. (The point there, is that there is STILL a lot of prejudice around... when she went to senior officer training, there was some ill-feeling towards her ("-why is a woman taking up a position that some man should be in going through this-") until a "mustang" (officer with prior enlisted experience) with combat experience pointed out something like, "She's going to be commanding the people who develop the equipment you're going to be using out in the field. Don't you want her to know what it's like to use that equipment? And don't you want the equipment you use and that protects you, to -work-?-"

Anyway, I've seen the thing before, it was circulating around a few years ago that I recall, and it was noxious gender-biased smarm then--again, there are HUSBANDS who have wives who are out in Iraq and Afghanistan... why don't they get the same sympathy for being left minding the homefront and the kids?!

----- Original Message -----

> Dear Military Wife,
> I am an American woman that has no idea what is going on in the military
> other than what I hear on the news.

Get a CLUE then, try READING!!! There is no excuse for such IGNORANCE!
> I have never had to let go of someone so that they could go fight for people
> that they didn't know, people that sometimes do not appreciate or understand c
> what they are fighting for.

Once upon a time, there was a fellow living on my college dormfloor who was in Navy ROTC. His best friend in the universe, so he said, was living with a woman. The Navy cadet asked her to marry him, and she agreed, KNOWING that being a Navy wife meant things like long separations from a husband on sea duty who would be out on the ocean for months at a time.... It is a rather tacky thing, for someone to ask someone who's living with someone else to marry them, but.... Anyway, I have no idea if the marriage lasted, I suspect it did, actually. She had a quite level head on her shoulders... the person she had been living with, was a rather wild sort--not dangerous or anything, but definitely not fully civilized.

> I have never had a sleepless night of worry because of a report that another
> bomb has exploded and I still haven't heard from my husband.
> I have never had to wait for months on end to hold the one that I loved so.

Aaarrrggghhhh, bathos!

> I have never had to tell my children that daddy wasn't coming home tonight
> because he was so far away fighting for something that they aren't yet old
> enough to understand.

And what about Mommy being out stuck in Iraq or Afghanistan, getting sexually harassed by recivist males (see the LiveJournal of can't-think-of-her-name-now, she was in the blogging from Iraq a year or two or three ago, and got stuck in a firefight she thought she wasn't going to make it out of, as a Reservist I think on active duty in the Army....
> I have never had to hold my head high and suppress the tears as I hear that
> it will be at least another six months of separation before my loved one
> gets to come home.

Shrug. The military's been all volunteer for a generation now, anyone in it signed up. I think that the treatment of the people in the service stinks these days regarding too few people on active duty and abuse of the Guard and Reserve getting sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, but then I think the whole shebang that got ANYONE sent to Iraq in the first place mades a cesspool smell sweet in comparison....

> I have never had to deal with a holiday away from the one that I thought I
> would share every day of my life with.

There are lots of jobs that send people far away for weeks or months at a time. I spent a year in Greenland. Don't look for my sympathy... if you want someone at home, marry a plumber or electrician or person who works in the local area, not someone in the military or a traveling sales person....

> And I have never had to feel the panic rising in my heart at the sound of a
> ringing phone or knock at the door for fear that it is the news that
> everyone is terrified of getting.

More people get killed by drunk drivers in the USA every years than US service people have been killed in Iraq. For that matter, people die on the flight decks of aircraft carriers from mostly unavoidable accidents. Four members of the Thunderbirds died years ago when the lead plane in the formation of four jets, had a control failure. There wasn't enough time and there wasn't enough altitude between the formation and the ground, for the other pilots to survive--there was no time and no margin to eject, must less leave the formation and avoid smashing into/being smashed into the other planes.

But those are the risks involved in flying military jets. Sometimes things go wrong, and people die. Or sometimes people get STUPID, such as JFK jr, who wasn't even IN the military, got stupid, and died taking his wife and sister-in-law down into the ocean with him.... flying at night over water in clear weather's killed even highly experienced pilots with thousands of hours of flight time and commercial-instrument ratings. Kennedy did NOT have an instrument rating, and the weather was not good, and he had a broken foot. "There are old pilots, there are bold pilots, there are no old bold pilots." Sometimes stupidity is fatal, and it was fatal in his case--and he wasn't even a military pilot, flying something faster and with more things to go wrong, than a slower much lower performance private civil aircraft,that doesn't have the lag time that jet engines have between the pilot pushing the throttle in, and the plane reacting....
> For the reasons listed above, I can not tell you that I understand how you
> feel.

Then why bother saying the line above?

> I can not tell you that you must be strong.

Then don't.....

> I can not say that you shouldn't be angry, because you "knew what you were
> getting into when you married a military man".

What about the men who marry military women?!!! Or give up their careers to be the homebody, as the colonel's husband did?! She spent time stationed Iraq, while HE stayed in the USA minding the homefront...

> I can not say these things because I have never had to walk in your shoes.

The purported [fake, I think] author of this missive has never walked in MY shoes... I was, again, -in- the military, and among other reasons, as a FEMALE veteran am offended by this thing....

> What I can say for certain is that because of your unselfish acts of bravery

Bravery? BRAVERY?!!!

> and your husbands willingness to stand up for those who see him as "just
> another soldier" - -

What, again, about the WOMEN in the military.
I'm a veteran.
My uncle's wife is a veteran.
My mother was a veteran.
Two of her sisters were veterans.
I have NOTHING polite to say about bogus letters which seem to go far out of their way to avoid acknowledging that women are veterans. If my aunt Miryon were still alive she'd be out campaigning over it... she use to have a large button she wore that said, "Women Are Veterans Too!"

> I will never have to walk in your shoes.

Why didn't this person go into the military herself then? Oh, right, it's a piece of political propaganda, and it's a FAKE!
> I do understand that as a military wife you are expected to uphold a certain
> amount of control, but I never understood how you could do it, until now.

What about military husbands?! I remember how isolated some of them were, because while there were groups for military members' -wives-, often the wives' groups banned military members' husbands from joining....

> I have figured out that you are not like other women.

And what about women IN the military and female veterans, we don't exist?! [expletive deleted]

This sounds like rotgut that Elaine Donnelly peddles... she who sucks up taxpayer money to calumnify women who are in the military with reports that are full of lies and smears and bogus research....

> You are of a special breed.

> You have a strength within you that holds life together in the darkest of
> hours, a strength of which I will never possess.


> The faith you have is what makes you stand out in a crowd; it makes you glow
> with emotion and swell with pride at the mention of The United States of
> America.

The faith... uh-oh, it's THEOCRACY time....
> You are a special lady, a wonderful partner and a glorious American.

What about the husbands of women on active duty, what, they don't exist?!

> I have more respect for your husband than I could ever tell you, but until
> recently I never thought much about those that the soldier leaves at home
> during deployment.

What about the women in the military? I don't respect anyone who writes tripe like this, I'm a veteran, and those who ignore my mother, my three blood aunts and one aunt by marriage, and the women I served with... has no respect from me.

> Until this moment I could never put into words exactly what
> America meant to me.

Bombast, bombast, bombast, for a war founded on utter LIES, full of corruption and greed, more than a tenth of the population of Iraq fled to other countries, and more than 100,000 Iraqs dead of what I can only call aggression.... I am ASHAMED to be an American, and ANGRY, angry at the waste of lives, of resources, of trust.... dead Iraqis, dead Americans, dead British, dead from all the other countries who participated in this vicious, noxious, greedy FARCE of an invasion and occupation on the basis once again, of LIES!
> Until this moment, I had no real reason to.... Until I heard of you.


> Your husband and his military family hold this nation close, safe from those
> who wish to hurt us...but you and those like you are the backbone of the
> American family.

> You keep the wheels in motion and the hearts alive while most would just
> break completely down.

Pfeh. There wasn't anyone at home waiting for me the year I spent in Greenland.... for THAT matter, two of the people I was serving with up there, went on leave for two weeks and came back emotionally destroyed. One of them had been married for ten years, and his wife said that it had never been a real marriage... he almost drove over a cliff in his anguish. Another fellow went back on leave and came back to Greenland determined to try to get child custody of his two young daughters, away from his philandering spouse whom divorce proceeding were in progress with.....

> Military families make this nation what it is today.

Uh, the basis of the USA is the citizen, NOT a professional fulltime military. Was it Washington who pointed out that someone does NOT cease being a citizen when putting on a military uniform.... I am sitting in a house in a town from which the town militia marched in April 1775 to Concord, to fight the British Army, in the battle that was the start of the US War for Independence. They were NOT professional soldiers, they were civilian farmers and civilians of other careers, who took up arms to break free of British rule. The US military can't exist without an economy and the civilians who pay the taxes that fund the military...
> You give us all hope and you emit a warming light at the end of a long dark
> tunnel.

I don't agree.... military spouses have, to use a particular term, "challenges," but then so does everyone else. The spouses of the Guard and Reserve are getting particularly abused, along with their Guard and Reserve marriage partners, who got called to active duty for extended periods disrupting their civilians lives and livelihood.. the regular military don't have their lives disrupted the same way, being -in- the military and not having to deal with income crash from a civilian job to military pay, and the sudden removal from the -civilian- world into the active duty overseas world... military spouses have the support systems of continuity that Reservists and Guard members' families don't have...

> Because of you and your family...I am able to be me.

I Served My Time, I resent the whole attitude of the purported author of what looks, again, to me to be pure jingoism, that there are no WOMEN who served, and no women who are veterans....
> I am able to have my family.
I've never been married, and don;t have that validation, and get ticked off having this jingoistic junk shoved in my face. I am NOT drinking this Kool-Aid. I got enough crap of "I'm not married, I'm TDY!" [and some of them didn't even have THAT excuse.... they chased anything female when their wives weren';t around....] trying to grab my tail in my six years in the military, to have a jaundiced eye regarding the fidelity of people in the military (there were a few choice stories about women, too.... philandering isn't gender-dependent other than culturally and socially promoted as such.... that there seem to be more philandering husbands than wives for the most part is artifact of conditioning and cultural attitudes, values, and unequal treatment of philandering spouses... and it VARIES from place to place....
> I am able to walk free in this great land.

That's becoming more and more of a joke, tell it to the victims of "rendition"...

> Because of you and your family, I can look ahead to the future with the
> knowledge that life is going to be okay.

What, the abrogtion of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and no senior officer having had the guts to stand up in public and state that illegal orders regarding such things as torture of prisoners and contravening of the Geneva Convention have been on-going for YEARS?!!!

> Because of you and your family, I can awake to a new day, everyday.

See above.

> I realize that you are a stronger person than I will ever be because of
> these things and I just wanted to take the time today to say thank you to
> you and your family for allowing me that freedom.

I'm not. I want to know why the top military officers have not upheld their oaths to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC...

> I will never be able to repay this debt to you, as it is unmatchable.

> However, I hope that you know that no matter where you are...
> what you are doing...
> what has happened today...
> or what will happen tomorrow...
> Your husband will NEVER be "just another soldier" to me....

What about the WOMEN in the military? I have NO respect for this letter, and am ticked an anyone who redistributes it as other than bigoted jingoism.

> And you, dear sweet lady, will never be forgotten.

I am not a military spouse. I AM A MILITARY VETERAN!
> You are all in my prayer's everyday and I pray that God will bring you back
> together with your loved one safely.

Religion card...

> May God Bless You
Religion card.
> If you are a Military Spouse or know one, repost this and say THANK YOU.
> They too make daily sacrifices while their spouse serve our country.

I wonder what the colonel's husband thinks of this....

#266 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 05:01 AM:

Sarah # 12

They're both Romney fleeces, the bag in the livingroom from "Petunia reg. Romney" is 6 1/2 pounds of raw wool.... I think somewhere I have a black merino fleece which is a first shearing (from a different animal, of course! Black merinos might only transform into Romneys in fantasy stories or dreams!)

#268 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Marilee 257: either I don't get the joke or you've misnamed Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Paul A is unable to correctly explain at 264.

Carrie 258: Well, the class did deserve it. I remember wishing I could kill people that easily. (In retrospect I'm glad I couldn't, because I absolutely would have.) Think of her as Her Who Must Not Be Messed With.

The other one's a flaming twit, I agree.

#269 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 265

Just so you feel like you're not the only person, or a member of the only class being insulted by that piece of astroturf, consider that the wives and husbands of fire fighters and police officers also sit by the telephone knowing that "that" phone call can come at any time. Fact is, though, their partners usually come out of it better than combat soldiers if they're only wounded. Something about their employers making good on their promises of care and medical treatment and disability retirement.

#270 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 01:28 PM:

265 - Was it Washington who pointed out that someone does NOT cease being a citizen when putting on a military uniform

Yes, Washington, one of David Hackworth's favorite sayings - it was at the top of his organization's web page for a long time: When we became soldiers, we did not cease to be citizens

The report on the Thunderbirds Diamond Crash that I saw in the end attributed the failure to FOD - object blocking the control - I did hear someone qualified to express an opinion

(T38 instructor pilot whose joy it was to take every single individual airplane and make sure that individual airplane would recover from anything he could do to it the day before a student used the vary same airplane to train for recovery)

say it was pilot error - good enough to fly in the formation but not goood enough to lead - and changed per Creech to avoid other issues.

There is typical fly talk discussion at:
rec.aviation.military Subject: Re: diamond crash

Anybody know?

Speaking of #265 - I'd like to think everybody who looks in here is continuing to follow GinMar's travail?

#271 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Xopher #268: Most of 'em deserved it, but the poor teacher lady didn't!

#272 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 02:47 PM:

ethan 271: Collateral damage. Gotta expect that sort of thing in a war! (Yes, I'm kidding.)

#273 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Open thread gushing:

I just had my first two bookbinding students today! We spent the afternoon in my bindery, working through a technique that produces a light, airy book (but recognizably a book) in one sitting.

It took longer than I expected it to - at least twice as long, but it was a very pleasant time. It helped that I knew one of them (he hired me at my current job) and liked the other from her emails before we met today (the first student's girlfriend).

The whole thing was like acting, in a way - horrendous stage fright beforehand, exhaustion after, but in the middle, a real pleasure. The hours flew by.


#274 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 04:25 PM:

abi #273: All teaching is like acting. At its best it is as you describe (except that you get over the stage-fright after a while).

#275 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 06:17 PM:

abi #273, gragano #274:

When I first started lecturing (as compared to leading discussion sections) I found that the quick way to deal with stage fright was to hum an opera overture on the way in to class. (I'd been in opera chorus for four seasons.) Traviata worked like a charm.

#276 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 07:05 PM:

joann #275: That wouldn't work for me. I have the singing voice of a bird -- a crow.

#277 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 07:22 PM:

I've found, when lecturing or presenting a paper or giving a talk (unless it's one I've given so many times I could do it in my sleep), having a complete set of speaking notes is a great comfort. That way if I do freeze up I can read from the notes until my brain starts working again. I rarely need them, but the couple of times I could have done with them and didn't have them was enough to teach me it's better to have the security blanket with me!

#278 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 07:34 PM:

abi @273

Forgot to say - congratulations on the lesson/students! - And yes, exhilarating when it goes well.

#279 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 10:50 PM:

horrendous stage fright beforehand, exhaustion after, but in the middle, a real pleasure.

congratulations on the class.

#280 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 11:05 PM:

Carrie, maybe it's my avoidance of 'celebrity culture' but when I think of shoe-based extravagance, it's always Imelda Marcos. Is there another?

The main character of Sex and the City is named Carrie Underwood. (I think Underwood; I'm sure of the Carrie.)

Xopher, yeah; if I'd had the King character's powers a number of my classmates would not have survived high school. Though I'd have been more subtle about it. Practice with tiny little things and then no one will be able to figure out how so many kids had undetected weaknesses in their brain's blood vessels...

#281 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Carrie @ #280, Carrie Bradshaw. Carrie Underwood is a former American Idol singer who's having a halfway decent career in country music. She sang the Star Spangled Banner before tonight's World Series game in Denver (and, unlike many others, she sang it straight and didn't muck it up).

#282 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Come to think of it, Underwood was introduced as a two-time Grammy winner before tonight's game, so I suppose she's having a little better career than "halfway decent" would imply.

#283 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 01:51 AM:

Thank you Carrie, a fast search shows that the character's name is Carrie Bradshaw. It may be relevant that the writer of the columns and then book on which it was based is named Candace Bushnell. I do remember hearing that exotic & expensive shoes were associated with the show.

Wasn't 'Bradshaw' a famous railway timetable in the UK? Don't know how that might relate to Underwood; maybe it's the Underworld typewriter discussion earlier.

#284 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 09:10 AM:

It occurs to me that the people who are depicted with dangerous superpowers are always a bit dumb about how they use them. OK, so Superman isn't subtle, but he's one of the good guys. He doesn't gain anything from not being noticed.

I mean, if you can commit a crime without having to be anywhere near the scene, you maybe miss a chance to gloat, but not even CSI can find evidence that doesn't exist.

#285 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 12:40 PM:

In the previous Open Thread, we were discussing hippotherapy.

I see the Beeb has finally caught up with Making Light.

#286 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Checking in...

We left a day early. We worked all day, every day, well into the night, except when we had some fairly exquisite food and drink. And then some more drink.

I started feeling a bit, well, gunky after the first 15 hours. Still gunky now, but with lots of hydration it's clearing out. It was definitely not too bad, though--just a slow creep of a lung build-up,. The worst of it is my skin; it's still feeling very, very icky, even after a ton of TLC. Smoke ick. Greasy.

Serge at 171: Thanks!!!

Terry at 173: I wish I'd had time! If we would have been able to stay the extra day despite not needing to, I definitely would have. Couldn't put another night on the client, though. But I did get to see Puppy's hockey game today instead, which was also fabulous!

#287 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 08:44 PM:

Epacris, #259, the only one of those I've probably seen is Law & Order. I had no idea there were that many, though!

I don't get stage fright. Put me in a place to present, and I'll be fine.

#288 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 10:00 PM:

I saw "Michael Clayton" this afternoon. Starts out looking like a legal drama, turns into a thriller. A real hoot, and highly recommended.

#289 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 11:09 PM:

One of the Google ads on the main page at ML right now reads, "I Was Scammed 37 Times
These Programs Are Absolute Scams I Will Show You The Ones That Work "

And my thought was, "Dude, if you got scammed 37 times why in the world would I even consider taking any advice from you? You've made a career out of getting scammed."

But I clicked on the link anyway. I came to a place in what I call "I'm a scammer" format (you can recognize a scam site from across the room just from the template they use). The guy says that all the other Get Rich Quick schemes are scams, but ones he's recommending are, no kidding, not scams!

Wow. I can just see the next dude to advertise. His sell-line will be "I was scammed 38 times."

#290 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 11:19 PM:

James D. Macdonald at #289 writes:

> One of the Google ads on the main page at ML right now reads, "I Was Scammed 37 Times
These Programs Are Absolute Scams I Will Show You The Ones That Work "

Reminds me of a radio program I once heard: an interview with a woman who used to work on those nasty psychic telephone hot lines, in which she detailed all of the nasty little tricks they use to trick people and screw money out of them. It was detailed and horrifically interesting, and an all round wonderful show until the very closing seconds of the interview, where she said that all of these evil scammer just made things harder for the *genuine* psychics - like her.


#291 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Artist Silversaff has created a Dragaeran Cycle of Houses poster (via skzb).

Very cool.

(Hmm, why does preview automatically insert rel="nofollow"?)

#292 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 12:27 AM:

On Rasputina, I've been listening to their new album over the past few days, and while it hasn't really cohered yet (that usually takes quite a while for me), I can definitely say it's Quite Good Indeed. The first song, "1816, The Year Without a Summer," is incredible.

#293 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 02:29 AM:

mcz @ 391

That's very nice, thanks for the link. I'm late to the Brust party, having just started reading the cycle a couple of weeks ago, annd in love with it. So far I've devoured Jhereg and Yendi, and I'm in the middle of Teckla, which IMHO is the best of the three so far. It helps that I swear he's been listening in to Eva and me talk about our marriage. And argue about it.

And another rave: Torchwood just gets better and better. I just saw last night's episode, DVR'ed for viewing after spending the morning painting the new bathrooms. It's about gur grnz erfheerpgvat Fhmvr, gur rk-grnz-zrzore jub gevrq gb xvyy Wnpx, naq qvq xvyy urefrys, va gur svefg rcvfbqr. Frrzf gung qrngu qbrfa'g nterr jvgu ure. Oh, and we get to find out that Wnpx unq n oblsevraq, juvpu ol zl gnyyl znxrf uvz bzavib.

#294 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 02:44 AM:

I'm fairly new to Brust's work too, having waited over a year to actually pick up one of his books. And that book led to another, and another, and...

I really have to get those Torchwood DVDs out and watch them all the way through. Jack had a bf (or maybe a casual partner) in his first-ever appearance in the Doctor Who two-parter The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances; in that show it was suggested that he would "dance" with any race that was remotely compatible, IIRC. So that makes him omni-something. Or maybe pan-something.

By the way, did you once mention VR.5 on Making Light?

#295 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 02:44 AM:

Eliza Carthy's Lal Waterson tribute concert is available for streaming from the BBC until November 4.

#296 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 03:09 AM:

This is just a lament.

Two of Brust's books are physically missing and presumed lost from my library (statewide!). The Vlad books don't seem to turn up at used bookstores, while the others do.

#297 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 09:52 AM:

Linkmeister @ 296

I'm reading a collection of 3 novels, Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla in a trade paperback I found at Powell's. Seemed like the cheapest entry into the series; even new that's $5 US per novel, with mass market editions of indidual novels running at $8 or $9 each. There were a lot of other copies of novels from the series on the shelf, both new and used. Check and see what's available online; if you can find used copies of the books you want, the shipping charges may not be too painful.

#298 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 10:00 AM:

mcz @ 294

Yes, I did mention VR5. I watched it when it was first broadcast, and generally liked it quite well, though it was rough in spots and could have used a little more thought on the philosophical aspects.* Unforunately it was brosdcast here in Portland by the low-end UHF station, low-power transmission, and not enough money to rent access to the local high-tower antenna farm. So our tapes look bad most of the time, and really awful whenever a plane went overhead, or a large car went by the house. Basically unviewable after 15 years of accumulated age and oxide particle rot. And our current remodeling spree has us on bread and water for awhile, so we're being incredibly selective about buying music and video.

* One of my favorite, quite serious, titles for a technical book in the 1990s was "The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality".

#299 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 11:26 AM:

My favorite sighting on Saturday while waiting for our plane to show up and take us to the Bay Area... A 4-year-old girl vrrroooming around with a toy version of a passenger plane. Yay!

#300 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 12:17 PM:

re #289 "I was scammed..." ad: What keyword might have attracted it? Right now the Google keywordomatic thinks this thread is about cellos.

#301 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 12:22 PM:

mcz (291):

(Hmm, why does preview automatically insert rel="nofollow"?)
By editorial decree, all links in comments are forced to be nofollow in order to make comment spam less useful to the spammer since it won't help their googlerank.
Close tags for unmatched tags get added at the end of the message, as well.

#302 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 12:41 PM:

It's one of those "the spammers have won" kind of things, as legitimate links suffer from the stinginess of ML's googlejuice dole.

#303 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Earl 302: I'm pretty sure the front page posters' links (on the front page, not when they comment) don't have the nofollow. So the googlejuice counts only when the people who run this website want to juice something.

That seems entirely proper to me. Especially since the legit links that we put in here get promoted to Particles and Sidelights whenever Our Hosts think they're sufficiently worthwhile.

#304 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Xopher #303: And then we go "Squeeeeeeeee!"

Or at least I did when it happened to me.

#305 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 01:11 PM:

ethan @ 304... et tu, ethan?

#306 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 01:13 PM:

ethan 304: As will I, if ever it happens to me.

And btw, Earl, THAT is how ML encourages the posting of useful and/or amusing links in comment threads. The "squee" factor is considerable.

#307 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Linkmeister @ 296

Sorry I didn't think of this before; more caffeine needed. Which books are you looking for? I can buy used books at Powell's and send them to you when I've finished reading them.

#308 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Bruce C @ #307, That's a generous offer, sir. I'll have to see where I left off, what's missing from the library system, and what I can still get. Will advise.

I've had my wants listed on my wishlist at BookMooch, but so far no luck there either.

#309 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Bruce C, to update my #308, Both Orca and Yendi are lost/missing from shelf in my library system, so those are the two I haven't access to.

#310 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 02:53 PM:

John Houghton & Earl Cooley III: thanks.

Bruce Cohen @ #298: I actually stumbled upon it in 2005, and as I watched the series I realized that I'd actually seen the last five minutes of an episode nearly ten years previous. It's fairly unusual for an inconsequential thing like that to hang around in my head that long, so I dug around for more information.

I do know that thirteen episodes were produced but only ten broadcast in its original run, and that when the official VHS tapes were released, one of the episodes was not included and another turned up twice. A DVD release was announced and then cancelled, so legit versions are currently unavailable, which is most unfortunate.

The fandom was very nearly successful in its campaign for the production of a final TV special to close off the storyline. I understand that a draft script was actually written but the project was eventually stopped by Fox.

One of the things the series glossed over was ethics/morality of rooting around in/manipulating someone's subconscious without their knowledge or informed consent. Perhaps, given enough time, the writers would have eventually gotten around to it.

#311 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Does anyone here know any Scots Gaelic?

There is a phrase in a sound file which I think means "closed", which I heard as "Dun kitty".

Some Googling around confirms that "dùinte"; "dùin" does mean "closed, shut" - would they both be pronounced something like "dun"? If "sláinte" is pronounced "slan-tchuh", I'd sort of think that "dùinte" might be pronounced "dun-tchuh".

But my Gaelic is verging on hopeless.

And what might the word that sounds like "kitty" mean (and how ought it be more properly spelled)?

#312 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Speaking of old series being released on DVD... I know what I want my wife to give me for Xmas - the whole "Jason King" series. Ah, the vestimentary and capillary fashions of the early 1970s...

#313 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Hey, Serge, as a fellow Cliff Simak fan, have you ever read Way Station? I just found it the other day. What a wonderful story!

#314 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 05:18 PM:

Paula @ 266:

Ooh, sounds wonderful! I fell in love with a dark merino fleece at Oregon Flock & Fiber, but I can't bring anything more home; I'm out of room.

It occurred to me after I posted that you probably have a drop spindle, rather than just stockpiling fleeces to throw at the ravaging zombie hordes (although I like to think that if I were a zombie, I'd still have the good sense to stop for fleece).

Linkmeister @ 309:

I have both of those; If Bruce isn't able to find them, let me know and I can send mine off - just promise you'll send them back some day. I won't be re-reading them in a hurry.

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Linkmeister @ 313... I've probably read all of Simak's novels, going all the way back to Cosmic Engineer, but Way Station is my favorite. I read it back in 1975 and I've never stopped thinking that, if I had LOTS of money, I would hire someone talented to make a movie out of it.

#316 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 06:45 PM:

Serge @ #315, I dunno that you'd need lots of money. One or two sets, a forest, and lots of papier-maché widgets in the station itself. Three or four actors and a bunch of extras.

The story itself would be easy to market, I'd think.

#317 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 06:49 PM:

Linkmeister: Screenwriter. Cameras. People to operate the cameras. Lights.

Maybe you're overestimating what Serge means by "LOTS of money." To me, anything with six figures is a LOT of money. I'm not sure what Serge means by it.

#318 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 07:14 PM:

Linkmeister, Xopher... Even a low 6-figure amount is a lot more money than I'm ever going to have access to. If I did, I'd be living in the Bay Area. Anyway, yes, Way Station definitely is a Simak movie I'd love to see. The Big Frontyard is another one, along with The Goblin Reservation. And Time and again. And... You get the idea I liked Simak?

#319 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Well, yeah, I was extrapolating Serge's requirement into the $20-$30 million range. I'd guess, with no insider knowledge of the film business, that it could be done for around $5-$10 maximum. It's as much a psychological story as anything.

The Goblin Reservation would cost more, since there would be a lot more costume design involved. (Hey! We could get one of those Cavemen guys to play Oop!)

#320 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 08:19 PM:

Linkmeister... Do you know where Oop got his name? It's French. Truly.

#321 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 08:23 PM:

TV episode memory request. If this weren't an open thread, it would be off topic, and although I'm pretty sure it was a broadcast TV show within the past few months and therefore by definition not indecent, it was a somewhat sexual scene, so I'm rot-13ing the description to avoid accidental offense.

Vg'f n znyr punenpgre'f oveguqnl; sbe fbzr ernfba, ur'f abg rkcrpgvat n oveguqnl pnxr (gur crefba jub abeznyyl znxrf gurz erpragyl yrsg, znlor?). Ur'f erpragyl zrg n jbzna jub'f vagrerfgrq va uvz, nygubhtu V qba'g guvax ur ernyvmrf guvf; ur'f gbyq ure nobhg gur oveguqnl pnxrf ur yvxrf. Fur fubjf hc nf uvf eha-qbja ubhfr (genvyre?) jvgu n pnxr (gjb?). Ur'f nyernql unccl, ohg gura fur chgf bar bs gurz qbja ba gur pbssrr gnoyr, ovyybjf ure fxveg bhg oruvaq ure, naq ybjref urefrys qbja ba gur pnxr.

It's feeling like it might be My Name is Earl, but I can't figure out what episode or who either of the characters are, if so. Anyone, pretty please?

#322 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 09:15 PM:

Serge @ #320, I kinda sorta remembered that, but I checked Wikipedia to be sure.

#323 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 09:17 PM:

Linkmeister @ 322.. Allez hop!

#324 ::: Wrenlet ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 09:37 PM:


Actually I think that was on an episode of Dirt, back in March.

#325 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 11:01 PM:

Oooh oohooh, that would fit -- and the male character would be the photographer, and the female the waitress he was seeing for a while. Thank you!

#326 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2007, 11:41 PM:

Serge, time to cue the Twilight Zone music. Super Spouse is also a Simak fan, and would rate Way Station in his top 10 stories.

#327 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:21 AM:


I've thought a few times about making an animation of "City". It would be a lot more effective than live action for the Jupiter scenes and the later Earth scenes with the animals and the ants. And if you didn't insist on Pixar-level computer animation or Henry Selick-level stop-motion, it wouldn't be terribly expensive, at least by Hollywood standards.

Then again, what about "Time is the Simplest Thing"? A lot of that could be filmed on location with Ontario standing in for Wisconsin.

#328 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:29 AM:

Tania... Speaking of the Twilight Zone, or rather speaking of the Outer limits... As far as I know, the latter is the one and only time that a Simak story ever was filmed. Remember "Good Night, Mr. James"? It's about a man who's hunting an alien lifeform that escaped on Earth after he illegally brought it here. Then the man realizes that he is a copy of the original character, and...

#329 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:36 AM:

Bruce Cohen... The problem with a movie version of City is that most of the public would find it way too depressing. Bad enough that most humans have left to live, transformed, on Jupiter, But you have ants taking over the Earth. Speaking of which... In the early 1980s, there was an anthology that published stories set in some famous series. Simak's was about the the Webster House and the surrounding land being the only area of the Earth that wasn't covered by the ants's colonies. And Jenkins the robot is still there, still keeping the House in order, but so very alone. Until some humans come down from the stars...

#330 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:41 AM:

The only Simak book I've read is The Visitors, which I found incredibly beautiful. I haven't read any more because there are too goddamn many books in the world and I haven't gotten back to him yet.

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 01:29 AM:

ethan @ 330... Well, should you ever find yourself with a big chunk of free time and should you simultaneously find yourself prose-less, I strongly recommend the above-mentionned books by Simak. Goodness, maybe I should re-read them.

#332 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 01:55 AM:

Time is the Simplest Thing is the other Simak book I picked up last week, along with Way Station. Time seemed like a forerunner of many other books and even some movies (Logan's Run¹,², for example).

¹ Should I duck now?
² Whatever happened to Jenny Agutter, anyway? Ah.

Who's got a chart for HTML sequences for daggers, double daggers, etc.? I know abi uses them here, for one.

#333 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:20 AM:

&dagger is created by appending dagger to an ampersand
&Dagger is created by appending Dagger to an ampersand

I like &loz, created by adding loz after the &

Here's a handy reference table

#334 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:23 AM:

Linkmeister @332

I use the daggers and such a lot, but I don't use HTML entity sequences for most of that stuff, since browsers these days are all capable of handling most of the common Unicode symbols. If you have a Mac, there's a wonderful utility called the Character Palette that allows you to insert all kinds of neat characters, including full fonts for Cyrillic, several of the Japanese character sets, traditional Chinese, even Cherokee. And all the hexagrams of the i Ching. I don't think Windows has anything quite so fancy, but there is a special characters gizmo of some sort in there.

Failing that, here's Wikipedia's entity list. I don't think any of their admins have tried to delete it recently.

#335 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:27 AM:

Tania, thank you. The table I've had forever didn't include special characters. &dagger &spades &hearts

#336 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:36 AM:

Bruce, I've been using Alt+ keys for accents, and I've got an old table in Notepad, but it didn't have any of the typographic symbols I wanted. Hence using superscript for my Logan's Run footnotes.

#337 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Oh, poo. I just threw out another loaf of bread from the breadmaker machine. Last one came out about as dense as a pencil eraser. Stupid me, I ended up changing two variables at once, got garbage, and now I don't know which one caused it.

First of all, when I do the basic wheat bread, 500 g wheat flour, 175 grams milk, 175 grams water, 9 grams salt, 9 grams dry activated yeast, I get a pretty dense loaf of bread. I don't mind, but my wife won't eat it. So, what's the thing to change in the recipe to make it less dense? I tried doubling the yeast, but that was an extra dollar of ingredients and didn't work (may have been operator error, though, still haven't gotten the hang of all the nuances of putting things in, my digital scale is a little wonky (if I take something off the scale, and then put it back on, the scale seems to zero itself out sometimes, which means if there is flour in a measuring cup on the scale, it might zero out and I add too much flour), and I still haven't found the operating manual for my breadmaker.)

So, how to take the basic recipe and make it less dense? Put in less flour? Add more water or milk? If I double the yeast, do I have to increase anything else? If I decrease the flour, do I have to change anything else?

Secondly, is oat flour and barley flour and other flours not usable for bread? This last loaf was a two-pipe problem, (1) an attempt to try and make the bread less dense and (2) an attempt to mix in other flours with the wheat for a multi grain effect. The result was the loaf I mentioned above that was hard as a pencil eraser. I'm surprised I didn't burn out the mixing moter in the bread maker.

Anyway, I've been defeated by a simple bread recipe, and I'm tired of wasting ingredients and getting inedible results. Although I could do the Dr. Seuss thing and figure out all the ways to not make bread so that whatever is left is a way to make bread, it seems like a rather expensive and maddeningly frustrating approach.

I may have to get a book on bread. (I did order the science of cooking book. did everyone know it was out of print? ordered a used copy. still waiting for it to get here.)

In the meantime, any answers would be greatly appreciated. less dense? oat flour?

#338 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:45 AM:


You need to get a book on breadmaking before you can do intelligent substitutions. (Or you can do it all by trial and error and make a lot of hockey-pucks in the process. BTDT.)

The short version of the key point is that you need lots of gluten to make a loaf with a nice light grain, and no other flour has as much as white bread flour. Whole wheat flour has some, but less; oat and barley have almost none. If you want to make a 100% whole wheat loaf and not have it be dense, you need to add extra concentrated gluten directly. Alternatively you can cut it with bread flour (bread flour = high gluten.) If you use flours from other grains, you need to counterbalance by using more white bread flour. You can also buy fancy gourmet high-gluten whole-wheat flour, I've never gone that route.

#339 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:38 AM:

One more P.S. You said you spent about $1 on yeast, which means you're buying those little packets in the grocery store. At Costco, buy one restaurant-sized package of yeast for about $5.00, and you will have enough for hundreds of loaves at pennies each. (Stick half in a jar in the fridge, the other half in the freezer to take out when the jar is empty.)

#340 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Correspondence from The Lancet:

"These novels draw attention to the romantic possibilities of primary care settings and the apparent inevitability of uncontrolled passions in the context of emergency medicine, especially as practised on airplanes. These novels suggest that there is an urgent need to include instruction in the arts of romance in training programmes for doctors and nurses who intend working in these settings."

#341 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Clifton@338: You need to get a book on breadmaking

Yeah, I underestimated how complicated it is. "Flour, water, milk, salt, yeast" sort of lulled me into a false sense of security. I was thinking, "How difficult can five ingredients be". Apparently, pretty difficult.

you need lots of gluten to make a loaf with a nice light grain ... Whole wheat flour has some, but less; oat and barley have almost none

Ah. So adding extra yeast isn't enough if there's no gluten to begin with. Thanks for explaining that. I was starting to pull my hair out.

which means you're buying those little packets in the grocery store

Yeah, I've been looking for the large containers of yeast, but haven't figured out where my stores hide them. Apparently, I need to find out where I can buy "concentrated gluten in a box" too.

So, any good beginner-experimenter-bread-making books out there?

#342 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 09:52 AM:

So adding extra yeast isn't enough if there's no gluten to begin with.

Yeah--there has to be gluten to make bubbles out of the gasses from the yeast. Otherwise the..what is it, CO2?...just escapes and does nothing to make the loaf light.

Did you proof your yeast, BTW? (That is, take a bit of the water and a bit of the sugar/flour, mix 'em with the yeast, wait to make sure it starts producing bubbles.) I guess that's not as useful if you're using a bread machine, but I always do it when making bread by hand.

#343 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:14 AM:

I learned a new word today...

Cucurbitophobia apparently is the fear of pumpkins.

#344 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Serge #343:

Carved or uncarved?

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:40 AM:

joann... Not sure. I understand that the fear includes not just to the Great Pumpkin, but other members of the cucurbit family.

"Die, squash, die!"

#346 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Correction, joann... The line should be:

"Pie, squash, pie!!!"

#347 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:45 AM:

Serge @343 Looking to confirm this, I found this link to Halloween related phobias

and @346 snarf!

#348 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:56 AM:

PtterB @ 347... Samhainophobia?

#349 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:16 AM:

I don't have a Halloween phobia; what I've got is more an indifference to Halloween. I can get excited about Thanksgiving, get all caught up in Christmas, celebrate New Year's Eve with the best of them (and the best of champagne), and even get delighted with the Easter Bunny, but Halloween leaves me cold. The growing emphasis on it as a holiday always catches me by surprise; a visit to the doctor yesterday brought the sight of mylar spiderwebs with shiny giant spiders attached, and all I could think (besides "Eck, purple") was "why do adults think this is fun?"

I'm not objecting on religious grounds, just that it always seemed to be a kids' holiday and it somehow kind of ... morphed. So what am I missing, or is there no way for me to regain that childlike sense of fun?

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:24 AM:

joann... is there no way for me to regain that childlike sense of fun?

Yam at a loss. Maybe some pun'kin pie might help.

#351 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Greg London@337- the recipe you're using doesn't seem to have any sugar except for what might be in the flour. Maybe a little extra sugar might help the yeast to work better. (I usually halve the salt quantity for the sugar amount.)

I'm certainly with you on preferring a fluffier loaf.

#352 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:08 PM:

More recipe help: I just received a quart baggie full of what I am told are serrano peppers, from a co-worker of my husband's whose peppers seemingly underwent a zucchini event this year. WhatInHeck should I be doing with them?

Context: Most if not all of our TexMex experiments are conducted outside the home. Although I believe strongly in the existence of "hot" as the fifth basic food group, I mostly don't seek out products designed to burn off all my interior linings. Further, I'd already just bought some (rather mild) habanero jelly, so jam-making is probably out--and I'm not a great preserve-maker in any case. (Worse, the source of these peppers had already provided us with some pickled peppers. No, his name was *not* Peter Piper.)


#353 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:09 PM:

joann @349

Halloween has been co-opted by adults as a holiday of release*, leaving very little for the kids except cheap animations on TV and admonitions about not eating the stuff they collect until it's been X-rayed. There's very little childlike fun left.

* Release from social restraints, release from the restraints of class and caste**, and release from sexual restraints.

** Yes, we have those restraints in America. You think there aren't any classes? Make a list of the restaurants in your city you would be reluctant to go into, either because you would feel insufficiently sophisticated for the ambiance, or vaguely threatened by the other patrons. /rant

#354 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Greg: I don't know whether this is possible in a bread machine, but multiple proofings of the dough (ie. where you let it rise, punch it down, and let it rise again) give a fluffier loaf.

Have you looked at the no-knead bread recipe that was making the rounds earlier this year? It's a different approach to a bread machine, but might well be of interest.

#355 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Here's the No-Knead Bread recipe from the NY Times.

This link had better work. Grr. If it doesn't, search on 'bittman no knead bread' and the 8 Nov 2006 article is the one you're looking for.

I've been trying to get my act together to make this bread for a year, and I still haven't. Someday...

#356 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:57 PM:

The "Day in Pictures" section of SFGate has a fine photo of a "cannibal pumpkin". I'm not sure how to do a direct link, but this should get you to the front page. Then look to the right and click on the section with the thumbnail photo.

#357 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Greg, I don't do machine bread, but in general, when using high concentrations of whole wheat flour, you get a better result if you add liquid to the flour and let it rest for an hour or longer before adding leavening and other ingredients. Also, importantly: some companies use low-gluten wheat to make whole wheat flour, so you may need to experiment with that.

#358 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Bruce C #353:

More like a holiday of transgression, at least round here. Not that that isn't the same thing :-)

Maybe I worked the entire costume thing out of my system doing opera. And if I'm going to commit a sin, I don't need a legalized occasion for it; that's the whole point about it being a sin.

(As to your rant, excluding biker bars, I can't think of anywhere at either end of that scale that I'd be reluctant to go into for the reasons stated. I tend to pick restaurants based on whether I like the food, and don't go to one of the top restaurants in town not because of the prices or the ambiance, but because it is/was a favorite haunt of the Current Pretender--which, I'll admit it, makes it a bit downscale for me. Perhaps the Secret Service would make it seem a bit threatening.)

#359 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Bruce @353
The sense of release was what was most fun for me as a kid. My transgressions were extremely mild, but there was certainly no other time of year that my friends and I (probably in the age 10-12 range) were allowed to run around the neighborhood together after dark making lots of noise.

But this, as many things, has been less innocent for my kids than it was for me.

#360 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:28 PM:


Bob's Red Mill sells wheat gluten flour. You could mix in some to your wheat. On the other hand, I've never been able to pull off a 100% whole wheat loaf that I liked. You might start with something easier.

One that works for me is a white wheat honey wheat bread. (It's king arthur White Wheat, a 100% whole wheat out of a lighter grain). I do it about 75% wheat, 25% white bread flour.

5-5.5 c flour, 2.25 c water, 1/3 c oil, 1/3c milk powder, 1/3c honey, 1tsp yeast, 2tsp salt.

I do this with a long slow rise overnight, and mix and add ingredients slowly, so the proportions of flour and water vary by when the dough looks right. (i.e. ymmv with a bread machine)

I need to write this up well, since google isn't finding this on my site right now, and I'm getting a very reproducable product out of it.

#361 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Bruce @3543:

I'd debate you on the lack of childlike fun, at least in the kids I know. We're in a semi-urban setting, of course, so it's somewhat different in that our kids don't really have a lot of opportunities to egg cars or tp people's homes (which some people seem to think is the main point of Halloween, for reasons that escape me).

But in our neighborhood, there's quite a bit of fun to be had, and the kids get pretty excited about it.

All the local elementary schools have parties. This year, our school's party included a hayride (in the schoolyard), a fortuneteller, and a haunted house (of the traditional pasta/eggs/homemade-slime/uncooked hot dog variety, with a number of 6th graders hiding in corners to jump out and scare their fellow students). The last had long lines pretty much all night through as kids went through again and again and again.

On Halloween itself, two of the area shopping strips become Trick-or-Treat strips, with kids in costume spending an hour or more popping in and out of various shops and collecting goodies. This year my daughter is old enough to do this round without a parent and is much looking forward to it.

One end of the neighborhood is private homes; many of them decorate for Halloween and trick-or-treating there in the evening is a blast. There are a couple of people who do the "fake out the kids by pretending to be a display" thing and the shrieks can be heard for blocks.

At my end of the neighborhood, it's all apartment buildings. My building is huge, about 200 apartments. Every year we have a sign-up sheet for Halloween and several mobs of kids go trooping through the various wings on Halloween night, visiting the apartments on the list. This year we have a lot of 3 and 4 year olds who will be trick-or-treating for the first time and I can't wait to see what they look like. This year I get to stay home and hand out candy, since the kid will be going around without me.

My daughter, meanwhile, who is 11, has 3 Halloween costumes this year (usually she has 2, one for the school party and one for trick-or-treating, though last year she only had one because she was so in love with the mummy outfit I made for her). She sees Halloween as an opportunity to exercise her imagination and we have often done home-made costumes. This year she will be doing a little juggling along with her trick-or-treating: performance in exchange for candy.

I agree that Halloween has become very sexualized (it was hard to find a costume for dd that wasn't revealing or stereotyped in some way) and commercialized (you can always tell the big movies of the year by what the kids show up wearing), but I see plenty of children having plenty of fun.

#362 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Ask me how!

(I'm thinking that it would be a good idea to have a long list of Mad Science responses in case people do ask.)

{I will set the atmosphere on FIRE!!!! |
Loathsome diseases spread by FLYING MONKEYS!!! |
I'll cut out all your hearts with a spoon — it will HURT more!!!!! |
I will create a mutant slime mold that tastes delicious!!! Everyone will eat it, but once it is inside them, it will eat them!!!! All will become slime!!!!! |
etc }
BWAHAHAHAHA! (of course)

#363 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:41 PM:

OK, there's a particle there for "I'd hit that." It's a t-shirt with a donkey piñata on it, and the quoted text.

Anybody else think that's an anti-Democratic Party t-shirt? Otherwise, why a donkey? Am I crazy, or is this duhh, or something in between?

If it's duhh, I'm not sure why Teresa posted it. I guess I just don't get it, period.

#364 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:47 PM:

OK, there's a particle there for "I'd hit that." It's a t-shirt with a donkey piñata on it, and the quoted text.

Anybody else think that's an anti-Democratic Party t-shirt? Otherwise, why a donkey? Am I crazy, or is this duhh, or something in between?

If it's duhh, I'm not sure why Teresa posted it. I guess I just don't get it, period.

#365 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Arrggh. Sorry.

#366 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:03 PM:

As for breadmaking: it's not an exact science. The humidity of the room you're making it in makes a huge difference. Bread machines try to eliminate that as a factor; I don't know if they succeed.

I've never used a bread machine. I've baked by hand a lot, though, and the best rule I've found for a nicely textured and flavored bread is "Brown Bowl, White Board." In other words, while the bread is still a batter, add only whole wheat flour; when you turn it onto the board, it should be onto white flour, and you should add only white flour from that point on. This makes a bread rich enough for whole wheat lovers, and light enough for...non-whole wheat lovers. It hangs together well, and can be used to sculpt a man with horns for your Lúnasa ritual.

Um, er. Never mind that last bit. (But the three symbolic herbs we put in for that ritual—dill, for the sweetness of youth; thyme, for length of days; and sage, for the wisdom of age—also make a very tasty bread.)

Since handmade bread varies greatly based on conditions, I never measure flour. I have no idea how this would translate into bread-machine bread.

I second others' recommendations to follow recipes at first. I'd think this was doubly true if you're using a bread machine, where you can't correct anything in the middle if the dough feels wrong.

Mmm. Now I'm going to have to bake bread for Thanksgiving. How I'll fit this in, I don't know.

#367 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Joann @ #349
I don't have a Halloween phobia; what I've got is more an indifference to Halloween. I can get excited about Thanksgiving, get all caught up in Christmas, celebrate New Year's Eve with the best of them (and the best of champagne), and even get delighted with the Easter Bunny, but Halloween leaves me cold.

Halloween for me is a busman's holiday - oh, boy, dress up in a costume, just like I do every couple of weeks! But I'm equally down on most holidays, unless they involve either chocolate or explosions.

New Year's - Romantic holiday with drinking; sort of useless to single person who doesn't generally drink.

Valentine's Day - Another useless one for single person.

Easter - Okay, I like chocolate bunnies. Really cheap ones from the supermarket. Bite their little ears off!

Fourth of July - I can has fireworks!

Thanksgiving - Eat to the point of illness while not doing any actual thanking except to mom for cooking since no one in the immediate family musters any higher than "vaguely agnostic" on the religiosity scale. Many, many dishes to wash. Have successfully reoriented this day into the Final Fall Lawnwork Holiday, on which I rake many, many leaves and then read a good book.

Christmas - Got broken when my family went post-nuclear. Home alone depressed or visiting maternal family to try to graft on holiday cheer. Last time mom visited we watched Titus Andronicus by way of fun family film viewing.

is there no way for me to regain that childlike sense of fun?

My suggestion would be to borrow a child. The sense of fun is contagious and when it becomes annoying you can return it.

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Susan @ 367... Thanksgiving - Eat to the point of illness (...) Christmas - Last time mom visited we watched Titus Andronicus by way of fun family film viewing.

Food. Titus. I like that juxtaposition.

#369 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Susan 367: When you're alone on Christmas, watch The Lion in Winter (ignore the costumes). A family even more messed up than yours (or mine), assuming your father hasn't got your mother locked up in prison, and assuming she doesn't keep trying to get your brothers to kill him.

It's my favorite Christmas movie.

In the bad old days, I'd watch it while eating tortellini al pesto to excess, and drinking an entire bottle of beaujolais nouveau. (In these happier times, I still overeat, but no longer drink the NooBoo, or myself into a stupor.) One year, I watched The Reflecting Skin, which is a great movie to watch when you're depressed, provided you really WANT to be pushed over the edge into suicide. TLIW is at least not depressing.

#370 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:58 PM:

And of course, let us not forget the Dogs in Elk pumpkin.

#371 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:08 PM:

A perfetc Christmas movie... The MST3K version of Santa Claus conquers the Martians. Also recommended is their version of the Mexican movie where Santa fights one of Lucifer's sulphurous aides.

#372 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:12 PM:

Xopher, it doesn't seem anti-Democratic party to me — in the mercados around here, the burro seems to be the single most common shape of piñata available. There are also Dora the Explorer and similar character piñatas, but the burros are everywhere.

This is based on my experience shopping in the stores along International Blvd and in Oakland's Fruitvale district.

#373 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:15 PM:

Susan #367:

Borrowing a child doesn't seem to be an option; friends' children are all too old now (like seniors in high school) or too young, or in the case of one kid on my street, not even due to appear for another couple of months.

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe there's a weird component of seasonal disappointment in Halloween. Winter gets Christmas, spring gets Easter, and summer gets a bunch of secular holidays, marking the beginning, middle and end. Fall gets something designed to scare everyone to death, with a candy lottery on the side. Mind you, the notion of masks and disguises is fine with me: I'm a big fan of Carnavale, the farewell to the flesh that precedes Lent. But Halloween's linking it all up with a holiday that seems most connected with things dying and then coming back to haunt you, is kind of odd.

OK, I know that the pagan calendar--and even the Christian one--celebrates the annual appearance of the liminal interface between the worlds of the living and of the not-living. I assume that the costume play, the disguises, the mischief, are a form of taking dares--if I get dressed up as somebody else, the soul-eater can't recognize me on the one night he's allowed out, and old Mr Grundy won't recognize me either when I soap his windows. It is perhaps the case that, unless you're in a state of childlike innocence, or of strong religious belief, this will somehow seem less likely or less necessary. Certainly less compelling.

Perhaps part of the problem is that, except for pagans, this is the subversive night, not the one that maintains religious tradition. One does not go to the equivalent of Christmas Eve mass then. When I was doing my research semester in Venice (one not involving Carnevale), I noticed that it was All Souls' that was taken seriously. And it seemed like an important, solemn occasion, one I could appreciate. You wanted fun and misrule, you waited another couple of weeks for St Martin's Day. The only observance of Halloween I saw was a jack-o-lantern in the window of a bar catering to Americans.

#374 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:15 PM:

Hmm -- sounds like I'm not the only one who has certain DVDs for particular holidays. Some of my choices may seem a little dull...

Christmas Eve - The Nutcracker (ABT version)
Christmas Day - White Christmas
Beltane - The Wicker Man
July 4th - 1776
Halloween - The Corpse Bride and Sleepy Hollow

#375 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:21 PM:

Lori Coulson... To my list of Christmas viewing, I'd add the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol. And, for a whiff of silliness, Rowan Atkinson's version. Never seen it? It has Steven Fry, Robbie Coltrane and Jim Broadbent. Not only that, but Queen Victoria finds herself verbally abused.

#376 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:24 PM:

The only holiday movie tradition I have is that me and one of my oldest friends (in terms of how long I've known him--he's not my geriatrickest friend or anything) watch The Trouble With Girls and one other, rotating, Elvis movie every Fourth of July.

Oh, and every day is Gothika's Probably On Somewhere day.

#377 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Serge @375 -- Thanks for the recommendation -- they sound both interesting and fun -- I'll check the stores for them. My favorite "Christmas Carol" is Mr. Magoo's...

...and razzleberry dressing...

#378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Lori Coulson... Rowan Atkinson's Scrooge is, to say the least, very irreverent, beginning with Ebenezer Blackadder who is known as the nicest man in London, which means that everybody takes advantage of him. Then he meets the Ghost of Christmas and it's downhill from there. You even get to see Atkinson in a jockstrap and leather boots. Not for the faint of heart.

One other Christmas show I watch every year is Mark Morris's The Hard Nut. Tchaikovsky's music, but with mutant rats, a nutcracker with an Elvis hairdo, and more.

#379 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:42 PM:


Re: seasonal disappointment- this is why you guys need something like Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes' Night. Halloween can be a bit spooky, but this time of year you really need to fight off the darkness by making, um, light.

(Of course, Brits need it especially because we don't, obviously, celebrate 4th of July. And everyone needs fireworks-safely operated!- some time!)

#380 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Lori 374: I like to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween (if I'm not in ritual).

But what to watch on Groundhog Day? Let's think...

#381 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Serge #375:

Alastair Sim heartily seconded. That usually gets saved for Christmas Eve.

#382 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Lori 374: I usually watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween, unless I'm in ritual.

But I'm not sure what I should watch on Groundhog Day. Any suggestions?

#383 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Lori 374: It's my habit to watchThe Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween, or shortly thereafter if I'm in Samhain ritual on the day.

For a long time I didn't have a good holiday movie for Groundhog Day, but now I do.

#384 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:52 PM:

Whoa, Xophers from three almost-identical parallel universes!

#385 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Greg London @341: So, any good beginner-experimenter-bread-making books out there?

I can recommend "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking". Processes and ingredients are clearly and thoroughly explained. I have the old edition from 1985, but there's a much newer one which has an expanded section on bread machines.

#386 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:14 PM:

ethan 384: Do you really not get the joke? Va gur zbivr Tebhaqubt Qnl, Ovyy Zheenl'f punenpgre qbrf nyzbfg gur fnzr guvat rirel qnl ng svefg...hagvy ur svanyyl svtherf bhg jung ur'f fhccbfrq gb qb.

Am I the only one who actually types <v> when I'm going to ROT13 something?

#387 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:14 PM:

We had a Halloween party for the boys and various friends (seventeen children altogether!) and it was a blast. Halloween isn't really celebrated here, but all the kids know it from tv and movies, and many kids want to trick or treat, but as it isn't really celebrated's easier just to have a fun evening for them.

The husband is Canadian, and I like spooky stuff, and it's a fun creative challenge. It's nice to celebrate something that doesn't involve heroic drinking, present obligations, or spending time with people you loathe, it's just fun. And spooky!

I think the kids best loved the chance to race around outside at night, with torches, scaring their friends. And the alien autopsy. Oh, how we laughed.

#388 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:16 PM:

ethan @ 384... But which Xopher is the evil one? Remember Star Trek's What of Lazarus? with two versions of the same time traveller, and the one who seems to be the good guy turns out to be the bad guy, and vice versa.

#389 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:17 PM:

One of the cable channels, maybe Fox Family, has an annual run-up-to-Christmas where they run tons of holiday stuff. Some of it is cartoons, which vary greatly in quality.

Then there is the bottomless pit of awful, tedious TV movies about Christmas released over the decades. If you want to drive the Holiday Spirit out of your heart for the year, or maybe forever, just watch a few of these. They're the video entertainment equivalent of chewing on tinfoil and smelling burned hair and listening to someone scratch a chalkboard; they won't actually kill you, but they'll make you feel really bad.

In fact, watching a few will make you feel an awful lot like the lead character in these films, who almost always has lost the Christmas spirit and gotten terrible cynical about life in general.

#371: "the Mexican movie where Santa fights one of Lucifer's sulphurous aides"

That movie ran in theaters in the States for at least a couple of Christmas seasons when I was a kid. It was heavily advertise. I remember really, really, wanting to see it.

I finally got around to it a couple of years ago, when Walgreen's was selling copies for a dollar.

Oh, Man.

In the first few minutes, we learn that Santa lives at the South Pole, and instead of elves his toys are made by happy singing children in ethnic clothing. So, Santa Land is kind of like one of those island possessions where they run sweat shops full of imported labor.

ho, Ho, HO!

#390 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:25 PM:

In the corny Xmas dept... I have a certain fondness for A Star in the Night, a short film from the 1940s that Turner Classic Movies airs during the Holidays. It's sappy, it's corny, but it's about the better side of humanity.

#391 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:29 PM:

For at least four or five years, a movie called (I think) Children in the Crossfire aired on commercial tv here on Christmas eve. It's a movie about tensions in Northern Ireland, of course, what's more festive than that?

#392 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Xopher, I got the joke, and I'm still snickering. (And I'm glad I read all three posts before earnestly replying to the first one with an actual suggestion: a lesson in why to read the whole thread before responding!)

#393 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:52 PM:

My girlfriend just told me that really hot baths are unhealthy because the heat effects the veins in some way. Anyone ever hear about this?
sounds like an italian superstition to me.

#394 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 08:06 PM:

bryan, #393, really hot baths decrease your blood pressure and it would be a good idea to let the temperature moderate before you stand up.

I'm looking forward to handing out candy tomorrow. Our development only has 15-20 kids so I bought a box with a variety of Hershey full-size candy bars. I'm happy to make the neigbhbor kids happy, I like to admire their costumes and see them smile. A few years ago, we had two maxivans from another neighborhood come and we grownups had a very brief discussion and I went out and explained that trick-or-treating was a neighborhood thing and we would only give candy to kids from our neighborhood. They had about 20 kids -- they could have gone between their houses or just had a party.

#395 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 09:23 PM:
Tebhaqubt Qnl,

Klingon for "You're doing it wrong!".

#396 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Baker by trade, here, clearing up a slight misconception in an earlier post: the gluten doesn't "help the yeast make bubbles," it creates a matrix of protein strands to contain the bubbles.

Heartily second the advice of Bob's Red Mill for wheat gluten -- have you got a Whole Foods or Wild Oats near you? Or even a natural-foods section in your mainstream grocery (what my vegetarian housemate cheerfully calls "the hippie ghetto")? You ought to be able to find it there.

The Laurel's Kitchen bread book is good. I'm not a bread machine user, so I can't speak to books directly for that.

Truly, one of my favorite bread books is a 1970s paperback called "Breads of the World," and it's at least half quick breads rather than yeasted, and I've gotten accustomed to tweaking bread doughs on the fly anyway, since I'm often sizing up home recipes for bakery production... I just like it for the variety of yummy things in it.

But I am not surprised that the multi-grain loaf turned into a brick. Gluten is the answer.

Hm. Egg white is also high in protein. If you want to try it again before acquiring wheat gluten, and you don't mind risking another failure -- try throwing in an egg. And let me know what happens.

#397 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 09:49 PM:

I remembering seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas in its original release, on a day which turned out to be (in the Pittsburgh area) that rarity, a white Halloween. Perfectly suited to the movie.

#398 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:21 PM:

I was going to go grocery shopping tonight, but I just got back from seeing Across the Universe and I'm so stunned I can't possibly do anything so mundane. Probably can't even write about it coherently, but I'll give it a shot.

This is another Julie Taymor film, and I'm a Taymor fan from way back when. It uses Beatles songs to take a story through the end of the the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s - sort of like what Twyla Tharp did with Billy Joel in "Movin' Out" on Broadway but, um, a lot better. Predictably (for Taymor), there's surrealism and puppetry - which work nicely with all the drugs - mixed in with the underlying love story of Jude and Lucy, and it hits all the late 60s cultural points like a history lesson come to life as they and their friends get swept up in the music and drugs scene in the Village, the draft, the war, the protests, and so on.

I'm young enough that I don't have my own memories of this, but aware enough for the movie to create a sense of recognition - riots in Detroit, Bono as a Merry Prankster in a psychedelic school bus, the assassination of Martin Luther King, students occupying buildings at Columbia, helicopters and ambushes in the marshy jungles (I think they digitally enhanced the whites of one soldier-character's eyes the better to radiate terror), shootings at Kent State, the "SDR" which is obviously the SDS - and to feel like a series of punches to the emotional gut. I saw it with my mother, who is old enough to have missed that whole scene (already married and raising me) but who was practically jumping out of her seat every time Taymor threw another memory-punch.

I'm not sure whether to recommend this to Beatles fans or not - either you'll admire how Taymor knit the songs and story together or you'll hate it. I suspect I will never be able to think of "Strawberry Fields" any other way again. And it would probably carry even more punch for someone more familiar with some of the music; I knew the obvious ones but quite a few were completely unfamiliar. Eddie Izzard as Mr. Kite? Fabulous surrealistic drug-trip-giant-puppet-circus-hallucination scene, but the song rang no bells for me.

And, of course, as we were walking out of the theater my mother and I turned to each other and said "it's like Iraq!" except that the protesting hasn't reached the same fever pitch (was that only inspired by the draft?) I was crying at several points, partly because of the familiar anger and frustration of the students as they kept protesting and protesting and the war still went on and on.

More people should go see this movie.

#399 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:30 PM:

The Dirt Cheap Book Sale has been extended through November 7!

#400 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:14 PM:

Apropos of go bags, since that thread was shut down...

Just had a moderate earthquake in the SF Bay Area, significant shaking for about 20-30 seconds, probably a nearby mag 5

In my place, some minor items fell off bookcases, but that's it. But I've been lax in my disaster preparedness. If anything, this earthquake had better get me off my lazy ass to get a go bag and some stockpiles ready.

Hope everyone else in the Bay Area is OK.

#401 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:18 PM:

Melissa @361: I agree that Halloween has become very sexualized (it was hard to find a costume for dd that wasn't revealing or stereotyped in some way)

Sexualized for girls, anyway. I'm really glad my daughter's too young for this garbage. Newsweek ran an article on costumes for girls, in which they pointed out that a lot of them are just scaled-down versions of adult sexual-fantasy wear.

Boys, on the other hand, can be fully-dressed doctors, astronauts, etc. (And anything violent you can think of, of course -- it's not a total win for boys either.)

#402 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:23 PM:

My phrase of the day is "architectural endoscopy".

Oh, and the 300-American Revolution mashup is back.

#403 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:30 PM:

USGS is reporting it as a 5.6; nothing fell off anything here, but there was certainly extended shimmying and crackling while the cats scurried around looking frantic.

I need to assemble a go-bag too :b though my flashlight will probably be a little PhotonLight LED of some color or other-- I have a red one attached to my keys (preserves night vision) and a borderline UV/violet one attached to my purse zipper (helps verify uranium glass while shopping).

#404 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:54 PM:

I'm thinking time to open up that go bag thread again-- quite certain that it'll stay much more on the topic of go bags.

I was in San Jose- the quake started with a bang, and felt very jagged and sharp (vs rolling).

Usually quakes in the 4-5 range start off ambiguous: "What's that noise- is someone walking on the roof?" or "Odd, I'm swaying- am I dizzy?... Oh, must be a quake." Nothing ambiguous about this one.

#405 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Up here in Oakland/Lake Merritt, the 5.6 was pretty fun. I got enough time to look around and see which of my bookcases were tapping against the walls, and picture in my head the post-big-one landscape of my room (mostly ok, probably ought to move the fire extinguisher away from the shelf that will collapse). Only sad bit is that it wasn't the Hayward fault... I'm always rooting for that one to blow off a little bit of steam, instead of just exploding. Interesting bit was that I had just read the last Macdonald comment on the gobag thread when the quake started.

#406 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Kathryn and Madeline - glad to hear you're ok. If anything will bring the thread back on topic, a wee quake will do the job.

#407 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:56 AM:

Jen @401 and Melissa @361,

Last month I blogged a visit to a Halloween store. Can you spot the difference between women's costumes and men's (or plus-sized women's*) costumes? The cultural assumptions of that store were squicky**.

If I can find some hexagonal corrugated cardboard then my partner and I will go as Colony Collapse Disorder, because that's scary.

* Not that the physical store had plus-sized costumes.

** and as I blogged, the squick wasn't about visible skin per se. I'd just gotten back from burning man- everything and anything, and therefore nothing, is a costume. But those store costumes? ick.

#408 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:52 AM:

As far as I can tell, the earthquake hit right after I got onto a bus, so I missed it entirely. (My dad was in a car on the freeway and didn't notice Loma Prieta when it hit.)

#409 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:45 AM:

Owlmirror @362: here, of course, is where I first saw that T-shirt.

#410 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Kathryn @ 404... I was at a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley with a friend when the quake quaked. For some reason, I never felt it, but my friend did, and she told me she thought it was me shaking the table until she noticed that other people were also reacting to something unusual. (No, I don't make it a habit of hitting table legs, and no esprit frappeur hangs out with me. Not even a poultrygeist.)

#411 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 08:55 AM:

I work mostly with political theorists and economists. This means that almost every single person I know who will get the joke of my latest craft project is here, at Making Light.

And it's been making me giggle madly while my colleagues stare blankly, so I feel compelled to share.

The Metonymy Bag

#412 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 09:48 AM:

Sarah S #411: As a sometime political theorist (or, at any rate, a teacher of political theory), I have to say that I snickered.

#413 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Fragano #412

I am entirely unsurprised that political theorists who hang out *here* would get the joke! *grin*

#414 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Sarah S @ 411


As a onetime professional ontological engineer, I love it. And there are so very many follow-on lines.

That which contains me does not let me sag.
Professor's got a brand new bag.
Does this bag contain itself, Professor Russel?
Well-contained you are - Yoda

#415 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:09 AM:

Oh, Xopher, I'm an idiot.

#416 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Susan @ 398

Thanks for the recommendation of "Across the Universe". I had high hopes of it based on Taymor's name and one bit of a trailer I saw, but then I started hearing negative comments that troubled me no matter how hard I ignored them. It's nice to know someone who sees things in somewhat the same way I do* thought well of it.

With luck I'll get to see it in the next week, though preparations for my son's wedding seem to be taking over everything just now.

* I can tell by the way you describe the movie and the fact that you know and like Taymor's work. And of course there are puppets!

#417 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:45 AM:

Across The Universe

I had been thinking of seeing it, and posted about it here a few weeks ago, not being sure if Ishould take a look. I guess I'll go see it unless it's already disappeared, to be replaced by the latest Adam Sandler opus.

About the reaction to its music... I was too much of a square teenager in the 1960s to appreciate the music of the era when the era was actually going on, but I went to college in 1973, and eventually caught up with the music. It helped that my first-ever friend was a drummer, who introduced me to the likes of Gentle Giant and King Crimson. (Hearing "In the Court of the Crimson King" early in the movie Children of Men resonated very strongly for me.)

#418 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 12:14 PM:

I was disappointed in some aspects of Across the Universe, but many of them were probably effects of the Invisible Hand of studio interference. The "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" sequence was incredible.

#419 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Sarah S:

It's a perfectly lovely Container for the Thing Contained! (Do you perchance also have a Thing Contained for the Container?)

#420 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 01:07 PM:

If I may ask a technical question from LiveJournal users...

There's something strange going on with one of my picture galleries. The thumbnail version of one photo shows a blank spot. If I click on that blank spot though, I am correctly taken to the full-sized photo. Do you know how to fix this? Another photo had the same problem and I wound up deleting it before reloading the whole thing, but I'm curious to know if there's another way, especially since the deleting/reloading takes the photo away from its current position within a gallery. There may be a way to set the order in which photos are displayed, but I haven't figured it out.

#421 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 01:12 PM:

Faren @356 Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater - with luck this link will work later for those wishing to experience Tom Stromme's Bismarkian cucurbit devouring its young.
(At the moment the top pic from the front page is a glorious image of Alicia Alonso, "Cuba's prima ballerina assoluta".)

#422 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Sarah S. #413: :)

#423 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Bruce, what the heck does an ontological engineer do?

Sarah, I really like it. I'm afraid my first inclination might have been a too-cutesy "Oh, Bag It!"

#424 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Clifton Royston

Not labelled as such, but now that you mention it, I feel I must acquire one and label it forthwith!

#425 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Obviously, the inside of the Container for the Thing Contained should be labeled as the Thing Contained by the Container. For does not the Container always Contain Itself?

Something I've recently seen: "I'm skeptical of skeptics of skepticism, but only because, as another strange loop, I'm fond of the infinite regress." (posted by one Ken Cope)

#426 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Re the earthquake last night: I felt a tiny, barely perceptible jolt in my house in San Pablo. Since I live more or less on top of the Hayward Fault, I stood up, waited for the rest of it which did not happen, said, "Okay, not the Hayward Fault" to my dog, and returned to reading space opera. (Komarr, if you must know. Popcorn. Tasty popcorn.)

#427 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:47 PM:

Lizzy 426: Komarr is lovely. (Don't you wish we could give THEM our greenhouse gas? Imagine living on Komarr and having it be your patriotic duty to emit as much carbon as possible. "If you haven't eaten cabbage or beans in the last seven days, you're just not doing your part!")

Seriously, I'm glad it wasn't the Hayward Fault.

#428 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Susan, #367: At the time I started my annual Chocolate Decadence party, I wasn't single, but I was really tired of Valentine's Day being nothing but hearts-and-flowers. So I created an alternative party based around the joy of chocolate, open to anyone.* Twenty years later it's still going strong, although schedule problems have pushed it into late March or early April -- February tends to be Hell Month for us, and will only be more so if I'm ever flush enough to start attending the Tucson gem show!

* In deference to people who don't like or can't eat chocolate, we also have fruit goodies, plus an assortment of salty snacks to cleanse the palate between bouts of chocolate.

Xopher, #369: My favorite Christmas movie is Lord of the Rings. Thank you Peter Jackson, for giving me something I associate with the holiday season that doesn't make me want to hurl!

Jen, #401: I had occasion to go into the local Halloween Superstore recently, and (having heard variations on your plaint several times) I spent some time while I was there looking at the girls' and women's costumes. I am pleased to report that there was quite a wide range of selections for both, not all of which were of the sexual-fantasy type. In some cases there were multiple versions of a character, one sexualized, the other not. But if I'd been looking for a costume for myself, or my partner's daughter, and not wanting one that made the wearer look like a hooker, I'd have had at least as many different options as the other kind.

#429 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Xopher @ 427... I'm glad it wasn't the Hayward Fault.

Hayward: "It's not my fault!"

Or as Lex Luthor said in 1978's Superman before dropping a nuclear bomb on California and after giving Our Hero a kryptonite necklace: "We all have our faults. Mine is in California."

#430 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Serge @410,

Your friend's experience has been my experience of most small to moderate quakes- you know something is wrong, but you can't immediately tell what. My internal dialog is something like: "Huh? Odd. Hmmm. Oh. quake."

Last night: "Quake! F**k!" The combination of being close to it (10 miles) and on mud not bedrock makes it worse.

It was a good quake, all considering- large and jagged enough to scare folks into updating their earthquake kits. I've spent part of the morning helping my family with kit and go-bag design.

If you play with the ABAG hypothetical earthquake shake map, a 6.8 quake on Calaveras causes only moderate shaking in most of Berkeley, with stronger shaking only right by the Bay (flat and (ancient and dried) mud). In contrast, a 6.9 on the Hayward would cause violent shaking throughout Berkeley.

#431 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:10 PM:

I think another reason I like Halloween is that it is one of the few holidays I celebrate that feels (well, is) part of mainstream American culture.

For once, I get to be part of the majority. And when you seem to spend your whole life swimming upstream, it's nice to fit in once in a while.

#432 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:13 PM:

In contrast, a 6.9 on the Hayward would cause violent shaking throughout Berkeley.

And my house would fall down. Probably.

Thanks, Xopher.

#433 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Linkmeister @ 423

An ontological engineer designs ontologies of software objects. The object of the exercise* is to design an ontology which is complete, consistent, and useful for the application the software is to implement. An ontology can be used as a framework or high-level design with which to implement a software program.

Software objects are modular pieces of software that have attributes and actions that can be performed on them. Objects can be related by inheriting attributes and/or actions from each other, or by other relations like containment, association, ownership, etc. Often an ontology will be designed as a general solution, that can be implemented for specific requirements by specializing some of the objects, i.e., creating new objects that inherit from the old ones and change the attributes or actions to match the requirements.

Software ontologies often model real-world systems of objects. For instance, if I'm building a set of programs to automate processes in a business, part of the job of designing an ontology is finding a useful mapping between the parts of the process and the objects. I might need to model the roles of the people who take part in the process ("Responsible Manager", "Analyst", "Dispatcher"), the documents that are created and transferred as part of the process, and the state a document may be in ("Drafted", "Approved", "Pending Input").

Have I made it clear?

* Decartes made me do it.

#434 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Kathryn @ 430... Remember the quake in July? Was that one stronger? I did feel it, but it was very early in the Bay's suburbia, with only the sound of my keyboard, not in the evening in a Berkeley restaurant.

#435 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Xopher @386:
Am I the only one who actually types <v> when I'm going to ROT13 something?

Yep. The rest of us type <rz>.

#436 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 433...

Ontologies? Haven't Our Hosts published a few of those?
"(Ontologies. Not anthologies.")
Humph. Personally I think ontologies would be an excellent subject for an anthology.

#437 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Lizzy @432,

We recently had our 1914 Edwardian retrofitted (one with a 'soft story' ground floor- the type that most needs a retrofit).

If applicable, I'd be happy to talk / email about our experiences in getting that done for a reasonable cost.

And anyways, houses are very unlikely to fall down. Get badly damaged? Possibly. If you have a place to Drop, Cover, and Hold On, so that you're protected from flying objects (and you don't try to walk, even to an internal doorway- that's outdated), then you've eliminated the single largest cause of earthquake injuries.

(Also, if you read anything or get a much-fwd'd email about a 'triangle of life'? That's a crock of dangerous and flat-out wrong advice. Even the theory behind it is inapplicable to countries with earthquake codes, and in practice his claims are just wrong.)

#438 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Lee @428: I'm glad to hear that. I admit, I've only been looking online (and all the online shops seem to have the exact same costumes) and not in person.

#439 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Serge #434:

Are you trying to say that every time you go to the Bay Area, there's a quake?

#440 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:59 PM:

BTW, if I may have a proud parent moment, here's my little girl in her very nice costume.

#441 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Bruce @ #433, that's going to take a little while to digest. Thanks.

Jen @ #440, she's already got that "no, no, don't take a picture of me now" look down pat.

#442 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:09 PM:

joann @ 439... I was wondering how long it'd take before someone noticed that. It's even worse. Remember the Big One of 1989? The only reason I wasn't in SF when that day is that I had spent the whole night at the office working on a Big Project. With the same friend I was having dinner with last night.

#443 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:12 PM:

She gets that look from her mommy.

#444 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Actually it looks more like "What is that crazy grownup doing to me now?"

She's cute as a bug, Jen.

#445 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Greg re bread: Get a book. The non-wheat flours are gluten deficient. Get some “bread flour” (King Arthur is widely available), as it has more protein than “all-purpose”, which varies by region of the country).

More yeast isn’t going to do it and buy it in bulk (Red Star is quite good). Get a small jar, and put it in the fridge, put the rest in a sealed container in the freezer. Pure Gluten is easy to find, I add about a tbsp to a loaf.

On food and cooking, 2nd edition is out of print? Yikes. I’m glad I bought it when I did, but that’s amazing (given how long the 1st edition was in print).

Try Cookwise (it has lots of other useful stuff), it’s a troubleshooting manual on lots of food issues.

For bread basics, I’d recommend The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.

Joann: Dry them. Easy way, in a low oven for a couple of hours. Other way, tie them up with string, and leave them in a shaded nook of the kitchen (for serrano, the former is the more reliable). Then grind them as need. Otherwise, soak them in vinegar.

rikibeth: Any tips (other than the steam bath I fake with a dedicated piece of cast iron, and the high start heat) for getting better crust on my loaves in my home oven?

Re Earthquakes: I was watching something on TV the other day, about differences in geology and apparent effect of earthquakes, as well as cultural response. Apparently a 3.0 is a big deal in New York but (said in a German accent, as the seismologist was german), “In Los Angeles they just say, Oh, an earthqvake, and go back to drinking their coffee.”

#446 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:48 PM:

Terry at 445, unless you're right on top of it, you rarely feel a 3 point quake. 5 point, you notice. (Of course, maybe that's just me...)

#447 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:50 PM:

OK, earthquake stories:

We were a little bit more than five miles SW of the epicenter of the Nisqually quake, but it took my son and I a bit of time to recognize what was happening, because there had been concrete pumping going on across the road for weeks beforehand. There was a pause before I said "Oh, it's an earthquake" and then a longer pause before I said, "It's a big (6.8) earthquake."

The stupidest reaction I've witnessed to an earthquake of any size was in 1981, when the Goat Rocks quake rolled through at 5.1 or so and my upstairs neighbors ran out onto a slippery steel fire-escape over a thirty foot drop.

I sort of like 5.0-5.7 quakes in my neighborhood, they're rarely dangerous and yet big enough to make you feel you've been through something (if I lived on wet clay, I'd probably have a different opinion). My husband is less comfortable with the idea, but he was in the Silmar quake in '71, and hadn't been living in LA long enough to aclimate.

#448 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 05:00 PM:

Terry @ 445

Richter 3: You mean people notice it here? It's pretty much below my threshold.

On Food and Cooking: Amazon has it in stock. (Having just had a potluck lunch, I've had more than enough food for today ....)

#449 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 05:09 PM:

Apropos of nothing, I seem to be in picking over the past mode. I just went back to my old community and stumbled on a debate about their future. As an ex-member, I thought I had a few useful comments, so I made them.

I was also hugely amused to discover that one of my pieces has become the de-facto standard of behavior in the community. Wish they'd taken to it earlier; I might have stayed.

But hanging out there, thinking about the way I felt when I left (best expressed by Philip Larkin in No Road), I felt a sonnet coming.

Since we declared the road betwen us closed
And let the gates be covered by the vine
That grows between the trees, and seems to twine
Around the very sunbeams, I supposed
You went on very well without me here.
I'd come through once before, and found the place
So little changed, the well-remembered space
As painful as before, and still as dear.
Today, the vines are withered in the frost,
The wall-stones slick and chilly on my hands
As, pausing at the top, I see it stands
Unchanged outside, but all its comfort lost.
And then I slide back down, for now I know
The road remains, but there's nowhere to go.

#450 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 05:27 PM:

#440 - What a beautiful baby, and a sweet costume!
#449 - Beautiful, abi, as usual.

#451 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Jen Roth @ 440

Really a cute kid. I want my grandkids to look like that (it's far too late for my kids).

#453 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:26 PM:

abi 449: That's heartbreakingly beautiful.

#454 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:48 PM:

Terry #445: (re my serranos) Dry them.


Everybody: I'm thinking of using some to make corn muffins, which would probably go great w/ pork chops later this week. Anybody suggest a good light, fluffy, sweet-ish recipe? (I've got original NYT, new NYT, Heritage NYT, Beard American, Fannie Farmer, and a 1975 JOC, but no clue as to how to sight-read the recipes for fluffy and sweet.)

#455 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:55 PM:

I don't know about sweetish, but I love these cheese muffins so much I made them for my guests on my wedding day. The recipe doesn't make many (12 pretty small ones) so I usually double it and I always increase the cheese to nearly a cup (even if I don't double the recipe). They are very soft and light and delicious, and I've considered adding corn to them myself, so maybe they would work for you?

#456 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Abi @ 449... Thanks. And welcome back.

#457 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:26 PM:

A few years ago someone came up with the Evil Genius level idea of getting users to fill in 'captchas' (i.e. - those boxes where you have to read the scrambled letters next to them and type them in to prove you're human) in return for access to porn sites, online crossword puzzles, or whatever it takes to get their attention. The twist was that the captchas being presented to the user were to have been taken from another site - perhaps the signup site for a GMail account - and the user was being used as the character recognition of a spamming program, or other piece of malicious software.

This idea - presented intially as a hypothetical quickly mutated (via BoingBoing I think) into stories that it was really happening, but as far as I know, it was just a hypothetical at that stage.

Now, it seems, it has become a reality. See:

#458 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:28 PM:

ema #455:

Those look really great! Printed out. I'll use them, all right, but not this week, as macaroni and cheese is on the menu tonight.

By "corn muffins," we US types don't generally mean "we've added corn kernels to this," but rather corn flour or meal. Cornbread in a muffin format.

For some reason, probably having to do with my mother being a rotten cook at that time (she's better now) we never made our own cornbread/muffins when I was a kid, except for a mix, so I've not got a family recipe.

#459 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Joann at #458

Ahhh! Sorry to be less helpful than I meant to be, but at least you'll have some nice cheese muffins.

I often want to try cornbread things, but am never sure what to use. Is the cornmeal sold for making polenta the same stuff used in cornbreads?

#460 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Greg @337:

Your poor little yeasts are starving. They need some sugar. (You *can* make bread without it, but it's harder.) Try about the same volume as the salt. Also, make sure the liquid ingredients are in an acceptable temperature range (from room temperature to a little over body temperature; too cold and the yeast will be dormant, too warm and you'll kill them).

#461 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 08:08 PM:

I will add to the admiration for Across the Universe. A very stellar work that resonates with many contemporary issues.

I saw it last week as an escapist treat after I was informed that I was being "impacted" by my company's latest round of layoffs. Worked pretty well, at least for a while!

[Job search leads and contacts in the Portland OR area appreciated.]

#462 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Lizzy, P.J.: I was quoting someone else. Me, I notice a 3, sort of. I sleep through 4s. I recall a time when everyone in the house (including my girlfriend) got up to talk about the 4.something.

They teased me in the morning for not noticing (we had a waterbed, I was more amused that I noticed neither her arising, nor coming back to bed).

When there was a 3.6 in Watsonville (I was in Monterey) I found out about it in the afternoon. My reaction, "there was an earthquake?" Everyone else (it was a barracks, and most people were from the mid-west) was, "WHAT! Didn't you feel it?!?!!!".

Me: A 3.6, in the middle of night, miles away? Are you nuts?

#463 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 08:23 PM:

abi #449: That blew me away.

#464 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 08:51 PM:

oliviacw @461

What kind of work are you looking for, and what areas are you willing to commute to?


#465 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Jen, #440, cute baby!

abi, #449, wonderful visuals

I've been in two quakes -- one when we were first transferred to the Seattle area (1963, JESR) and so I was trying school again and our class was in a portable. The teacher had us get out of the portable which was good because it fell off its supports. The second one was very tiny and here, where I live two blocks from our train yard and assumed it was bad train mating until I saw the news.

We usually have 15-20 trick-or-treaters here so I bought a variety box of full-size bars. We only had 12 tonight, and not one I was expecting, so I have 18 bars left. I don't know what to do with most of them. I'm not that fond of chocolate.

#466 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 11:04 PM:


It was the seismologist's thought that anyone in LA would even notice a 3!

#467 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Well, the saga of the bread continues.

The previous, rubber pencil eraser loaf was:

(following numbers in grams)
300 whole wheat flour
100 oat flour
100 barley flour
175 water
175 whole milk
9 salt
9 dry yeast

Tonight, I added 50 grams of pure gluten.

The loaf came out like the dense-but-edible loafs I had gotten with just pure whole wheat flour, but the top of the crust, about half an inch, was the think pencil eraser stuff.

It smelled way too good, so I et it. Tasted pretty good. Will see how good it is in the morning when it's smell isn't wafting through the house.

I think I'm close. a couple of people recommended sugar. same amount as the yeast it sounds. So, I'll add 9 grams of sugar on the next loaf and see how that goes.

(depending on if tonights loaf is edible in the morning, the next loaf may be tomorrow night, or in several days.)

Also, when I add the milk, it's right out of the fridge, so maybe that's too cold? If so, I seriously underestimated bread.

I can't seem to get the big air bubbles sort of bread, though. I might just have to buy some white bread flour and see how that cooks up.

And I bought the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. It was the cheapest of the books recommended. will have to see what it says about whole grain bread recipes.

#468 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Steve@457: A few years ago someone came up with the Evil Genius level idea ...

That's the "man in the middle" attack.

Bruce Schneier explained it in his "Applied Cryptography" book many years ago. His example was with credit cards, but same concept.

#469 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Greg -- big bubbles, well distributed, is a delicate balance. You need a well developed gluten structure to contain the active fermentation, a soft enough dough to be flexible enough to rise a lot, and careful handling to get it into a hot oven and steamed to get a good oven rise. It's hard with freeform loaves (what I do) but may be easier with a bread machine due to the containment.

My suggestions/Info dump:

Oat and barley are low in gluten, and are working against you at this point.

Sugar does help wheat breads, for flavor at least. There's a reason that honey wheat is a common version.

Bread flours are normally in the 13% protein range, AP in the 12, and Whole wheat probably around 11% or so. So your 300g of flour is probably going to have on the order of 33-39 grams of gluten -- your 50 may be a bit high. You may also want to make sure that the gluten is well hydrated before you add it to the mixture, since the kneading operation that happens before it's hydrated really doesn't help much. Also, salt tightens up the gluten, making kneading less effective.

I'd try this:

Mix 1/2 the flour, extra gluten, all the liquid + yeast and sugar enough to make a glopy mess. It's more batter than dough at this point. This should be doable by hand in the bread machine. Let this sit for 20 minutes. That should hydrate the protein in that portion of the flour, and give the yeast a chance to start on the starches in the four. Add the rest of the flour and start the bread machine cycle. If you can add salt near the end of the kneading cycle, do that, if not, add it with the second half of the flour.

#470 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:57 AM:

One major piece of damage from yesterday's San Jose earthquake wasn't known until today. Two hundred thousand books fell down (warning- sad pictures of scattered books on floors) from the shelves in the downtown library. The top stories got some good sway going during the quake, like "a palm tree swaying in a tropical breeze." (This fairly new 8-story library combines San Jose State University's library with the main branch of the City of San Jose's library.)

I'm now thinking of running strips of grip-liner (a 1mm thick shelf-liner) along the front edges of my bookshelves. I've used it to keep kitchen items from slipping on RV shelves- if it can keep plates and glasses in place at 65mph, it ought to help keep a few more books shelved in case of quake. Or would the uneven surface cause damage to a book's edge?

#471 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 05:21 AM:

metacomment: I tried posting here 2 hours ago, right at the time when ML commenting seemed to have a freeze.

That comment took about an hour to appear on the "Recent comments" sidebar and in my "View all by," but not here in OT94 itself. That one should be #470, and this metacomment #471.

#472 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Kathryn @ 470... Wouldn't the strips make the shelves look like prison cells? True, finding oneself thinking "Book 'em!" sure beats the damage the books would suffer from being tossed on the ground.

#473 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:50 AM:

In late 1999, my then-boyfriend and I went to San Diego to look for an apartment for our move to the area. We stayed two nights in a hotel. The first morning when we went down to the comp breakfast, everyone was talking about having been woken by the largish quake (7.1) that had hit out in Joshua Tree (~50 miles from SD) in the wee smalls. We'd slept right through it.

That's the only large quake I know happened while I lived in southern California, though I'm sure there were any number of small ones; I was there for a year and a half, after all.

#474 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:11 AM:

433: and if Bruce were concerned with researching older ontologies, in order to make new software compatible with them, he'd be a palaeontologist.

#475 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:29 AM:

Following a long illness, swordmaster extraordinaire Hank Reinhardt passed away on October 30th at about 11:15am. A recent photo of Hank with his wife, Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf Reinhardt, is here:

Longer obits and more information floating around.

#476 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Epacris (#421): Thanks for finding a direct link to the "cannibal pumpkin" photo.

And I'll join in the praise for Jen's photo and abi's sonnet! (Jen, I expect that your adorable kid will be mortified when faced with that photo in 10 or 12 years, but quite proud of it eventually.)

Serge, do you think your friend could be to blame for the seismic action? My uncle from the South Bay told me he was *very* glad he'd decided to move some bottles of wine off a marble table top not long before the quake hit.

#477 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:58 AM:

Bungee cords an inch or so above shelf level, along the front edge of the shelf?

I've used metal shelving, with the shelves installed upside down. (This is an old technique for storing canned foods: the jars will stay on the shelf.)

#478 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:00 AM:

Faren... My friend can't be blamed, because she lives in the Bay Aea and noticeable quakes aren't a daily event although our being together may have been too much. As joann pointed out, bad things seem to happen when I set foot in California. For example, remember the nearly non-stop rain that went on for the first few months of 2006? That began the very morning after I crossed the border into California, just before Christmas of 2005. As far as I know, I don't have the power to affect Reality.

#479 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Serge (478):
You most certainly do have the ability to affect reality.

Just not anywhere close to that degree.

#480 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:35 AM:

John Houghton... How would I know?

"What did you tell me to dream?"
"I told you to dream the aliens off the Moon."
"They're off the Moon all right. They're here."

#481 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:03 PM:

ema #459: I often want to try cornbread things, but am never sure what to use. Is the cornmeal sold for making polenta the same stuff used in cornbreads?

Yes. The polenta stuff is coarse grind; other recipes can use that or something a bit finer. I've never been able to find the right stuff for making zaletti, which are Venetian cookies/cakes, sort of torpedo-shaped. I love them, my husband hates them, and the local Italian bakery doesn't make them right (IMO).

#482 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Greg: Warm the milk.

Thanks, btw, for sharing. One forgets how much one has internalised things. Bread seems much simpler, to me, than it is, and I think nothing of dashing off, a loaf, forgetting how many subtle things I am doing, unawares.

#483 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Kathryn #470:

About grip-liner: it's useful, but there are times it can be too sticky. We have it on an upper kitchen shelf that I can just reach stuff in, and I blame it for the demise of a champagne glass. On an ordinary shelf, touching a glass at the bottom with another glass will cause it to scoot slightly; on a lined shelf, the same glass will overbalance and fall down.

It's compressible; as long as you've not got collector's editions for which totally pristine condition is the whole game, it's probably not a problem for the edges of the books.

Personally, I'd be more inclined to just tack up strips of moulding.

When we lived in Palo Alto, we had a number of bookshelves, all of which were affixed to the walls at the top by means of L-brackets. We missed Loma Prieta by just about a year, so heaven knows what would have happened under extreme conditions, but no books went astray during several years involving the odd 6.4 (admittedly some distance away) and less.

#484 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:22 PM:

I seem to remember that the sourdough whole-wheat bread I made a lot called for either 1/3 or 1/2 cup of molasses and 1/4 or 1/3 cup of butter/margarine (in other words, about 1/3 more sweetener than shortening), but being molasses, it would also mean that less other liquid (milk or water) would be added. (It's usually molasses or brown sugar with whole-grain breads.)

#485 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Terry #462:

The main criterion for being woken up by a night quake was, for me, did the windows rattle? You probably had to be in a old house for this to happen, but it was fairly effective. It was also hard to miss all the car alarms going off, or all the people out in bathrobes turning them off. (5.something in Livermore, about 30-35 miles away)

I can recommend a bathtub full of water as being a fairly delicate quake detector; it was good for sensing a 4.7 150 miles away when I was in a 4th-floor apartment in Venice. The water suddenly went slosh-slosh, several inches high, when I'd been lying perfectly still. It didn't seem quite like the usual morning episode where my downstairs neighbor ran her wash; for one thing, there was no accompanying noise. Later that day, people started sending me news reports of a quake. (I must say, when you're in the tub 4 floors up in a 500-year-old-building, your first thought is "but I *can't* get outside!")

#486 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Greg London, it's also possible that your milk had sufficient live bacteria to kill the yeast. I grew up using raw milk (from a cow I milked myself, how quaint) and so my breadmaking technique includes scalding any milk I use- this means to heat over medium until a "skin" starts to form and then cooling to no hotter than 120F before adding to the flour.

The thick hard crust can also be due to insufficient kneading, which comes back to bread machine problems. Gluten develops- polymerizes- through proper kneading, and can either not happen if the dough isn't worked enough or, strangely enough, if it's worked too much especially in the presence of fats. Which, again, not a bread machine person, but I'm guessing that the kneading cycle of your machine is not long enough for the gluten to be fully extracted from the whole wheat flower and stretched into the nice elastic network of tangled protein chains that makes bread light.

#487 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:48 PM:

I am foolishly charmed at getting email from my Senator/Presidential candidate Chris Dodd that starts out with "Hey," and is signed "Chris". I don't quite picture Senator Dodd as either a guy I'm on a first-name basis with or a guy who'd say "hey". Makes me wonder if he has a 22-year-old staffer writing these things for him!

I will write him another defend-the-Constitution fan letter and maybe send money this time.

#488 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:54 PM:

Susan... Is there any chance that Joe Lieberman will be kicked out by the state's voters next time around?

#489 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Serge: I'd say yes, but that's five years away.

Greg: I'd not worry about the milk, unless you are buying raw milk.

#490 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Terry Karney, Acidophilus milks also need to be scalded, as do some of the "enhanced" skim milks. This is stuff I've actually studied, or at least helped my Mom study when she was getting certified to judge 4-H bread baking and food prep competitions.

#491 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Terry Karney @ 489... Five years. Sigh. Mind you, if, next year, Democrats keep all the Senate seats they currently hold and if they gain at least one more, then they could tell Joe to go do you-know-what to himself.

#492 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:22 PM:

The Democrats are almost certain to increase their Senate majority next year, since the Republicans have to defend 22 seats and the Democrats only have to defend 12.

I don't think they *will* tell Joe where he can go, but it's a pleasant thought.

#493 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Washoe, the signing chimp, is dead.

#494 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Jon 493: That's sad. On the other hand, she lived into her 40s, which I believe is a ripe old age for a chimpanzee.

#495 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD): Cause found?

Just got back from a work review & my brain still hurts. Was told of a recent paper in SCIENCE that's also available from as a 330k pdf.

The article is on a metagenomic survey of hives, i.e identifying all the organisms they could detect by RNA sequence, not just bees. They found the presence of a pathogen, Israeli acute paralysis virus, was strongly correlated with hives that experienced CCD.

#496 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Soon Lee @ 495

I saw the summary in Science News a few weeks ago. It's apparently a common disease in Australia, and the areas of the US with the worst problems were getting imported queen bees.

#497 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:19 PM:

PJ @496:
AFAIK, it's not a problem in New Zealand but we have *a lot* of horticultural crops. Australia is too close...

Greg et al. on the bread:
I'm not a baker but I do work with yeast. It's a living thing - needs to be treated with appropriate care. Dried yeast, depending on storage conditions can go off over time. If you're not getting fluffy bread, the yeast may also be a cause.

Try proofing your yeast (as suggested by Carrie @342), not to add to the bread machine but to see if the yeast is still alive. If the yeast is starting to go off, you might want to add more to the recipe. But better to buy more yeast.

Winemakers buy in fresh lots of dried wine yeasts every year & they never use last year's yeast no-matter how well stored. If you only get one chance a year to get the wine right, it's just not worth the risk.

BTW, anyone here ever try using wine yeast for breadmaking?

#498 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:25 PM:

Susan @ #487, I'm as far removed from Connecticut as you can physically get and remain in the United States, but I got the same e-mail. I was a little suspicious because of that "hey" greeting, but does take you to an official-looking site.

I'm also somehow on Bill Richardson's list.

#499 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 05:53 PM:

joann, #481:

Thankyou! I'll try making some cornbread soon, I think. Do you have a tried and true recipe I could try?

I looked up a recipe for zaletti (mmm, looks good): do you want very fine cornmeal for them? Because the recipe I saw suggests quick cooking polenta as a substitute - or does that change it altogether, and no point unless you can get fine?

#500 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 07:24 PM:

ema #499:

My original request for light fluffy corn muffins (or cornbread) because although I've got a ton of recipes, I don't have any heuristic for how they mught turn out--nor have I tried any of them for that reason. Aside from more baking powder = lighter (I assume) I don't know the rules for that particular game.

All the zaletti I've made, including with polenta-grade meal, have been as heavy as the torpedoes they resemble. Unlike a couple of bakeries in the Lista di Spagna near the railway station ...

I'm beginning to think that corn and I are a doomed pairing. Or maybe they have different meal in Venice.

#501 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Joann, 500

The base rules for muffins of all kinds being quickbreads are:
1)mix dry ingredients in one bowl sifted.
2)mix wet ingredients in second bowl.
3)if your fat is solid cut it into the dry.
4)well the center of dry ingredients
5)combine wet into dry rapidly and mix quickly and lightly till just combined.
Muffins get tough and heavy if you over mix. They are poofed by both the baking powder and steam.

#502 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 08:25 PM:

JESR: I forgot about acidophilous. I didn't know about "enhanced" milks

#503 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:49 PM:

Terry @ 445, if you're using a steam bath and a high start (after which you moderate, right? falling oven, to replicate the action of a brick one where you build the fire inside and then sweep it out?), then I assume you're trying for a crisp crust.

let's see. Are you baking in pans? Freeform loaves will get better crusts, the pans shield them.

Do not use washes except for water on loaves you want crisp-crusted. The fat in egg, milk, and butter/oil washes will soften the gluten. Water toughens it. Egg white gives shiny, shattery crispness, but more from the egg white itself -- the bread under doesn't get much crisper.

Are you using a pizza stone or quarry tiles in your oven? That, again, contributes to the falling-oven effect, and, combined with steam, can enhance the results you want.

Other than that... dunno. Your steam bath goes in when you pre-heat, right? If you put it in at the same time as your bread, you'd be sacrificing some initial heat to the water, I guess, but if it's in when you pre-heat, then you're doing everything right.

#504 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:00 PM:

Greg @467, you should be scalding the milk.

Even in pasteurized milk, there's a thing(oh, lord, I am forgetting my schoolwork!) that inhibits gluten formation if you don't scald the milk. Not an enzyme. I think it's that you need to denature the milk proteins? Anyway, you can get away with using cold milk in a white bread recipe because the flour has plenty of gluten already, but you are using a recipe that's low in it, and even with your added gluten, you want to give your bread every advantage.

We did this in lab work in school and the scalded-milk bread was absolutely better. It was even superior to the bread where the milk was heated to yeast-proofing temperature first (95-110F depending on your yeast) but not scalded (heated to just-below boiling, say 205, you want bubbles but not foaming up) and then cooled to yeast-proofing temp.

Scald your milk and see what happens.

#505 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Soon Lee: I've not used wine yeast, but I have taken live bottled beer, and salvaged the yeast; fed it up and used it to make bread.

It was a little flat, but tasty, and with a nicely structured crust.

#506 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:08 PM:

Terry, one local brewpub makes the sourdough starter for its pizza dough from the ale barm.

DELICIOUS pizza dough.

#507 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:26 PM:


Stone, falling oven, freeforn loaves.

Cast Iron skillet on the floor of the oven, starting heat about 500F.

Warm water into the pan as the bread enters.

thermostat dropped 5-10 minutes in.

I get decent loaves (no complaints) but I want a thicker crust, more tooth to it.

I think I need a more "Pro" oven. Higher heat options, and a steam injector.

I think I also need to get some diastatic malt.

#508 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Terry @505:
Interesting. I've tried bread made with wine yeast & it was quite nice, more fruity than bread made with normal yeast. I've noticed that when grown on agar plates, wine yeasts smell fruity; baking yeast on agar plates smell yeasty.

I've heard that some wineries have a vintage tradition of making their bread with wine yeast during the harvest period. Hence my interest is other folk's experiences.

#509 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:50 AM:

Completely different topic: this article describes "a vast and bizarre vanity press".

On bread: I had been on a bread-making kick in college. Once a week I would stay up overnight to work on school projects, but start by making bread dough in the shared kitchen (working overnight meant no one was in my way, nor was I in anyone else's). Get some dough going, kneed it, and then go work on the current project while the bread sat for an hour or so. Come back, kneed it some more, get back to work and let the dough sit for another hour or so. Come back, put the dough in pans, start the baking (and go back to work). By the time everyone else was waking up, fresh bread.

I'd have to hunt to find the recipe I had been using, but after the first batches I tended to improvise. Powdered milk, brown sugar, eggs and wheat germ (along with flour and yeast) were part of the mix.

#510 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:56 AM:

Dang, I wished I had known this earlier today.

It appears that Mythbusters were filming about three miles from my house today, and it hasn't been the first time. I had the day off and could have gone out to the lake and watched -- tomorrow I have to be at work in Fresno.

#511 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:30 AM:

Conversely, I've sometimes made ginger beer with bread yeast, which dies off at a fairly low alcohol concentration so that the result is essentially nonalcoholic but has an excellent long-lasting head of foam, as well as however much of a ginger kick you choose to put in. There are various recipes in Homemade Root Beer, Soda, and Pop by Stephen Cresswell, which Amazon says is still in print.

#512 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:42 AM:

Julie L: Bread yeast is my yeast for ginger beer.

Lots of variation.

#513 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:45 AM:

I've made drinkable wines, using a bread yeast which originated in France, with an alcohol content of about 14%.

The trick lies in adding sugar and nutrient in gradual amounts over the course of the fermentation, and frequent monitoring with a hygrometer to make sure you don't put so much sugar that the wine turns into a sickly sweet mess.

#514 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:51 AM:

Arrgh. Hydrometer, not hygrometer.

#515 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 04:04 AM:

Terry @ 512: However, I've tried making ginger beer with wine yeast, which was a somewhat tragic failure. Bread yeast & brewers' yeast are the same species (Saccharomyces ceriviciae), while wine yeast is a different species (S. bayanus) with a totally different fermentation pattern.

#516 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Forwarded from Baen:

Hank Reinhardt's wake will be this Saturday, November 3, at 3:00 p.m. in Athens, GA.

Toni wanted to make sure those who are interested know about it.

The service will be at 3:00 p.m. at the following location:

Bernstein Funeral Home Inc
3195 Atlanta Hwy
Athens, GA30606

(706) 543-7373

Julie Wall's going to organize the speakers; .... able to bring in spears and shields to decorate it, and Hank will be able to hold a sword.

There will be a wake afterward, and Toni said we'll be catering it ourselves, so a covered dish or something to drink will be welcome.

Please let Julie know via email ( if you want to speak or you have any questions.

Finally, the University of Georgia has a home football game that day, so hotel rooms in Athens could be scarce.

#517 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 10:23 AM:

It's probably over-sharing, and it has nothing to do with bread, yeast, or any other item that's shown up on this open thread, but because of the Foglios, I now have the urge to build a dangerous fountain out of sausages.

Damn them.

#518 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 12:32 PM:

TW #501:

Thanks. Are there any particular ingredients or combinations of ingredients that give better results? (Like: buttermilk vs regular milk or other liquid, grind of cornmeal, additional white flour as in yeast bread, one fat vs another, laden swallow vs unladen?)

#519 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 12:34 PM:

re steam bath in bread oven: my foccaccia book (Carol Field) recommends using a spray bottle, just as bread is put in. Also to let the stones get a full half hour of preheat. I wonder if this carries over to loaves?

#520 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 12:40 PM:

fidelio @ 519... I now have the urge to build a dangerous fountain out of sausages.

And to turn tourists into monsters?

#521 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Serge @520--
I live in a tourist destination, and I'm not sure but what the tourists can get to monster status without my help. If you doubt me, then ask anyone in Nashville who's ever been held up while an RV driver tries to figure out how to navigate the Music Row area, especially the traffic circle.

#522 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:33 PM:

#511, 512, 515 - do you have any documentably 18thc or early 19thc recipes for ginger beer? My recipe-reconstructor has been experimenting with this for our events but so far hasn't produced any results she's willing to share.

#523 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:43 PM:

About 11:00 last night while listening to a story and just before getting to read Cyrano's from-the-moon scene (from the play) aloud to an appreciative audience (what does it mean that I keep getting cast as Cyrano in our readings?), I was messing with some translations from an 1830s German dance manual and suddenly realized that the dance I was working on was actually a bizarre conglomeration of figures I recognize from other dances that range from 16thc Italy (The Return of Dah Luv Chain!) to 17thc England to 19thc America, and that this is just astonishingly cool and might even become the basis of a paper.

(Not that anyone here except Power Twin, Sisuile, and Tracie is going to care, but trust me, it's REALLY cool.)

#524 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:43 PM:

@519: And I'm now reluctant to approach my coffeepot.

#525 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Jon #524:

fx: uncomprehending stare. ??

#526 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:07 PM:

fidelio @ 521... So, all you could do with the already monstrous tourists is to de-monstrate them? No demonizing?

#527 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:15 PM:


Have you checked the cookbaooks at the Gutenberg Project: Look under Library of Congress class: home economics (LX)? They have a nice assortment of genuinely 18th and 19th century cookbooks.
(Must go home and grab those of Sir Kenelm Digby and Mrs Beeton ....)

#528 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:28 PM:

It is a common trick w/ cornbread recipes to heat the pan in the oven before putting the batter in.

#529 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Joann 518,

With cooking you are making an equation of different chemistry traits of the ingredients. It's a matter of the type of end result you want. I don't mind dense so long as it is soft and cooked all the way through but some prefer foamy peaks that crumble and instant dissolve. There is a wide range for texture from bread to cake.

Milk is "heavier" than water. More fat content to the milk the denser the results but the flavour is better and even dense the extra fat makes the dough softer. But too much fat makes batter gooey paste; this would be why those horrid little fair style doughnuts are gross when they cool. The corn meal will try and soak up the water content in the batter. Finer corn meal is lighter but more surface area and soaks up more water. The more water the corn soaks up the more the starch in it wants to gel. Solid fats need good technique to distribute it evenly through the dough as the nodules of fat form little pockets in the batter. Butter is better for flavour but has traces of it's own water in it compared to lard or shortening.
Eggs are for binding things together in the absence of gluten chains, and trapping moisture but are temperature sensitive for cooking. Gluten chains are desired for bread but make anything else bricks; the more you work the batter the more gluten chains you get. Lower gluten flour can help.
The main goal of quick breads is a light hand and fast cooking. Ovens tend to be a touch hotter for them.
Overall you want a flour to water ratio of 2 to 1 for pancake batter, 3 to 1 for quick breads, dessert cakes being in between. 4 to 1 is bread dough and pastry. 1 to 1 is crepes.

#530 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:57 PM:

joann @525:

He may have meant #517, and is talking about the episode in the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne, Girl Genius, where she rebuild an espresso machine. It starts about here and works forward.

Jon Meltzer @524 (if you did mean #517 and not #519) No, I don't think I can pull that off, although the thought of the machine that makes coffee that perfect is enticing.

Serge @526. I have to side with the Baron von Wulfenbach here, and answer that there are some things perhaps even Sparks should not tamper with.

I need to go and find out what sort of sausages are best for fountain construction.

#531 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:04 PM:

joann: When baking loaves, I soak the oven for 30-minutes to an hour (depends the number of distractions).

#532 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:32 PM:

P.J. @ #527 -
Yes, we have all the obvious ones. But she's a cook/baker, not a brewer, and (as you probably know) older recipes tend to omit useful things like specific quantities, times, temperatures, etc., so any useful tips on making ginger beer or pointers towards specific recipes (they're harder to find than, say, period recipes for pound cake) are always helpful.

#533 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:38 PM:

I have a Nova Scotia recipe for ginger beer.
No idea how old it is but we have used it around here and it works.

1 oz ginger root peeled and grated
1tsp cream of tarter
1 lb sugar
1 lemon rind zested and juice
1 gallon boiling water

1 oz yeast

Uh, mix well the let cool to warm and then add yeast let ferment then skim the filter then bottle then rest. We bottled it into 2L Coca Cola bottles and it self carbonated and went down like soda. We also like stronger ginger.

#534 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Thanks to one and all (which includes you Ursula, just in case other conversations cast it in doubt) for bucking me up.

Greg made me see I am probably more invested in that subject than I realise (which is saying a lot, since I know I eyeballs deep in it), and my identifications make aspects of the debates more intimate than I realise, which makes it really difficult deal with.

I don't know that I am so immune from stooping to torture as the rest of you seem to be; for reason different from Ursula's I am aware of how easy it is for, "decent, honorable" people to lose their grip on what is/isn't right.

And this "debate" in the broader sense, makes it harder to for lots of people to hold to that bright clear line.

Someone said, push come to shove I would ponder how the people here would think of me, were I to cross that line. It's true. The good opinion of people I value matters enough to be a constraint. When the public sphere has made the question debateable; so that people who don't have the local levels of social pressure I do, who are being told that torture isn't just acceptable, but a moral imperative (and I still have to call that columnist a dipshhit) and don't get the same level of institutional repugnance I was given (because the boundary zone has gotten less clear; and people I know have said that, in print, they now think some of the things once anathema, might not be out of bounds. The people who are in the lower ranks now all enlisted post 9/11, at this point a number of them have done it post Iraq. A lot of the experienced sorts have gotten out. It ain't what it was) might be more easily convinced that it's not the horror it is.

So the conflicting pressures (some of which CRV was saying were exculpatory) make it easier for "decent" people to become "indecent".

So, as I said, thank you for your faith, and support.

#535 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:55 PM:


I'd go through my cookbooks, but they're mostly in the magic boxes, and the ones that are out are, I'm sure, not useful here.
(Yes, they are maddeningly imprecise about things, aren't they? I have a recipe for frijoles that calls for a '25-cent piece' of salt pork. It was written, I think, around 1910, give or take a decade. On the other hand, I think it's possible to use those old recipes, with a little knowledge of cup and spoon sizes.)

On second thought, I do have the Kansas Home Cook Book out, and it may have something useful. I'll check when I get home.

#536 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 06:33 PM:

I just heard a news story about massive flooding in Tabasco.

A teeny part of my mind thought: "Don't they know that water doesn't help sooth The Burn?"

I'm a bad person.

#537 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 07:17 PM:

Jules @515:

Uh, actually barring a few exceptions, almost all commercially available wine yeasts are Saccharomyces cerevisiae as indicated by genetic typing.

#538 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:13 PM:

This one looks practical. It's in the appendix.
(from the Gutenberg Project)


Put into a kettle, two ounces of powdered ginger, (or more if it is not very strong,) half an ounce of cream of tartar, two large lemons cut in slices, two pounds of broken loaf-sugar, and one gallon of soft water. Simmer them over a slow fire for half an hour. When the liquor is nearly cold, stir into it a large table-spoonful of the best yeast. After it has fermented, bottle for use.

#539 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:47 PM:

And now for something completely different - A Stormtrooper boogying in an Akihabara intersection.

and next A Stormtrooper rocking out to techno in Shibuya.

Followed by three Stormtroopers doing the Crab dance... poorly.

And lastly - A Stormtrooper and a Dark Lord of the Sith get down with the Four Tops.

This concludes our randomly absurdist moment on Making Light, we hope you have enjoyed the performance. Good Night, and Good Luck.

#540 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:49 PM:

well, got another loaf started in the machine.

I put the salt in first, so it would be underneath the flour and away from the yeast.

2/5 of the flour was King Richard's Bread Flour.
(which says contains malted barley flour as yeast food)
1/5 was whole wheat flour
1/5 was oat flour
1/5 was barley flour

I warmed the milk, but didn't scald it, because, well, because I don't want to have to scald the milk if I can get around it.

And I added 10 grams of sugar just before I added the yeast.

I think I had visions of making some loafs for thanksgiving when I got the bread machine. Now that turkey day is getting closer, I hope I can figure out a recipe that works reliably.

The machine says it'll be done in 4.5 hours, so will report in sometime tomorrow.

#541 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Another book by the same(?) Miss Leslie is cited in Cresswell's list of references:

Leslie, Eliza. Miss Leslie's Complete Cookery. Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches/ 51st ed. Philadelphia: HC Baird, 1871.

Her recipe for "Molasses Beer": "To six quarts of water, add two quarts of West Indian molasses; half a pint of the best brewer's yeast[*]; two tablespoonfuls of ground ginger; and one tablespoonful of cream of tartar. Stir all together. Let it stand twelve hours, and then bottle it, putting three or four raisins into wach bottle. It will be much improved by substituting the juice and grated peel of a large lemon, for one of the spoonsfuls of ginger."

[*: IIRC at the time, this would've been a foamy liquid soup of proofed yeast.]

The oldest specific gingerish beverage which Cresswell cites is "Ginger Pop", attributed to Mrs. Charles H. Gibson, Maryland 1894: "Two pounds of brown sugar, one large tablespoonful of the fibrous part of ginger, one dessertspoon cream of tarter[sic], pour on it two gallons of boiling water, when milk[-]warm stir in one pint brisk yeast; make it in the morning, bottle it at night, It will be ready for use in three days."

There's also a "Lemon Beer" from 1861 Canada, whose primary flavoring agents are 6 oz bruised ginger root, 1 oz. oil of lemon, and 6 lemons' worth of juice.

WRT bottling, I tend to use the bail-top bottles that some brands of beer are sold in, but which are also sometimes available at places like World Market/Cost Plus. You do have to lay down a supply of replacement rubber gaskets for repeated use, but it beats having to buy a bottlecapping gadget.

#542 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 10:07 PM:

(Gah-- I mistyped the date of Leslie's 51st edition; it should be 1853.)

#543 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 10:18 PM:

Re: keeping books on shelves -- Jefferson put an extra strip of wood across all library shelves in Monticello, to keep them from falling off.

joann, #500, here in the south, many good cooks just use the Krusteaz mix.

Serge,, #520, tourists are frequently also monsters. They're also frequently completely ignorant of cars when they cross main roads.

Stefan Jones, #536, and there was an explosion and fire at the Domino sugar plant in Baltimore today and I was wondering if caramel was sliding into the bay.

#544 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 01:01 AM:

As a non-cook of world class proportions, (hey, I could cook for England, and if any of you have ever eaten basic English food, you understand that I am not complimenting myself) I just realized -- you guys are food geeks!!

I cannot tell you why I find this to be so wonderful, I just do.

#545 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 01:05 AM:

#544: Lizzy (and all): Check out my cousin-in-law's food blog:

Cooking 4 the Week

It's a "fancy cooking for busy working couples" sort of thing.

#546 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Now Lizzy there are English who can cook like my mother in law and her mother, perfect pastry gene in that family damn it.
I also have a book of really good traditional English recipes that are incredible.
Not all English food is boiled cardboard any more than all Southern food is deep fried and barbecued.
Just a lot of it.

#548 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 02:14 AM:

...and meanwhile in fandom, as if to combine the best(?) features of two recent(ish) threads here, apparently the proprietors of the HPLexicon website are attempting to publish a hardcopy volume of its contents-- essentially an encyclopedia-like compendium of the Potterverse with copious quotes from the original books, remarkably similar in concept to the eventual followups which JK Rowling has already announced her own plans for-- and are shocked, shocked! that JKR and her publishers don't like the idea.

From this news story:

The complaint claims Warner Bros. and Rowling's representatives have been " rebuffed and treated rudely" in their attempts to engage in a dialogue with RDR Books.

"For example, while claiming not to have the ability or time to respond to plaintiffs' multiple 'cease and desist' letters because of a family tragedy, defendant instead was hawking foreign publishing rights to the infringing book in Germany," the lawsuit said.

#549 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 02:43 AM:

Has anyone seen this thing on E Online about a new Joss Whedon TV show with Eliza Dushku as what sounds like a one-woman holodeck? I'm getting very tentatively thrilled out of my mind!

#550 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:52 AM:

fidelio@530: Your link didn't work. Let's try this one.

BTW, it's just "Baron Wulfenbach" -- no von in there. (Curiously, there is a character in the strip with a von in his name, but he shows no signs of noble birth.)

#551 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:38 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 550... There was a von Bodé in Girl Genius, if I remember correctly, which means there probably is a Cobalt 90 lurking around.

#552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Neil Young on bread-making" "Crust never sleeps."

#553 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Erich Segal on bread-making: "Loaf means never having to say you're sour, eh."

#554 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:00 AM:

This may already have been posted and I missed it. If so, my apologies. But the confluence of eldritch things, LOLcats, and knitting makes me think that people might enjoy the noneuclidean sweater It's the October 10th entry, currently at the top of the page I'm linking to.

#555 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:22 AM:

Lizzy 544: Hey, some of us occasionally (heh) like to cook for people who are NOT food how about you just sit back and have a drink while we fuss over getting just the right amount of microplaned lemon zest on top of the creme brulée, and get ready to be fed by people who like to feed as much as you like to eat!

#556 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Hm. Well, the loaf is finished. Tried some. It's... ok. Definitely the least dense loaf of wheat, oat, barley flour bread I've made so far. Not exactly what I imagined when I started this whole experiment. Hm. Well, at least this one is edible. Though, I am a little disappointed.

Maybe the next loaf I try will be plain white bread. Something a bit more poofier in the crumb.

#557 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Lizzy @544: if you want to enjoy a bit of food geekery that's _really easy_ to prepare, and have an electric oven that's graded to a temperature as low as 55C, see here for a recipe _anyone_ can do, if they have the right equipment (and here for the geeky explanation of why it works, which is still pretty much as it was when I wrote it).

If you don't have a blowtorch (I'll admit I don't), fry the meat in a bit of very hot oil until all the sides are slightly brown (should take only a couple of minutes) instead. The recipe works with any cut of beef, with no need to adjust the time; I usually use my local supermarket's cheap top rump, which works out fine with this recipe.

#558 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Jules @ #557, that recipe says "1 x 2-bone rib of beef, wing end."

Wing end? Obviously some foreign locution (or biology?) is in play here.

#559 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Greg London, (again: I don't do bread machines so I don't know how this adapts) one more thing you might try is using cooked oatmeal, or grinding the oats fine. Oats are even more resistant to wetting than whole wheat flour, and part of your texture problem may arise from that. If I were playing along at home (which I'm not; after years of baking bread three or four times a week, I'm now prone to respiratory problems around raw wheat flour) I'd mess about with that ingrediant next: either cooking the oat meal or soaking it over-night or running it through a blender/food processor/electric grinder for a few pulses to reduce partical size.

#560 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Soon Lee @537: Interesting. This of course raises an interesting question:

There is clearly a phenotypic difference between wine yeasts (which fall to the bottom of the vessel and ferment there) and beer yeasts (which float in a scum on the top of the vessel, except for S. carlsbergensis, used in lager making, which falls like wine yeast).

How do we distinguish one species of yeast from another? Should these be different species or, as they seem to be recognized at the moment, simply different strains of the same species? Where should we draw the line between these two?

#561 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Linkmeister @558: Yeah, I was a little confused by that, too. I just ignored it. ;)

#562 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 03:03 PM:

JESR@559, it's oat flour and is like fine powder. I don't think I could grind it any smaller than it already is. I could try cooking it by itself before adding it to the mix or soaking it overnight before I add it. Just throw the flour in the oven?

#563 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Xopher @ 555, this is actually the reason why I don't cook as much as I would like to. It's only me eating it most of the time. Anything I bake goes bad before I've eaten more than half of it. Besides, it's just not as much fun if I don't get to enjoy other people enjoying the food I've made.

I have considered moving to a commune solely for this reason.

#564 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Linkmeister #558: How do you think the cow jumped over the moon?

#565 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Fragano @ #564, Um, magical realism?

#566 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Normally I hear wing tip not wing end for non poultry meat cuts. It's a steak off the hip end.
For oats in bread I use quick oats and just pour boiling water from the kettle to cover and let it sit for the 30 min I'm spending on mixing the rubbery slurry stage of the dough good time to blend in things like molasses with the oats. Microwave works too for precooking oats.

#567 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Greg London, no, if it's oat flour, you obviously don't need to make it smaller- so wetter is the option to choose (oat flour, like corn starch, is used for baby powder: it's hard to wet). I'm floundering at telling you how to do it because I don't speak bread machine. When I've made high-fiber low-gluten breads I either added most of the liquid to the other-than-white-flour portions and let them set for a while, or kneaded the bread one more time than I would white bread (which is actually the trickier option), and translating either to bread machine technique is something I'm not sure of.

#568 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Linkmeister #565: Obviously with the aid of the wings at the end of its ribs.

#569 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Fragano #568:
I thought it was pigs that were supposed to fly. When it's not monkeys.

#570 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:38 PM:

The oatmeal bread recipes in Beard on Bread call for pre-wetted oats -- cooked oatmeal in one, boiling water poured over the oats and left to cool in the other. I've made "Maryetta's Oatmeal Bread" before (the pour-and-cool one) and it's tasty and nicely textured. I have no idea how to adapt it for bread machines, though.

#571 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Jules at 557, I appreciate the thought, but I don't eat meat any more. (Long story. Starts with a heart attack. Gets better, though.) Xopher, I love to be fed, doesn't everyone? Thank you for the invitation. T. W., I mean no disrespect to your family, and yes, I have also eaten tasty food in England, but fundamentally, British food is awful. Of course, it didn't help that the year before I visited England I had spent a week in France. I was in the north of France (Alsace, Strasbourg) and never had a meal that was less than scrumptious.

#572 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:55 PM:

It's ok Lizzy when I get lazy my cooking is called English style by the husband. His other grandmother was the classic unflavoured boiled pulp cook. The bland bothers me less than the American sweet grease effect does.
I am not thrill with the hot spice and curry fad in our region at resturants as those spice families I have allergies too. What was wrong with savory? It doesn't have to burn to be tasty.

#573 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:02 PM:

The BoingBoing comment threads are a bizarre place. The instant they started back up, there was a sizable minority of people on them who already had that peculiar sense of entitlement. Why four people so obviously decent and aw-shucks thrilled about a lot of the world around them should attract such a crowd of naysayers is beyond me.

#574 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Whoops, don't know how that happened. Wrong thread.

#575 ::: glinda, the occasionally good ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:15 PM:

Greg London @ 556:

When I was given a bread machine last year, I had to re-learn breadmaking (which I'd been doing for at least 40 years). What I knew was: liquid, fat, salt, sugar, yeast; maybe add a cup of flour and proof that if using a lot of whole grains; then add the rest of the flour, knead, let rise, punch down, put in pans, let rise again, and bake. The machine I have requires ingredients in a different order - liquid, fat, flour, salt, sugar, yeast last. (Other machines want a different order, and all seem, to me, to be very... unforgiving on quantities and order, compared to making bread by hand.)

After a couple of really hideous results, I started with basic white bread from the bread machine book, and once I got that behaving, started adapting. I've now got two favorites: one that's 1/3 whole wheat, 2/3 white flour, and another with 1 cup whole wheat, 2 of white, and one of oatmeal. I'm also sometimes letting the machine do the kneading/mixing, and taking the dough out after an hour or so, letting it rise in loaf pans, and baking it in the oven. Saves my wrists from kneading (which, dammit, I enjoy doing, but no longer can).

Someone may have already asked this, but can you search online for the manual for the particular model of machine you have? That would solve the order-of-ingredients issue, and might give you some proven recipes to start with.

#576 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:28 PM:

ethan @549:
Isn't that (just) a variation of Joe 90 with a better looking lead character?

Jules @560:
[Didactic]Classical taxonomy uses morphology but as more & more organisms are DNA-typed, inconsistencies turn up. How to reconcile the differences causes much argument. For example, I've worked with an isolate of S. cerevisiae which exhibits different physical characteristics depending on whether it's haploid or diploid, so looks alone aren't enough. I am biased toward DNA.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been isolated from really diverse environments ranging from alcoholic fermentations, to oak trees to clinical (eewww) situations. As a species (based on ITS sequence), it displays as much diversity within itself as you'd find between chimps & humans.

So it's not surprising that we get a large variation in phenotype. In practical terms, the baker, brewer & winemaker don't need to know if their favourite strain of yeast is a cerevisiae, bayanus, some other member of the Saccharomyces sensu stricto group, or a hybrid, as long as it makes a good bread, beer or wine.[/Didactic]

#577 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:31 PM:

glinda, the occasionally good @ 575
The booklet that came with your machine should indicate whether it wants yeast first, water last, or the other way around. After that, you can simply follow any recipe in a variety of books. I've had a bread-making machine for two years now and love it.

There's a good book "Fresh Bread in the Morning", by Annette Yates, with a variety of interesting recipes.

I admit mostly I use "wholemeal" setting, with 50 g wholemeal flour plus 150 g granary brown for texture/flavour, as our basic bread, but I have experimented with some others such as spelt flour, mixed seed, fruit and honey loaves.

Remembering the yeast, flour, salt and water is essential, whatever the recipe....

#578 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:36 PM:

Whoops! that should have been "350 g wholemeal flour plus 150 g granary brown"! I did preview, but managed to miss this! Sorry.

#579 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:51 PM:

It's a Breadman Plus TR-700.

My google-foo is not strong enough to find a manual online anywhere. Although I did find a couple of people who posted "I have a BreadmanPlus TR-700 with no manual, anyone have one?" Unfortunately, none of them got a response.

Oh well. Keep experimenting I guess.

#580 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:53 PM:


I've just discovered that Novacon is going on, not 20 miles from my current location, with several guests who I'd love to meet, and here I am, having missed the first two days and stuck at home tomorrow with a half-finished DIY job that'll need to be completed before Monday.


#581 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Greg London @ 579

My Googling produced two people who suggested (or had) contacted Salton at 1-800-233-9054 for a manual... Hope this helps.

#582 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:04 PM:

Greg #579:

Had a look myself. The parent company's site doesn't appear to do manuals, but has Breadman manuals downloadable as pdfs but alas, not for your exact model. Maybe a manual for a similar model is still useful?

#583 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Soon Lee #576: Ah. I had been thinking of it as "a holodeck and Dark City have a baby," and then expanded the list of parents to include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and William Gibson, and now I see I need to add Joe 90 to the list.

Derivativity (fancy new word!) is not an indication of quality, either way, though.

#584 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Turns out the link for the TR700SPR at points to the wrong file.

Try this link. Hope this is the correct one. Though the the title page of the pdf says it's for a Breadman Plus, it doesn't have a model number listed; does contain a schematic of the machine though.

#585 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:19 PM:

Soon Lee@582, Wow. You're google foo is strong.

I looked at several manuals on that page. My machine is a TR700. The TR700SPR manual shows a machine that doesn't look anything like mine. Same with the model above and below it.

One thing is that while reading through the 800 model, which is, maybe, 70% similar, it says "add liquids first".


I've been putting the solids first, liquids second, yeast last.

Two weeks ago, I wouldn't have thought the order would make a bit of difference, but now I'm microwaving my milk, proofing my yeast, and dancing around with a dead chicken for every loaf, so, who knows.

I'll try that order on the next loaf and see what happens.

Thanks for the URL's. I may try contacting the company and see if they would send me a manual.

And I just have to say, I am sooooo glad I'm not kneading all these pencil erasers by hand.


#586 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Hm, just checked the Breadman Plus owner's manual's recipe for wheat bread. (it's not the same model number, but I don't think that makes too much a difference)

They add half as much salt as they add yeast.
I was matching the amounts.

And they add a whole lot more sugar than I tried putting in on the last loaf.

The note at the bottom says to add half a cup of pure gluten, which, again, I don't think I was putting near that much in the mix.

They use oil and milk powder. I wasn't adding oil. Just real milk.


Of course, now I want to go and make another loaf right now, with two loafs sitting in the fridge.


#587 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:37 PM:

De nada.

Having grooved out on & been in awe of the posters & comments as a mostly-lurker, I'm just happy I can make an occasional contribution.

#588 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:39 PM:

ethan #583:

Soon as I read the premise, I was thinking Gibson's meat puppets.

#589 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:50 PM:

Greg, don't put bread in the fridge! It dries out, or gets soggy (depending on whether you put it in a plastic bag or not). One reason for using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar is that it helps preserve the bread, but refrigeration isn't (generally speaking and IMO) a good thing for bread.

#590 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Bruce Cohen, #547, I'd forgotten about that! They don't actually know what the state of the sugar dust collection system is yet and nothing spilled. I just got carried away in my conjecture.

Greg, I looked this up before I saw Soon Lee's post, but it's a different direction, so it may help. This is the list of Breadman and as you see, the closest to your name is their Breadman Plus Brushed-C (Brushed Chromium?) TR700DL. They don't have a manual for that, but there's one for the Breadman Ultra TR700 (note, pdf). Maybe that will be close enough.

#591 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:00 PM:

Greg London, this is why it's an inestimable benefit for the young bread-maker to have chickens or pigs to fatten on the experimental loaves (or teenage boys around, that works too).

#592 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:03 PM:

The following statement was found in an essay I graded today:

China’s military is one in and of its own. They have one of the biggest and precise armies in Europe.

Pardon me while I go off and bang my head against a wall.

#593 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:29 PM:

Xopher@589: Greg, don't put bread in the fridge!

But if I leave it on the counter, the dogs will eat it.

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.


Yeah, OK, I should probably figure out a solution to that one. But thus far, I've got no bread of any quality to worry about ruining yet.

#594 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:31 PM:

Wait, did you say honey is a preservative???

#595 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:35 PM:

Greg: fridge is a no-no, but freezer is okay if the bread is well wrapped.

#596 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:36 PM:

Marilee, that might actually be my model. Or really close to it. I printed out the page that shows the control panel and I'm going to take it down to the kitchen and see how it compares.

JESR, dogs. I've a ravenous pack of slovenly dogs who insist they are never fed enough.

#597 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:42 PM:

I keep my sandwich rolls in the fridge-- it's a choice between tougher sandwiches and mold. I suppose better kitchen-cleaning habits might help, but it's an old house.

#598 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:55 PM:

Greg 594: Yep. Quite aside from its sugar content. Bread made with honey keeps significantly better than bread made with sugar or blackstrap molasses.

#599 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Some types of bread are fine in the fridge but it can increase the sweating that breads do in plastic bags. I found in our climate a wrap of wax paper tucked into a cloth bag is best for bread, and cheese.

#600 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:08 AM:

Fragano at 592, I'm so sorry. Please don't mistreat your head.

#601 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:07 AM:

At the top of the front page's Google Ads sidebar:

Support Rudy Giuliani '08
Join Mayor Rudy Giuliani's Team Contribute Now at the Official Site

Aren't automated keyword matches wonderful things?

#602 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Greg London, the problem with feeding bread to dogs is twofold: first, they come to expect it as their right which makes them even pushier and more demanding, and second, too much bread can give them gas.

Or maybe that's just Ruby.

Of course the other solution to less than perfect bread is to slice it very thinly, toast it a bit, saturate it with cinnamon sugar butter, and then bake it in egg custard, but neither you nor I would benefit from that application, I'm sure. Although as things which are Very Bad For One go, it is at least wholesome and comforting.

#603 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:16 AM:


I just checked the bread machine after it beeped. The loaf is huge. The top of the bread was nearly at the top of the pan. I don't think my best loaf got half that high up.

Reading the manual, it says the machine sits and does nothing for half an hour on the wheat cycle before it starts mixing. I don't know if that's for letting the flour soak or what, but I think the main problem was that meant on my previous eraser-loafs, my yeast was sitting in water for half an hour, not doing much.

This time, I put the water in first, oil, milk, salt, sugar, flour, gluten, and yeast on top of a dry pile of flour. And it came out awesome. It's twice as high as any loaf I ever did and way softer crumb.

Now all I have to do is figure out a dog-and-cat-safe way to store it not in the refridgerator.

Oh, and Marilee, turns out that manual is for my model.

Six bricks and I finally get a loaf to come out right. Thanks, everyone!

#604 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:22 AM:

JESR #601: ...too much bread can give them gas. Or maybe that's just Ruby.

I've found that, with some dogs, there's nothing that won't give them gas. A certain otherwise-perfect pit I know, with seriously the cutest face that's ever existed on any creature, releases a toxic cloud reliably about once every five minutes. No matter what.

#605 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:23 AM:

Greg: The triumph of the Flourosphere!

(And no, I didn't.)

#606 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Greg London #602: Now all I have to do is figure out a dog-and-cat-safe way to store it not in the refridgerator.

Sounds like you need a bread vault.

#607 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:47 AM:

Greg, YAY!

Damn, I miss baking bread.

#608 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:14 AM:

Lizzy L @ 571... About your heart attack... I do hope you're safe now.

#609 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:40 AM:

This thread is reminding me that I had to leave my bread machine behind (along with sundry other 110V small electricals) when we moved back to the UK a couple of months ago. :-( I think I need to drop some really heavy hints about Christmas presents.

#610 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:49 AM:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
You make some bread,
And we toast you.

#611 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:01 AM:

This thread started with music, so I claim I'm allowed to say this.

I was looking for the words to "The Rainbow Connection", because I'd forgotten one-and-a-half verses. I resorted to youtube. Input "rainbow connection", and you get five versions of the song, including - get this - Willie Nelson's.

Have a look. It's probably just me, but something about it moved me to tears.

#612 ::: The Avocado of Death ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:09 AM:

Limerick: Sunday, at World Fantasy Convention

At the con's end in old Saratoga,
I am finding no panels to go ta.
All the editors rush
Home to drown in their slush,
And the writers in scotches and soda.

#613 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Lizzy L #600: I can't mistreat it any more than the student who moved China thousands of miles to the west.

#614 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:12 AM:

Dave @611: it's not just you. There's something so...wistful about it...

#615 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Gee, catching up after a some time away I wonder if this should be renamed the "Open Bread"! (My fave for a snack is egg bread/challah, and the local grocery has an excellent version so I don't have to attempt to actually bake it myself.)

Yesterday in B&N I saw a book related to the forthcoming film of "Beowulf" -- Neil Gaiman seems to be associated with the screenplay, along with someone else (it was just a quick glance on my way to another part of the store). Incidentally, anyone interested in Oriental monsters should check out the article on Chinese jewelry etc. in the latest Ornament magazine -- a couple of old "belt hooks" look remarkably like a cartoon dragon and Godzilla! I was also amazed to see coverage of costumes at an anime con, full-color and with a few remarkable pieces.

#616 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:38 PM:

That "someone else" is Roger Avary. Warning: at least one of the trailers associated with Beowulf is extremely loud.

#617 ::: Cynthia ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:26 PM:

A strange sort of question:

If I were going to do a calligraphy piece for a gift for a friend, using John M Ford's Against Entropy poem, who do I apply to for permission? Do I need to get permission? Do I pay a royalty for the use of the poem? Any advice would be much appreciated, as this would be the absolutely perfect holiday gift for my friend (who luckily more likely than not will not read this comment)

#618 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Boston area police panic again.

Actually, it was in the suburb of Needham, about five miles to the west.

A Fox news commentator (!) from Canada was taken to be a murder suspect because he looked nervous (and, I suppose, foreign).

#619 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Greg London, #593, this is why you have a breadbox. Mine is red.

Ibid, #603, I'm glad you finally got a manual!

#620 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Dave Luckett (#611): I actually have that version on CD (without the two minutes of intro); it's one of five that I have in my iTunes library.

(The artists involved: Kermit the Frog, Sarah McLachlan, Willie Nelson & Paul Williams, Dixie Chicks, and Jason Mraz.)

Another song (also covered by Willie Nelson) that tends to get me choked up is "American Tune"; either Willie's or Paul Simon's original version will do it. (I also have the Eva Cassidy version, but I prefer her "Fields of Gold".)

#621 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:01 AM:

Re: 611 and 620:

"Rainbow Connection" always makes me think of "A Boy and His Frog", by Tom Smith, mostly because, when he performs the song live, he often follows it with "Rainbow Connection".

This is a YouTube video of "A Boy and His Frog"; the audio is from Tom's album "Who Let Him In Here?", and was recorded live at Marcon. Tom heard about Jim's death just before the convention, wrote the song at-con, and debuted it in his concert the next day, leaving himself and most of the audience in tears.

#622 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:57 AM:

Greg: I have to concurr that the fridge is no good for bread.

But... there is some reprieve. Cold hastens staling by causing the starches to contact (I am glossing the details, bear with with me). If you reheat the bread (a 375 oven, or just slicing it and the toasting it) will re-gelatinise the starches, and the bread will be (mostly) what it was/should be.


#623 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 01:23 AM:

Because I grew up with bread that was always bought from the day-old bakery outlet, my standard practice is to put sliced loaves into the freezer and eat the slices as toast. Admittedly, this may not appeal to everyone.

#624 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:39 AM:

#599 - T.W.

What is your climate like?

I've recently gone gluten free, so I'm looking at trying to bake my own bread, and I need to figure out how to keep it. I can't use my past breadkeeping habits* as a model, so I'm looking for ideas.

The gluten-free bread I've been buying comes frozen, so I keep it that way and toast it to thaw. That's also what I did with the more fragile wheat breads I used to get from the deli. It makes them crumbly and takes up a lot of space in my small freezer, so even though it works okay, I'm looking for options.

*The regular wheat bread I used to buy kept for weeks without molding, generally. I bought a bag a month ago for hubby and though it's stale, there's still no mold, possibly because we've only pulled out two slices in that time. It makes me nervous about preservatives just the same.

#625 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:28 PM:

The Fabulous Moolah died this past Friday night.

#626 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Reheating bread in the microwave also works - I've done it with bread with a hard crust. (One thing that putting it in a plastic bag does help - it was hard enough I was having trouble slicing it with a bread knife!)
Day-old bread is also good for French toast and bread pudding.

#627 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Julie L @ 623... I grew up with bread

So that's why you're so well-bred.

#628 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:53 PM:

#623: You've not alone.

Breakfast-bread fodder -- English muffins, bagels -- gets put in the fridge and toasted.

I leave "nice" bread outside the fridge. I usually finish it before it goes bad. Sometimes I'll cut a very fancy loaf in half, wrap and freeze one chunk, and leave the other have out.

#629 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Microwaving bread is like a necromancer's trick. It makes the stuff not fresh, but Unstale. You have a very short window to cut it and toast it before it turns into a rock.

But, all told, a neat trick.

#630 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Stefan @ 629

I cut it first, then nuke it.
I need to find the box with the toaster, too.

#631 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Vancouver Canada, so north pacific coast. 9 months cold drizzle 3 months rain one week of sun in there some where or so it seems. Not as humid as say Halifax because fog is rare but damp and cold a lot; the air has non stop sources of mold and mildew spores. Butter turns black on the counter over time.
Climate change is starting to arrive here though.

#632 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Stefan Jones (628):

Breakfast-bread fodder -- English muffins, bagels -- gets put in the fridge and toasted.
Stefan, I think that means you need a new refrigerator...

#633 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Thanks, T.W.

I think I'll try your wax-paper and cloth plan. I'm in Atlanta, where it is also humid, though not quite to that degree, so it might just work. I'm quite fond of the idea of being able to store my bread without tons of plastic. I'll likely produce a few eraser-like loaves of my own to experiment with. Now all that's left is to start baking.

#634 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Serge @627: I may've grown up with bread, but we were all raised by... yeast?

(And then there were the lagomorphic grandparents. You know, the Yeaster Bunnies.)

#635 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:34 PM:

#632: It's a feature!

#636 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Julie L @ 634... Did your friends have crusty personalities that tended toward rye comments?

#637 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:50 PM:

As my Naan'ah would say, enough with the challah's behavior; a pan is the lowest form of humor.

#638 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Homer would produce a sour "d'oh!" at this thread.

#639 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:56 PM:

You'd think I'd remember more baked-goods puns from high school; we were the Pretzels. The only one that really sticks in my mind is 'you can eat us but you can't beat us' which was not considered okay by the school administration. Best mascot ever.

#640 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:13 PM:

As Doughctor Smith used to say on Loafed in Space...

"Oh, the pain, the pain..."

#641 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:20 PM:

Dough or dough-nut, there is not rye.

#642 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:32 PM:

America - loaf it or baguette.

#643 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Um, let's not get carawayed.

#644 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:48 PM:

Maybe we need to butter people up some more.

#645 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Does Serge have an unfair advantage, being bilingual and all?

#646 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:52 PM:

Noticed yesterday while out and about: a temporary Halloween store was being dismantled, and all the contents were being moved into Pods. As I said then, "It's the attack of the Pod People! How appropriate that they're eating Halloween!"

#647 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:56 PM:

Some of the puns are just too corny for me; they get really stale. And if those half-baked puns have already been made, you can punch me down.

#648 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Diatryma @ 647... Some of the puns are just too corny for me

That's a complaint I hear all too oven.

#649 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:51 PM:

When humor is needed to leaven our moods, Serge at yeast rises to the occasion.

#650 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 649... Serge at yeast rises to the occasion.

True, no matter which way you slice it.

#651 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Stefan 649: When humor is kneaded to leaven our moods, Serge at yeast rises to the occasion.


#652 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:17 PM:

This is the place for the well-bread joke, each bun intended.

#653 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:32 PM:

But the bun is the lowest form of wheat.

#654 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:33 PM:

Don't stop, you're on a roll.

#655 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:36 PM:


You need to experiment for your climate and bread type. Also big difference in the rate you consume the bread, a loaf a week or a loaf every other day but bread especially live yeast homemade should be allowed to breathe. Hard crust goes longer than soft crust. Dry breads like rye, wheat, oat go longer than soft breads like sweet rolls.
Use to have a kick ass buttermilk oat bread that when day old made perfect garlic bread for pasta. Tragic when a recipe that works is lost.

You are all being panned for those buns.

#656 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:56 PM:

This is getting too waffle for words (other than perhaps "Belgium"). Is there muffin that can stop this madness?

#657 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Teresa: "Enough with the puns, Serge. Out, out!"
Me: "Humph! I've been thrown out of batter places than this."

#658 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:17 PM:

Cynthia, #617, I think Patrick and Teresa might know, and you might want to email them (front page) instead of waiting for when they get here.

#659 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Xopher #654: That was barley funny.

#660 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:35 PM:

gaukler #653: I see you like things rye.

#661 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:45 PM:

We are all going to get bran. The proof is out there.

#662 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:07 PM:

I just noticed that this open thread #94 has archive article # 009494. Complete coincidence, very carefully timed, or simply chosen at post-time?

#663 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:19 PM:

When speaking of bread or of ovens
the Flourosphere's said to know something.
We seek light and truth
and, yeastlike, need proof
that all open threads can have puns in.

It had to be done. My apologies.

#664 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:59 AM:

Fidelio, #521: No shit. Not to mention that week in March when no one who doesn't live in the area will go anywhere near the Fairgrounds.

Xopher, #589: Must differ. We routinely put our homemade bread in the refrigerator, in a Ziploc bag, and don't see any evidence of drying out. Of course, we also go thru a loaf a week or thereabouts. But if we don't put it in the refrigerator, it gets moldy before it gets eaten; Houston molds are aggressive.

#665 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:05 AM:

Lee @ #664, If you think Houston molds are quick to anger, try Hawai'i. An unrefrigerated loaf of bread lasts about three days.

I eat a lot of toast because of mold's behavior.

#666 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:15 AM:

It is against my grain to not participate in a pun thread, though I'm late to rise to the occasion.

On a related note - Fantasy and Science Fiction is holding a haiku contest, I think it looks like fun.

#668 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Since Openness gave way to bread,
Transforming this to So-Pun Thread
(No scone unturned, no post unread),
The laughter serges through my head!

#669 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:03 AM:

#655, T.W

Okay, thanks!

#670 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:43 PM:


I wanted to make scones last night. My scone recipe called for buttermilk. I went to two grocery stores and they only had 2% buttermilk. I used that last year and made the world's driest, densest brown bread - which could have been a coincidence, but I'm blaming it on the low-fat buttermilk.

I know you can add some lemon juice to sour regular old milk, but I don't really trust that when the recipe has so few ingredients. How important is the fat content in quick breads? Would I be better off using heavy cream?

(low-fat buttermilk my high-fat ass.)

#671 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:48 PM:

I thought buttermilk was low-fat-- it's what's left over after you've taken all the lovely buttery fat out of milk, isn't it? Or have I switched definitions again?

#672 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:55 PM:


So what you're saying is that my cinder-block brown bread is my fault.

That could be it. So WTF for re-branding ("2%!!") to make me think that a product has been "improved" in some way that is counter to my needs. It's why I have to convince my roommate every year that Whole Milk is now called "Vitamin D Milk", since they don't want to draw attention to the fact that there's OMG WHOLE FAT!!! OHNOES!!!! in the milk.


That's what I get for baking breads so infrequently.

#673 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Buttermilk is a cultured curdled milk. Fat content can vary but 2% is the most common since there is a lot of it already around at the plant. We have a specialty dairy here that dose Jersey milk so they have things like double cream, full fat anything and whole milk. Full fat chocolate milk is to die for as is the eggnog.
Zero fat skim buttermilk is gross, at the point you might as well use diet yogurt.
Curdle some half&half if you need high fat buttermilk.

#674 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:32 PM:

I fiound the following on linkmeister's blog:

I'll then go to work on Codex, a 2004 book by Lev Grossman, the book critic for Time magazine. I'm amused by Booklist's description: "Grossman ... adds a new twist to the emerging bibliothriller subgenre by combining rare books with computer gaming." Who knew there was such a subgenre?

I knew that the official reason for Abi's move to Holland wasn't holding water. Let's see... International Woman of Mystery and bookbinder. Yes, it all fits.

#675 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:40 PM:

I was at the library returning books yesterday and found Kathleen Goonan's In War Times on the New Books shelf. So far I'm liking the concept of an alternative history in which neurobiology is melded with physics to build a machine which prevents war. I don't ordinarily immediately look at the publisher, but I did this time, and guess what? It's published by (drum roll) Tor.

There was a small discussion here of Clifford Simak's Way Station a week or so ago, and it occurs to me that the widget in this book could be an updated version of the Talisman in Simak's book.

#676 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Buttermilk comes in two varieties.

"Real" buttermilk, which is the cast-off whey from making butter., and "cultured" which has some bacteria added to sour it.

Now for the clever bit, because the US makes "sweet" butter, not cultured, all our buttermilk is of the latter variety.

Cultured butter is made from raw milk, and the cream is allowed to sit overnight, and starts to sour.

The remaining liquids will also ferment some.

Since we pasterise within an hour of milking, that doesn't happen and we take the milk we reconsititute after skimming the fat, add a dose of "culture" and create buttermilk.

Now, here's what you can do to get a higher fat buttermilk; use some of the "reduced" fat buttermilk and add it to a container of "whole" milk. Give it a couple of days, and your scones are golden.

If you feel adventurous (or dedicated) you can buy a pint of raw cream (here I have Strauss Valley Creamery; $7.99 per pint) let it sit out overnight, and then churn it, strain the whey and add that to your whole milk.

Since the milk has been pasteurised it will have no resident fauna and the stuff from the buttermilk will be good to go.

I do something similar when I want to make a lot of clotted cream. I buy a pint of Strauss. Let it rest in a cool (60F +/-5) overnight and then buy the amount I need for the clotted cream and inocculate it, let it rest overnight and do the clotting.

#677 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Oh yeah... some amusing concantations here, and elsewhere, are pointing out that 20+ years of the sort of packrat collecting of information on food; and playing with it, has given me a huge amount of it, ready to hand.

I have been amused to find myself going to Cookwise to defend something I know to be true, not because I read it there, but because it's just in my head and people don't believe me when I tell them.

So I owe you all some more thanks.

#678 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Terry 676: Now, here's what you can do to get a higher fat buttermilk; use some of the "reduced" fat buttermilk and add it to a container of "whole" milk. Give it a couple of days, and your scones are golden.

A couple of days in the refrigerator?

#679 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Xopher: Yes, get it started at a cool room temp, then move to the fridge.

#680 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Best use for buttermilk around here is doughnuts.
Flavour marriage with the nutmeg and maple sugar is sinful.
But it is a wonder for biscuits, bread, scrambled eggs and buckwheat pancakes.

#681 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Lee @664--HAH!
The entity formerly known as FanFaire has changed its name and moved downtown to the Convention and the football stadium.

This has not improved the local quality of life in the month of June.

Now that they've added a traffic roundabout to the middle of Music Square, complete with a very large statue group of Very Naked People in a fountain, the RVs have even more trouble.

#682 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:48 PM:

nerdycellist, care to show your buttermilk scone recipe? I could hazard a guess just from reading it about whether you could use lemon-curdled whole milk, 2% cultured buttermilk from the store, or ought to try dosing a fuller-fat product with buttermilk for best results.

Actually, I'd be in favor of spiking heavy cream with buttermilk culture anyway, just because I like my scones super-rich, but then my basic scone recipe calls for 2 pounds of butter, a dozen eggs, and six cups of heavy cream, so you see where I stand.

oh. right. the rest of that formula? 16 cups all-purpose flour, 5 cups cake flour, 3 cups sugar, 1/2 cup baking powder, 2 tablespoons salt. 4 cups raisins, if you like raisins, or 4 cups other inclusions to taste. mix the dry ingredients, cut the cubed cold butter into them with the paddle blade of a standing mixer until crumbly, whisk the eggs and cream together, make a well and pour it in, turn the mixer on low until it just comes together. take out of the bowl and barely pat it into a 1" thick layer - do NOT roll. Cut, egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, bake until golden. A falling-oven technique will give a higher rise but is not necessary if you're baking a lot of different things and need to keep your oven at a constant temp. 375 is a good compromise. Dough keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days or freezes well.

This makes something like 50 scones. Depends how big you cut them, of course.

Recipe can be doubled, halved, or quartered without any weirdness happening.

Suggestions for other inclusions -- apricot-almond or dried-cherry-hazelnut; cranberry-orange (frozen sliced cranberries work, as do craisins: add orange zest and replace up to 2 cups cream with orange juice), cheddar-bacon-scallion (no, I can't really give quantities here, bacon should be fried crisp and crumbled, cheddar shredded, scallions chopped, I have never yet found an amount that was too much cheese), or what you will. If adding blueberries, stir in AFTER the dough stage or you will turn your scones entirely blue. Or, really, just put the blueberries in muffins where they belong.

I like these best without inclusions and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on top.

#683 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Authors suing Conservative publisher Regnery for ripping them off:

Maybe we can tell them about PublishAmerica!

#684 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Stefan @ 683

Can we explain 'free market capitalism' to them, also? (This really cries out for snark, you know?)

#685 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:20 PM:

From the article Stefan links to:

In the lawsuit the authors say that Eagle sells or gives away copies of their books to book clubs, newsletters and other organizations owned by Eagle “to avoid or substantially reduce royalty payments to authors.”

It seems to me I remember a hooha over at Kos a few years ago discussing Ann Coulter's continual appearance on the NYT bestsellers list with a little bitty dagger next to the title noting something to the effect "includes book club sales."

Could Regnery possibly be (gasp!) inflating sales numbers to push its authors' books to the top of neutral bestseller lists?

Say it ain't so!

#686 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:44 PM:

Thanks Rikibeth!

I am definitely keeping your scone instructions - we keep finding recipes that produce something like 6 scones. Feh.

This year we'll be trying scone and gingerbread recipes until we find our platonic ideal. I'm torn between whether to test each recipe exactly as written the first time, or whether I should use the helpful hints. On the one hand, I hate to waste my time making something disappointing, but on the other hand, I won't know if it's the recipe's fault or my own.

I'll have to check the recipe again when I get home. The first we're trying is from a 2 Fat Ladies cookbook since we've had good luck with previous recipes of theirs. I know it calls for self-rising flour and no other raising agents. After that we're trying one from Mark Bittman, which calls for heavy cream and at least one raising agent. We'll be adulterating all of them with cinnamon and bits of pecans.

#687 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:06 PM:

nerdycellist, in general, the only hint I'd take from my recipe to others is the bit about pat, never roll. You saw the discussion of gluten development when Greg was talking about bread machines, right? I find it far too easy to overwork the dough when rolling and thus produce a tough, flat scone.

I should also probably warn you that if you want to make the 50-scone quantity in a standing mixer, you'd better have a 20-quart machine on hand. That's way too much dough for a 5-quart KitchenAid.

Also, if you are using a recipe that gets its leavening from baking soda plus an acid (like buttermilk), IGNORE what I said about the dough keeping in the fridge or freezer. That reaction takes place as soon as the soda hits the liquid, and those scones should be cut and put in the oven very quickly. Baking powder is labeled "double-acting" for a reason: one chemical reaction happens right away, but the other is triggered by heat, and so baking powder doughs and batters are pretty stable under refrigeration and will still rise when they hit the oven. I make a week's worth of sour cream coffee cake batter at a time and keep it in a tub in my fridge at work. It bakes off beautifully every day, and keeping a film of plastic wrap over the surface of the dough keeps it from discoloring.

I'm talking shop again.

#688 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Rikibeth, please continue to talk shop. I am loving it, and considering all the other bakers here, I think it is appreciated.

#689 ::: SueinNM ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Yes, Rikibeth, continue to talk about what you're passionate about. That's one thing Making Light is about.

#690 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:34 PM:

Keep going Rikibeth. Share share!

Food and cooking is one of the few topics I'm not scared to babble about among you fine folks.

About bread molding. The trend for grocery stores to stock breads more home made looking by covering the crust in well grit is an issue. All that extra flour, seeds, rough grains on the outside of the crust grows mold faster. Like topsoil for the little spores. Why yes I have seen it grow before my eyes. It also dirties up your toaster faster, fire hazard. Why yes I killed a toaster this way.

#691 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:44 PM:

On the subject of toast:

A moment of silence for my DeLonghi convection toaster oven.

Purchased around 1998, put in the dumpster 2007.

It still worked, but barely. I had to dial up the setting to "Dark" to get a moderately toasted slice. The heating elements were warped; the setting dial had been replaced with a piece of chopstick. The whole interior was plated with salmon oil spatters.

In its place, a Black and Decker that someone had left out by the dumpsters. Perfectly clean and functional and apparently barely used . . . just unwanted. No convection setting, no no-stick broiling pan, but it toasts toast in about half the time.

Moment of remembrance over. DING!

#692 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Tania, thank you.

Here's another recipe I use all the time: mock shortbread. This is enough to fill one half-sheet pan:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 pound butter, melted

Sift the flour and confectioner's sugar together, pour the melted butter over them, and stir until you get a uniform dough. Press into a greased, parchment-lined half-sheet pan.

This is not meant to be eaten on its own: what it is is a super base for bar cookies of all sorts. I use it for lemon squares, chocolate macaroon bars, pecan bars, and, most recently, apple crunch tart. For most applications, I parbake it for 12 minutes at 350, apply whatever topping, and put it back to finish baking. However, that 12-at-350 is in a commercial convection oven. For a conventional oven, my original recipe for lemon squares said 22 minutes at 375, then 28 minutes once the lemon filling is on. I didn't bother parbaking for the apple tart. I just stuck it in for 40 minutes, and figured that long enough to cook the raw apples was also enough to bake the short dough, and it was.

This latest innovation came about because I had to make apple crunch tart for 170, and after peeling and slicing twenty quarts of apples, I was having no truck with rolling out pie dough and putting it in sheet pans (we haven't got small tart pans at work), so I decided I'd use the same thing that worked well for bar cookies.

Although I made extra (standard procedure), there were no leftovers at all. So I have to conclude it worked.

#693 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Stefan, here's my toaster tale. It took a month, not the 7-10 days mentioned, but I did get a new one eventually. (It involved a plug which lost one of its prongs.)

Using a toaster really is better than the oven's broiler.

#694 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:53 PM:

nerdycellist: IIRC, you are local to me. If you want, I can come over and we can bake. I'll be glad to just sit in the corner and answer questions/sample attempts, if that's what you want.

Regardless, rikibeth is right, never roll.

For homesized recipes, I'd recommend not using a mixer, but rather doing it by hand. I tend to cut the butter in with knives, as though I were making short crust, or biscuits.

#695 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:59 PM:

See, even at home, I use the mixer to cut butter into flour, and have ever since I read a Julia Child piecrust (actually pate brisee) recipe where she suggested it.

You're right, though, it's very like biscuits.

If I have to cut butter in by hand, I tend to use a fork. Unless I'm doing 18th-century re-enactment stuff, in which case, I just use my fingers. I never got the hang of the two-knives trick.

I can crack and separate eggs one-handed, though!

#696 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:59 PM:

#693: That's a clever way of doing a return.

You know, a cheap bastard like me would have spliced a new plug onto the stump and gotten another toaster out of it.

Since a toaster is a high-draw item you'd probably need to tin the splices with solder, and because it's a kitchen appliance you'd want to put a shrink-wrap sleeve over the join.

#697 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:20 PM:

Argh. When I got home after a day of fun at the orifice... er... office, I turned the TV on TCM and found myself watching the end of a Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie, "How to Steal the World". Bummer.

#698 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:25 PM:

Why make mock shortbread when the real thing takes less pans anyway?

#699 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Because you can press it into the pan with your fingers and it holds up brilliantly under all sorts of topping layers and doesn't crumble away when you make slices from the pan.

And you can make a whole lot in practically no time.

And it doesn't seem to care how much you work it. It maintains its texture no matter what.

Real shortbread is a thing of beauty. But it can be finicky.

The mock shortbread is pretty well foolproof and well suited for the demands of a commercial kitchen. :)

#700 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:33 PM:


Real shortbread is a pastry. For many pastry is a blessing or a curse. I think pastry is genetic and like many recessive traits skips generations; but I'm not bitter.

#701 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:33 PM:

All those bread-related puns, all the mental energy that could have been better spent, and I find myself thinking "What a pita!"

#702 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:42 PM:

I never have gotten the hang of cuisinarts, and my mixer doesn't seem quite the thing. I've tried forks, and pastry cutters, and the like, and all I get is mush.

I actually had to teach myself to crack eggs with two hands, when started to separate them. I'd done it with one for so long that I was smashing the shells.

#703 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:43 PM:

I pita the fool...

#704 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:26 PM:

If we're on biscuits, could I beg help on how to treat tin cookie and biscuit cutters? I picked up a set of cute, and terribly cheap, Halloween-themed cookie cutters; I suspect they're made of tin. Two weeks and two uses later, they're rusting at the cutting edges, and this after I thought I was being very careful to wash them and dry them promptly after use. All my loaf pans tend to go the same way... Am I missing something obvious, or is this just a sad, inevitable result of using cheap cookware in a humid climate?

#705 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:35 PM:

Sounds like you got that cheap stamped metal from China.

#706 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:43 PM:

Fade, I'm going through something of the same thing with a pair of cheap cookie sheets-- not tin, but still discolored, rusty in places, just... not suitable for direct contact with food.
Unfortunately, I can't help much-- my main suggestion is 'reducing conditions' and that is not helpful even to me. I have just enough chemistry to have lost any common sense I had, and not nearly enough to replace it with anything useful.

#707 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:51 PM:

My new cookie sheets haven't started to rust yet, but they're cheap enough that I suspect it's just a matter of time. I might finally be doing enough baking that it's worth it to invest in decent cookware. If I could find a way to distinguish "good enough quality" from "professional quality" maybe I will; I'm not willing to cough up huge sums for the best cookware, but tossing pans because they're rusting makes me feel wasteful.

Is there any way to distinguish "cheap but reasonable cookware" from "cheap stamped metal from China"? Or should I just assume that anything fairly cheap will be the latter, and prone to rusting?

#708 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:00 PM:

If they are rusting, they aren't tin.

If you wipe them with an acid, and then use a light coat of oil, they will be less prone to rust.

#709 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:04 PM:

Diatryma/Fade: If they are flat sheets, treat them as one would cast iron.

Coat them, lightly, in oil, put them in a 375F oven for a while, and then be gentle with them.

Line them with parchment, when you use them, and never use soap.

#710 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:33 PM:

...ah. Yes. Of course, tin wouldn't rust. (Somewhere out there, a chemistry teacher is shaking his head very sadly at me.) I'll try the acid-and-oil treatment, and see if it helps. What sort of acid would you recommend? Lemon juice is what I have at hand.

#711 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Fade: Lemon juice is the canonic treatment for carbon steel knives (cut the lemon, wipe the knife and voila, the knife turns a splendidly marbled blackish blue).

So cut a lemon, rub the cut face across the pan and you should get a similar effect.

#712 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Tonight's episode of Special Victim Unit once again warns the public that, if a character shows an interest in comic-books, it is a sure sign that there is something Wrong with that person. Tonight's comics fans went a bit further, with female mutilation as they attempt to reproduce scenes from a very violent graphic novel. Sigh.

#713 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:55 AM:

Stefan @ 696, I don't trust my electrical skills. In fact, my handyman skills in general never grew very well. It's what comes of having a civil engineer for a father; he enjoyed fixing things, so I never had to learn it.

#714 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:06 AM:

My best cake pan is a heavy enamel about 1/4" thick. My cookie sheets are the aluminum "air bake". My loaf pans are Pyrex. Doughnut/cookie cutter is copper.
I know downtown is a place that sells off the odd lots of the stainless steel cook/bake ware that commercial kitchens use but I'm not allowed in there. Humrfph. I do not bother with non stick as it's just a layer of "paint" over cheap steel. I haven't tried the silicon stuff yet.
When I used to work in the bakery all the bread pans were cast iron that was seasoned to pitch black. The flat trays were aluminum and we just put a layer of baking paper on them so they rarely needed cleaning.
I can not find spring form pans that do not rust at the drop of a hat.

#715 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Rikibeth @ 682

I have never yet found an amount that was too much cheese

Ah, a kindred soul.

#716 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:59 AM:

Serge #712: Other things I've learned from SVU:

-Gay people work exclusively in restaurants, and are weird.
-Jews are secretive and weird.
-Foreigners are batshit insane and sacrifice chickens twice hourly.
-The four types of women are the intimidated victim, the evil abuser, the police officer/legal-type heroine, and dead.
-The death penalty is TOTALLY THE COOLEST, and all of New York City demands it weekly.
-Prison rape is the most hilarious kind of justice.
-If you're a detective, you can essentially wear your pajamas to work every day.

#717 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:27 AM:

ethan, add to your list:

-The cops always get the right person, even when they don't, because the wrong person is guilty of something.

-Only criminals ask to have a lawyer present and are familiar with basic civil liberties.

-Police brutality is justified, because cops never make mistakes, and the bad guys need roughed up.

-Cases make it through the criminal justice system speedily, without people changing jobs, haircuts, or displaying any evidence that a period of time of usually 4-18 months from crime to arrest to indictment to trial to decision has passed. Justice is only swift on TV and in the movies.

#718 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:43 AM:

Fidelio, #681: A traffic circle? I'm guessing it would be at that ghodawful intersection of 19th and Demonbreun? (May be misremembering the numbered street, but it's the 5-way connection with streets going off at odd angles.) Actually, I can see that being helpful in some ways; the intersection as I remember it had one of the highest collision rates in the city, because of the combination of road weirdness and lots of people unfamiliar with same.

I was in Nashville just a few weeks ago, but didn't have occasion to drive thru that area. Perhaps I'll put it on the list for next time, just to see what's up.

Serge, #712: As a mild counter to that, I finally managed to watch the taped Halloween episode of Bones tonight, and Brennan was dressed as Wonder Woman. And ye ghods, her resemblance to Lynda Carter was absolutely uncanny! OTOH, I had to take issue with Cam's description of Catwoman as a "superhero"; Catwoman was/is a supervillain, and the cause of much angst for Batman; theirs was a classic love/hate relationship.

And I am SO in love with Zack! Watching him doing the probability calculations in his head and narrowing down the field of candidate sites for the victim's location absolutely sent shivers down my spine. Intelligence really is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

And I obviously need to go to bed now, having caught two embarrassing typos in preview.

#719 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:08 AM:

Lee @ 718

Treat yourself to listening to Richard Thompson's "The Hots for the Smarts". Or, if you don't have the audio, here are the lyrics.

#720 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Special Victims Unit was much better when it concentrated on finding the sleasiest, most disgusting subjects it could for the stories. The current level of smug self-righteousness is nowhere near as interesting. I did happen to catch a few minutes of shark-jumping a couple of weeks ago in which they investigated an assault in Second Life. In order to fool the criminal, they turned on the sun four hours early. The system administrator walked over to a large switch on the wall and threw it, causing the virtual sun to appear. I looked, but I couldn't see the moon switch.

#721 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:16 AM:

Fade Manley @704 -- I've had similar problems with rusting (loaf pans, springform pans, cookie cutters). It has helped to put it/them in a warm oven for a few minutes to make sure ALL the moisture has evaporated before putting them away. Letting them sit on top of a heater would work, too. Although I generally agree that some types of baking utensils shouldn't be washed, sometimes there's a need.

#722 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:46 AM:

I bought myself some Chicago Metallic half-sheet pans about five years ago, for $10 each, and it is my firm opinion that I'll never need to buy cookie sheets again.

#723 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:28 AM:


I could see this as a graduate thesis: something that could be researched and presented and filed away to satisfy the occasional future desire for information.

("Hey, would Rhett Butler have used a toothpick?")

Heck, even obsessive self-publication at Lulu.

("Let me check Google... There's a book on the history of toothpicks.")

But how many people are going to buy a conventionally printed work? I suppose that the target is university libraries.

("Is it in the library catalogue?")

And how do such libraries decide what to buy?

("Nope, they don't have a School of Dentistry.")

#724 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:20 AM:

ethan #716: What, I wonder, would an immigrant Jewish lesbian be like on that show?

#725 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:23 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #720: 'And System Administrator Person said "let there be light" and there was light.'

#726 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:11 AM:

Lee @ #718, ever watched "Numb3rs"?

My favorite guilty pleasure is "House MD". Doctors! When presented with a patient suffering from either radiation poisoning or a mysterious pathogen, be sure to enter the room without gown, mask or gloves, don't bring a Geiger counter, and sit by the patient's bedside for hours, stealing food off his plate.

#727 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:57 AM:

I'm still waiting for SVU to deal with all those homosexual comic-book-loving hitmen who work for the Russian Mob.

#728 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:08 AM:

A fair quantity of my good quality bakeware came from estate sales -- stuff the former owner bought in the 50s-70s. Regular household stuff was generally better, if in weird colors, back in Those Days (tm). The core of my bakeware collection is stuff I inherited from my grandmother (bought in the 40s-70s) and stuff I bought in the 70s. I've found some nice cast iron at estate sales, too. Sometimes I feel almost evil talking the heirs down on prices because "it has all this rust on it". heh.

#729 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Tracie @ 728... Sometimes I feel almost evil

Shall we cast aspersions (and iron) upon your shameless and ruthless (and stainless) person?

#730 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Lee @918--Your mental map-image is a bit off--19th Avenue is west of Music Square--Music Row East is 16th Avenue and Music Row West is 17th Avenue. The roundabout (officially the Buddy Killen Roundabout) sits at the intersection of 16th and 17th Avenues, Music Rows East and West, Division, Demonbreun and Music Square*. It has this statue in the middle of it (to the consternation of a couple of the prissier members of the city council, as well as all the Baptist and Church of Christ preachers within 100 miles). Also, there's now a little park at the end of the block between Music Rows East and West, with a statue of Owen Bradley at the piano, with enough room on the bench that you can have your picture taken playing a duet, as it were, rather like the statue of Chet Atkins downtown, with an empty stool next to his (Chet wanted it that way; he said it was more fun to play together than alone, or something like that).

Another view of Musica.

*No, it didn't improve traffic at that intersection, especially for the tourists in RVs.

#731 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:49 AM:

The 'Holiday Baking' issue of Cook's Illustrated has oatmeal scones (makes 8), with some variations. Also dinner rolls, quiche lorraine, and a number of items which will definitely give you a sugar high while being very tasty.

#732 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:55 AM:

I guess I must have the pastry gene then; I must admit that I do a good pie crust. Essentially the difference between real and mock shortbread is that the latter is the equivalent of a oil crust, which is actually superior for some uses.

(Hmmmmm... must urge wife to make lemon bars.)

My mom's old cookie sheets (I think she still has some of them) were simply heavy aluminum (about 1/32") with one end bent up to give you a place to grip. My big ring pan is aluminum too. I'd hate to have to replace it; big ones seem to have become rare and a lot of them aren't sectional. Come to think of it, I think that the ring part of my springform is aluminum.

#733 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:58 AM:

In Fall my black dog
Barks in a not-quite-soundproof
Cage of Lexapro™.

#734 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:22 PM:

ethan 716: Add "people who are in unusual kinds of relationships (or who have unusual sex lives) are probably criminals of one kind or another." Contrast with CSI, where Lady Heather is a recurring (and quite sympathetic) character.

#735 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:53 PM:

733: Winter depressives
Await the Sun's spring return;
But then comes pollen.

#736 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Xopher @ 734... I much prefer Criminal Intent, especially the Chris Noth episodes, even when they don't make fun of Eurotrash named Serge.

#737 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:13 PM:

735: Spring brings allergies,
But Winter brings sniffles too—
And influenza.

#738 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:19 PM:

I can vouch for the Cook's Illustrated oatmeal scones. That's another one I use at work.

Likewise their corn muffins.

#739 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Not influenza.
ML readers mind Jim,
Have gotten flu shots.

#740 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:37 PM:

One day science will give me the pastry gene nature denied me. For bakeware the thicker and heavier the better.

I have a reliable small scale cheese scone recipe.

2c flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp dry mustard
30g unsalted butter
1/4c fine grated parmesan
3/4c fine grated cheddar
1c milk

Still trying to figure out if I want to try Scottish Baps. Yay or nay from those that have eaten them?

#741 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Xopher @ #733:

Good one! I like the implied Lexan™-Lexapro™ parallel.

#742 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Rikibeth #695:

For cutting in shortening/butter, I use one of those pastry gadgets (I've suddenly blanked on the name, forget my own next) with a bunch of tines connected at both ends to a handle. Got mine from Williams-Sonoma, and also use it for making guacamole.

#743 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:23 PM:

In re bakeware:

I was looking up the care and feeding of cookies in Corriher's Cookwise the other night, as spouse was having a baking fit, and came across the following gem about baking sheets:

My personal favorites are simply 3/32 inch thick pieces of aluminum from a sheet metal company. I go through the company's bin of scrap pieces, pick out the sizes I need, and have the company smooth the edges for me. These extraordinarily heavy sheets distribute the heat evenly and bake cookies beautifully.

My own personal cookie sheet is one of those air-cushioned aluminum things. Works great.

#744 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:32 PM:

joann @ 742
I've never seen it called anything but 'pastry blender'. Works for me, in both senses.

I have a couple of bought (Ekco) cookie sheets that are fairly good (outside of one of them having pizza fairly permanently baked on). My brother made a cookie sheet in his junior-high metal shop class that did very well, too.

#745 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Getting a letter into the Oregonian seems a lot of work, but it looks like it will happen.

#746 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:42 PM:

joann @ 742: pastry cutter or pastry blender. One from Williams-Sonoma might be sturdy enough, but the usual run of inexpensive ones are too flimsy for my taste, which is why I prefer a fork. The big Russian silver fork that's been in the family for several generations, and which is also the canonical implement for scrambling eggs, even if the sulfur in the eggs tarnishes the silver a bit.

I'm very much in favor of people using the tools that work for them. Someday, if I'm posting-while-drinking, you may get me to tell the Story of the Juiced Limes, which involves the only time I ever walked out of a kitchen job with no notice.

#747 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:47 PM:

#745: Great!

* * *

A friend forwarded me an email from a Concerned Parent:

"THE GOLDEN COMPASS, a new movie targeted at children, will be released December 7, 2007. This movie is based on a the first book of a trilogy by atheist Philip Pullman. In the final book a boy and girl kill God so they can do as they please.

Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books are about killing God."

The movie is a watered down version of the first book and is designed to be very attractive in the hope unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the the movie and that the children will want the books for Christmas.

The movie has a well known cast, including Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon, and Sam Elliott. It will probably be advertised extensively, so it is crucial that we get the word out to warn parents to avoid this movie."

And, um, you know, unlike the ludicrous heeby jeebies about Harry Potter teaching satanism, they're pretty much right!

(Only the kids don't actually kill God; ur whfg xvaq bs qevsgf gb cvrprf va n fgebat jvaq nsgre gur xvqf erfphr uvz sebz sylvat zbafgref. And they certainly don't "do as they please.")

#748 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:53 PM:

I have a super-duper pastry cutter which has blades instead of the usual wires.

Can I whine now about the general crappiness of kitchen tools these days? Especially anything involving plastic. Spatulas-- they are all either hard but curl up and die in the dishwasher, or they are these blunt instrument silicone things that don't work. And then we have that nasty Chinese melamine crap that cracks open in in the dishwasher and are absurdly large and crude. And why in the world does anyone make a turner blade out of something that melts?

#749 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Sheesh, Rikibeth (#746). The Story of the Juiced Limes?

Paging Dr. Watson and The Giant Rat of Sumatra, "a story for which the world is not yet prepared."

I'm sorry, but I've been frustrated about that untold story for 40+ years; I'll be darned if I let you get away with doing the same! Fess up!

#750 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:59 PM:

re 747: Here it is on Snopes:

Claim: The 2007 film The Golden Compass is based on a series of books with anti-religious themes.

Status: True

I've never read the series, but I recall when the third one came out that there was a decided sense of betrayal among a lot of readers, and a lot of people who thought that it was extremely ham-handed.

#751 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:04 PM:

C.Wingate #748:

I admit to handwashing all my tools. Nor do I put the Revereware in the dishwasher. Partly because I'm scared it'll all melt, but also because I actually find 5-10 minutes of dishes to be therapeutic first thing after breakfast. (Gotta wash out my coffee mug, gotta clean whatever outstanding cat food bowls may exist, why not do a few other things and get my hands warmed up?)

#752 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:08 PM:

Not that I generally make a bunch of media references, so I'm very proud when I do. Last night was irresistible: We were in the Temple of Import Food, and the holiday food displays had just arrived. New this year were some German company's chocolate Santas, about a foot high, with red jackets, long white beards, something green about the trim. My husband took one look and said, "Those are deeply disturbing." I replied, "Well, of course! They look exactly like the killer gnomes in Dr Who!"

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:11 PM:

joann @ 752... Watch out for the spinning Xmas trees.

#754 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:25 PM:

#748 C. Wingate

Amen! I want a garlic press like the one that my mom bought for 75 cents when she was first married. It, mirabile dictu, actually presses garlic...unlike the 5 presses I've owned since having my own kitchen.

One can, however, still buy the Feemster's Famous Slicer, thank goodness, though I gather there are some suspicions that they've changed the blade on it.

#755 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:37 PM:

Terry - thanks for the offer but my kitchen is teeny. I'm barely able to fit my fat ass in there, and as my roommate and I discovered, two people in the kitchen is an unpleasant exercise in human Tetris. I chickened out last night and made chocolate chip cookies which always turn out. The roommate will be making the scones this evening, and taking the left-overs to work tomorrow *. We decided against using our stand mixer and dough hooks for the scones, as we're just making non-industrial amounts and she vaguely remembers making scones some time ago and using her own hands - and only patting, never rolling.

Unless pecans or cinnamon have some strange scone-ruining properties, we should be just fine.

Oh and another thing I've learned from L&O - lady prosecutors are always hot 20-somethings. But that's generally true of all tv - lady-whatevers are always hot 20-somethings. I do like the L&O CIs with Vincent D'onfrio.

* one of the problems of living in a two-person household is that while one can make a full batch of chocolate chip cookies, scones, flourless chocolate cake, bagna cauda, etc, two people will never finish the whole thing. Therefore our respective workplaces are the recipients of our forays into baking.

#756 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:38 PM:

C. Wingate #750:

I was disappointed with The Amber Spyglass because I thought Pullman bottled it. The kids don't kill God, they don't even kill a god: they accidentally kill a senile old angel and help defeat a jumped-up human who's actually in charge.

Also: if you throw napalm on them, angels catch fire and die? WTF?

#757 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Niall... Spoilers!

#758 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:43 PM:

I have, lying about; derelict and unloved, someplace, a bladed pastry cutter. Like rikbeth, I am a fan of what works, and for me, it doesn't.

While I was in Landstuhl I bought a garlic press for Maia. It was made by Rossle, and is as close as I have seen to the monter her mother owns. It has some camming action, and the press itself is easy to flip apart and clean (in which wise it is better than her mother's).

Her mother had a swell press, some 25 years ago, and it broke. Her father, the machinist, "repaired" it. He did this by looking at it, deciding what it was supposed to do (crush things) and then building one from scratch. It has a camming action, a steel barrel (about .185 inch), is welded to a fare-thee-well (not pretty welding, but solid), and the press-face is (so far as I can tell) the valve from an automobile engine, reworked.

If you can get the press-face to line up, whatever garlic is in the prsess will be smashed. I've not managed to get more than 6 cloves at once, but they went through.

When Maia's mother dies, there is likely to be a rush to the kitchen to claim it, much as the rush to my aunt's basement will happen (she has, in the boxes, a 10 qt pressure cooker and a Sunbeam mixer, with all the attachments; from her wedding day in 1956. Both unused).

#759 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:44 PM:

nerdycellist @ 755... another thing I've learned from L&O - lady prosecutors are always hot 20-somethings

At least S. Epatha Merkeson and Leslie Hendrix are allowed to be older.

#760 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Wingate 748,

I hear and understand. Cheap shit everywhere. I gleefully cackled like a loon when I finally found single piece carved cherry wood mixing spoons.
My mother in law gave me Grandmar's old hand crank grinder and blades that you bolt to your counter. Oh the damage you can do with that beast if your arm doesn't drop off.

#761 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:58 PM:


I go into the office one day a week. (Hurrah for telecommuting jobs!) The night before, about half the time I make a batch of cookies. The spouse and I both get just enough cookies to ruin our diets for the day, and then the next day everyone at the office says nice things to me while finishing off the rest. It's quite satisfying all around, and possibly makes people more forgiving of some of the awkwardness that comes with me only being in the office for half a day once a week, running around trying to do all my in-person meetings at once.

I've mostly done peanut butter cookies, because apparently everyone likes peanut butter cookies. They've come out rather sadly and crunchy until I finally gave up on following the recipe precisely, and started fiddling with it. My latest batch, I added an extra half cup of flour, turned down the temperature 15 degrees, and watched the oven like a hawk; I ended up with the best batch of peanut butter cookies I've ever made. This leads me to believe that cook books are not being sufficiently playtested before publication; another book gave us a truly dreadful batch of molasses cookies, despite perfect adherence to the recipe.

#762 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:02 PM:

one of the problems of living in a two-person household is that while one can make a full batch of chocolate chip cookies, scones, flourless chocolate cake, bagna cauda, etc, two people will never finish the whole thing. Therefore our respective workplaces are the recipients of our forays into baking.

Speaking of which, can anyone recommend information sources for learning how to scale recipes for baked goods? I know that they don't scale linearly, and that a lot depends on the individual recipe, but surely there must be some general guidelines?

I checked out Small-Batch Baking from the library, but wasn't impressed with the results. One of the reviews on Amazon (from someone who sounds like she knows what she's talking about) said "I have had NOT ONE success from 16 base recipes that I have tried."

#763 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:06 PM:

But all the actors in the original Law and Order, at least, have retired from the show long since; they do occasionally phone in performances, but usually that's too much trouble, so they just send a telegram. At least in Merkeson's case that's a real shame.

#764 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Bruce Cohen... Has Merkeson left? I stopped watching L&O a few years ago, because every time Fred Thompson would show up, I wanted to throw something unyielding at my TV set.

#765 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:17 PM:

Fade 761,

The biggest problem with modern recipes is that they are less forgiving and very technique dependent especially if they are trying hard to be more healthy with less fat and sugar. Most modern recipes are tested under controlled conditions by pros.
Old fashion recipes had a lot of play and you did not need lab tech perfect measures and methods; they were generous with all the ingredients and flexible with technique. They were tried and true by everyday cooks under all conditions.

As for peanut butter cookies quality of the peanut butter makes a huge difference. My old recipe assumes pure peanut butter not the store brands with soy oil and other crap in it. If I use Skippy or something I get greasy wads. Do you cross fork score you cookies?

#766 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Lexica: rikibeth might be able to give you tips.

Me, I know they don't scale well (though cookies usually don't suffer too badly, and bread is all about ratio, so it's a little more scalar) so I tend to stay in the range of the recipe.

#767 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:32 PM:

C. Wingate et al. -- old kitchen stuff is great! My prize possession is my grandmother's rolling pin. One finely turned, solid piece of maple. No moveable parts, but works like a dream.

Terry, that's funny about the Rossle garlic press. My (German) husband bought a great press on a business trip to California, which included a pilgrimage to Gilroy. Go figure. There is almost nothing he won't put garlic in. He would be seriously envious of a press that would hold six cloves.

#768 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Tania #717: Ah, yes. Excellent additions to the list. The haircut bit, by the way, cracked me up to no end.

Fragano #724: Oh my god. Your saying that made me realize that I did that horrible thing that people do and said "gay people" when I meant "gay men." I feel severely awful now. Although I don't recall ever seeing any lesbians at all on SVU. An immigrant Jewish lesbian would probably end up being a victim locked in a closet for most of her life who ended up killing innocent people because of her suffering, or something. And who sacrificed chickens in secret, and who was really really weird.

In some ways, I really love that show. And in some ways, it's vile tripe. I can't explain it.

#769 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:34 PM:

I did happen to catch a few minutes of shark-jumping a couple of weeks ago in which they investigated an assault in Second Life. In order to fool the criminal, they turned on the sun four hours early. The system administrator walked over to a large switch on the wall and threw it, causing the virtual sun to appear. I looked, but I couldn't see the moon switch.


Who needs a SysAdmin? Any player can use the "Force Sunrise" command - and no other player's experience will be affected by it. I've done this when a given time-of-day setting made my Tringo card hard to see. (Yes, I've played Tringo. I'm aware this makes me a pathetic person. Don't worry, I have a new addiction these days!)

It's not like the research needed to get this right is difficult. The software is free.

#770 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Linkmeister@ #749:
Paging Dr. Watson and The Giant Rat of Sumatra, "a story for which the world is not yet prepared."

Fred Saberhagen was there for you: The Holmes-Dracula File.

I rather liked that and the first (The Dracula Tapes) and third (An Old Friend of the Family) books in the series, but thought it went downhill at speed after that.

#771 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:41 PM:

I only ever use all-natural peanut butter (as in, only composed of peanuts and maybe some salt), because the other stuff tastes nasty to me. I grew up on real peanut butter, and the only place I can eat the margarine-filled stuff is in candy where I'm not expecting "real" peanut butter anyway.

The first batch, I did the cross fork scoring on the cookies. But the first batch was pretty bleah. The most recent batch I did, that came out so well, I didn't bother, and it didn't look like it would've made a difference; they were nice flat discs without any scoring, despite being dropped as lumps on the cookie sheets. Does the scoring make a difference, or is it just for the classic scored look?

#772 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:47 PM:

T.W. @765:
I expect it's very much dependent on the particular recipe. I was looking at an unmitigated disaster last night in my atempt to make a baked marbled cheesecake. I'd put the ingredients in in the wrong order, more than once, and forgot to add the baking powder as called for by the recipe - the flour I used was not self-raising.

Decided to whack it in the oven anyway & to my great surprise, it turned out o.k. Granted this particular recipe had butter, cream cheese, & eggs in it, but even so...

#773 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:56 PM:

Just to chime in as a contrarian, but I am apparently the exception making the rule on peanut butter cookies. I'm not allergic to peanuts or peanut butter, but I'm not particularly fond of them, in general.

Sugar cookies are some of my favorite cookies in all the world, though...may just have to go home and make some tonight.

#774 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:56 PM:

A cake cookbook to swear by: One Pot Cakes. The recipes are nigh unto bulletproof and the results are good. (Try the s'mores torte.)

#775 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:58 PM:


An immigrant Jewish lesbian would probably end up being a victim locked in a closet for most of her life who ended up killing innocent people because of her suffering, or something. And who sacrificed chickens in secret, and who was really really weird.

from fragano's cooment i was thinking Mossad Agent, but you're right. she would probably be A Holocaust Survivor. so she'd be like an eighty-year-old jewish lesbian immigrant murderer. hee. now i kinda want to see that.

#776 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:01 PM:

Susan (#770): Hear! Hear!

There was one of the later ones which wasn't too bad, but I don't think, in good conscience, I can commend the intermediate tomes to get there.

Fade: The scoring is canonic, mostly. It can get browning reactions on the nubbly bits.

#777 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Apropos of nothing, except perhaps a bad day at work:

I'm a little chocolate coffeepot,
Not so heat-resistant as you thought.
Fill me up with coffee till I'm hot
Watch me melt and leave a spot!

I'm a little waxen fireguard,
When the room is chilly, I'm quite hard.
But before the kindling's more than charred
Whoops! your carpet is now marred.

#778 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Abi... Since when does a bad day at the office fall under the definition of 'nothing'?

#779 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:48 PM:

Serge @ 764

No, I don't mean they left the show; sorry for the confusion. I meant that they aren't working at acting anymore; they're just going through the motions, telephoning their performances in.

#780 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Can anyone suggest recipes that require a substantial quantity of sauerkraut? I inherited a big jug of the stuff courtesy a party at work. I wondering if there's some kind of eastern European casserole that requires a couple of pounds of the stuff.

Backup plan is to parcel it into packets for freezing, and using them on occasions when I'd normally buy a can o 'kraut. e.g., making perogies.

#781 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:39 PM:

MMMnnnnn... sauerkraut.

There are some soups which use it, and an alsatian feast (a huge pile of kraut, surrounded by as large a pile of sausages; drink wine, or german beer with it, the best of french beers, IMO, are swill).

You can put it in the fridge and just enjoy it, in drips and drabs until it is gone.

#782 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Linkmeister @ 749

The provenance and destiny of the Giant Rat is explained in the Doctor Who episode "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (fourth doctor, Tom Baker). It was the second or third episode of the doctor I ever saw, and I'm fondly nostalgic for it.

Vg frrzf gur Eng jnf n ybpny frjre eng rkcbfrq gb enqvngvba qhr gb gur znpuvangvbaf bs n shtvgvir jne pevzvany sebz gur 51fg Praghel, jub hfrq vg gb xrrc crbcyr njnl sebz uvf haqretebhaq ynve.

#783 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Skwid, I'm not at all surprised to hear that there are people who don't like peanut butter cookies. Even people who aren't allergic to them. I just happen to have been lucky enough to find a single type of cookies that every single person in the office actively enjoys. It's very handy, as I had to go through a few other varieties before I hit on one that wouldn't have at least one person going "No thanks, I don't like raisins" or "No thanks, I don't like chocolate" at the options.

On a completely different note, there's a giant gray square blocking the left two-thirds of posts #779 to the top of #781. It stays in the exact same place no matter how many times I refresh the page, and trying to highlight the text beneath it doesn't help. Anyone know what might be causing that problem? It's very odd, and nothing I've seen on a webpage before. (Not unless you count pop-over advertisements, and it doesn't really look like one of those, even aside from being a featureless gray box.)

#784 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:35 PM:

There is a time and a place for fandom. Running for your local School Board, IMHO, is not one of them.

#785 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:35 PM:

Fade Manley @ 783

I see it too, and I've seen it here on ML once before. I'm using Firefox, if that helps.

#786 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:47 PM:

T.W. @ 765: There are people that don't score their PB cookies with forks?


Heck, even the cafeteria here at work scores the PB cookies they bake.

#787 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Stefan @ #780, Fortuitously or serendipitously, sauerkraut is featured in the Shaker Gourmet recipe today. It requires 2 lbs and a bunch of kielbasa.

#788 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:58 PM:

Bruce @ #782, Well now. That explains it, particularly the "world is not prepared" part. After all, yngr v9gu-praghel ratynaq jbhyq uneqyl npprcg n fvfg-praghel pevzvany.

#789 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:34 PM:

You guys should have brought up needing bakeware before I cleaned the kitchen of the things I couldn't use anymore. I had some really nice stuff, but I can't cook, much less bake, anymore.

My favorite cookie is the snickerdoodle, and not just because of the name.

Xopher, #737, right on time. My nose started leaking yesterday afternoon and by last night I had a full-blown cold. I've had two colds in the last six months and no colds for three or four years before that. I have this wacky theory (that the doctors will certainly dispute) that with the bits of weight loss and the better labs, my immune system has stopped trying to kill me and so I'm more available to cold viruses.

Debbie, #739, the vaccines are guess-at versions, so it's still quite possible to get flu after a flu shot. It's just a really good potential preventative.

#790 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:42 PM:

Fork scoring the cookies is an easy way to distinguish them visually from similar looking cookies. Works well for the allergy crowd who can tell at a glance those ones are dangerous. When naughty I switch to other nut butters for the cookies and drizzle melted chocolate on them; hazelnut or almond works best for that.

#791 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:07 PM:

I used to assume that the snickerdoodle was a secret family recipe, because it was hand written on a scrap of paper and used as a bookmark in my mother's cook book.

#792 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Bruce, #719: Oh. My. Ghod. Now I have to find that and learn it, just to sing it at filks!

Lila, #726: Not yet, but someone has already aroused my interest by pointing me at "The Math Behind Numb3rs" website, and I'm going to take a look at the show when things here are a bit less hectic.

House, I'm afraid, is Right Out. The ultimate antidote to the Hotness of Smarts appears to be assholism, of which House is a stunning example. I've caught bits and pieces of a few episodes, and there doesn't seem to be as much as five consecutive minutes during which I don't want to smack that jerk upside the head.

Fidelio, #730: Yeah, that came back to me after I'd had some sleep. I was thinking about the right intersection, I just assigned it to the wrong street number. But OMG, that statue! And the fundie preacher completely missing the point by bringing up the Ten Commandments. A nude statue isn't promoting or advocating any religion at all. Now I think I'll have to drive by there the next time I'm in the city, and take a closer look.

That it's Alan LeQuire's work doesn't surprise me at all. He did the giant Athena in the Parthenon, so he'd be the obvious choice for this.

Skwid, #773: I'm with you on peanut-butter cookies. I don't dislike them, but I generally won't eat them unless they're the only variety available. And I do like peanut butter (in sandwiches or on toast), and I like Reece's Cups, so I'm not sure what the difference is.

#793 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:43 PM:

I got my flu shot,
then was rushed to hospital:
fall coincidence.

#794 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:48 PM:

ethan #768: That sounds distinctly possible.

#795 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:01 PM:

And then there's the peanut-butter cookie variation that plants a Hershey's Kiss onto the middle of each blob of cookie dough before baking. This makes cross-scoring somewhat optional, as the Kiss tends to blot out most of the cross-scored area and can also be used as a flattening technique in its own right.

IIRC the last time we made these, there was only the one kind of Hershey's Kisses; I have no idea how some of the recent Kiss variations with cream/caramel fillings etc. would fare in the oven.

#796 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:06 PM:

#787: Thanks, that's just the kind of dish I was looking for.

#797 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Lee 792,

To me the biggest problem with House is it seems like the writers are trying too hard to make him a snarky sarcastic curmudgeon and have no clue how fine a line that takes to prevent asshole. House is a jerk due to poor writing that wishes the character to be something more nuanced.

#799 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:48 PM:

There's also, not to be forgotten, the Firesign Theatre's Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra. (I'd post an Amazon link but it seems to be out of print again.)

#800 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:51 PM:

There's also, not to be forgotten, the Firesign Theatre's Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra. (I'd post an Amazon link but it seems to be out of print again.)

#801 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:45 AM:

Firesign Theatre has also taken a whack at the Giant Rat of Sumatra, but the Wikipedia article implies it's not very good. All I remember for sure is that it's not good enough to have caused me to listen to it recently enough to have my own opinion on it.

#802 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:47 AM:

Er...and that's why you not only read to the end before posting, but if it took you more than an hour to catch up on the thread, you refresh before posting, too.

#803 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:56 AM:

Abi and Serge,

I loved Nurse Chapel's driking song. Hilarious!

#804 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:57 AM:



#805 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:12 AM:

Reuters wins the headline of the day award: Hide your old pills in poop, U.S. government says. There's even a shout-out to the ferret fanciers:

"Ferret waste, like nearly any other form of pet waste, can be effectively used to help prevent the abuse of unused prescription drugs," SAMHSA spokesman Mark Weber said.
This is followed by a quote from the American Ferret Association: "'The U.S. government declares ferret poop to be an effective weapon against drug abuse,' the group said in a statement." Seriously. Some reporter had way too much fun with this one.

#806 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:35 AM:

800 & 801

My lack of memory of the Firesign Theatre's Giant Rat leads me to agree with you. I can remember large stretches of "I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus"* and "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers"**, but I'm drawing a complete blank on the Rat. I may find out soon; I'm about to start ripping all my old vinyl that's been sitting around for 30 years or so, and I think it's still in there somewhere.

* Extra credit: what operating system supplied the jargon coming from the PA system?
** Which has the best cover of all their records.

#807 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Antelope Freeway
1/2 Mile

#808 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:50 AM:

Bruce @ #806, what equipment/software do you intend to use to rip the vinyl? I've got 300 albums I'm looking at doing that with. I just got confirmation from Amazon that this Audio Technica turntable should arrive day after tomorrow. It comes with Cakewalk PYRO software, but the reviewers seem to think that should be ignored and Audacity should be downloaded.

#809 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:05 AM:

Antelope Freeway
1/4 mile

#810 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:12 AM:

Linkmeister @ 808

I'm probably going to use Audacity to rip the music, since it's easy to use, I've already confirmed that it works with the USB turntable I just bought, and Eva will be doing a lot of that part on her computer while she works. I haven't decided what to do about cleanup and breaking it into tracks; probably Toast, either by itself or with help from Final Vinyl. I have to have Eva rip a few records and then try some experiments.

Incidentally, I just bought a used copy of the paperback omnibus volume of Taltos and Phoenix; if you're interested in reading them when I'm done (probably sometime next week), let me know.

#811 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:13 AM:

#801 and #806: As I recall, it was better than they make it sound. Perhaps less a coherent storyline than some of their albums, more a continuous string of jokes and puns like Nick Danger: Third Eye. Lots of lewd puns ("Frig-it!" "What?" "Frigate Matilda Briggs!") and doper-joke mileage out of Holmes' cocaine addiction ("Flotsam, hand me that tin of Uncle Sigmund's Peruvian Cocoa powder!"), but there's some great humor in there and some good plays on the conventions of the Holmes canon. As I recall - it's been quite a few years since I heard it last.

Bruce @ 806, Linkmeister @ 808:

Good luck on your vinyl ripping; I stalled out on mine a few years back and haven't resumed. One thing I did conclude after a while at it: if I could buy the album as a used CD, at a non-insane price, that was a far better investment of my time/money than trying to re-record it. However I do have some albums that were simply never issued on CD, so I've really got to get back to it at some point.

Damn, Bruce, I used to know the answer on the OS reference, but now I can't remember. As I recall, the slang "gypsy" for an intruding program - what we'd now call a hack or a worm - is one of the giveaways. At a wild guess, ITS, or maybe Multics?

#812 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:34 AM:

Bruce @ #810, if you've got Orca and Yendi I'd love to borrow them.

Clifton @ #811, well, that's the question, isn't it? Whether one's time is more valuable than the $9.99 it would cost for a used CD at Jelly's. Most of my albums are not obscure, so eventually they might turn up there, but when?

#813 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:51 AM:

Antelope Freeway
1/8 mile

I don't think it was Multics. Based on the 'systat' and 'maknam', I always assumed it was something from a 36-bit machine, or at least with roots there (where 6-char words would fit in a single word, with a 6-bit charset). My guess would be RSX.

#814 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:59 AM:

Marilee @739 -- I know the flu shots can be iffy. Just couldn't resist chiming in on the haiku.

Fragano Ledgister @793 -- hopefully a coincidence. Yikes!

#815 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:37 AM:

Linkmeister: I have a copy of Yendi I could send you.

#816 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:02 AM:

Skwid@773, Lee@792: I go you both one better: I loathe peanut butter cookies and in fact anything at all that tastes of peanuts. Not allergic, I just find it a very unpleasant taste.

Apropos of nothing else, I want to let everyone know that my copy of the new CD of Murray Gold's Doctor Who music came in the mail yesterday ( seems to be able to get me stuff in only two days) and I'm currently listening to it for about the fourth time. Great stuff.

#817 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:29 AM:

CosmicDog @ 803... Abi and Serge, I loved Nurse Chapel's drinking song.

Thanks. The talent involved was all Abi's. As for Christine, I think she should lay off the tranya if she's even considering dating a Tellarite.

#818 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:25 AM:

Stefan #780: I think the dish that Terry mentioned is 'Choucroute', an Alsatian/Alsace specialty. I recall Jeffrey Steingarten having a recipe in one of his collections - I could dig it out if you like, although it is probably as obsessive as all of his oeuvre...

Terry: The only French beer that I've had that was worth it is some stuff from Alsace, with a germanic name, which probably proves the rule.

#819 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:39 AM:

Debbie #814: It was a coincidence. It was, however, definitely a yikes.

#820 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Jakob #818: The French beer I find most appetising is 'la belle strasbourgeoise', which is definitely Alsatian, though it doesn't have a German name.

#821 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:28 AM:

So, uh, hi everyone. (hello)

My name is heresiarch and, uh, I'm a heterodynaholic. (welcome, heresiarch)

I didn't used to think I had a problem. I mean, I'm no kid--I've read other web comics before, you know? Never had a problem. I thought I could handle it.

When I first started, I thought, hey, it's just because I'm reading the archives. The story moves so fast when you can read them all at once. It really sucks you in, right? I figured that once I caught up, things'd settle down. I'd be able to cope, to talk with my friends. Be a real person again.

But it just got worse. Ever since I caught up, I've been jonesing. Jonesing bad. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekend: bad days. I keep finding myself walking down the street, muttering "Hands. ROBOT hands, that shoot LIGHTNING!! Mwa ha ha..." And every problem I have, I just keep thinking--this would all be so much simpler if I had a death ray.

I need help. Some serious help. That's why I'm here.

So: do any of you guys know how to build a death ray?

#822 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Heresiarch, I've come to realize that Tuesdays and Thursdays are *good*-- I look forward to eleven o'clock when all my webcomics update. It's something to anticipate throughout the day.

#823 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:45 AM:

Heresiarch... do any of you guys know how to build a death ray?

Me, I want a dingbot.

#824 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:51 AM:

Heresiarch #821: A death ray.... Hmmm. Well, with a large enough convex lens.........

#825 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:56 AM:


The thing about building death rays is that first of all you need to work out exactly how dead you want things to be.

If you just want stuff kinda-sorta dead, you may well have all the materials and expertise on hand already.

If you want things REALLY dead, you have to ask yourself why. Has this person/animal/hybrid/miscellaneous-currently-alive-thing already annoyed you/mocked your sparkiness/built a death ray and destroyed your finely-crafted army of mutants? Because in that case, what you need is a time-machine with a death-ray attachment. Trickier.

But I'm sure Miss Hetrodyne will show the way eventually, if you pay VERY close attention.

/Failure to help with addiction.

#826 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:12 AM:

My name is SpeakerToManagers and I'm a heterodynaholic.

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays got so bad after awhile, once I'd gotten uptodate on Girl Genius, that I started looking around for some other comic to tide me over. The same pusher that first slipped me Heterodyne, turned me on to Buck Godot, Zap Ray for Hire. It's older, but it keeps in the fridge pretty well, and it doesn't get stale. Now if I can just find something for Sunday ...

And they have free desktop images.

#827 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Linkmeister @ 812

All the books I've got are in these Ace Books large format omnibus volumes:†

Vo1 1: Jhereg, Yendi, Teckla

Vol 2: Taltos, Phoenix

Vol 3: Athyra, Orca

I can send you vol 1 now, and I should be finished with vol 2 next week, after which I start on vol 3, so figure another couple of weeks*

† Don't you just love Powell's Books? I used to talk to old Mr. Powell, the original founder of the store, at the register. He ran that place for the love of the books, and all his employees were deeply knowledgeable about at least one genre or area of knowledge. It's not as personal anymore, and his son's not as interesting a character, but they have a lot of books.
* I used to read a book every day or two, until my internet addiction started acting up again.

#828 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:40 AM:

The answer to the Firesign Theater OS question:

QrpFlfgrz 10. Qbpgbe Zrzbel, jub zhzoyrf gur fgernz bs pbafpvbhfarff, vf cebonoyl na Ryvmn-yvxr cebtenz pnyyrq "Qbpgbe" gung ena ba Qrp 10f. Ersrerapr: yrg'f frr vs EBG-13 jvyy fhpprffshyyl rapbqr naq qrpbqr n hey.

#829 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Well, now, that was really special. Url in rot-13 is "hey". And if you hover over a rot-13'd url (at least in Firefox) you see the original url's href in the status line. Neat.

#830 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:24 AM:

Stefan Jones @#780--
You might also want to look at a traditional Polish recipe for a dish called bigos--this is a hunter's stew and uses game, in an ideal world, so if you can get your hands on venison to go in with the other meat, it's better (and because it's slow-cooked, the tendency for venison to be tough and dry sometimes isn't an issue). If that recipe doesn't suit, there are at least a thousand other variations out there. The tart apples make a nice contrast to the kraut.

#831 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Lee @792--My mother was reminded of the furor over the Meeting of the Waters in St. Louis, outside Union Station--but that was in 1940. People in St. Louis have long since gotten over the fact they have a fountain with nekkid people in it in a prominent place downtown, so there's hope for Nashville, I suppose.

Of course, the area around Union Station was known as the Tenderloin District for a good reason, so there were those who said the Meeting of the Waters was just setting the mood, so to speak.

#832 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Antelope Freeway 1/1024 miles.
"Are we there yet, Zeno?"

#833 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:02 PM:

rikibeth: So, this morning, as I was making waffle batter I decided to try separating eggs one handed. I can do it. Not as omfortably as two-handed, and not yet as quickly, but I can do it.

#834 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Linkmeister, #812: If you're looking for something specific, eBay or is probably a better option than your local used-music store.

My problem is a couple hundred out-of-print filk tapes and tapes by obscure contradance bands. I have some equipment which has been tested and proven to do the job, but it's a processor hog and very sensitive to interference from things like my e-mail auto-fetch, so I'm now looking for a cheap laptop that I can use as a dedicated machine for the purpose.

#835 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:31 PM:

"Squeeze him again, maybe he'll pass another."

The canonical Firesign Theater album for me is "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All?"

Looks like Amazon has a good selection.

#836 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:02 PM:

A request for my fellow heterodynaholics...

I need a gloating icon for my LiveJournal and who does better bwahahahah-level gloating than Phil Foglio? Unfortunately, I find myself drawing a blank about which web-published page would have someone bwahahahahing. If I were home, I could look thru the trade paperbacks then on the web. Alas, I am at the office. Anybody got a link?

(Yes, I want to gloat because I have a co-worker who usually responds to my questions like I'm a fucking moron except that, this time anyway, I'm the one whose thinking was perfectly logical and led to the correct answer.)

#837 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:03 PM:

rikibeth: So, this morning, as I was making waffle batter I decided to try separating eggs one handed. I can do it. Not as omfortably as two-handed, and not yet as quickly, but I can do it.

#838 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:06 PM:

I'm blanking on specifics, but the lineup in the coffeeshop after Agatha encounters stimulants, with British-Man, Zeetha, and Cat, that says 'gloating' to me. But my gloats are quieter, rather than maniacal laughter.

#839 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Ear #791:

Snickerdoodles used to be *the* eighth-grade home-ec cookie. Everybody made them. It's a very fiddly recipe, and if you don't do it just right, it misbehaves. This made it beloved of home-ec teachers for two reasons: it promotes good baking practices (at least as taught in the mid-60s), and it's real easy to tell who screwed up and didn't follow the directions.

#840 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Diatryma @ 838... Thanks for the clue. I found something on the page for June 1st. It's an it's-alive-alive! cackling rather than bwahahah-gloating, but it'll do. Heheheheh...

#841 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:22 PM:

It's not up there with the big four (Electrician, Places, Dwarf, Bozos), but I'm much more fond of "Fighting Clowns" than I think most fans are. The specifics are dated of course, but the themes are timeless.

#842 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:34 PM:

#841: "It's not up there with the big four (Electrician, Places, Dwarf, Bozos)..."

Fire, Water, Electricians, and Air.

Plague, Dwarf, Famine, and Pestilence.

Winter, Spring, Summer, and Places.

Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Bozo... no, wait.

#843 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Todd Larason @ #841 writes: It's not up there with the big four (Electrician, Places, Dwarf, Bozos)

WTF? Hmmm... (deals cards)

At the centre, hidden: The World, reversed: Incompleteness and shoddy design. A great work betrayed. Insecurity, fear of change, and the failure to reach goals. Toast, butter side down.

At the centre, visible: Page of Bozos, reversed: The dark essence of fire behaving as earth. The surprising appearance of a new passion or inflammatory news. A trickster who can unexpectedly ignite a dangerous situation. Trolls and sockpuppets.

At the top of the cross, Three of Electricians: The commencement of business, commercial transactions, or employment. The constructive use of creative talents, and the expression of artistry in workmanship. Many mugs of tea and broken floorboards.

At the bottom of the cross: Seven of Bozos: Standing courageously for your beliefs in the face of adversity. Fear of failure overcome by the will to succeed. Killer post which vanquishes net opposition.

At the left of the cross: Nine of Places: Good luck attending material affairs. Attaining refinement and embracing elegance. A new haircut.

At the right of the cross: Eight of Bozos: A sudden release of raw power, cutting through confusion and indecision, and setting things in motion. Rapid progress towards a desired goal, brought about by immediate and decisive action. Disemvowelment.

At the base of the staff: Ace of Places: The seed of prosperity and material gain - perhaps as yet unseen. A new foundation from which to turn your dreams into reality. That new coffee shop with the Lavazza espresso and those little frosted pastries.

Second from the bottom of the staff: Two of Dwarfs, reversed: Indecision due to contradictory characteristics brought together. Scheming, abuse of trust, and agreements made in bad faith. Eating the last chocolate truffles and then denying it.

Second from the top of the staff: Six of Places: A time of prosperity and profit. Success and generosity in material things. A lottery win which almost covers the cost of the tickets you bought.

At the top of the staff: Nine of Dwarfs, reversed: Mental anguish or ill health endured and overcome. Refusal to be dragged down by the dishonor of others. May indicate the narrow avoidance of a death or other catastrophic loss, or may presage hamsters.

#844 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:26 PM:

I'm reluctant to actually explain at this point, since it might stop the wonderful guesses...

Firesign Theatre's first four album releases are generally considered their superior work. They have long titles, so I abbreviated them; in full, they are:
- Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him
- How Can You Be in Two Places at Once when You're not Anywhere at All?
- Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliars
- I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus

#845 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Niall @843:
Two of the things I particularly love about Making Light are:
1. I can be as strange as I like when the mood takes me
2. Other people can and do do likewise

Well done.

#846 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:03 PM:

abi, two things I like about this place:

1) When you write something good, people say "Well done!".

2) When you write something else good, people would say "Well done!" if the hamster had not just escaped from her metalloglass city and begun eating the bean sprouts on the windowsill.

Hey! You kids! Get out of that garden!

#847 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:22 PM:

Niall 843: I love it. That's brilliant.

#848 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:36 PM:

I went back into my Livejournal archives to find the Story of the Juiced Limes, and this is how I posted it at the time (March 2005):

I left my job.

I thought I was fired, you see. Last Thursday, she came in furious for no reason at all, and started slamming things around (which I HATE, and which makes it really difficult for me to work), and snarked at me to use a fork to jucie the limes instead of a plastic juicer, because I wasn't juicing them fast enough for her.

I told her I wouldn't be faster with a fork because I found the juicer easier. She told me not to yell at her. I told her not to slam things around, then. She said, "Go home." This was 8:30 in the morning, mind you. I said, "Okay," and left. I figured that was it, and I decided I felt more relief than anxiety.

When I went back later that day to collect my stuff, she had left a note about a special order that seemed to assume I'd be IN the next morning to make it. I thought, "yeah, right," and packed up my crate of CDs, my old radio, my good knife, my bench scraper, and my personal book o' recipes.

I've got my resume updated, and I've made some phone calls to people I know, but I did give myself a few days of slack just to decompress.

If I get asked why I left in an interview, I won't talk about her being a psychobitch. I'll just say that I was tired of waiting to see whether the next paycheck would bounce, and my health insurance got cancelled for nonpayment, and I figured it was time to go. That's all true, although not the whole truth.

I've got former co-workers who have said I can drop their names.

I think I'll do OK.

This leaves out a lot of the background material that my friendslist had been getting over the months leading up to it. That was the job that left my hands cracked and bleeding through the Christmas season because she filled up the hand soap dispenser with grease-cutting Dawn instead of buying hand soap, among other things.

It also leaves out that at one point I had seriously considered spending what would have been about half a week's paycheck to buy a glass sex toy that looked like a citrus reamer, just to be able to offer it to her as a new special kitchen gadget and be laughing up my sleeves at her as she juiced her precious limes with a dildo/buttplug. However, I didn't have the room in my budget to play that trick.

The place closed down (for unpaid taxes!) about a month after I left.

I'm so glad I don't have to work there any more.

#849 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:44 PM:


That's pretty unpleasant.

If you were a sportswriter dabbling in fiction you could have made the protagonist a baseball player closing in on a hallowed record, brought to his knees by steroid-laden citrus.

#850 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Niall @ 843

Wonderful! Only one flaw: it leaves me wanting more. Think about the Major Arcanum:

The Sodomized Dinosaur
Professional evaluation. More is required. Silliness.

The Knitters
Persistence in the face of frustration. Entangled motives. Reversed, work unfinished.

The Troll-Whisperer
Calm in adversity. Adversion to vowels.

#852 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Heresiarch@821: do any of you guys know how to build a death ray?

Lemme check my manual... First, you need to find a good source of raw materials. A nice Q-type planetoid would do. Unhabited would be nice, since you don't yet have a death ray. Second, a source of unlimited power. Electrical power, I mean, not political power. A nice, Q-type sun would do, and a decent solar converter...

...with minion unions. On the one hand, they can increase worker happiness. On the other hand, contract negotiations can drag out much further making your plans to take over the world...

Hey, wait. I'm missing page 45 and 46 of my "Evil Overlord Handbook". Oh Crap!

Sorry. Can't help you.

#853 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:40 PM:

Linkmeister, you haven't seen the half of it.

This is what I posted on the 15th of December prior to the walkout, just to give you an idea of what kind of work I was DOING for her:

And I got everything done that I needed to -- the veggie lasagna for the special order (that I wanted to do Monday, but no time, because she sent me home and wouldn't let me do more prep Sunday, so I was behind on my soup and stuff) plus one for the store, the goat cheese leek tart for the special order plus two for the store, the caramelized walnuts and balsamic fig dressing for the salad for the special order (plus extra for the store of course), a big ol' bucket of butternut leek soup base just-add-cream, a quadruple batch of brownies (1 plain, 1 marble cheesecake because we had some leftover cheesecake batter, and 2 walnut), and a five-gallon bucket of vegetarian mincemeat so I can make individual mince pies from now through New Year's.

eternalponine: ::giggles:: If it's vegetarian mincemeat, would that make it mincenotmeat?
rikibeth: It's been mincenotmeat since at least the middle of the 19th century... it started out as a meat-and-dried-fruit mixture in medieval times, and by Victorian times all there was left was some vestigial beef suet. I used shortening. If I were making it at home I'd probably make a pre-19th century version with actual meat just to see what it was like.
eternalponine: I see...
eternalponine: I can't help imagining trail mix with meat in it.
rikibeth: Trail mix squished up with extra sugar, some sort of fat, spices, and BOOZE... yeah, that's very like.
eternalponine : This amuses me.

I used apples, almonds, dried apricots, raisins, frozen cherries, craisins, grated orange and lemon rind, the shortening, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, the juice from the oranges and lemons, and dark rum.

It took a long damn time, even though the apples were already peeled, cored, and sliced on the crank gadget before I started, and the apricots came chopped up. However, I let the butternut leek soup cook while I was making it, so it was efficiently-used time, and Shauna was there basically as long as I was, and she got the pumpkin gingerbreads and the raisin scones done for me, as well as the biscotti, and I ought to be in pretty good shape for tomorrow morning, and Maggie said she'd do the dishes, and get the soup from its ice bath into the fridge before she left.

Tomorrow, I've got to do pear almond tarts, and a cookie platter, and bread puddings... and then probably pies. Which means the pie dough. And maybe macaroon bars, or maybe Shauna can do those, and certainly tartlets, and if I can knock together a marinara sauce I can put out meatballs for meatball grinders and that's a sandwich I don't have to build and wrap, and I'm probably forgetting something, and I'm not even counting the tuna chickpea salad...

But nobody yelled at me. And that makes it a very good day.

And this post is from a couple of months before that, when I'd just been promoted to kitchen manager from baker:

She had a shit fit today.

We had too many bar cookies in back. Well, of COURSE we did. I made the number of bar cookies she wanted based on the expectation that there would be no cupcakes and no lemon raspberry bars IN THE STORE over the weekend. And I KNOW we're supposed to put as much product as we can out front, so we can sell it, but I cannot make hyperdimensional pockets, and if the bar case is full and double stacked, and the top of the deli case is entirely occupied with trays of cupcakes, and the bottom of the pastry case is full to capaciry with pies, and we have our full complement of layer cakes, and half the top of the pastry case where miscellanea goes has MORE trays of cupcakes... where am I supposed to PUT more bars?

After several go-rounds of this, she said I could have frozen the excess. You know, it would have saved a lot of trouble if she'd mentioned freezing the excess two days ago.

Since she isn't quite so suicidal as to fire ME in a fit of pique, she fired Celia. Actually, she had the gall to try to get ME to do the firing after she said she wanted her gone. Nope, sorry. You're the boss, that's YOUR problem. Especially if you're trying to palm it off on me because you KNOW you're being unreasonable but you don't want to admit it. And especially since this means I'm coming in at 5:30 AM again until she gets someone else in there for breakfast.

She also had a spazz about the hours we'd been putting in. Hello, if you don't want people putting in hours because we don't have the customer traffic, don't schedule a new guy to be trained that week which means duplicated hours, and don't schedule a giant EVENT that, through no fault of your kitchen crew, gets RAINED OUT? And, oh, I don't know, TELL your brand-new wet-behind-the-ears kitchen manager 1) how much product you want, 2) when you want it, 3) how many hours maximum you want people to do it in, and maybe think about doing this SEVERAL DAYS IN ADVANCE of the event and holiday weekend?

I even told her that if she was really concerned about the payroll hours, she might want to consider training the next breakfast person herself.

Now, mind you, I was telling her this in what I call the Light Cream Cheese mode. Remember the X-Files episode with the pizza delivery vampire? The one where Mulder gets knocked out and sings the theme from "Shaft?" Of course you do... anyway, in that one, Scully goes off on a rant about "I do EVERYTHING for you, Mulder! Do you know what I've had to eat since this morning? Half a bagel with cream cheese! And it wasn't even real cream cheese, it was light cream cheese!" The Light Cream Cheese mode works pretty well to convince a boss that you ARE trying to do things right. And I am, after all. It would just help to know what she wanted. BEFORE she got pissed off about it, ideally.

I made good food today. I can take comfort in that. I made a fresh batch of (vegan!) tomato basil soup, and put it out with the corn chowder. I did BBQ chicken for sandwiches in the third space of the soup warmer. I made chickpea salad (must make hummus again tomorrow), and southwest chicken salad, and did six garden salads in clamshells. And I was going to bake pies, but the boss' rant took up too much time, so I just made two batches of pie dough for pies tomorrow, and then I was out of there.

5:30 AM tomorrow to get the muffins out for breakfast.

Oh joy.

I am really, REALLY glad that I'm not working there any more.

#855 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Rikibeth # 853, oh my.

"Yes, I should have read your mind."

"No, I didn't schedule that person."

"Yes, there were too many cookies, but..."

(Aside: IMO, there can never be too many cookies.)

Sounds like you're well out of it. One of these days (or maybe it's been done; I haven't been reading ML since its creation, after all) we could all share our "bosses from hell" stories. At one place my co-workers and I after a particularly bad day would look at one another and say "Next Christmas we'll all look back at this and laugh."

At some point we all decided next Christmas was never going to come, so we left. Turned over the entire admin staff in six weeks.

#856 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:00 PM:

Rikibeth... I am really, REALLY glad that I'm not working there any more

I'd never have guessed.

#857 ::: Kate Y. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:38 PM:

[Re particle] My ideal knitting bag has a sealable top such that when I stow it under the seat in front of me, nothing falls out and rolls down the aisle.

#858 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:45 PM:

Linkmeister @ 855... we could all share our "bosses from hell" stories.

Not only did my boss at the Gap look and act like Colonel Klink, but he wouldn't have known his ass from a donkey. In other words, he managed programmers while knowing little about programming, which can be bearable if the boss knows that he doesn't know. Which he didn't.

#859 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Sometime I will tell about my boss who I had trouble convincing that a cow has only one tongue.

Meanwhile, under Where Are They Now, the Dell Dude has come down in the world.

#860 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:58 AM:

At the place I mentioned above, I was the DP manager, reporting to the Controller. At one point I reported to four different Controllers within two years. Lotsa fun.

#861 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:05 AM:

When I knew I had to go...

My boss informed me "The management report is not where you project expenditures"

Where we worked, it was and still is. It's the official report that is turned in monthly with your best guess on expenditures and income through the end of the fiscal year. I knew at that point things were doomed, and I left before crazy lady could figure out how to fire me.

#862 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:04 AM:

Serge @ 823: A ding-bot would help me build a death-ray, I guess...

Sian Hogan @ 825: Well, I'm looking for something portable, but still packs a punch. The Wulfenbach Ultra-Kill X0R-2700 is nice, but the recoil is a real pain in the neck. And shoulder, and arm, etc. It's not so much an immediate need to kill things at the moment as much as it is a presumed future need.

Serge @ 836: Given I just read the entire Girl Genius archives in the las two days, I ought to be able to help you.

A nice head-back, maniacal sort of gloat at the top, and a "I've got you now" gloat at the bottom.
More of a "it's alive, it's alive!!" thing here.
This one's more of a "Nothing can stop me THIS TIME!"
That Lucrezia is pretty much pure gloat.

Hope that helps!

#863 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:26 AM:

Heresiarch @ 862... "Nothing can stop me THIS TIME!" is perfect. The gloater even has a beard (and thinning hair) and glasses not unlike yours truly's.

#864 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:52 AM:

joann @ 742:

I think it's simply called a "pastry cutter" - great for adding shortening/butter to flour for scones, biscuits, pastry. Also good at chopping hard-cooked eggs into smallish bits for egg salad.

and @ 743:

I think I need to add "good baking sheets" to my holiday wish lists. Most of my cookware, I wouldn't trade (oh, OK, I admit I'd like a nice Kitchenaid with a dough hook, but not if I had to give up the 1940-something Hamilton Beach mixer with meat grinder and citrus juicer attachments!); cookie sheets, bleah. This set was "silverstone". My next set will be untreated aluminum, or maybe stainless.

#865 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:19 AM:

Brief scorecard of Devilbosses:

The President who admitted to hiring an Engineering Manager who was incompetent because "She knows she has to do what I tell her." Later fled to the Caribbean with 600 Megabucks to escape extradition, leaving his daughter and his best friend holding the bag.

The CEO who deliberately flushed nearly 1,000 person-years and something north of $80 million in order to humiliate and force out another exec he hated.

The head of s atartup who had to be put on a budget by the board of the company, because his personal credit and cashflow problems were embarrassing the chairman. The Engineering Manager of the same startup who once brought a shotgun to department meeting as "motivational aid".

The newly-hired university department chairthing who forced all of the tenured professors out to make room for his cronies. He also denied tenure to an Associate Professor on the grounds that chronic prolonged migraines made him unfit.

All of these bozos are real people, and I've been employed by ever yone of them. But there are Angelbosses too:

The VP of Engineering who, knowing the company was going to go under because new management wasn't trying to sell the product, insisted on bonuses for all engineers involved in new product development if they brought it in on schedule, and made them put it in writing. I lived for almost a year and a half on that bonus when we were all laid off during the collapse of the Bubble in 2001.

#866 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:35 AM:

My really devil boss...

My father dies in Quebec City. That same morning, I go to my employer's offices in SF to finish readying a project so that it can be implemented as scheduled while I'm away. I fly away that evening for the funeral. When I come back a week later, the project hasn't been touched. I take care of it. A few weeks after that, I get my yearly review, and find myself criticized for delays in the implementation of that project. I begin looking for employment elsewhere.

#867 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:54 AM:

Earl, #791, my brother and family are coming Sunday (if I get enough over this cold) and I've typed in all the special recipes I pulled out of my mother's cookbook when the cookbook fell apart and made a little booklet for him. No snickerdoodles, though, they have printed recipes. I have a really strong memory of being about three and sitting on the corner of the kitchen counter rolling the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar as part of my baking job.

Rikibeth, definitely the job to leave. I hope you like the current one better.

I haven't had that many really bad bosses. I suppose the worst was the guy who wouldn't give me my review until I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I read it and we had the review and I told him I thought it was stupid in our situation. When you're making weapons, it's good to be perfectionistic and detail-oriented, even if I annoyed him.

#868 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 04:07 AM:

rikibeth: Make real mincemeat, way yummy. It want's at least a month in the fridge to marry all the flavors and settle down. The pies are divine.

Idiot Boss: I was a machinist. That meant I had various periods of waiting on the machine. Reading was verboten (I got around this by xeroxing things and taping them to my toolbox). I had a radio, that got nixed. It was, "too loud", and might keep me from hearing the machine; or so said his mother in law (who owned the shop: she'd gotten it in the divorce). His solution, I could wear headphones. I nixed that, because it would have made it harder to hear the machine.

He knew nothing of machining. Asked me once how long a job was going to take, "Worst case (it was a tricky job)..." "I don't want to hear worst case. I want to know when it's coming off."

But MiL was paying for him to go to Law School. She assumed that when he got done, the company would have him as in-house counsel. So he came in at 10, was gone by 3 (so he could make to to Loyola Marymount School of Law by five). I think the place we got into the most conflict is he thought I was too smart to be a mere machinist.

I know it bothered him that I was smarter than he was.

#869 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 04:31 AM:

Stefan Jones: I think the Oregonian ought to have printed my letter Thus, or today.

#870 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 09:00 AM:

Oh no! I didn't witness the carnage, but my wife called to inform me that the dogs got into the stainless steel pot I had put on the counter with my homemade bread in it. She was using the pot to store leftover Halloween candy. I wrapped my bread in a dishtowel and put it on top.

Apparently, it was nothing but M&M's, candy wrappers, bread crumbs, and a completely obliterated dishtowel.

And I kept picturing myself standing over them, shouting, "Get your paws off my bread, you damn, dirty dawgs!"

Well, at least today is payday. Will have to go see about a breadbox. I'll need one with a seriously heavy base that is dog-proof. Maybe one that has a lockable lid that requires opposable thumbs. Not that the lack of opposable thumbs has ever stopped them in the before.


#871 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 09:58 AM:


I need a gloating icon for my LiveJournal and who does better bwahahahah-level gloating than Phil Foglio?

Well, I got full professor status at TPU (Kaja's version of Hero Of The Revolution) by clearing up a data transfer problem for their umbrella company Airship. My Livejournal icon came about because they were planning to sell a product I have the exclusive on (Hi, Teresa!) and they decided they needed an illustration of me in full professorial regalia. Incidentally, if Phil ever offers to sketch you take him up on it: he's fast. (When the rough sketch was done Phil handed it to Kaja and said "How's this, dear?" Kaja looked it over for 5 seconds, then said "Not deranged enough" and handed it back. I offered to drool a bit but Phil said it wasn't necessary...)

#872 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II... Now I'm envious. And it never occurred to me, when I met him at LAcon, to ask how much he'd charge to do a drawing of me in my Victorian Time Traveller garb. Curses!

#873 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:40 AM:

I've written here about being called into the manager's office after having had the audacity and cheek to schedule some medical tests on my day off. (Because if I go to the doctor's on my days off, they can't order me in to work those days. Apparently I'm only supposed to see the doctor on Sundays.)

But then, these are the same managers who, earlier this year, fired a carrier because he didn't park in a fire lane. (It took the union several months to get the firing reversed; by that point, the carrier said "Screw it," burned off the rest of his sick leave, and retired.)

It was a different set of managers who, a few years ago, tried to fire another employee for faking a back injury. (The back surgery only meant that he was really, REALLY, faking it.)

And, of course, there was the supervisor who put me in the hospital and off work for three months who, the very first week I came back, was given a little ceremony to celebrate his promotion to higher management. (Good thing I was on anti-depressants by that point.)

Yes, the stories about working for the Postal Service are true.

#874 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:55 PM:

glinda @ 864: You can get a meat grinder and a citrus juicer for the KitchenAid, you know...

Marilee @ 867, I do like the current one much better. it's positively cushy for a baking job -- since we mostly run a kiosk that serves a community college and some municipal offices and whatnot, we are closed most weekends! And even if there's a scheduled event on a weekend, I can often make the goodies ahead of time. Luxury.

Terry @ 868, the trouble with me making real mincemeat (and I want to -- Lobscouse and Spotted Dog is tempting me) is that my daughter and my housemate are both vegetarian. Perhaps if I made it for my dad. He liked suet pudding when I made that.

Various devil bosses: wow.

#875 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:09 PM:

glinda @ 864, you might be interested in this article about baking sheets. I looked it up because "the house" just got a silicon sheet liner, and it looks so flimsy I haven't had the courage to use it yet.

What say you, Rikibeth, o professional baker? Are these things as safe and easily cleaned as claimed?

#876 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Rikibeth @ 874

There's the green-tomato version. It still isn't 'real', in that it has no meat; if you have tomatoes that are full-sized but not going to ripen, it works. I think they're the meat-substitute in the recipe, given that it also has apples and raisins. (Having met green-tomato pie, it's the spices that give it the flavor; the ingredients don't seem to be as important.)

#877 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:26 PM:

Kate Y @857 --

I am by no means a knitter, but the description of that bag makes a point about how the top closure isn't velcro so it won't snag the yarn. So I believe it does fasten closed, despite not much looking like it.

#878 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:49 PM:

#869: Terry, I checked yesterday's column carefully. Nothing yet. An, um, one second . . . not in today's either.

Maybe they're saving it for Sunday? Either way, my offer of a copy of the actual printed letter stands. Nice to have in your clipping file.

#879 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:52 PM:


My manager, neither devil nor angel but extreeeeemly competent and knowledgeable, perilously close to irreplaceable, announced that he's resigning.


#880 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:16 PM:

A propos of precisely nothing (other than, perhaps, making mincemeat out of things) a book review of the complete works of Khalil Gibran is here.

It made me cackle.

#881 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Greg London #870: the dogs got into the stainless steel pot I had put on the counter with my homemade bread in it

Here's what you need to do: set your dogs down and show them a double feature of The Biscuit Eater and Old Yeller, and stop the second film right after the rabies scene. This will teach them the stern lesson that doggies who eat baked goods get rabies and then have to be shot.

#882 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Thanks Rikibeth and Terry for the scone knowledge. Batch 1 was a resounding success. The recipe involved butter, self-rising flour, salt, buttermilk and a little sugar. We added cinnamon and pecans and sprinkled a little brown sugar on top of a buttermilk wash.

I'm glad I read this thread, as there is a note in one of my cookbooks that exhorts using a food processor to pulse the butter and flour. It heavily implies that if you don't do that, you simply must grate very cold butter into the flour with a box grater or your scones will be crappy. I don't have a food processor (just no counter space for another appliance) and grating butter seemed awfully fussy for scones. In the end, we just kind of mushed up the butter and kneaded slightly before patting out.

One change I will be making: pre-heat the oven entirely, but don't turn the temperature as high as the recipe calls for - either that, or replace the thermometer in the oven so we can see exactly how hot the damn thing runs. That, and noting that 1/2" should probably be closer to 3/4".

Still, with they made a very nice dessert and pleasant accompaniment to our Doctor Who Season 3 viewing.

#883 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Long ago, near the beginning of my career, I programmed in a horrible old language called DPL. This language had two species of program: the process, which was compiled and had limited functionality, and the procedure, which was interpreted and let you do anything you could do on the command line (which did not include things processes did, like updating data).

We had to run the same reports from the same data sources every month. This required running a number of processes in a strict sequence. My boss would sit at his terminal, typing in the commands, and generate the reports. Each time he made a mistake he had to start all over. The reports were consistently late, even though they weren't due until the 5th of the month.

When I asked why he didn't write a procedure to do it instead, he said he didn't have time.

I wrote one and ran it. It didn't work, so I fixed it and ran it again. It worked but got the wrong result. I fixed it and ran it again. It worked and was correct. This entire process took me less time than it took my boss to run one month's reports. They were on time from then on.

Later on at that same job, some of the business users needed some different reports. I was too junior to talk to them directly, so my boss came and told me what they wanted. He said X, I gave him X. He took it to the users, came back, and said "This isn't X." I tweaked it to make it even more Xlike, put in bells and whistles, and he kept coming back and saying "They still say this isn't X. Why can't you give them X?"

Finally, behind his back and against his explicit orders, I went to them personally and said "Why isn't this what you want?" They replied "It's X. We keep asking for Y." I came back an hour later with Y. They said "Why couldn't we get that two weeks ago?" I told them to tell me what they wanted from then on, and I'd get it for them, but please not to tell my boss.

He would go in and mess with my procedures and processes too. We shared one account on the computer, and his response to me asking for my own was "I don't have time to pamper you!" Finally I noticed he hadn't been in in a while and just changed the password and "forgot" to tell him.

Eventually my boss' boss, who was no fool, took me to lunch. Over zabaglione he asked me "So, here's the $64 thousand question. If your illustrious leader and supervisor"—he always talked like that—"were hit by a truck tomorrow, would I need to replace him?" I hemmed and hawed, but ultimately told the truth. My boss was fired.

I reported directly to my former 2-up after that. To let you know what kind of guy he was: He discovered that budget time overlapped my planned vacation. He needed me to do the budget spreadsheets (in Lotus 1-2-3, swapping floppies to add departments together). He'd approved my vacation some months earlier.

When I made it clear that I couldn't just go later (my ride to WorldCon was leaving and I couldn't afford any other transportation), he flew me to ConStellation. AND back, which was quite gentlemanly of him.

I was quite loyal to this man, until he resigned to start his own business.

#884 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Linkmeister -

I have a couple of silicone mats (as well as silicone a minimuffin "tin") and I love them a lot - they save me the trouble of greasing and flouring the cookie sheets and/or foil. I'm also a fan of baking parchment and my mom swears by reynolds wrap quick release or something similar.

One thing to watch out for is browning - I'm not sure they'll make stuff brown to crispness. It's also worth noting that I pretty much use them on cookie sheets when I'm baking standard comfort cookies - chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, mexican wedding cookies, etc. They work great for my purposes, but I'm not sure about more advanced applications.

#885 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Greg London, if you have access to IKEA, their MUCK boxes are the dog food/cat food/potato/birdseed containers of choice at my house.

#886 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:33 PM:

re Silcone: I've found it doesn't allow for browning. On the flip side, nothing sticks to them.

I don't care for the more complicated shapes. Muffins, loaves and sheets are good. Silpat is supposed to be better at browing, but I'm not going to spend the money to do comparisons.

nerdycellist: self-rising flour is just flour with baking powder in it. You can cut down on storage space by just sifting some baking powder into plain flour (which will let you tailor it to the hardness you want)

Rough proportions: 1 cup flour. 1 1/4-1 1/2 tsp baking powder. 1/4 tsp salt.

Rikibeth: Will they object mightily to it being in the house? I can say the Lobscouse and Spotted Dog recipe is quite good. (apologies for miscapitalising, your name, to date)

P J Evans: The fruit provides texture. I don't know that green tomatoes would have the tooth I want in my mincemeat. Dried stone fruits (apricots, plums, etc.) are pretty good.

#887 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:38 PM:

The cookie sheet discussion is exactly what I need right now; my incredibly cheap steel ones lasted about a year of actual cooking (I bought them as freezer trays for truffles). I'm probably going to point my family here for gift ideas. It's not that I bake a lot (or ever) but if the tools themselves make me happy, I'm more likely to keep doing it.

#888 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Linkmeister, I prefer baking parchment to silicone mats for most purposes (I just nicked a box from work, some time back), but I've used silicone mats before, and they're simple to use and easy to clean.

Take my advice, don't store them in a general-purpose gadget drawer along with skewers and other sharp implements. They CAN be pierced. That was how I lost mine.

They are absolutely the best thing EVER for tuile cookies and anything involving caramel, like florentines, but for most things, parchment paper is just as good and sometimes better.

nerdycellist, I'm glad your scones turned out well! The grating-the-butter would, in fact, produce a nice result, but it does sound like a pain in the posterior. Cinnamon-pecan, yum.

#889 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Terry, it's more a matter of quantity: I likely won't finish all the mincemeat if I make a batch Just For Me. Also, if I make it in housemate's presence, she'll hang about being a killjoy and saying "ewww" just to annoy me.

On the other hand, daughter was agitating for me to make the mincenotmeat from December '04 again, because I used it in freeform tartlets made with rugelach dough, and she liked those a lot. Maybe I'll start a batch at work next week and start offering the tartlets as a seasonal specialty after Thanksgiving, when I pull the pumpkin spice muffins. I could form up a whole lot at once...

Why am I not surprised that the Lobscouse and Spotted Dog recipe is very good? Everything I've tried from there has been sensational. Of course, I haven't ventured into Millers with Onion Sauce or the many-months-out variety of Toasted Cheese, but my feeling is that they did it so I don't have to.

#890 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:56 PM:

I posted our traditional family mincemeat recipe last year - it uses suet. As far as I know it dates back to World War 1 but may be older than that (it's my Grandmother's version of my Great-Grandmother's recipe). I'm always tempted to make it with actual meat, but on average it takes 10 years for my Christmas suggestions* to be accepted by my family.

Heresiarch @#821 et al - you won't catch me with webcomics like that again, after I lost three weeks to Sluggy Freelance.

* Which are usually to make Christmas more old-fashioned - every year when asked what we should have for Christmas Dinner, I'd say "Beef".

#891 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 04:34 PM:

All right, you enablers. I now have several things added to my holiday baking list, and the Ziti recipe will be tried on Sunday.

In return, may I offer a dough recipe? It's traditional German*, VERY easy, and extremely versatile. You can roll it out and make sticky buns, mix your choice of dried fruits and nuts directly into the dough and make buns, pat it into a pan and top it with fruit/streusel, etc. Somewhat similar to Norwegian kringla, you don't actually have to add any flavoring at all. The most intriguing thing about it is that it has the texture of baked goods made with yeast, but neither yeast nor rising is involved. I suppose it's a Continental relative of biscuits and scones? (though much more forgiving where mixing and kneading are concerned)

Basic Quark-Oil Dough
Mix together:
5 oz (150g) Quark, or softened neufchatel cheese, or sour cream (reduced-fat OK)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk

scant 2 cups (300g) flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix together to form dough. It will be moist, but not really sticky. Shape and add toppings/fillings as desired. Bake at 400F (200C) for about 20 minutes.

The recipe can be doubled.

*Often appearing this time of year in the form of 'Weckmänner', shaped figures that are supposed to represent St. Martin, whose special day is November 11.

#892 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 04:37 PM:

Terry (886), every time I see self-rising flour on this coast, it's flour + baking powder + SALT. I tried it a few times, but everything I made with it came out too salty for me to eat. I wasn't adding any additional salt, and I'm not on a low-sodium diet. But I dislike chocolate-covered pretzels and other sweet+salty snacks. I don't want cookies, cakes, banana bread, etc, to taste aggressively salty.

#893 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Adrian: re salt Yep. I've seen everything from, "a pinch (which is about 1/16 tsp) to a 1/2 tsp, per cup of flour.

Me, I just add some baking powder to the mix, or look for recipes which don't call for self-rising.

#894 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Rikibeth @ #888, Thanks. I just unrolled it for the first time, thus welcoming it into my kitchen (until now it's been sitting on the table; I've been wondering if I dared try it).

Neil @ #890, do what we do. Turkey on Christmas Eve, 3- or 4-bone standing rib roast on Christmas Day (at different houses, I hasten to add, and the turkey is Safeway's prefabricated dinner).

#895 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 06:57 PM:

I've often seen the Sony Bravia adverts in the sidebars, so Making Light was the first site I thought of when I say Guinness beer's new "Tipping Point" spot, which was apparently directed by the guy who did the first Bravia spot, "Bouncing Balls."

#896 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:09 PM:

Adrian #892:

We always called the stuff "salt-rising flour".

#897 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:54 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ #810, the Audio-Technica turntable arrived this afternoon. It's virtually plug-n-play, although the RCA plugs are hardwired into the base and awfully short.

I put "Blood on the Tracks" on for the first time in 25 years, and it sounds marvelous, even through my 33-year-old Pioneer 88s.

#898 ::: anatidaeling ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:56 PM:

Is this for real?

It's billed as a right brain/left brain test, but I guess it's some kind of optical illusion.

How does it work?

#899 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:57 PM:

Stefan: I am informed the letter will run in the Monday edition.

It's pleasing, I hope, to know the column is worthy of comment so long after publication.

#900 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:00 PM:

anatidaeling, #898, the idea is which foot is she standing on. They say you'll see her turning on one if you're left-brained and the other if you're right-brained. I never really trust these things because I have mixed-brain dominance with a lot of brain damage, but a bit more damage on the right. I can make her turn either way (stand on either foot) at will. Some folks seem to be able to make her turn the other direction if they concentrate on the lifted leg.

I know we're mostly talking food, but I just took this cute picture of the cats. Shiva (the black & white one against the pillow) has been sleeping in the evenings where I sleep at night. I've been down a couple times to pet him and the last time the other two were on the rug. I lifted them up to the bed and then took the camera in with me the next time. Spirit's head was tucked into Giorgio's tummy the way his is into hers until the camera made the turn-on jingle.

#901 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:20 PM:

I read her as spinning clockwise (looking down) because her hands trace ovals that dictate that motion (assuming a view from a plausible angle). If I look just at the bottom, though, my paradoxical object detectors all light up. The shadow of one foot should circle the shadow of the other, and it doesn't.

#902 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:36 PM:

I hadn't thought of looking at only parts of the dancer. I can make the entire dancer switch fairly easily, but her head was impossible to reverse (and I can't tell if it was going clockwise or not-- I think it was counter, but the ponytail messed me up). When I looked at just the feet, they were opposite the immutable head, then started flipping back and forth.

#903 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 12:05 AM:

Yow! The open thread has more than doubled in size since I lost track of it back whenever-that-was that life got in the way. I suppose I should make a joke about getting the yeast/sugar balance right, but if I follow that metaphor, someone will eventually need to punch down the thread. And that would be a shame.

Am I too late to play Devil Boss? Mine had always seemed to be two different people, but she got really weird after I came back from maternity leave. I was pumping 4x/day, and the nurse had insisted that I set a schedule and follow it, so I noted it as 15-minute appointments in Outlook. My second day back she called me in to yell at me that I couldn't possibly expect the company to accommodate that, people need to schedule *meetings* you know, what was I thinking. But, the thing was, I never went to any of these meetings; she didn't let me, since it might have made it look like there were other people behind all the accomplishments she was claiming as her own. And even weirder: she wasn't scheduling me for any sort of meeting when she noticed the appointments - she was just stalking my calendar.

Ideal knitting bags: mine would have an extra-dimensional pocket for all my double-points, and when I opened it, the exact set I wanted would be right there on top.

I wasn't allowed to leave Offspring's room just now until I'd agreed that, yes, the airplane had indeed gone night-night. There's a lot going on in this house that I'm unaware of, apparently.

#904 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 12:09 AM:

Sarah @ 903... Ideal knitting bags: mine would have an extra-dimensional pocket for all my double-points, and when I opened it, the exact set I wanted would be right there on top.

Kind of like the Doctor's jacket pockets in Tennant's 2nd season?

#905 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 12:19 AM:


I'm ashamed to say I've never watch any Doctor Who. I want to, but I'm intimidated by the volume. Where do I start? Can I start with the most recent series, or do I have to back to the very beginning?

#906 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Argh. Watched. The house is dark, and my brain wants sleep.

#907 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 12:25 AM:

Sarah... Start where I started, with the revived series. Most of it is available on DVD. It has great stuff in it, like when the Doctor and Rose, his Companion, go 5 billion years in Earth's future just as all the races that it gave birth to are coming back for a pilgrimage to the homeworld. That was the first season, with Christopher Eccleston. As for David Tennant, I got to really appreciate his incarnation of the Doctor as someone with an insatiable curiosity about the whole universe.

#908 ::: Kate Y. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Graydon #877: Just because the bag's two sides clip together at the top center doesn't mean it's closed closed, alas. Have another look at their photos, especially the two samples in plum.

I have a Knitter's Purse from Jordana Paige that does the same thing -- the uprightness and accessibility that are so wonderful when you're knitting with the bag at your feet becomes a liability under other circumstances. Hmm, checking her web site, she doesn't seem to be selling that version any more! Now that Knitter's Messenger Bag has promise...

I like the way JP's bags have two main compartments, so I can bundle fiber and needles into one side, and miscellaneous--sometimes snaggy--necessities of daily life into the other.

#909 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:12 AM:

Watching the turning dancer... She starts out turning counter-clockwise and I can make her switch back and forth by looking at her head. But she always starts counter-clockwise. I have no idea what this means and I don't believe anyone else does either.

So there. Night night.

#910 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 02:43 AM:

I only see the dancer turn one direction, but I can't see how to define it as either 'clockwise' or 'counter-clockwise', since it's not in the plane facing the viewer.

I started Dr. Who from the revival, too, and didn't have any trouble understanding and enjoying it, or at least didn't notice it if I did.

#911 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 04:51 AM:

I saw the dancer turning counterclockwise at first, and after a while looking at her, she suddenly (in the middle of a rotation!) reversed direction. That was rather odd. I found that I couldn't make the direction change just through force of will, but if I looked at a different part of the screen so that I saw her out of the corner of my eye, she'd reverse. Quite often if I looked directly at her again, she'd reverse again, though.

#912 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 04:56 AM:

Sarah @ 903: "Yow! The open thread has more than doubled in size since I lost track of it back whenever-that-was that life got in the way. I suppose I should make a joke about getting the yeast/sugar balance right, but if I follow that metaphor, someone will eventually need to punch down the thread. And that would be a shame."

Maybe we're more like sourdough: we keep going forever. All you have to do to start a new thread is scoop some out, plop it in a new thread, and add some fluor. (Flour? That's what you use to make bread, silly.)

That dancer is quite interesting. I can switch her rotation only with great difficulty, regardless of which direction I think she's spinning. She seems to lean funny when I have her going counter-clockwise.

#913 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:31 AM:

Heresiarch @ 912... Maybe we're more like sourdough: we keep going forever. All you have to do to start a new thread is scoop some out, plop it in a new thread, and add some fluor.

Fools! Didn't you heed the warnings of US Air Force General Jack D. Ripper about that fearful Communist conspiracy to put fluoride in the water supply, thereby threatening the precious bodily fluids of the American people?! Oh, and of Canadians too.

#914 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:04 AM:

Re: the dancer- she doesn't actually switch, does she?

Because whilst I absolutely cannot deliberately change her direction, she always seems to start off going clockwise, but if I close my eyes or look away for just a little longer than a normal "blink" moment, half of the time she's going anti-clockwise. And it seems to take more blinks to get her to shift back.

I cannot parse what this means for my brain, if anything. But she's cool.

(As are the numerous baking tips. I may have to try the dough recipe Debbie gave above. I like sticky buns.)

#915 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Remember when a link was posted here about those kids who remade Raiders of the Lost Ark? Turner Classic Movies just ran a featurette about the whole thing. Neat.

#916 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Rikibeth @ 874:

You can get a meat grinder and a citrus juicer for the KitchenAid, you know...

Oh, hush. I wouldn't mind a KitchenAid *in addition to* the old MixMaster, but replace it? Utter heresy. :)

Linkmeister @ 875: might be interested in this article about baking sheets.

Oooh, yes, thank you! (and... "So that's why the damned things warp.")

#918 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Serge, you're devious. I've just watched the first two episodes of Season 1 on Netflix, and I'm not sure I'll want to stop to eat dinner.

Thanks for the nudge, I love it!

#919 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:25 PM:


nine hundred eighteen
is too many posts; we need
a new open thread

[Dang, didn't work dragons in.]

#920 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:44 PM:

Todd 910: Actually, vertical clocks are an innovation postdating the establishment of clockwise as a direction of rotation. On a sundial the shadow of the indicator moves in the same (rotational) direction as the sun across the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere this is "clockwise." (We Wiccans call it deosil, and the other way widdershins.)

Therefore East to South to West is clockwise, and West to South to East is counterclockwise. (It's all backwards in Australia, and I don't know how Wiccans down there even cope!)

I see the dancer as turning clockwise as defined above, and nothing I can do can make her turn counterclockwise. In fact, I can't even see how she could possibly be perceived as turning widdershins, though I'm sure the failure is in my brain, not in the model.

#921 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:45 PM:

Sarah @ 918... Serge, you're devious. I've just watched the first two episodes of Season 1 on Netflix, and I'm not sure I'll want to stop to eat dinner.

You're welcome.

#922 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:48 PM:

albatross @ 919... We don't got to show you no flaming dragon!

#923 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:56 PM:

Xopher, using that definition, I too see her moving clockwise only.

However, "It's all backwards in Australia", and the original site is in Australia. Even with your excellent explanation of where 'clockwise' originally came from, using it in this context seems needlessly confusing to me.

#924 ::: JCarson ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:05 PM:

I'm clockwise on the dancer initially, but I can make her change direction by focusing exclusively on the supporting foot, and flipping whether her toes are in front of her leg or in back, if that makes any sense. It took me a few minutes to get her to change at all, and like Xopher, couldn't see how she could be turning any other way at all, until suddenly she was. Very cool.

#925 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:52 PM:

serge #922:

The flaming dragon
draws together many threads
bloody taveren

#926 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:14 PM:

albatross @ 925... Dare I ask what happens when the flaming dragon gets a bad cold? Phlegm on! (All right, all right, that's very lame, even by my undemanding standards.)

#927 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:21 PM:

Serge #926: Perhaps a Phlegmish dragon?

#928 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:28 PM:

There just aren't enough rhymes for dragon, that's the problem:

Upon the hill sits a flaming dragon,
its eyes awhirl at sight of running men
fleeing the blaze that's tearing through the fen.

By the rough road we see a broken wagon
and swine no longer held inside a pen;
upon the hill sits a flaming dragon.

Beneath the wall now lies a broken flagon,
repaired but once. Now it's in shards again;
the world will be restored, we know not when:
upon the hill sits a flaming dragon.

#929 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:56 PM:

The flagon with the dragon holds the potion that is poison; the vessel with the pestle holds the brew that is true.

Don't ask about the chalice from the palace.

(serge @ #915: Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. Click on "Screenings" for upcoming chances to see it in NYC and Springville NY!)

#930 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Fragano @ 928... If I may add a pale continuation...

Upon the hill sat a flaming dragon.
Once, many wings had danced up to Aten.
It burned their hearts, and now dark they scared men.
They brought swords. On the hill sits no dragon.

#931 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:59 PM:

Todd 923: How about this: Clockwise and counterclockwise are judged as if you are looking down on the rotating object.

#933 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:14 AM:

Lila @ 929

"Even I can say it!"

"Then YOU fight him! "

#934 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:51 AM:

The dancer turns clockwise for me, at the very same time it is anti-clockwise for my husband. I can make her switch, sometimes. He cannot.

"Melman, you know it's all in your head."

The rhyme for dragon that I like most, I cannot use, because it's a "use once" rhyme, and TH White got to it first:

"Long live Uther Pendragon,
Long may his reign drag on"

#935 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 03:11 AM:

Lila, #929: I'm going to use your comment as a springboard for a grump on a related tangent.

Why can't people pronounce "pestle" any more? One of the things I sell at cons is a line of marble and onyx mortar-and-pestle sets, and you would not BELIEVE the number of people who say it "pes-tel". My partner says it's because they've only seen the word written, never heard it pronounced. I'm dubious about that explanation, because words with the same pattern (like "bustle" and "hustle") are still in common usage. Or am I the only person left who, trying to pronounce a word I haven't heard before, will extrapolate from similar-looking words?

#936 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 06:54 AM:

I had another look at the dancer, and realized that the key is her existence as a pure silhouette. She's flat black, with no depth cues at all. Her leg is really just ticking back and forth like a clock's pendulum; the sensation of three-dimensionality is completely an artifact of post-processing. So the direction of rotation is a matter of which half of the tick is perceived as coming out, and which half as going back. Now that I've had that insight, I can consciously make the direction change.

What I can't do is see it as a flat image. I wonder if Peter Watts' vampires could?

#937 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Abi @ 934...

"So, Merlin, what do you think of my outfit for the costume ball?"
"It's not my place to criticize my king Uther."
"Out with it, wizard!"
"Well, you look utherly ridiculous in drag."

#938 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:05 AM:

Little is it known that Uther Pendragon had two sisters, Ether and Catheter.

#939 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:02 AM:

There are a lot of words I probably pronounce wrong-- 'pestle' among them, though now I know-- because yeah, I only ever see them, and it feels less uncomfortable to pronounce them extremely phonetically. Even if I get it wrong, I look much less snobby if I don't try to get fancy. I don't know why this is; anti-intellectual/upperclass/something?
I never thought to extrapolate from nestle, castle, thistle.

#940 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:08 AM:

Diatryma @ 939... And there was the apostle who fell and broke his whistle when writing his epistles while standing on a trestle.

#941 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:24 AM:

My only defense is that this is English, and the fact that I cannot think of even one single word that pronounces the T in -stle does not mean that 'pestle' is not that word.

#942 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Diatryma... Plenty of silent letters in French too. By the way, with Christmas coming up and international tensions being so high, Santa should watch out for ICBMs - Intercontinental Ballistic Mistletoes.

#943 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Lila @ 929... Thanks for bringing the link back. It was interesting hearing the three friends talk about how the whole thing happened. They were all from single-mother families and in 1981 Indiana Jones came along and he was who they wanted to be. Let's never look down on the power of popular(*) stories.

(*) In the old meaning of the word.

#944 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:51 AM:

diatrama #939:

Me too. My educated act is only a facade ("FAK-ade")*.

* Stolen from some otherwise moderately lame movie.

#945 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:52 AM:

Anybody else noticed what Google did to its logo? It took me a moment to figure out what the helmets were there for.

#946 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Serge #930: Aten?

#947 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Fragano @ 946... "The ancient Egyptian god of the sun, Aten was also called the creator of man; Aten was born again each day... Represented by a sun disc. An aspect of Ra, sun god."

#948 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Here's something from the ACLU's latest newsletter.

This Tuesday, November 13th at 8:00 PM, PBS’s award winning show NOVA will be airing a documentary on the Dover intelligent design trial. “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” is a two hour documentary that tells the story of the Dover case.

#949 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Diatrama #941:

They thought me a pest till
I brought them a pestle
They offered to wrestle
but I couldn't rest till
I learned to pronounce the

#950 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Lee: I don't know, my friends all say "pessel". Maybe there's a cooking show host who says it that way.

There have been words I mangled, because I'd never heard them (egregious, which I, for some reason though had an "r" after the second "g" and that the first "e" was long").

My best guess, actually, is that the "t" in often is more often, more pronounced, than it used to be, and so it is getting more pronounced in other words.

Serge: I saw it just before I went to bed, so it took a moment (because, oddly, the day only has meaning to me in the context of WW1). The helmets are, IMO, a very good way of splitting the difference (esp. since most of the countries which celebrate a holiday to day, celebrate the older one).

#951 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Terry Karney @ 950... It was indeed a good choice, also because the design they chose does not carry the politicized baggage a modern helmet would carry.

#952 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:29 AM:

Lee @ #935, perhaps they're being influenced by "pistol"?

#953 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:36 AM:

I cannot say 'inexorable' correctly. Breaks my brain. 'Egregious' is one I thought I had right, because there had to be a second R, and of course the E is long... only I somehow misread it. 'Lascivious' has to rhyme with 'vicious'. In all cases, I think it's my own fault for reading too fast and chopping up the syllables.

#954 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 12:03 PM:

Mister Spock always pronounced the word 'mischievous' mis-chee-vee-ous. So much for his mom having been a teacher.

#955 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Serge 940: The epistle with the whistle has the verse with curse?

Fragano 946, Serge 947: The Aten was actually only the disk of the sun itself, and not any of the other properties of Amon-Ra, such as justice. The Aten is also the god that Akhenaten commanded everyone in Egypt worship to the exclusion of all others. (IIUC this was not in the belief that the Aten could take care of all the things the other gods did, but simply neglected all other needs.)

After righteous people dispatched this "monotheist" madman, his nephew Tutankhaten swiftly changed his name to Tutankhamon, restored Amon-Ra as chief god, and reopened the temples.

Or people acting on his behalf did. After all, he was only nine years old. He lasted five years, and then his power-hungry uncle Ay took the throne, possibly by killing Tutankhamon.

Terry 950: Hmm, as both a military man and a cook, if someone asked you "How do you pronounce the thing that goes in a mortar?" would you say "pessel" or "shell"? (Yes, those are the same 'mortar'—and in fact this is how I learned to remember which is mortar and which is pestle.)

Diatryma 953: I really like the word 'lascivicious'! Makes me think of a dominatrix.

Serge 954: They said a lot of stupid things on that show. The writers weren't science officers, after all.

#956 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Xopher @ 955... The epistle with the whistle has the verse with curse?

A hearse is a hearse, of curse, of curse, I am Mister Dead.

#957 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 12:24 PM:

THE curse, I meant to write. Dammit.

#958 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:38 PM:

Serge #956: When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I came up with this ingenious bit of comedy:

A hearse is a hearse, of curse of curse
And no one can ride in a hearse, of curse
Unless, of curse
The one in the hearse
Is driving or is dead

#959 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:41 PM:

I'm not sure whether this should be here or in that thread which started with BoingBoing and ended with Star Trek, but I'll come down here and say that I just saw an announcement that Winona Ryder will be playing the young Amanda Grayson.

I'm having trouble seeing it myself.

#960 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:57 PM:

julia, I'm liking the idea. But I think I've always liked Winona Ryder more than most people do.

#961 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:46 PM:

julia... Interesting. I'd rather have had someone like Liv Tyler as Spock's mother, but Winona will do. And Simon Pegg as Scotty? Yay!

#962 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:48 PM:

ethan @ 958... I like yours better than mine.

#963 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 03:43 PM:

The Green Fields of France or No Man's Land

And I can't help but wonder now Willie McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
You really believed that this war would end war?
But the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame -
The killing and dying - it was all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Eric Bogle
Someone seems to be making a movie based on this: The Last Parade. There are other articles and remembrances of World War I on that site as well.

Teresa's previous Remembrance Day/ Veterans Day posts:
but I hope we'll be hearing from her later, it's a tradition.

#964 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:43 PM:

And another soldier's thoughts on memories....

Last night I dreamt I went to Mandalay again, and awoke in a bald funk, screaming for my mother. Which, if you're a hero of the Empire, with a VC and all that, is hardly the done thing. At least, not if you're a damned civilian. Real soldiers don't talk about it, but those of us who don't have bad dreams are the strange ones. Or the dead. I've known both in my time, though usually before they became the dead. The reason I am the famous hero is that I have taken good care to stay alive, using all my wit and cunning, and what schooling was beaten into me, to stay one step ahead of those who would wish me dead, whether through personal malice or a general hatred of whichever party I was associated with at the time.

Unfortunately, I was down at Newton Abbott, staying with Sir Sam Baker, who, but for his courage, would be a man after my own heart. It's not every knight of the realm who can wander across half Africa with a bint he bought in a Turkish slave-market, and then persuade her to marry him. Though he should have forged his marriage lines. People would have wondered about some obscure Balkan church, but he wouldn't have been exploring in sin.

And then he went back to the Soudan with his wife. They're both mad as hatters. I don't think they know what fear is.[1]

Hence my embarrassment.

From the Flashman Papers, bundle #27, undated, severely damaged and incomplete.

[1] While Sir Harry Flashman may be mistaken in his judgement of the Bakers' character, his outline of their life together appears to be correct, although the slave-market story is poorly attested. Sam Baker, brother of the notorious Valentine Baker, certainly met his future wife, Florence, in the Balkans, and she went on to travel with him in Africa, on his explorations of the White and Blue Niles. They married on his return to London and, although he was knighted for his discovery of the Source of the Nile, this impropriety led to his exclusion from the Court. While Lady Baker was reckoned quite pretty, as can be seen in extant photographs, by this time she would be considered "matronly".

#965 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Apropos mainly just people finding something interesting, I'm alerting y'all to the start of the 2007 Boyer Lectures. This series (the 48th) is called Restoring The Senses. It's available streaming, or as a podcast or transcript from (don't be put off by the short excursion into philosophy/theology near the beginning). Their summary:

"Professor Graeme Clark, creator of the bionic ear, is ABC Radio National's Boyer lecturer for 2007. In this series of six lectures … Professor Clark draws on decades of experience as a clinician, surgeon and researcher to celebrate our senses. He also tells the compelling story of how the bionic ear was created, and provides an insight into the extraordinary future of bionics."
Archives, either as transcripts or audio recordings, back as far as 1997 are also available on the ABC site.

#966 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:44 PM:

I am nerdproud of my Baby Sister. I wanted to see what happened when you hit 10,000 grains in Free Rice, so she broke her previous record of nine thousand and some and found out "all it says when you get to 10,000 is "You've donated 10,000 grains of rice. Now THAT'S impressive" then it makes it all go away and yeah. lol but you can keep going"
Like I said. Nerdpride.

#967 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 10:33 PM:

Terminal Terminology Definition Dysfunction: US intelligence official: You get privacy when your definition matches ours

#968 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:40 PM:

My young friend Alex (descended from other friends who are noticeably less young) just got a Letter of Assurance from West Point!

This means that if he qualifies, he's in (instead of going into the qualified "pot" of ~3000 for 1300 slots).

This is great news, partly because he really, really wants to go to West Point...and because he might just join the Army anyway if he doesn't get into West Point...and I'm hoping things might be winding down in Iraq by the time he finishes West Point.

#969 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:22 AM:

One thing to be wary of is ubiquitous Dominionist toxic proselytizing at the military academies.

#970 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:03 AM:

"Catapultum habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnen mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam."

Whn my wife found me that t-shirt at the Boston worldcon in 2004, it's funny how many people I met who tried to translate it.

#971 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:34 AM:

""The fact that Mailer continued writing up until the very end says more about him as a creative being than anything that any critic could offer," observes reviewer and blogger Laura Axelrod"

What a remarkably deficient view of criticism!

#972 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Serge, I can find "I have a catapult" and then a lot of things that are cognates but not stringing themselves together into a sentence. Translation of the Latin, please, or at least translation of the joke?

#973 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:57 AM:

Diatryma @ 972... The translation supposedly is "I Have a catapult. Hand over all your money, or I shall hurl a large object at your head." I think it is. I lost the paper that came with the t-shirt and, for all I know, that translation was a joke at the expense of the buyer. The Latinate types who hang around here(*) might be able to tell us.


(*) Yes, I mean you in the corner.

#974 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Hey, it looks like Steven Brust is just beginning to get smashed by a tsunami of trouble. Seems to me that he could probably use some cash to help him find a good bankruptcy lawyer... There's a donation site at

#975 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Serge @973:

OK, lounging nonchalantly in my corner, I'll inform you that you're pretty close. It's actually "I have a catapult. Unless you give me all your money, I'll send you a rock to the head right away."

#976 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:29 PM:

Abi, I was translating at the same time you were, and came up with 'immane' as an adjective ('enormous') describing 'saxum', giving me 'Unless you give all your money to me, I will fling an enormous rock towards your head.' Did I do something wrong?

#977 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Rymenhild @976:
No, I think you're right. It's been too long since I did any serious Latin...

#978 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:39 PM:

I really wasn't sure. I won't get into how out of practice at Latin I am!

#979 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:41 PM:
Mister Spock always pronounced the word 'mischievous' mis-chee-vee-ous. So much for his mom having been a teacher.


A pronunciation \mis-ˈchē-vē-əs\ and a consequent spelling mischievious are of long standing: evidence for the spelling goes back to the 16th century. Our pronunciation files contain modern attestations ranging from dialect speakers to Herbert Hoover. But both the pronunciation and the spelling are still considered nonstandard.

Hm, again. Perhaps mom was a bit of a linguistic rebel. Or perhaps someone else taught Spock that pronunciation during Starfleet training, precisely because Spock was such a straightlaced fuddy-duddy.

#980 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Though Brust just said on the same LJ post that he wasn't actually asking for donations. So, um... Ahwell. ;) I'm pretty happy to give to the "buy yourself a fancypants dinner out, Steve Brust, because dude that sucks" fund. :)

#981 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:04 PM:

abi.. Rymenhild... My many thanks to both of you.

It's been too long since I did any serious Latin

Got any transcript of Roman standup routines?
"Take my lion, please."

#982 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Owlmirror @ 979... Spock was such a straightlaced fuddy-duddy.

Except when he played with his pet selot.

#983 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:24 PM:
Except when he played with his pet selot.
Which is to say, "sehlat".

What, me? A nerd and a pedant? Surely you jest!

#984 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:47 PM:

A few weeks ago, a TV sports show persuaded a relative of George Gipp to have his body exhumed for DNA testing. My agents in Calumet, Michigan have alerted me that more of the story has now been told.

New York Times

Houghton Mining Gazette

#985 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:38 PM:

Owlmirror... I stand corrected.

#986 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Would some kind soul translate the Benny Hill line "I have a red pencil box" into Latin for me, please? It's from a routine where a poor fellow got into trouble for not understanding English and only knowing a couple of lines learned by rote.

#987 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:02 PM:

Earl, Earl, Earl @ 986... You had to mention Benny Hill.

#988 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Serge @973: I suspect that the original source of that quote is Henry Beard's Latin for All Occasions (New York: Villard Books, 1990), where on page 14 it's translated as "I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head."

Other useful phrases are "Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt" (p. 10: "When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults"), "Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum" (p. 37: "Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe"), and "Feles mala! Cur cista non uteris? Stramentum novum in ea posui" (p. 64: "Bad kitty! Why don't you use the cat box? I put new litter in it").

#989 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Julie L @ 988... Feles mala!


#990 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:09 PM:

I know I've brought this up before, I know I shouln't do it again, but here it is...

Romanes Eunt Domus

#991 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:12 AM:

I've never brought this up before, because I have never seen it until today, but here it is:

Lingua::Romana::Perligata -- Perl for the XXI-imum Century

#992 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:10 AM:

Owlmirror @ 991... Writing Perl programs in Latin? Vade retro!

#993 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 09:13 AM:

Seeing the e-reader review in the Particles reminded me of this:
Charlie "low saving throw vs. shiny!" Stross on his PRS-505, and e-readers in general.

#994 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Are "felix magna mala" the right words for "big bad cat", or is it always "feles" when you're addressing the cat directly? (*Way* too long since I took any Latin classes.)

#995 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:08 PM:

A link at Irene Gallo's Art Department led me, eventually, to, where, in one of the forum threads, I found some, uhh, interesting stuff:

The second photo in this post is a disturbing explanation of Why "Fanboys" Get No Respect.

And this piece of art is, I think, Not Safe For Anywhere, even though there's not an explicit drop of ink anywhere in it. Trust me, you will want the Brain Bleach standing by for this: Star Trek/Sailor Moon mashup

And, as a special treat for Patrick:

Strange Japanese Doritos packaging (Does eating Japanese Doritos make you want to give someone a kick in the groin, or to receive one?)

Plus: Rap Snacks

#997 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Carrie S, that is... I can see why they would hypothesize that. I can see the logic of it (and my Jean M Auel-reading childself is laughing). I can also see holes, and situations that may be analogous.
I didn't see evidence for sex-differentiated hunting behavior in the article, not for either species, and that's really the keystone of the argument, isn't it? Hmph.

#998 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:10 PM:

I didn't see evidence for sex-differentiated hunting behavior in the article, not for either species, and that's really the keystone of the argument, isn't it?

The gist of it seems to be, "Well, the Neanderthal women were just as husky* as the men, and they didn't sew, so they must have hunted too!" (This is in other versions of the story; there are two or three out there but I only pointed at the dumbest.)

*They say "robust", to be proper anthropologists, but they mean "big-boned and unfeminine".

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