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November 15, 2007

That topic
Posted by Teresa at 12:32 AM * 317 comments

If y wnt t tlk bt brtn, d t hr.

Comments on That topic:
#1 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:42 AM:

OK...so I kinda think Tim Burton is slipping. I mean, Corpse Bride was OK, but compared to his previous work clearly sub-par. Of course, I have no idea what he's working on now...any rumors out there?

(What? Oh, I see...)

#2 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:47 AM:

I figured baritones, or maybe the Matter of Britain.

#3 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:50 AM:

Abrotine is a colorless alkaloid obtained from wood.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:54 AM:

And suddenly I'm in love with Making Light all over again.

#5 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:02 AM:

Didn't we already discuss Ben Britten's Requiem in the Remembrance post?

#6 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:05 AM:

I've been enjoying the Burton translation of the Arabian Nights, complete with all the insane footnotes. It's highly scandalous and lascivious, (if you thought the Thousand and One Nights were stories for children, think again!) though I admit I have no idea how faithful a translation it is.

Unfortunately the spine is completely disintegrating; it's some kind of limited edition and evidently it was bound using some highly acidic cardboard behind the cloth. I have been entertaining wild fantasies about asking abi to rebind it - the pages seem to be just fine - but I doubt I could afford it.

Traveler, scholar, dirty old man - really, is there any other Burton worth discussing?

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:12 AM:

I'll start things off:

You're wrong, all of you!

#8 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:19 AM:

Only a third of Indonesians have cell phones- I'm not sure if I was expecting that to be higher or lower. Still, lots of growth potential for both the object of discussion and its competitors. P/E and P/S don't look too bad, either.

#10 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:28 AM:

A-Britain is really quite a bit like Britain, but not identical. For example, in Britain they may call them biscuits, but in A-Britain they might be called cookies or, more formally, any-and-every-other-possible-designation-apart-from-the-word-"biscuit"-and-perhaps-even-including-that-word-so-long-as-it-is-not-said-in-a-British-context. I prefer the former, as it makes for shorter recipe titles.

Anti-Britain is another story altogether. There, they tend to vomit up tea a few times a night, and are still coming into their own economically after the eclipse of their erstwhile colonial rulers from the subcontinent. Luckily, that's not the subject of this thread.

#11 ::: Leighton ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:38 AM:

What do you have against Belgian radio and television?

#12 ::: me2i81 ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:42 AM:


Jhn S Brtn Vlkmnn & Schml LLP Attrnys At Lw
: almost disemvoweled attorneys at law

#13 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:59 AM:

3 telecommunications companies (US, UK, Indonesia), 2 mutual funds (Nebraska, Indonesia), 1 Australian cement company, 1 insurance company, 1 utility, and a trust for healthcare properties.

While I think the topic of stocks and investments can bring out the day-trading trolls, I suppose we haven't talked much about it here.

And while I'm overexposed in the telecom sector, if Ms. Teresa is saying to look there, I guess we should discuss it. (But I will say I think she shouldn't be as dismissive of mutual funds as her portfolio suggests.)

#14 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:02 AM:

Baritone voices certainly have their place, after all, what would Don Giovanni have been like without them?

#15 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:06 AM:

The German word "braten", encountered by Americans most often in the compound term sauerbraten, means roast, or roast meat. It's a fairly straight derivation from the Middle Germanic brāte, meaning edible meat. The association of "roasted" with "edible" reminds us that methods of food preservation were pretty lousy in the pre-electricity periods. I am reminded to be grateful for my refrigerator.

#16 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:08 AM:

We really all need to stop beratin' one another so much.

#17 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:11 AM:

Kathryn, I once had investments in three mutual funds from three different investment companies with three different goals (Growth, G&I, Sm. Co. Growth). Yet during one quarter in the 1980s all three had big holdings in Telefonos de Mexico.

Sheep, that's what mutual fund managers are.

#18 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:30 AM:

Avram @ 2, Larry Brennan @ 14:

Ooooh, baritone voices. I'm told I'm in the minority of female classical music/opera lovers, in preferring them to tenors.

#19 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:33 AM:

Linkmeister @17,

I quite possibly have some Indonesian telecom- one of my mutual funds focuses on SouthEast Asia. It's up 19% since I bought it a few months back.

This year it finally dawned on me that my Roth IRA* is where I should practice with risk and mutual funds. I decided to take some % of my Roth and practice. My online account has a mutual fund selection tool- I told it to give me ones with high 1, 3, and 5 year returns. And minimums /loads I could afford.

I'm quite happy at how they're doing. But it seems a little too easy.

----------
* rough summary... in the US, Roth IRAs-- a type of retirement account-- are filled with after-tax money, but one doesn't pay taxes on their gains.

#20 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:37 AM:

Me, I'm a a bari-tenor. I prefer baritone, myself, as a voice to listen to..

#21 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:44 AM:

I think the whole topic has gone for a burton.

#23 ::: embee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:07 AM:

Kathryn @ #8:
You might be interested in the work of Genevieve Bell. She is a cultural anthropologist at Intel who has studied the uses of technology in various Asian countries. Here's her take:

"In Indonesia, for instance, rather than individually owned cell phones, I met at least one family, where they share all their phones. You take whatever phone is charged and has money on it - individual numbers do not link to individuals but rather to whole households. The connection is between social networks rather than individuals."

Quoted from this interview.

#24 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:30 AM:

It's a sad reflection on internet culture that all this circumlocution should be necessary. Why must every civilised discussion about Bruton descend into trollish sniggering? Okay, it's an unfortunate name for a school, but surely we're mature enough to see beyond that?

#25 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:39 AM:

Aw, man. There was a Bartons store on 181st when I was growing up. I couldn't have been much older than four or five when it closed, but I can still remember it pretty well -- when one of my sisters would take me to the library, we'd stop there on the way back, and get one chocolate bar, which we'd split.

Good times.

#26 ::: Eric Walker ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:50 AM:

Mutual funds can be selected using the Morningstar site tools; it seems simple enough to find the ones with no loads and the highest returns. (Yes, doing quite decently myself, thank you.)

Sweet potatoes--a word not in the "Spelling reference"--make excellent chips when oven-baked to crispness (cut, unpeeled, into medium-thick slices, roll in peanut oil, bake at 450 F for about 15 minutes, turn over, another 10 minutes--include spices as may seem appropriate, or go plain; add salt to taste). Do not, from remembrances of T'days, think that they'll be particularly sweet--it's the sweet slop added to them on T'days that makes the yuck factor.

Am I the only one here who prefers contraltos?

If you liked the Arabian Nights, try--I have not yet myself, this is by reputation--Count Jan Potocki's Manuscript Found in Saragossa.

And as to the subject starter, I can do no better than to quote from the closing thought at the delightful Grumpy Old Bookman blog:

'Reedin iz 4 geekz n sad ppl' -- Chantelle fan, May 2006.

This blog is respectfully dedicated to geekz n sad ppl everywhere.


#27 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:02 AM:

Burton's _Nights_ is presented in full at Project Gutenburg.

According to Hussein Haddawy, Burton is a very bad translator and his source text was a late, much-amended copy of _The Nights._ Haddawy claims to have dug the original text out from later additions and interpolations (Sinbad's voyages, for one, were originally a separate book). His _Nights_ is a much better read--still bawdy, but the really revolting passages (men tricking toddlers into committing fellatio is funny haw haw) are not there. Also, Haddawy does not flog his thesaurus.

Burton does excel over Haddawy in the matter of food. I used both translations as sources when preparing to cook for an SCA event (West Meets East: A Crusader's Feast). If a meal was in Haddawy, it was period, but the details were glossed over because Haddawy was writing for casual readers. I went to Burton for exact names of the various dishes and copious footnotes. Then I used a translated and partially redacted 13th-century Moorish cookbook at Cariadoc's Miscellany to create the dishes.

#28 ::: Pumeza ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:12 AM:

You're accepting birthing stories at Making Light now? Cool :-).. but, uh, I'd rather not be first.

#29 ::: Pumeza ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:17 AM:

oh, and an embarrassing question: I'm guessing by the Indonesia, telecoms and mutual fund-related comments on here that there's at least one important interpretation of "brtn" I'm just not getting. Could somebody please enlighten me? (I'm not American so am possibly missing some important bit of local knowledge?)

#30 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:36 AM:

I too enjoy the Tim Burton translation of the Arabian Nights. It definitely puts the lie to all those critics about his Corpse Bride work. Also, it may be lascivious but not anywhere near as perverse as the implied bestiality and romantic love of his Planet of the Apes.

#31 ::: Chris Sullins ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:43 AM:

Manifeste du surréalisme, his greatest work. Certainly the most important brtn to ever grace the Earth.

Regex Dictionary: ^[aeiou]*b[aeiou]*r[aeiou]*t[aeiou]*n[aeiou]*$ (case insensitive)

#32 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:39 AM:

Chris, thanks very much for the Regex Dictionary. Isn't the Internet wonderful? All human life is there (and non-human too, of course).

#33 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:41 AM:

Burton-on-Trent is rather a dull place to visit, but interesting in being the only substantial town I can think of that became important in the first instance entirely for its beer making industry, and still remains so to this day.

#34 ::: Roz Kaveney ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:45 AM:

Clint Barton was quite right to refuse to become the new Captain America, though it is quite hard to guess what name he should take since Katie Bishop took over so effectively as Hawkeye. And her smackdown of Clint when she saw him in the blue suit was very impressive - just goes to show that sometimes a character gets added to comics continuity who instantly acquires the charisma some others lack after thirty years of story. Clint will probably die again some time soon, anyway...

#35 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:52 AM:

Burton's Planet of the Apes left me cold, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was much more a success. I do look forward to his adaptation of Sweeney Todd.

Would a Burton movie version of The Road be too much to hope for?

#36 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:12 AM:

As it happens, Barton is the electorate I find myself in for the current Australian federal election (named after Sir Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of Australia).

Regrettably it's a safe seat, so my (mandatory) vote will make little difference either way. The senate, however, is another matter entirely...

#37 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:17 AM:

I don't know; while this sort of conversation may be unusual elsewhere, it doesn't seem so much of an aberation here.

What? Oh. Yes, my spellchecker was on the fritz too; must be going around.

Isabel, Lady Burton, is indeed an interesting and controversial figure. I can see that some people might be upset that she not only disemvoweled but also disemconsonanted many of her husband Richard's manuscripts after his death. But she meant well, so I would hope that discussing her wouldn't upset people so much as to require being isolated in a special thread.

She did leave behind many of her own writings, as well as accounts of her life with Richard, which can make for some interesting compare-and-contrast exercises. For more by and about both Richard and Isabel, see http://burtoniana.org/ ; some additional Isabel material can be found via this link.

#38 ::: Bill B ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:28 AM:

Every time I see a Burton product in the HP commercials, I weep for inanity.

#39 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:35 AM:

Oh dear, what kind of to-do has Britney gotten herself into now?

#40 ::: A.J.Hall ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:37 AM:

The Barton Swing Aqueduct which takes the Bridgewater Canal over the Manchester Ship Canal is, indeed, one of the wonders of the waterway world and worth a discussion to itself.

#41 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:41 AM:

nglsh s n smtc lngg. Rmmbr th rp f th Sbn vwls.

nd nbd sd, "f y dnt wnt t tlk bt t, s ths thrd nw."

#42 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:29 AM:

C. Wingate: KTHXBY.

#43 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:42 AM:

Teresa, you're not the only one adoring this place. My only regret is that I can add nothing.

#44 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:02 AM:

#1: Tim Burton's movie adaption of the Stephen Sondheim musical, Sweeney Todd, is opening around Christmas time. Johnny Depp plays the title role. This worries me because Sweeney is a part typically played by a trained baritone, and Johnny Depp is... not. I read one quote from him where he basically said that he decided not to go for voice training to prepare for the part.

(Maybe they got the ghost of Clara Barton to nurse his voice back to health after the shoot...)

#45 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:04 AM:

Unlike England, a Scottish baron, that is, a holder of superiority over a territorial entity, is actually a laird, and since the title is attached to the land instead of the other way around, you can legitimately become a scottish baron by buying the land; the proper equivalent to the English "baron" is a Lord of Parliament.

#46 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:11 AM:

Burton-on-Trent is also famed for its marmite.

Marmite is a kind of British soy sauce, it's made out of yeast extract and is therefore a by-product of the aforementioned Burton brewing industry. You use it in cooking to add some umami, especially in vegetarian cooking. Some people spread it on toast, but some people play the flute on stilts and others voted the upside-down kiss in a Spiderman film the greatest screen kiss of all time, which just goes to show.

The other thing marmite is famous for, was ending the Vnn Bnt weirdness on rasseff, when it was valiantly wielded by the intrepid John Richards.

#47 ::: jayskew ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:12 AM:

While I do think the euphemism of bright for atheist is kind of amusing, you'd think such things would be old hat at Making Light.

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:25 AM:

jenny islander... Also, Haddawy does not flog his thesaurus

I certainly hope not. There are children here.

#49 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Burton, baritone from Britain, beratin' Barton on BRTN about *b*r*t**n.

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:29 AM:

I thought Burton was good in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Mind you, it must not have been that much of a stretch for him to play an alcoholic spy. I was amused when I first saw the movie to realize where the Deep Space Nine episode with Adrienne Barbeau (whoohoo!) as a Romulan had found its... ah... inspiration.

#51 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:32 AM:

Speaking of Don Giovanni and favorite voices, I still remember when my opera teacher explained the meaning and use of basso nero voices in opera by playing that bit in D.G.

Chills up my spine.

#52 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:35 AM:

Jo @46: heretic! Marmite is the one true toast topping!

(I buy it by the half-kilo catering tub. This causes some benighted individuals to look at me oddly.)

#53 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:54 AM:

One could easily imagine an alternate universe in which brtn is an issue of the far left instead of the far right. The idea would be that radical vegans, who in our universe want to extend human rights to animals, also want to extend them back to embryos. It makes a lot of sense -- just look at who the domestic terrorists are now: brtn clnc bombers, and the ELF/SHAC/etc groups.

I hesitate to post this lest I be accused of making a political statement or equivalence. I am not. I'm purely speculating on hypothetical alternate universes. Really.

#54 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:02 AM:

Hmmm... Thanks for making my brain itch. It's not an all-too-entirely enjoyable sensation.

Oh well. Now I know why cats and dogs shake their heads like that, I guess.

#55 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:02 AM:

Chris Sullins @ 31: curses, I missed that one and I actually live in Brittany! Having said that, you hardly ever see the word "Breton" here: the locals prefer the autological "Breizh", although hardly any of them actually seem to speak it.

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 37: Mountains of the Moon certainly left me with a highly favourable impression of the lady in question (or possibly just of Fiona Shaw: it's always hard to tell, though I should stress that I have no similar regard for Harry Potter's Aunt Petunia).

#56 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:04 AM:

By the way, if we need more topics, the national puzzlers league has a regular expression searcher with several very large dictionaries attached. As Chris Sullins posted, the search sting you need is
^[aeiou]*b[aeiou]*r[aeiou]*t[aeiou]*n[aeiou]*$

#57 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:05 AM:

Sweeney Todd without... but... voices!
I'm another baritone partison, but this may be because I was once an alto (then a first soprano) and my mother can sing pretty darned low herself. There are a few whiny-guy bands I rather like because I can sing along without going too high or too low, but low voices are so much more fun to listen to. The best decision my college choir director made was to put the basses behind the sopranos so I could feel the rumbles.

Also, this is the second time in two days I've looked up the word 'bass' on Wikipedia. The one about fish was rather more informative.

#58 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:08 AM:

Charles Stross speaks truth! I knew that there was a reason why I liked his books. In the 1970s, my parents were forced to travel around the world with heavy jars in their hand luggage so that I wouldn't starve. Thankfully it is now available in the U.S., but in tiny jars that probably cost more per gram than most street drugs.

I know one desperate geneticist who, when in a foreign lab sans marmite, attempted to make his own by the cooking the bacto yeast extract that is an ingredient in bacterial culture broths. Not a success.

#59 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:11 AM:

Nick, that sounds incredibly nerdy. I wonder if he'd have had better luck with another culture mix? LB seems like it'd be... not tasty, but it, like cats, has a flavor. It smells like life to me.
A student here once had a party and advertised "Yeast Bucket", which I am told is a Peace Corps alcohol involving a bucket, sugar, and yeast. I am willing to do many things for science, but not that.

#60 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:11 AM:

#53 : Is a "radical vegan" one who subsists exclusively on radishes, or on roots (Latin radix)?

It's been asserted - not least in the indispensable New Scientist - that everything you eat probably contains some atoms that were once part of a dinosaur.

#61 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:16 AM:

"A vegetarian is someone who eats only vegetables.

"I, my friend, am a humanitarian ..."

#62 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:19 AM:

Burton-on-Trent is rather a dull place to visit but it makes for some extremely disturbing gay sex.

#63 ::: j ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:19 AM:

I do wish all of you would stop dancing around the -real- issue Theresa raised here. She went out of her way to provide us with a safe space to discuss the topic, and I think we're doing a disservice to her in not discussing it.

Britney Murphy is an acting genius, even if she can't spell her name right.

There, I've said it, and I'm not taking it back.

#64 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:20 AM:

re 47: Surely there must be another term for taking a neutral word and substituting a fluff word for it. "Euphemism" doesn't do it for me.

#65 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:22 AM:

Vivaldi's choir at the Foundling Hospital in Venice seems to have been all-female, including tenors and basses singing at actual pitch, not an octave up as in some recordings. There's a modern choir, the Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi, that tries to reproduce the sound. It's beautiful.

#66 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Diatryma,

As I recall, he attempted to caramelize it through excessive autoclaving. Perhaps if he had stirred it in a pan over a stove?

My favorite nerdy lab/alcohol story involves the the famous physiologist Knut Schmidt-Nielsen who was a young researcher in Copenhagen during the war. According to his autobiography, he and his colleagues would use ethanol for a variety of extractions and precipitations. Then, they'd re-distill it and drink it.

#67 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Charles Stross: So, do you serve man baked or fried?

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:34 AM:

bryan @ 62... Burton-on-Trent (...) makes for some extremely disturbing gay sex.

Dan Burton on Trent Lott?

#69 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:40 AM:

re #35: [Shudder] Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and Roald Dahl is too much highly concentrated weirdness. Give me Gene, thank you.

re 57: When I sang with a Slavic men's chorus there was one piece we sang that had 3 octaves and a fifth between the lowest and highest notes. We did a lot of insane arrangements like that: I discovered that one hymn we sang was pitched lower in the hymnal (for SATB) than it was for us ostensibly TTBB.

A couple of years back I had one of those parent rush experiences listening to my unchanged voice son getting a voice test, and hearing him go up over three octaves. As a soprano. (There was an amusing period when his voice was changing and he would show off at school chorus by singing all the parts.)

Baroque pieces tend to have great tenor and decent alto parts; shape note music has the worst alto parts ever. Victorian hymns have the worst tenor parts ever.

#70 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Emma #67, in the cartonical method of preparing H. sapiens (i.e. in all the cartoons) the missionary is boiled in a big pot.

#71 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Cliff Burton (the late) + Trent Reznor?

#72 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Burton-on-Trent sounds like an evening of Sir Richard expostulating on the Latin liturgy.

#73 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Another baritone fan here. In my case, my hearing is sketchy, so I have a harder time understanding words sung by high-pitched voices. Lower voices sound as if their diction is clearer whether it really is or not.

#74 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Oh my God, I love this place.

#75 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:15 AM:

I had always heard that lab ethanol is unsafe to drink, but I have not run it through anything to check. Including my kidneys. I get enough of it through my lungs when I'm working under sterile conditions, anyway.

A friend of mine, not the lowest bass I've met but a pretty low one, took voice lessons in college with a man who was known for producing tenors. Not great tenors, but he'd stretch your range tenorward. Dan, formerly a soprano and then bass, reached a G above middle C; a mezzo soprano turned tenorish under the same teacher.
I used to get attention because when I was younger and chose to sing alto, I was able to sing higher than most of the sopranos-- it's a peril of making the soprano the melody in all kids' music. If you don't know what you're doing, they put you in the soprano section, where you stay until someone points out that you cannot actually reach those notes and why don't you move down a section?
I should poke around for a choir or something here. I still have a lot of choral-singing baggage, but I'd like to be able to take part in geeky music conversations.

#76 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:20 AM:

albatross (#74): Ditto, and just when I'd expected to dislike a thread!

Have we said enough yet about the Matter of Britain? And what *is* the association with Indonesian cell phones? (Nobody has answered that question yet.)

#77 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:27 AM:

Dieub ha par en o dellezegezh hag o gwirioù eo ganet an holl dud. Poell ha skiant zo dezho ha dleout a reont bevañ an eil gant egile en ur spered a genvreudeuriezh.

#78 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:31 AM:

(as a mostly reader, rare commentor) I second albatross' motion on loving this place

#79 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:31 AM:

John @70: Well, yes, if the eater is another human....

Chris @73: I have a similar problem, but not, for some reason, in music. I discovered when taking a chinese class and not being able to understand the teacher at all! I mean, I could not reproduce the sounds correctly no matter what I tried; then one day we had a substitute teacher with a low speaking voice and it all made sense.
The regular teacher had a very high voice and the sub was a nice contralto...

#81 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Emma #79, you mean Charlie isn't another ... Oh. Mumble. Sorry.

#82 ::: Merry ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:44 AM:

I thought Richard Burton was married to Elizabeth Taylor. Was he married to this Isabel person before, after or in between Liz? Too bad he and Liz didn't do an Arabian Nights film after Cleopatra.

#83 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:49 AM:

#75 Diatryma: I self-identify as baritone and my comfortable range is F below low C to F above middle C. High F# is pushing it, and that high G is sometimes there on a good day, sometimes not. Anything above that is a thin falsetto useless for anything but singing in the car with the windows rolled up.

The basses in my church choir range down to the low E-flat, where I dare not tread.

#84 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:51 AM:

I'm totally not in the baritone camp. My favorite solo opera pieces are almost invariably soprano. In fact I generally prefer female voices to male in just about any musical genre.

Though I suspect this has something to do with me being able to sing along...

(I miss choral singing. Haven't done it since college. I'm sure I've lost range by now, but back in the day I sang first soprano - at least until I figured out that first soprano is the boringest part, and the mezzos got all the cool harmonies.)

#85 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Technically I'm a baritone. In practice (and not all at the same time-- my larynx refuses to adjust that far all at once) I can go from double-low C to high C. Not all of that is full voice, though on a really good day I can produce a high B-flat.

#86 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Glinda @ 18: If you are, so am I. Give me a bari or a good solid bass.

When I'm in practice and warmed up, I have a three and a half octave range. Today as a test...I'm about an octave down and it sounds like the crud I've currently got in my throat. I love my cats, but *man* my allergies are doing a number. I've shifted lower about 3 steps since we brought them home 2 months ago.

Dia@ 75 That's what happened to me. I sang SS for so many years even though it surrounds my break point because I could carry that harmonic line, even though my best range is either First Sop. or Sec. Alto.

I'm going to just keep watching the conversations and remembering choir.

#87 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:03 AM:

C Wingate--do you mean "shaped-note music has the most BORING alto parts ever?"

If you do, you've been tricked. The majority of shaped-note music doesn't have an original alto (it was 3-part, all mixed), and whoever added alto was very boring. The stuff that DOES have an original alto is gorgeous.

#88 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:05 AM:

ROFLMAO ... my cubie asked what I was reading!

Jenny @ 27
I have a copy of Adventures of Amir Hamza on order, and I got Medieval Cuisine in the Islamic World (recommend for the essay in front as well as the recipes) from the Dirt Cheap Book Sale. Mix the two and get ... something.

#89 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:20 AM:

John @81: Oh my Ghod...you mean he wrote the cookbook?!!!

#90 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:32 AM:

I love singing, especially "sacred music." I even enjoy singing those really uninspired modern hymns. I don't do it especially well, my voice is completely untrained, and I'm terrible at staying with the harmony; I tend to leap over to melody wherever it is. Bad, bad. I've often thought that it might be fun to take some singing lessons, just so I could learn how not to do that, and maybe get a little better at, you know, making a joyful noise.

C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters makes a point of having his demon say that there is no music in hell. I absolutely believe him.

By the way, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially in or near Berkeley, you might be interested in this:

Berkeley's Chora Nova, directed by Paul Flight, is presenting a concert of works dedicated to St. Nicolas. They're singing Haydn's Missa Sancti Nicolai and Britten's St. Nicolas Cantata. The children of the Piedmont Choirs, four soloists, and a small orchestra join them. Date and time: Saturday, November 17, 2007 8:00 pm. Place: First Congregational Church of Berkeley, at Dana & Durant. Tickets are $18, $15 senior, $10 student. Parking sucks so get there early.

I also wish to express my delight in and appreciation for this community's knowledge, humor, and kindness.

#91 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:34 AM:

That's it, I've decided that heathens are really just warm fuzzies.

And I have a four volume translation from 1914 of Arabian Nights with naughty pictures. But it wasn't bound very well either.

#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:39 AM:

I'm a true tenor, though since I haven't been singing high stuff for a couple of years, my high notes are weak.

I wish I'd gotten in here earlier. Damn. All the ones I can think of have been used.

I AM thinking of a large group of double-reed wind instruments, all in a row, sounding a sixth chord as they ride the rails through the night. But that's not a word (or wasn't until now).

Rats. I transposed the 't' and 'r'. Frell me dead. Giving up now.

#93 ::: Daniel S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Roz @ #34: Another Young Avengers fan here, really amazed at how they manage to stand out in a world already awash in snarky heroes of one kind or another.

#94 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:59 AM:

I regret never having read any of Pierre Berton's books, even though I lived in Canada for six years. (I'm told The Last Spike is terrific.)

#95 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Then there's Berton Roueche. Interesting stuff.

#96 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:04 PM:

I am fond of Tuvan throat singing, however, especially with German lyrics...

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Lizzy L @ 90... C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters makes a point of having his demon say that there is no music in hell. I absolutely believe him.

On the other hand, according to Gary Larson's Far Side, there is music in Hell, but, as a symphonic orchestra's maestro soon finds out, the only instrument is the banjo.

#98 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:19 PM:

Charlie Stross @#52: Marmite is an abomination! Some people (horrible, horrible people) not only spread it on toast, they give it to helpless children. To eat.

#99 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:36 PM:

re #87: You go ahead and tell me how great the first alto phrase of Kittery is then.

I have this theory that you can tell what parts the composer and his wife sang by his part writing. (I don't have a large enough sample of women to go the other way.) I would guess, for instance, RVW was a bass and that his wife (Ursula, IIRC) was an alto. His tenor parts tend to be ehh-- not bad, but not sparkling. His soprano parts are very often appalling, as for example in the motet version of "At the Name of Jesus", which has multiple punishingly high decant parts. And Benjamin Britten.... um, let us not go there.

BTW, since we're promoting: my church (St. Mark's Highland) is having a dedication concert for the new organ tomorrow night. (Free. 7:30. Drive west out MD 216 until you see the church on the left.)

#100 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Soprano in school chorus but with a wacky range, the National Anthem fit comfortably inside it (still does), and I used to fight the tenors for their solos.

I miss chorus...

#101 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:40 PM:

John @81: Charlie became post-human some time ago, so technically it's not, y'know, cnnblsm. Though I don't know whether he eats them with marmite; that would clearly be beyond the pale.

#102 ::: Brynna Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:45 PM:

theophylact @ 94: My favourite Berton book is the Secret Land of Og, although I haven't re-read it in about 15 years. It's very bizarre. My favourite bit was one of the boys covering himself in green paint so as to look like one of the Og people. I always thought that'd be a great, albeit obscure, Hallowe'en costume.

#103 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Charlie @#52: Heretic! Marmite is, as any fule know, best put on roast potatoes before they roast, to give them that nice brown crunchy coating. (They're not really roast unless you do that.)

#104 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Serge 97: Did you know that there is actually such a thing as classical banjo? And that a person who plays the banjo in this fashion is called a banjoist? (The technique is different, in part because the little finger is pressed at (almost) all times against the skin of the banjo, giving the whole instrument a sharper decay; I've heard this and the effect is almost like a harp stop on a harpsichord, though not quite as pronounced.)

A person who plays bluegrass banjo, I was told by Tom Hanway (also the source for the above information about classical banjo), is called a picker.

#105 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Jeez, I almost forgot! The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society put on a wonderful concert this past Sunday, of five of Haydn's trios for baryton (he wrote 126 for Count Esterhazy, who was a devoted player of the instrument). Even the fact that someone hit our car on the way home from the concert didn't wholly take the glow off the evening.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Arg. Better link for Tom Hanway.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:01 PM:

I keep getting 'marmite' and 'ipecac' confused. They have such similar uses.

#108 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:19 PM:

I've eaten and enjoyed marmite as an admixture to a vegetarian stew. But Dilute! Dilute! OK!

#109 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:31 PM:

Pumeza @ #29, I'm guessing, but I think Kathryn took all those consonants Teresa put in the original post and looked up the stock market symbols for each one.

Y, for instance, is the symbol for Alleghany, a large insurance company.

#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Xopher @ 104... No, I didn't know about the classical banjo. Then again there are MANY of things I know very little about, unlike most of the people who hang around ML.

#111 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:34 PM:

Nix #103: really? I'm going to have to try that. Yummy!

Mary Dell #98: And some of those children like it. I was one. Choose between giving up Marmite and Chocolate? Hard choice ...

#112 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Speaking of Don Giovanni, the star of Lemonade Joe (Limonadovy Joe), Karel Fiala, shows up in at least one version of Amadeus as Don Giovanni onstage. It's now possible to find LJ over here, at least on VHS (I've seen a DVD for sale online, but I'm not sure what region it's for). Back in Czechoslovakia, it's popular enough that there's a political parody of it in YouTube, and it looks like someone's named a band after it over there as well. (There's also a mix that uses the main title theme, which starts about a minute in.)

I guess this isn't so much about Don Giovanni after all.

#113 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:39 PM:

#90: C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters makes a point of having his demon say that there is no music in hell. I absolutely believe him.

But... but... but...

'We'll win, of course,' he said.
'You don't want that,' said the demon.
'Why not, pray?'
'Listen,' said Crowley desperately. 'How many musicians do you think your side have got, eh? First grade, I mean.'
Aziraphale looked taken aback.
'Well, I should think-'
'Two,' said Crowley. 'Elgar and Liszt. That's all. We've got the rest. Beethoven, Brahms, all the Bachs, Mozart, the lot. Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?'
Aziraphale shut his eyes. 'All too easily,' he groaned.

#114 ::: Roz Kaveney ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:43 PM:

I think the thing about Marmite is that you have to get the taste when very young - the same may be true for human flesh, of course. The roast potato idea is fascinating - I shall try it some time very soon.

Personally, I prefer to spread a layer of Hellman's Mayo over my marmite toast but I know most even of those who eat Marmite consider this a heathenish sophistication...

I am actually less worried about Johnny Depp in the Burton Sweeney Todd than I am by La Bonham-Carter as Mrs. Lovett.

#115 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:43 PM:

In case anyone's wondering about single-letter NYSE symbols:

More than a hundred years ago, the NYSE assigned its biggest and most liquid companies single-letter symbols in order to save time on ticker-tape machines. From then on, the symbols became important distinguishing characteristics for public companies.

The NYSE has about ten single-letter tickers available for trading, but a spokesman says those symbols won't be issued to just any company. "These are for industry leaders," says the spokesman, referring to a one-letter symbol as a "marketing tool" and a "Wall Street status symbol."

T = AT&T, F = Ford. M is unassigned; speculation is that's an outstanding bribe for Microsoft to list at the NYSE rather than remain on NASDAQ.

#116 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Perhaps we're discussing
this place?

Best I could come up with.

#117 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:57 PM:

My 11-year old daughter thinks you're "a poser" because, "dude, you can't write AIM talk." She claims that her set write out more words -- unless you "have something against vowels or something."

(I asked her to translate "brtn" -- she translated it "I don't know -- whatever.")

She tells me it should be: if u want 2 talk bout brtn, do it hr.

So sez her. :)

#118 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Wow KristianB 113, another reason to be annoyed by C.S. Lewis. I thought I knew them all. I mean, Elgar? OK, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches. But he wrote a lot of other stuff that's far from hellish.

Wait...which one is which? You know Liszt took religious orders late in life, right? Are they saying all those people except Elgar and Liszt went to Hell? (As you may be able to tell, I've avoided Lewis' propaganda, even when it's funny.)

#119 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:06 PM:

Xopher (118): That's not C. S. Lewis, that's from Good Omens.

#120 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:11 PM:

I made sincere effort to read The Screwtape Letters a few years back, and I just couldn't do it. I was irritated every time I set the book down. Eventually, it fell between my bed and the wall, and for all I know, it's still there. I took it as a divine sign that I was allowed to give up on it.

I did enjoy (that's not quite the right word - appreciate? over-identify with?) A Grief Observed, but that one was given to me at a time when I was predisposed to feel some kinship. It was pretty much just what I needed right then, and I'll always be grateful, both to Lewis and to the timely giver.

I haven't touched Narnia since I started to recognize the allegory; I'm trying desperately to retain the sense of wonder it had for me as a child.

His SF trilogy is still on the shelf, waiting for its turn to be read.

#121 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Abortion.

I talked about that topic a few months ago, and I'm still exhausted. But yes, Fred Thompson is being endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, and The Catholic Voting guide is out and Cardinal O'Malley is urging Democrats to support anti-abortion candidates.

Oy vey.

#122 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Marmite really is powerfully polarising stuff. I don't know I'd go this far* but I'm definitely with Mary Dell on the subject, despite having been exposed to the stuff as a child. Family Marmite anecdote: we once had a French exchange student, Jean, who mistook the stuff for chocolate spread and made himself a good thick tartine of the stuff, despite my mother's earnest attempts to warn him. In retrospect I think his self control was admirable - bordering on the superhuman, even - but he did not take a second bite.

As for ways of cooking people, I seem to remember C. S. Lewis mentioning baking them into pies, though I don't think he ever gave the specifics of the recipe.

* WARNING: link probably** SFW but not at all suitable as mealtime viewing.
** For cultures that don't have problems with breastfeeding, at any rate.

#123 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:25 PM:

"Jen @ 89: It doesn't have to be the beliefs of one specific religion, nor does it have to be a belief that is specific only to religion, to qualify as a religious belief.

If it is held by enough people for religious reasons, and prevents someone else from following the beliefs of their own religion, then it still runs counter to religious freedom."

The only problem with this formulation is that, taken to its logical conclusion, it would make it impossible to legislate against any of the following: animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, various forms of child abuse (ranging from witholding of medical care or proper nutrition to actual beatings and worse), ritual mutilation (from female circumcision to the emasculation required to be a priest of Cybele), or any number of other things currently considered crimes yet supported by various extant religious groups. These are all things that are forbidden by many religions, but required by a few. There does seem to be a point at which religious freedom can no longer trump the common law, however religiously based the original sources of that law might be.

However, I don't believe that abortion is such a case, since there is so much variation in what people believe about the status of a fetus on secular as well as religious bases. Given the lack of agreement, I firmly believe that it comes down to the individual woman's choice, whetehr religiously based or not.

There's not nearly as much disagreement on whether it is permissible for a practitioner of Asatru to perform the blood eagle on somebody, for example. However, something like murder can be outlawed for all without it infringing on anybody's religious freedom. However, I would tend to think that the religious use of peyote should be allowed on the basis of equal protection, by analogy to the use of wine in Communion. A similar argument could be made for allowing animal sacrifice by practitioners of Voudoun or Santeria, by analogy to kosher slaughter techniques.

#124 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Sometimes I think that there are no people in the world who had the same reaction to Lewis as I did.

When I first started reading Narnia was also around when I got a big fat comic-book version of the bible, which I read and re-read until it fell to pieces. I had been attending service/sunday school at a UCC church since I was 3.

I never thought of Narnia as Christian allegory. Rather I thought of Narnia and the bible as two different stories in the same genre... the same genre that some of the world myths I was reading at the time came from, and a lot of other fantasy stories. I didn't think that Narnia was the story of Jesus, and was trying to tell me things about him. Rather I thought it was another story that used the same classic and pervasive theme: something strong and great out there loves us (now that I think of that, Narnia and Aslan might be what led me to eventually become a pantheist).

I actually found the religious metaphor in Tolkien more jarring and objectionable, which is funny because a lot of the atheists I know love Tolkien and absolutely cannot stand Lewis. I still have trouble reading him because he seems to have this thing about good and evil as concepts and character attributes that really sticks in my craw.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with Lewis? Or am I completely batty again?

#125 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:32 PM:

CosmicDog @ 121

Well, the cardinal will never know how many official followers of his church ignore the guidelines.

#126 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:34 PM:

re 122: Screwtape is one long discussion on the cutlivation of soul food. Really.

re 120: Try Til We Have Faces.

#127 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:38 PM:

I did eventually ask to be a second soprano, because being a screechy first was really piling on my choral baggage. The parts didn't get any more interesting. I didn't have a very good college choir director-- there was one song where the first alto part consisted of one note, sung in a repeating two-measure rhythm. And nothing else until the very end, where they sustained the single note.
If I could find a local choir that made me feel as good as my high school choir did, I'd be sold.

Leah, I'm going to try to think of Lewis like that. Narnia is still stories for me, raised effectively atheist. But I haven't reread them in quite some time; the message may have soured since.

#128 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Wht f w'r nt dn tlkng bt nn Ncl Smth?

#129 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:42 PM:

As a kid, when reading books where people were fed mass produced yeast cakes/yeast fillets/yeast gobbets I always wondered what they'd taste like.

Then I tried Marmite and Vegemite. Now I know, and it's a future I do not want!

#130 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Which is more polarizing: marmite or abortion?

(I'm not sure I want to know, but I had to ask ...)

#131 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Leah, I'm with you. I was raised Jewish, so the allegory wasn't all that obvious - it was just another fantasy story to me. I am quite fond of Lawhead's Arthurian fantasies as well, despite the rather heavy-handed religious themes - I mean, what's the difference between that and, say, Eddings' Belgariad? Both have gods and religious themes that are integral to the story and character development. Why would one bother me, and not the other?

#132 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Well, I guess that Dmitri isn't exactly the best baritone today but he's pretty damn hot.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Interesting. Another French word has acquired a different (or more specialized) meaning in English. The French 'marmite' is the English 'cooking pot'. (Say... If a vegemite is a vegetarian marmite, what is a catamite?)

#134 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Ncl Smth was a nun? Who knew?

#135 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:04 PM:

#77 -- Geseundheit!

Emma, #89: I've seen a number of different editions of To Serve Man, one of which I own. It lives on the same shelf with the other cookbooks, which occasionally produces interesting reactions at parties.

Brynna, #102: Around fannish circles, he'd be taken for a green Orion slave boy!

Count me in with the people who prefer lower voices, in both genders. IMO, tenors are terribly overrated -- give me Samuel Ramey any day! And yes, altos/contraltos in preference to sopranos as well.

I used to have a range of two and a half octaves, from around low C to G over high C. Lack of use has trimmed it back on both ends, although I can still sing Jethro Tull's "Velvet Green" in the same octave for about the first hour after I get up in the morning. :-) In my college choir, I sang first tenor for 3 years; my senior year, we got a new director who didn't believe in letting women sing tenor, and he moved me up to the altos.

One of my acquaintances is a classically-trained bass, and he sings a cute little piece called "Profundo's Delight". I went looking for it on YouTube with no success; if anyone could point me at a video or mp3 of it, I'd be most appreciative.

#136 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:16 PM:

Which is more polarizing: marmite or abortion?

Probably marmite.

It is not unheard of for someone to protest at the front of a clinic one day, and sneak in through the back for an abortion the next, or for someone who supports legal abortion to also support things like access to birth control and good health care which would reduce the number of abortions.

But I don't know anyone who is anti-marmite who sneaks a marmite snack now and then.

#137 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Mary Aileen 119: OH. How embarrassing. I read that book. Why don't I remember this bit?

Scott 123: A lot of people seem unaware that kosher butchering is a form of animal sacrifice—not an official offering, because those can only be made at the Temple, which doesn't currently exist, but Jews are forbidden to eat blood not because the blood is unclean, but because it belongs to God.

Even more are unaware that the animal sacrificed in Santería rituals is generally cooked and eaten by the congregation afterwards, the Orishas having taken their portion.

#138 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:23 PM:

WRT singing, there's something I've been wondering about the cast album of Spamalot-- toward the climax of "You Won't Succeed on Broadway", it sounds to me as if some sort of odd reverberant technique is being used so that the singer is (semi?-)simultaneously producing two tones about an octave apart. Based on the context, I was guessing at first that it might have something to do with traditional cantors, but I can't find anything along those lines. Does anyone know what I'm talking about, and if so, could you explain it to me?

#139 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Since we got a couple East Asian pirated midi karaoke microphones in the local crowd, I've had to admit that I can not, in fact, sing along with Johnny Cash in his own octave. Or Radiohead, either. But I still might be a baritone! ...I dunno. (I can sing along with Paul McCartney pretty well, so I'm probably a tenor?)

Anyway, I suppose you've seen the studies about how voices lower in pitch are granted more authority? In my experience, dropping your pitch really is helpful when explaining screwups and giving orders.

Waaaay back to #19: Kathryn from Sunnyvale: what company you use to fiddle around with your Roth IRA? I really ought to do the same with mine, but every time I try to figure out how to buy funds through Ameritrade, I eventually decide that I'd have more luck pushing a cooked noodle through a brick wall. I don't even know if I can move the IRA to a company that isn't completely baffling, even if I found one... ::is sad::

Re: Narnia: I once argued to a friend that Narnia wasn't necessarily Christian because all religions involve voluntary human sacrifice, because all religions hold humanity as one of the highest possible things and the way to demonstrate that is to have it traded. "Not Judaism!" he responded, and realized as the words were leaving his lips that he'd run Coyote-like over a cliff... (I suppose my argument is quite falsifiable, but it's true enough that I've never had a problem with Narnia. Like Leah Miller says, it's part of a genre. And good for Lewis for getting some decent fantasy snuck into Christian bookstores.)

#140 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Xopher (137): I had only vague memories of the passage, but the names (Aziraphale and Crowley) give it away.

#141 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Lower voices work for dogs and children. I have noticed that in times of stress, I roll over and show my belly using my voice-- it's normally pretty high, but it climbs yet more with hotel reservations or anything important. I do that more than I'd like; I am occasionally very conscious of 'femmeing' when I want something-- shift weight to one hip, head sideways, hands up and fiddling with something, and a look of horror as I realize what I'm doing.

My mother is a baritone-- she started very low and has smoked for decades now. Even in her youth, she was a spectacle. When she taught kindergarten music, she first had to teach them to sing an octave or two higher than she does.

#142 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Xopher@137: The funny thing is, I'm Jewish, and I didn't know the first -- but I did know the second :-)

#143 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Ursula 136:
I wonder if there is anyone who dislikes marmite but enjoys twiglets.

#144 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Why, if 'tis dancing you would be,
There's brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Brtn built on Trnt?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think . . .

#145 ::: Hypatia ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Diatryma at #75, isn't lab ethanol usually denatured specifically so that it can't be consumed without harm? Because otherwise it would basically be moonshine, right?

#146 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:07 PM:

I'm envious of all the singers.

I'm not tone deaf, but it is a close thing. Last night, I was trying to sing Greensleeves. For once I could tell I was off key, but couldn't actually do anything about it. Very frustrating.

If I ever take lessons, I think I'll do best with what I'm told is called solfeggio - where they give you a different syllable for each note of the scale. My sight-singing grade went from a low C to a low B* the one quarter I had a teacher who used solfeggio. The next quarter we returned to professor "just play the intervals and echo them until you've internalized them" and it dropped right back down. For some reason I didn't pursue it on my own.

This was how I realized that I'm intensely verbal, and not nearly as musical as I'd like to be.

*From 71% to around 80%, for them that's not accustomed to 'merican grading systems.

#147 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:10 PM:

IIRC, 100% lab ethanol contains various impurities (perhaps benzene and methanol) as a result of extracting the last % of water. 95% lab ethanol is usually not denatured

#148 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:16 PM:

re 139: It's a little hard to make that theory fit the creation story told in The Magician's Nephew.

#149 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Xopher @137

Actually that bit about the blood isn't quite accurate. The Torah doesn't explain why Jews are to follow the rules of Kashrut; just 'cause God said so is supposed to be enough. The only rule that is explained is the one about not consuming blood. The blood is seen as literally the life of the animal (or its soul).

I suppose you could take that a step further and say that the animals life/soul belongs to God, but that's not what the Torah says.

#150 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Serge ... No, I didn't know about the classical banjo. Then again there are MANY of things I know very little about, unlike most of the people who hang around ML.

There's lots of subjects I know NOTHING about, but none of them spring to mind.

re marmite as a pot: In the use army a marmite (pronounced as the rodent, marmot) is a sort of insulated tin, used to take prepared rations to guys at the front.

rea: That's one of my favorite poems (then again, I just like Houseman). I like the sentiment, and the opening is, to me, just great: Terence this is stupid stuff strikes a chord.

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Terry Karney... The French pronounciation of marmite is closer to 'mar-mitt', but who care, especially if you're cooking a marmot in the marmite?

#152 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Nathan 149: Hmm. Now I have to go back and try to find where I got that.

#153 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Leah @ #124: No, it isn't just you. On my first readthrough of Narnia at age 11, I saw it much the same way you did. I didn't get any Christian parallels until I read it again at 24.

I don't know how much all the attempts of others to get Christianity to stick to me rolling right off had to do with it. I was hit-and-miss at identifying story parallels when I was a kid.

#154 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 05:50 PM:

Leah Miller #124: I had a similar(ish) experience with the Narnia books. Like you, I owned an illustrated bible stories book, which I read frequently (especially the Old Testament stories, bloodthirsty little child that I was). I also owned and enjoyed a couple of compendiums of folk stories and myths and legends from around the world -- lots of which were different-but-similar creation stories. It wasn't long before I'd redefined the bible as "just another set of interesting stories", to be shelved alongside the folk tales.

And that's the mindset I had when I started reading the Narnia books. I noticed in Voyage of the Dawntreader that Aslan was supposed to be the God in the bible -- specifically when he appeared in the guise of a lamb -- but it didn't affect my appreciation of the story. It just meant that I mentally filed the Narnia books along with the folk tales and the myths and the bible: interesting and rather wonderful, but that's as far as it goes.

#155 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:09 PM:

One for the geneticists. I adore marmite and abominate all things peanut. Husband loves peanuts in any form and cannot stand marmite (or twiglets).

Elder son loves both marmite and peanuts - not together. Well, I should say, I've never caught him eating the two together. Younger son cannot stand either.

For those who cannot imagine trying the marmite roast potato theory, try dredging some mustard powder lightly over your parboiled potatoes before they go to be rolled in the hot oil and on into the oven.

By mustard powder, I mean the yellow flour-like stuff that comes in a rectangular Coleman's canister and you add water to make English mustard. It now occurs to me this may be as hard to source in the US or elsewhere as marmite...

#156 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Julie @ 138: I know of a technique to do this, but I doubt it's what was being used there, as it works with extremes of pitch. I think it was presented as an Inuit technique, though a little research has it showing up among many cultures with some variation.
The way we did it was to sing a very high note in a particular way (kind of aiming to press against the inside crown of your head, chin down. Ish.); if you hit the sweet spot you would get a resonant low second note mixing with the high note. Very cool, but for amateurs at least the note you had to hit to make it happen was rather unpleasantly in the realm of the shrieky.

#157 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Juliet @ 155

No, it's available. Only in small containers, though, or at least that's the only size that I see in the supermarket any more. Try either the mustard section or the spice section, and look on the lower shelves.

I have the recipe for Coleman's Hot Sweet mustard (it used to be on the tin), which makes quite a large batch: it would take one or two of those little tins to make it. (It makes close to a cup, IIRC: I'm at work and the recipe card is at home.)

#158 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Er, I accidentally cut some of my post: it was something we experimented with in my singing classes back in university, and that's where it was presented as an Inuit technique.
I'm pleased to say that I was one of only three people in my class who could actually do it... though usually singing in such a forced way at that pitch for an hour at a time usually left me with a raging headache.

#159 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:34 PM:

Hypatia @ #145: Laboratory ethanol can come either denatured or non-denatured. The big difference is price, because the non-denatured variety gets taxed as if it were for human consumption whereas the denatured variety doesn't. So labs only tend to buy non-denatured ethanol if the process involved absolutely requires it. Back when I was doing tissue-staining work, we had one specific process step that required non-denatured ethanol at 95% or more (I forget exactly) and it took a special purchase order every time we needed more because it exceeded our normal spending limits.

#160 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:35 PM:

Mustard?!? Eeew -- vile stuff!

:)

#161 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:39 PM:

The Marmite trademark shows a marmite cooking pot.

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Varlie Stross @ 160... Mustard?!?

Colonel Mustard.
In the library.
With the wench.

#163 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:46 PM:

When I first read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe I was -- being only in the fifth grade at the time -- about as unaware of the existence of symbolism and allegory as it's possible for a reader to be. So when I came to the Stone Table sequence, my mind ran through a series of complex reactions in roughly this order: "OoohWowCool ImpressiveStrongStoryStuff . . . wait a minute, this stuff here is an awful lot like all that stuff over from church over there ... OoohWowCool, I didn't know you could do that kind of thing with a story!"

It's not surprising, I suppose, that I grew up to be an English major and a medievalist and a writer of fiction. The mark was on my brow even then.

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 06:54 PM:

marmiton... From marmite, apprentice in a restaurant's kitchen.

#165 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:10 PM:

P. J. Define small? I can find (IIRC) 1/2 lb tins of Colemans, though I don't use it often enough to get anything that large, as it goes stale.

#166 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:16 PM:

A potentially silly question: how does one denature ethanol? It's nine atoms!

#167 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:31 PM:

Sarah #120: The Screwtape Letters is about the only Lewis I can still read without wanting to fling across the room. I only made it about a third of the way through Mere Christianity before choking on the intellectual dishonesty.

Actually, no, Lewis's literary criticism is often still good. A week or two back I read a piece by him about Milton's kanguage in Paradise Lost, and that was good.

#168 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:36 PM:

John Chu @ 44, regarding Johnny Depp in the forthcoming Sweeney Todd. The article I read said that Johnny Depp felt that the best direction to go with his music was towards punk rock, thus rendering voice coaching rather moot. We shall see how well it works out. I'm just hoping they found a way to sneak Angela Lansbury into a shot somewhere.

#169 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:41 PM:

in my family growing up, We Did Not Read C.S. Lewis, our bedtime-reading fantasy series was the prydain chronicles. this was one of my father's half-serious rules, such as We Are For Bach & Against Mozart, & No Ketchup On Shabbat.

so i was never exposed to narniaverse as a kid, & had a sort of vague antipathy without knowing why. when the movie was coming out, & everyone was talking about how it (& the books) were an anvilicious* allegory of christianity, i figured that was why my father didn't like it, & i wouldn't either.

i got drug to the movie by my now-husband, & i couldn't stand it (tilda swinton not withstanding) pretty much due to the christianity thing. in the scene where aslan's getting sacrificed, i poked my now-husband & whispered, "see all those ugly little deformed goblin-demons? that's me. that's jews." he said, "shh."

er, so that's my unique history with narnia.

*thanks, stephen frug!

#170 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Charlie@111, the Marmite on roasts stuff comes from my dad, apparently passed down from his Glendinning grandma. So this is a Scottish thing, I suppose. (Oddly, despite being Scottish, it's not lethally unhealthy.)

Warning: addictive.

#171 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Avram 167: Milton's kanguage

Said then the lost Arch Angel, k'plah!

#172 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:00 PM:

Diatryma @ #166: You "denature" it by putting in, or not removing, impurities that make it nonpotable. These can be truly toxic ones like methanol, or merely incredibly unpleasant ones like Bitrex.

#173 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Diatryma (166):
Different kind of denaturing. To denature alcohol is to make ethanol toxic by adding some methanol. The government mandated result is to make people who drink industrial alcohol go blind for not paying liquor taxes.
I wonder if you could bring a case before the product safety folks for this.

#174 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:03 PM:

OK, so when does our hostess reveal what she had in mind when she typed brtn?

#175 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Nathan, I'm not sure it matters. Communication is collaborative; I can say something to you, and you can hear something different. What is meant, what is said, what is heard, what is understood, are not necessarily identical.

Which is to say, I like what we have done with what we were given much more than what I thought would be done, and I am glad that this group can surprise me almost to tears by doing so.

#176 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:21 PM:

#169: WTF?

Miriam, for someone who got pretty pissy about Greg making an imputation about Moore, you seem pretty keen to make C. S. Lewis out to be an anti-semite.

#178 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:28 PM:

keir,

i didn't mean that. i mean christian tradition has, um, a stream of antisemitism running not-imperceptibly through it. & i perceived some of those elements coming through in the movie (i have no idea what's in the books, & i certainly don't mean to pass judgment on them).

if people thought i meant c.s. lewis was an antisemite, i apologize. i would be very surprised at the suggestion that he was: reading all the articles coming out before the movie, i did learn of his wife & stepkids.

#179 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:35 PM:

i said,

& i perceived some of those elements coming through in the movie

let me clarify this a little more. when i saw the sacrifice scene in the movie, my mind was drawn not to the narnia books, which i haven't read, but to my study of art history. the scene was very visually suggestive of crucifixion/stations of the cross paintings i've seen, & the goblinny creatures have clear parallel with the jews in those historical paintings, down to the faces deformed by sneering.

i didn't assume that the descriptions of the goblinny creatures came out of lewis. maybe i shouldn't have included that part of my miriam-&-narnia story.

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:41 PM:

I've never read anything by C.S.Lewis, but I loved the way he was portrayed in Shadowland by Anthony Hopkins, whether or not it had anything to do with the real Lewis.

"We read to know we're not alone."

#181 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:43 PM:

Miriam,

I grew up with the Narnia books and I thought the film represented The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe quite well. Also, I've done some work on medieval Christian portrayals of Jews. I completely agree with you about the way the Stone Table scene, in the book and in the movie, manipulates anti-Jewish crucifixion imagery. I mean, the movie practically quotes Gibson's Passion of the Christ.

#182 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Rymenhild @181: I am usually not given to flat out statements in literary and religious matters, but....no. The movie is, as far as I can tell (I haven't read the books since my early twenties and that was mumblety-mumbles years ago), very faithful to the book. C.S. Lewis would have been horrified by The Passion of the Christ -- to conflate the two are to me, a disservice to a decent Christian. To Lewis, the Crucifixion is necessary, but not an occassion for anti-semitic bloodletting.

#183 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Miriam @ 177.

Ahhhhhhh!

--marmite sucks--

**skitters behind refrigerator and cowers**

#184 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:13 PM:

miriam@178: i didn't mean that.

:)

#185 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:17 PM:

greg,

"next time, gadget, next tiiime....."

:)

#186 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:18 PM:

Re: Music in heaven vs. hell,

I've heard two especially good lines on that. One is from Gary Larson: "...welcome to Hell, here's your accordion".

The other was from a harpist: "You go to Hell, here's your harp. Next!... You go to Heaven. Here's your harp... and your tuning key...."

As far as abortion, I've never heard better than the line: "What it comes down to, is do you trust women?"

#187 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:23 PM:

David @186: I wonder about bagpipes. I'm one of those strange people who actually like bagpipes...

#188 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:25 PM:

#136 Ursula: It is not unheard of for someone to protest at the front of a clinic one day, and sneak in through the back for an abortion the next, or for someone who supports legal abortion to also support things like access to birth control and good health care which would reduce the number of abortions.

Setting aside the very real hypocrisy of the first, the latter statement is not, in fact, at all contradictory. (I was not entirely sure how you meant it to come across.) The pro-choice position is, precisely, pro choice -- giving all women access to health care, decent sex ed, and birth control (as well as access to affordable child care and family support programs, etc.) is all about doing the best that can be done to give women the opportunity and ability to make the best personal choice she can, whatever that may be. It seems to me that by the time a woman is facing this sort of choice, it's a very good bet that society has already let her down in at least one -- if not multiple -- ways.

#189 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:35 PM:

Wow... lots of musical folks around here! I knew I was in good company already; now I'm truly in love with this bunch.

Lori @#100: Soprano in school chorus but with a wacky range, the National Anthem fit comfortably inside it (still does), and I used to fight the tenors for their solos.

I miss chorus...

Were we separated at birth?

According to my mother, I started singing even before I learned to talk, vocalizing along with the radio as I bounced in my crib. I always sang as a child, and spent years in choirs at both school and church. I did musical theatre in high school as well. I took private vocal training for about three years, beginning at the age of sixteen. In my high school's a capella choir, the director wanted to put me in the 2nd soprano section (and in truth, that would certainly be where I belong now - there or in the alto section) but my voice teacher was working my upper range heavily and requested that he leave me with the 1st sopranos, so he did. Back then, I could hit a high G, but only on a good day and with a running start. At the same time in my life, however, I could also sing tenor parts with ease. My basic classification was "lyric soprano" and I remember doing quite a lot with Italian art songs and the like for vocal competitions as a teenager. Later on, in college, I sang in a rock band and covered a lot of Pat Benatar and the like (I would love to get those high notes back now!) but also could manage a passable Stevie Nicks.

It's been years now since I did any choral singing, though I really want to get back to it. I do still sing in public, however, doing the occasional acoustic gig with a guitarist friend... and I will admit to being something of a karaoke junkie. I think one of the next things I'd like to do is put together something involving jazz standards, provided I can find people to work with. I also want to get back to some formal vocal training, partly because I still have a larger "break" area in my range than I'm completely comfortable with and could really use some help learning to work around and/or through it.

#190 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:49 PM:

Emma @187

I prefer mousepipes. Ach, Crivens!

#191 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:51 PM:

I love bagpipe music. Heck, I love Celtic music in general, but bagpipes stir my soul.

#192 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:54 PM:

C. Wingate @ #90, I have long held the theory that Brahms must have been in love with an alto.

Xopher @ #107, if you can't say something nice, come sit over here by me.

KristianB @ #113, but all those musicians are in HELL. Therefore, they don't get to make music.

#193 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:56 PM:

I'm not an expert, but I have a hard time believing that Lewis made Aslan's tormentors grotesque because they were supposed to be a parallel to "the Jews". He wasn't setting out to write that kind of allegory. Rather, he was writing a story about who Jesus would have been in Narnia, and Aslan went up against the Witch, and the Witch's servants were pretty much all grotesque. They had also all explicitly chosen to throw themselves in against a creature they knew to be responsible for the creation and ordering of the world. That's not something anyone could legitimately claim about the Jews at the crucification.

They're not explicit parallels; they just occupy roughly the same places in the narrative. Anything more just doesn't fit. You might as well say that Hagrid was slow and less-than-bright because Rowling thought Obi-Wan was slow and less-than-bright, as they both occupy the role of initial tutor to the heroes in their stories.

#194 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Bill @156/158: Hm. I was wondering if it might be related to Tuvan throat-singing, but had a vague memory of that technique supposedly working the other way around by projecting a very low note up from deep inside the larynx. Or something. Then again, the closest thing I have to vocal skills is getting my cats to meow back at me.

#195 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:08 PM:

Julie @ 194: I imagine there are different methods and styles; it's just about manipulating resonance really. Probably the high-note method was easier, though I suspect it also had something to do with our voice teacher's predeliction for sopranos because she thought they were better for musical theater, which was our bent.
I'm a happy alto with soprano comfortably in my tessitura - has anyone else ever been pushed towards soprano despite greater comfort in alto? I just feel fake singing soprano, and more genuine emotion in alto; my theory is that if it feels real, you're in your real range.

#196 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:23 PM:

Bill 195: I agree with you about feeling real in your real range. And I can do some harmonic singing, but the "extra" notes float above the main note, not below.

#197 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Making Light is full of smartasses. But lovely clever good-natured ones, and I love you all.

#198 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Terry @ 165

31 grams/1.12 oz, is what the label on the ones I have says (Schilling, in bright yellow tins).

The recipe needs a quarter cup, so at least one of those. Maybe I need to raid Smart&Final for big tins?.

#199 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Nathan @ 190: I suppose if you are a friend of the Wee Ones your ears won't explode, so you're safe.
Me, the possibility of bad poetry in a Glaswegian accent...well, never mind. Going to bed now and not wanting nightmares...

#200 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:23 AM:

thanks Emma,

I knew someone here would get that one.

#201 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:45 AM:

Ye gods, I love this place. 200 comments of varying degrees of brilliance.

#202 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:48 AM:

Charlie # 130

Which is more polarizing: marmite or abortion?

Are there any poles in the right half plane in marmite?

Ursula #136

There's a website with the subject something like, "The only moral abortion is my abortion" which discusses that particular variety of hypocrisy of people on the picket line one day demanding abortion services the next, and who then go back on the picket line afterward.


#203 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:58 AM:

P. J.: I get Coleman's. I think I buy a 2 oz. tin.

Xopher: I can do a duotone, by getting a low note in my larynx, and a whistling tone in my mouth. I've seen Tuvans sing, and they get chords. A high note in the pharuynx, whistle in the mouth, and low note in the larynx.

A strange mix of homely, and eerie. The recordings don't do it justice, and I suspect a concert hall would ruin it too (I was lucky enough to see them in a park, when they were visiting Cal-Tech, and environs).

#204 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:00 AM:

Heh. I thought I was going to skip this thread.

#205 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:04 AM:

I actually preferred Tim Burton's "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" to the one with Gene Wilder in it, for the simple reason that Burton's was much closer to the book (Charlie doesn't get in trouble in the book, and Wilder's Wonka was angrier than I pictured him.) They should have cut the subplot with Christopher Lee as the dentist, but other than that, no complaints. And "Corpse Bride" was wonderful.

I liked the Narnia books I read, but for some reason never got around to "Horse & His Boy" or "Silver Chair," and have no memory of "Prince Caspian." For childhood novels, the things that still have a hold on my brain are John Bellairs' work (particularly "The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull" and "Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost--and oh God, if ML regulars haven't read them, YOU SHOULD), the first few books in the Redwall series (particularly "Martin the Warrior" and "Mossflower"), Natalie Babitt (esp. "The Search for Delicious," "Goody Hall," & "Tuck Everlasting.") And "Phantom Tollbooth." Why didn't Norton Juster ever write anything else?

I'm sorry, were we supposed to be discussing bear-ton? Yeah, it's an odd measurement. I don't think Colbert's campaign to get everything converted to it will get very far.

#206 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:27 AM:

And here I was wondering just was so worrisome about a discussion of Indonesian volcanoes that it deserved to be disemvowelled.

#207 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 03:42 AM:

On Narnia and Christianity, I read all the books the first time through without spotting the allegory: I was eight when I read Dawn Treader, so figure a year either side of that. I adored them all except The Last Battle, which was rather too dark for me. (I think the dwarves shooting the horses was the real tipping point.)

I re-read them a couple of years later, got the allegory immediately, and felt bitterly disappointed. There was Christianity everywhere! I made it all the way to The Last Battle again, to this line:

"Yes," said Queen Lucy. "In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world."

and gave up in disgust.

It's probably just projection on my part, but in the foreword to LOTR, when Tolkien says:

I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence

I still can't help thinking he was having a little jab at Lewis.

#208 ::: Roz Kaveney ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:46 AM:

Tolkien was quite undoubtedly having a jab at Lewis and Narnia with his remarks about allegory, but also at Lewis and his expertise in mediaeval and Renaissance literature. Tolkien's dislike of allegory was part of his dislike of anything written much later than 1400 - dislike is probably too strong, let's say refusal to take seriously as literature. He liked Morris and Eddison, but I don't think he respected his liking for them.

I have always thought that the way to cope with the Narnia books is to avert one's gaze from the more tedious bits of Christian preaching and concentrate on the moments of real inspiration. After all, books which include Reepicheep and Puddleglum can't be all bad. Also, even if it is quasi-allegory, I love the bit in Silver Chair where Edmund says to the Green Lady that if his memories of the world above are fantasies, they are still better than the stifling rooms he inhabits with her.

One of the reasons why I am not a Christian is just this - if I can imagine a better, juster and more merciful god than the one the Churches offer me, I refuse to take second best, at any price. I suspect Lewis would be unhappy that I learned that from him.

I've heard some chunks of Depp's Sweeney now - I see what he meant about punk rock, which is not the obvious thing. He has decided that he will never be a beautiful singer, so he had best be an expressive one and the results are not without merit to my ear. (Not sure how to put in Youtube links here).

#209 ::: Roz Kaveney ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:47 AM:

I meant Eddings.

#210 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 06:24 AM:

Greg M @ 205... I'm sorry, were we supposed to be discussing bear-ton? Yeah, it's an odd measurement. I don't think Colbert's campaign to get everything converted to it will get very far.

That may be, but I've seen a recent newsletter issued ny my employer where the word 'truthiness' is used. Correctly too.

#211 ::: Francis the Talking Mule ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 06:27 AM:

Caroline @ 197... Making Light is full of smartasses. But lovely clever good-natured ones

Neigh!... I mean, yay!

#212 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 07:13 AM:

I'd recommend The Horse and His Boy quite strongly; it's always a close thing whether it or The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite Narnia book. They're both very good adventure yarns, even for people who don't like Lewis' theology.

#213 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 08:02 AM:

#208, 209: Eustace, IIRC. And he almost deserved it (at first, anyway.)

I didn't get the Christian connection in Narnia either, at first. But I *did* think that Aslan was cheating: knowing you're not really going to die robs your self-sacrifice of its meaning. (I couldn't have articulated it like that then, of course. But that was the general sentiment.)

And how was Aslan dying (even if he had, which he didn't really) going to teach Edmund anything? Unless he had to watch, which IIRC he didn't.

Interestingly, I have the same two objections to Christianity: the temporary death of an immortal is meaningless, and you can't substitute responsibility. (In addition to Adams's rather more fundamental objection, Who Is This God Person Anyway?) So I don't know whether to blame Lewis for the story's flaws, or commend him for accurate translation of a flawed original.

(Coming soon to a thread near you: f y wnt t dscss nrn, d t hr.)

#214 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 08:08 AM:

Serge @151: The French pronounciation of marmite is closer to 'mar-mitt'

... Romney?

(Suddenly back on topic)

#215 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 08:18 AM:

Seen via the Earthlink/AP newswire:

Pasta Monster Gets Academic Attention
By JUSTIN POPE (AP Education Writer)
From Associated Press
November 16, 2007 7:36 AM EST
When some of the world's leading religious scholars gather in San Diego this weekend, pasta will be on the intellectual menu. They'll be talking about a satirical pseudo-deity called the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose growing pop culture fame gets laughs but also raises serious questions about the essence of religion.

The appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on the agenda of the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting gives a kind of scholarly imprimatur to a phenomenon that first emerged in 2005, during the debate in Kansas over whether intelligent design should be taught in public school sciences classes.
[snip]

I predict lots of snickering .... (One of the panelists apparently heard his [atheist] neighbor invoking the FSM while starting her car.)

#216 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 08:31 AM:

the temporary death of an immortal is meaningless

And that gives me an interesting insight into Why Some People Don't Get It. Jesus is NOT an immortal: he was a human being who was offered up by His father to redeem the world and who then ACCEPTED his role, including one of the worst deaths imaginable (even without Gibson's fevered nastiness; and yes, I hate that damn movie with a, you should pardon the expression, passion).

If you want to get away from the Bible and see something really beautiful and profound about Jesus try the moment in Jesus Christ Superstar where Jesus demands his Father give him some indication of why he should give himself over to his tormentors, and his final acceptance. I saw JCS for the first time in college with a really inspired cast, and that part was...amazing.

Please don't think I'm accusing people of anti-religious something or other; I just saw the odd, to me, misconstruction.

Haring off on a tangent: do you sometimes wonder what happened to that high school or college person you remember as brilliant and who seemed poised to conquer the world?

#217 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Re: Narnia -

I seem to be one of the few who never liked tLtW&tW. Maybe because I saw the animated film before I read the book, and possibly at too young an age. I found what happened to Aslan to be horrific, and couldn't get past it. It didn't matter to me that he was willing, it didn't matter to me that he was okay in the end, I never wanted to read that book. (I still haven't seen E.T., either, because someone said to me, "It was so good! It made me cry!" I'm a wimp in some odd ways.)

Then I learned about the Christian allegory and it just solidified my opinion of the whole thing. I keep trying to talk myself into reading it, but haven't succeeded yet. (Would starting with one of the later books help at all?)

#218 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 08:50 AM:

There's a lot not to like about the Narnia books, but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has something about it that makes it one of my favorite books, even now.

There are also flashes of brilliance in the others. (Uncle Andrew to Digory when the latter expresses horror at the gruesome deaths of the experimental guinea pigs: "That's what the wretched things were FOR. I bought them myself!")

#219 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:01 AM:

A friend of mine is married to a professor of religion, and so we get a lot of interesting stuff in the office. She explained the fascination with Jesus' penis to us once in an art museum-- it is a sign that he is wholly man as well as wholly god, much in the same way as having him nursing in a painting. The wholly man, wholly god thing hadn't been explained to me, but it makes sense-- I'm completely my parents' daughter, sister to Baby Sister and my brother, friend to various folks, eventually I'll add other things to be one hundred percent.

Which does not mean it's effective for Aslan to die without dying.
I haven't read Lion &c recently, but is Edmund as much maligned in there? The movie made me feel so bad for him-- I already disliked the treatment of Susan in The Last Battle.
But my problems with the books, and my big-G-God atheism, aren't enough right now; like Roz, I'll take the beautiful parts for myself and let someone else deal with the allegory.

#220 ::: Nic ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:02 AM:

I wasn't going to click on this thread, but wanted something to read while I ate my lunch, and got all sorts of amusement and education I wasn't expecting!

On Narnia:

I read the books when I was about 9 or 10, I think, and while didn't spot the allegory, I disliked the presentation and implications of the final judgement stuff in the last book so much that it killed my enjoyment of the rest. I've never been back to them. :-(

Clifton @ 6 & Jenny @ 27:

The Burton translation remains great fun, although - quite apart from issues of translation - it's based on a much meddled-with version of the Nights. Essentially, much of what we think of as being contained in the Nights - including, as you say, Sindbad - came from other story collections, or were invented wholesale for the various French translations of the 18th century. (And then, in certain cases, translated 'back' into Arabic to make them appear genuine...).

The problem was that people like Antoine Galland (its first translator into French) took the '1001' part of the title literally, and thought that the manuscripts they'd found in the Islamic world were incomplete, because they only contained 250 or so 'Nights'. So they took stories from other sources, and eventually resorted to creating their own. Much of what is in Burton and others, therefore, is early-modern French literary fiction rather than medieval Arabic tales.

Haddawy claims to have dug the original text out from later additions and interpolations

Yes. I haven't read Haddawy's translation, but it's based on the standard scholarly Arabic edition, Muhsin Mahdi's, which does just that - takes the compendium back to its ~14th-century contents. It's much shorter than Burton - a single volume of 600 pages.

/geek

#221 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Emma #216: And that gives me an interesting insight into Why Some People Don't Get It. Jesus is NOT an immortal: he was a human being who was offered up by His father to redeem the world and who then ACCEPTED his role, including one of the worst deaths imaginable (even without Gibson's fevered nastiness; and yes, I hate that damn movie with a, you should pardon the expression, passion).

Speaking as an atheist of non-Christian descent and upbringing (reform Jewish, if you must know -- British reform, not the same as American reform), that smacks of child abuse to me.

(What kind of father would do that to their one and only child? Especially considering that said father, being omnipotent, presumably has other tools in the drawer?)

One of the hardest things, for me, is not accepting that people believe in Christian doctrine, but that they seem to think it's beautiful, that there's some aesthetic value in it. To my eye, it's just a confused mess -- and ugly, with it. There's no underlying logic, not even the idiot "because I said so" non sequiteur lurking in the shadows behind the 617-odd rules in Leviticus: just a mass of ugly inconsistencies.

Is it necessary for a religion to be aesthetically pleasing before it's acceptable? Or do we train our personal taste to accept the faith we're brought up in?

#222 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:19 AM:

trs strts wth
dsmvwld tpc hr
mkng lght hs fn

...

#223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Emma @ 216... If you go to YouTube and type 'Benny Hill', scroll down thru the entries and you'll find a very... ah... interesting one about Mel's movie. Speaking of which, here's a photo I took in a small Arizona town when the movie came out. Notice on the marquee the other movie that was playing there at the same time?

#224 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:32 AM:

That the bad guys in stories are more often than not depicted as ugly is an effect of othering, which may indicate possible war porn points as described here

Othering allows you to sort "good" versus "bad" based on what group you belong to ("us" versus "them"), instead of requiring that you look at individual actions and ascribe right or wrong to each. Othering is the opposite of justice, at least in the sense that "Justice is blind", as in blind in a good way, judging people by their actions, regardless of who they are, who they know, how much money they have, what they look like, what color is their skin, and what groups they belong to.

Justice is surprisingly hard. Othering is easy. Justice is complicated and difficult. Othering grossly oversimplifies.

That Narnia contains ugly bad guys isn't neccessarily an indication that the author meant for them to represent Jews. It's just that when anti-semites want to spread their hate of Jewish people, (or when any group wants to show how much they hate some group), it isn't uncommong that they make the other group ugly. Either that, or make them too good looking.

If the Evil Overlord is good looking, he or she is portrayed as being vain, or falsely good looking (beauty achieved by magic or surgery or something, because being "born with it" is natural and natural is good). A beautiful evil woman is portrayed as cold, which will plug into some of the men who remember the beautiful woman who rejected them. A good looking evil man may be portrayed as vain (because men aren't supposed to care about their looks too much) or with a focus on the facade that he represents (because, again, beauty is supposed to be natural)

But when an author is trying to appeal to a large audience, othering the bad guys by making them either really ugly or really too beautiful, is a way to put uniforms on the different teams and make it easier for readers to tell who they're supposed to root for.

It's just that bigots happen to use this same trick when describing whatever group they hate.

That doesn't mean that some story with ugly bad guys must be implying they're the same group that the bigots make ugly. It just means that both author and bigots used othering to simplify their narrative.

#225 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:34 AM:

I have a hard time discussing the Narnia books with any sort of distance, because they're so tied up with my memories of childhood. My family had no television, and no English-speaking neighbors, for several years, so family time in the evening was reading books out loud together. (Or, once we got older, all sitting around comfortably reading our own books.) We went through the entire Narnia series at least three tiems, and The Hobbit once or twice. So when people offer (quite reasonable) criticism of the books, I start clutching them and twitching. Except maybe for The Silver Chair, where I was annoyed at the protagonists all the way through, and The Last Battle, which was terribly dark. "And they all died at the end, but in a good way!" just wasn't satisfying to me as a child.

However, I have long given credit to The Last Battle for this: it was the first place I ever read that people who weren't Christians could be good and honorable people who would make it into Heaven without ever converting, and it came from an author of such impeachable reputation in my family that I felt I was allowed to believe it. To a kid having trouble with certain unpleasant extrapolations from the "only Christians in Heaven" concept, it was a revelation and an amazingly hopeful concept. I can still trace a lot of my later choices in how to respond to other religions than the one I was raised in back to that part of that one book.

#226 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:55 AM:

Greg@224:

"Justice, justice shall ye pursue"

(Of course, the next verses go on about things like stoning and stuff, but I'm not a very literal reader)

#227 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Julie L @138: WRT singing, there's something I've been wondering about the cast album of Spamalot-- toward the climax of "You Won't Succeed on Broadway", it sounds to me as if some sort of odd reverberant technique is being used so that the singer is (semi?-)simultaneously producing two tones about an octave apart.

I haven't heard the album, but I'm going to guess that something a lot more pedestrian than Tuvan throat-singing is going on. It's fairly common in modern audio processing to use what's called an octave doubler on audio parts that need a bit more depth or grounding. Basically, a computer program like ProTools takes the incoming audio (in this case the solo), transposes it down an octave, and adds it back to the original, making it sound like two absolutely identical voices singing the same part an octave apart. So just another audio processing trick and no particular talent on the singer's part. I'm kind of surprised they used it on the solo -- I think it's more usually used to fill out back-up vocal parts -- but there's no accounting for taste in modern recorded music.

#228 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:12 AM:

Roz #208

A)
I thought Everyman and the other medieval morality/miracle heavily allegorical-but-made-into-common-culture-material plays date back centuries before the 1400s, to a thousand or more years ago. (My detestation for Everyman and allegory was yet another reason I wanted to avoid college English/literature courses and classes. I got hit with it around what would be called Middle School today and did not appreciate the forcefeed of it, and especially not the saccharin female voice saying, "Everyman...." that was on the PBS was it? tapes played back on TV to the class...)

B) I seem to recall that one of the volumes of A Mediterranean Society S. D. Goiten (who was the recipient of one of the for-as-long-as-the-recipient-lives MacArthur Fellowships) wrote that the Thousand Nights and One Night came from Fustat (Old Cairo) back in the tenth or eleventh century of the Common Era.

(The same reasons for the locale being Baghdad applied as Verdi and lots of other people setting things Far Away from the area of their residence:

1. Made the setting exotic and appealing by outaside the everyday familiarity, but more importantly,

2. Changing the location and the names allows one to make social commentary which is much less likely to get one attacked/reviled/arrested/declared blasphemous/declared treasonous.

#229 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Charles @221: I am probably the absolute worst person to ask about theological fine points, being at best a fallen-away catholic and at worst a hard-ass agnostic; and there are others in these threads (C. Wingate, Teresa, where are you?) who could probably explain it better. John refers to Jesus as "the propitiation for our sins" which I take to mean that Jesus-the-man offered himself to His father to cleanse us. Which is, BTW, why I get so pissed off at people who want to eliminate the human side of Jesus from the equation -- it negates the choice. But it's a thorny question, no doubt.

Beautiful? I don't know; powerful, yes.

And I have a terrified feeling sometimes that IF there is a God who actually offered His only son as a sacrifice to cleanse us, we have really managed in the intervening years to make a mess of the lesson...

But then again, I'm unhappy with the whole concept of God as it stands in Christianity -- we seem to have limited It to fit us, instead of growing to fit Her...

Confusion reigns.

#230 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Serge, that is an absolute classic! I vote for Hellboy. Better movie.

#231 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:35 AM:

Summer Storm @189: Possibly -- I'm told that when I was a baby, I got up on my hands and knees and wiggled in time to Elvis Presley's appearance on Ed Sullivan.

Also, always singing -- Mom was still a teenager when she had me, so I grew up with American Bandstand when it was on for 2 hours every afternoon. One of the earliest songs I remember is "Tom Dooley."

I have a memory of loads of 50s and 60s rock and folk music, plus Mom was fond of Broadway musicals so they're part of the mix.

These days I do my singing at SF cons (filk) and I help run a small filk con here in Central Ohio.

#232 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:43 AM:

I received the Narnia books as a Christmas present when I was, I think, seven or eight years old. And then cried a year later when Voyage of the Dawn Treader literally fell to pieces in my hands, it had been reread so often.

I dimly perceived the allegory when I read them as a child, but ignored it. To me, it was talking animals and magic and adventure, and that was all I wanted. Everything else was extraneous.

I have always felt lucky in my ability to disregard subtext. It meant (a) I can enjoy stories for being *stories* without getting preached at, and (b) I was always getting pleasantly surprised in English class.

All the same, I have avoided rereading the Narnia books as an adult, for fear my anti-subtext weaponry would fail me - if the allegory was so unsubtle that I picked up on it as an eight-year-old, well. Orson Scott Card having already defeated me in this wise, my faith (heh) is shaken.

(Really enjoyed the Narnia movie, though. Looking forward to the next one.)

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:44 AM:

Emma @ 230... I vote for Hellboy. Better movie.

I've never seen Mel's opus, nor do I ever want to. For biblical epics, I'll stick with Ben Hur, or even Quo Vadis.

As for HellBoy, any demon who'll let a lovecrafitan horror beat the crap out of him because he's too busy trying to save kittens in New York's subway has got my vote. By the way, did you know there's a sequel coming out next year?

#234 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 11:23 AM:

I developed an allergy to the allegory in Narnia about halfway through the series as a kid, when I put down The Silver Chair while I was in the middle of it and never picked it back up again. I started them over recently and found myself more kindly-disposed, and better able to set aside the parts that I find disagreeable.

I confess that the religion wasn't my first annoyance with Narnia, though; it was the realization that Lewis was unable to consistently relate to any non-human character as a person, evidenced by the fact that almost any animal or creature with significant screen time (except Aslan, natch) is sometimes referred to as "he" and sometimes as "it." Seems like a little thing, and I've never seen anyone else mention it, but boy did it rub me the wrong way at 8 or so. (Not as much now, but I still do kinda feel that you should either respect your dwarfs and talking badgers or not, but don't waffle about it.)

#235 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Emma @ 216: Jesus is NOT an immortal: he was a human being who was offered up by His father to redeem the world

Wait a minute...you're saying all we humans aren't immortal?

#236 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Emma: The problem (as a Catholic, I am not competent to address the thinking of the protestant sects. I don't know enough of how they see the Deity) is that Jesus wasn't a man, entire.

He was/is part of the triune godhead, and has always been so. The Creed explains it, "he came down from heaven... and became man."

Doctrine holds that, while human, he was unware of his divine aspects (though those aspects are why he committed no sin).

Which complicates the whole picture. We are asked to believe it was a double-blind sort of deal. Jesus couldn't die, but he didn't know that, so the sacrifice was honest.

If, however, the Godhead is omniscient, Jesus would have known before he went, that it was all going to come out alright.

Re Narnia: I was still in Catholic schools when I read them. I saw the allegories, and mostly ignored them. I think Caspian and Dawn Treader are my favorites. I didn't notice the "all the good folks get to heaven" motif, I think because that was (even in my early teens) that was how I saw God.

If He was all loving, and all forgiving, there was no way in which mere ritual could be the key to heaven. This made the Niven/Pournelle version of Inferno perfectly reasonable when I read it, only a couple of years later.

Oddly, I didn't see the allegories as intentional (I was what, 11-13 when I read them) but rather a leaking of Lewis worldview, which I figured was so integral a part of his *self* that it soaked into all he wrote.

#237 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Terry @ 236: Doctrine holds that, while human, he [Jesus] was unware of his divine aspects

It's been a while since Catholic school, but I really don't remember being taught that Jesus didn't know he was the son of God. I mean, if he didn't know, what was all the business about asking his dad to "take this cup from my lips"?

And, wouldn't he have kind of at least *suspected* something was up, what with all the miracling, and John the Baptist yelling, "Hey look, the Lamb of God!" every time he walked by?

#238 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Lori #231

Are you a second or third generation filker?

#239 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Lori @ #21: I help run a small filk con here in central Ohio.

Really? I live in Cleveland, and am known to my friends as the queen of road trips...

#240 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:34 PM:

re 208: It was a rather unfair of Tolkien re Lewis, considering The Silmarillion. Also, strictly speaking on Pilgrim's Regress is a true allegory (which it is in spades)-- and if you buy a copy these days, it comes with a preface in which Lewis criticizes what he wrote in fairly severe terms.

#241 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Paula @238:

Second generation (c. 1974). I consider Gordy Dickson, Poul and Karen Anderson, and Juanita to be First Gen.

BTW, I come by the Coulson surname because Juanita's son Bruce is my ex-husband. The State of Ohio wanted an addition $300 to give me back my maiden name, and I wasn't THAT fond of that.

Summer Storms @ 239: For more info go to ovff.org -- we just finished this year's con, next year's will be Ohio Valley Filk Fest's 24th year (October 24-25-26, 2008).

Also, consider Marcon which is based in Columbus on Memorial Day weekend. Next year's Guest of Honor is Robert Asprin, who is a filker as well as an author. Marcon is an extremely filk friendly con.


#242 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Re: Narnia, my mother got the first one to read to me and my brother when we were little, but didn't do it because she got so mad at it. Not because of the religious stuff (she didn't get far enough to notice it), but because here's this story about a magical kingdom in a wardrobe, with witches and talking animals and magic and when the children meet a faun, what does he do? He serves them a standard British tea. That lack of creativity enraged her.

Then I went on to read all the books over and over and over again on my own, not noticing the allegory (or the tea), although when I recently forced my way through them all again I gagged on it, hard.

Re: The Passion of the Christ, I saw it in the theater when it came out. The place was packed, and the audience was split into pretty even thirds: the ones entranced by the spirituality, the ones repulsed by the violence, and the ones who thought the whole thing was fracking hilarious. I was in the last group. Even aside from the subject matter, that is a laughably badly made movie.

#243 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Lori,

Marcon is a possibility, as well as next year's OVFF. You may indeed see me there.

(Side note: I once lived in Columbus, on the east side. For about six months.)

#244 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Chris @ 213: Aslan's sacrifice wasn't meant to teach Edmund anything, at least not directly. It was meant to save his life. The natural law in Narnia, laid down by Aslan's father when time began, states that every traitor is to be given over to the Witch for her to kill. Edmund betrayed his siblings, thus his life was forfeit to her. However, the Witch was persuaded to take Aslan's voluntary sacrifice in his stead, largely because she felt that with Aslan eliminated, the last obstacles to her total rule would be easily swept away. It wasn't a substitution of responsibility; it was a substitution of punishment.

And I take issue with you saying that Aslan knew he wasn't "really going to die". He did die, after suffering humiliation and agony. It was his sacrifice that broke the Witch's power and allowed Death to turn backwards, and then he came back to life. But he did die. Even if I knew that I would come back to life a few hours later, I doubt I'd voluntarily die without a very good reason; it doesn't seem like very much fun. So I don't think it's fair to call Aslan a cheat for it.

Leigh @ 237: I think this is perhaps a slightly different version of 'unaware'. If the Gospels are to be trusted at all, he certainly knew that he was divine, or at least of divine origin. But I believe the doctrine is that he voluntarily laid down his divine attributes, though not his divine identity, to become human.

#245 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Serge@233: Oh frabjous joy! Calloo, callay! Truly?

John @244: Yes, I think that's it. It's not that Jesus doesn't know who his father is -- it's that he has been sent to Earth stripped of any supernatural power and he has to choose to suffer and die as a human.

#246 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Emma @ 245... Truly. On July 11. I had been reading about del Toro working on a sequel for quite some time, and it was going to be a direct-to-video movie, then they decided to go for a theatrical release. Why? Because of all the attention that Pan's Labyrinth got. Here's the link to the movie's site:

http://www.hellboymovie.com/

#247 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:23 PM:

Summer Storms -- Great! I'll be the redhead with the tie-dyed dumbek in the filk circle at Marcon.

Both Marcon and OVFF have filk concerts during the afternoon, so it's a good way to experience the many flavors of filk.

#248 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Jon and Emma @ 244, 245:

So, the turning water into wine and the loaves and fishes and walking on water and all that... aren't divine attributes? And even if they aren't, how are they not *supernatural* at the very least?

I'm not trying to be snarky here, I'm genuinely confused. I mean, I guess being divine or not divine doesn't *have* to be an all or nothing proposition, but that seems to lead into a whole "demi-god" type situation, which seems less Judeo-Christian and more Greco-Roman, if you follow me.

Was there a bit somewhere where Jesus said, okay, I'll keep the miracle thing but not the immortality thing? And that's why he thought he was genuinely going to die?

#249 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:58 PM:

Paula, #202: Here it is -- The Only Moral Abortion is MY Abortion. To use Greg's phrasing, it's all about Othering.

This raises a difficult ethical question. Under normal circumstances I believe that medical records should be completely private. But I think I would support publicizing the names of people who do this, though I wouldn't be happy about it. This parallels my views on "outing" closeted gay people -- I don't support that either, unless the person in question is active in the political effort to deny civil rights to GLBT people.

Greg M., #205: I loved the Burton/Depp version too. Fairy tales are supposed to be scary! They originally reflected the very real fears that children feel, being powerless in a world run by adults with random and inexplicable motivations. Disney has done us an enormous disservice by wrapping everything up in cotton candy until people can't deal with "children being exposed to" real life any more.

Greg L., #224: Milton describes Lucifer as being the most beautiful of all the angels, and ever since then there's been a sub-thread in storytelling about Satan being attractive. Usually this is presented in the sense of "seductive", when the point of the story is about human weakness rather than Othering. "Charismatic" is another version of it (linking back to Ron Paul Redux).

Diane Duane provides us with the Rihannsu term "nuhurrien", roughly equivalent to "charisma", which she describes as the quality that makes people follow and support someone no matter what awful things they do, and forgive the followed one for acts they would instantly condemn in anyone else. It's a word that's been on my mind a lot over the past few years.

#250 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Jon and Emma @ 244, 245:

So, the turning water into wine and the loaves and fishes and walking on water and all that... aren't divine attributes? And even if they aren't, how are they not *supernatural* at the very least?

I'm not trying to be snarky here, I'm genuinely confused. I mean, I guess being divine or not divine doesn't *have* to be an all or nothing proposition, but that seems to lead into a whole "demi-god" type situation, which seems less Judeo-Christian and more Greco-Roman, if you follow me.

Was there a bit somewhere where Jesus said, okay, I'll keep the miracle thing but not the immortality thing? And that's why he thought he was genuinely going to die?

#251 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Gah, double post. Sorry.

#252 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:08 PM:

Leigh Butler: There is/was debate on the subject of what/how much the incarnate Jesus knew. The "lord's prayer" opens with, "our father".

I know Jews who says it's a fine prayer, and nothing they couldn't recite; save for it's associations. There have been a number of Mystics who had a close idenitfication with their divinity. We, as a culture, refer to God as our father; so I'm not sure I'd say his use of that phrase shows a knowledge of his nature.

Since he had Joseph, in the role of father figure, any such knowledge would (IMO) violate the truly human nature of his aspect. If we were to encounter someone who truly believed, he was the incarnate son of a god (or an avatar of same) we'd call them mad.

The quirks, and difficulties of the incarnation (and the implications of the questions about it) have kept theologians busy, for millenia.

#253 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Something way back, but it's my bag. Not looking forward to Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd," though he's probably the only one who could have got a film financed and made.

It's really my favourite music theatre piece. But the trailer tries to make it look like anything but a musical! Then there's Johnny Depp miscast, I think, as "Ape-neck Sweeney" and Tim Burton's wife in a role that was owned by Angela Lansbury.

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Lee @ 249... there's been a sub-thread in storytelling about Satan being attractive

That includes Robin of Sherwood's episode the seven swords of Wayland, if I remember correctly.

#255 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Roz @ 208: That part of The Silver Chair (Green Lady vs the pro-Narnians, with Puddleglum sticking his foot in the fire) struck me the same way. If anything, the imagine-something-better argument is more powerful against religion than in its favour: a godless universe could quite plausibly be sub-optimal, but if God is perfect and He made me, I shouldn't be able to imagine obvious improvements, should I?

Lee @ 249:
Disney has done us an enormous disservice by wrapping everything up in cotton candy until people can't deal with "children being exposed to" real life any more.
Yes, whatever happened to the people that gave us Old Yeller etc?

#256 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Leigh @ 248,250: And the fact that the disciples were also able to heal people and perform other miracles means they were also divine? Jesus did say that with sufficient faith you could move mountains. And in Peter's speech at Pentecost, he said "Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him." (emphasis mine)

Treating the bible as a narrative, it's consistent with the narrative that some individuals can perform miracles through the power of God, without themselves being divine. Moses, Elijah, etc.

#257 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Lee @ 249: I loved the Wilder version for just that reason. Wilder's Wonka is arbitrary and capricious and singularly unconcerned with the children's safety. And saying "It was all a test" at the end seems to me to be at least a little better than saying "It was all because I hated my father".

#258 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Jon R @ 256: it's consistent with the narrative that some individuals can perform miracles through the power of God, without themselves being divine.

Fair point... Although, I must say that I always got a definite sense, Peter's opinion notwithstanding, that the difference between Jesus's miracles and Moses/Elijah/the Apostles' miracles is that the latter were performed by God *through* them, whereas Jesus was doing them himself. And that Jesus did things that no one else could have done regardless of how much faith they had.

I'm certainly not claiming this is doctrine anywhere, mind you; it's just the impression I got from twelve years of Catholic school. It would certainly make sense if you take it as a given that he *was* God.

All that aside, though, I suppose you could say that even if there was a difference, Jesus might not have been aware of it, and thus believed himself to be just another holy person...?

(I must say, the more closely you look at the Jesus is God/is man thing, the weirder it gets.)

#259 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:14 PM:

Lee #249: I find the original movie version of the chocolate factory book quite scary. In fact, I think I've yet to meet someone who saw it as a child who wasn't traumatized by the tunnel scene. Good stuff.

And I'm not really a fan of Disney movies (I find them bland-looking, racist, sexist, and dull, with the pretty much solitary exception of Lilo & Stitch, which I love), but I don't think they can in general be accused of not being scary.

I nevertheless do agree that there's a resistance to scariness in children's entertainment, though, and that this is a bad thing.

#260 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Leigh @ 258: It's my belief (though it's been a long time since I was at bible college, so I can't really cite anything to back me up) that by the time Jesus began his ministry, he knew who he was -- that he was God, or the son of God, or whatever term you want to use (the Trinity is a pretty confusing concept). That knowledge must have helped him when communicating with God (the Father), but whether he did all the miracles himself or by asking God to do them is a little unclear, as the Gospels don't present a lot from Jesus's point of view.

If you wanted to speculate, you could say that Jesus laid down involuntary attributes of divinity, such as omniscience, while not laying down voluntary attributes. But such speculation typically requires a lot of careful analysis of the biblical text, and I'm doing this off the fly from vague memory. My personal belief is that Jesus was God incarnate, and that the Gospels are more or less accurate -- not necessarily word for word, but accurate in the areas that are important for doctrine.

I also believe that Jesus came into the world knowing he was going to die; if nothing else, he freaked out his disciples by telling them about it in the weeks leading up to the event. But I have no problem believing he could legitimately be in terror of it, especially with the certainty he had. Crucifixion is by all reports an especially agonizing way to die. He wouldn't have been human if he hadn't been afraid, even knowing he would rise again.

#261 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Leigh; I must say, the more closely you look at the Jesus is God/is man thing, the weirder it gets.

Yep, it does. Which is why there are whole libraries full of speculation and explanation -- and most of them unsatisfactory.

The thing for me is that the only thing that makes sense is that Jesus had to die as a man dies, otherwise his sacrifice would have no value. And I think that if he knew what he was, it would make it worse: a god, voluntarily chosing to die in a human body with human limitations. Can you imagine the very real terror?


#262 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:23 PM:

re 257: I agree with you and also add that this is in fact much closer to the story that Dahl wrote. Part of the problem is that the book cries out, from the evidence, of needing a superplot to drive the book's plot, which is how we end up with the test/dentist plots. I think the test is less strained, but one way or another it appears that anyone who makes a movie of it is going to expand the book in a ways that transforms its plot.

The other thing is that the Wilder version is just more fun. The Depp version is what we in our household refer to as "attitudinal".

#263 ::: michelel ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:30 PM:

novalis @53 -- Doesn't have to be an alternate universe: There are some this-universe folks who consider brtn to be a far-left issue of this type. At least this far-left vegetarian does. The trouble is acting on that, since the other "far-left issues" tend to align against it; compromise becomes essential. And many who oppose brtn also oppose contraception/sex ed, making common cause kind of difficult.

We now return this thread to its random silliness (already in progress).

#264 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Kevin Riggle @227 [wrt my post @138 about Spamalot]: I haven't heard the album, but I'm going to guess that something a lot more pedestrian than Tuvan throat-singing is going on. It's fairly common in modern audio processing to use what's called an octave doubler on audio parts that need a bit more depth or grounding.

Perhaps this is a hopelessly naive question, but would they actually do something like that on a Broadway cast album, considering that the audience of a live show would expect to hear a similar performance? Someone seems to've posted a listenable soundfile of that one song here, if any of y'all with trained ears wants to give it a listen; the bit I'm wondering about is maybe 75-80% of the way through it, toward the end of the long klezmer interlude.

#265 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Greg London #224: But when an author is trying to appeal to a large audience, othering the bad guys by making them either really ugly or really too beautiful, is a way to put uniforms on the different teams and make it easier for readers to tell who they're supposed to root for.

One of the reasons I love Diana Wynne Jones's books so much is that she doesn't tend to do this. Her villains are frequently attractive -- and not in a "too much" way, but just in an "ordinary, charismatic, nice person" way -- or so middle-class and normal that it's a surprise to find that they're the villains, even though there are plot clues that indicate they must be responsible for all the trouble.

She plays the same tricks with her heroes, making them unpleasant, frightening, emotionally scarred, but sympathetic at the same time.

And sometimes a character can be a villain from one point of view and a hero from the other. And sometimes the hero is battling against a villain who later turns out to be himself (which reminds me of the excellent Wodehouse book, Piccadilly Jim, where one character ends up impersonating himself and it's all absolutely logical and confusing and hilarious).

#266 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Oh my head hurts
Oh my head hurts
And eyes are glazing oe'r,
With religion and abortion
I'm headbanging on the floor.

Making Light has gone asplunging,
Disemvowelling is the name
But with the all the backformations
It's a very wonky game.

Oh my head hurts
Oh my head hurts
And eyes are glazing oe'r,
With religion and abortion
I'm headbanging on the floor.

Enter Jesus in discussion
Did He know just who He was,
Is he godhead or a myth, or
Something else with lots of buzz?

Oh my head hurts
Oh my head hurts
And eyes are glazing oe'r,
With religion and abortion
I'm headbanging on the floor.

Richard Burton the explorer
Knighted by the British Queen,
But his wife burned all his papers
And his history's unseen.

Oh my head hurts
Oh my head hurts
And eyes are glazing oe'r,
With religion and abortion
I'm headbanging on the floor.

There's Tim Burton in the movies
And macabre things to see,
But with some that are plain gonzo,
Lord what fools producers be!

Oh my head hurts
Oh my head hurts
And eyes are glazing oe'r,
With religion and abortion
I'm headbanging on the floor.

In another thread (on Ron Paul)
See the moderator point,
Go off to a new-spawned thread, she
Said but wherefrom came that joint?

Oh my head hurts
Oh my head hurts
And eyes are glazing oe'r,
With religion and abortion
I'm headbanging on the floor.

C. S. Lewis that professor
Wrote in allegory tales,
And comparison with Tolkein,
Philosophical details.
Oh my head hurts
Oh my head hurts
And eyes are glazing oe'r,
With religion and abortion
I'm headbanging on the floor....

#267 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 04:59 PM:

#249 Lee:

(Not touching the comment about Barton.)

I think there are two different phenomena here:

a. The idea that evil can be enormously seductive as well as terribly ugly. That's kind of inherent in our experience of evil, I think--some kinds are repulsive, others are attractive, and those two are disturbing in different ways. And sometimes, you will have an abrupt shift in perspective, and something that was very attractive to you will instantly become ugly and repulsive, as you *get* what's evil about it.

b. It's often useful to provide some mental shorthand for the reader, so he doesn't have to evaluate who the good guys and bad guys are. Put them in black hats, make them all ugly, put them in some kind of uniform, make them speak or act in some way that marks them out.

I think this ties into something very basic about human psychology, probably something we brought down out of the trees with us. There's a kind of us/them distinction we naturally make in our minds. I think the criteria for who is us and who is them is socially defined--race, social class, religion, accent, membership in some gang or priesthood, all work fine. I speculate that this is linked to tribal conflicts in the past. Some evolutionary psychologists have done interesting work on showing this us/them tendency experimentally.

I think the reason so many authors do othering, the reason why war-porn works in general, is because of this. You don't have to feel bad about slaughtering Orcs or Trollocs or Saracens or Indians or Japs or whatever group--they're the *bad* guys. You don't even have to feel bad about cheering the slaughter of the bad guys. It's kind of cathartic, as long as you don't notice what you're doing.

In a world where war happens much, the ability to do this othering is probably a big survival trait. If you have to think carefully about whether this particular person deserves to die before you kill him from ambush, or you can't bring yourself to besiege the city because all the kids will starve first, you're probably a lot less effective in war. Selection operates at the group level as well as at the individual/gene level, especially in small mostly related tribes and such.

#268 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:02 PM:

Paula #266:

Very nice. Sorry about the headache, though.

#269 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Julie @ 264: Perhaps this is a hopelessly naive question, but would they actually do something like that on a Broadway cast album, considering that the audience of a live show would expect to hear a similar performance?

You can do electronically synthesized pitch shifts and harmonies as easily live as in the studio (viz. early Laurie Anderson). That said, I'm not hearing that in the sample you posted, just a falsetto with a yodel-like break back down to normal voice at the end of each whoop, and a bass pedal point.

#270 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Time to make some other folks' heads hurt:

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton is a very religious book.... It's definitely not using Christian religion, but it does very much have religious explicit agendas in it.

#271 ::: Chris Sullins ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:50 PM:

DavidS @ 56:

Very nice. I was wondering if there was a more comprehensive grep dictionary somewhere out there. I guess there's a tradeoff between having more words and being less searchable -- the Regex Dictionary could search for particular parts of speech, etc.

(Since DavidS's link didn't actually get posted, here it is: National Puzzlers' League Dictionary Grep.)

#272 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:53 PM:

#269: The only show that I know of which might use a vocoder is Phantom of the Opera. (It certainly sounds like it on the cast album, during the title song in a section not sung by either of the characters who sing in the song.) There has been at least one case of a person doubling herself with a recording. ("Who's That Woman" from Sondheim'sFollies. The published vocal score even indicates when to start playing the tape, IIRC.) Portions of Phantom of the Opera have long rumored to be pre-taped. (But that's a case of lip-syncing, not doubling.)

Also, shows have used off-stage singers to double singers on stage. Two currently on Broadway (although probably not currently running due the stagehands' strike) are Chorus Line and Jersey Boys.

#264: The idea that the cast album actually sound like the show is a relatively modern one. Up until, say, the advent of the CD, cast album producers regularly reroutined, and sometimes reorchestrated numbers. This still happens to an extent. Nowadays though, yes, I suspect people go into a show expecting the live performance to sound exactly like the recorded one.

#273 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 05:57 PM:

*standing ovation for Paula*

Brava!

#274 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Jon R #260: If you wanted to speculate, you could say that Jesus laid down involuntary attributes of divinity, such as omniscience, while not laying down voluntary attributes.

Wait, what? Wouldn't the involuntary attributes, by definition, be the ones that couldn't be laid down? Or is there some counter-intuitive technical sense of "involuntary" going on here?

#275 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 06:29 PM:

Avram @ 274: Whee, I fail at semantics. What I meant is that omniscience and the like are not normally something God has to 'do' as an action; they're 'on all the time', so to speak. But parting the red sea or turning water into wine, that's an action. So for the sake of being human, he divested himself of those powers that were more like qualities than actions. I have no idea if there's a proper technical term for this. I also have no idea if this speculation is orthodox or not; it's not something I've previously examined closely.

#276 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 06:36 PM:

John Chu @ 272: [nitpick]Vocoder != harmonizer[/nitpick]

#277 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Tim Walters @269: a falsetto with a yodel-like break back down to normal voice at the end of each whoop, and a bass pedal point.

Oh dear. My aural incompetence is confirmed once again (I'm not even sure I understood that explanation, so I'm probably hopeless :b ) but on reflection/relistening, I think I'm mentally conflating some of the instrumentation with his actual voice.

I do remember reading about pitch-correction gadgets, though. Yoicks.

#278 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:12 PM:

I haven't decided whether I think the Johnny Depp version of Sweeney Todd will work, and I probably won't know until I see it. But if it doesn't come off for everyone, there's a DVD of the stage version available. With Angela Lansbury. It looks like it was recorded in 1982, when there were still some original cast members available.

#279 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 09:22 PM:

Tim Walters @ 276: Have you heard "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap? The harmonizer on that fascinates me even more than the vocoder on Laurie Anderson's "O Superman". "O Superman", of course, led me to search out Massenet's violin solo from "Thaïs", but that's neither here nor there.

Hopefully this won't double post if the revert of the past hour undoes itself.

#280 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Lee@249: Milton describes Lucifer as being the most beautiful of all the angels, and ever since then there's been a sub-thread in storytelling about Satan being attractive.

beautiful woman + evil = sin of seduction
handsome man + evil = sin of vanity

Satan's primary sin was vanity, to think himself as good as god. If Satan had been a woman, the story would have been that she tried to seduce him and sleep her way into power.

But in either case, Satan would be really good looking.

#281 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Christologies: There are several, and different Gospels seem to promulgate different ones.

You can have the one where Jesus was possessed by God as an adult, and then God left him at the moment of his death, because God cannot die. "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

You can have the one where Jesus was entirely divine, in which the Crucifixion is pretty much a formality rather than a horrible, painful sacrifice -- you see this in John.

And you can have several variants of each of these, all of which have been held to be heresies.

It was finally settled that Jesus was 200% -- 100% God, and 100% man, all at once. It blows your mind, but what great mystery doesn't?

(Let me take this opportunity to recommend a good New Testament course to everyone. It's darned fascinating stuff. Regardless of your religion, or lack thereof, it will give you some really cool insights. Alternately, look up Bart Ehrman's textbook on the matter. Absolutely fantastic.)

#282 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:30 PM:

shadowsong @ 279: Have you heard "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap?

Yes! That was an instant sale. The rest of the album turned out to be rather different, but I like it as well.

If you like Heap and Anderson, you should definitely check out Amy X. Neuburg, who uses loopers, harmonizers, and electronic drum kit to great effect. She (and three cellists) played her new song cycle at the Freight & Salvage last week, and it was spectacular.

#283 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 11:09 PM:

Tim Walters @282: I first heard it on a Heroes fanvid of Peter jumping off the roof. Given my curiousity about freefall and my love of harmony and resolving dissonance, it was the perfect combination.

#284 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Nic@220:

Yes. I haven't read Haddawy's translation, but it's based on the standard scholarly Arabic edition, Muhsin Mahdi's, which does just that - takes the compendium back to its ~14th-century contents. It's much shorter than Burton - a single volume of 600 pages.

I'm sorry; I should've checked my facts before I posted.

I wouldn't read Haddawy out loud to children without some serious censoring, but it's certainly a more enjoyable translation than Burton. I would like to find Haddawy's other volume of _The Nights_ with the later stories as well.

#285 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 11:37 PM:

Did Zoë Keating get explicitly mentioned in the open thread with all the cellos? She's a former member of Rasputina now working on a series of projects called "One Cello × 16", where she uses sampling and looping and other such modern techniques to play all 16 cello parts herself.

I got her "Natoma" CD as part of my recent Rasputina splurge; so far at least it isn't hitting me like Rasputina is, but it might be interesting to other folks here.

#286 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 12:31 AM:

On Christology: The difficulty is that the internal contradiction required by Jesus being both fully divine and fully human is not resolvable by human reason. It's ineffable, and only to be approached by accepting that Almighty God can subdue all things to Himself, including irreconcilable internal contradictions.

On the other hand, how Christians since Nicea have been able to aver that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God in face of the fact that He told us Himself to address God as "Our Father", beats me. In fact it beats me how they can say that He was Very God, God in His own person, and of the same substance of the Father, in the face of His statement at John 14:28. But there you are.

#287 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 01:02 AM:

Even followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can't agree on whether He has meat sauce or meat balls.

As for the Alfredoists, they should be prepared al dente. Fah!

#288 ::: Sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 01:18 AM:

Andy Wilton @207: "Yes," said Queen Lucy. "In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world."

It actually took me a moment to figure out what heavy-handed allegory Lewis was going for here -- I immediately thought "Time Lord technology! It's bigger on the inside!".

#289 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:02 AM:

Todd Larason @285:
Did Zoë Keating get explicitly mentioned in the open thread with all the cellos?

I think she got touched on.

I find that her music grows on one - the first time I heard it, I thought it was OK. But I went through a time of listening to her a lot. My memories of one week-long trip to London have One Cello x 16 - Natoma for a soundtrack.

I've seen her live as well, in Glasgow a couple of years ago. Very neat. She would play a track, check it on the loop, then retry or add it to the mix, live. I think she only had to retry about twice, which is pretty amazing under the circumstances. (It's a shame the audience was so badly behaved - they were there for Imogen Heap, really, and it was not the nicest venue in Glesga.)

#290 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:16 AM:

That Zoë Keating stuff reminds me of when I saw Erin McKeown performing with just her and her guitar, using a loop station to do multiple guitar parts and backing vocals, and getting percussion parts by looping herself banging on the guitar's body. Very cool stuff.

#291 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 03:40 AM:

Sebastian @288:
I immediately thought "Time Lord technology! It's bigger on the inside!".

Which made me think, The Last Battle, published 1956; Doctor Who, first broadcast 1963. I'd never really thought of the two as being so close together. Spatial discontinuities are common in the Narnia books: wardrobe = Tardis, anyone?

Come to think of it, TLTW&TW has a hint of Einstein in Chapter 5, in the conversation with the Professor:

If ... she had got into another world, I should not be at all surprised to find that the other world had a separate time of its own.

Distorted space + time passes at different rates = relativity? The mind boggles...


#292 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 07:39 AM:

Dave @286 -- On the other hand, how Christians since Nicea have been able to aver that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God in face of the fact that He told us Himself to address God as "Our Father", beats me. In fact it beats me how they can say that He was Very God, God in His own person, and of the same substance of the Father, in the face of His statement at John 14:28. But there you are.

FWIW, Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave it a shot here:
# Christology (1966) London: William Collins and New York: Harper and Row. translation of lectures given in Berlin in 1933, from vol. 3 of Gesammelte Schriften, Christian Kaiser Verlag, 1960. retitled as Christ the Center, Harper SanFrancisco 1978 paperback: ISBN 0-06-060811-0 (reference courtesy of Wikipedia).

Heavy going, but still.

#293 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Andy Wilton #291: Which made me think, The Last Battle, published 1956; Doctor Who, first broadcast 1963.

Isn't it odd to suddenly think of things that way? They're more clearly related, but it was quite a shock-of-sudden-understanding to me a few years ago to realize that the movie of Cabaret and David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars came out the same year.

Different kind of thing, but the other day I realized that when I was little (in the 80s), all the teenagers and twenty-somethings were obsessed with music from the 60s, and now all the teenagers and twenty-somethings are obsessed with music from the 80s, and that the same time span is involved there. Time is weird.

#294 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Another looping cellist is Gideon Freudmann, whom I used to see play at the Iron Horse back when I lived in the Happy Valley.

And for maximum loopiness there's the International Live Looping Festival in Santa Cruz.

#295 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 05:32 PM:

Sebastian @ 288: Sorry, that sort of thing was commonplace in Celtic mythology (elflands), which Lewis would certainly have encountered. So would the Doctor Who people....

I was never bothered by the religious stuff (I did recognize some of it) as a kid, but then I was Jewish. And the "temporary death of an immortal" most certainly is significant -- both in the NT and in Narnia, it's a major event even within the narrative, not to mention the symbolic and other "magical" baggage.

Christianity's problem with resolving the divine-vs-human Jesus might be seen as the Church having swallowed too many competing mythologies. Some of them are symbolically incompatible with each other, but by now they're far too tangled to separate, so the contradictions wind up leading to endless piles of "anything".

#296 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 06:27 PM:

David @ 295: It could also be seen as an instance of divinity not being especially comprehensible by humans.

#297 ::: Roz Kaveney ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 06:33 PM:

' the movie of Cabaret and David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars came out the same year.'

You've just made me feel very very old - the fact that they came out at the same time, and I regularly attended parties where both the soundtrack album of Cabaret and the Bowie got played is a crucial bit of my past.

Suddenly, being weird and queer was OK with people for a while.

#298 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Andy, #291: Other worlds having time pass at a different rate from our own strikes me as more Fae than Einstein. All those stories of travellers "underhill" who spend one night and come back 20 years later...

#299 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 03:38 AM:

o hai, heer iz hikoo frm smrtss:


"If y wnt t tlk
bt brtn, d t
hr." In fact, few did.

#300 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 08:45 AM:

This is Making Light!

#301 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Speaking of the Matter of Britain, how about the recent cinematic adaptation of "The Dark is Rising"? I read the books because of a rather striking filk about it. Debbie read "Bridge of Birds" for the same reason.

Haven't seen the movie though; the trailer, which we saw before the last Harry Potter, didn't look promising.


BBC
reviewer Paul Arendt hated it.


#302 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Jon Baker #301: I went on poorly proofread record, twice, as hating the galloping hell out of that movie.

#303 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 09:25 AM:

I have it on very good authority that Sondheim loves Depp's performance in Sweeney. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the movie.

Jenny Islander #284: The Everyman's Library has both volumes of the Haddawy translation in their usual good-quality editions; I must get round to reading the second one sometime.

#304 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Jon Baker #301: Striking Dark is Rising filk? Where?

#305 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Rymenhild, #304: That would be the one by Julia Ecklar and Susan Cooper; it won a Pegasus Award for Best Sorcery Song in 1997. Random Factors has it available on Ecklar's tape "Balance", here (scroll down).

#306 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 04:47 AM:

Thanks, Lee!

#307 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 09:18 PM:

Lee, #305, I have The Dark is Rising on another tape, but I can't remember which one now (oh, looking back at your post again, I bet it's the Pegasus Award Winners). Kip has all my cassettes to translate to MP3s which will be sent to my friend Jenna who can put them on CDs for me. But it's definitely striking. I can remember the chorus even though I probably haven't listened to it in five or so years.

#308 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 10:16 PM:

I did it. Broke down and joined, started added the books in eye's reach.

I have one book which only one other member has. I also have one book (so far) which isn't findable in the data base, so I get to learn the advanced tools.

Go figure.

But most of my books are in storage.

#309 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:04 AM:

Julie L @ 244: Broadway albums have routinely been sweetened for decades, although usually it's just added instruments; what's onstage is literally opera (pl of "opus"), so most people don't retain the exact musical details with everything else going on. Some who heard the album first may be disappointed -- but now they've bought the album \and/ a ticket, which is almost all the producers care about. (IIRC, most Broadway tickets are bought by out-of-towners, so word of mouth doesn't mean much.) I'm not sure 277 is even correct -- most people have different expectations for a live performance, rather than complaining (as an acquaintance did) that (e.g.) Steeleye Span didn't sound as "precise" live as recorded.

For that matter, recordings can also have severe gaffes; listen carefully to the opening number of Company and notice how Elaine Stritch's off note disappears part-way through the long chord before the last chorus. I've read that her mike was faded by an alert engineer -- there weren't enough tape tracks to drop her out completely or enough available hours to do it over. Recording equipment is more powerful now, but I don't know whether there's any more time (it used to be just one long Sunday) allowed to make the recording.

Jon Baker @ 301: "unpromising" is generous; I last read the book ~20 years ago but remembered more than enough to be appalled when I saw the trailer. (Making Will American could be forgiven, but making him a whiner can't be.) AFAIK it's been and gone in theaters, and the DVD will probably be available RSN for them as likes simpleminded unsubtle movies.

#310 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Teresa(#4), thanks for sharing the love. If you hadn't asked, I might never have known of the beautiful crystals that can be found in barium ore. It seems to be mostly attested in French, so pardon mon français if that's cheating. And these weird French sociétés minières—who knew? I wonder if they are found in La Bretagne (Br*tt*n*), a near miss, but they do speak Br*t*n there, for the Celtic fans.

#311 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 07:36 PM:

For 310, I must accord apologies to Q. Pheevr (77), who got the Brtn lingo in there first, and so self-evidently. When I saw it, I fired up Leetkey and was startled to see sense only where it wasn't expected, so thanks also to John Stanning (80) for the link.

I'm still unsure of the Indonesian cellphone thing, since it looks more like Indonesian Idol to my googling eyes. There's also a Belgian radio station, as Leighton mentioned in #11, and I thought I might add that they produced a modern dance film, Auchterland, relevant because its director and choreographer is another Teresa with spaces in her surname.

#312 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 08:32 PM:

So I sign off, turn on the radio, and what to my wondering ears? A Brtn, Nick Hornsby, talking about his new book, Slam, all about tn prgnc and brtn in Brtn. I didn't know you people had pwned NPR.

And perhaps I shouldn't mention, re RichM's (108) mention of using dilute marmite in stew, that the full-strength product can be used as a personal lubricant for tight anatomical orifices. Dilate! Dilate! ¡Olé! Let's hear it for the good doctor.

#313 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 08:37 PM:

Oops, that should be Nick Hornby.

#314 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 09:02 PM:

CHip: An ex of mine was in school when the Choral Director (who was no sluch, since she had designs on a career as a coluratura, which she seems to be filling, it seems a good choice of school was made) had an anniversary of some sort.

So they sang the Missa Solemnis, as well as Beethoven's 9th. The soprano soloist, crashed in the finale. It was painful to listen to.

In the recording, she's perfect.

#315 ::: Merav ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Alter at #25, I believe there's still a Barton's store in the 30s. The set of streets, that is, not the decade.

#316 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Spam-bashing brtns my day.

#317 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:20 PM:

Disemvowling this one won't help.


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