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January 10, 2008

Open Thread 99
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:30 PM *

Ninety-nine open threads in the blog
Ninety-nine open threads.
Thanks to our host who lets people post
Ninety-nine open threads in the blog….


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Comments on Open Thread 99:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 09:39 PM:

At least it isn't aleph-null open threads - yet!

(I introduced a co-worker to 'Hot Gingered Pygmy Mammoth and Jumbo Shrimp Salad' this afternoon. Cue the giggling hordes!)

#2 ::: Maggie Brinkley ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 09:49 PM:

"99 Red balloons go by"

#3 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 09:59 PM:

Tonight were gonna party like it's Open Thread 99.

#4 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:22 PM:

"Don't tell me it's Open Thread, 99!"

"It's Open Thread 99."

"I asked you not to tell me that!"

#5 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:30 PM:

Just been turned on to http://deputy-dog.com/ which features stuff that looks cool. 5 unbelievably cool research facilites and
another 5 extremely cool research facilities
and other posts will see me wasting some time there.

#6 ::: J MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:33 PM:

Xopher, @#4: very Smart :-)

#7 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:36 PM:

99
I've been waiting so long
Oh 99
Where did we go wrong
Oh 99
Now you have this earworm too...

#8 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:37 PM:

How long ago was Open Thread 1?

#9 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:38 PM:

Reality query here--

Every time I've sung the song, the third and fourth lines were "Take one down, pass it around, [n-1] bottles of beer on the wall." The few times I've seen it written in the comics pages, the lines have been "If one of those bottles should happen to fall, there'd be [n-1] bottles of beer on the wall." At first I thought this was a regional variation and I had the Southern version. Then I decided that Management thought they might get sued for encouraging underage drinking, so they created a version in which the action happens accidentally.

Does anybody sing the "happen to fall" version?

#10 ::: Doug Burbidge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:41 PM:

This has been bothering me for a while.

At the top left of the ML front page, there is a section titled "TNH's Particles". At the bottom of this box there is a link to take you to older posts from this box. This link is titled "More...".

Shouldn't it be titled "Past Particles"?

#11 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:44 PM:

Brenda Kalt #9:
In my youth we'd sing "And if one green bottle should accidentally fall, there'd be..."

So there's another variant for you.

#12 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:46 PM:

99 hydrogen bombs on the wall,
99 hydrogen bombs!
Take one dow

#13 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:47 PM:

Brenda @9

I grew up with the "if one of those bottles should happen to fall" version also. I'm from Morton Grove, IL, one of the suburbs north of Chicago.

I also grew up with the "eensy-beensy spider," not the "itsy-bitsy spider" or some other variation. (Long ago, Parade Magazine did a "What did you call the spider?" poll, and there were dozens of versions, IIRC.)

#14 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:50 PM:

Brenda: I, a native New Yorker, grew up with the "happen to fall" version.

#15 ::: Andrhia ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:52 PM:

If I may, rather timidly, ask a question... what are the one or five or eight books you most wish everyone else would read? And is there an older thread on book recommendations toward making one a well-rounded individual?

#16 ::: Aaron ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:53 PM:

Sir Edmund Hillary died.

#17 ::: Amy Thomson ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:53 PM:

And then there's the Arthur C. Clarke Version:

"Nine billion names of God on the scroll, nine billion names of god.
Take one down, pass it around,
Eight billion, nine hundred ninety nine million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand, nine hundred ninety nine names of God on the scroll."

Very useful for filling time on those long multi-generational interstellar journeys.

#18 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:58 PM:

I grew up in Milwaukee, WI and remember singing both the "happen to fall" and the "take one down and pass it around" versions. Also, when we sang it at home we always started with 100 bottles.

#19 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 10:59 PM:

No beer here, the 'full' version goes:

(n) green bottles, hanging on the wall
(n) green bottles, hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle, should accidentally fall,
There'd be (n-1) green bottles, hanging on the wall

The tune is different to the beer version. I suspect that the beer tune is American, the green bottles tune is British.

#20 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:02 PM:

J 6: Yes, I have good Control of my material.

#21 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:05 PM:

The British version (different tune):

"Ten green bottles hanging on a wall,
Ten green bottles hanging on a wall,
and if one green bottle should accidentally fall,
There'll be nine green bottles hanging on the wall.
Nine green bottles, etc"

Traditionally it starts at ten, though of course it could start anywhere, and sometimes does on long car journeys. Or did before car stereos became ubiquitous.

#22 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:07 PM:

Andrhia @15, because I'm feeling even more didactic than usual:

The Control of Nature by John McPhee, if just one.

And then these:

Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner

The Dispossessed, Ursula K. LeGuin

Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Gods and Generals and The Killer Angels, Jeffery Shaara, Michael Shaara

At least tonight, I think those are the ones (although the top one is permanent).

#23 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:15 PM:

Re: Xopher

Do you really think

...excuse me, my shoe is ringing.

#24 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:23 PM:

Andrhia @15: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollans, is the first book the reading of which has caused me to excitedly press it on friends and relatives. Free Culture, by Lawrence Lessig, might have been another, had I been living near people who would have appreciated it at the time. (Well, I listened to it as a Creative Commons-licensed, community-produced MP3 audiobook, but it's the same idea.)

#25 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:33 PM:

Brenda@9
I grew up in Oregon and we always sang "take one down, pass it around".

On another subject: My bank had a trivia question posted today "How many raindrops reside in the average cloud?" My answer was none, clouds are water vapor and raindrops precipitate out of that and fall. Their answer was 6 trillion. Anyone have a "real" answer to a dumb question?

#26 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:35 PM:

A new thread already? But I'd just gotten going on the old one.

I would like to repeat-point to my question requesting fluo'knowledge on Munich and Bavaria in January... experiences and advice? Countryside walking around conditions in winter: more like New York or Maine? Fasching-- what to try to see beyond the donuts?

And in gossip news, I am deeply disappointed that Mars and 2007 WD5 won't be getting together. They'd have been a smash hit, and all for the crater good.

#28 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Andrhia: I'll take "one or five or eight" to mean eight. Mine are:
1. The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, which I'm counting as one book even though it's ten trillion pages long all together.
2. The Comforters by Muriel Spark.
3. The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood.
4. Tales of the Rue Broca by Pierre Gripari.
5. The Chain of Chance by Stanislaw Lem.
6. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders.
7. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester.
8. The Douglas Adams Dirk Gently books (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, which I'm also counting as one book).

#29 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:46 PM:

Brenda @ #9: I grew up singing the version you use. When we'd reach 0, we'd start up with

No bottles of beer on the wall, no bottles of beer
Burp one up, slurp it up.
One bottle of beer on the wall...

Very appealing to juveniles.

#30 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:47 PM:

Aaron #16:
The NZ Herald's put up a piece on Hillary's life. I found it quite telling that of all the famous kiwis featured on NZ currency, he was the only one accorded that honour while still alive.

#31 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:48 PM:

Aaron #16:
The NZ Herald's put up a piece on Hillary's life. I found it quite telling that of all the famous kiwis featured on NZ currency, he was the only one accorded that honour while still alive.

#32 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:50 PM:

Apologies for the double post. Thought it failed the first time.

#33 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2008, 11:54 PM:

Kathryn, armageddon what you're saying.

#34 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:00 AM:

Oh, and in Rhode Island I always heard "take one down, pass it around."

#35 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:04 AM:

Andrhia @15:

Konrad Lorenz On Aggression because it is wise beyond measure

Buwei Yang Chao How to Cook and Eat in Chinese (not for the recipes - for the delightful commentary)

John Scalzi's thread on Being Poor - because that thread and its subsidiary, a total of 650 comments, is big and important and well-written enough to be a book and we don't have to be pagists.

Neal Stepehnson's Mother Earth, Mother Board - preferably, read it in 1996.

Ray Brabury's Dandelion Wine for the virtuosity of its American-English usage. Some people play violin or piano or come up with elegant proofs or break your heart with beauty so joyous as to cause pain. Bradbury, in this book, took a slegehammer to my heart. And I wasn't even born when he wrote it.

Plutarch's Lives. Because people haven't changed a bit. And Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Successful People for the same reason.

Karen Armstrong's The Battle for God, about the history of Fundamentalism. It explains so much. (Her history of Jerusalem is pretty awesome, too).

Elizabeth Wayland Barber's Women's Work, the first 20,000 years and hers with Paul Barber When They Severed Earth from Sky: How human mind shapes myth about oral traditions and how they were used. Even if their theories aren't for real, they make a mindblowing read. (And if you liked those, Paul Barber's book about vampires in folklore as contrasted to those in fiction is a cheerful read).

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine is a very concise way to blow some gaskets. It may be the most important political book of 2007 - but I think it will last well beyond that.

I'll stop procrastinating now...

#36 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:05 AM:

Andrhia at 15, I will name six books which I would recommend to any thoughtful person.

1) The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis
2) King Hereafter, by Dorothy Dunnett
3) The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula LeGuin
4) Another Country, by James Baldwin
5) Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
6) The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

And a seventh, which is not exactly a "book," but can be found in bookstores: a good translation of Dante Alighieri's La Divina Commedia. I am fond of the Ciardi translation, but there are other good ones.

#37 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:06 AM:

99 tiny bugs in the code
99 tiny bugs
Fix a bug, compile it again
100 tiny bugs in the code

And:

I've got 96 tears in 99 eyes

#38 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:07 AM:

Kevin Riggle @24 mentioned Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma; I'll add Pollan's Botany of Desire to the list, and also say yay to 3,7, and 8 of ethan's list.

#39 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:18 AM:

Kathryn # 26: Alas, the year I lived in München, Fasching was cancelled due to the First Gulf War. :P I'm afraid I can't give you any advice on that. Though as far as weather goes, my recollection was that it was more often closer to New York City than Maine (both of which I have ample experience with, having grown up in the latter and now practically living in the former).

However, having said that, the weekend of Karnivale I did go to Venice ... Karnivale had also been cancelled, but that didn't stop some people from wandering about in the fog wearing masks. It had snowed a couple days previous, so I have some gorgeous photos of snow-filled gondolas that I really *must* turn into holiday cards someday.

And while in München, I experienced thundersnow for the first (and so far, last) time. Very, very cool.

#40 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:22 AM:

So I bought myself a birthday present two days ahead of the date, I now have a new laptop, with not only a touchscreen, but a built-in webcam, too--and a clip of me cursing at Microsoft, Vista, and Steven Jobs and his ancestry... unexpurgated live reaction commentary on doing -some- of the system reconfiguration to something less annoying that the stock user interface.... NOT for G-rated audience--no sex, no violence, but it is full of foul language! (It also included me trying to divide by 1280 by 800, out loud, for the purpose of trying to figure out if the ratio is closer to 4:3 or 16:9 [it's 16:10, but it would be way too easy for the stupid software to actually show typical resolutions and let the operator pick amongst them... and I forgot anyway was the resolution is, and then tried to go look it up on the machine... but Vista doesn't have the display control information in the same place that previous versions of Microsoft environments have them....])

I was testing the webcam.... the location it's at of course is designed for someone whose torso is much longer than mine is, so it shows lots of space above my head with the laptop on my lap....

#41 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:37 AM:

Dena Shunra #35:
Thanks for the John Scalzi link. I was gobsmacked.

BTW, the Neal Stephenson piece is available online at Wired. It's a hugely fascinating & insightful piece that has very much informed his subsequent books, "Cryptonomicon" & The Baroque Cycle and clearly shows his interest in the (infra)structures underlying our civilisation, and their origins.

#42 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:40 AM:

Andrhia - I'm going to go for generalities while I try to think of specific titles.

1) A work of religious significance. The Bhagavad Gita, The Bible, The Quran, etc.

2) A work of 'early literature' that is referenced by later literature. Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

3) A work on science that is referenced, but no one seems to have actually read. Origin of Species, Chaos, A Brief History of Time, etc.

4) A work considered significant or influential in a field/genre you enjoy. That way you catch the references/homages that are made to it in other works.

5) A biography of an influential or interesting person. Artists, politicians, deal makers, captains of industry, whoever catches your fancy.

The good thing is that a good book will lead you to other good books. And that's a good thing. Or a good start...

#43 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:45 AM:

#9 Brenda Kalt: I grew up in Colorado singing the "take one down, pass it around" version; then sometime in the 90s, still in Colorado, I heard the "should happen to fall" version and immediately switched over. The patter/meter is way better, and the sly passive voice amuses me. Suuure, the bottle just happened to fall. I just happened to have my hand out in a cupped position, eh? It's a world of wonders and miracles.

#15 Andrhia: I don't have a list everyone should read, because people are different and I'm too lazy. I do have books I push on everyone I think might be even slightly receptive... These are:

1. Steven Brust's _The Phoenix Guard_, and
2. Eccelesiastes. (From the Bible. I enormously prefer the Revised Standard Version.)

There's not really a connecting bit. Those are just the ones that worked really well for me. (There are lots and lots of other awesome books, but those seem to be the ones I thump again and again.)

#44 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:01 AM:

Dena @ 35, yep. If you read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine and don't nearly burst an aneurysm you didn't even know you had, your capacity for rage is desperately lacking.

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:03 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 26

Would it be crash of me to want to get a bang out of it?

and too bad it wasn't 2007 WD-40; it'd just slide right on through.

#46 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:09 AM:

Mmm, wait. The question wasn't about books you'd recommend. It was about books you most wish other people would read. In other words, this time we're not supposed to be out to share our pleasures with other people. The assignment is to improve them -- or the world.

Here's a couple, off the top of my head. I need to go to bed, like, two hours ago, so maybe I'll dream some others overnight.

1. Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, for obvious reasons.
2. Sun Tzu's Art of War, to nudge people in the direction of noticing that war is not even a little bit the same as reality TV.

#47 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:20 AM:

Yes, indeed there was a tornado in Vancouver, WA. It actually did some damage, but the TV news crews have managed to blow it out of proportion even so. I'm watching Sh*tStorm Team Alert, or whatever they call their weather overreaction program; you can hear the exclamation marks in each report. Eva tells me this afternoon they even called up someone in Oklahoma so they could talk to an "expert" on the air.

Oh, the real news: no serious injuries, a couple of buildings destroyed, a bunch of trees and power poles down. And a bunch of fish picked up out of the lake and strewn around the landscape.

"Three funnel clouds,
two smashed homes,
and some fish up in the tree."

#48 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:34 AM:

99 open threads? It's KAOS I tell you, simply KAOS!

:D

Oh, and I heard both the "take one down..." and "happen to fall..." variants when I was growing up. But the spider was always "itsy-bitsy".

Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel C. Dennett
The Alphabet Versus the Goddess and Sex, Time and Power, Leonard Shlain--whether others find his theories worthwhile or not, these might expand their thought processes a bit...

#49 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:39 AM:

I'm a "take one down pass it around" person (I grew up in far Alaska in the 1980's).

5-8 Books that Changed My Life

1) Antigone

2) Iliad

3) Anything by Joan Aiken, esp. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase/ James III Chronicles (What you thought I called myself after the Queen of Carthage? Um. No. She should really be # 1, especially for "The Cat Flap and the Apple Pie.")

3) Beauty (Robin McKinley) (This is the one that got me to learn Greek...the others just changed my entire self/world view.)
The Hero and the Crown (R. McKinley)
The Blue Sword (R. McKinley)

4) The Good Master (K. Seredey)

5) Medea (Euripides)

6) Roller Skates (R. Sawyer)

7 How I Live Now (M. Rosoff)

8) The Attolia Books (M. Whalen Turner)

Hmm. How do I get all of Crutcher (but especially "Whale Talk"), Eager & Nesbit and Ibbotson (but especially "Journey to the River Sea") in there? (Hi there! I've read (almost) all the archives; as you might guess I'm a Classics professor and I worked in a kids' bookstore for (off and on) 10 years.)

#50 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:51 AM:

Bruce @47,

I remember when there was a tornado here in Sunnyvale, California, a few years back. While central Cal gets plenty of small tornadoes--few people see them, and they take out fruit sheds at worst--they're much more rare near the coast.

It--our tornado--took out a few roofs and trees. The local news was breathless.

The weather channel also covered it. As I recall it went like this:
"Sunnyvale, California, experienced a... 'tornado' today. It was a class... half ... 'tornado'."

i.e. the disdain rained as he deigned to mention our 'tornado.'

#51 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:07 AM:

dido - which part of AK? I grew up between Anchor Point and Fairbanks. And desperately wanted to be a classics scholar when I was kid.

#52 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:25 AM:

Andrhia, I may be only 20 but these have shaped my life so far:

1. Arcadia (Tom Stoppard)
2. "Slow Sculpture" (Theodore Sturgeon)
3. Lest Darkness Fall (L. Sprauge de Camp)
4. Oscar and Lucinda (Peter Carey)
5. A Perfect Analysis Given By a Parrot (Tennessee Williams)
6. The Hero With A Thousand Faces (Joseph Campbell)
7. The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka)

and one of the most original and complex YA fantasy novels,
8. The Spellcoats (Diana Wynne Jones)

also, for a really fun read chock-full of wit and puns,
9. The Case of the Toxic Spelldump (Harry Turtledove)

#53 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:25 AM:

Tania, my address is still (in my mind) SR ****, Anchor Pt., AK 99556, but I think of myself as being from Homer. As for being a classics scholar--it was rough getting here: it's totally worth it--and it totally isn't. Professor? Pfbbbt. But even though I finally can, I'd still totally cut off my right arm for the ability to read Homer. Elbow, shoulder, ya' know, . . .where ever.

(I was in Mr. B's 4-6th grade at Nikolaevsk, and HH for 9-12; quit [didn't graduate] in 1994; let me know if there's any overlap.)

#54 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:49 AM:

Books for the improvement of people:

Hamlet's Mill - Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend, for its sense of the time of the human species and its view of myth as real and useful wisdom.

The Immense Journey - Loren Eisley, for its sense of still deeper time, and our connection to all of life and the world.

Starmaker - Olaf Stapledon, for a glimpse of the deepest time of all, and some still quite interesting speculation on the nature of life and godhead.

Gödel, Escher, Bach - Douglas Hofstadter, for a chance to stretch your mind and your notion of mind.

The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester. It may not be the best sf novel ever, but it's certainly breathing down the neck of whatever is. As a bonus, read The Count of Monte Christo - Alexandre Dumas, père to see how the story began (as a story).

The Art of War - Sun Tzu, for the reasons Sylvia Li gave. No more needs to be said.

Guns, Germs, and Steel / Collapse - both by Jared Diamond (counts as 1 book for this bookclub). The first has some fascinating ideas about why civilizations rose quickly in some places; the second has some fascinating ideas about why some failed.

Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting - Daniel Dennett, because it is your destiny.

#55 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:13 AM:

Bruce @54, I've added your entire comment to my reading list. At the top of it, actually. Thanks for that!

Sylvia Li @46, it seems to me that asking which books you'd want to make other people read is pretty similar to asking "what ideas would you want other people to have". So, if you were the empress of the world, what ideas would you want people to have? Ideas don't have to be packaged in books... ...despite the huge proportion of people who did/are/will work in publishing among our hosts' readership.

#56 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:21 AM:

dido - holy heck. I think you're about 4-5 years younger than me, I graduated in 1989 from North Pole.

I went to Nikolaevsk 1&3 (skipped 2, taught by Mrs. Lockwood). Jimmy Howard, who taught up there, is one of my uncles. Went to Anchor Point 4-8, and Homer 9&10. You must be about the same age as Seth or Cheryl?

I grew up on the North Fork on the family homestead, and still have family in Anchor Point, Homer, Ninilchik, and Clam Gulch. I live in Fairbanks/North Pole these days.

On a sad note, if you ever look at the Anchorage Daily News online, a plane of Old Believers coming back from Kodiak for Christmas crashed this weekend. Some of the people that died were boys I went to school with at Nikolaevsk. It's been a grim reminder, and even though I haven't seen most of them in over 25 years, I still feel sad for their families and remember them as kids.

Oh, and congrats on making it for the classics. I have opted to settle for translation, but still like to pick up a Latin text now and then. Did going to school in Nikolaevsk make learning to write Greek any easier? I still read Cyrillic, and my Russian accent is ok, but my actual speaking skills are pretty much limited to tourist phrases.

#57 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:27 AM:

Sorry, but I realized Diana Wynne Jones, Donald Westlake, Josephine Tey and Reginald Hill are not on my list. We're just going to have to stretch the definition of "8". Like I said, sorry about that.

(If any one knows how to get in touch with Andrew Dalziel, let me know.)

#58 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:35 AM:

In terms of stretching minds, I'll settle for these four:

Dawkins - The Selfish Gene
Gould - The Mismeasure of Man
Frazer - The Golden Bough
Morgan - The Aquatic Ape

And for all our sakes, I'll add one website
http://www.ipcc.ch/

#59 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:52 AM:

The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase. I haven't read it as an adult, so I don't know how it would look to me now, but it made a large useful difference back then--it's an intro to General Semantics, and has the sensible idea of grounding your words in specific experiences.

As a side effect, it makes being verbally abusive somewhat difficult. At least to my mind, verbal abuse has the underlying premise that the subject is defective by nature and forever, and if you're keeping a grip on what you can actually know, you realize that you can't know that much about anyone.

#60 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:05 AM:

More than Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hofstadter's collection Metamagical Themas did a huge amount to shape my head, especially the sections about the Prisoner's Dilemma. Hofstadter was strongly influenced by Robert Axelrod's The Evolution of Cooperation, and I'll throw that one in too, since it's well-written and short.

#61 ::: Dylan O'Donnell ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:48 AM:

Steve C. @8 : 25th January 2003, apparently. I can only assume that either the thread title's been retconned since, or Teresa was remarkably prescient (Open Thread 2 wasn't until July 2003).

#62 ::: Sus ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:56 AM:

Kathryn @ 26

My gut reaction was to scream Nooooooo and talk you out of going altogether. Southern Germany is the place NOT to be around the narrische Zeit. Thus speaketh the girl from the North East, where we are much more sensible.

But then it occurred to me that you might enjoy this kind of thing - takes all sorts, they tell me ;) - so if you insist on exposing yourself to Teh Crazy, and taking your wardrobe limits into account, how about this?

1 - It's a brewery, score.*
2 - They only let in folks dressed in white! Score?

I warn you again, though. They go mental, the southern types, at Faschingszeit.

Right. Having now prepared you sufficiently, I consider my duty done. (Because once one accepts Teh Crazy, there is sooooo much fun to be had. But be prepared, and bring tape to stick lower jaw in place. Also, there will be much Blasmusik. Ouch.)

Have fun! I hope it snows for you. They get the best (read: most) snow in all of Germany down there.

* BTW, Bavarian beer can be, er, challenging if you're a hardened lager drinker. I'm just saying.

#63 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:43 AM:

Dylan, 61: My word. Those threads had 84 and 126 comments respectively.

Tania: so, what do you translate, exactly? Are you making a living at it? I ask because...

All: I'll be unemployed starting in May. Does anybody know of any word-related jobs lying around?

#64 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:43 AM:

JKRichard@27:I prefer the python beer/wall framework. :)

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:07 AM:

Dylan @61:

Thanks for the links!

I note that the first topic drift on the first Open Thread happened at comment 4.

Drift early, drift often, say I.

#66 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:34 AM:

My suggestions for books everybody should read:

Cities and the Wealth of Nations, Jane Jacobs

Platform for Change, Stafford Beer

The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin

The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture, Paul C. Bauschatz

Maritime Supremacy & the Opening of the Western Mind: Naval Campaigns That Shaped the Modern World, Peter Padfield

#68 ::: Mike Bakula ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:06 AM:

This one takes a byte longer...

FF buckets of bits on the bus,
FF buckets of bits,
take one down
short it to ground,
FE buckets of bits on the bus!

#69 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Although I grew up with bottles accidentally falling off the wall, I now tend to pass them around. It probably has something to do with my favourite version (which is really only funny for one round, even if you're drunk already):

Infinity bottles of beer on the wall,
Infinity bottles of beer,
Take one down, pass it around,
Infinity bottles of beer on the wall.

It does have the advantage that you have to be too drunk to sing before you lose count.

#70 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:36 AM:

Books for the confusement of people:

Joyce's _Finnegan's Wake_, of course.

The _Illuminatus!_ Trilogy, even more of course.

And (a fairly new addition) Hal Duncan's _Vellum_/_Ink_. A scarily brilliant work (arguably a failure in some ways, but it's only a failure because it tried to do so much), harder to read than _Illuminatus!_, easier than the Joyce.

#71 ::: Sylvie G ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:38 AM:

Up here in Ottawa we always sang 'should happen to fall', though I also always wondered what the bottles were doing on the wall to begin with. Are they lined up on shelves? Held up by velcro or superglue? 99 is a lot - is there a room somewhere wallpapered with beer bottles? (The dream home, I expect, of many of my Canadian friends...)

#72 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:39 AM:

TexAnne: Oh no! But at least maybe you could use the opportunity to move to somewhere nicer. (Montreal's very nice. Also, you speak French.)

#73 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:41 AM:

When the next Open Thread is started, will it be #100? Or, as with Y2K, will it be #00, causing Reality's collapse, thus squeezing the contents of the disemvoweller all over everything?

#74 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Mike Bakula @ 68

0x01 buckets of bits on the bus,
0x01 buckets of bits,
take one down
short it to ground,
**** STACK UNDERFLOW 0xFE7FE9176 ****
PANIC WHILE PANICKING
reboot ....

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:42 AM:

TexAnne @ 63... Does anybody know of any word-related jobs lying around?

I wish I did.

#76 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:44 AM:

> So, if you were the empress of the world, what ideas would you want people to have?

That I was doing a good job as empress. Failing that, that empresses should be removed in a non-violent manner and kept in relative comfort once deposed.

#77 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:45 AM:

Um, guys,

The spider was always eensy-weensy.

Philistines.

#78 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:54 AM:

#73: I worry more about the thread after that.

Thread 101.

#79 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:01 AM:

65535 bottles of beer on the wall,
65535 bottles of beer,
Put another one up on the wall,
Zero bottles of beer on the wall ...


#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:08 AM:

Jon Meltzer @ 78... Is that in binary or in hexadecimal?

#81 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:09 AM:

One fluffy tribble is munching on grain
One fluffy tribble on board,
Turn your back and allow it to snack,

Two fluffy tribbles are munching on grain....

#82 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:18 AM:

No, you get eleven fluffy tribbles.

I have heard and sung both the passing-around and the falling bottle songs, with both beer and pop. It's kind of like the Big Rock Candy Mountains-- cigarette or peppermint trees? Little springs of lemonade or alcohol? It depends how stubborn your parents are.

#83 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Did you know that "color" rhymes with "cruller"? This may be important later ...

#84 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:24 AM:

Someone's spending too much time on rhymezone.

#85 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Two T Rexes running down prey,
Two T Rexes with prey,
If both those T Rexes should happen to meet
"SON, THIS GEOLOGIC ERA ISN"T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF US!"
One T Rex with plenty to eat.

#86 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:35 AM:

abi
Oddly, that was my own fevered brain came up with that. I was noodling around with a couple of lines, trying to find the right meter, when that popped out. I expect my subconscious is busy writing an Ode to Krispy Kreme. Never fear that if it's ever finished, it will be placed in a repository along with other long half-life hazardous materials.

#87 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:38 AM:

Bruce @86:
Bring it out when it's funny.

As for me, I was walking away from the computer when this one struck.

Ten old amendments in the Bill of Rights
Ten old amendments are law
"Executive privilege", the President cites.
Nine old amendments in the Bill of Rights

#88 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:43 AM:

For book recommendations, I agree with Bruce Cohen (#54) on things that drastically widen the perspective, like Eisley (whom I read as a kid, from the family library) and Stapledon (caught up with him a bit later -- H.S. or college). Somebody else mentioned the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, and I see the widened perspective there in another sense: an almost microscopic brilliance of attention that can also go big.

For a born pessimist and fretter, looking at things on a well-beyond-human scale can be cheering!

#89 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:50 AM:

Alan Braggins @76:

You might want to read Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader.

#90 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:54 AM:

The beer version, I always heard as "take one down, pass it around".

But then there was my junior high's version:

Ninety-nine bottles of nail polish on the wall
Ninety-nine bottles of nail polish
If one should happen to fall off the wall
Get on your bike and go back to the mall.

Ba-dum-dum.

#91 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:56 AM:

In the spirit of Paul's contribution...

99 bottles of beer on the wall
99 bottles of beer
Take one down, put it back up,
99 bottles of beer on the wall

Really good for giving adults that sinking feeling of dread.

Attributable to teenage teetotaling geeks at the "nerd camp" in Southern Louisiana where I met the young man who'd become my husband six years later.

#92 ::: Sylvie G ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:01 AM:

#90:
If one should happen to fall off the wall
Get on your bike and go back to the mall.

I remember that! Mallory sang it that way once on Family Ties.

(I can't remember important stuff to save my life, but useless 80s sit-com trivia? I'm your gal.)

#93 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:04 AM:

Abi @87 - no fair, singing that from the relative safety and civilization of your neighborhood... ...here you'd need to be in a free speech zone to do it.

8 zillion foolish TSA rules for the folk
8 zillion foolish rules for the folk
Election year comes home to to us all
8 zillion and some-odd foolish rules for the folk.

Linkmeister@44: reading it is the closest I've come to total breakdown since the month I spent typing backwards all day and painting things all night (this was a job. It was wildly lucrative, but tended to unravel my mind in most disconcerting ways). This is the first book I've ever needed an herbal relaxant for.

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:06 AM:

One time traveller eating some soup,
One time traveller eating some soup,
And if one time traveller should fall into a loop,
There'll be two time travellers eating some soup.

Two time travellers eating some soup,
Two time travellers eating some soup,
And if two time travellers should fall into a loop,
There'll be four time travellers eating some soup.

Four time travellers eating some soup,
Four time travellers eating some soup,
And if four time travellers should fall into a loop,
There'll be eight time travellers eating some soup.

Eight time travellers eating some soup,
Eight time travellers eating some soup,
And if eight time travellers should fall into a loop,
There'll be sixteen time travellers eating some soup.

#95 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:17 AM:

Because this should be shared and his work is just to great not to spread:

The Deadlock Song


Paul Kwinn

"Son, be a colonist", is what Dad said to me
"It's a cushy life, and you'll get alien real estate for free"
So I talked to the recruiter, to see if this was so
He smiled at me... the nicest smile... and said "Kid, don't you know?"

A colonist's job is easy, a colonist's wage is high
A colonist's pension plan would make a civil servant cry
There's never any danger, there's always lots of fun
And as for job security, it's better than a nun's


[spoken:] Kid, I'd like you to meet somebody. His OFFICIAL title is
"Commander", but I'd like you to think of him as more of a Social
Coordinator.

[Chorus:]
If I ever get back home again
If I ever get back home again
If I ever get back home again
That recruiter's gonna die.


[spoken:] I'm here to tell you folks: it wasn't QUITE like he said...

Some say the Cyth are evil, they say they're misunderstood
"If you'd just do things our way, it would serve the greater good"
They seek to reach a higher place, a new enlightened mode
Meanwhile if you get in their way, your brain just might explode

The Re-lu seem to think they simply cannot be outclassed
They're so urbane, that less cultured folk
[spoken:] (like, say, the Queen of England...)
...seem barbaric by contrast
Their access privilege to your brain includes both read and write
They turn your units into theirs and no one's left to fight

[spoken:] "Bob! Bob! What's wrong?!"
"I dunno Jim... they just seem like such nice fellas..."

[Chorus]

Ch'ch-t need new worlds to expand, more than the others do
For like their cockroach cousins, there's never just one or two
They multiply like vermin, make tireless labor crews
And carry off your resources like ants at picnics do

The Maug are weak and sickly and their horns are mostly fake
The Cyth took their home planet, more poisons for to make
But for such whining wheezers they're an engineering bunch
Give them a rock, and they'll invent the warp drive before lunch

[Chorus]

The Uva Mosk think that they're Mother Nature's strong right arm
And they are more than willing to blast those who'd do her harm
Their camouflaging units will pop up behind your lines
So you'd better "Give a hoot", 'cause you won't like their littering fines.

The Tarth are big, the Tarth are tough, the Tarth will cause you pains
They're not too bright, but when you can head-butt buildings, who needs brains?
They make the greatest farmers, but as spies they suck, you see
They try to hide their 6-foot width behind a 1-foot tree.

[spoken:] This is KGAL, your News and Information Station on Gallius 4.
Here with a correction to last week's editorial reply is noted public figure: The Ubergeneral:
"Tarth cooks make best streudel. That's all. Just streudel."

Add to that the Skirineen, who'd sell their Mothers' eyes
And you can see why I might not think this job is a prize
So if I manage to survive, I'm going back to Earth
But I think I'll keep my laser gun... just for sentimental worth.

[Chorus]

#96 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:24 AM:

A Treatise on Human Nature by David Hume - This book will teach you the connection between the match and the flame. (Hint: There isn't one.)

Collapse by Jared Diamond - This book is about hacking civilizations--what makes them tick; what makes them fail? (I know, Bruce, but think: imitation=flattery)

River of Fire, River of Water by Taisetsu Unno - This book is about everything good that religion has to offer. It taught me to love the world.

Orientalism by Edward Said - To understand the underlying dynamic in any West/East interaction, you need to read this book. A must read for anyone who wants to make sense of modern world politics.

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.

(I got The Shock Doctrine for Christmas, and I've been looking forward to reading it. Now I'm a bit nervous. =)

#97 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:25 AM:

#92: I remember that! Mallory sang it that way once on Family Ties.

Oh, is that where that came from?

Damn, that girl in 6th grade totally passed it off as her own invention!

Heh. Plagiarism from the mouths of babes.

#98 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:29 AM:

Sus #62: Lager, schmager. Give me an Ayinger Dunkel-Weisse any day. :)

#99 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:31 AM:

It's possible that it's both of their inventions. A lot of clever bits from junior high came from TV, including some I did my best to invent.

For books people should read, rather than books people will like... any pair of books about the same topic that contradict each other, and a book on rhetoric and constructing arguments. One tells you what to look for, and the other two provide examples.

#100 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:37 AM:

Nix, 70: I keep promising myself I really will go back and finish Vellum one of these days. I love the idea of it, I appreciate what he's trying to do with it, and people who I like and admire speak highly of it, but boy do I keep bouncing off it something terrible.

My impression of Duncan, reading some of his online writing, is that he doesn't have a whole lot of instinctive sense of when his point has been made already, which may account for some of my issues. (Of course, it's a trait I grit my teeth at partly because I know it's a fault of mine as well.) And I also get the sense that he's the kind of guy whose first impulse on seeing a stained-glass window is to reach for a hammer; I don't know how fair that assessment actually is, but I'm sure it's affecting my reading as well. I'm still determined to keep going, though it's moved several spaces down my list these days. FWIW, I fought with Illuminatus! for about the first half too, and then it sucked me right in, so I'm keeping my hopes up that sooner or later I'll be able to appreciate its brilliance in a more than abstract way.

#101 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:42 AM:

#100: Dan, you have just put into words my exact impression of Vellum, and I wish I'd said those things when I had to review it. It's one of those books where I greatly admire the writer's skills and the profundity of his discourse, without caring for the result in the slightest. I simply couldn't bring myself to care about any of these people, or be concerned with what happened to them.

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:57 AM:

dido 57: Around here we say "for very large values of 8."

I'm going to do my 8 piecemeal, as I think of things. The first one is A Rulebook for Arguments, which gives a good introduction to arguing, as well as writing an argumentive essay; and as far as discussing fallacies...this book amounts to an installation manual for a pretty good bullshit detector.

Another book which I not only wish everyone would read, but that everyone would have inscribed on their head, their heart, and their doorpost is Getting to Yes, which is about negotiating without either "giving in" or taking unfair advantage of the other side. It's an excellent manual for relationships (though certainly not intended as such), as well: it's both harder and more important to "separate the people from the problem" in relationships, and the book explains not only why you should, but how you can.

#103 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Dave @ 101:

I simply couldn't bring myself to care about any of these people, or be concerned with what happened to them.

Yeah, I'm with you on that one. The main characters weren't human in a way that I found easy to relate to. Which, to be fair, is a tricky thing to do when writing about mythology. But the characters are where Vellum falls flat, in comparison to The Sandman or Little, Big.

OTOH, if I ever find myself being compared (even unfavorably) to Gaiman or Crowley, I'll be a happy writer.

#104 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:07 PM:

OK, you'll all be looking for a break from politics. Nevertheless, I am slowly reading through hunter S Thomspsons "Fear and loathing on the campaign trail '72".

I have a horrible feeling that all the bad stuff as described in the book is still happening now, only bigger.

#105 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:12 PM:

Books:

The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Master and Commander* by Patrick O'Brien
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A Drinking Life by Pete Hammil
Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
The Essential Rumi by Rumi
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

*and onward

#106 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:21 PM:

69,:

we used to sing that as

Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall,
Aleph-null bottles of beer,
Take one down, pass it around,
Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall.

From just after we learned about countable and uncountable infinities in math class

Incidently of something else entirely, is it just my own neuroses, or is anybody else bothered by "Stupidest drug story of the week", wanting it to be "Most stupid drug story of the week"?

#107 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:23 PM:

Mary Dell @ 105... Speaking of Wuthering Heights, TCM showed the movie last night. I was quite surprised when the opening credits named the author as Emily Bronté - not Brontë.

#108 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:32 PM:

I'm British, and the spider is incy-wincy, while the green bottles are sitting on the wall and accidentally fall.

On a related note - there were ten in the bed, and the littlest one said, Roll over!

Books everyone should read... Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. JE Gordon's The New Science of Strong Materials. And more parochially, John O'Farrell's Utterly Impartial History of Britain - Or, 2000 Years of Upper-Class Idiots In Charge.

But mostly, I just think that people should read. As much and as often as possible. I may be overly optimistic here, but I think that learning-by-reading has a natural tendency to sift people to the good end of the good-to-bad stratigraphy of books.

#109 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:34 PM:

Guthrie, when I was a sophomore in high school, each of us in my Government class had to do a report on an election. Candidates, major issues, et cetera. I got 1972.
I had never heard of Hunter S Thompson. I had no idea, going in, that the book was not a scholarly reference. I am still surprised that it was the only source* I had for some things. I'm not sure what my teacher thought of it, but I know I was confused.


*books, not newspaper articles. My source-fu was weak back then.

#110 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:41 PM:

Aarrrgh, speaking of idiots at DHS, they're pushing ahead with the "Real ID" plan:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hGWEcbtYTTl9RTiO3YS_POnaYJ9gD8U3ESUO0

#111 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:48 PM:

Dave, 101: To be perfectly fair, another reason I think I struggle with Vellum whenever I try to get back into it is that after the opening sections, I was hoping it would be much more like Imajica than it wound up being. I try to be conscientious of not giving "you didn't write the book I wanted to read" any real weight, but I do feel some frustration that there's a promise of sensawunda in this very grand tapestry that gets set up in the beginning and has not (so far as I've managed to make it through, anyway) paid off much. I'm certainly willing to accept that I'm the one with the problem, though.

You never know what's going to set any particular reader off, especially when you start experimenting. A friend who sang the praises of Vellum found the metatextual games in City of Saints and Madmen to be a little too clever for his taste, where I think that kind of thing is delightful and fascinating. De gustibus, obviously; and if anything understanding this makes me even more inclined to defend unorthodox approaches to art, even if they don't work for me personally.

#112 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 12:58 PM:

Love and Death in the American Novel by Leslie Fielder;

Civilization and Capitalism by Fernand Braudel; 3 vols.: ; The Structures of Everyday Life; The Wheels of Commerce; The Perspective of the World;

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir;

The Slave Ship: A Human History, by Marcus Rediker

The Great War for Civilization; CIVILIZATION: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk;

Anything by Ryszard Kapuscinski.

Others have included Shock Doctrine and Guns, Germs and Steel.

What a well-read crowd this is!

Love, C.

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:00 PM:

According to xkcd, one comes across very few hits when googling "died in a knitting accident".

#114 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Tania a long time ago:
I'm pretty sure I know Cheryl, she was a bit older than I was; my parents live on the North Fork still. Mrs. Lockwood was my teacher as well. Zowie.

Sam Kelley 108: the littlest one said, "I'm crowded, roll over."

#115 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:05 PM:

Serge, I actually Googled "died in a blogging accident" and got nearly 2000 hits. I suppose his numbers could be in thousands.

#116 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:09 PM:

Another book that changed the way I think, which I think I've mentioned here before, is Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, The AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering by Marita Sturken. My copy of it is missing right now, which is driving me batty, because I usually want to refer to it at least once a week.

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Xopher @ 115... I also got a high number too, but some of them appear to be duplications, and others are metaphorical deaths by knitting. Would it be beyond xkcd to go thru and tally the actual deaths?

#118 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:23 PM:

I got about 814 for skydiving, 2300 for blogging, 115 for knitting, and 10 for haberdashery.
You cannot report these statistics via xkcd without changing them.

#119 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:23 PM:

When I google "died in a knitting accident" I get 17 results, most of which seem to be inspired by the xkcd strip. You guys are using the quotation marks, right?

#120 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:26 PM:

Or are you believing the "about" figures, which are notoriously inaccurate? Click through pages until you get a message saying that duplicated results have been omitted, that'll tell you how many there _really_ were.

#121 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:26 PM:

Xopher, you write in #115:

Serge, I actually Googled "died in a blogging accident" and got nearly 2000 hits. I suppose his numbers could be in thousands.

You just made another one!

#122 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:28 PM:

#108, Sam Kelly -

The ten that were in the bed - what were they? I was taught that they were monkeys, but I've run across people who were taught a version with a racial epithet.

#123 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:29 PM:

"died in a haberdashery accident" is turning up something interesting... I guess the last four links on that page are spamblogs that are pulling phrases from the google common searches list (as used by, e.g., google suggest) and autobuilding spam pages around them.

#124 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:35 PM:

There are different version of ten in the bed-- I learned it with just numbers, singing. There's a chanting version, too

Five little [two-beats] jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more [two-beats] jumping on the bed!"

I've heard it with monkeys and Indians, mostly monkeys.

Jules, you're right about the About figures; I didn't know they were inaccurate and wanted quick results.

#125 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:38 PM:

R.M. Koske - they were children. Though I think that was implied rather than being explicit in the lyrics we sang. At least, I can't fit anything beyond those two lines (and the associated N-1) into the tune in my head.

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:42 PM:

Jules @ 119... That's what I was doing wrong. Further googling confirmed that nobody died in a rhyming accident.

#127 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:45 PM:

#83 ::: Bruce Cohen

Did you know that "color" rhymes with "cruller"? This may be important later ...

[Tune from whatever the song is that starts "Morning has broken..." by the former musician once named Cat Stevens...]

==============

The color of cruller could be much duller,
But to a muller, they don't go crunch
Brains that get nuller, caught by a guller,
Still in the truller,
Let go eat lunch!

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Diatryma 109: ...when I was a sophomore in high school, each of us...had to do a report on an election...I got 1972.

When I was a sophomore in high school, 1972 was the most recent election. But I had never heard of Hunter S. Thompson, either.

ibid, 118: You cannot report these statistics via xkcd without changing them.

See my monograph "On the Heisenbergian Observer Effect as Manifest in Google Reporting on Popular Websites," for an in-depth discussion of same.

Bill 121: As did you, by quoting me. In this post, however, I have not. Subtleties.

Diatryma, op. cit., 124: In the sung version I learned, the entities in the bed are never identified, and the "Little One" sings out "Roll over! Roll over!" in all verses but the verse for "There was One in the bed," where the LO sings "Good Night."

The chanted version you cite also has a sung version; sung, that is, all except for the last line, which everyone shouts together, louder each time. For us it was always monkeys, not that that wasn't a common way to refer to small children regardless of race. When I learned it, the one who fell out BROKE his head, and the doctor said "Don't let the monkeys jump on the bed!"

#129 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:56 PM:

Paula 127: He did not write the tune. It's a Welsh folksong, I'm led to understand. I'm not sure he even wrote the words, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

#130 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Paula @127, Cat Stevens is most definitely still a musician. He's living and working as Yusuf Islam and his voice and music have mellowed out and ripened into even greater wonders than they had in the past.

His latest offering, An Other Cup, was my favorite album in 2007. One of his pieces was with Youssou N'Dour, The Beloved; it seems to have a direct channel to my firmware - I'm unable to refrain from dancing when I hear it.

#131 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:02 PM:

I haven't seen 1491 by Charles Mann mentioned yet in the "books everyone should read" thread. This was my "push-on-everyone" book of 2007.

#132 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:05 PM:

I realized just after I posted last that I know the roll-over song from Wee Sing in Sillyville and nowhere else. There's a standardizing effect when kid songs are distributed widely* and a tendency toward mildness. I know I learned some songs in Girl Scouts that I later heard via Wee Sing, but others came straight from the videos.

I didn't like the countdown songs and chants when I was little. They were boring. Something like "Boom chick-a Boom" was more fun, because there was room for creativity in multiple directions.


*See Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts edited by Josepha Sherman, which didn't get my regional variants

#133 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:13 PM:

I knew the same two "N in/jumping on the bed" things that Xopher mentions in 128, but I never considered them to be at all related.

The versions I learned had slight variations from his, though:

In the sung "Roll over! Roll over!" version, the entities were bears, and in the "One in the bed" verse the little one says "I'm lonely". I have a dim recollection that this version may have been transmitted via Sesame Street.

The doctor in the chanted "jumping" version says "No more monkeys jumping on the bed". I never encountered a sung version of the jumping version.

#134 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:16 PM:

#43 ::: Madeline F

#9 Brenda Kalt: I grew up in Colorado singing the "take one down, pass it around" version; then sometime in the 90s, still in Colorado, I heard the "should happen to fall" version and immediately switched over. The patter/meter is way better,

No to my kinaesthetics, it's not. It rasps on my my audio/sensory/neural-network/processing meatware circuitry

If one of those bottles should happen to fall for my kinaesthics is trying to pack too many syllables that are inharmonious and dissonant [raspying when juxtaposed] into a meter and rhyme and sequencing that make my nerve endings shrivel in revulsion... the "bottles" juxtaposition against "fall" is a sensory equivalent of applying coarse sandpaper...ugh! Not being wired up to appreciate masochism and the texture of e.g. sandpaper against my skin/nerve endings, I find it quite unpleasant.

and the sly passive voice amuses me.

That's not passive voice, though, "if one of those ... should happen" is conditional. Passive is of the form e.g., "one of those bottles was befelled and..."

And, I have a severe aversion to most forms of the passive voice these days, from extreme overexposure to Way Too Much Bad Technical Writing (one of the hallmarks of bad tech writing is extensive, slavish, even, employment of passive voice....).

Suuure, the bottle just happened to fall. I just happened to have my hand out in a cupped position, eh? It's a world of wonders and miracles.

I've seen things fall off shelves without anyone around who was physically trying to cause something to come off a shelf. Earthquakes, random other shock and/or vibration, someone slamming a door too hard, catastrophic structure failure of shelving or a wall support.... [Who, me, literal? Whaddyou expect, I'm a test engineer....]

I'm little attracted to twee, also.

#135 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:18 PM:

About "Morning Has Broken", here's what Bill Higgins wrote when I posted the lyrics in April 2007:

"...Strictly speaking, it's not a Cat Stevens song, though he had a hit with it in the Seventies. I recall him saying that it was commonly sung in English schools, presumably in Anglican churches. The lyrics are by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) and the tune is traditional..."

#136 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Paula@127, what a great idea:

Mulled brains!
It's a Zombie Christmas!

Let's see:
Eggnog, with extra noggin.
Gingerbread men.
Blood-and-guts candy canes.

Anyone else?

#137 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:19 PM:

More here on "Morning Has Broken" -- the tune is "Bunessan," Scottish trad., the words are by Eleanor Farjeon.

#138 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:19 PM:

dido - oh, how fun!

TexAnne - I don't translate anything other than bureaucratese into normal human language. I have a smattering of Russian, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and know a few useful phrases of Athabascan and Inupiaq. My coding skills in everything except SQL are very rusty. Beyond that, I am a typical ignerent Amercun. I used to be a research administrator, these days I'm either running a career exploration program or writing grants to keep the career exploration program alive.

So, a job working with words...editing, writing, reviewing, interpreting? With people, or not?

#139 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:31 PM:

Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts didn't get some of my regional varients either. With regards to the title tune, the last line was always "that's what boys/girls are made of!!" not "and I forgot my spoon."

#140 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:32 PM:

#124, #125, #128 -

Thought so - there's lots of variation on this one. The version I was taught was
rather awkward, actually. I can't remember how it began unless it began badly -

Five little monkeys sleeping in the bed,
and the little one said,
"Roll over! Roll over!"
So they all rolled over and one fell off,
then there were four little monkeys in the bed.
And the little one said...(etc.)

Mostly sung, with Xopher's sung "Roll over, roll over".

I especially was wondering what happened at the end, because the ending I learned never seemed to fit very well. I was taught that the little one sings (to the tune of "He's got the whole world in his hands") "I've got the whole bed to myself!" repeated three times to fit the tune.

#141 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Sam Kelly @ 108

A more elaborate variation on 'roll over'

"There were ten in the bed and the little one said 'Roll over! Roll over!'
And they all rolled over and one fell out and crushed his knee and gave a shout
(different tune) Please remember to tie a knot in your pajamas, single beds are only made for one.
There were nine in the bed...."

Though the version I heard more often just loops after 'one fell out'.

#142 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Paula (#40): Why blame Steve Jobs for Vista's problems?

#143 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:47 PM:

#141, James Moar -

It amuses me that I had to stop and figure out how one would go about tying a knot in your pajamas. My first thought was tying the legs together, which didn't seem helpful.

#144 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:49 PM:

Lucy S. (139): We always sang the last line as "That's what we had for lunch!" That version wasn't in Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts, either.

#145 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:56 PM:

And another instalment of TILFML: I never realised Morning Has Broken was so recent. We sang it enthusiastically at primary school, and in the way of small children internalised it as Something that has Been Around Forever (like your parents).

We also learnt Bananas in Pyjamas at the same time. I don't think there were knots involved, though.

#146 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 02:59 PM:

Mary Aileen 144: NOW I remember! We ended that one with "Buy 'em at your favorite store."

#147 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:02 PM:

"And I forgot my spoon! (... but I have a straaaaaw)"

Pajamas led me to "Pink Pajamas" to the many variations on the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Some songs are good for spoofs; they're well-known, not obviously themselves (I learned at least two Battle-Hymn-tuned songs and still can't sing the original), and fairly simple. They should have at least some hook to spoofing, whether "Glory, glory what's it to ya?" or something else.
This may be why I know multiple people whose mothers sang, "Nummy nummy nummy I've got breakfast in my tummy," after meals.

#148 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:02 PM:

Lucy and Mary Eileen - I was very disappointed that Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts didn't have the verses my uncles taught me, especially the 'Pink, Purple Pelican Puke' line.

Thanks to my uncles I didn't know the clean versions of children's songs when I was a kid. I have the greatest uncles. ;)

#149 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:12 PM:

Diatryma 147 (and I'll stop commenting your posts right after you stop saying interesting things): The tune may be best known now as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," but the Julia Ward Howe words of that song are sung to the tune of an earlier song, "John Brown's Body." There's a camp-meeting song ("Brothers, won't you meet us now on Canaan's happy shore?") that's even older, but as far as I know its lyrics are lost, and from the sample I quote above, deservedly so.

#150 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Nix, Dan, Dave, A.J., re: Vellum--exactly. I'm fascinated by the concept, but I keep hitting roadblocks. Which frustrates me, because it doesn't happen very often.

Other recommended books:
Beyond Religion, David N. Elkins, Ph.D.
American Gods, Neil Gaiman
Dumbth, Steve Allen
The Language Police, Diane Ravitch

The only recollection I have of the "Roll Over!" song is from seeing it on the Captain Kangaroo show something like 45 years ago. The small creatures were bunnies (stuffed). I am unable to recall anything else of use about it. Not to imply that mine was a particularly useful recollection in the first place. ;)

#151 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:31 PM:

Books:

  • The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K Le Guin
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
  • Pride and Prejudice*, by Jane Austen
  • Oedipous Tyrannos / Oedipus Rex / Oedipus the King** by Sophocles
  • something by Aristophanes†
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • a book of Sherlock Holmes stories including A Study in Scarlet, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • One of John McPhee's geology/geography/nature books‡

That eight looks odd, with no Shakespeare or Tolkein on the list, but I'm trying not to be obvious. Just to be difficult, though, I'm going to add a ninth, to be read in a different way.

  • A book of great poems of the English language. Pick it up in many moods and many seasons, and leaf through it. If a poem doesn't grab you, turn the page; it's not the right poem for the moment. Give it a few months, or a few years, and you'll find a body of work that speaks to you.

-----
* though I prefer Persuasion
** a rose by any other name would be as elegant a tragedy. Pick a translation that feels good to you.
† I'd suggest either Lysistrata or The Frogs
‡ in order of my preference: Rising from the Plains, The Control of Nature, Basin and Range, In Suspect Terrain

#152 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Re "Morning Has Broken;" I assume it started as an Anglican hymn but it's included in the Catholic hymnal we use in my diocese, which is one of the standard paperback hymnals. So, by the way, is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," "Go Tell It On the Mountain," and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." Our choirs and the congregation sing them all according to the appropriate liturgical season (and according to what the choir directors feel like singing that week...) Quite a change from those interminable verses of "Tantum Ergo Sacramentum." Which we also sing once in a while.

#153 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:37 PM:

dido @49:
Beauty is one of my favorite books (indeed, pretty much all of Robin McKinley's work is up there). I vividly remember reading it at about 10, then completely forgetting who it was by or how to find it again for two decades. Its rediscovery was an intense pleasure.

But, though I went on to study Classics, I can't recall that it had any influence on my decision. That was the product of my parents' collection of Greek plays in translation, which I devoured one antisocial and geeky summer when I was 13.

#154 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:39 PM:

abi @ 151 -

The final installment of the Jurassic Park series, Oedipus T. Rex, where the dino eats his own mother.

#155 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:51 PM:

@ Dena Sura #35: John Scalzi's thread on Being Poor - because that thread and its subsidiary, a total of 650 comments, is big and important and well-written enough to be a book and we don't have to be pagists.

! {eyes moist}

I just don't have words enough, after reading the post there...

Certainly important, that is.

Later,
-cajun

#156 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:54 PM:

It's not at all complete, but some other books I think a lot of people would benefit from include:

c. _Knowledge and Decisions_ by Thomas Sowell. This discusses the way decisions are made, with respect to both information and incentives, and I found it hugely important.

d. _How to Win Friends and Influence People_ is old and well-established and there's not a single thing in it that will surprise anyone over the age of ten, but it has a lot to teach most everyone.

I also found Sowell's Culture trilogy (_Race and Culture_,Migration and Culture_,_Conquest and Culture_) pretty interesting. These bring a lot of the world we live in into sharper focus. A related book is Amy Chua's _World on Fire_.

I'll second recommendations of others for _The Selfish Gene_, _The Evolution of Cooperation_, and _The Control of Nature_. (Though I think McPhee wrote several books that were at least as good. _The Curve of Binding Energy_ comes to mind.) I really loved Tracy Kidder's _Soul of a New Machine_, and it has something to tell you about the effect and atmosphere of very intense projects, even though the computer world is unrecognizeably different now.

I found David Friedman's _Law's Order_ to be a source of a lot of insight.

In terms of mind-expanding fiction, the set of worthwhile books is very wide. I found Jane Austen's novels pretty amazing, though I think if someone had made me read them before I was ready, I'd have hated them. Gaiman's _Sandman_ series was amazingly good, and I think people will still be reading it with wonder and awe in a century. Vinge's _The Peace War_, _A Fire Upon the Deep_ and _A Deepness in the Sky_ were all three wonderful, world-expanding books for me, for different reasons. If we were living 20 years or so ago, I'd urge everyone to read _True Names_, but the amazing prophetic stuff there isn't prophetic anymore. And I can still climb into the world of _The Lord of the Rings_ and get lost for days, and that set of books rewards multiple rereads.

#157 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Books:

House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (which is filled with good stories of all kinds)
First and Second Samuel
The diary of Samuel Pepys (which is online, daily, here)
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Any Jeeves/Wooster story by P.G. Wodehouse
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

And I recently made all my colleagues read and discuss Frank Norris' McTeague which may not be quite as essential, but if you haven't read it, may blow your ears off when you do.

#158 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:15 PM:

#134 Paula Lieberman: Well, as mentioned above, de gustibus non disputandum. That said! It is patently obvious that the dactyls of "if one of those bottles should happen to fall" are both sprightlier and more symmetrical than the beat-broken "take / one down // pass it around //"! ;)

While I perhaps summoned up the wrong word to describe the act of removing an actor from a situation where clearly there was an actor, who is attempting to disguse his culpability, when I hit on "passive voice", I do not believe that "conditional" conveys the humor behind the situation. While it must of course for the sake of the argument's veracity be possible for bottles to leave the shelf due to no particular force, we surely agree that in a situation where a great many bottles one by one vanish while gleeful singing rings out, the enormous liklihood is that the singers are removing these bottles in order to consume their inhibition-lessening contents. As one cannot help, while singing, but think of the grim days of Carrie Nation and her axe, it is no surprise that the singers should wish to avoid culpability for the massive outflowing of the demon alcohol.

#159 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Sarah S,

What was so mindblowing about McTeague for you? I read it, but didn't see what you are seeing - what have I missed?

#160 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:21 PM:

Hullo all again - back from limbo now that my net access is back at home, although the main reason I have been sadly absent for the past month or so is a crackdown on net access at work. Alas, it looks like I will have to check in infrequently from home from now on.

Ah well, time to read the twenty or so threads I have no doubt missed...

And in honour of the open thread's number, can I commend a concert that I will be singing in (along with the other members of this little group) to all you wonderful people?

The link? 'The Beautiful Names' is a setting of the ninety-nine names of Allah*.

*Yes yes, apart from the Camel.

#161 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:23 PM:

Madeline 158: Paula was just having another of her "take everything absolutely literally and pick it to death" fits. Pay it no mind.

The days of Carrie Nation were grim indeed, but she was part of the solution, not part of the problem. She wasn't even very wrong.

#162 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:28 PM:

I don't like the bottles happening to fall because it feels too hurried. "Take one down, pass it around," is looser and it provides some interest, rather than repeating the dactylic beat of the counting. Besides, the lyrics are hard to say quickly.

#163 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:35 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens @159--I find McTeague mind-blowing for its roughness. It feels to me like a novel written by someone who's never read a novel before. Like it's a brand-new experiment. And my god, that final scene in Death Valley.

Xopher @161
Are you kidding about Carrie Nation?

#164 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 04:45 PM:

Xopher #161 -- it's my profession to pick things apart to death and figure out all the ways to break them!

142 Christopher:

[rant mode warning]

Icons and mice are things Mr Jobs was the mainstay proponent for, and he's anti -words- for explaining "WTF is -that- supposed to do?" The new machines don't come with printed manuals, they come with the abominable Microsoft "help." the original Lisa I couldn't get to do ANYTHING useful with. The 128K Mac in the box gave me migraines, and didn't have, again -words- (neither did the Lisa). Animated icons, noises for things, "effects" of sliding menus, etc. drive me b*gf*ck and I resent every millisecond I have to spend shutting the damn things off, and figuring out where the controls are and how to get to them to shut the damn things off.

Mac users -delighted- in putting all sorts of noxious noises on even common use machines--I was particularly disgusted at the orgasmic noises that one common use machine had for a while at GTE... and in a cubicle environment, it's EXTREMELY annoying if people have noises set, particularly the machine defaults are noises, for every action the machine takes--a file opening, a file closing, email arriving, emptying the "trash," turning the machine on, shutting it down.... one of my coworkers took a Monday off, that had Weather, and had left the machine in his cube running for an three day long test. He had the machine also running a program connected to a weather site that had a cricket chirping noise set to chirp whenever there was a storm warning. Since it was a stormy day, the thing was chirping essentially continuously. Another coworker and I both wanted to commit mayhem upon that system to end the noise....

Anyway, animated icons, sliding menus, noises for every action occurring on the machine, icons that I look at and get irritated at because unlike words convey NO information to me and they clutter the display up stopping me from putting more of what I want to be working with on the screen (I have a mere 33 windows open on this machine at the moment, which believe it or not for ME is low, and they're spread across two 1620 X 1200 20" displays... I also do do not have pictures for backgrounds, I distract very easily and want to focus on what I'm working on, not partically obscured backdrop pictures that take my attention off what I'm working with...)

Anyway, the whole paradigm that Mr Jobs prescribed, is rotated into some Twilight Horror Zone for me, as regards employment of computers as effective, efficient, not unpleasant to use tools. And the stuff I find the most obnoxious on Vista, copied Jobsian memes.

#165 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:03 PM:

From Open Thread 98 (to avoid getting to the 1000 marker there....)

#997 ::: abi

I think we all need to watch the temptation to take emotions across threads. 2008 is going to be tough on community spirit, both online and in meatspace. I'd like Making Light to be an exception.

But there have been so few disemvowellings here lately, and a lessening on sordid subject matter to versify off of!

The creation of creative art, doesn't tend to come from mild mawkish times (although the Dutch masters I think were working in a time of relative prosperity and a growing middle class with discretionary income... their Great Art was of merchant families and their values, much less of Great Princes and nobility--the art of the burgher rather than of Lorenzo di' Medici, who who according to either Gies & Gies or Herlihy & Herlihy stole from the public funds set up to provide dowries to the daughters of indigent families in Firenze....

#166 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:10 PM:

Paula Lieberman @165:
But there have been so few disemvowellings here lately,

And this is a bad thing? Disemvowellings, particularly of regulars, are painful and awkward, signs of ill health in the community.

I mean, yeah, people used to go to hangings for fun, but I thought we were past that. (Jerry Springer's function as an emotional gladiatorial battle nothwithstanding).

I suspect that there will be more drivebys, piñatas, and other popcorn-fare in the coming year, if that is your kind of thing. But I find that too much of that coarsens the appetites, personally.

and a lessening on sordid subject matter to versify off of!

Hasn't seemed to harm your output. Your stuff has been a real delight of late.

But I was talking more about the anger, the quickness to take offense, the way things become both personal and hurtful all too easily.

That rarely produces good art.

#167 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:16 PM:

Sarah 163: Nope. Carrie Nation was wrong to blame alcohol for the problem, but she was right that men drank up their pay and left their wives and children starving.

They did this because the men often lived in company "towns" (more like slave barracks, actually) and after giving them their meager wages, the company would suck it right back out of them with the company saloon, which was conveniently on site. That's if the company even paid them in legal tender, as opposed to company scrip which could be used ONLY at the company store, which of course charged whatever it took to use up the men's pay.

The problem was a lack of unions, not the availability of alcohol. But if Carrie Nation had smashed only company saloons and company stores, instead of any place that served alcohol, I would be unreservedly singing her praises now.

The politicians and the press successfully pretended that it was all about alcohol, but it was about capitalist exploitation, and the mistreatment of women and children. The Women's Temperance Union was a progressive movement; the fact that it led to prohibition was because the politicians were in bed with the capitalist exploiters, as they so often are, and changed the subject.

Carrie Nation's name has been vilified, but she took action in a real way against a real problem. She wasn't just a wild-eyed fanatic with a burr in her ass about alcohol.

(It's been a long time since I read up on this. Take with appropriate grains of salt, or spice of your choice.)

#168 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:30 PM:

Paula #164 -- So, given your preferences, why on Earth would you buy a Windows machine, much less a Vista one? You seem to me like the sort of person who'd vastly prefer one of those Linux setups optimized for having eighty gazillion windows open.

#169 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:38 PM:

Xopher @ 167: Carrie Nation's name has been vilified

And, memorably, celebrated.

#170 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:46 PM:

Nine books that have had a powerful influence on me, and that I believe everyone ought to read:

The Sure Salvation by John Hearne
The Book of Mencius by Mencius
The Lunatic by Anthony Winkler
Erewhon by Samuel Butler
Jamaica Woman edited by Mervyn Morris and Pamela Mordecai
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
The German Ideology by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
The Wandering Scholars by Helen Waddell (and this should also include reading Mediaeval Latin Lyrics)
Memories of Underdevelopment by Edmundo Desnoes

#171 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:52 PM:

Xopher at 149: You triggered a flashback to my mother singing "John Brown's flivver had a puncture in its tire, (3x) and he fixed with a little piece of gum." Then, there's a pantomime version.

More of my mother's memories from her '30s childhood: the patty-cake rhyme "I won't go to Macy's any more, more, more/ there's a big fat policeman at the door, door, door/ he took me by the collar and he made me pay a dollar/so I won't go to Macy's any more, more, more."

A song that goes, "There was blood on the saddle, there was blood on the ground, and a great big puddle of blood all around."

Another song that starts, "Help, murder, police! He's killing me, he's killing me, he's breaking my heart..." and then no one knows what comes next. But both songs are sources of much hilarity.

And does anyone have the remotest clue what a phrase I've only heard in my family - "when (or when appropriate, since) Oscar was a pup," meaning "ages ago" -- might trace back to? Ma may have picked that one up from my father, and for all I know he knew of an old dog named Oscar, but if there's any non-idiolectical basis for it, I'd love to know.

#173 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 05:57 PM:

I learned it:

There were ten in the bed
and the little one said,
"Roll over, roll over.
And one fell out.

There were nine in the bed, etc.
UNTIL
There was one in the bed
And the little one said,
"Good Night"

I can't believe no one has mentioned Philip K. Dick. Reading "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" really re-arranged my head. And "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass", or are they too obvious?

#175 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:10 PM:

Xopher @167,

along those lines, I know researchers who have studied how social pressures to drink and/or smoke causes total family income to drop even though one person's income goes up.

i.e. Say a family is making 10/day (currency units). One gets a raise- total income is 12/day. The adult male (this is what was studied) then feels like he now can buy a type of beer or cigs that conveys social status: he often feels pressure to do so. He now buys 2.5 units/day of beer or cigs.

Thus the family has access to only 9.5/day: the raise has lowered their effective income.

I saw a presentation on this for cigarette advertising in rural China--as advertising skyrocketed, overall family incomes dropped. (Could find the reference, would take a while)

#176 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:20 PM:

dear ghods-of-boredom, I'm on a conference call that's already gone on for 1.5 hours and we're only 1/8th of the way done.

Please post links to *silent* interesting things to look at. I've already gone through the new astronomy pics of the day, lolcats, xkcd and girl genius.

#177 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:27 PM:

Kathryn @ 176... You've seen the Star Trek motivational posters already, right?

#178 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:30 PM:

Re: "Morning Has Broken": The only version I'd heard until very recently was of the jokey doggerel type, sung to wake people up at a UU religious retreat where I worked for a summer:

"Morning has broken
But we can fix it,
So pick up a mop and
clean up the mess,

People are scrambling
Your eggs for breakfast
Youuuu can have some
If you get dressed."

No one at church knew why I shouted with understanding laughter when we sang that song sometime last year.

#179 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Kathryn #176:
As per my comment #5, try http://deputy-dog.com/

#180 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:34 PM:

Chris @ 171: that "blood on the ground" bit? Only place I ever heard it was in Disneyland's Bear Country Jamboree (the original one in Anaheim). It was "sung" in a most lugubrious manner by an audioanimatronic bear named, I believe, Big Al.

Ye ghods, I can still hear it...

And another book: What Dreams May Come, Richard Matheson. The movie was cinematic eye candy--but the script pretty thoroughly gutted the spiritual/philosophical content of the novel.

#181 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:47 PM:

I grew up in Georgia (USA) with "eensy-weensy spider" and "take one down, pass it around". Also there were 10 little bunnies lying in the bed, and the baby one said "roll over!" So they all rolled over when they heard him shout, and the bunny on the outside fell out.(Ending: There were 9 little bunnies lying on the floor and they all called out, "roll over!" So the baby rolled over when he heard them shout, and the last little bunny fell out.)

Andhria @ #15, Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man; Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat; Ruth Stout, How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back. The last is out of print but not too hard to find.

If you'd like some fiction recommendations--Ursula LeGuin, The Telling; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; B.J. Chute, Greenwillow; Steven Brust, The Phoenix Guard; Tony Hillerman, Skinwalkers (avoid the horrid TV adaptation); Dorothy Sayers, The Nine Tailors; Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone.

Re Nebula ballot: I salute Jennifer Pelland and proudly remember I knew her when we were both writing fanfic.

#182 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:58 PM:

Chris Quinones @171: And does anyone have the remotest clue what a phrase I've only heard in my family - "when (or when appropriate, since) Oscar was a pup," meaning "ages ago" -- might trace back to? Ma may have picked that one up from my father, and for all I know he knew of an old dog named Oscar, but if there's any non-idiolectical basis for it, I'd love to know.

I've only ever seen "since/when Hector was a pup", which is delightfully explained here as ultimately tracing back to the legend of Hecuba turning into a dog after the Trojan War, although the phrase itself only seems to be about a hundred years old.

#183 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 06:59 PM:

Chris Quinones @#171:

A song that goes, "There was blood on the saddle, there was blood on the ground, and a great big puddle of blood all around."

Ah, "Blood on the Saddle" is a classic. It was on our LP of cowboy songs and my sibs and I loved singing it with Dad. Mom didn't exactly approve but she didn't forbid it.

"The cowboy lay in it, all bloody and red
The bronco fell on him, and mashed in his head.

Oh pity the cowboy, all covered with gore
He ain't gonna ride that bronco no more."

That's how I remember the words, anyway...not going to spoil my nostalgia by googling. If you're like my dad you'll encourage your kids to sing it as part of a set along with "Dark as a Dungeon" and "Folsom Prison Blues."

#184 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Serge @#107:

I was quite surprised when the opening credits named the author as Emily Bronté - not Brontë.

I hope they spelled "Penistone Crag" correctly.

#185 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Chris, 171: (praise be to Google, the Prosthetic Memory) "Help, murder, police! My brother's in the grease! I laughed so hard I fell in the lard. Help, murder, police!" (Replace "brother" with "sister" as appropriate.)

I grew up with "eensy-weensy," "if one of those bottles should happen to fall," and "And I forgot my spoon (so I used a straaaaaaaw..."

My inner fifth-grader wants to know if anybody else knows "Eeny-meeny-gypsaleeny"? Or "Bobo-ski-wotten-totten"?

#186 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:12 PM:

Soon Lee @179,

thanks!

Can haz more, plz? We are now 3/8ths done.

#187 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:21 PM:

Serge @ 174: I had something to say then got lost on Cat Stephens. Please leave a message at the sound of the tone...I'll get back to you after I finish his complete YouTube collection.

#188 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:29 PM:

#134 Paula

re: #9 Brenda Kalt: and the sly passive voice amuses me.

That's not passive voice, though, "if one of those ... should happen" is conditional. Passive is of the form e.g., "one of those bottles was befelled and..."

I think the concept that's being reached for here is the middle voice, rather than the passive per se. The middle voice typically manifests in English when a verb that is notionally transitive and active is used intransitively with the semantic patient as grammatical agent.

Active: The child broke the vase.
Passive: The vase was broken by the child.
Middle: The vase broke.

In rarer cases, with verbs like "fall", the verb is inherently middle voice, rather than having both middle and active uses. I think that there may be an obsolete transitive sense of "fall" meaning "to cause to fall, to fell" that would complete the picture, but I don't have an OED here at work to check.

Like the passive voice, the middle voice removes the necessary presence of a volitional agent, which seems to be what Brenda is reacting to.

I think -- although I'd want to go back and review my references -- that the English middle voice is more or less restricted to verbs of change of state and not just any notionally transitive verb. For example, you can't ring the same changes on "The child hit the vase." Other middle voice examples:

The ice melted.
The cake baked in the oven.
The paper tore in half.

These may also -- and again this is off the top of my head and I'd want to check my references -- be related to usages like:

This book reads like a pot-boiler.
The new iPods sold quickly.
(and similar examples I'm too Friday brain-dead to come up with at the moment)

So, in summary, you're both right: "The bottle fell" is syntactically active, but semantically passive. And to some extent, the use of "happened to" intensifies the semantic passivity without altering the syntactic activeness.

#189 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:29 PM:

Kathryn - Here are some of my favorites. Be strong.

The Surrealist Compliment Generator

The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project

Cockeyed.com

#190 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:35 PM:

Tania, Serge--Thanks.

Especially the compliment generator. I'm substituting the word "PowerPoint"...

Cretins and vermin cannot compare with the depths of your PowerPoint.

Your PowerPoint is equal to the smoothness of a walnut shell.

Flies dance operas to your PowerPoint.

#191 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:40 PM:

The spoof version I know is:

Morning has broken, call the repairman,
Get him to fix it before the sky falls.
If he won't come then we're in big trouble,
You know how repairmen answer their calls.

Now that I think about it, it's amazing how many songs I know about appliance repair and maintenance, including at least two specifically about defrosting the refrigerator. Great songs, too...

#192 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:53 PM:

Wired Magazine has a 250 word short-short story contest. 250 word max, must be about the DS game Orcs and Elves, and will be judged on teh funneh.

How many Dinosaur and Sodomy entries do you think we can generate?

#193 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 07:59 PM:

Paula @ 165:

Professor T. said it in The Hobbit: "Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway."

#194 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Mary Dell @ 184... I hope they spelled "Penistone Crag" correctly.

If they had, it'd have given a totally different meaning to what the Wuthering Heights were, eh?

#195 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:05 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 190... Serge--Thanks.

What did I do to deserve those kind words?

#196 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:07 PM:

JKRichard @ 187... I forgot to check. Does YouTube have the animated version of Moonshadow?

#197 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:09 PM:

...and the meeting ends, over 3 hours later. At least I'm on the west coast and it's only 5pm.

Serge-195. I hadn't seen those trek posters.

#198 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:13 PM:

Books that changed my life aren't quite the point for this question, because other people aren't all coming from or headed towards the same places I am. So I'll try to keep this more universal.

#199 ::: Andrhia ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:16 PM:

Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. It's heartening to see how many of these books I have already read...

It's funny, too, because there are dozens of lists out there on what to read if one wants to be a classical scholar, or a particular breed of academic literate. But not much out there for other purposes of reading.

(And, in my family, it was "take one down and pass it around," "itsy bitsy spider," and:

There were ten in the bed, and the little one said
"I'm crowded, roll over."
So they all rolled over and one fell out.

I could actually swear I saw a sketch with those words on Sesame Street once. And I'm with you on the Bobo-ski-wotten-totten, TexAnne!)

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:23 PM:

Kathryn @ 197... A 3-hour phone meeting? That's one thing I've managed to avoid over my nearly 8 years of telecommuting.

As for the Trek posters... I especially liked the one about Apollo and really short skirts.

#201 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:30 PM:

Hazlit's Economics in One Lesson is good, but read some Galbraith just to balance out the neo-classicism.

#202 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:46 PM:

#106

and the second verse:

Aleph-one bottles of beer on the wall,
Aleph-one bottles of beer,
Take infinity down, pass 'em around,
Aleph-one bottles of beer on the wall.


(Just how you get to the second verse is an interesting problem in meta-music.)

***

Books I'd make everyone read:

Up the Organization, Robert Townsend
The Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks

#203 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:47 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, #175, that happened in our house. When my father became an officer, he started stopping at the officer's club on the way home. He didn't drink, but they took turns buying rounds, so he was buying beer or whatever for everybody else along with his soft drink. I talked to his commander and explained that the family needed that money and his commander made sure I got the money we needed.

Here's a video about the new Bush Coins!

#204 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:51 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 164:

The new machines don't come with printed manuals, they come with the abominable Microsoft "help."

Oh, ghods, yes.

Each time I get a newer version of 'doze, I have to find out where the hell they buried the actual commands; they keep changing them.

As with Word - my favorite was the "for DOS, 5.0" , where "edit, select all" was alt+E, A (as it most sensibly still is in Firefox). Somewhere along the way it became alt+E, L. Gah. And some of the things that had keyboard commands in the earlier versions now don't even have them on the menus, and what the commands *are* have changed. And I've acquired some cognitive function damage in the last few years, which means (among other things) that I don't learn new things very well.

(I was attending the MS Word conference in Bellevue when they introduced the first Word for Windows. The number of features they'd taken away, and that I needed for my job, was appalling.)

I'm now using XP, and the friend whose new laptop I'm providing minimal tech support for, took my advice and got one with XP. I will not, not, not touch Vista.)

Another rant: Microsoft deciding it knows what we want (or what's good for us) better than we do. The other morning I was awakened at 3 am by some quiet, insistent beeping; there'd been an automatic update that required a reboot. I've always had updates as "notify only", but somehow it managed to circumvent that, download, install, reboot, and have the settings changed. *growl*swear*mutter* I've changed them back, but don't exactly trust it.

OK, I'll stop ranting now.

#205 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 08:52 PM:

An open-thread-enabled whine: Today I had to replace my second coffeemaker in 16 months. That's bad enough, but the new one (same brand, different model) has a cord that's about two inches shorter than the previous one (and they're both embedded in the base). This means I have to either use an extension cord (not usually a good plan for a machine with a heating element, I'm told), put the coffeemaker on the second shelf of my teacart, or put the thing on the countertop. This means either the top is hard to access because of the cart's upper shelf or the new machine takes up space on my counter.

Fie upon you, Proctor and Silex. Fie upon you, Black & Decker, which manufactured the one that broke in July 2006.

Do they not teach design anymore?

#206 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:00 PM:

Marilee @ #203, that video...I laugh to keep from crying.

#207 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:13 PM:

My suggestions for the book list:

Victor Hugo, Les Miserables. A lot of people have this Manichean vision of crime in which criminals are a sort of wild and unredeemable other species. This needs challenging.

Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time, and James Loewen, Sundown Towns. Two parts of American history that aren't covered enough in schools. Or at least not the ones I attended. I mean, we read The Grapes of Wrath, but we didn't get heavily into what the Joads had escaped from. We certainly didn't hear about dust storms strong enough to reach New York, or learn how human actions led to massive ecological changes in a fair chunk of the Great Plains. And segregation was presented as something that happened in the south, and assumed to be a solved problem.

(1491 is another great book in this vein, but I'm focusing on books that I haven't noticed anyone mention. Although while I'm at it, count this as another recommendation of The Shock Doctrine.)

Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly. Because one of the most powerful forces in human history is people who should know better working very hard not to know better.

Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds. Because after all the serious stuff I thought I should have one book that exists just to make its readers' lives slightly happier.

#208 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:39 PM:

Wow. Don't drink anything while you're doing it, but go to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books* and check out the Friday video. That has to be the crackiest TV ad I've seen in forever.

Make sure you check the link for the print ad while you're there.

About as SFW as a sexy music video, I'd say. T&A, ripped men, sexy dancing. Major, major WTF hazard and food/drink warnings, on both the video and the print.

*Yes, the ones that first posted about the Cassie Edwards situation.

#209 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:40 PM:

#181, Lila - I think I might have read How to Have a Green Thumb. If I'm remembering correctly, the edition I had recommended DDT as the only really effective cure for fire ants. It was pretty startling (and shouldn't be taken as a criticism of the book, which otherwise seemed extremely sensible.)

#210 ::: Jessica ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:46 PM:

Itsy-bitsy spider, "take one down and pass it around" for myself.

My cousin sings "eensy-weensy spider" and "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, Ninety-nine bottles of beer, If one of those bottles should happen to fall, what a waste of alcohol!" which is kind of catchy.

#211 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:51 PM:

Via the Buffistas, a funny link. Picture of a church Bulletin board. I think I've heard of this before - so it may have been mocked up or photo-shopped.

Joy

#212 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 09:59 PM:

Marilee @ 203... coughgagsplutter!

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:03 PM:

glinda @ 204... Something like 20 years ago, someone described what the operation of a telephone would have been like if it had been designed by PC programmers. I don't remember the details, but, instead of just picking up and dialing, it involved many steps and extra keystrokes.

#214 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:08 PM:

R.M. Koske @ #209, my copy is currently lent out so I can't confirm or deny. I don't remember her mentioning DDT, and since she was gardening in Connecticut in the '40s thru '60s I really doubt she had fire ants. She did soak her corn seed in something toxic (arsenic?) to keep crows from eating it. At any rate, she mentions that as her soil improved she saw fewer and fewer pests, and I had the same experience myself (back when I had a garden, the only pesticide I used was soap).

#215 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:09 PM:

R.M.Koske @ 208... I'm not sure that the octopus belonged in there, but that's reason enough for someone to send a link to Pharyngula. (Who, if I remember correctly, posted Mary Dell's Cthulhu-goes-fishing photoshop oeuvre after she first told ML about it.)

#216 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:12 PM:

Abi, I'm glad you brought up Beauty as a Must Read book. I've read one mass-market paperback to pieces and got a newer one that's been read several times already.

Thanks.

#217 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:15 PM:

Paula @ #216 and abi, the title page of my elderly copy of Beauty fell out this afternoon, in fact. Time to buy a new copy!

#218 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:19 PM:

#214, Lila -

Rats, I was hoping you could confirm or deny it for me. I could be thinking of totally a different book, of course. It has been some time since I read it. I could possibly have the pest wrong, but I don't think so - I was looking forward to finding a good way to deal with fire ants.

I mostly remember being doubly shocked - not only because the author (whoever it was) was recommending DDT(!) but also because the book up to that point had been rather organic in approach. Whichever book it was, the bit I'm remembering was at the very end, possibly in an addition she'd* written as an addendum for a reprinting.

*I'm fairly certain the author I'm thinking of was a woman.

#219 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:38 PM:

One more suggestion for the book list:

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, by Richard Feynman, in which he explains, in common language and without resorting to any convenient lies, just what the theory of quantum electrodynamics is.

#220 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:42 PM:

I'm not going to call it a life changing book (yet) but I just finished Robert Charles Wilson's "Axis" and it is better than "Spin". I expect many awards.

That is all.

#221 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Serge @200

It wasn't just that it was a 3.25 hour meeting, but that it was my second phone meeting of the day, and the two were separated by only 15 minutes.

Which reminded me of those windy roads where they say "windy road next 20 miles," and then at mile 19 there's one straight stretch, and another "windy road next 19 miles." They can't just say "windy roads: next 40 miles"?

Rounds up to 5 hours of phone meetings.

#222 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 221... 5 hours of phone meetings

I hope it was worth it. I also hope that most of the participants were also attending thru the wonders of telephony otherwise the dynamics get all screwed up for the telecommuter, who's missing all the visual cues that the people in the conference room are unconsciously injecting in the exchanges. And there are the lousy microphones.

#223 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2008, 11:56 PM:

abi #165

I was mostly being facetious....

People get... strange. There are some folks who have very solid groundings and are quite unflappable and rarely get upset. Then there are situation where Person A can say almost anything and not cause a ruckus, Person B opens their mouth, and the fireworks go off even if almost anyone else saying it, wouldn't light off fireworks....

#224 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:30 AM:

Bah, post wiped in the "write here" block, bah...

Vista is what new PCs are tending to ship with. Dell makes exceptions for e.g. corporate customers, but at the moment I don't think much of Dell's hardware and support (and of the politics and what the head of the company supports, if the information I heard is accurate...). Staying with the Amiga in the early 1990s was a bad decision from the point of view of income--had I had current Windows on my resume I would have spent a lot shorter amount of time in un- and underemployed states, for the duration of the 1990s....

Windows is what the vast majority of the business and corporate and commercial world are using, not Linux... and I don't want to -have- to muck around with setting things up, with software that lacks certain key features (OpenOffice for example, does NOT have a "draft" mode for writing,. it only has page and web modes... I really don't appreciate seeing page edges and top and bottom margins of virtual pages when what I am trying to do with assemble words and sentences and paragraphs and -write-, as opposed to "desktop publishing" arranging material that's already written and/or drawn, to fit on pages), or is not what the people who make hiring decisions consider necessary software to have experience using...

The reason I am using Outlook Express at home, is that Outlook is what is on the system I use at work. Spending the time and effort dealing with additional software, doesn't provide enough benefit to me and enough positive difference, to make me want to spend the time and effort looking for and selecting and installing and getting familiar with some other email software and another browser--and for the matter, I don't find the ones I've played with, "better" in terms of UI and US paradigms, for me or "easier" to use.

I -like- having an income and money to spend on things, and for me, using Windows is a path of least effort and least time which ALSO maximizes my income as the bottom line.

So, I don't have Linux installed at home because it would be additional time, effort, etc., at -marginal- net value for me.

#225 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:05 AM:

Kathryn #190

I actually have voluntarily used PowerPoint recently, when I didn't have to, to draw some diagrams of data flow. It worked better for what I was trying to do than e.g. Smart Draw....

Henry #202

(Just how you get to the second verse is an interesting problem in meta-music.)

Use a hyperreal step-up-in-space function?

#204

Another rant: Microsoft deciding it knows what we want (or what's good for us) better than we do.

That definitely is copying Mr Jobs. I remember long ago working on the Noreascon III Masquerade video, Avid Technologies allowed MCFI the user of machines there, which were Macs with Avid hardware and software in them. The machine that Suford Lewis was using crashed, and landed in the debugger--which looked just like a less user-friendly version of a Unix debugger! I knew enough Unix at the time to get the thing back up rebooted as a Macintosh and running, rather than looking like a single tasking Unix debugger...

My point there, is that the debugger system was running an unfriendly old debugger application with text-on-one-line input, no GUI stuff at all, deep inside the Mac system--but at the time Apple did NOT let ordinary users have command lines--only if one were using a development system and it barfed landing in the debugger, was there a command line, or if one were doing something else developerish and elitist... ordinary Mac users didn't even get to have access to hardware reset switches (the infamous "programmer's switch" which was a piece of plastic one plugged into a crashed and wouldn't come back up Mac, to persuade it to resusitate....)

The other morning I was awakened at 3 am by some quiet, insistent beeping; there'd been an automatic update that required a reboot

That's the nasty habit that sometimes the update process decided to reset things back to the original default settings... once again, I blame Jobs as template for the "don't give the user the actual control!" What really gets me is that underneath Macs for years now, lives FreeBSD, and apparently it can be gotten to--so what bother with putting the Mac ears layers ontop, why not just program directly for FreeBSD and run everything native?!!!

#205 Linkmeister:

a) "Planned obsolescence = continuing revenue stream
b) it's all crap made by the cheapest contract factory, scheduled months in advance, and no ability to change anything in under six months at least of lead time....
c) design and manufacture and manufacturing design are all different segments, and these days done in different places often....the days when the design engineers were at sites where the factories were adjacent, and where the manufacturing engineers were part of the design team, and the factory workers might have had some say... it's bad news.

#226 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:22 AM:

I've been getting a series of strange emails, purportedly from "Richard Dunbar" AKA "Richard Salvador," (rich@penslinger.net) bragging about various thefts, spousal and child abuse, weapons dealing and fraud cases.

I suspect they are spam, and a sort of on-line smear job or revenge thing.

Have any of y'all gotten this strange stuff?

#227 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:24 AM:

Many of the books that I think would be important to others have already been mentioned, but there are a few I would mention:

The Rule of Benedict
The Sickness Unto Death, Søren Kierkegaard
Letters and Papers from Prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn
Mohandas Gandhi: Essential Writings
The Long Lonliness, Dorothy Day
New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton
Reading the Old Testament, Fr. Lawrence Boadt
Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen
Of course, this is in addition to all of Tolkien and Lewis, as well as some Heinlein and everything of Zelazny's, and Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
#228 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:29 AM:

I never learned "10 in a bed" - WHY did I miss this one? Particularly any version with monkeys.

Here's some cute kids doing a version.

#229 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:32 AM:

Cuter kids, doing a version about monkeys.

#230 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:37 AM:

Paula @ #225, Planned obsolescence is the title of the blog post I wrote about the dumb thing.

Upon reflection, I'm going to buy a multi-outlet surge strip and hide it on the second shelf of the teacart behind the bag of filters and the sugar substitute container. That will shorten the distance sufficiently that I can put the thing on the cart where I've been used to finding it for the past 27 years.

#232 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 02:05 AM:

Well, if anyone is interested, the first draft of my trip to the woods report is up. I'm already catching tense issues that are making me wince. I'll go back and tidy it up tomorrow or Sunday, when I'm less influenced by IPA and lack of sleep.

Oh, and I have been writing a verse a day. I just haven't been posting them to my rarely used blog. I should take a day and do that...

#233 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 02:49 AM:

Wesley @ 207

Drat! I wish I'd thought of Hughart. Put all three books together*, as they seem to be his complete oeuvre, which is a shame because I'd like to read the five others he originally planned to write They're a gentle introduction to Chinese mythology and the Great Stories of Chinese tradition.

* The Bridge of Birds
  The Story of the Stone
  Eight Skilled Gentlemen
#234 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 02:58 AM:

Gar Lipow @ 211

Who says religion can't be relevant?

If you're a mid-20th Century British film buff, you may remember a movie called "A Taste of Honey". In the first scene, the camera is on a bus, and it goes by a church with a big reader board out front with the message "God Washes Whitest of All".

#235 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 02:59 AM:

Paula #225 -- It sounds like you're talking about MacsBug, a Motorola debugging app ported to the Mac. It's not something bundled with Macs; you had to install it on your own. It operated at the level of assembly and machine language. It wasn't some bash-like or DOS-like command line for performing ordinary system tasks, hidden away from the ordinary user.

As far as FreeBSD goes, the reason Apple bothers putting the Mac interface layers on top of the underlying Unix is because that's what people buy Macs for.

#236 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 03:08 AM:

Thinking about books for Andrhia, I keep coming to authors or series. To add to some fine recommendations by other people

Andrew Lang's Fairy Tale Books
anything illustrated by Arthur Rackham
P.G Wodehouse's works
H.L. Mencken's works


On a different note... Serge, Deathrace 2000 is on TCM right now. For your sake, I hope you're not watching it. We are, because John's never seen it.

#237 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 03:27 AM:

Books for the list:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. Because excellence matters.
Illusions by Richard Bach.
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.
Silverlock by John Myers Myers. This book led me to more superb works than any other single source, ever.
1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. These will always be linked in my mind, and each stands up every time I reread it.
Three by Robert A. Heinlein: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, and Stranger in a Strange Land. Not that I don't love almost all of what he wrote, but these are, I think, the most substantive and were certainly the most influential on my life and outlook.

Finally, I'd disagree slightly with Bruce Cohen (STM) @233. Definitely DO read Bridge of Birds and The Story of the Stone, but IMO Eight Skilled Gentlemen is highly skippable. (But I agree wholeheartedly that I'd have loved to read the other books.)

#238 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 04:01 AM:

Sus @62,

Did I plan to go to Munich in January? Did I think to myself "hey, it's deep winter, why not go to a place with less daylight and heat, but more crazy?" Well, no. It worked out that my travel companion was to be there, and I could be too, and so why not.

The all-white bar: that could be fun. I may even have an easily-packable shiny from BurningMan(1).

For example, last year I discovered the advantage of visiting Edmonton, Alberta, in late November: no crowds.

And the exhibit on Scythian gold by itself makes it a nifty trip. The fasching is a bonus.

(1) Post-scarcity gift-economy land. Assume standard Kathryn arguments on why you should go. Tickets in 4 days.

#239 ::: Sus ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 04:49 AM:

Kathryn,

Heh. Crazy it will be. Crowds there will be. Condolences :P

Mind you, I think not even those southern types will have the entire month off to party, so the crowds will possibly be more prevalent at the weekend. And Munich is supposed to be quite nice! Will you have time for a short skiing trip into the lower Alps? Much recommended if I remember correctly.

If I ever have the time and money to go to BurningMan I'm SO there.

meredith @ 98

*shudder* Did they make you put banana juice in it? Did they? I tell you, nothing is more disturbing than when, during your first week of working in a pub, your first Weissbier drinker walks in and asks for a Paulaner with banana juice. Brrrrr.

#240 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 05:19 AM:

Stefan Jones @226:
Have any of y'all gotten this strange stuff?

I haven't, but it looked like an interesting snuffle.

I Googled around a little, and I'd put the situation on the weird side of ordinary. Most of the references to this guy are copies of a spam comment posting by someone calling himself Rick, or variations thereof, accusing Salvador of various crimes, drug use, and physical abuse of his family. A couple of YouTube videos are linked, but they've been removed for terms of use violation.

I reckon either someone's trying to smear a guy whose website (conveniently linked in "Rick's" comments) appears to sell advertising swag, or this is an advertising effort sprung from one of the flatter ends of the bell curve.

#241 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 05:49 AM:

Kathryn @ 238:
If it's a post-scarcity gift economy, why does it require one to buy tickets?

#242 ::: Mark D ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 06:31 AM:

Kathryn -
Munich has superb art museums attractively and conveniently grouped together for easy viewing. But of even greater interest is the Deutsches Musueum. An astounding survey of Science and Technology, all exhibits are clearly presented in four languages. Plan on one full day at the very least - it's the only thing I'd return to Munich for, but boy-howdy would I!

#243 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:16 AM:

Bill Higgins @67: About the only thing I can recall of The Daily Show when Craig Kilborn had been hosting it, was their 'translation' of 99 Dead Baboons.

#244 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 08:37 AM:

Those big ones by Dickens (Great Expectations, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House)

60s experimentalism: Gravity's Rainbow by Pynchon and Giles Goat Boy by John Barth, The Magus by Fowles. Enjoying and slowly making my way through The Sunshine Dialogues by John Gardner at the moment.

That's enough for now.

What drove me to post was a thread drift (I'm pretty sure this is an _open_ thread!).

Does anyone have links handy to good posts or an article by somebody about not wanting to collaborate with wannabe writers, (ie. the other person has this great idea for a graphic novel, but they want you to completely write and draw it, and we will split the profits 50-50. )

I know judicious googling would bring up stuff, especially on Neil Gaiman's blog, but this sort of question seems to be something you people are particularly good at.

It turns out not only famous writers have these problems. I was a little less than smart in not cutting off a conversation because I didn't suspect this was what the person wanted, and not just fun chatting about stories. (I tend to talk through my stories a bit too much).

Now he's in tears, I'm a backstabber who wants to steal his ideas and ruin his career, he hates me forever Baggins, etc.

I'm not going to send him an e-mail, but articles on this topic will make me feel better, and might make a good blog post (with proper credit, etc. But not a lot of renumeration, sorry.)

#245 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Serge @ 113 et seq: oops

#246 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:47 AM:

Because no one asked, more about "Say brothers, will you meet us on Canaan's happy shore"
It appears to ahve been by William Steffe (words and music both) and dates from the 1850s--very popular at Methodist camp-meetings.

Per the Library of Congress*:

Say brothers, will you meet us?
Say brothers, will you meet us?
Say brothers, will you meet us?
On Canaan's happy shore?

Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
For ever, evermore!

Other verses:

By the grace of God we'll meet you,
By the grace of God we'll meet you,
By the grace of God we'll meet you,
Where parting is no more.

Jesus lives and reigns for ever,
Jesus lives and reigns for ever,
Jesus lives and reigns for ever,
On Canaan's happy shore.

supplied here

*Personally, one of my favorite places to see my tax dollars at work...

#247 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:47 AM:

#235 Avram

Apple moved over to putting MacoS ontop of FreeBSD because Apple was a failure at writing its own non-task-switching multitasking operating system. I don't remember which version of the MacOS was the last task-switcher, it was 8 or 9, and Apple finally gave up and around the time that NeXt and Apple became one Apple changed over to using a Unix relative developed by someone else.... that is, NeXt was using a descendent of Berkeley's implementation of Unix, and Apple moved to that or some such, and then when FreeBSD came out, Apple moved over to using FreeBSD.

Unix and its close relatives were not designed for doing "creativity" applications, and the non-proprietary versions lacked a commercial base of users and software usable for commercial graphics, audi, etc. (there were some available for Silicon Graphics systems, however they were expen$ive and not out in the consumer area, or below the very high end fat wallet commercial d and defense industry markets....and most required a lot of computer systems sophistication)

Apple had an installed base of graphics designers, musicians, video people, etc., and one big factor is that people who have already spent years and fortunes using a particular type of system, don't want to have to spend months and thousands of dollars to move to something that works differently and isn't compatible with what they already have/have been doing.

By the way, I did get to play with some Silicon Graphics stuff years ago when it had stuff that no Apple system could do... I like that stuff a LOT better than anything I've ever seen out of Apple. SGI, however, had no clue about how to enter the consumer and home and small business and cost-in-a-big-consideration markets....

#248 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:54 AM:

Ten in the Bed, what were they?

I know! I know!

They were:

1 little one, a human child gender carefully unspecified.
2 bears.
1 zebra.
1 mouse.
1 elephant.
1 hedgehog.
1 sheep.
1 rabbit.
and...
1 crocodile.

If pressed, I can also remember the individual noises each one makes when falling out of bed.

This is from Penny Dale's illustrated version of the song, which I have owned for some considerable time and read more often than I care to remember, as it was one of Sasha's favourites. The elephant also appears in her The Elephant Tree. Ten in the Bed ends with the Little One saying "I'm cold. I miss you!" so they all come back and jump into bed. I'd recommend these highly for toddlers.

#249 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:05 AM:

fidelio, 246: I can't get that first version to scan, unless they used the same tune for verse and chorus. American hymns hardly ever have more than two notes per syllable.

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:24 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 245... It IS reassuring to know that blogging is safer than knitting - marginally so, true, but safer. Maybe it's because, with knitters, it's like The Three Musketeers whenever the King's musketeers meet the Cardinal's. Before you know it, users of different knitting styles are trying to to skewer each other with their needles.

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:25 AM:

Jack Ruttan @ 244.. an article by somebody about not wanting to collaborate with wannabe writers

Didn't the Beatles write a song about exactly that?

#252 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:26 AM:

TexAnne, given how much trouble it was to find as much as I did, I'm not prepared to say they didn't use the same tune for both. Usually, it's pretty easy to find hymns and related information on line, even for Sacred Harp things, but virtually everything kept throwing me to sites about the Battle Hymn of the Republic--if you want to do a search that specifically excludes the BHR, you might turn up something--or not. I suppose that's support for Xopher's observation about how non-memorable the original was.

#253 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:28 AM:

Abi @ 240... I'd put the situation on the weird side of ordinary

"The Weird Side of Ordinary" sounds like a Charlie Sheen sitcom - with John Lithgow as the comedic relief?

#254 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:42 AM:

Serge, 250: No skewering! Skewerings get blood on the yarn!

fidelio, 252: I agree.

#255 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:55 AM:

TexAnne... Soon to be published by Tor, Alexandre Dumas's lost novel Blood on the Yarn...

#256 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:42 AM:

One could argue that you're using an unconventional dye, perhaps. Striped socks might become badges of honor.

#257 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Diatryma @ 256... To Live and Let Dye?

#258 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Perhaps To Purl is Not Enough or Sweaters on Her Majesty's Secret Service, too. Though I was thinking more Musketeer than Bond, to be honest. It's too easy to be a secret agent knitter. A proud knitter or perhaps crocheter (crochetier?), in a cape, with a hat and a feather, needles and/or hooks with a proud crest on the ends, unless that interferes with proper use, balls of wool at the ready....
Okay, I mostly want the awesome hat with a feather on it. I've made a hat with anemones on it, but it's not the same.

#259 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Serge #251 - I Wanna Hold Your Hand?

#260 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:05 PM:

Jack Ruttan @ 259... Actually, I was thinking of Paperback writer. Re-reading the lyrics after a long time, I realize I remembered it wrong. It sounds more like someone who'd be a victim of PublishAmerica. Anyway, here are the lyrics.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

It's the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn't understand
His son is working for the Daily Mail
It's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few
I'll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

If you really like it you can have the rights
It could make a million for you overnight
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer

Paperback writer, paperback writer
Paperback writer, paperback writer
Paperback writer, paperback writer
Paperback writer, paperback writer (fade out)

#261 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Diatryma @ 258...

So does my wife. Speaking of musketeers, what did you think of The Man in the Iron Mask, with Gabriel Byrne as d'Artagnan?

#262 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:22 PM:

Serge @ 260.

My choice is more apropos for semi-stalking. Now I'm playing "Get Back!"

Seriously, my adventure's not a problem, at least on my side. Makes me more careful about whom I'm e-mailing, however.

Did have one nutty writer years ago leave poems in my mailbox, read things into my answering machine, and then make threats when I, with my mighty connections (I'd been published once in a magazine, and was a columnist in a free weekly paper) didn't get those poems published for him.

What is it about the sort of person who thinks this kind of odd behavior is better than a polite query and an SASE?

Mind you, when I used to work at a funky used bookstore, a person once told me I was supposed to help get him a job there, or he would commit suicide. I don't think he followed through.

#263 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:25 PM:

Serge @253:
"The Weird Side of Ordinary" sounds like a Charlie Sheen sitcom - with John Lithgow as the comedic relief?

Actually, looking at the phrase again, I think it would make a good Iain M Banks ship name. GCU Weird Side of Ordinary, perhaps.

#264 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Jack Ruttan @ 262... What is it about the sort of person who thinks this kind of odd behavior is better than a polite query and an SASE?

A severe lack of social skills that borders on the dangerous?

#265 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Susan @241,

I think it gives you a flavor and hint of what a p.s.g.e. would be like, about as close an experience as anyone can get in the early decades of the 21st century(1).

In 2008 it isn't the same week as WorldCon, so this year is a great year for SF fans to go. Because Jan 16th is the start of sales, and because it'll be different this year--no tix sold at the gate--I'm mentioning it now.

(1) The preparation and there-and-back-again can add up, yes, but once you're there... the piano that drives you out to the deep-playa coffee-tiki bar where you can sit on a couch, sip freshly made espresso, and watch the trebuchet launch flaming watermelons? That's all gift.

It isn't a completely different culture, but it's given me an overlay of future sensibilities- like what I've started to write on messageless clothing.

#266 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:33 PM:

Abi @ 263...

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship The Weird Side of the Ordinary. Her five year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.

Starring James The Jerk, Mister Sprocket, and 'Bones' Decoy...

#267 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:34 PM:

re # 244

I, for one, can see that it's easier to have a good idea than to follow through on writing a good idea, and I am sure many others who have had not-yet-written ideas see that too.

So why wouldn't it be reasonable for an amateur writer to ask if others can do the hard work for him?

Naive, perhaps, but you can see why a person might be thinking in that direction.

#268 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Man in the Iron Mask had Leonardo DiCaprio as king and prisoner, right? I liked it quite a bit, but I haven't read the book or seen any of the Musketeer movies in total. The charge scene at the end was worth seeing in the theater.

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Abi... If you go to the following link, you'll find what happened when someone translated Star Trek's opening monologue, translated it into various foreign languages, then back into English...

http://www.geocities.com/bookworm1225/mst3k/trektrans.html

I especially like the French one:

"Space, the final border. They are the voyages of the company of Starship. Its five years mission: to explore new strange worlds. To seek the new life, and of new civilizations. To go fatty where no man went front."

Now what would the results if someone did this with Latin?
Hint, hint...

#270 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:44 PM:

abi @ 153: re: Beauty; I think my 8 year old mind conflated having a Friesian horse ("I'm sure that horse knows more Greek than Miss Stanley ever did.")and an library with all the books that have ever been published with being able to read Greek and Latin. By the time I figured it out it was too late.

Tania @ 236: Love the Andrew Lang books, especially his forewords where he gets more and more exasperated with the idea that he's the one writing the stories. Kay Nielsen is my favorite fairy tale illustrator though.

Farjeon wrote beautiful, funny, touching stories. "Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep" is probably my favorite.

Shaun Tan's "The Red Tree" and "The Rabbits" (written by Marsden) are 2 of my all time favorite picture books.

#271 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Diatryma @ 268... That's the one. With Jeremy Irons as Aramis. Unfortunately, I didn't see it when it came out in theaters, but I caught it on TV, loved it(*), and bought the DVD.

(*) Except for John Malkovich's French character who's incapable to pronounce d'Artagnan's name correctly.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 265... Does this mean that you are going to the Denver worldcon?

#273 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:56 PM:

Diatryama: I've never managed to get feathers to work on my hats. BTW, we got the yarn, it's lovely. Thank you muchly.

Books I would commend:

On food and cooking Harold McGee
Silverlock John Meyers-Meyers
American Gods Neil Gaiman
To Reign in Hell Steven Brust

The first, because it's just such a fun book. It's (for those who don't know) a book about how food works. It's not a cookbook. It's a chemistry, and physics and neat photos and history and botany and sociology book. Either edition is worth having (I have both) but the present (2nd) is, in many ways, a completely differnt work. The 20 years between the two have seen a huge increase in what we know about how foods work.

The second, well I was well read when I read it (both for my age: 18, and for the culture in which I live), and I still knew I was missing something. When I re-read it, I get more out of it. It's a romp, and everytime I wonder; fubhyq V trg gb gung Ulcrevba Fcevat, ubj znal qenhtugf pbhyq V gnxr.

The next two... are just fun. The first is dark, and grim, and has a hidden current of joy. It's also not a bad sort of mirror to the present US culture.

The second... It's a whimisically dark piece of happiness. In some ways they are flip sides of a coin.

I want to commend a book of pictures/photographs/paintings, because pretty, and interesting things, are good to look at, and can be as, "Enlightening" as text, but I can't think of one which really works. There are monographs (of Steichen, Steiglitz, Adams, Bourke-White, Cartier-Bresson, Avedon, etc. but that limits one to photographs, and Brueghel, Dürer, van Gogh, Rublyev, Carvaggio, Titian, van Dyck, Hilliard, Degas, and all sorts of painters are left out; none of which addresses the non-western visual arts, and still fails to take scuplture into account) So what I really want to reccomend is an intro to art class; and them some self-study

I'd also commend "A Christmas Carol", "The Jungle Books", "Extraordinary Popular Delusions, and The Madness of Crowds", and the four volume set, "How Things Work".

#274 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 12:57 PM:

abi @ 263

GCU sounds right, or maybe GSV. The military Minds seem to take names that are often vaguely threatening, e.g., "LOU Gunboat Diplomat". I've been expecting ROU This Will Hurt You More for some time now.

For that incredibly geeky feeling, there's a list of ship and plate names here

#275 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Serge @ 264 wrote: A severe lack of social skills that borders on the dangerous?

Yeah, it's too bad. Of course the best one can do is to work on not being vulnerable to such characters.

Maybe next that guy is going to pay some charlatan to write the book for him, and get plagiarised Tom Clancy in return. Then we can have another fun 1000-post thread.

#276 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:07 PM:

Serge: Who is abi to find for the other person in that drill? Because one person has to do it out, and another back in.

It also helps, of course, if they don't know the original text.

Now I have to go see what the Russian looks like.

#277 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:10 PM:

At a con art show recently, I saw illuminated text translations into Latin of a couple monologues-- Wash's dinosaur one from Firefly and Dirty Harry's do-you-feel-lucky one. I'm a bit disappointed that the Dirty Harry had ".44" in the middle, rather than ".XLIV".

#278 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:12 PM:

Serge @272,

Of course. I miss being able to go to Worldcons in most years, so 2008 will be fun.

[and this'll be the big year for the "BurningMan in 2010" bid...party.]

#279 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:19 PM:

#267 Erik Nelson wrote: "I, for one, can see that it's easier to have a good idea than to follow through on writing a good idea, and I am sure many others who have had not-yet-written ideas see that too."

It's a dream, coupled with deep-seated lack of self confidence. I used to be a little like this, but discovered that hard work, combined with a modicum of talent, can go places.

I'm still working on getting rid of bad artistic habits, such as jealousy of others more successful or talented than I, an ability to take criticism constructively, and general self-confidence without going too far the other way into egotism. A lot of it is, as Serge says, social skills.

#280 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Terry Karney @ 276: I'll translate it back into English if abi does the Latin. Of course, I've heard it but I don't actually know it.

#281 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:22 PM:

dido @ 270

Kay Nielsen is my favorite fairy tale illustrator though.

I have trouble picking a winner among Nielsen, Rackham, and Leo & Diane Dillon. All great, all very different in style and sensibility.

Did you know that Nielsen worked on a project with Disney (in the 1940's I believe), a segment for a new Fantasia movie? There are drawings and maybe even some test footage still in existence; I've seen some of the drawings and they're terrific. There's a coffee table book about unfinished Disney works that has the drawings in it; I'm drawing a blank on the title, and google hasn't been very helpful so far, so I can't provide a link.

And in other unfinished Disney news, the long-delayed collaboration of Disney and Dali, "Destino" gets its premiere next month. At last! I've been hearing about this for 5 years now, as it was bounced from pillar to post in legal battles, corporate ego competitions, and the deaths of people who had worked on it. Roy Disney won my undying admiration by pushing it for all that time until it finally happened*, and also Dali's assistant on the project, who is 95, and who worked to complete it. YAY!

Even facing down and defeating Eisner, that monster of ego.

#282 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Bruce Cohen, Jhereg arrived in yesterday's mail. Thank you very much! I now have both books you kindly sent, and anticipate several hours of enjoyable reading.

#283 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 01:54 PM:

Diatryma: I saw those same things at Loscon. I agree about the numeration.

Bringing the grooming issue to this thread. There have been people removing hair from various parts of thier bodies for as long as we have records. That's the easy part.

We've also had some oddities of representation. I forget which Brit it was who gained his understanding of the female from from classical statuary. Since the female statues had no representation of pubic hair... he was repulsed by his wife's possessing same, and he never touched her again (and, by reports, the contact on their wedding night was decidedly brief).

That said, the present trend to making the image of women seem to be that of the classical statue seems odd to me, and I don't know what to make of it. I don't think it's an attempt to make women infants, but that's because the rest of the figure seems to be non-child to me.

On the flip side, I do think it looks child-like, and isn't what I want to look at, when seeing a nude. Actually, I tend to find it sexualises what would otherwise be a simple figure study. The difference from the expected state shifts focus, and so draws a more sexual context to the image.

I'll have to think more on it, because that aspect wasn't something I'd parsed out before. I'd just said to myself, "enh... not what I wanted."

As for pink... Yes, there are (and have been, for years) pink grips. Some of them attractive (laminate woods, with dyed panels). What I find interesting is trying to figure out when the rigidity of the colors came to be. My grandmother didn't seem to have any strong sense of pink/blue = boy/girl, but she was born in 1902.

My mother didn't have it as ironclad, but the trend was to pink = girl/blue = boy, but she dealt with that by buying greens, reds, yellows and the like.

A friend's daughter; in no small part because of her mother, lives for pink. So much so that her nick-name at school; from something like day two, is Pinky, because everything is (or has on it) pink.

Barbie's packaging has always been pink.

I was thinking about it when Maia and I went to breakfast (an interesting place. Good pastries, in a german style, medicre cocoa; coffee untested. A semi-Republican place, but welcoming {I made the interjection that perjury isn't the same as lying to a prosecutor; when someone tried to compare Clinton to some athlete, who got six months, and 800 hours comm-serv. They seemed to be more conservative, than reactionary and I didn't feel unwelcome. It was funny hearing them say they'd prefer Gray Davis to Arnie, as he's just "Maria Shriver's puppy, and a secret Democtrat").

In the fifties, high-school girls were fond of pink, so much so that we have the overdone image of Frenchy from "Grease".

My guess is the ossifications of gender roles in the post-war period (because the '20s-'40s showed a trend to more equality) led to the more rigid identification of blue/pink. How the flip in colors came about, I don't know, but I'll bet police uniforms, and the use of "pinko" as an insult had something to do with it.

#284 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Cool about the Worldcon, Serge and Kathryn— we'll* be going too, and extending our stay to see all the friends we've been missing since we moved.

Now on the subject of songs... heh heh heh.

I Was a Summer Camp Counselor (teenaged, even), and we sang all the time. (Never mind that half the staff couldn't carry a tune in a bucket; enthusiasm counted for more than tonality.) We sang before meals. We sang while we were serving meals. (And rainy days, which required inside seating, were always a prelude to lost voices because 45 minutes of singing is qualitatively different than 10 minutes.) We sang at campfires.

The end result is that I can bust out hours of song without even thinking about it, or even really listening to the words any more. Even ten years on.

As for regional variations, they are all over the place. One that I find particularly intriguing is "The Cat Came Back"— the words tend to remain largely the same but the style varies like mad. I've heard it cheerful, I've heard it bluesy, I've heard it slow and doleful.

And sometimes you can trace a variation right to the start. One year our program director introduced a song to the camp, "Desperado." (Not the Johnny Cash version.) Well, there were a few changes made right off the bat. First of all, he was one of those aforementioned tone-deaf types, and since I'd learned the tune in grade school I could really tell how it changed. (Think Sound of Music —> Professor Henry Higgins monotone.) He also decided that "Cripple Creek" could be offensive and changed it to "Stubble Creek." When I came back for a visit during the prep week the next year, a protégé was trying to perform the song and asked me if I remembered the lyrics. Well, I did, and the tune as well, but I'm pretty sure the monotone version is the one that survived.

We also had extra verses to "The Titanic." That's the one with the chorus:

It was sad, so sad,
It was sad when the greatest ship went down to the bottom of the
[interjection] Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives
It was sad when the greatest ship went down.
The camp was on a lake, and there wasn't a road in, just a trail, so we'd boat in the food. This led to various interesting boat accidents from time to time. I hope that some day I'll go back and hear the verse that I wrote to commemorate the time that they had all the Scouts jump overboard to keep the boat from flooding. "Since the Scouts wore PFDs, they were thrown into the seas..." Heh.

*Me, Evil Rob, and Squirmy.

#285 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Delayed exposition for one item on my book list:

I've been trying to keep up with the Cassie Edwards plagiarism story this week. As usual, Fandom_Wank has a comprehensive set of links including links in comments. Through the week, one of the recurring complaints from the Nice Girls(tm) is that Ms. Edwards is old and people didn't know about plagiarism Back Then.

Which is why I recommend Gaudy Night as an essential reading- plagiarism, along with other matters of academic and personal ethics, are at the center of the story, and the consequences of loyalty without regard to worth are shown in explicit and microscopic detail. The ways in which consequences follow choices and further choice is limited by past choices gets expounded upon time and again, and the limits to free will are brought out, aired, refolded, and put away fresh.

(This bit of prolix exposition brought to you as a redirection of energy not spent on harranging himself further on the shocking state of the shower this morning).

#286 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 03:00 PM:

#217 -- Perhaps you all know that Robin's got a blog on LJ?

Love, C.

#287 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 03:17 PM:

The social and art historian and critic, poet and essayist, John Ruskin, is the Victorian about whom that story is told.

More lately, however, there are biographers -- Tim Hilton and John Batchelor -- who have rather interpreted the tale of their wedding night Effie Grey wrote as a fright of menstrual blood. Others have also suggested that Ruskin was a pedophile, so everything about a grown woman's body disgusted him.

Paintings and photos of her show an attractive woman. In any case, Effie Grey divorced him for the painter John Everett Millais on the grounds of 'incurable impotence,' so it was really an annulment, not a divorce.

Love, C.

#288 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 03:41 PM:

Which story involves Ruskin, Constance @ #287? Gaudy Night?

All I get on Google is the Dorothy Sayers novel, and that's set in the 1930s.

#289 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 03:47 PM:

All right. I've read back further, and saw the statue story about John Ruskin in message 283. I read a biography (forget which one, and am too lazy to look it up) which says that tale's a canard, and nobody knows the real reason for the annulment. But Ruskin liked alarmingly young girls, and would probably be facing jail time these days, or at least a taunting article in The Sun.

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 04:20 PM:

Terry Karney @ 283... Maria Shriver's puppy, and a secret Democrat

Have they done that yet on Special Victims Unit?

#291 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 04:25 PM:

B.Durbin @ 284... Cool about the Worldcon, Serge and Kathryn— we'll (Me, Evil Rob, and Squirmy) be going too

I'm not going to ask who or what Squirmy is. As for an ML gathering, yay! We'll see how that goes as things get closer. Stay tooned.

(*) No, Abi, we will not serve dino flesh.

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Coming soon, Gaudi Nights, a story of torrid love and architecture...

#293 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 04:34 PM:

Serge @291:
(*) No, Abi, we will not serve dino flesh.

As they say in England*, bugger that for a game of toy soldiers.

----
* parts of it, anyway. Oop Nawth they usually add "luv" in there somewhere.

#294 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 04:49 PM:

Abi @ 293... bugger (...) Oop Nawth they usually add "luv" in there somewhere.

Hmmm... As Fantasy Island's Mr. Roarke used to say: "Smile, everyone, smile!"

#295 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 05:13 PM:

BSG cast poses for the Last Supper

via Shakesville, where IDs are provided if needed.

#296 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 05:26 PM:

Whew! Back at last. Heather Rose Jones #188 got the bottles of beer right:

Like the passive voice, the middle voice removes the necessary presence of a volitional agent, which seems to be what Brenda is reacting to.

Exactly. We 13-year-olds were singing about picking up bottles of beer and drinking them. How daring! "Happen to fall" sounds like a grown-up euphemism. I was surprised to see that people really sang that. (Times were much simpler then.)

Modern examples of passive, middle, and active voice:

Mistakes were made.
Mistakes happen.
I made mistakes.

Each of these is in use, some more than others.

#297 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Bruce @ 247: Whee! I had to go re-read the fan service scene in Look to Windward. :)

So, we have accidentally GSV Weird Side of Ordinary. (Or GCU, works for both.) Trying a few myself:

GCU Entomologist
GCU Seen It All
GCU It's The Thought That Counts

LOU Magnifying Glass
LOU Aggressive Norm
ROU Action at a Distance

LSV White Whale
GSV Rising Tide
GSV Architectural Fad

Surely others have played this game.

#298 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Ralph @297:
Frequently. But I only get two or three out before they start to fall flat.

GSV Cognitive Deficit
LSV Which Fork Do I Use For This
ROU None Taken

#299 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 06:55 PM:

parts of it, anyway. Oop Nawth they usually add "luv" in there somewhere.

Where my Dad comes from they use "me duck" instead of "luv". That's the Midlands though.

Once upon a time there was a Ben Elton novel which suggested naming military units along the lines of HMS Dubious Use of the World's Resources which so impressed me that I named a teddy bear a friend got at a car show after it, and as far as I know is still Known as "Dubious".

#300 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:23 PM:

Abi... Is there a GCU We're Doomed?

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:24 PM:

How about the GCU Unique Opportunity for Personal and Professional Growth, aka the GCUUOPPG?

#302 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:25 PM:

I always wanted to write a story with a spaceship in it called Frozen Gold.

GSV Lost In The Referents, as it were.

#303 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:30 PM:

GCU Reality-Based
GCU Jumping to Conclusions

#304 ::: Ralph GIles ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:32 PM:

abi @298: Nice ones!

Serge: More like GCU Midas Touch.

#305 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 08:01 PM:

Just saw "The Orphanage."

Like the producer's "Pan's Labyrinth," you're not quite sure if the fantasy elements are imagined or real, or ultimately if it matters.

And like "Pan," this film ends with a 2 x 4 to the gut. Not so much a tearjerker as two electrodes jammed into your tear glands and attached to a 220 volt line, so you don't cry but kind of steam.

Good? Very good. But brutal.

#306 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 08:29 PM:

Ralph Giles @ 304... What would be the best prefix for the Admit You're Lost And Pull Over To Ask For Directions?

#307 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 08:54 PM:

ROU Unnatural Selector
ROU ... I'm Sure Someone Can Fix It
LOU ... Hope They Don't Have Blasters
GOU Not Very Reassuring, I'm Sure
GCU Nothing to See Here
GCU By Any Means Necessary
GSV Sufficiently Long Lever
GSV I'm Going to Say This One More Time...

(TLA) It Was Like That When I Got (Here/There) seems to be the most commonly thought of Mind name that has not, in fact, ever been used as a book, afaict - there's a whole spew of a thread back in Usenet on RASFF and that's far from the only place I've seen it mentioned.

#308 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:08 PM:

The ROU Where Did You Say The Remote Was...

#309 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:54 PM:

OK, I don't understand what all these three letter things with phrases after them are, or why they're funny. Someone care to explain, or direct me to the post I missed where it was discussed?

#310 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:55 PM:

re 185:

Bo bo... ski otten-totten
Bim-bam... I am BOOM BOOM BOOM
[speeds up]
Eeny-meeny otten-totten
Bo-bo ski otten-totten
Bo-bo ski otten-totten
BIM! BAM! BOOM!

I'm fairly certain ours was a heavily truncated version. There's probably something we were missing when the tune abruptly shifted into double-time.

--

re: 305, "the producer's Pan's Labyrinth"

How do I know if what I saw was the producer's cut of Pan's Labrynth or the other one? Feel free to ROT-13 replies if necessary... We saw it at a film festival on a college campus in Spanish with subtitles, if it helps to know; I certainly got the impression that we were to accept the fantasy elements as being real (with the exception of the very end, of course; that could go either way depending on where the viewer falls on the cynic/romantic scale).

#311 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:05 PM:

Nicole, 310: Huh. Mine's nearly the same.

Bobo-ski-wotten-totten,
Eh-eh, eh-eh BOOM BOOM BOOM

(twice as fast)
Itty-bitty-wotten-totten,
Bobo-ski-wotten-totten,
Bobo-ski-wotten-totten,
BOOM!

and at the last BOOM you hit the other person's hand as hard as you can. (Interesting choreographic results may be obtained thereby, especially if one person is wearing rings. Owie.)

What does one do on the final BIM BAM BOOM in your version?

#312 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:16 PM:

Serge @ #291: Heh. Squirmy will be about two months old at the time of Worldcon, hence the current nickname.

The really amusing part is that my bosses haven't twigged yet despite my rapidly expanding waistline. I'm going to have to tell them soon and I expect some shock on the faces of people who would get it instantly if they saw it through a viewfinder, but because it's in front of their noses they don't have a clue.

#313 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:25 PM:

Xopher, these are riffing off the Culture ship names from some of Iain M. Banks's books (rather like the modern SS, USS, HMS, and MV; Bruce's post here has a link to a list of the vessels from the books, and there's a table of the abbreviations also, which are Banks'.
GCU is General Contact Unit, GOU is General Offensive Unit, GSV is General System Vehicle--in the other abbreviations, "L" stands for Limited, and "R" for Rapid, with the rest as noted in the General group.

Has anyone come up with the GOU Think of This As A Learning Experience? Or a GCU Damn, Not Another Learning Experience?

LOU Stop Wasting My Time

#314 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:33 PM:

Serge@292, followed by the sequal Hello, Dali?

#315 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:10 PM:

Zopher - as Fidelio said, but expanded.

The Culture is (very) post-Singularity and post-scarcity. The primary (but not sole) actors are Minds, which are (very powerful) AIs that are normally housed on Ships. (There are humans and members of other species - and lots and lots of them - in the Culture, but while some are very important, most are not, and few are directly involved in any day-to-day decision making - what there is of it - in the Culture), Minds/Ships get to choose their own names, and are broadly classed into three basic groups -

(X) System Vehicles are the spine of the Culture - each one is a reflection of the Culture as a whole, with millions/billions of inhabitants (Minds, Drones, and human(oids)), and the ability to, in a crisis beyond any comprehension or understanding, recreate the Culture completely so long as it survives - each one is, essentially, a VonNeumann machine with the purpose "The Culture Lives, so long as I do" among its other purposes/goals/drives.

(X) Contact Units are the Culture's "troublesome meddlers" - they go out and seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly stick their nose in places where nobody thinks they belong except the Culture (and not even all of them). Think of them as being Starfleet, only with more "poking about looking at interesting stuff", a lot more "huh, so what are you all up to, then?" and no Prime Directive.

(X) Offensive Units are a relatively new development in the Culture - they had a Big War a couple of thousand years ago that Contact couldn't take care of, and started building real, dedicated warships - mostly disposables (Minds can be backed up, see...). They are not at all apologetic or euphemistic about their purpose - the classes have names like Torturer, Thug, Assassin, etc.

Each type of Unit is broken into three basic categories -

General - these are the big ones. A GSV can be a hundred kilometers long or more, and have a population of over a billion. The other types are (much) smaller, but if something has a G in the front of its name, it does its purpose Very Well, Thank You.

Medium - mostly found in the System Vehicles - these were originally GSVs that were downgraded as the type evolved.

Limited - means that its capability is lower than expected for a Ship of this general type - it could be smaller than normal (usual), or otherwise restricted.

Rapid is essentially reserved for Offensive Units - ROUs trade firepower for speed, basically, and are little more than drives, guns, and a Mind. Generally considered pretty disposable, always considered dangerous.

dROUs are a special case - the d stands for "Demilitarized". Most ROUs (and other military vessels) were mothballed after the last war - handfuls are kept around for pure military purposes, and a larger number were demilitarized (this does not just mean physically, AIR, there is suggestion that the Minds were at least partially repurposed as well). "Demilitarized" is a relative term - even a demilled ROU is still very fast, and all Culture Ships are capable of exerting pretty severe amounts of force against a target, should they feel the need. dROUs are used as couriers and fast response craft, and the like.

Ship/Mind names tend to be somewhat whimsical, and are often vaguely related to the Ship's outlook, etc. There are a handful of other Ship classes, or variations on existing ones, but most Ships fall under GSV, MSV, GCU, LCU, ROU, GOU, and LOU.

And now you know more than you needed/wanted to know about the Culture's Ship classification system.

#316 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:11 PM:

Zopher = Xopher. Sorry, brainfart - I have an acquaintance in other places who goes by Zopher, and crossed circuits.

:-(

#317 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:18 PM:

So, regarding Ten "X" in the bed.

We went to a baby shower today, and the most amazing book was seen I don't know if it was a gift, or if it belonged to one of the wee ones in attendance.

"Ten Little Dinos" It was a listing of ten different species of dinosaur and the ways in which they died. It has, in the middle of the page, a pair of floating googly-eyes, which are in the proper place for each of the beasties (and the archeologist who comments on them all being extinct).

It was written in 1996.

#318 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:19 PM:

#310: "How do I know if what I saw was the producer's cut of Pan's Labrynth or the other one?"

When I wrote "the producer's Pan's Labyrinth", I was noting that the producer of The Orphanage was also involved with the earlier film (specifically, Guillermo del Toro was the writer and director of Pan's Labyrinth).

I wasn't suggesting that there was a special version out there that might have spun things differently.

#319 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:23 PM:

GCU It Was Around Here Somewhere
ROU Was It Something I Said?
LOU Don't Go Away Mad
GCU Something In the Way It Moves Me
GSV Next Time For Sure
GSV This is What I Had In Mind
ROU This Might Be a Little Awkward.

#320 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 11:44 PM:

Xopher,

The thing I find fascinating about the game of naming Minds is that these are AIs of great mental power and often subtlety, so it's a real challenge to come up with a name that might satisfy the humor of such a being.

#321 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:01 AM:

Scott @ 315 (and anyone who is new to Banks): The Culture is (very) post-Singularity and post-scarcity.

Very, very indeed. A Few Notes on the Culture by Mr Banks is worth reading while you wait to pick up the books.

Which reminds me... there's an ARC of Matter that has been sitting on my desk at work since before Christmas and I haven't even read it once yet. So this is what Alzheimer's feels like.

#322 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:08 AM:

Oh yeah, another book I think people should read, though to be honest I don't think one needs to read all of this one, but a healthy sampling of it is beneficial.

For years it was by my bedside, and my travelling comfort when I was on the road.

The Oxford Book of English Verse Anthony Quiller-Couch Edition.

The only thing I would change (of the verses chosen... there are some I wish were therein, and for which he held no brief, or had no room in the press of so many choices) is to have the Shakespearean sonnets he chose numbered as they are in the canon.

But it's a great romp, full of serious, and satrical poems (Nashe, In Time of Plague), whimsical (Stevenson, Jolly Good Ale and Old), sappy, (Thackeray, Boullabaise), delicate (Anon, Western Wind).

I wouldn't mind a bit from the Great War, but for what it is, it's damned good.

#323 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:12 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 321

Which reminds me... there's an ARC of Matter that has been sitting on my desk at work since before Christmas and I haven't even read it once yet.

You have a new Culture novel and you haven't read it yet? Does not compute.

If you don't want it, I'll take it.

#324 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:23 AM:

If a new "Culture" book dropped out of the sky, I'd put it in my queue, somewhere between the Books I Feel I Should Read and the Books I Really Want To Read And Am Saving To Appreciate Later.

I was badly disappointed by Bank's Excession, and while numerous bits of Look to Windward were great, I think it was terribly padded.

#325 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:24 AM:

Paul Duncanson #321:
Envious.

Over at Asimov's forum, it's been pointed out that "Alastair Baffle's Emporium of Wonders" by Mike Resnick shouldn't be in as it was published in an issue with a 2008 coverdate.

#326 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:31 AM:

The Mike Resnick story (which is excellent BTW) was mentioned in reference to the Nebula Preliminary Ballot.

#327 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:32 AM:

Terry Karney @ 287

Until recently I assumed that the current fashion for total removal of pubic hair was the result of a gradual trend resulting from the decrease in size of bikini bathing suits. Showing pubic hair has always been a major taboo in this culture, so to wear a skimpy bathing suit, a woman was required to remove any hair not covered by the suit bottom. As the fashion for smaller suits became more popular, women who followed it began in increasing numbers to simply remove all their pubic hair rather than leave just a tiny patch.

But now, I wonder. The increasing sexualization of children may have another side: a desire to infantalize older women, both to make them more desirable to men who have become more and more conditioned to desiring younger and younger girls, and to make the women less powerful in the men's eyes.

I find this thought very disquieting.

#328 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:46 AM:

B.Durbin @ 312... I figured out it had to be a little human, or something far more scary. Heheheh...

#329 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:47 AM:

JESR @ 314... I like Doris Day in Que Seurat Seurat...

#330 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:53 AM:

Bruce @ 323: In my defence, Christmas was spectacularly busy (I sell books) and the rep from Hachette handed it to me at a time that was really busy, even for Christmas while I was already engaged in trying to catch up on some Stross (Atrocity Archive and Jennifer Morgue back to back isn't exactly wasting one's time)... so I put it aside until I had more free time.

Everyone has at least one author whose books rate "money is no object, drop everything now, aquire and read immediately" treatment. Banks is pretty much the top of my list, thus my comment about Alzheimer's. I am sorely tempted to go into work right now (4.50pm on a Sunday) to retrieve it.

To change the topic away from my shameful neglect, has anyone put forward Sagan's Demon-Haunted World in the must-read books list?

#331 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:15 AM:

Scalzi has some thoughts on the election. Succinctly, he thinks the Hillary-can't-be-elected trope is nonsense, because the Clintons fight back the way recent Democratic candidates have not.

#332 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:30 AM:

I regret that I tried to read "The Algebraist" and find I cannot cope with reading another Banks this century.

#333 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:32 AM:

Bruce (StM): Yes, the push to make, otherwise adult women, possess/retain a feature of juvenile status bothers me. I'm not sure if that's because it reflects on me that I see it as a making women seem like girls, or because I see it as an attempt to make them seem as children.

In any wise, that it's becoming an imposed standard bothers me. Candy, at Feminism Without Clothes had a recent post about how she dealt with the social pressures to shave her legs (IIRC at about the age of 10). There was some interesting commentary.

On the personal level, if someone wants to shave, I don't have any issue with it. Chacun à son goût. It's the sense of social pressure to conform to what is "proper" appearance, the undertones of why those norms are being pressed which give me pause.

#334 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:34 AM:

Dido #270:
Re:Shaun Tan. Have you read "The Arrival"? I think it's his best yet. Staggering.

#335 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 02:03 AM:

Serge @ 306: Sounds like a GSV to me. Would be funnyier in a Very Fast Picket, but they can't spare the whimsy, and it's the wrong sort of bad taste for a GCU.

Xopher @ 309 and Scott at 315: The Culture is definitely a post-scarcity, cornucopia society, but it's not singularity fiction in the normal sense. Successive generations of AIs have bootstrapped their design way beyond human complexity, but there was no exponential explosion. Resources are still limited, evolution comprehensible, human society stable. Minds (even the human-level ones) are all anchored in physically real bodies (even if it's a starship) and none of the characters we meet are involved in an imploding virtuality.

What it does have is an exhilarating image of a Right makes Might utopia. The super-human Minds are also super-moral. They essentially keep humans around as pets, whole ecosystems as gardens or aquariums, and that's fine because, like most people, they care about their companion animals. Power with compassion and a sense of humour. And a nice post cold war message that if you're going to contruct machines with the power to destroy civilization, you'd best make sure they have your best interests at heart. Ken MacLeod's Newton's Wake covers this from another angle.

I agree with what Bruce said in 320 about the ship names. The Culture is described as insufferably smug in their (scientifically demonstrable) superiority, and aware of it. Most of the names include some joke or a clever reference. It's a challenge to pack that into the short phrase that reflects personality and on the role that class of ship plays. It's a bit like the game with production company names.

Thanks everyone for your ship names! Very fun.

#336 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 02:48 AM:

Tying together two sub-threads, I think

GOU Mistakes Were Made

works very nicely.

#337 ::: B.Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 02:53 AM:

Nicole and TexAnne at 310, 311:

That sounds much like a game we played in southern Ontario where the rhyme went approximately like this:

Stella ella ola
quack quack quack
say es chico chico
chico chico check check
es chico chico,
bello, bello, bello, bello, bello, so:
one, two, three, four, FIVE!

... and on five the last person in the hand-slapping circle would attempt to slap the next person's hand, while that person would try to pull their hand away in time. Whoever lost the contest would be out for the remaining rounds.

#338 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:01 AM:

b. loppe,

Stella ella ola
quack quack quack
say es chico chico
chico chico check check
es chico chico,
bello, bello, bello, bello, bello, so:
one, two, three, four, FIVE!

that sounds like a version of (columbus, ohio, 1980s)"quacka della omar."

quacka della omar,
qua qua qua.
dance to my chica
chica, chica
cha cha cha
follow, follow
follow, follow follow fol-low
1,2,3,4,5

(i never saw it written down, of course, so that's just my best rendering of the sounds.)

#339 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 07:42 AM:

As an obsessive Wikipedia lurker†, I've often thought that some of the best Wikipedia policies could be Culture ship names.

GSV Assume Good Faith
MCV No Angry Mastodons
LSV Right to Vanish

GCU Ignore All Rules*
MCU Don't Bite the Newcomers
LCU Protect the Wrong Version

ROU Don't Be a Dick

-----
† I study trolls and social dynamics there
* Actually dROU More of a Guideline, Really in disguise

#340 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 07:46 AM:

The Hub has just suggested

MCU Don't Repeat Yourself II

#341 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:16 AM:

Last one for a bit, I promise...being a little meta* about the situation, I often wonder if there is a Rapid Offensive Unit Ess.

I don't think they exist.

-----
* It's a word now.

#342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:28 AM:

Abi @ 340... Your hubby's suggestion reminds me of the title of a real movie(*) - Missing In Action: Part Two: The Beginning.

(*) Well, that was a Chuck Norris movie anyway.

#343 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:30 AM:

With which book would you suggest starting reading Iain Banks?

#344 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:33 AM:

Ralph Giles @ 335

What really excited me about the Culture, when I realized just what Banks was saying about it, was that it embodied one sociological truth I've been convinced of for a long time: that a human individual or group can be live and evolve in its own way quite well even in the presence of vastly more intelligent and perceptive beings.

This is, of course, heresy according to the traditions of sf. How many times has a writer told us that our civilization simply wouldn't be able to stand up to even the knowledge that such beings existed, let alone the need to interact with them? It would destroy our precious little egos, was the consensus. Well, I never believed that*, and I was really happy to find an sf writer who didn't either. And even happier to find others later on, like Stross and MacLeod.

I'm not a believer in the Singularity, as least as presented to us by its most enthusiastic prophets, like Kurzweil and Tipler. But I do believe that there will be AIs, or some form of self-organized intelligent system, that can and will evolve to be vastly more intelligent and effective agents than we are. That may be a good thing, a bad thing, or a totally neutral outcome from our point of view; I don't think any particular flavor of outcome is predictable or even can be predictable about such an event. Which is precisely the definition of "Singularity": an event beyond which prediction breaks down. But if we're going to talk about it (and sf writers will), I'm glad there's someone pointing out that it needn't be the end of, or even a very bad thing for, the human race.

* And trust me, my ego is not crushed.

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:34 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 305... I saw The Orphanage last night. I liked it. Before the movie began, I noticed that, in the row just before us, were two young women with a 5-year-old boy. Guess what? They left soon after the movie's beginning. Obviously, someone had not done any research.

#346 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:40 AM:

Serge @343:
With which book would you suggest starting reading Iain Banks?

To answer your real question: I'd suggest starting with either Consider Phlebas or Player of Games. I think Phlebas is weaker than Player, but either is a good start.

Then read the other of the above set.

Then read Use of Weapons. You may find yourself needing to reread that one. It's...not quite the same book after the first go.

To be pernickity and literal, Iain Banks writes literary fiction such as The Crow Road and Scottish magical realism like The Bridge (both excellent novels). Iain M Banks writes science fiction.

Same guy, namespaced for your convenience.

#347 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:57 AM:

Bruce @344:

I like the ways you put that.

Another way of saying it is that right now humanity is like the smartest kid in the local high school. One day, though, we're going to go to college and find out that there are people a lot smarter, quicker, stranger and funnier than we are.

Since that's pretty much what has happened to many of us as individuals, and since we haven't been crushed by the experience, I'm going to take some convincing that our species can't manage it as well.

(I'm not a big fan of Singularity evangelists because a fair few of them want me to believe in their miracle, but scoff at me for believing in another one.)

#348 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Abi @ 346... Yes, that was indeed my real question. Thanks for the answer.

#349 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:26 AM:

Abi @ 347... One could also compare it to the experience of hanging around Making Light.

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:28 AM:

Tania @ 232... Thanks for the trip report. I liked your comment that "...if not one died and/or was permanently injured, it was an adventure, not a fiasco..."

#351 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:39 AM:

Dave #332

I don't remember which Banks book I read to what page, but it disinclined me to finish reading the book (I may have gotten 2/3rds through it...) the only memorable things for me, were that I disliked it, especially the writing style, and it disinclined me towards reading anything else by Iain Banks (I have looked through other Banks books, and not been grabbed by any of my skimmings to want to read/buy).

I keep hearing "singularity" and mostly shrugging. Evangelical movements and promotion don't much appeal to me.

Ideas are one thing, implementation is another. I thumbed through the Gibson-Sterling joint novel and thought, "I wish I could read this, it looks like there's interesting stuff in it" for the -ideas-, but I'm allergic to -both- of their writing styles and mostly allergic to the points-of-view/characters they use.

(The books I'm happiest with are e.g Janet Kagan's Mirabile stories, where the characters are people I'd like to be sitting around in a living room or family room with in conversation, or books in which their might be some really vile characters but I find them fascination to read -about- and the writing style, is one I find conducive to reading--no e.g. unresolved anapestic foot (as in a Bruce Sterling story in Asimov that I figured out the meter/rhythm was why I kept bouncing out of on the very first page) paragraph after paragraph after paragraph, active voice as opposed to large amounts of passive voice (the hallmark of bad technical prose... which I read reluctantly for information content in nonfiction, or because I am being paid to do work and the reference material is all passive voice which I have to read), or changing the subject within a paragraph, etc.

#352 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 11:28 AM:

B.Loppe #337: Stella ella ola and miriam beetle #338: quacka della omar

That sure beats the heck out of "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe".

p.s.: "tiger"

#353 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:01 PM:

It makes sense that humanity would keep going as something far greater rose from them. It's somewhere between realizing you're finally not the smartest person in the room, as Abi said, and acknowledging God. Most of the people I grew up with knew without a doubt that something far, far greater existed, capable of watching them, judging them, helping them in ways they couldn't explain, et cetera. Why would they crumble when faced with proof?

#354 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:07 PM:

With regard to those classical nude statues, now some archaeologists are saying that all classical statues were originally *painted* (pretty garishly, according to some reconstructions I've seen). Would that include anyone's body hair? A bit hard to imagine, but some prurient old connoisseurs in those days might have paid extra for more detail.

PS: I got this from an article on p.14 of the Jan./Feb. '08 issue of Archaeology. It might also be on their website (www.archaeology.org), though I'm suffering from a bit too much web fatigue to check.

#355 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Faren: Statues (and buildings) of antiquity were painted. We don't know quite how (though we can say; from a few examples with remnants, the blank eyes of Roman busts were painted to look like real eyes).

I don't know of any finds in Pompeii/Herculaneum which have examples of statues.

What I do know is the pubic hair of male figures was (at least in Greece... I forget for Rome) sculpted into the statues. Stylised, to be sure, but present.

For the female figures, they were smooth. Was it preference for smoothly shaven women? Was it that haeterae were shaved, and they provided the models? Was it because, absent a penis there wasn't seen to be anything there (certainly actual anatomy wasn't even pretended at for female statues)? Was it because the paint schemes preferred made it harder to decorate, if the hair was represented?

I have no idea. All I know is there are Egyptian records of people shaving. And Classical statues of women are smooth-groined.

That, and if people can think of a variation in habit, and apply it to sex, some will practice it, others will fetishise it, and some will abhor it.

#356 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:42 PM:

Things retrieved from not falling asleep:

Serge, a newer song might be "The Man (Ray) in the Miro"


Also, how about GCU Seemed like a good idea at the time.?

#357 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 12:48 PM:

Ok, this is one of those cases of synchronicity, or critical mass, or something (sort of like the dino book being related to "ten little 'x' in the bed").

The blog Pretty Dumb Things just had a post on the subject, and her take on it is different from the suggestions being bandied about here (at least between Bruce (StM) and myself).

#358 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:02 PM:

JESR @ 356... Let's not forget Elvis in One For The Monet, Two For The Show...

#359 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 351... Your reaction to Banks reminds me of my own to Peter Hamilton's stuff. I tried two novels of his and decided that this was not my cup of tea(*). Not sure why. I just didn't push my buttons, the positive ones anyway. I found some racism in it, which is a button I'd rather not see pushed. Still, I want to give Banks a try, because of all the recommendations.

(*) Besides, I'm a coffee person myself, and I view tea as glorified hot water. But, here, as with stories, YMMV.

#360 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:23 PM:

My apologies to Kathryn from Sunnyvale and Serge - this is the first time I've been back to Makinglight since trying to catch up last weekend, having had rather a bout of Life(tm)[0]. I clearly get to buy a round when we -do- sort things out more gracefully.

[0] More accurately, a bout of Work-eating-Life(tm)

#361 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:23 PM:

Dave Luckett: The Algebraist was Banks's attempt at modern space opera, which IMO is a \very/ acquired taste. The Culture books are different -- usually shorter and less tangled (not short and straight, but tA was a monster); you shouldn't judge Banks solely on this book. Try reading the author's notes referenced in #321; I think you'll find his attitudes somewhat agreeable.

#362 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:36 PM:

GOU Dubious Prospects
ROU Volume of Awareness

GCU Your Other Left
GSV Rhizome

#363 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:36 PM:

xeger @ 360... I'm not sure what you're apologizing for, but having a round sounds good, no matter what the reason. By the way, the French word for round is tournée, which can also mean a tour or a circuit. Let

#364 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Graydon @ 362... Didn't the GCU Your Other Left use to be known as the GCU Your Left Or My Left? There was also the GCU Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right But Three Lefts Will.

#365 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 02:29 PM:

Serge@358, and then there's "Love is a Manet Splendored Thing."

#366 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 02:51 PM:

JESR @ 365... And Jerry Lee Lewis's Magritte Balls of Fire...

#367 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 02:56 PM:

That sounds itchy.

#368 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Um, Monet Can't Buy Me Love?

#369 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 03:59 PM:

JESR @ 367... Kind of. But it also sound like John Wayne's 1960s western. Coming soon, John Wayne in Magritte, a story of passion and art in the Wild West. See him come face to face with Jack Elam.

"Draw!"

#370 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:00 PM:

Linkmeister... Ever seen Bill Mumy and James Stewart in the comedy Escher Brigitte?

#371 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:36 PM:

#289 -- Well the annulment says, as Effie Grey stated, it was granted on the grounds of 'incurable impotence.'

That sounds decided indeed.

However, as her letters show, she was miserable and increasingly so, and when she met Millais, they fell in love, and so one could rightly say that was the real reason for the annulment, which was granted on the grounds that the marriage had never been consumated.

There's a painting that Millais did of himself painting himself painting the falls, Ruskin and Grey. He's in the foreground, Grey's the center and Ruskin's in the back, of which much has been made in terms of seeking the clues to their triangle by interpreters of both Ruskin's and Millais's lives.

Love, C.

#372 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Even though the The Algebraist is not a Culture novel, I think if Dave didn't like it, he's unlikely to care for the Culture novels. It has more commonalities with them than differences, IMHO.

The Bridge might perhaps be worth trying, though. It's very different, and I think its humanity is more easily seen than in many of Banks' novels. (Either SF or mainstream.)

#373 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:49 PM:

There's always Natalie Portman in Degas-den State.

#374 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:59 PM:

TexAnne @ 373... What did you think of Portman in Star Wars I: The Van Gogh Menace?

#375 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:07 PM:

I kind of liked Clint Eastwood in Play Misty Vermeer.

#376 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:08 PM:

TCM showed Preson Sturges's 1944 comedy The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. It's about a young woman who's pregnant, and a friend who loves her tries to help and says he's the father. Near the end, she gives birth - to 6 boys. A montage follows of newspapers with front-page headliners about the event, and the last one says:

Canada Protests - Possible But Not Probable

#377 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Don't forget Billy Idol, and Monet, Monet, Cruise, and Newman in, The Color of Monet, Al Pacine and Matthew McConaughey, in Two for the Monet Melanie Griffith and Ed Harris in, Milk Monet, Kim Bassinger and Danny Devito, in Even Monet, and the classic (about all those people who got the art you wanted) Danny Devito, Bette Midler and Judge Reinhold, in Other People's Monet

#378 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:20 PM:

Serge @ 364
Didn't the GCU Your Other Left use to be known as the GCU Your Left Or My Left?

I believe that was an excursion vessel with a policy of making passenger-directed excursions.

There was also the GCU Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right But Three Lefts Will.

I would be much more concerned with the GSV Statistical Certainty.

#379 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:25 PM:

I think that even if you couldn't stomach "The Algebraist", some of Banks earlier culture stuff is definitely worth trying, from "Consder Phlebas" to "Use of Weapons" to "The Player of Games" (Especially this last one, I sat gripped by the climax whilst waiting for a plane in Denmark). Although the writing style is somewhat similar, the Algebraist is too long and dull to be worth reading, I barely finished it, and I finish many books that other people give up on.
(And I write some dull stuff myself. Funny how it gets critted to death)

His books that are not actually SF but yet veer quite close are also hit and miss. At all costs avoid "A song of stone", it has an unsympathetic character and is dull, I couldn't get past chapter 2 or so. "The wasp factory", which of course I read at school, is very good though.

This is what is frustrating about Banks, he produces good and bad stuff. Perhaps "bad" is too harsh, but since the general criterion is "something that people want to read", then I think it good enough.

#380 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Thanks for the recommendations, everybody. It's probably too much for me to hope that my usual bookstore to carry Banks's SF novels, but who knows? Anyway, the last week of February, I'm flying to the Bay Area, which does have quite a few bookstores with a wide selection.

#381 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:49 PM:

Isn't tonight when PBS starts showing new adaptations of Jane Austen novels?

#382 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:54 PM:

I have a FluoroYasid request, please:

I've been asked about a SF story--possibly by Asimov (so thought the asker)--that's the opposite of Bicentennial Man (where a robot becomes human).

In the unknown story, a man becomes more and more non-organic, and a company/ factory claims ownership over his non-organic self. It sounds like a good story, but I'm not getting a quiver of a neuron recognizing it. Anyone else?

#383 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 06:12 PM:

Serge @ 381: yes. If you're using a DVR, search for "Masterpiece." Masterpiece Theater is changing its name, or breaking into three separate shows, or some such. Anyway, people are having trouble finding it in the various DVR guides.

Persuasion is on tonight.

#384 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 06:21 PM:

Stephanie @ 383... Thanks for the tip. As for a DVR, I must confess I'm still using a VCR, but I've been thinking more and more about switching. I taped many things for us to watch once my wife was done with her writing deadline, and the stack is now huge and I can't remember what's on them anymore. (Yes, I should have used postits.) Anyway, re DVR brands, do you have any recommendation?

#385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 06:24 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 382... The only bell this rings for me is the movie Ghost in The Shell. One of the characters has been greatly enhanced by the corporation he works for, to the point he can't live without the implants. That means he can't quit because he'd have to give the implants back to the corporation.

#386 ::: Madeline Kely ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 06:35 PM:

Serge, there was a pretty good discussion about Banks's writing on this Making Light thread.

And, to counter abi's recommendation, I'll just say that Consider Phlebas is one of the few books I wish I could unread. There's one particularly horrible scene in it that's going to be in my head for the rest of my life, and oh how I wish it was not.

#387 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 06:38 PM:

KMadeline Kely @ 386... Thanks for the reminder about that thread. Which of his books would you recommend?

#388 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 06:45 PM:

First of all, how stupid am I for spelling my own name wrong? Oops.

Secondly, I've only read one Banks SF novel, and that was the afore-mentioned CP. The pointlessness of the horrible scene, the unexpectedness of the horrible scene, and the horribleness of the horrible scene all combined to put me off ever reading any of his other SF novels. I would've had to read them through half-closed eyes, afraid to be similarly ambushed at every page turn.

But I have read some of his litfic, and can happily recommend The Crow Road, The Wasp Factory (where the horribleness does at least make sense and fit and seem to have something to do with plot and character and not just be there to nauseate the reader), and Walking On Glass.

#389 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 07:07 PM:

The worst thing about that awful scene in Consider Phlebas is that it's pretty much totally unnecessary, plot-wise.

I'll second the suggestion of Player of Games as a good intro to the Culture novels. Use of Weapons has some awfulness in it, but it's necessary awfulness. And the structure of the book is a wonder.

#390 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 07:50 PM:

Don't forget Banks' non-M (non-SF) books of which "Crow Road" is my favourite. "Whit" is also very good. He's a writer that took two goes for me to appreciate; I was too young the first time I tried him. His writing tone can come across as smug, but I get past that because he writes well enough to justify a certain amount of smugness.

#391 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:00 PM:

"Crow Road" has a killer opening:

'It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach's Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.'

Lifted from the relevant Wikipedia entry.

#392 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:25 PM:

Ugh. I've remembered what you're talking about now. Had successfully blocked that sequence. Re necessity V nterr jura gur pbzzragf V'ir frra ryfrjurer gung gur vagrag jvgu gur Rngref jnf gb pbasebag hf jvgu gur "fgeratgu bs bhe pbaivpgvbaf" fb gb fcrnx, gung gur Phygher jbhyq crezvg n phyg yvxr gung, xrrcvat gur jnl bcra sbe gubfr jub jnagrq gb rfpncr, ohg abg bgurejvfr vagresrevat. Arprffnel? Dunno.

Banks does like his awfulness, though. There's something about facing the ick in all of his books. And things not being what they seem.

Use of Weapons was the one I read first, and it will always have a special place in my heart, both for the structure and the amazing ending. I didn't enjoy Player of Games as much, but agree it's a gentler introduction than the others.

Of his non-sf fiction, I second The Crow Road. I also really like Complicity, his second person experiment. (Now think about the title!). If you like the Culture books, I'd also suggest Inversions which is more of a fantasy setting.

One problem I have with the later Culture novels is that they show too much from the point of view of the Minds, which fell flat for me. Lost the image of inexpressible sophistication they had in my imagination. I didn't care much for the main plots of either Excession or Look to Windward, but there are still some beautiful parts. The Gray Area was facinating, and I just love that bit before the fan-service cnegl jurer Xnor qbrf uvf yvggyr guerr yrttrq qnapr va gur fabj. Vg'f ornhgvshyyl jevggra, naq gur pbagenfg jvgu Pbafvqre Cuyronf jbexf fb gbhpuvatyl gb qrrcra gur rzbgvba bs gur fprar. It's just one of the ways Windward is a homage to the whole series.

#393 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:58 PM:

Soon Lee, #334, I have The Arrival on my printer right now. I picked it up at the library Friday -- I had to wait my turn in the queue.

#394 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:03 PM:

Dave -- I think you'd like Espedair Street, as it's fun Banks, and quite unlike the bits of The Algebraist you disliked, I should think.

#395 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:05 PM:

Kathryn @ #265:
I think it gives you a flavor and hint of what a p.s.g.e. would be like, about as close an experience as anyone can get in the early decades of the 21st century(1).

Well, feel free to gift me with admission and travel expenses and I'll be happy to go! Since I'm still in the scarcity thing, money for random vacations is fairly nonexistent; adding a fourth vacation on top of the three high-priority ones (worldcon, dance, theater) is kind of tough.

the piano that drives you out to the deep-playa coffee-tiki bar where you can sit on a couch, sip freshly made espresso, and watch the trebuchet launch flaming watermelons? That's all gift.

I'm never sure why people think of drugs as a gift; definitely not the way to attract me to an event.

#396 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:06 PM:

(general)
I'll be at Denvention, theoretically doing dance things and trying to rewrite the Hugo award criteria and generally hanging out.

#397 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:10 PM:

If you want to see Anthony Head playing an upper-class flaming asshole, watch the Masterpiece adaptation of Persuasion.

#398 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:23 PM:

Susan @ #396: Obviously, as the deal gets closer we're going to have to establish a list of attendees and a little get-together.

My attendance at such an event will be determined by Squirmy, of course. My mom tells me I was a colicky baby. Oh dear...

#399 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:31 PM:

Soon Lee @ 391: "Crow Road" has a killer opening

And a truly superb television adaptation.

#400 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:36 PM:

Serge #359

The issues I had with Hamilton's Reality Dysfunction novels were two-fold

1. I did not like and did not much appreciate the viewpoint of the lead character--I could not understand why any sensible bright female would find him attractive, much less -several- of them be fawning over his not appealing self

2. It turned from SF with interesting ideas and places (and a protagonist I wanted to treat to a painful castration...) into horror, and I'm not much of an appreciator of horror.

The writing style was okay, it was what the content turned into and viewpoint character issues I took umbrage with... going from SF and pulling a rotate 90 degrees into another axis without warning, into an area I'm not again particularly fond of, eventually caused me to stop reading after hundreds of pages.

#401 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Soon Lee #334: I have been dying to get my hands on *The Arrival* (also a newish YA called *Incarceron*--can't remember the author) but am strenuously avoiding bookstores until some recent necessities and indulgences get paid off.

Marilee: I'm not even contemplating borrowing it from the library--even for a preview. The minute the *Red Tree* came into my bookstore I bought a zillion copies or so and sent them to everyone I knew.

#402 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:59 PM:

Not really caught up, but I disliked Banks' The Bridge enough that not only didn't I finish it, I didn't even look at anything else by him. (Classic "first impressions" lossage there...) Various suggestions and warnings noted, but I'm not reading quite as voraciously as I used to, so I don't know when I'll get around to him.

Hmm, while ML's recipes and poetry are getting indexed, perhaps someone else should collect the book recommendations with the reasons/commentaries?

#403 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:07 PM:

GOU A Blatant Attempt at Intimidation
LOU I Know You Are But What Am I
GCU I Know I Am But What Are You
GCU I'll Show You Mine...
ROU PWNZOR
GCU Go To Exotic New Places and Meet Exciting New People
LOU And Blow Them Up

Diatryma @ 277: "I'm a bit disappointed that the Dirty Harry had ".44" in the middle, rather than ".XLIV"."

I imagine that had you mentioned that, the artist would have either glared at you furiously or, possibly, immediately got to work rewriting it.

Bruce Cohen @ 344: "Which is precisely the definition of "Singularity": an event beyond which prediction breaks down."

I've always found this definition a little odd--do they really think there's a singular event beyond which we'll never be able to see? I conceive of the point where the future becomes unpredictable as constantly receding into the future. It is, admittedly, getting closer, but we're never going to hit it. There's never going to be a moment where technological advance in the next millisecond is going to be utterly unfathomable. (Well, no more so than usual. (And that's the other thing: how good are we at predicting the future right now, pre-Singularity?))

#404 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:12 PM:

Oh, and re: shaving pubic hair, I suspect it's simply a matter of fashion, which shifts back and forth over time. Of course, nowadays fashion is complicated by the mass media, but even so, I'm reluctant to read too much significance into it.

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:26 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 400... Is Hamilton's Reality Dysfunction the one where things start going bad on a newly settled planet when not-nice people like Al Capone start escaping from Hell? If it is, the mix of genres didn't bug me too much. I eventually gave up because the author's voice was unpleasant to me and, well, life is too short, so why waste it?

#406 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:42 PM:

Did you know that yesterday was Rush Limbaugh's birthday? I found that out last year because that's when my youngest nephew was born, and I had looked up which famous people had been born on that same day(*). When I told my sister-in-law, she exclaimed "Gross!"

(*) I much prefer my sharing a birth day with Cardinal Richelieu.

#407 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:46 PM:

My favorite Banks sf novel is Inversions, which is not really a Culture novel, as it takes place somewhere else, and only refers to the Culture at two removes. I also like Feersum Enjin, which is not a Culture novel. I was very surprised that I liked it as I don't usually like stories told even in part in dialect or other variant voices; it always seems like a gimmick. But somehow this one worked, and the title is extremely apropos.

On the other hand, I really liked Look to Windward, which a lot of other people seem to find dull and/or pointless. But it is in fact the story of a Mind and one other being, not of the Culture, who ultimately find that life has brought them much the same things, and taken away the same things as well. There are threads of some of tha same themes as in Use of Weapons and The Player of Games, but IMO they're subtler and better woven into the other themes. In some ways it's a revenge story and a story about the uses of power, but it's very much about how those things affect the characters, which made it work for me.

#408 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:57 PM:

heresiarch @ 403

I suspect that the definition of singularity comes from a somewhat too-literal repurposing of the mathematical use of the term, specifically in Catastrophe Theory. I take it to mean that there's a period of great change, considerably longer than a couple of hours*, past which we cannot reliably predict anything about society as long as we are still a relatively great distance in the past.


* I think the original description of what Kurzweil means by "singularity" comes from Drexler's "Engines of Creations" in which he says that technology and society will be totally changed on a particular day and hour. A lot of people seem to have just accepted this without thinking about it much, and without realizing just how improbable it is.

#409 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 11:24 PM:

Susan @395

KfS: the piano that drives you out to the deep-playa coffee-tiki bar where you can sit on a couch, sip freshly made espresso, and watch the trebuchet launch flaming watermelons? That's all gift.

I'm never sure why people think of drugs as a gift; definitely not the way to attract me to an event.

Other than the coffee, no drugs mentioned. (It'd be like taking drugs at a WorldCon--aren't things interesting enough?)

The piano (1 piano, 8 bicycles, metal to attach all together) was one experience in traveling traveled about the playa. Others have included Santa's sled, boats, dragons, jellyfish, and a mammoth.

The coffee-bar was a coffee house (espresso machine, couches, tables) transplanted to the outdoors. People spent time there making coffee and meeting the neighbors.

The trebuchet--who doesn't like a trebuchet? While I can't immediately find a picture of the watermelon trebuchet, here's a a video of one flinging a flaming piano (note- my sound is off, so I have no idea what the sounds of this video are.)

Alas I can only point to burningman (look! shiny!) but not bring people there, monetarily speaking. Because it has been the second most science fictional place I've been (first: total solar eclipse), I'd be remiss to not mention it here.

#410 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Bruce @408,

Vernor Vinge coined the use of "singularity" to mean an event where people on our side couldn't understand (and science fiction writers couldn't describe) the people on the other side of it. The name has stuck.

V.V. also described one type of singularity as the 'hard takeoff,' where things go weird essentially overnight--a sentient machine learns to improve both itself and its ability to take over other computational resources, say.

But a 'singularity' in a wide Vingean sense doesn't have to be a hard takeoff: humans developing language fits the definition without being an overnight event.

Kurzweil's writings about the singularity doesn't involve a discontinuity or hard takeoff--nothing goes hyperbolic. His claim is more that by the time $1000 can buy more computation than exists in the entire world today, areas of life that we don't associate with IT will have become associated with it.

In that scenario, people aren't going to be saying "Hey, there's been a singularity: it's all different now" no more than I spend much time exclaiming "By gum, I'm carrying around a $60 phones that has the speed of a 1970 supercomputer." But a world with $20 Hello Kitty 'My First Genome Sequencer' could happen faster than we're expecting.

#411 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:10 AM:

Paul Duncanson #399:
Yes, it was. I didn't have high expectations so was very pleasantly surprised. I have a soft spot for "Crow Road" as a goodly chunk of it was about growing up in the 80s. I could relate.

Serge #359 & Paula Lieberman #400:
With the Night's Dawn trilogy, my problem was partly the length but mostly the invocation of the deus ex machina at the end (after taking soooo long to get there) that made me want to throw it at the wall. I prefer his Greg Mandel books ("Mindstar Rising" etc.) and overall I think his shorter works (short stories or stand-alone novels) are better.

dido #401:
*SNAP* We discovered Shaun Tan in 2006 & since then have given away many copies of "The Arrival", "Red Tree" and "The Lost Thing" as birthday and Christmas presents. We got the Australian version of "The Arrival", released October 2006 about a year before the U.S. version.

Serge #405:
Yes.

Bruce Cohen #407:
I too really liked "Look to Windward". For me, it was about consequences, about loss, about not being able to go home because while home is still the same place, you're no longer the same person. Also, the conversation about midway through that was composed of ship names was genius.

#412 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:30 AM:

<baffled>Jusr who the feck is Joe Quesada</baffled>

#413 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:35 AM:

Serge (#406): I get to share mine with Nikola Tesla, Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert, and David Hartwell.

That's all well and good until you find out that we also share it with Jessica Simpson.

#414 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:43 AM:

Serge @ 384: TiVo still has the best DVRs on the market, but the new HD one I just got from DirecTV seems to have most of the same features under a somewhat clunkier interface.

#415 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:55 AM:

99 more kleenex in a box
99 more kleenex
take one out, shred it about
98 more kleenex in the box.

Alternately, one more on the floor, put it back in the box, or something to do with eating it.

This brought to you either by the cat or the one year old.

#416 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:25 AM:

Soon Lee @ 411

That may be the best part of "Look to Windward", that there are a lot of themes in it, enough for a lot of different readers with different viewpoints.

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 410

Yup, we don't have too many Ralph 124C41+ moments, do we?

I seem to remember a comment by Kurzweil in "The Singularity is Near" where he at least implies a hard takeoff. My feeling is that a hard takeoff is highly unlikely; there's too much lead time involved in building hardware to be able to turn new generations around in only hours or days, or even small numbers of weeks. And the other thing Kurzweil's scenario depends on is that learning how to model the human mind/brain to the point of reliable uploading is straightforward; my reading of what we know now about neuroanatomy and neuron function is that the processes we need to emulate are extremely nonlinear, and are going to be much harder to tease apart than most CS or physics researchers understand. Which may be why so many of them are looking for shortcuts, like Penrose's idea of consciousness being a quantum effect in cell microtubules.

#417 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:43 AM:

I share my birthday with a few people I'd rather not (Donald Trump).

In the realm of not so bad/good

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Dr. Alois Alzheimer
Margaret Bourke-White
Ernesto "Che" Guevara Serna
Eric Heiden
Boy George

and, for too damned funny:

14/06/2160 - Montgomery Edward Scott, Aberdeen Scotland, Engineer, Enterprise, NCC-1701


For Today (14 Jan. we get the following).


Benedict Arnold
Ludwig A F Ritter von Köcel
Albert Schweitzer
Martin Niemüller

And, most amusing (at least to me)

Herr Doktor Reiner Klimke, whom I mention only because I watched him win the Gold in Dressage at the '84 Games.

#418 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:56 AM:

Further belated thought which seems to fit the spirit:
GSV Only When I Laugh

#419 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 02:06 AM:

Bruce @416,

I call them "21st century moments" when they do happen.

The planet HD 189733b has aluminium oxide dust in its high atmosphere haze. 63 light years away, has haze, well, that's nice. Tell it to yourself of 30 years ago, and it's almost a "...Man...Walks On Moon" moment (Onion news if warning needed).

Kurzweil--no, he's not in the hard takeoff school, more of an augmentation and merger school.

#420 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:46 AM:

I have retrieved my advance copy of Matter and will start it in the next few hours. In the meantime, Mr Banks has allowed us to fast-track the ship name discussion by including a handy list of characters in an appendix. I suspect some of you might consider this spoilerish so I'll rot-13 them for ease of avoiding.

ZFI Qba'g Gel Guvf Ng Ubzr (Fgrccr pynff)
SC Rvtug Ebhaqf Encvq (Qryvadhrag-pynff, rkTBH)
TPH Rkcrevrapvat N Fvtavsvpnag Tenivgnf Fubegsnyy
TPH Vg'f Zl Cnegl Naq V'yy Fvat Vs V Jnag Gb (Rfpneczrag pynff)
TPH Yvtugyl Frnerq Ba Gur Ernyvgl Tevyy
Yvirjner Ceboyrz (Fgernz-pynff Fhcreyvsgre)
Abj Jr Gel Vg Zl Jnl (Reengvp-pynff (rk Vagrefgryyne-pynff Trareny Genafcbeg Pensg))
TPH Cher Ovt Znq Obng Zna
ZFI Dhnyvsvre (Gerapu pynff)
TFI Frrq Qevyy (Bprna pynff)
TPI Fhogyr Fuvsg Va Rzcunfvf (Cynvaf pynff)
TPH Genafvrag Ngzbfcurevp Curabzraba
YFI Krabtybffvpvfg (Nve pynff)
TPH Lbh Anhtugl Zbafgref
ISC Lbh'yy Pyrna Gung Hc Orsber Lbh Yrnir (Tnatfgre pynff, rkEBH)

#421 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:02 AM:

Dave Bell@412: Joe Quesada is the current Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics. The particular matter referred to in that Particle is a Spider-Man story just completed called "One More Day", in which Spider-Man makes a deal with the Devil (yes, really) -- his dying Aunt May has no longer been shot, but in exchange he's now never been married.

#422 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:04 AM:

I share my birthday, Wikipedia saith, with, inter alia.

the Baal Shem Tov
Guiseppe Peano
Theodore Dreiser
Samuel Goldwyn
Man Ray
C.S. Forester
Norah Lofts
Don Bradman (take note, Dave Luckett!)
Lyndon B. Johnson (who was born on the same day as The Don)
Martha Raye
Mangosuthu Buthelezi (that one, I'd rather not have known)
Ira Levin
Sri Chinmoy
Antonia Fraser
Joel Kovel (who asked me, on inspecting my bookshelves, what was so interesting about science fiction)
Tuesday Weld

#423 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:29 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 408... Drexler's "Engines of Creations" in which he says that technology and society will be totally changed on a particular day and hour

With the panicky manager I have, I hope I'm not on call the day that Singularity hits.

#424 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:31 AM:

Stephanie @ 414... So TiVO is still it. Thanks for the mention.

#425 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:35 AM:

Christopher Davis @ 413... Tesla? Neat. Jessica(*) Simpson? Not so neat.

(*) I almost wrote 'Marge'.

#426 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:38 AM:

Soon Lee @ 411... I take it that you mean yes to Reality Dysfunction being the Hamilton book I thought Paula was referring to, and to life being too short on stories that one dislikes?

#427 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:39 AM:

Soon Lee... Words got dropped. #426 should have ended with "...life being too short TO WASTE on stories that one dislikes?..."

#428 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:52 AM:

The Crow Road was the book that made me into a Banks fan. I'm grateful to Paul Duncanson for the link he posted in his comment #399 -- I hadn't realized that the TV adaptation was now available on DVD, and I've now discovered that Netflix has it. Win.

#429 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 08:21 AM:

Terry Karney @ #322: The Oxford Book of English Verse Anthony Quiller-Couch Edition.

Horace Rumpole's favourite book!

(Isn't it Arthur Quiller-Couch, though?)

#430 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 08:26 AM:

I was born on the exact same day as two people who regularly post to Making Light and also (at least) one thoroughly obnoxious celebrity.

#431 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Born on the same day as actors Angela Cartwright, Jeffrey Combs and Neil Hamilton.

#432 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 09:50 AM:

Some of the people who share their birthday with me:

Ahmet Ertegün
George Liberace
Primo Levi
Henri Brisson
Dean Cain
J. K. Rowling
Milton Friedman
Hank Jones
Whitney Young
Oleg Popov
France Nuyen
Geraldine Chaplin
Evonne Goolagong
Dirk Blocker
Stanley Jordan
Mils Muliaina
Fatboy Slim

William Quantrill (euwww)

#433 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:07 AM:

People I've heard of whose birthday I share:

Nathaniel Bowditch
A. E. Housman
King Faud I of Egypt
Robert Frost
Joseph Campbell
Tennessee Williams
Paul Erdos
Gen. William Westmoreland
Sandra Day O'Connor
Leonard Nimoy
Alan Arkin
James Caan
Nancy Pelosi
Richard Dawkins
Erica Jong
Bob Woodward
Diana Ross
Patrik Suskind
Martin Short
Curtis Sliwa
Lincoln Chafee
Leeza Gibbons
Keira Knightley

Not a bad list.

#434 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:08 AM:

I share my birthday with Martin Luther King, Jr. When January is aligned just right, my birthday is a national holiday.

#435 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:14 AM:

Fragano @ 422, let's not forget also Ed Gein & Pee-Wee Herman, aka Paul Reubens,

Other Fluorospherically-related(?) events 479 BCE, Battle of Plataea; 1883 CE, Krakatoa/Krakatau erupts; 1896, Shortest recorded war, UK and Zanzibar; 1928, Kellogg-Briand Pact outlaws war; 1939, Flight of the Heinkel He 178, first practical jet aeroplane; 1962, Mariner 2 launched

#437 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:25 AM:

Ugh, Seth Breidbart and I share a birthday with that noxious slime generator, and with Bill Higgins? (January 12. Actually, Seth a few hours younger than I am...).

===========

Winter white cover the trees, rock, and grass
Winter white falls from the sky.
Snowflakes that angle their way to the ground,
They dance in the wind as they fall.
Blanket of white where the air meets the land
And thickening quietly grows
Plows break the silence and white of the world
Illusions so quickly dispelled.

[It's snowing out. Predictions are a foot of so of it. WBZ radio didn't read any college class cancellations, because it has had more than 530 educational institutions call in cancelling classes today. Instead the station suggested people check on-line... Meanwhile, I remain incensed with the sociopolitical fascist media control... I want balance in reporting, not the women-belong-in-purdah-fettered-and-anyone-who's-wealthy-deserves-their-wealth-and- deserves-to-get-wealthy -while-those-who-aren't-are-being-deservedly -punished-and-no-aid-but-condescending-Daddy-knows-best-Simon-Says-You-Do-What-I-Tell-You -charity-should-go-them....(WBZ editorial slant changed from relatively center to rightwing POS when Westinghouse sold off what had been the Westinghouse Broadcast System to some rightwing--partisan giant media conglomerate which created "the Infinity Broadcasting System" and e.g. put Paul Harvey "news" on it. ) Not even in Boston is there any "liberal news media" other than PBS is off on its own axis, and the fascist junta was doing editorial interference to PBS, too, with its censorship and slanting and outright gagging of information and information would-be distributors...

====

Regarding Peter Hamilton, I though that The Reality Dysfunction cover four or so books... and yes, that was the one that had a resurrected Al Capone.

#438 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:32 AM:

Paula @ 437... I thought that The Reality Dysfunction cover four or so books

Yes, it did. I went thru the first two books, possibly out of sheer stubbornness, possibly hoping it'd get better, but after those 1200 pages, I decided to call it quits.

#439 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:55 AM:

Serge @ 438

I lasted through the first book, and when gur qrnq fgnegrq znepuvat va rnearfg, so did I. IMO, and it is an elitist opinion, I admit, is that to deal with that level of existential melodrama* being Kit Marlowe may not be a necessary condition, but it comes close.


* I woldn't exactly call this phrase an oxymoron, but is there a technical term for a phrase components create major cognitive dissonance together?

#440 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:05 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 439

I could have dealt with the mixture of horror/fantasy and SF, but, after reading Hamilton's Pandora's Star, I came to the conclusion that my own problem is with the author's voice. In the case of Pandora though, I quit early on because his other books had taught me that I wouldn't like it any better later on.

#441 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:11 AM:

Hmm, several of us here seem to have similar -dislikes- in books!

#442 ::: Niall McAUley ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:12 AM:

The Reality Dysfunction books are collectively called "Night's Dawn". They were published in six volumes in the US, three in the UK.

My birthday, meanwhile, is shared by:

Noah Webster, Oscar Wilde, Michael Collins, Enver Hoxha, Angela Lansbury, Günter Grass, Peter Bowles, and Tim Robbins.

Also on that date, in 1982 Halley's comet was detected for the first time on its most recent visit to our neighbourhood using the 200 inch telescope at Mt. Palomar.

#443 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:24 AM:

I forgot to mention that my birthday is always a notional holiday, as I share it with the US flag, and the US Army.

#444 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:42 AM:

My birthday is shared by (hurray!) Sir Edmund Hillary and Dame Diana Rigg, and (boo hiss!) Thomas Friedman. Notable events include the first moon landing, Viking 1's landing on Mars, and the death of James Doohan.

#445 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Getting back to general open-threadness, today's SFGate column by Lea Garchik includes this miscellaneous item, passing along a useful word:
"So it's raining outside and obituary pages are swelling, as they always do in winter. Here, from Beth Sanchez, is a new word to add to your vocabulary: maldorphins. These bleak-mood makers are the opposite of endorphins. Laura Jacoby's sample sentence: "Just seeing President Bush fills me with maldorphins."

Fortunately, the Australian Open has just started, so I can watch tennis at odd hours and import some endorphins from Down Under.

#446 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:05 PM:

Kathryn @ #409:
Other than the coffee, no drugs mentioned. (It'd be like taking drugs at a WorldCon--aren't things interesting enough?)

Maybe you've built up so much tolerance through regular use that you don't notice its effects, but caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, etc.) certainly is a drug, and not one I'm willing to either do casually or get addicted to. Pour an espresso down me and you'd have to peel me off the ceiling (shudder); even drinking hot chocolate too often gives me unpleasant cardiac effects.

I find worldcon plenty stimulating without drugs, too.

#447 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:06 PM:

I share my birthday with Joseph Smith, Thomas Malthus, and Akihito (and then no one I've heard of since Harry Shearer in 1943). I am not inspired by this to go forth and found a religion of doom.

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:21 PM:

"Kathryn from Sunnyvale and the Religion of Doom" sounds like a movie I'd pay good money to see.

#449 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:31 PM:

some of the people sharing my birthday: Tiberius, Jean Chardin, Jean d'Alembert, Rodolphe Kreutzer, Alexander Blok, W C Handy, George S Kaufman, Gene Amdahl, Tazio Nuvolari, Terry Labonte.

#450 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Serge 448: Well, Sunnyvale IS on a Hellmouth.

#451 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:40 PM:

According to wikipedia, my birthday is shared by Patrick Henry, John F. Kennedy, T.H. White, Bob Hope, Danny Elfman, many people I've never heard of, and Tenzing Norgay, who (with the late Sir Edmund Hillary) made the first ascent of Everest on what would have been our mutual birthday had I actually been born before 1953.

#452 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:51 PM:

According to Wikipedia, I share a birthday with Albrecht Durer, Fairuza Balk, Fats Waller, and Andrei Sakharov.

#453 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:10 PM:

I was born on the same day as Eva Peron, Traci Lords, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Robert Browning, Thelma Houston, and Amy Heckerling. Not bad, but not entirely thrilling, either.

Beethoven's 9th Symphony had its premier on my birthday. It's also the day the Lusitania got blowed up.

#454 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:12 PM:

I share a birthday with Katherine Hepburn; any additional names would be gilding the lily.

#455 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:21 PM:

ethan! how was NYC? did you see E2?

#456 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:28 PM:

I share my birthday with Leonardo da Vinci, Emma Thompson, and Henry James. That seems enough.

#457 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:36 PM:

ACcording to wikipedia, I share my birthday with lots of other people, but almost none of them are particularly famous. About the only one I recognise is Michael Heseltine, who was some sort of scummy Conservative politician in the 80's and 90's here in the UK.

And JS Bach- at least someone of lasting importance was born on my birthday. I was getting worried it was all just middle of the road people like me.

#458 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:37 PM:

ethan @ 453... It's also the day the Lusitania got blowed up.

"It's NOT my fault!"

#459 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:44 PM:

My birthday: Mr. Walker*.

*for "The Ghost Who Walks", of course

#460 ::: Suzanne F. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:45 PM:

dido @ 260, 401:

I love Eleanor Farjeon! Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard is one of my most fondly remembered fairy tales--and look, the full text is online, complete with sheet music.

Incarceron is by Catherine Fisher. I've not read it yet myself but the kidlit bloggers have been excited about it. IIRC it was Cybils shortlisted.

B Durbin @ 285:

We used to sing "Uncles and aunts, little children lost their pants."

#461 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Epacris #435: That's true. Also Harry Reems. It's also the Volturnalia.

#462 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Birthday sharing:

Will Rogers
Walter Cronkite
Gig Young
Art Carney
Martin Balsam
Tito Francona (current Red Sox manager's father)
Markie Post (Night Court!)
Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid)
Sean "Diddy" Combs (shrug)

A couple of 19th century Supreme Court justices, and (Drumroll...)

1470 - King Edward V of England, one of the two princes in the Tower

As a Josephine Tey fan, the last makes me shed a tear for Richard's tarnished reputation.

#463 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Susan #455: Sadly, time didn't allow for seeing the play, much as I would have loved to. I definitely have that company marked down in my brain for future reference, though.

Otherwise, the trip was good--whenever I visit my brother and his wife, the most exciting part is going to their studio and seeing what they've been working on (they're both crazy artist-types).

How was Providence & the fetish fair?

#464 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:59 PM:

I was born the same day (not just the same date) as Jerry Rice. Which explains my lack of athletic ability.

#465 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 02:17 PM:

For some odd reason, several medal winners share my birthday. A friend commented he had no famous people on his. There did seem to be a lack of really notable types for him, and a lot of also rans in the olympics (4th to 7th places).

#466 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 02:46 PM:

George Bernard Shaw, Carl Jung, Serge Koussevitzky, Jason Robards, Gracie Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Salvador Allende, Mick Jagger, Sandra Bullock and Kate Beckinsale, to pluck a few. The very day I was born seems to have been the start of the Cuban revolution, and it was the last full day of the Korean War.

Also, Mozart's younger son, which was interesting, because I'd never thought about his children. Wikipedia informs me that he was taught his music by none other than Salieri.

#467 ::: mary ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Like most of you, I suspect, I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade, which was about 48 years ago in my case. I've read a lot of books. It's hard to pick favorites, but there have been a few that stand out because I read them at the perfect age, or something, when I was hungry for just that book and felt lifted out of my own world into a universe that I loved passionately. The first was The Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum), which I read in 2nd grade. I read it nine times in a row. The second, which I loved just as much but read only twice, was War and Peace (Tolstoy), which I read when I was twenty. I know it's not for everyone--I have very intelligent and well-read friends who've said they just can't get through it--but I'd have to put it first on my list of favorite books, to this day.

War and Peace started me on a long and fruitless search for another book that would effect me in the same way. First I read everything Tolstoy had written, then I tried other Russian authors, then branched out. I never really found another book that could compare with it; I never fell in love with another character in a book the way I'd fallen in love with Prince Andre; I sobbed when he died.

Other books I've loved include Look Homeward, Angel (Thomas Wolfe) and The Shipping News (E. Annie Proulx). And I'll add a few books from the children's shelf: The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams), The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein) (I sobbed when I first read that--I was in grad school), and last but not least, a book every parent should read to their kid because you can't not laugh: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Judi Barrett, priceless illustrations by Ron Barrett).

#468 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:02 PM:

Serge #426 & 427:
Yes.

To all of it. I've just finished reading "Sandworms of Dune"* by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson. Advice: Don't.

On a more positive note, that'll be the last Herbert/Anderson book I'll ever read.

*The DUNE fanboy in me succumbed. Bad fanboy!

#469 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:05 PM:

I share a birthday with Gallileo, Douglas Hofstader and Matt Groening, which would make for a very interesting joint party*.

But the person I am most pleased to share a birthday with is Susan B Anthony, which is fitting since I am named after another early American feminist: Abigail Adams.

-----
* Well, I could talk to two of them while the skeleton in the corner looked suitably Gothic. That's interesting, in its own way.

#470 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:08 PM:

Soon Lee @ 468... Coming soon Whodunits of Dune, by the above. Will you indeed be able to resist?

#471 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Well, the most notable people born on my birthday are Mata Hari and Elizabeth Bathory. Clearly there's something to be said about astrology. Think I'll go bathe in the blood of some virgins and then maybe spy on someone, or at least make a series of crummy choices regarding men, and get accused of spying on someone.

(OK, so David Duchovny is a bit less notorious.)

#472 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:27 PM:

From recent culture, I share my birthday with Julia Roberts, Bruce Jenner, and Bill Gates. Alas, I share the income of none of the above.

Looking further back, some interesting others include Evelyn Waugh, Jonas Salk, Edith Head, Ivan Turgenev, and Eliphalet Remington, as in the Remington rifle.

#473 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:30 PM:

I think I cover a fair spectrum with Terry Pratchett and Saddam Hussein. It makes me think my name doesn't have enough double letters in it.

#474 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:33 PM:

Are all those birthdays adjusted for calendar changes? (I forget when the Julian Date calendar went into effect, but I seem to recall that there was a jump of 10 or 11 days that occurred at that time...)

"Timing and synchronization"

[Ask me in person about "WHY don't they synchronize to GPS?!" ]

#475 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Susan @446,

We'll have uncaffeinated drinks in our bid party at Denver. (Can you have dairy? We might bring our cream-soda "kit": add cream to soda of choice, tastes like an ice cream float.)

True about caffeine as a drug--in a dry outdoors environment I mostly avoid it because it can promote dehydration.

Most food-art projects aren't caffeinated there. For example, people in our camp brought a shaved ice machine (hand cranked) as their art project. They spent the days making snow cones. While they brought standard flavors, they also went through a large bottle of maple syrup. Maple ice on a hot summer's day is a delight, we learned.

#476 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:39 PM:

Actually, when I was checking dates (todays, and my friend's) I was amused to see, on the same website, B. Arnold, 11 days apart.

Speaking of Terry Pratchett... I heard from my folks that he's been diagnosed with an aggressive, early onset, Alzheimer's (which ties into my b-day).

Apparently he's expected to be able to carry out his present social committments, and books in progress, but not a lot more than that.

Looking into it I see that it was on Boing-Boing, and this quotation of his seems the best way to close, After announcing his diagnosis, Pratchett added a post script: "I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think - it's too soon to tell. I know it's a very human thing to say 'Is there anything I can do,' but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.

#477 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Bruce @ 407, Soon Lee @ 411: Maybe I'll try Look to Windward again. I remember just not having any sympathy for Hub's character. The loss wasn't real for me, and that really weakened the impact of the whole story.

I really liked Feersum Endjinn. Great perspective on spam. But I've given up recommending it; all my friends have bounced off the first dialect chapter.

#478 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:56 PM:

I share a birthday with the following notable (for good or ill) people:

Ludacris, American Musician
Moby, American Musician
Roxanne Biggs-Dawson, actress, B'Elanna Torres-Star Trek Voyager
Tommy Shaw, American Musician
Lola Falana, born in Camden, New Jersey, actress, Golden Boy
Mickey Hart, drummer, Grateful Dead
Brian De Palma, American Director
Arvo Pärt, composer
Ferdinand Marcos, Philippines President, 1965-86
Paul "Bear" Bryant, American Coach
Alice Tully, born in Corning, New York, singer/patroness, Carnegie Hall
David Herbert "DH" Lawrence, England, writer, Lady Chatterly's Lover
O. Henry, American Writer
James Thomson, songwriter, Rule Britannia

On the day I was born, Congress passed a bill authorizing food stamps for poor Americans.
On my 1st birthday, the 17th Olympic games closed in Rome, Italy.
On my 2nd birthday, Bob Dylan had his 1st New York performance.
On my 3rd birthday, the Beatles cut "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You" with Andy White on drums.
On my 4th birthday, the Beatles recorded "All I've Got to Do" and "Not a Second Time" at Abbey Road.
On my 5th birthday, George Harrison formed the Mornyork Ltd music publishing company.
On my 6th birthday, the Beatles' "Help!," album went #1 and stayed #1 for 9 weeks.
On my 7th birthday, the Rolling Stones performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. (Oh, well, can't win them all.)
On my 8th birthday, the Beatles' Magical Mystery Bus was driven around England.
On my 9th birthday, the Beatles recorded "Glass Onion" at Abbey Road.
On my 12th birthday (hey, gotta skip some, I'm 48), Egypt adopted its constitution.
On my 21st birthday, Chile adopted its constitution.
On my 42nd birthday, the worst terrorist attack on US soil occurred.

There were also a lot of Misses America crowned on my birthday, and it seems a lot of tennis tournaments ended on it as well, though I care not two pins for either type of event.

#479 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:19 PM:

Xopher #478: Plus your birthday is the Diada.

#480 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Fragano 479: Which, if my brief research is correct, celebrates the crushing defeat of the defenders of Barcelona by the Bourbonic Plague Pretender, Philippe d'Anjou, in the War of Spanish Succession.

#481 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 475... Maple ice on a hot summer's day is a delight

It is a delight on any day of the year. The best though is when it's just been distilled, and its maker pours the very hot syrup onto snow. Yum!

#482 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:48 PM:

Actually I'm glad the Bourbons won that one. I just couldn't resist the phrase 'the Bourbonic Plague'.

#483 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:56 PM:

Xopher #480: Got it in one.

#484 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:58 PM:

Suzanne @460: Hooray, another fan. Books of Wonder reprinted *The Little Book Room* not long ago and I almost fell over when I unpacked that box.

One of the reasons I can't remember anything anymore is the bloggers. Leila, over at Bookshelves of Doom, is a good friend of mine and she keeps me up to date.

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:04 PM:

I just registered for Denvention. Their site says that the Hyatt Regency is right next to the Colorado Convention Center. Does 'right next' really mean what it usually mean?

#486 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:13 PM:

Bruce Cohen @#439: ... to deal with that level of existential melodrama* being Kit Marlowe may not be a necessary condition, but it comes close.

Strangely enough, much of the melodrama later turns into plot points! (Yeah, I liked Night's Dawn.)

And, Soon Lee @#411: That's not a deus ex machina, it's "the cavalry"! It's fully heralded in advance, and much of the plot revolves around learning about it, finding and reaching it, and trying to survive until it is reached.

#487 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:32 PM:

Serge #470:

Resistance will be easy.

/RANT/
The discovery of Frank Herbert's notes for "Dune 7" was exciting. At the time, I hoped they would publish them 'as is'. But then it turned that Herbert/Anderson were going to write "Dune 7" based on Frank's notes. But first, they 'had' to lay the groundwork by writing the Dune Prequel trilogy followed by the Legends of Dune trilogy. Despite grave misgivings, I gave them a chance; I wanted to see how the Dune saga finishes. So eight books later with "Sandworms of Dune" ('the grand climax of the Dune saga') I can now wash my hands of them, and don't say I haven't given them a fair go.

I don't like their writing style, it's clunky. Their versions of Frank Herbert's characters all appear to have lost at least 60 IQ points and regressed to angst-ridden teenagers. The plots lack imagination, are full of convenient 'coincidences' & deus ex machina and much that is inconsistent Frank's canon. It was like reading bad fanfic written by a young teenager.

For me, the saga is ended. It ended with "Chapterhouse Dune". I'm still keen to read the actual Frank Herbert notes for "Dune 7". The rest has been a bad dream.

/RANT/

#488 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Soon Lee @ 487... I can now wash my hands of them

Using sand?

I tried to read one of them, and didn't go very far. Clunky? For me, the word that comes to mind was 'pedestrian'.

#489 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Soon Lee- I too would love to read the notes for number 7.
I keep wanting to put some of the chapter headers from the Dune series onto T-shirts.
Where some people are trekkies, I like Frank Herberts work, yet many people have never heard of anything more than Dune. Sure, some of it was entirely, boringly average and rather clunky, but the best of it!

I have never read any of the Prequals, nor the book 7 sequals, and I suppose I never shall. Less discerning friends of mine don't seem to have a problem with them, but then they havn't read the entire Dune series.

#490 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:41 PM:

#390 -- "Crow Road" made a terrific BBC Mini-series.

I had no idea Banks was involved in it.

Love, C.

#491 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:41 PM:

re 470: You got much further than I did. I couldn't finish what I rudely refer to as God-Awful of DUNE.

#492 ::: Suzanne F. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:42 PM:

Speaking of kids' books, the Newbery for this year was just announced. It's Good Masters, Sweet Ladies by Laura Amy Schlitz, a really smart and original collection of monologues about life in a medieval village.

#493 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Serge @ 470: Coming soon Whodunits of Dune, by the above. Will you indeed be able to resist?

(Soon Lee - look away, this might be unpleasant for you).

Please don't joke about things like that.

#494 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Judging from post #462, I share a birthday with Linkmeister.

#495 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:54 PM:

Paul- Arghhhhh!

We need a story liberation army, to free old stories and characters and give them honourable retirement, rather than be brought back again and again to tittilate a jaded public.

#496 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:57 PM:

#489
Are you perhaps referring to e.g., Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment and Dragon in the Sea/Under Pressure/maybe another title or two??
But stay far, far, FAR away from The Green Brain, oh did that ever stink!

[Note, here some of us are, actually talking literature!!!]

#497 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:59 PM:

We are the Futuremen
In the prozines we've not equals
Produced by Hamilton
In an endless chain of sequels....

From Gilbert and Sullivan Meets Captain Future, or Alas, Who Loves a Spaceman?

#498 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 06:02 PM:

Paula- Yes, those, and more.
"The Santaroga barrier" for example. Now there's a story that people might find interesting today...

I seem to recall finding the Green brain bot so good, but it is years since I read it.
In fact I think I've managed to aquire his entire fiction output over the years, which isn't too bad given I've been buying from charity and 2nd hand bookstores in the UK.

#499 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 06:08 PM:

Happy birthday, Paula and Seth. Fifty-four for three from Fifty-Four!

#500 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 06:26 PM:

David Harmon #486:

You're right. There were portents & heralds. It was my reading experience that was deus ex. Gur jnl "Gur Anxrq Tbq" gbbx bire ng gur raq jnf gb zr fb yvxr n qrhf rk fpranevb gung vg bssraqrq zl frafvovyvgl. V thrff vg'f orpnhfr ng gung cbvag, vg sryg yvxr gur punenpgref (nsgre fgevivat sbe fb ybat) noqvpngrq erfcbafvovyvgl, naq nyy jnf znqr jryy ntnva ol 'n uvture cbjre' va n pynffvp qrhf rk znpuvan fpranevb.

That aside, there was a lot to like about the trilogy and Peter F. Hamilton's other works. I very much enjoyed "Pandora's Star"/"Judas Unchained".

Guthrie #489:
One of the problems I have is that they are all marketed as a single entity & IMO that tarnishes Frank Herbert's efforts. If I had read the prequels in my mid-teens, I suspect I would have been fine with it. As it is now, reading according to the DUNE timeline, you've got 6 books by Brian & Kevin before "DUNE", then the two at the end. It's like going to an art exhibition, being presented with a child's sketches initially, then a series of well-executed oil paintings and ending with more scrawls. The contrast is jarring.

#501 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 06:28 PM:

Melissa @ #494, I'd rather remember all those births on our date than Rabin's assassination on the same day in 1995.

#502 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 06:52 PM:

Some of the people I share a birthday with, according to Wikipedia.


Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Jacques Marquette
Carl von Clausewitz
Brigham Young
Nelson Riddle
Andy Griffith,
Marilyn Monroe
Edward Woodward
Morgan Freeman
Colleen McCullough
Cleavon Little
René Auberjonois
Frederica von Stade
Ron Wood
David Berkowitz
Lisa Hartman
Heidi Klum

#503 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 06:58 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 493...

"Jessica of Dune"? What's Jessica Rabbit doing on Dune? Filming "The Looney Dunes"?

And how long do you think it'll take before Soon Lee, unable to resist any further, peeks at that link of yours and he stumbles back, moaning "My eyes! My eyes!"?

#504 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Serge #503: *snort*

#505 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:06 PM:

"Paul Atreides will be back in Last Man Sanding."

#506 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:07 PM:

I've been slowly re-reading Consider Phlebas as my stuck-in-traffic-jam book, and wishing I had read it without knowing it was a "Culture novel". In the first 2/3 of it at least, the Culture is not portrayed any more sympathetically than the Idirans, and I would have liked to have read it at least once without being pretty sure who the "good guys" were and how the overall struggle would end.

On the other hand, if I'd read it first, I'm not sure I'd have read any more Banks. I like it, but it's not as instantly engrossing as The Player of Games, the first Banks I read, was.

As for Feersum Enjin, I'm one of those who sadly bounced, hard, off the dialect. I stare at the page and it just doesn't have any words on it.

#507 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:18 PM:

I share my birthday with Timur-i-Leng, Tom Lehrer, Brunel, and Baudelaire. Also with a chimpanzee actor and Jenna Jameson, admittedly.

#508 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:24 PM:

The dialect bits in Feersum Endjinn slowed me down for a few moments, then I did what let me get through the dialect sequences in The Bridge - I read them out loud. At first, no, there don't seem to be words on the pages. But there are sounds. You just have to find the accent.

Getting the accent right in The Bridge was a little easier (take a broad Scottish accent then turn it up to eleven) but once you get it and you can hear Bascule's voice, it gets quite easy. Back when the book was new I would read the bit about birds to people to demonstrate and they would get it quite quickly.

#509 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:46 PM:

Paula 496: [Note, here some of us are, actually talking literature!!!]

I could have sworn you were discussing Herbert.

#510 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 07:51 PM:

I remember enjoying Feersum Endjinn, but can't recall what it was about.

Against a Dark Background, on the other hand . . . vg'f uneq gb sbetrg gung svany tevz eriryngvba.

#511 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 08:14 PM:

Serge 503 & 505

Spicing things up around here, are you?

#512 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 08:23 PM:

Paul Lieberman @ 511... Nah. Just having my pun'jabar worm its way into your head.

#513 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 08:24 PM:

Soon Lee @#500: Ohg gur Anxrq Tbq *qvqa'g* "gnxr bire", vg onfvpnyyl tenagrq n srj jvfurf!

And it was also a classic "test by temptation", of a single human... whose character had been developed over the entire epic.

#514 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 09:15 PM:

I've always wanted to see crossover novels.

The Dune Is A Harsh Mistress

The Bene Gesserit merge with Mike the Mentat and throw rocks at those mean old worms. In a confusing jump to another 'verse, they find the Kwisaac Asimov, the superauthor who can write many books at once.

#515 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 09:21 PM:

Kwisaac Asimov, the superauthor who can write many books at once

Best known of which is the cycle of short stories collected as I, Mentat.

#516 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Steve C @ 514... I've always wanted to see crossover novels.

How about a crossover between SF and britcoms? Benny Hill as a Bene Gesserit... Or Are You Being Wormed?...

#517 ::: Teresa Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:26 PM:

I share a birthday with:

Marguerite of Navarre
Oleg Cassini
Anton LaVey
Tricia Helfer

Also, though we've drifted from the subject, I have another countdown song. I'm curious if anyone else knows it.

Ten little chickadees sitting on a vine
One flew away and then there were nine

Chorus:
Chickadee, chickadee
Happy and gay
Chickadee, chickadee
Fly away

The rhymes for the rest of the verses as I know them are gate, heaven, stick, hive, door, tree, shoe. The final two verses are different: "Two little chickadees, my song is almost done," followed by "One little chickadee sitting all alone."

Does anyone else know these? My mother is a native Floridian with French-Canadian ancestry, just for reference.

#518 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:30 PM:

Terry Karney @ #476: So, did you see the good news that came out this last week? A group of researchers have had success treating a few patients with advanced dementia using chemicals usually found present in the brain (but greatly decreased in dementia patients.) While this is obviously years from distribution, the fact that it is restorative rather than preventative is heartening.

I wouldn't be surprised if it gets on an accelerated track either. Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia are pretty horrifying, and the prospect of relief can get a lot of people moving.

#519 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:47 PM:

B. Durbin: No, I hadn't seen that news. Given that dementia runs in Maia's family, that's something I hope pans out.

#520 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:35 AM:

The Dune's a Harsh Mistress,

See her as she rolls
Awash near oceans rolls
Close enough to climb
Though she looks like quite safe land
The dune's a harsh mistress
The dune is ocean sand.

Once the shoreline dry,
To watch the seabird fly
The dune that overlooked
The sea with shining waves
And then the tide came in
And the the drowning cries,
The dune's a harsh mistress
It's to love a swell.

I fell off of her crest
I fell off of her grass
I fell down in the surf*, yes I did
And I tripped and a crab caught me,
And I drowned and I drowned adrift
The dune's a harsh mistress
And rocky beach no gift

The dune's a harsh mistress
Especially she she shifts.

* alt -- I fell down on my ass...

#521 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Serge #503:
I found out about it when reading "Hunters of Dune". An 'event' was referred to that I *knew* never happened. Careful online investigation revealed that the tale of that 'event' would unfold in the forthcoming "Paul of Dune" at which point my expectations took yet another dive.*

Oh, and it doesn't matter who your favourite DUNE character was, the writers have included them in the last two books, sometimes more than once.

David Harmon #513:
It was very much my response to it; it rubbed me the wrong way. Vs guvatf tb ernyyl onq, tb svaq Zhzzl/Qnqql/SFZ/'gur anxrq tbq'/qvivar-ragvgl-bs-lbhe-pubvpr naq gurl jvyy znxr vg *nyy* *orggre*. Vg jnf gbb cng & fznpxrq bs eryvtvba VZB, gb juvpu V unir n ulcrefrafvgvir erfcbafr. This is probably an instance where we'll agree to disagree.

*I didn't think it was possible anymore, but there you go.

#522 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:03 AM:

Soon Lee #521

Pall of Dune--what the posthumous addenda are.

I leafed through the first I think of them, and put it back on the store shelf having decided that I wasn't all that interested in it.

#523 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:36 AM:

Paula Lieberman #522:
If it was anything else, I would have done the same, especially after being warned by friends. Unfortunately, I suffer from a severe case of 'Dune fanboy'.

Another portion of blame falls on innate curiosity & optimism: 'surely it can't be that *bad*?'.

#524 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:42 AM:

Soon Lee @ 521 From what I gather, Paul of Dune, Jessica of Dune and Irulan of Dune will fill the 12-odd year gap between Dune and Dune Messiah. Let us pray that they don't spot the 3500 year gap between Children and God Emperor.

There will likely be an ongoing series of previously unknown events, at least until people stop buying the books. They say on the official web site "From this point on, Brian and I expect to write a DUNE novel only every other year, and alternate with new books of our own."

Perhaps there's some kind of program to help you get over your case of Dune Fanboy. For me, all it took was Kevin Anderson's name on the cover. I guess you need more. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

#525 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:49 AM:

Soon Lee @ 523

'surely it can't be that *bad*?'

Oh, yes it can. Bwahahahah!*

* Or, as Spider Robinson once wrote, back when paperback sf was $1.25:
"Beware the jubjub bird and shun,
the buck-and-a-quarter-snatch!"

#526 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:50 AM:

I am reminded, probably ineluctably, of a fad, some twenty years ago, for conjuring up titles for Gor books. You have a real Dancer of Gor, so why not a Newsreader of Gor.

It looks as though we are doing the same with Dune.

Which sems a pretty clear indicator of how far the concept has fallen.

#527 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:41 AM:

Paul Duncanson $524:
I read the Dune prequels et al. only because of the (tenuous) link to Frank Herbert's notes. Now that that's done, there is no reason for me to read anymore; I'm not that much a Dune Fanboy(TM). Should I relapse, you'll be the first to know. I still would love to have a look at the contents of the notes though I doubt that will ever happen.

I am currently reading (and very much enjoying) "Making Money", the latest Terry Pratchett.

#528 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:48 AM:

I would probably be classed as a "fanboy" except that I only read the real stuff actually written by Herbert. So what does that make me? Obsessed? Or am I holding true to the authors original vision? Or should I start a jihad against gullible fans who think that the prequals etc are important and related to the originals?

#529 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:50 AM:

I read Dune, once long ago, liked it well enough, but never read any of the sequels.

Consider Phlebas was the first Culture novel I read, and I think it is indeed better not to go in knowing that the Culture are supposed to be good guys.

I was caught out by the end of the Night's Dawn books. I thought Hamilton was getting a twist lined up: I thought the God would turn out to be a Gnomic Oracle, and the humans would have to figure it out themselves. They had a solution by the finish; it was really hard and dirty, but it would have worked. But no, after all that effort, Hamilton wound it up the easy, stupid way.

... and all those planets sharing an orbit are impossible, too.

Still, the first two (or four in the US) volumes were great fun. It's not everyone who'd write a scene where a telepathic bionic dog attacks the Village of the Damned with a tactical nuke.

#530 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 05:42 AM:

It's not everyone who'd write a scene where a telepathic bionic dog attacks the Village of the Damned with a tactical nuke.

Though it would certainly improve, for example, "Bridget Jones' Diary".

#531 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:18 AM:

Oh, all right.

Born:
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Claude Shannon
Willie Nelson
Larry Niven
Annie Dillard
Kirsten Dunst

Died:
Edouard Manet
Adolf Hitler
Richard Scarry

#532 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:55 AM:

Paula #520, very nice. Normally I shudder and scream blue murder (or at least mutter viciously) at formations like "fell off of", but my allowance for poetic licence can be broad.

Terry #322, Paul A #429 Arthur Quiller-Couch? Yes.

As to counting songs (glancing only sideways at the variations on 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'); this reminded me of Agatha Christie's book, originally called 'Ten Little Niggers' (can I write that word here?), it was 'Ten Little Indians' on my copy, and apparently later ended up as 'And Then There Were None'. Has there been any further updating of the acceptable version of the song/rhyme 'Ten Little $ENTITIES'?

Shared Birthdays: I like to look at the range of people on one day — Clausewitz, Brigham Young, Nelson Riddle, Marilyn Monroe, Colleen McCullough? — and imagine possible connections and conversations. But today I had to spell and repeat my full name and birthday about 15-20 times while undergoing a bunch of reasonably unpleasant tests and procedures. Put me off birthday talk for a while. On the good side, after removing 1.4l (my converter says this = 0.3698 US gallons, dunno pints or fl oz) from my right lung, the increased oxygen supply is excellent! Roll on implant and chemotherapy next week, hoping that'll help more (eventually).

I still use examples from the original Dune in my life and in social and political discussion. Less so from the FHerbert sequels, and after reading one of the non-Frank Herbert books, I decided that, however tempting the idea of further immersion in that universe was, I'd abjure it.

#533 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:01 AM:

Richard Scarry is dead?

I haven't thought about him in 30 years or more, so I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise, but still...

His novel The God of Small Furry Things was an important influence on my pre-teen self.

#534 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:02 AM:

Soon Lee @ 527... Should I relapse, you'll be the first to know.

"Hi. My name is Soon Lee, and I'm a Dune fanboy."
"Hi, Soon Lee."

#535 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:21 AM:

My first response to seeing a Brian Herbert/Kevin Anderson 'Dune' novel in a bookshop was a squee.

My response having read the dratted thing was ¡Qué asco!

#536 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:23 AM:

Dave Bell #526: That leads, ineluctably, to Tarnsmen of Dune...

#537 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:37 AM:

Tying two subthreads together, what would happen if a Culture ship turned up in orbit around Arrakis?

The Mentats would be up in arms, of course, at the presence of an AI. The Bene Gesserit would try to control the Culture, and be overwhelmed. The Navigator's Guild would strike at the prospect of ships that didn't need them. The Empire would convulse in a jihad it could not win, against a target that didn't care much what it did.

The Culture would be unaffected. Spice would become a fashionable drug for a while on some ships, then fall out of vogue. Even true foretelling becomes uninteresting with no disasters to avert.

Thus:

While questing through the timelines undefined
They say the Muad'Dib beheld a ship
No navigator steered while in the grip
Of worm-bred spice. The pilot was a Mind
Constructed like a man's, but smarter still.
Its crew were men, but fattened with excess.
A culture without want, without distress
To test a man, to strengthen mind and will.
The Kwisatz Haderach then closed his hand.
For he who sees all roads can pick his way:
Which branchings to ignore, which let to stay.
This path he blocked, as if with drifting sand.
A lucky man, who may his jihad choose
Forknowing which he would most surely lose.

#538 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:43 AM:

A data point for the next time we get someone pushing their publishing system on the grounds that it made them a #1 bestseller on Amazon...

I can now claim to be a #1 bestseller on Amazon, and I have the screenshots to prove it. Please note that this is an honest claim, and I didn't have to game the system by buying lots of copies myself or asking my friends/fanbase to all buy books at the same time, nor have I doctored the screenshot. This is the real deal.

Anyone care to suggest how many sales this stunning achievement required?

#539 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:13 AM:

Birthdays: I don't have to list all the people I share a birthday with, as they've already been listed further up this thread.


Culture novels: I've read Consider Phlebas, which I don't remember much about one way or the other, and the first few chapters of The Player of Games, which gave me a creeping feeling that if I kept reading something terrible would happen, so I didn't.

Has anyone here read The Also People?

#540 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:20 AM:

Abi #537:

No mentat could surpass a Culture Mind,
nor do the Fremen overcome their tricks;
there are clear limits set to humankind
and others turn clay into more than bricks.
A knife missile will beat the weirding way,
and Dune provides no special circumstance
to bring the Culture's power into full play.
The Bene Gesserit don't know the dance
of history that moves faster than light
across the universe. Nor can a sietch
defend against what comes out of the night
who have learned more than Arrakis can teach.
'The Kwizatz Haderach? A prophet? Bah!
Enough of suchlike fools,' says Diziet Sma.

#541 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:31 AM:

You'll know we've hit bottom when "Lorna of Dune" is published.

#542 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:43 AM:

Another camp song, delightfully naughty to pre-teens:

Susanna went a-wading and she got her toesies wet
Susanna went a-wading and she got her toesies wet
Susanna went a-wading and she got her toesies wet
But she didn't get her [clap, clap] wet, yet

Glory, glory hallelujah! or "What's it to yah?"
Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
She didn't get her [clap, clap] wet, yet

Susanna went a-wading and she got her footsies wet
etc.

Susanna went a-wading and she got her ankles wet
etc.

Shins all, calves all, knees all, thighs all...

Susanna went a-wading and she finally got it wet
...
She finally got her bathing suit wet.

And the infamous ants marching song (to "When Johnny comes Marching Home")

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah,
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah,
The ants go marching one by one,
The last one stops to shoot a gun
And they all go marching down to the underground
To get out
Of the rain
Boom, boom, boom,
Boom, boom, boom,

The ants go marching two by two etc.

A favorite car song of my father's (tune is familiar but I can't name it now):

Eighteen hundred and ninety-one
Found myself a common bum,
Found myself a common bum,
Working on the railroad

(chorus)
Eary, eary, eiry, oh (like "ear" and "eye")
Eary, eary, eiry, oh
Eary, eary, eiry, oh
Working on the railroad

Eighteen hundred and ninety-two
Found myself with nothing to do...

(chorus)

Eighteen hundred and ninety-three
Section boss selected me...

Eighteen hundred and ninety-four
Found my back was getting sore...

Eighteen hundred and ninety-five
Found myself more dead 'n alive...

Eighteen hundred and ninety-six
Found myself some dynamite sticks...

Eighteen hundred and ninety-seven
Found myself on the way to heaven...

Eighteen hundred and ninety-eight
Found myself at the Pearly Gate...

Eighteen hundred and ninety-nine
St. Peter said I's just in time...

Eighteen hundred and ninety-ten (sic)
Start the song all over again...

My mother would at this point refuse to let us continue this one.

Oh, no, another counting song?
To "My Darling Clementine"

Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut just now,
Just now I found a peanut, found a peanut just now

Cracked it open

It was rotten

Ate it anyway

Died anyway

Went to heaven

Found a peanut

#543 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:46 AM:

Bruce Cohen...

Me, I can't wait for the day when CGI tehcnology gives us Vincente Minnelli's musical The Sand Wagon, with Fred Astaire as Duke Leto, and Cyd Charisse as Lady Jessica.

#544 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:00 AM:

#542 Carol Kimball

Did you also sing:

Miss Lucy had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
Miss Lucy went to heaven.
The steamboat went to
HELLo Operator
Please give me number nine.
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you right
BEHIND the 'fridgerator
There was a piece of glass.
Miss Lucy sat upon it
And broke her little
ASk me no more questions
I'll tell you no more lies.
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping down their
FLIES are in the city.
Bees are in the park.
Miss Lucy and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the D-A-R-K Dark!

#545 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:09 AM:

Dark is like a movie,
a movie's like a show,
a show is like a TV set
and that is all I know
I know my mother,
I know my father too,
I know my sister Susie with eighty dollar bra-bra-bra!

I always wanted that one to be more complex.

#546 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:13 AM:

Diatryma @ 545...

Why do you need 80 bras that cost one dollar each?

#547 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:15 AM:

Fragano #536, have you (or anyone else here) ever seen something led eluctably? Or does that question belong over on one of the primaries discussions?

Your inestimably humble & ingeniously obedient servant,
M

[Darnsmen of Tune: The hidden story of a secret crack squad of Brill Building tunesmiths called in to save struggling high-profile musicians who can't complete their new albums.]

#548 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Mez #547: If it eludes it isn't led, surely.

#549 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:22 AM:

Mez, I thought they were a crack team of knitters brought in to fix socks that were too big in the heel or not properly tied off in the toe.

#550 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:41 AM:

Sarah at 544:
Yes, with slightly different words. Our version ended with "ASK me no questions..." I hadn't heard your last verse.

To "Silver Threads among the Gold"
While the organ peeled bananas
Lard was rendered by the choir
As the sexton tolled the church bell
Someone set the church on fire

"Holy Smoke!" the preacher shouted
In the rush he lost his hair (descant seventh "his hair")
Now his head resembles heaven
For there is no parting there

#551 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:07 AM:

My wife just drew my attention to this post on Pharyngula:

"...Probably the best example of a blog pulling off the delicate balancing act of of getting a convivial and smart continuing conversation going is Making Light; I think Pharyngula has a fine comments section that at least aspires to that level, less the "convivial" part..."

Woohoo!!!

Link is: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/01/the_petites_sauvages_of_pharyn.php

#552 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:10 AM:

[delurking]

Diatryma at 545:

We had an even further verse to add onto that -

Broccoli is a vegetable
And carrots, um, you see,
Excuse me for a moment,
I think I have to
Peanuts are for elephants
And you are meant for me!

[relurks]

#553 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:15 AM:

Miss Lucy had a baby
She named him Tiny Tim
She put him in the bathtub
To see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water
He ate a cake of soap
He tried to eat the bathtub
But it wouldn't fit down his throat.
Miss Lucy called the doctor,
The doctor called the nurse,
The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse.
Hello operator
Send me down the elevator
First floor stop!
Second floor stop!
Third floor, you better watch out
'cause S T O P spells
STOP!

#554 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:41 AM:

Fragano and abi: Wow.

#555 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Nancy:
In came the doctor,
in came the nurse,
in came the lady with the alligator purse.
"Mumps", said the doctor,
"Measles", said the nurse,
"Nonsense!" said the lady with the alligator purse.
"Operation!" said the doctor,
"Penicillin!" said the nurse,
"Ice cream!" said the lady with the alligator purse.

#556 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Albatross @ 554... Fragano and abi: Wow.

I second the motion.

#557 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:08 PM:

543: Me, I can't wait for the day when CGI tehcnology gives us Vincente Minnelli's musical The Sand Wagon, with Fred Astaire as Duke Leto, and Cyd Charisse as Lady Jessica.

Serge, I believe you're thinking of the 1946 classic "The Road to Sietch Tabr", with Bob Hope as Gurney, Bing Crosby as Paul, and Dorothy Lamour as Chani.

(Followed in 1947, of course, by "The Road to Wigan Pier"...)

#558 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:09 PM:

Paul 524: There will likely be an ongoing series of previously unknown events, at least until people stop buying the books.

Hear that, people! That is a call for a boycott, that's what that is!

Dave 526: A friend of mine briefly considered calling her punk band "Lesbian Marmots of Gor," but changed her mind. About the band, not just the name.

guthrie 528: What does that make you? Tasteful. Especially if you never reread anything but the original book.

Carol 542: Your father's "favorite car song" sounds like a version of this.

All the Miss Lucys! I think the little girls in my school did a somewhat different version as a pattycake song. There was also another one to the same tune, though without the joins between verses; someone leaves something that rhymes with 'stairs' lying around, then

...My father slipped upon it,
And fell right down the stairs.

My mother called the doctor;
My sister called the nurse.
But all my father really did
Was lie in bed and curse!

(Could it have been "Upon the upstairs landing/I spilled a bowl of pears"? I don't think that was it, but it was something like that.)

#559 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:11 PM:

#518: treating a few patients with advanced dementia

Using a drug already approved as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment, which should cut down the approval time somewhat, but the reports do have lots of cautious warnings about reading too much into one possibly temporary success.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7179060.stm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3162587.ece

#560 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:12 PM:

And now I think about it, there was a scene in "Use of Weapons" which could easily have been the encounter between Culture and Fremen - Zakalwe's drug experience in the desert sounded rather familiar...

#561 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:15 PM:

Counting songs, stuck in traffic division: there was a point, stuck in traffic on 99, before I-5 was finished, that a Yelm School District bus driver called out in anguish after one too many repetitions of

The ants go marching one by one
Hurrah, hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one
Hurrah, hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one
The little one stops to suck his thumb
And they all go marching
Down
To the ground
To get out
Of the rain
Boom, boom boom boom...

"Can't you guys sing anything else?"

And was thence treated to a marathon version of "Barbara Ann" all the way from Federal Way to Yelm at 30mph.

#562 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Bruce @541: Have a cookie.

#563 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:43 PM:

I'm seeing a new spelling error more often, and I'm a little bit baffled about it.

The use of "are" when the writer wants "or."

I sort of understand it. If I say, "Where are you going?" or "In or out?" I slur the words in question into a sort of vowelless R. But the idea that some folks always, always, every time pronounce the words the same so they make a homophone mistake (on words of less than four letters!) boggles my mind.

And since I haven't seen anyone else bite, Julia Jones @#538 - How many?

#564 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:45 PM:

The "alligator purse" lady, in similar variations, was one of our jump-rope rhymes. At the end you had to run out successfully.

Xopher - yes, that's it! My father would have been delighted with the augmentation. My mother would have been displeased by that many more verses.

#565 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Ah, I messed that up:

Miss Lucy had a baby
She named him Tiny Tim
She put him in the bathtub
To see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water
He ate a cake of soap
He tried to eat the bathtub
But it wouldn't fit down his throat.
Miss Lucy called the doctor,
The doctor called the nurse,
The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse.
Wrap him up in toilet paper,
Send him down the elevator

First floor stop!
Second floor stop!
Third floor, you better watch out
'cause S T O P spells
STOP!

This was more of a pattycake thing than a jumprope thing.

#566 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:18 PM:

#541: You'll know we've hit bottom when "Lorna of Dune" is published.

There's a satire, I believe by the "Bored of the Rings" folks, called "Doon," set on Lornadoon. Arruckus. Dessert planet.

It's been 20 years since I read it, but as I recall the equivalent of spice comes from salt crystals that encrust the giant sand pretzels.

Ah good, I wasn't imagining it.

#567 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:30 PM:

From my kids, who got it at nursery in Scotland; hand gestures are included but can be imagined:

I caught myself a baby bumblebee
Won't my mummy be so pleased with me?
I caught myself a baby bumblebee
OW! It stinged* me!

I'm mushing up my baby bumblebee
Won't my mummy be so pleased with me?
I'm mushing up my baby bumblebee
Eew! Messy!

I'm licking up my baby bumblebee
Won't my mummy be so pleased with me?
I'm licking up my baby bumblebee
I feel sick....

I'm throwing up my baby bumblebee
Won't my mummy be so pleased with me?
I'm throwing up my baby bumblebee
Eew! Yucky!

I'm sweeping up my baby bumblebee
Won't my mummy be so pleased with me?
I'm sweeping up my baby bumblebee
All tidy!

The first time my son sang that to us while we were riding in the car, I thought the Hub was going to have to pull over to laugh safely.

-----
* sic

#568 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:34 PM:

I didn't buy the Dune prequels, that's what libraries are for. However, I confess to owning "Hunters of Dune" & "Sandworms of Dune" - but they were acquired with vouchers. I know, I know, it's a lame justification. Have I said that I was a Dune Fanboy? "Hi, I'm Soon, and I am a Dune Fanboy."

"BrigaDUNE": The story of two American astronauts who stumble on a planet that only appears once a century. It is mere days to Emperor Leto Dalrymple's wedding and our protagonists get embroiled in the proceedings and uncover uncomfortable facts about kilts, with hilarious consequences.

#569 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:34 PM:

albatross #554: Abi does the heavy lifting, I just follow in her wake.

#570 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:46 PM:

abi @#567

I learned that with the last verse as a repeat of "I'm licking up my baby bumblebee" which was gratifyingly icky when sung to parents.

wandering out while singing

See how the little angels ascend up, ascend up.
See how the little angels ascend up on high.
Which end up?
Ascend up!
Which end up?
Ascend up!
See how the little angels ascend up on high!

#571 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Soon Lee @#521: Very well... I will admit that the whole situation was the nastiest case of inflated stakes I'd seen since Jack Chalker's Ninety Trillion Fausts.

#572 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Abi, I learned a slightly different version of that. Mommy was so proud of me, little regional things like that.

Miss Lucy was Miss Susie for me, and she had about as many adventures as Miss Mary Mack. I wonder how many of these picked up slap games? They weren't necessary, but it seems like a good way to make it clear that you are playing with *this* friend right now. Like "See-see my playmate" and its complex hand parts.

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:00 PM:

ajay @ 557... "The Road to Sietch Tabr", with Bob Hope as Gurney, Bing Crosby as Paul, and Dorothy Lamour as Chani.

How about a Marx Brothers version of Dune?

#574 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:13 PM:

Serge 573: Oh, come on, you know the title of that would be Marx Brothers of Dune. Though I suppose it could be

A Night in Arrakeen
Worm Feathers
Will Success Spoil Feyd-Rautha?

...and others too nauseating to admit to.

#575 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Look! Fuligin!

(from kightp's LJ.)

#576 ::: mjgates ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:44 PM:

I'd mention the Monty Python version of Dune, but Life of Brian pretty much covers it. "He's not the Kwisatz Haderach, he's a very naughty boy!"

#577 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:53 PM:

R M Koske @563:

2 copies. (I know this because they were doing the "only x copies left, more on order" thing, so I know how many copies they had in stock early in the morning, and how many they had later in the morning.)

An interesting number to quote at the next "But I was a bestseller on Amazon!" vanity press apologist.

#578 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:06 PM:

What got a two-copy sale to #1? Any idea?

#579 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:10 PM:

abi & Fragano

Very nice sonnets, both of you. Fragano, no humility needed, that was very good no matter what order you two posted in.

#580 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:10 PM:

Xopher #574:

You forgot--or were too sacred to mention: "The Big Worm" -- alternatively, "The Big Sietch"--followed up by "Gom Jabbar Soup", "Navigator Business", and "Empire Crackers," with the giant production number, "Hooray for Princess Irulan".

#581 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:16 PM:

All y'all have ruined my day: I had managed decently to bury all remembrance of the Lady With the Alligator Purse, interfering creature that she was, what with always offering up advice. I can only remember one specific line, part of jumprope directions: "Out! said the doctor. Out! said the nurse. Out! said the lady with the alligator purse." At which point the jumper was supposed to go out.

#582 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Oh see them write a sonnet,
Will all excursions on it,
Lampooning all the excess,
Of the Dune gravy train!

#583 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Carol Kimball (542): Our version of the peanut song had several more verses:

Found the gates locked

Went the other way

Woke up

Found it was a dream

Found a peanut

It seems to me there was at least one more verse after "Went the other way" and probably something else after "Found it was a dream," but I can't dredge them out of my memory.

#584 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Okay, what happened with the Amazon bestseller thing:

First of all, it was Amazon UK, which means you're looking at fewer copies needed anyway.

Second, Amazon has a whole lot of categories for books -- and has a bestseller chart for each of those categories, as well as the overall bestseller chart. So if you look at the bestsellers in science fiction chart, right now you'll find Matter (discussed up thread) at #2, and two books by some guy called Stross in the top 25. Look at the "books" bestseller chart top 25, and you'll find only the very top book from the science fiction chart.

Amazon's rankings are partly on speed of sales. So if you have a book in a category where even the top seller doesn't usually shift that many copies a day, two copies sold in rapid succession can push it right up the charts -- for a few hours, at least.

I was on an irc channel this morning, talking to a bunch of friends about geeky things. The conversation ended up with a couple of people saying that they really must get around to reading something of mine. I pointed them at the blurb page on my website, saying they could find a couple of chapters there. About two minutes later, someone said they liked the look of that and were going to order it. I thought it would be an interesting experiment in the timings of the rankings calculations, and had a look half an hour later. At which point I discovered that two people had bought it, and it was #1 on two related charts, and #4 on another. (If a book's in the top tranche of sellers, this shows up on the book's own page, and you can click through to see the chart.)

And that is how I can claim to have had a book at #1 on an Amazon bestseller chart.

#585 ::: Sylvie G ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:58 PM:

Along with the peanut song, one of my childhood faves:

On top of spaghetti
All covered with cheese
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed

It rolled off the table
And onto the floor
And then my poor meatball
Rolled out through the door

It rolled off the front porch
And under a bush
And then my poor meatball
Was nothing but mush

#586 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:06 PM:

A ghola in his lives may hear a tale.
Idaho tells how his master Paul
once had a vision of the Cosmic All
against which even Fremen can't prevail.
Golden the Ships Were that did sail
with Minds aboard could make a Mentat crawl,
without a need for spice to sense the call
of folds in space and blaze a trail.
Not so fierce as Fremen, even Saurdakar,
the people of this Culture do not care
for jihads, war, the spice, or deeds of glory.
Maud'Dib's disgust was great, he vowed he'd bar
the course of history from going there,
and write a warlike end to his own story.

#587 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:29 PM:

My "find" function doesn't show any mention of this, so . . . today's "Doonesbury" makes a lame joke about some Eastern European guy with no vowels in his name. (Can't find a permalink: 1/15/08).

Slate's title for it on their front page: "Disemvowelled."

Thought you would like to know.

#588 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Sylvie at 585, you of course know the last verse:

But early next summer
It grew into a tree
With pretty red meatballs
All covered with cheese

#589 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Writing that sonnet gave me some ideas for mashups of Dune and other "future history" series in SF and fantasy:

When the People Fell on Arrakis
The Game of Worm and Dragon

Methuselah's Children of Dune

The Two Sietches

The Skylark of Sand.

Second-Stage Kwisatz

The Worm of Shannarah*

The Urth of the New Spice

A Deepness in the Sand

and, for the Foodie Channel, of course,
Baron Harkonnens Spice Rack, and Other Tortures (And Other Tortures)

* I can never type that without wanting to spell it "Shananah".

#590 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Xopher @ 574... Who would Groucho be? Duncan Idaho?

#591 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:49 PM:

rm 588: Hmm, I think you have that verse slightly wrong, and there's another before it. I believe the last two verses go

Oh, the mush was so tasty,
As tasty could be,
And early next summer,
Grew into a tree.

Oh, the tree was all shady,
And covered with moss.
It grew lovely meatballs,
And to-ma-to sauce!

That's the version from Oscar Brand's album On Top of Spaghetti.

#592 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:51 PM:

When we were kids, one of us had a record album of novelty songs. One of the included songs was Chuck Berry's "My Ding-a-ling." I caught my mother murmuring to a friend of hers about it and scolded them that it was just a song about bells on a string.

My opinion was, if grownups can't be bothered to actually *listen* to the lyrics of a song, they deserve whatever their dirty minds come up with. (I knew what the song implied, I just didn't care.)

#593 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:52 PM:

I think Chico would be Duncan Idaho.

Grouch would be Thufir Hawat, Harpo would be Gurney Halleck, and Zeppo would be the Duke.

"Gurney, man, are you hit?"
"Honk, Honk!"

#594 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:52 PM:

As well as finding the Amazon Bestseller thing interesting I'm 1. excited to note that Book 3 of the Lost Fleet is out and 2. glad to realise that, as I always suspected, Machiavelli's the prince is SF.

On counting songs, my favourite from scout camp was Alice the Camel:

Alice the camel's got ten humps
Alice the camel's got ten humps
Alice the camel's got ten humps
So go Alice, go (Bum bum bum)

Alice the camel's got nine humps...

and so on until

...
Alice the camel's got no humps
'Cos Alice is a horse.


And on birthdays I have Aleister Crowley and Luciano Pavarotti, which might have made for an interesting party, even before the arrival of Pedro I of Brazil (who was proclaimed Emperor on his birthday) and Ramsay Macdonald.

#595 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Bruce Cohen #586: Not bad, but 'Muad'Dib' not 'MaudDib'. An easy mistake to make.

#596 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 05:05 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 593... Should Margaret Dumont play Chani or Jessica? As for Groucho, I saw him as Stilgar.

"But, for you, I'd make love to a worm."

#597 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 05:50 PM:

Flash Gordune

#598 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 05:52 PM:

Gary Cooper in High Dune...

#599 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Serge @ 593

If the part weren't so small, I'd say Margaret Dumont as Gaius Helen Mohiam, but failing that, Jessica sounds right to me.

#600 ::: kyubi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:16 PM:

mary aileen @583

We had another extended variant:

Met Saint Peter

Didn't like him

Went the other way

Met the Devil

I liked him

Got a job

Shoveled coal

Found a peanut


#601 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:22 PM:

And who can forget the wonderful musical version, Brigadune?

#602 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:24 PM:

And Gary Trudeau's daily strip, Dunesbury.

#603 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:29 PM:

Abi #567- I knowthe Bumblebee song because my sister picked it up as a guide. Funnily enough we're talking central Scotland.

Xopher #558- Tasteful? Thanks. I only re-read the original books.

#604 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:21 PM:

Nancy @ 553: We know that one as

I had a little turtle
His name as Tiny Tim
I put him in the water
To see if he could swim

He drank up all the water
And ate up all the soap
That night he had a tummy ache
And bubbles in his throat.

(The last line often involving larynx-wiggling sound effects!)

#605 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:22 PM:

The game show, "Name that Dune"

#606 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:29 PM:

Five green and speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs.

YUM YUM!

One dove into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Leaving just four green speckled frogs.

(repeat, counting down.)

I usually finish with this variation:

One sad and lonely frog
Sat on a lonely log
Eyeing no-longer-delicious bugs.
It dove into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Leaving...no green and speckled frogs!

Wish I could write down the tune. I don't recognize it from anywhere else.

#607 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Then there's the song "Dune River".

And the famous Lord of the Spice trilogy: Fellowship of the Dune, The Two Shai-Hulud, and Return of the Mahdi...

#608 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:42 PM:

The Great Sietch of Khazad-Dûne?

#609 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:43 PM:

There is a worm that never ends
It just goes on and on my friend
Some people stuck some hooks in it not knowing what it was
And they'll continue riding it forever just because . . .

#610 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:09 PM:

Catching up

Serge @551 that Pharyngula post also refers to one of Chris Clarke's posts 'If there is hope, it dies with the trolls' about, well, blog moderation, and stuff. I also recommend the conversation in its comments.

Soon Lee @568/Steve C @601 I'm glad you''ll be taking the heat for Brigadune. It was far too tempting to resist otherwise. I wonder if there's a market niche for 'What Would Maud'Dib Do?' merchandise.

Bruce @589 — Curses! Just reading that Sh*****h word impels me, toon-like, to continue 'nah, nah, na-nu-na' and beyond.

Xopher @591, the verse from rm @588 is the one I've heard, but I'm sure there are variations.

RM Koske @592 I remember hearing at the time it was a hit here one teenaged girl defending Olivia Newton-John's (Let's Get) 'Physical' as being simply about doing exercise. If honest, she'd watched the video and never listened to any more words than the chorus.

It's great fun reading all these childhood songs & rhymes, tho' I either never knew or have completely forgotten nearly all of them. A lady has published a lovely book of collected Australian versions of these, but not remembering either her name or the books' makes it tricky to refer you to it. (Can any fellow Aussies help there?)
Then there's the thrill of the new-minted poems too. Yay all.

#611 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Bruce Cohen #599: I am trying to recall the casting of Little Rascals of Dune, and failing.

#612 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:20 PM:

Epacris @ 610... Thanks for the link. That was a very thoughtful post. I'd like to once again thank Our Hosts and everybody else for making ML what it is.

#613 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:05 PM:

Muad'Dib and Stilgar at Arrakis, when the rains fell....

#614 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:58 PM:

#610 ::: Epacris

Soon Lee @568/Steve C @601 I'm glad you''ll be taking the heat for Brigadune. It was far too tempting to resist otherwise. I wonder if there's a market niche for 'What Would Maud'Dib Do?' merchandise.

Oh, that one's easy!
"And the worms crawl in and the worms crawl out...."

Alternatively, visit the Cathedaral at Wurms.
But think, that mousey fellow being a Maker? ...

#615 ::: B.Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:32 PM:

We sang Alice the Camel quite a bit, as well as the Miss Mary Mack song and The Ants Go Marching. I'm glad to be reminded of them because they're nice things to mumble if you feel like singing without really paying attention to it.


When I was in my early teens, I also liked to sing the following because it was so outrageous:

"A sol-, a sol-, a soldier went to war,
two pis-, two pis-, two pistols by his side,
for cu-, for cu-, for curiosity,
fight for the old count-
fight for the old count-
fight for the old country!"

Of course you kind have have to elide the "R" in for on the third line for the full effect.

#616 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:17 PM:

Paula Lieberman #614:
I didn't mention trouser snakes.

#617 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:54 PM:

This year's The Edge Annual Question is out:" WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT? WHY?"

It's chock full of intriguing, thoughtful, insightful responses from a bunch of interesting people.

#618 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 12:09 AM:

Well, SHIT.

Brad Renfro is dead. He was only 25.

I want big claws, giant teeth, and the ability to find the person who first gave him heroin. Shred, shred.

#619 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 12:23 AM:

Oh. My. God.

Lasagna Cat.

Click on a date. You'll need a way to play MOV files.

Be sure to watch the videos all the way through.

Surreal favorite: 1/05/2005

#620 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:58 AM:

This was a Twenty-First Century Moment for me.

First image of this side of Mercury. (blurb/credit)

The Messenger spacecraft, the third we've sent to Mercury and the first since Mariner 10 in 1975. flew by Mercury yesterday afternoon. It was the first of three passes before it settles into orbit around the planet in 2011. The hemisphere that's in daylight this time is different from the one that was lit in the Mariner encounters, so no one has ever seen this before.

Really. No one. The spacecraft sent the data back to earth today, after finishing its observations. It was up on the web a few hour later.

We've been watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos video series the last few weeks. In one of the early episodes, he visits his old primary school in Brooklyn, and one of the things he does is hand out many gorgeous colour photographs of Jupiter and its moons to a class of students there. They're prints from the Voyager encounters in 1979. Brand new images. How lucky they were, to get such materials less than a year later! I remember hearing you could order such prints from NASA, and we did in fact get some when the Space Shuttle launched. But I had to wait for newspaper, and magazine and, yes, the original airing of Cosmos to see these.

Today I got a link in my inbox and was looking at a new world a few hours after the mission scientists first saw it. And a few hours later, I could share it with you.

#621 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:53 AM:

Does anyone know what's up with boingboing? I've been getting a "connection timed out" message for more than a day. I need my daily dose of geekery.

#622 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:07 AM:

NelC #621:
Boingboing loads up just fine for me.

#623 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:10 AM:

Mez, #532, I'm glad you're breathing better! I hope the rest goes well, too.

Julia Jones, #538, two? Wow.

Amazingly beautiful pictures made of food.

Scientists for a Better World PCR video. Very funny!


#624 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 05:26 AM:

Open thread random link:

Joss Whedon was linked a fanvid by Tim Minear. He liked it, commented on it and linked it

It's quite interesting, especially in light of some of the more recent kerfuffles online about the status of fannish works etc. My personal reaction is a mix of Oh WOW neat! and eeek run and hide!

#625 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 07:07 AM:

Epacris @ 610

I wonder if there's a market niche for 'What Would Maud'Dib Do?' merchandise.

Oh, ghods, yes. A T-shirt with those words and a line drawing of a phalanx of Fremen with banners and really, really big knives charging.

#626 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 07:12 AM:

I'd like to point out to the topologists in the house that the reason there are so many open threads is because we have so many threads that are not compact.

#627 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 07:54 AM:

Marilee @ 623 -

That PCR vid is terrific! Great find!

#628 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 09:11 AM:

Did someone say worms? Worms and children's songs?

Nobody loves me.
Everybody hates me.
I'm going to the garden
to eat worms, yum yum.
Big fat juicy ones
Long slim slimy ones
Itsy bitsy fuzzy wuzzy worms
yum yum.

First you cut the heads off
Then you cut the tails off
See how they wiggle and they squirm
yum yum
Big fat juicy ones
Long slim slimy ones
Itsy bitsy fuzzy wuzzy worms
yum yum.

Down goes the first one
Down goes the second one
Down goes the third little worm
yum yum
Big fat juicy ones
Long slim slimy ones
Itsy bitsy fuzzy wuzzy worms
yum yum.

The first one was easy
The second one was greasy
The third one got stuck in my throat
yum yum.
Big fat juicy ones
Long slim slimy ones
Itsy bitsy fuzzy wuzzy worms
yum yum.

UUUUP comes the first one
UUUUP comes the second one
UUUUP comes the third little worm
yum yum
Big fat juicy ones
Long slim slimy ones
Itsy bitsy fuzzy wuzzy worms
yum yum.

(Sorry about that. I really tried not to.)

#629 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 09:28 AM:

Early yesterday morning, on my way to work, I drove past a fast-food Mexican restaurant. There was a sign advertising its fare. Unfortunately, the person who put up the sign forgot a few letters in one of the words. The sign was wide enough that the complete word could have easily fit, and there were no gaps where the missing letters should have been. This'd indicate that it was meant to look that way by someone who didn't know better. What did the sign say?

Delious Burritos

Me, I prefer Ravel's ravioli.

#630 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 09:38 AM:

So, I heard this on MPR this morning and thought it might be of interest to this crowd:

ACLU defending Larry Craig's right to have sex in the bathroom

Also, I learned the bumblebee song in preschool in the midwest as well as many of the other songs here. And now I've got the line about the lady with the alligator purse running through my head!

#631 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 10:08 AM:

That's odd, I can't reach boingboing from home or the studio I'm working in today. They're only ten minutes walk away from each other, so I don't know if it's an ISP thing or a regional thing. Any other UK residents having problems?

#632 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 10:28 AM:

Serge @ 629 -

Speaking of signs, several years back a buddy and I drove past the the downtown campus of the University of Houston. At night the name was displayed in neon lights. Only this night some malfuctioned, and the sign proclaimed it to be the UNIVERSITY OF HO.

#633 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 10:52 AM:

I was standing at the kitchen sink when I heard the blue jays sound their alarm calls, so I looked out the window and saw the cause of the alarm land on the back fence -- a redtail hawk.

My Mom was out in the yard filling birdfeeders when he arrived, and she got to watch as he flew manuevers around her. He did not seem the least bit afraid of her.

The funniest thing was the squirrel who froze in the midst of raiding one of the feeders when he saw the hawk...fortunately the hawk didn't spot him!

#634 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 10:58 AM:

Marilee, that PCR video is a delight! It's a shame it's just an advert in a way, but thanks for pointing it out, it made my day.

#635 ::: pixelfish ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 11:27 AM:

After seeing the warning signs link in the particles, I also want to add this link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sevencubed/sets/729127/

(This set belongs to a friend of mine. The most famous of the set "Do Not Set Yourself On Fire" was the design on Star Simpson's hoodie with the LEDs, when she was arrested in the Logan airport for her LED hoodie. My friend does not know Ms. Simpson, but people often use these signs without attributing him.)

#636 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Re: the Whedon Wickedness, I like the perp's update:

Holy mother of all that is sweet and buttery, somebody dropped the internet on me.

#637 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 12:55 PM:

Serge #629: There's a church near my house that has one of those big signs out front, and they change the message every week. And every week, I try to come up with something I could hypothetically change it to if I were that sort of person (which I almost, almost am). Last week it said "SEEK GOD IN OTHERS," and I came up with "SEEDIER HOG KNOTS" and "INGESTED HOOKERS." I can't decide which one is funnier.

#638 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:16 PM:

ethan @ 637

GEEK HEROS DO NITS

#639 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:27 PM:

ethan... "Ed Reeking Sooths"

Obviously Ed doesn't have a very demanding significant other.

#640 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Steve C @ 632... If I'm not mistaken, the main street near our house has speed humps.

#641 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:49 PM:

Marilee (#623) thanks for your good wishes. With the help of rest, fans, fluids, a friend who fetched a few necessities, and some Panadeine Forte, I survived a stinking hot day (34C/93F), endstopped by an old-style Sydney summer thunderstorm, and plan to quietly try a day at work, the forecast being 21C/70F.


ethan (#637), Ah, in the grand tradition of FLOWERY TWATS/WARTY TOWELS/FLAY OTTERS/WATERY FOWLS/FATTY OWLS, for instance.

#642 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:50 PM:

Reed soothes King. That's the one I like.

#643 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:03 PM:

I just realized where the tune for all the Miss Lucy songs comes from:

I am a pretty little Dutch girl,
As pretty as pretty can be, be, be,
And all the boys in my home town
Are crazy over me, me, me!
Disclaimers: Xopher does not sing this song. Xopher is not pretty, little, Dutch, or a girl; few if any boys in Xopher's home town (Okemos, MI) are even aware of Xopher's existence, much less crazy over him. Do not bounce Xopher. Void where prohibited.

#644 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:28 PM:

But Bruce, even the threads that aren't open may still be unbounded.

#645 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:05 PM:

Late, I've just remembered Frank Herbert's two collaberations with Edgar Rice Burroughs:

Muab'dib of the Apes - After his parents are killed, Muab'dib is brought up by desert apes and leads them on a jihad to reclaim his birthright as Lord Atreides.

A Princess of Dune - I'm a bit hazy on this one, but don't confuse it with the film and book The Princess Bride of Dune.

#646 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:21 PM:

Bad Xopher #643:

You've just invoked the all-too-immortal lines:

I gave him back his peaches,
I gave him back his pears,
I gave him back his fifty cents,
And kicked him down the stairs!

Definitely one of the more complex pattycake things, which had a vastly sped-up interval at the end.

#647 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:59 PM:

Open thread goodness: Design Police.

#648 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 05:07 PM:

Neil @ 645: The Princess Bride of Dune

"Hello. My name is Paul Muad'Dib Atreides. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

#649 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 09:22 PM:

There is a variant of "The Ants Go Marching" that, for all I know, was invented by my babysitter because I have never encountered it anywhere else:

"...and they all go marching
Out of the house,
Into the Rain,
Around the corner and down the drain!
"

This was especially fun to sing in the pool, with appropriate actions.

At our summer camp, we not only knew all the camp songs (any we didn't know, we'd pick up quickly), we also knew the Stuff We Didn't Sing. Like:

"My Bonnie leaned over a gas tank,
The height of its contents to see,
I lighted a match to assist her,
Oh bring back my Bonnie to me."

Though we did sing a song "There Was a Little Ford":

"There was a little Ford,
A pretty little Ford,
The cutest little Ford that you ever did see.
The Ford was on the wheels,
The wheels were on the ground,
The engine in the Ford made the wheels go 'round.
Put a match in the gas tank, [beat] no Ford!"

They were very amused to hear that there was another verse to "The Rooster Song", which is filled with horrible egg-centric puns.

We had this chicken,
No eggs would it lay.
We had this chicken,
No eggs would it lay.
My wife said, "Honey,
We're losing money,
We have this chicken,
No eggs will it lay.
Along came an old rooster
Right into our yard,
And caught that chicken
Right off of her guard. (Right off of her guard!)
She's laying eggs now, just like she used ta,
Ever since that roos-tah came into our yard!
She's laying eggs now, just like she used ta,
Ever since that roos-tah came into our yard!

You continue with things like "mom-dog, no pups would she have... She's laying pooched eggs," and "gas station, no gas would it give... it's giving Shell gas." The most horrible one was "philosopher, no thoughts would she give... she's preaching eggs-istentialism."

But then... I found the last verse. The one that goes, "We had this rooster, no love would it give." What does the old rooster do for it?

"It's laying hens now, just like it used ta..."

#650 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 10:39 PM:

If you lot don't stop punning on Dune, I'm going to have to pull out the proposed cast list for the 1980's movie. Sample: the reverend mother Helen Mohiam is played by Joan Rivers: "Can we tawk? You wanna tawk? Here, stick your hand in this box!"

#651 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 11:01 PM:

Mez @641: I thought it was 'Farty owls' (discard T, e).

#652 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 11:13 PM:

CHip: You don't frighten me. I'll just retaliate with the South Park version, where every episode features the line:

Oh my god! They killed Duncan Idaho!

(and you thought Kevin & Brian's characters were two-dimensional.)

#653 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:14 AM:

Mez #641: Ooh, I'm always trying to remember those, and the only ones I can think of are "Flowery twats" and "Watery fowls". Thanks!

I walked by the church sign today, and much to my dismay, it was blank. I can't rearrange nothing!

#654 ::: heresiarch from thailand ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Hello all!

I will be on vacation for the next month or so, with spotty net access. I'll be back mid-February. i'll check in when i have time.

bye!

#655 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:07 AM:

Have fun, be safe, and have fun, heresiarch.

#656 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:20 AM:

heresiarch - have a wonderful time!

#657 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:34 AM:

Have a great vacation, heresiarch, and take advantage of not having to listen to our puns for awhile.

#658 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:41 AM:

ethan, #637, there's a church near me that has one of those electronic signs and it's currently advertising day care. You wonder just how rich a church is to buy that.

heresiarch -- Have fun! Safe trip!

Indiana Jones Legos. Warning: Sound, and no off button!

#659 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:05 AM:

Marilee #658: Rich, indeed! The church near me just has shiftable letters, and if they use too many of the same letter, it's obvious they're pulling from different sets.

#660 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 03:06 AM:

Of course the open thread goes up when I'm going to be out of pocket for days...

Brenda, #9: I grew up in the Detroit area, and we always sang it "happen to fall". I didn't hear the "take one down" version until I got to college in Tennessee. And the spider is itsy-bitsy.

Sam Kelly, #108: Sadly, your theory falls flat before the tabloids. Some people really are avid readers of nothing but trash.

R.M. Koske, #122: I've never heard a version that specified who/what was in the bed, only how many. For some reason, my mental image has always been piglets.

For mind-expanding books, I've got a candidate no one else has mentioned: HellSpark by Janet Kagan. It's a murder mystery wrapped around a First Contact story -- but the mind-bending part of it (to me) was that it taught me how to step back just a bit from my own culture and look at it the way an outsider would. I went around muttering "cultural taboo" about various things for at least the next month!

TexAnne, #249: It scans perfectly for me. Yes, the verse and chorus use the same tune, and you only need 2 notes on "Say".

Serge, #260: And then there's the filk version I wrote...
Dear Sir or Madam, I've seen your book,
But right now all I can do is look.
So many great things come out every year,
But I don't have money, so I've got to be a paperback buyer --
Paperback buyer!

(I'll spare you the other verses.)

Brenda, #296: Once I became aware of the "take one down" version, I immediately concluded that the tamer one was adult-directed and the other what kids sang when they weren't constantly being chaperoned. Since I was never in a group of kids who were singing without an adult around, I only heard the tame version.

Note to self: breaking at #350, come back tomorrow.

And on a completely different topic... I just finished Madeleine E. Robins' Point of Honor and Petty Treason, and recommend them unreservedly to people who like Regency, mysteries, and strong female protagonists. It's an alternate-history Regency, but close enough to be recognizable; the mysteries are fabulous, with a liberal scattering of red herrings and some mind-bending twists at the end; and Sarah Tolerance is the sort of person I'd love to know as a friend. I'm told the author couldn't get a contract for any more of these, and find it incomprehensible -- they're the best Regencies I've read since Heyer.

#661 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 05:55 AM:

Rob Rusick @ #651:

If you follow the link Mez provided, you will see that it is indeed "FATTY OWLS". (And then, two episodes later, "FARTY TOWELS".)

#662 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:01 AM:

Lee @ #660:

Yay, Hellspark! I read that again just last week. (Out loud, to my younger siblings. I'm not sure what possessed me, and I don't think my vocal cords are 100% recovered yet.)

#663 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:27 AM:

Watched the season premiere of Torchwood and enjoyed it. James Marsters left teeth marks all over the scenery. Some bits were predictable and others weren't. (Spoiler: Jura Oneebjzna naq Znefgref zrg, V fnvq gb zlfrys, "Gurl'er rvgure tbvat gb chapu rnpu bgure be xvff." V jnfa'g rkcrpgvat obgu va dhvpx fhpprffvba.)

It was well above the level of most of last season, and a promising beginning for the new one.

#664 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:41 AM:

Paul @648

And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

#665 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:21 AM:

Lee @ 660... Re...

So many great things come out every year,
But I don't have money, so I've got to be a paperback buyer --

That's one of the things we talked about at that recent ML gathering. Is a person less likely to take a risk on a new writer if her/his story is in hardcover?

Another factor for me is that I like the idea of stories within a compact container. That's one of the images I remember from Carl Sagan's Cosmos, in the scene where he says that our day and age allows you, for the price of a decent meal, to own the complete works of someone like Shakespeare, all in one thick paperback.

#666 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:32 AM:

moan

See Susan watch TV. See Susan watch TV like a madwoman. Moderation is for monks.

Deciding to watch all of Series Three of Dr. Who before Torchwood Series Two premiered yesterday: good.

Starting this process at 10pm Monday night: bad.

Finishing at 2am this morning: worse.

Watching the first episode of Torchwood right afterwards: well, I can sleep when I'm dead.

On the bright side, Torchwood, squee, and I even got up early and indulged in bloggery about it in hopes that I could draw some Torchwood fans out of the woodwork to squee with me.

But ooooh, I need a nap!

#667 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 09:07 AM:

My brother gave me the Indiana Jones Lego tomb set for Christmas. The boy knows me too well. It's at my desk at work, where people come in and play with it.
However. It comes with Indy, Marian, and a fanged skeleton (Marlbones, but I don't know his story). Indy has a smirk. Marian has a scared face, very worried-looking, and is wearing the white outfit. There is a teeny line to show that she has cleavage.
Sighh....

#668 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 09:17 AM:

Neil @664:

Just watch out for the Worm of Unusual Size!

Of course, avoiding the Dread Pirate Harkonnen goes without saying.

#669 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Susan @ 666... I can sleep when I'm dead.

What an appropriate comment for a post with that number.

That being said, I want to watch Torchwood, but, alas, BBC-America isn't available in the state where the Bomb was developped. Sue has added it to her NetFlix queue. By the way, of all recent Doctors, do you have a favorite? I quite liked Eccleston's, but have come to appreciate Tennant's. His Doctor has such an insatiable curiosity about the Universe. I know, when he wondered whether or not he should go down that pit where the Devil might be, he decided that his curiosity had limits after all.

#670 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:08 AM:

Serge:
I can send you instructions for acquiring Torchwood in the, um, unofficial way if you like, or send you a DVD of Season 1 if you want to be more efficient about it. I'm getting quite good at talking my even-more-clueless-than-me friends through the blue frog process. (If I can't find any Torchwood fans, I will MAKE more Torchwood fans, damnit...)

I like both the recent Doctors, but was a bit disappointed in the current incarnation of the Master. Where is his beard?

I thought Season 3's ending was not nearly as strong as those of the first two seasons of (the current version of) Dr. Who.

#671 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:10 AM:

<voice mode=CaryGrant>Susan, Susan, Susan</voice> Yes, I do appreciate quite a lot of your urges and justifications. Between illness, living near a major Sydney Party Central, and my own assorted time-sucking obsessions, my sleep/wake cycle has been majorly trashed for some while. ("If I can't be a good example, at least I can be a horrible warning.")

You spoke about struggling with Despond late last year. Disrupted sleep patterns Do Not Help At All to keep or help you out of that Slough.

[ *gasp!* You missed out on Babylon 5!!! (from Rixosous) Now that definitely needs to be fixed! … hoom, hoom, hoom … OK. After this Torchwood series is over, and in titrated doses so you have time to absorb it without disrupting other things more than such a foundational experience usually does. ]

#672 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Paul A. @661: If you follow the link Mez provided[..]

Quite right. I did, but didn't look closely enough (i.e., missed the column 'Sign Reads').

#673 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:28 AM:

Random navel-gazing musings about blogging, a little over two weeks in:

Ye ghods, it's addictive. I've acquired a bad new habit of watching my page statistics, which displaced the former habit of checking for comments. It's more rewarding, since I get a lot more page views than comments. Apparently, I have lurkers. Many views and many of the (not very many) comments are coming from ML people; I appreciate the support. Not much conversation, but at least people are looking. Kickery is starting to get google hits from people searching on dance history topics, which is exactly what I want to happen.

I'm keeping up with my goal of two posts per week on each blog. Since I seem to be borderline incapable of writing short posts, this represents a significant time-investment, most of which is coming out of my sleep and to some degree out of my ML-reading-time, though I'm trying not to just vanish from here. I am working on coming up with tiny topics to write about. But I'm very proud of my Kickery posts; getting my research up online is exactly what I want to do with that blog. Rixo, I'm sort of wandering around wildly between topics. I suppose that nicely sums up my life.

Since I have no other statistics to compare to (I'm sure ML's are at least one if not two orders of magnitude higher, so they wouldn't be especially useful in weighing baby blogs), I'm playing match race between my own blogs. One gets a viewing bounce from a new post, so I rush off to the other to add something there to get its stats up. It's like playing Scrabble against myself. Rixo got a lot more views at first (over 1000 in two weeks), but Kickery is catching up fast (it's around 1150 to 900 now) and is actually beating Rixo some days. This confirms my dark suspicion that the only thing more eye-glazing than me going on and on about dance history is me going on and on about any other topic.

I have no idea if those are respectable numbers or not, but overall it seems like a nice start, especially when I've really not tried to get links or publicized them except here and to a few friends.

#674 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:32 AM:

Susan @ 670... I may take you up on your offer.

I like both the recent Doctors, but was a bit disappointed in the current incarnation of the Master. Where is his beard?

I guess nobody would take seriously a British Prime Minister sporting a mephistophelian beard. The only previous incarnation of the Master I had ever seen was Eric Robert's, so the lack of facial pilosity didn't bother me. Besides, having Derek Jacobi (however briefly) as the Master made up for the absence of beard. For me anyway.

#675 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Serge, 674: She's by his side, of course!

#676 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:39 AM:

Mez @ #671:
[sleep/depression] I know, I know, and I do try to be better about it than I have been this week. But I think fannish squee will carry me through (I am way beyond manic mode this morning), and I can catch up on my sleep at Arisia this weekend. It's going to be a long day at the office, though.

Yes, I missed B5, and I am in fact only partly through Buffy & Angel (seasons 5 & 2 respectively). Seriously, I don't think I'd even need all my fingers to count the TV series I've watched in my entire life. (Counts: okay, ten, barely.) Not a TV person. Really not.

#677 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:42 AM:

Serge: For me it was Anthony Ainley that formed my impression of the Master, and in any case I have a known Thing for guys dressed in black with beards, so I am feeling the loss. I would like to re-meet the Master off on some alien world where he feels free to dress in black and silver and grow a beard back.

#678 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:46 AM:

Technical question for LJ people:
Is there a set piece of html for an LJ cut tag? Someone reading Rixo via LJ feed wants me to use them. I'm using the Typepad equivalent on the actual blog, but it doesn't seem to carry over to the LJ feed. I'm willing to experiment with random html to see if I can solve this, or would happily accept instruction if this is a solved problem.

#679 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:47 AM:

Susan @ 677... Do you think that the costume I was wearing when you and I met at LAcon would make me a decent(*) Master? The costume was black, and I do have a beard, although it's not so black anymore.

(*) Don't even think it, ethan.

#680 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:02 AM:

TexAnne @ 675... That reminds me of an interview I saw where Ian McKellen was talking of the time he and buddette Judi Densch were invited to some party held at Buckingham Palace. At some point, one turned to the other and pointed out that they were in the Throne Room. Sure enough, the thrones were hidden by curtains. The two snuck behind and actually sat on the thrones, thus finally giving MacBeth and his Wife the chance to generate a major case of lèse-majesté.

#681 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:05 AM:

Oh, darn, I can't remember the &code for showing the angle brackets... replace {} with proper html brackets.

{lj-cut}write interesting things here{/lj-cut}

Or if you want particular text for the cut instead of the standard "(More)",

{lj-cut text="fascinating summary"}write interesting things here{/lj-cut}

#682 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:17 AM:

Jen:
Thanks! That seems to work, or at least it doesn't appear to have broken my blogs. I'll have to wait for someone reading via LJ to tell me if the tags are functioning as intended.

#683 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:36 AM:

Susan, I have completely forgotten what your blog is called, or at least forgotten enough that I can't Google it. Could you maybe post a link?

#684 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:43 AM:

Diatryma:

Dance geekery: Capering & Kickery

Everything else: Rixosous

#685 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:10 PM:

I don't know -who- posted the the piece of Republican Noise and Slime Machine miasma below somewhere in a semi-public area that it is Inappropriate that I saw, but.... I wonder if folks here have responses to it, that as commensurate to the task of exposing that stuff as the slime it is and disempowering it...

[it seems to be on lots of places on the 'net.... note that it plays the disempower women card, the infantilize women card, the women-are-floozies card, the Father Knows Best card... how many pieces of bigotry and prejudice and pandering to putdowns are in it, anyway? I notice isn't not playing the race card or religion card, merely the misogyny card deck...]

=============

Thursday, March 01, 2007
Welcome to the Republican Party

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school. Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?" She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus, college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

#686 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:12 PM:

Susan #679

#687 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:24 PM:

CHip #650: That is just pure evil.

#688 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:30 PM:

#674, #675, Master's beard

Did you see the Children in Need special?

#689 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:51 PM:

Re Dr. Who: Ecclestone pretty much tied with Tom Baker as my favorite Doctor, but Tennant has edged them both out. His almost-out-of-control enthusiasm for anything previously unknown reminds me of myself in geek-out mode.

I thought the new Master was just about perfect.

I have the first season of Torchwood pre-ordered.

My kids recently saw "The Deadly Assassin" (my way of giving them some baseline Master exposure) and were duly impressed.

#690 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Alan Braggins @ 688... Rubbish beard, eh? Humph...

#691 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Alan--Ha! No, I haven't seen it. The slash is just right there on the screen. (See also: Life on Mars; Hot Fuzz.)

#692 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Susan @684:
You should consider linking to one of your blogs in the comment space (add it to the "add your URL here" box, I mean). Rixo, maybe?

#693 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:07 PM:

The Library of Congress is putting up some public domain photos from its collection on Flickr so that they can be tagged (and used, I suppose.)

Looking through them and tagging them is surprisingly addictive.

Photos here.

#694 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:07 PM:

Diatryma @667 -- (lego) Indy has a smirk. Marian has a scared face, very worried-looking, and is wearing the white outfit. There is a teeny line to show that she has cleavage. Sighh....

Have you seen the lego Star Wars Episode 6 Princess Leia? Gag is more like it (very disappointing, as the lego Yoda was great).

#695 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:46 PM:

@abi #567 ...I thought the Hub was going to have to pull over to laugh safely.

Zilch the Torysteller

Seen 'im at the Bristol Renaissance Festival, listening to the CD on the drive home had me laughing so hard my wife turned it off so I wouldn't crash!

later,
-cajun
/marveling at how ML's code prompts one to post links correctly, and automagically inserts the "rel=nofollow" bit/

#696 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:50 PM:

Susan #676: I'm currently watching Angel for the first time and just finished Season 2 myself. The end of that season is...um...weird.

Serge #679: My lips are sealed. For now.

#697 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:56 PM:

Susan - I've been sharing your Capering blog with my friends that enjoy dance, and have even got a few "thanks for sharing, that's a great site" responses. You're developing a following.

#698 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Debbie at 694... someone DIES for that. I was sometimes a bit upset at myself that my two Lego girls were the two with lips and wished I could make myself see the normal smiles as female. That... how... no.
Just no.

#699 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 685...

That thing's conclusion is why I do not read anything by Republican columnists. I'd like to say "Yes, but..." or "What about..." and I can't, and there is plenty of sources of frustration in life without adding to it.

#700 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 03:13 PM:

Serge #699

What's the line about "eternal vigilance"
The Repukes and their cronies are like Formosan supertermites, infest a roof and it's -gone- in six months, completely destroyed and masticated by them into nonexistence....

I found a two line response among the response comments on Snopes and appended it:

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?s=7045cb0ff12ec4de37d7bbbdddec8571&t=2221&page=2

"Silly me," the daughter said, slapping herself on the forehead. "I forgot. Since when has being a C student and a drunkard ever been an obstacle to success in the Republican party?"

I'll have to check to see what if anything is still there.

I am allergic to certain sorts of "humor,' including the Stupid Wife Jokes that 30 years ago every military conference started off with an alleged "icebreaker" comments from the first couple speakers....

#701 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 03:32 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 700... True, there is a need for eternal vigilance. On the other hand, my cubicle neighbors are all Republicans and sometimes I hear them talk about 'us' and so I already know what they think. And it's pretty weird. But, as I have no wish to have a war with people who actually are nice to me, I stay away from discussions about politics. They must know what my politics are because they never talk to me about that subject either. Should they make that mistake though and intimate that those who succeed do so solely because of their own hard work... I will nicely ask ask them if they think that maybe George Washington Bush had some help throughout his life.

#702 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Diatryma 698: given that making Lego human figures is kind of like trying to draw flowers with an Etch-a-Sketch -- there are limits -- still, the designers made choices. And were happy with those choices, happy enough to believe the figure would be attractive enough to others that they'd buy it. That mindset bothers me.

#703 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to your psychologist;s office and ask him to deduct 20 points off your IQ give it to your friend who only has 90. That way you will both have a 110 IQ and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of intelligence."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! Then she'd be more intelligent than anyone in the Republican Party!"

#704 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Tania @ 697:
You're developing a following.

Scary thought! It's going to take some time to build up a good library of posts there, but I have enough research topics to go on for years! (And I'm constantly doing new research.) Kickery is meant to be a permanent resource more than a social space, though I'm always happy to have commenting. At some point I will have to try to lure the lurkers out with an open thread or something.

#705 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 05:30 PM:

Susan: Re Lj... yes, there is (it's in the faq, along with some other lj sepcific tags).

replace ()S with >S

(lj-cut) (/lj-cut). That will get you generic cut-tags. To replace them with a specific text, (lj-cut text =url), and close with the standard, (/lj-cut)

You can insert multiple cuts, but whenever someone hits one, they all open.

Hits are fun. I've had more than 500,000, in the past 3 years, but I keep separate logs for differnt topics (and don't have the really good drill-downs, I'm using freeware, and it does most of what I want). I've got a lot of lurkers too (I get about 700 hits, on a normal post... if I get linked, it can treble, but that's rare). On a day I don't post, I get 50-100 hits.

#707 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:16 PM:

Terry:
I think the more useful comparison for me would be how many hits you got in the first two weeks of your blog. If you were getting 700 hits from day one I shall feel like a failure. :)

#708 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:36 PM:

Susan:

I too have been watching Buffy for the first time, only when I have fits of insomnia, where I'm either lying awake and can't get to sleep or wake up at 1:00am+ and can't get back to sleep. It beats staring at the ceiling. Just started Season 4 last night, around 2:30am.

#709 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:24 PM:

I have my own LiveJournal question... I have set up a few photo galleries. They are currently displayed in the order in which I created them. Is there a way to change that order?

#710 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Fragano, #422: Joel Kovel (who asked me, on inspecting my bookshelves, what was so interesting about science fiction)
My most immediate reaction to that is to quote the canonical answer to questions about jazz: "If you have to ask, you're never going to know." If it were to happen to me IRL, I think I'd have the presence of mind to wrestle that back and say instead, "What do you think isn't interesting about science fiction?" -- which is how you start to figure out just which stereotype the person has bought into.

rm, #587: Going to the Doonesbury site landed me on today's strip (1/17), which was... interesting. "That used to be a gimme."

Paul, #662: Were you trying to do the alternating-pronunciation thing? I don't even make the attempt!

Susan, #678: The standard LJ-cut HTML is:
[lj-cut]$TEXT[/lj-cut]
replacing the square brackets with angle brackets. Oh, and what's the name of your feed on LJ?

I'm not at all a TV person either, nor a movie one. However, so many of my friends are that I end up picking up the standard catch-phrases by osmosis. It's really weird to use a reference, know that you've used it correctly, and realize that you have NO IDEA where it's from!

I would like to re-meet the Master off on some alien world where he feels free to dress in black and silver and grow a beard back.
Write the fic! I'll read it, and I know several other people who will also...

#711 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:48 PM:

Lee:
My feeds multiply apace; most wonderful*:
Rixo
Rixo again
Kickery
Still more Kickery

As far as writing fic - nah, I am not a writer. Judging by Who history the Master will be back (he's as unkillable as the Daleks). I shall hope for better the next time.

*Shakespeare reference

#713 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:06 PM:

Fragano@687: there's \much/ worse; there were some very ... strange ... minds wandering around Usenet back then. "I float like an ornithopter, and sting like a hunter-seeker...."

#714 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:09 PM:

Am I the only one who never saw this before today?

Am I the only one who thinks it's wonderful?

#715 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:10 PM:

Susan: I wasn't getting that level of hit when I started. It wasn't until I'd been blogging for about a year that I got a hit-counter and then I was getting about 350 hits a day.

Serge: I can't seem to find any way to reorder the default pattern. You can choose how to see them (date, recently updated, alphabetical, etc.) with some buttons on the bottom of the gallery page, but that's after the page has loaded.

You could (though it would be a lot of work) move the photos around, and rename the folders, so they display in the order you want. A brute force sort of solution, but doable.

You also might want to send a support request.

#716 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:45 PM:

#695: Hey, look, it's my bood guddy Ferry Toy!

I performed at AZ Renaissance Festival for 10 years. He was entertainment director when I started and therefore hired me. He also warned me that the mandolin is Not As Easy As It Looks. I play it anyway.

#717 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 12:42 AM:

The LJ cut thing has worked fine for me on LJ (used as a blog 'mirror' and backup).

What I can't get to work is the same thing for Blogger. I've followed the instructions they give for 'expandable posts', including adding codes to my template, and it simply doesn't have any effect at all. Does anyone have some suggestions on how to get the "LJ-cut" effect on a blogspot blog?

I'm rather stuck with them, because I wouldn't like to have to transfer over everything from October 2002 to a new one elsewhere. Also, they haven't caused me much grief, perhaps because my blogs have only ever got just above single-celled organism on the Chain of Being of the Blog Kingdom. OTOH, in the last few sets of changes, some of my fine aesthetic tweaking got lost, leaving things looking rather crude at Hello Cruel World, but, well, it's not hideously offensive, and its content being out there is the major aim of having it.

#718 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:28 AM:

Xopher @ 714 - That's great - I've forwarded to a few friends.

#719 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Susan, #682, it worked for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but not for Torchwood Season Two. The difference is that you don't put the end tag (/lj-cut) until the end of the text you're hiding. In fact, if you want to hide everything but the first tidbits/para, don't put it in at all. When Jen says "write interesting things here," she means the stuff you want hidden.

#720 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 03:20 AM:

"No beard. Well, a wife." Took me at least two viewings of that Children in Need special to notice that one.

#721 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 05:59 AM:

Terry Karney @ 715... You'd think that LJ would have come up with an obvious way to change the order of galleries, and of the photos within. Then again, considering how far into the interface they buried the update of the links on one's page, I shouldn't be that surprised. I'll look again, but, as you suggested, I'll probably have to send them a support request.

#722 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 06:02 AM:

Lee @ #710: Paul, #662: Were you trying to do the alternating-pronunciation thing?

Yes, I was. The only thing that made it difficult was that, after the first couple of chapters where the pronunciation is being established, the word never occurs twice close together, so whenever it came up I'd be like "Now, which way did I pronounce it last time?"

#723 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 06:51 AM:

Lee #710: I wish I'd thought of a line like that then.

#724 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 06:53 AM:

CHip #713: I can believe that.

#725 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 08:23 AM:

Marilee: I can't figure out why the difference - the html in both posts is identical and identically placed. The tag seems to be interacting badly somehow with Typepad's post-continuation setup. I shall request technical assistance from Typepad.

#726 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 09:19 AM:

I'm afraid I don't know how to find the original topic, so I will post this here - the New Yorker has an article on the Megan "My Space Suicide".

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/01/21/080121fa_fact_collins

#727 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 11:40 AM:

[In passing]

"Few people realize the extent of the White House, since much of it is below ground or otherwise concealed by landscaping. The White House includes: Six stories and 55,000 square feet of floor space, 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, twenty-eight fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a jogging track, a swimming pool, and a putting green. It receives about 5,000 visitors a day.

"The original White House design, by James Hoban, was the result of a competition held in 1792. Over the centuries, presidents have added rooms, facilities and even entire new wings, turning the White House into the labyrinthine complex it is today.

"What if, instead of in 1792, that competition were to be held today? What would a White House designed in 2008, year of election of the 44th President of the United States, look like?"

--The White House Redux Design Competition

#728 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Randolph: "What if, instead of in 1792, that competition were to be held today? What would a White House designed in 2008, year of election of the 44th President of the United States, look like?"

Horrid.

Serge: I'm going to send them a support request too. The more the merrier, and that adds more squeak to the wheel.

#729 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Terry Karney @ 728... I sent my request about 15 minutes ago. Let's see how long it takes them to respond to either of us. Stay tuned for further developments.

#730 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Considering some of the engineering dead ducks that have won architecture competitions, it's possible that one of us could win that competition to design a 21st Century White House.

But considering the only person I knew at school who was planning on being an architect, maybe we're too clever.

#731 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:23 PM:

Susan, #666, one of the neat little things about Doctor Who and Torchwood is that the world notices. So there's the opening scene of Season 2 of Torchwood, and there's the empty city in the Christmas Special.

Primeval is also worth a look.


#732 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:25 PM:

Xopher@714

Bliss.
Thank you.

#733 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:31 PM:

Xopher @ 714: I sent that link on to one of my mailing lists for former coworkers, to wild applause.

#734 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:36 PM:

John Barrowman has recorded an album of Cole Porter songs.

If I could find the video-editor program which came on a magazine coverdisk, I think I'd try to do something with Doctor Who/Torchwood clips and his performance of "Every Time We Say Goodbye". Though it's not the best track.

#735 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 02:02 PM:

727: A White House designed by the Fluorosphere?

"My fellow Americans. Welcome to my secret lair here on Skullcrusher Mountain..."

Actually, it reminds me of the explanation in "The Pyrates" that pirate ships were purpose built, not for carrying cruise passengers or oil or containers, but for Romance - so they all had to have a stern cabin big enough for a climactic duel, lots of secret passages, a stinking orlop etc.

Similarly, a White House should be purpose built for Political Drama.

Features should include:

All corridors to be wood-floored, to make the right noise when being walked along purposefully.

Meeting rooms should be windowless and lit from above by very bright spotlights shining through gratings, the better to create attractive chiaroscuro on the face of Grizzled Briefing Officer #1.

A large marble entrance hall, for people to be left standing in alone as the Full Horror of their Situation Becomes Apparent.

Daylight-effect lighting, so everyone looks good.

Inspiring idealistic quotations/paintings on the wall, for the creation of Savage Irony, or to be stared at during a Moment of Clarity (inspirational music included).

A smoking room with wing armchairs, for conspiring.

A knitting room, for abi.

#736 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 02:08 PM:

ajay @ 735

A room with a Really Big Table for laying out maps of war theaters (complete with little models of ships, planes, and tanks). This might be the same room as a meeting room with overhead grid and spotlights, using wall-mounted or drop lights instead.

#737 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 02:53 PM:

Xopher @ 714

That's a vid by a very respected vidder in over in LJ fandom. There was actually quite a big kerfuffle when it first leaked onto youtube. Vids and stuff like that has historically (there's around a been under the rader so the sudden youtube spotlight was very unwelcome.

She's also done a Kirk/Spock one set to NIN's Closer which is *very* different but just as good.

Luminosity (another vidder) was interviewed quite recently and two of her vids are linked in the article. They are both excellent. Particularely the one made out of footage from the movie 300 set to Madonna's Vogue. The interview

#738 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 03:06 PM:

Dave @ #731:
No more TV shows! I still have six more seasons of Buffy/Angel to go and cannot possibly dedicate any more time to watching TV shows! One hour a week for Torchwood is more regularly-scheduled television than I have watched in the past 20 years put together, and I can't spare any more!

#739 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 03:26 PM:

ajay @ 727: It is essential that the White House have a big shiny elevator for everyone to race aboard when threatened, which can descend into the depths with loud whooshing sounds. (It doesn't really have to go anywhere much, just down to the janitorial level, but the whooshing noises to indicate rapid motion and the stomach-falling-out sensations are essential. Maybe they can get the Disney Star Tours designers to work on it.)

And of course they need a big tesla coil and a zeppelin mooring mast.

#740 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 03:33 PM:

B.Durbin@518:

If you're referring to the etanercept trial, AFAIK, it is not naturally occurring in human brains. It's used to suppress TNF-alpha, which is naturally occurring in multiple systems in the human body and is implicated in all sorts of auto-immune disorders. (On-label use is for rheumatoid arthritis. IANADr.)

Stefan@556: For he is the Kumquat Haagen-Dasz!

#741 ::: Wrenlet ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Dave Bell @731:

Primeval is one of my guilty-pleasure shows. The premise is intriguing, the characters are engaging, and I have a history of putting up with a good deal of handwavium in service of those elements.

But occasionally the writing is so boneheaded all I can do is laugh at the screen in disbelief. The second season opener in particular: gur snpg gurl gbbx ba na havqragvsvrq perngher jvgu gjb xabja xvyyf va n zhygv-yriry bcra-vagrevbe fubccvat nern jvgu bayl n sbhe-crefba aba-zvyvgnel grnz jvgu gjb (2) thaf orgjrra gurz. Ubj ner gurl abg nyy QRNQ lrg? *ynhtuf*

I still enjoy it immensely, though.

#742 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 05:27 PM:

A 360 degree spherical planetarium, with console for deploying U.S. Star Force units.

#743 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 05:27 PM:

A 360 degree spherical planetarium, with console for deploying U.S. Star Force units.

#744 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Ajay @ 727 - Cameras. Lots and lots of cameras, all feeding live to the web. And limited dark zones, to acommodate necessary confidentiality but not so much as to allow skullduggery.

And giant video screens in every room, hooked up to free speech booths around the country where citizens could go and speak, and the White House would have no choice but to listen. (No off switches or mute buttons allowed!)

#745 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Larry 744: I like your ideas the best...especially the reverse telescreens!

#746 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 06:10 PM:

#744: And this painting should be the screen saver on those video screen.

#747 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 06:17 PM:

On an unrelated topic: well, DUH.

#748 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 06:33 PM:

ajay @ 735:

Let's cut to the chase and say that meeting rooms have to be designed by Sir Ken Adam.

#749 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Sica @ 737 said She's also done a Kirk/Spock one set to NIN's Closer which is *very* different but just as good.
Which is here. Thanks. I had seen the Monty Python vid before but hadn't heard of this one.

#750 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 07:30 PM:

ajay #735: Are you thinking of abi as a sort of Mme. Defarge?

#751 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 07:47 PM:

I'm partial to the children's SF tale, Danny Dune and the Anti-Gravity Spice.

#752 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 09:18 PM:

Xopher, good thing I'm almost never hungry since I can only have 40gr protein a day!

#754 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Fragano, #723: It's actually a slight variation on one of Suzette Haden Elgin's counters to verbal abuse. Instead of trying to engage the surface content, you address the underlying assumption. The technique turns out to be much more widely applicable than you might think; bringing the unspoken assumptions out into the open short-circuits a lot of problems that aren't overtly abusive as readily as those that are.

ajay, #735: Tea, meet keyboard.

#755 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 10:18 PM:

#753 I'm really glad I didn't have a mouthful of fluid. Despite the fact that I have a washable flexi keyboard, the mess is a bit to bear!

And the Monty Python/Star Trek clip is precious. Thanks, Xopher.

#756 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 10:44 PM:

Commentary on the abandoned Detroit Book Depository. Originally, says net.rumor, designed by Albert Kahn as the main post office of Detroit.

But what does the new White House look like? (And I have stuff to do, and want to spend my time on other matters.) Larry, #744: the idea of literal transparency in governmental buildings informs both the designs of Norman Foster and Frank Lloyd Wright. You've invented a hyper-architectural, augmented reality version; fun to think about, maybe not workable--we'd like the pols to have time to sit and think and negotiate, as well as listen. (Best FLLW image I could quickly find. Note Islamic influence.)

#757 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 12:22 AM:

With the current regime, the architecture would be completely unimportant. Any new White House (renamed The Gray House) would be located in a secret, undisclosed, secure location. Future press conferences would be modeled after the recent one that FEMA choreographed.

#758 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 01:51 AM:

Regarding the National Geo "Emptied Prairie" sidelight, apparently the good folks in North Dakota were a bit fraught and wrote nasty letters to the magazine defending their home state.

So ABC News named all North Dakotans its "Person(s) of the Week" earlier tonight.

#759 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 08:50 AM:

The September/October 2007 issue of The Annals of Improbable Research was about research on the ratio between the 2nd finger (2D) and the 4th (4D). Here's one of the papers that they mentionned:

"Digit Ratio (2D:4D) in Homosexual and Heterosexual Men from Austria"
M.Voracek, J.T.Manning and I.Ponocny,
Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol.34, 2005, pp. 335-40

#760 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 11:36 AM:

Serge #759: A few months ago my mother got all excited about the digit ratio thing, but a quick study of the family led to her abandoning the theory. I wonder what the Austrian findings were.

#761 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 11:47 AM:

ethan @ 760... I wonder what the Austrian findings were.

I don't know either, but the magazine also mentions articles about the 2D:4D ratio as a predictor of sperm numbers and concentrations of testosterone, luteinizing hormone and oestrogen. They also quoted another article about the ratio's influence on the performance in skiing.

#762 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Lee #754: That makes a lot of sense.

#763 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Terry Karney

I heard back from LiveJournal... There is only one way to change the order of galleries. If you go to the page that displays all your galleries, you'll see "top level - recently updated - alphabetical - by date" at the bottom of the page. Click on recently updated. Unfortunately, if you leave and come back later, the galleries are back to be listed in the order in which they were originally created. That's pretty dumb.

Meanwhile you can permanently change the order of pictures within a gallery. Go to manage gallery, click on the link to a gallery. Once inside, click on pictures (seen up on the upper left). The arrow buttons below each picture allow you to re-order the images in a gallery by moving them to the left or to the right. Then click on save.

#764 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 07:02 PM:

Anyone want to give me book recommendations?

My husband enjoys most Star Wars novels, especially those by Karen Traviss or Timothy Zahn, and George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. He also enjoyed Jim Butcher's Dresden books, Le Guin's Earthsea books and Pullman's His Dark Materials, although not as much as the first authors mentioned, I think.

I was recently suprised to find him enjoying the first of Butcher's Codex Alera books, and I'd like to see if he'll read anything else along those lines. He adamantly refuses to read anything with dragons, however, which cuts out (of the books that are on my shelf) Novik's Temeraire books, the McCaffrey's Pern novels, McKinley's Damar books and the Taltos books.

Any advice on what to try him on next?

#765 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 07:07 PM:

I'd throw him the Taltos books anyway, Shadowsong. While there are dragons present in the world, I'm not sure how many actually show up. Bujold would probably work, too. Brust and Bull's Freedom and Necessity.
I'm trying to find commonalities between the books you've mentioned, but the Butcher is swamping everything for me. Very fun books, the kind where you just don't look at the flaws.

#766 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 07:11 PM:

shadowsong, 764, about Brust: Sit your husband down and explain firmly that jhereg only look like fire lizards. Hide the novel entitled Dragon. By the time he gets to that one, he'll be hooked like all the rest of us.

#767 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 07:16 PM:

I like everything on shadowsong's list, and Emma Bull's other books, but I bounced off of Freedom and Necessity, hard. Just a data point.

Positive suggestions: how about Rachel Caine's weather series, since he likes the Dresden books? And I second the Bujold.

#768 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 07:35 PM:

From what I recall of Freedom and Necessity, I think it's probably too close in style to Susanna Clarke's magnum later for him to like it. I suspect that he probably wouldn't have liked *reading* ASoIaF as much as he liked the audiobooks - Clarke, Martin, and the Bull/Brust combination are all very dense writers in my opinion. Even Temeraire, with all the Hornblower/Aubrey-Maturin homage, might be a little much, and if I do manage to get him onto Brust, I'm probably going to keep him away from the Paarfi-narrated books.

#769 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 07:38 PM:

TexAnne @ 766: I tried to explain that to him! In fact, we had the linked conversation almost verbatim before he got deja vu and looked up the comic strip.

#770 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 07:53 PM:

Shadowsong #764: How about John Barnes's Giraut Leones novels?

#771 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 08:24 PM:

Looking for commonalities, I was swamped with Butcher, which has a lot of people doing really cool things-- high awesome quotient. Freedom & Necessity made me giggle from awesome so much. But I can see where the historical part and the general voice would get wearing; I eat it up. Discard as necessary.

E Bear, maybe, especially her SF. Sherwood Smith has Inda and The Fox out, and while they're a bit Ender's Game, that happens whenever you write about a kid. There's a moderate amount of politics and a lot of people excelling in ways that reflect their culture and not ours, if that makes sense.

#772 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 09:53 PM:

Freedom and Necessity. Ahhhhhh, happy place!

#773 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 10:28 PM:

whine

I'm in hour 13 of an upgrade* to a critical system**...it was supposed to take 5 hours. Some days I love my job. This isn't one of those days.

/whine

*somebody else's
**mine

#774 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 10:41 PM:

Mary Dell: Good luck with the sharks.

#775 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 10:59 PM:

Mary Dell @ 773... Some days I love my job. This isn't one of those days.

Somebody messed up your autosys? No matter what, my best wishes for a light at the end of the tunnel that won't be the light of the warp core's plasma conduit springing a leak while you're inside the Jefferies Tube.

#776 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2008, 11:34 PM:

Undeniable proof that the Bush Administration is worth than useless when it comes to tackling environmental issues, and indeed should not be trusted with authority over anything:

EPA won't give details on denying emissions waiver

"Invoking executive privilege, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused to provide lawmakers Friday with a full explanation of why it rejected California's greenhouse gas regulations.

The EPA informed Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that many of the documents she had requested contained internal deliberations or attorney-client communications that would not be shared with Congress.

'EPA is concerned about the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting,' EPA Associate Administrator Christopher Bliley wrote."

WHAT THE FUCK?

#777 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 12:53 AM:

Serge @#775:

Not my autosys, but my [redacted] backup software. We had to do an in-place upgrade of the system that backs up 150 of my servers. SQL backup and frontend software. Leapfrogging a version. I manage the team that uses the thing, so I'm the resident expert, whereas the upgrade is handled by the engineering team - all very clever, great guys, but not as experienced with the software. So I rode along to provide t-shooting in case it went south.

It went way south (no surprise there), not our fault. Undocumented registry doohicky. The vendor's support guy "helped" by emailing us fresh copies of the instructions that we'd already read. After 4 hours of hackery & restore-reboot-retry we got it back on its feet and finished the upgrade but it ate all of my schedules, so I'm recreating those as quick as I can so *something* can back up tonight. Of course, the new SQL back end is thrashing for some reason, so the GUI hangs for 60 seconds every time I modify a schedule. So I'm passing the time over here, in 60-second increments.

One of my teammates likened this to learning to build a plane--while you're flying it. To me, this particular go-round seems like learning to sew a parachute, after you've jumped out of the plane that the other guy is learning to build.

#778 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 01:15 AM:

Stefan, #776: In this particular instance, I believe the phrase "chilling effect" is oxymoronic.

#779 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Mary Dell @ 777... Crap. And my best wishes.

#780 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 02:38 AM:

Ahhhh, done. Stuff is backing up without me having to personally click on it...yay. Sleepytime. Thanks for the moral support, Serge! And thanks for the cartoon, Paul @#774 - it's not the first time I've seen that one, but the reminder gave me a much-needed laugh.

#781 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 04:01 AM:

Obviously, the White House should be a secure Federal facility.

Leavenworth comes to mind.

#782 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 06:58 AM:

shadowsong @768: As regards books like the books you mentioned, I mostly can't speak directly, since I've only read a few of them, but I can tell you that my friends who like Jim Butcher also like Glen Cook's Garrett Files books, as more fantasy detective fiction. Though it's set in a fantasy world, I don't see dragons mentioned in a cursory look at one of the blurbs. Different friends of mine have recommended Debra Doyle and Jim Macdonald's Mageworlds books as, roughly, "like Star Wars, only better," so that's another angle. Perhaps also the Wheel of Time books? (Dunno if they have dragons.)

(Also, randomly, if your husband refuses to read anything with dragons, how did he deal with Song of Ice and Fire?)

As to things I've actually read, I'd recommend Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn "trilogy" as good epic fantasy, but for continued encounters with dragons throughout the story.

Your husband might try Tim Powers's The Drawing of the Dark -- it's well-done, relatively original fantasy without dragons that I recall. (On the one hand, hey, it's King Arthur and Merlin, yawn, and I don't believe Powers's female characters; on the other hand, Powers's execution of everything else, especially the fantastic elements, really worked for me.) I'm currently enjoying Elizabeth Moon's Sheepfarmer's Daughter, the first of her Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy, which is so far a good, low-magic hero's quest kind of story; he might enjoy it. It doesn't have any dragons so far. David Weber's The War God's Own is a similar kind of story, though set in a rather different fantasy universe, and it might also be something he'd enjoy; also no dragons. Perhaps Weber's SF as well.

Personally, I am becoming mildly suspicious that, with Sheepfarmer's Daughter as with The War God's Own, I'll lose interest in the person becoming a paladin as soon as they actually become the paladin, around about the end of book 1, in much the same way that IMO Han Solo is a more interesting character before he signs on full-bore with the Rebellion. I hope I'm wrong about Paksenarrion, though.

In Moon's and Powers's books, I've actually been sometimes annoyed when the fantasy elements intrude, so interesting a depiction of medieval life are they (albeit probably idealized, hence the fantasy). Who needs dwarves and elves when you have interesting human characters? I'm not sure what the cure for this is -- even lower-magic fantasy, or historical fiction set in the medieval period, or Chaucer, or what. Medievalists, armchair or otherwise, I'd be interested to hear opinions and get pointers.

On a completely different thread, I finally finished season two of Farscape, and, though the end of season one/beginning of season two was good and the end of season two was good, when it became clear that the characters weren't going anywhere, I gave up on it. ("John, Aeryn, it's been *two seasons* already! Get together! Writers, let your characters frelling grow, okay?") Having read the Wikipedia plot summaries of the third and fourth seasons, my assessment of it as turning into a space opera soap opera seems valid.

I'm now nearing the end of season 2 of the new Doctor Who, and, though it's enjoyable enough, and the Doctor is different enough from the SF (Trek) characters I'm used to that he's interesting, it's not quite scratching my itch. I want more Firefly, dammit, and it's clearly not forthcoming from Joss Whedon. So, in the open-thready recommendation spirit, um, anybody got recs for good Firefly fan fiction? (I should clarify that, while I'm not opposed to erotic content of most types, I'm not really interested in stories with that as their sole focus. I want plot and character, dammit.)

#783 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 08:04 AM:

Mary Dell @ 780... Sleepytime.

I'd say so, considering the time at which you put up that last post. Curse those undocumented registry doohickies!

#784 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 08:33 AM:

Random open threadiness: Brazilian indie short "Lacos". Well worth the 6 minutes it takes to watch it.

#785 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 08:34 AM:

Elizabeth Moon's SF might work, too. I like the Vatta's War stuff more than the Esmay books, but I started with the Esmay books several books in, and I think a lot of the interesting character development had already happened.

#786 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 08:57 AM:

Even better (IMO) short film: "My Name is Lisa". This and the previous one were #3 and #1 in the YouTube Director's Challenge. Rules: make a film between 2 and 7 minutes long in which a character is facing a situation beyond his/her maturity level. At some point one character must pass a photo to another character. Films must include the line "I demand an explanation for these shenanigans. What do you have to say?"

The # 2 film is "Gone in a Flash."

#787 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 10:47 AM:

Turner Classic Movies has The Fountainhead on. I love the scene where Patricia Neal daydreams about Gary Cooper's sweaty body as he holds that jackhammer at waist level.

#788 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 770

I'd be careful about Barnes for a bit. The second and fourth Giraut books, especially the second "Earth Made of Glass" are rather depressing, and might derail his interest in the whole list. They're very good books IMO, but they're definitely not to everyone's taste.

#789 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 02:42 PM:

Re. the Cleve Cartmill affair sidelight, this is my favorite bit: Lockhart, as he told Lansdale on May 15, "spent an unpleasant half hour reading this story which relates the experience of a tailed individual named Ybor on the planet Cathor."

#790 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 03:18 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers)#788: True. But A Million Open Doors is a wonderful book. I'd also recommend The Man Who Brought Down The Sky.

#791 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 05:01 PM:

Fragano #790:

I'll confess to being way partial to Barnes' _Orbital Resonance_, although not so much to the others (_Candle_, _The Sky So Big and Black_, and particularly not _Kaleidoscope_) set in the same world.

The OP's husband might like Barnes' Timeline Wars trilogy: _Patton's Spaceship_, _Washington's Dirigible_, _Caesar's Bicycle_.

#792 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 06:32 PM:

Has Mary Dell popped in since last night's post? Today's young people... When I was her age, we'd work 40 hours in a row, then sleep 4 or maybe 6 hours, then we'd be back in action.

#793 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 07:25 PM:

Kevin @782 - Deed of Paksenarrion doesn't go straightforwardly. When I read Divided Allegiance I felt it dragged for a while but redeemed itself with an especially dark and suprising ending.

No dragons as far as I can recall.

I don't know if this quite fits in with shadowsong's list, but if I were to pick a 1.fantasy 2.trilogy 3.I've only read the first book of and 4.so far has no dragons, I'd suggest Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself. Fairly low magic (such that most of the character who meet a mage don't believe that he is one, despite many of them living next to building of legendary proportions), high on intersting characters.

#794 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 07:47 PM:

Non-bedragoned fantasy: McKinley's Sunshine doesn't have any dragons at all. Nor does most of Bull. Oh...no, dammit, Territory has Chinese magic in it. Sarah Monette doesn't have dragons. Scott Lynch is really good (but DON'T read the prologue to his second book. It's a cheat and a fake, and you'll want to break things when you find out why.)

shadowsong, what exactly does your husband object to about dragons? Every writer does something different--I don't like McCaffrey's dragons, but I adore all of McKinley's.

#795 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 08:09 PM:

joann #791: Oddly, I liked Kaleidoscope Century (explicitly biracial leading characters aren't that common, even if the protagonist was extremely nasty). The Timeline Wars stories I liked too (I gather that he had a fourth in the pipeline called 'Nixon's Frozen Head' that never got written). I could have done without Candle and wish there had been a money-back guarantee on Finity.

Mother of Storms would also make a great introduction to science fiction.

#796 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 08:29 PM:

Joann: I have had some success giving Barbara Hambly's Dragonbane to someone who specifically told me "No dragons!" It wowed her. (The set piece with John playing the country yokel in the midst of the court intrigues should put almost anybody in hysterics.)

#797 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 09:24 PM:

Serge @ #792: True, and in the snow, barefoot, besides. But these days employers tend to drug-test more.

#798 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 10:33 PM:

Fragano, #795, ha! And I like protagonists who are disabled -- Miles Vorkosigan and Jani Kilian, for example.

#799 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 10:53 PM:

France now has only one surviving military veteran of WWI. Despite this, there remains an annual harvest of about 75 tons of war relics (bodies & materiel) from French WWI battlefields. The attitudes of those last two survivors as quoted in the article are interesting to contemplate. One also wonders what will be the thinking in 2098 about current combat operations.

#800 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 11:09 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ 797...Actually, it was 30 hours in a row, not 40. When you're working on merging the computer systems of two companies and one side tells you that the switch will be totally transparent, do not believe them. As for what I did to stay awake, it was all legal. I relied on coffee. Lots of coffee. Too much coffee, based on the headaches I'd get when I'd go without it for a few days after that.

#801 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 11:23 PM:

I'm not sure why he is opposed to dragons - I guess because he considers them a hallmark of "foofy fantasy" and he thinks he doesn't want to read that sort of thing. The political intrigue in ASoIaF apparently overshadows the dragons. And the Codex Alera is EXACTLY foofy fantasy, so I really have no clue why he admits to liking it.

#802 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 11:26 PM:

shadowsong--Bummer. He's gonna miss out on McKinley's Dragonhaven, which is a very sfnal novel about big fire-breathing reptiles that fly. Eh, just tell him they're dinosaurs....

#803 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 11:29 PM:

Serge #@792:

Has Mary Dell popped in since last night's post? Today's young people... When I was her age, we'd work 40 hours in a row, then sleep 4 or maybe 6 hours, then we'd be back in action.

Oh, okay, old man. I believe you have a whopping 13 years on me. And I was back in action - I went to the mall and shopped most of the day. That's no mean feat in 3-degree weather! Speaking of kids today, the high point of the day was seeing an 11-year-old boy in the mall dancing to "Milkshake" complete with various moves designed to showcase his T&A. I suppose I should have been tut-tutting to myself about kids watching TV but I was too busy interally applauding and thinking, "shake it, little gay dude!"

Then I saw a 50-something man with a head of girly roller-set blonde hair, piles of makeup, and a full white beard, getting a makeover at the clinique counter. Awesome.

#804 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 11:33 PM:

I've tried to recommend books to my mother-- she's not an SFF reader-- and run up against talking animals and aliens. I don't think she has issues with dragons, but she won't read anything with talking animals or aliens. It is a Rule.
If Stephen King wrote a book about talking alien dogs, though, she'd be all over it.

#805 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2008, 11:47 PM:

Mary Dell @ 803...I stand corrected, quite happily so, young 'un.

#807 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 07:29 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 806... "It's ergonomic."

#808 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 10:23 AM:

Marilee #798: I like the little admiral too.

#809 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 10:57 AM:

736: damn. Can't believe I forgot the need for a Map Room.

Also endless catacombs lined with little offices, each of which contains an Eccentric Genius, a blackboard, and several immense piles of paperwork. ("Subterranean apemen, Major? You'll need to speak to Doctor Braunstein. He's the world's greatest expert on subterranean apemen. I warn you, though, he's a little... unorthodox.")

The Eccentric Genii are available for consultation by White House staff around the clock - they sleep under their desks. In the event of national crisis ("Mr President, my staff have put together a plan for a counterattack against the subterranean apemen. I'd like to introduce Doctor Braunstein...") they are moved by pneumatic mail tube to Excitingly-Lit Briefing Room #6 the West Wing.

Also, idea stolen from Pratchett: the Oval Office contains the reverse telescreens, etc. The President does not work there. He works in a rather smaller office outside (cf. the Patrician sitting on the steps of the throne).


808: Friend of mine banged his head hard recently while playing sports and ended up with concussion under observation in a neuro ward for a few days, bored (excuse me) out of his mind. When he asked if I had any decent books he could borrow, I almost lent him one of the Miles books which I had with me - then thought that "Memory", in which the two lead characters are both suffering from serious neurological problems, might not be such a good idea...

#810 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 10:58 AM:

736: damn. Can't believe I forgot the need for a Map Room.

Also endless catacombs lined with little offices, each of which contains an Eccentric Genius, a blackboard, and several immense piles of paperwork. ("Subterranean apemen, Major? You'll need to speak to Doctor Braunstein. He's the world's greatest expert on subterranean apemen. I warn you, though, he's a little... unorthodox.")

The Eccentric Genii are available for consultation by White House staff around the clock - they sleep under their desks. In the event of national crisis ("Mr President, my staff have put together a plan for a counterattack against the subterranean apemen. I'd like to introduce Doctor Braunstein...") they are moved by pneumatic mail tube to Excitingly-Lit Briefing Room #6 in the West Wing.

Also, idea stolen from Pratchett: the Oval Office contains the reverse telescreens, etc. The President does not work there. He works in a rather smaller office outside (cf. the Patrician sitting on the steps of the throne).


808: Friend of mine banged his head hard recently while playing sports and ended up with concussion under observation in a neuro ward for a few days, bored (excuse me) out of his mind. When he asked if I had any decent books he could borrow, I almost lent him one of the Miles books which I had with me - then thought that "Memory", in which the two lead characters are both suffering from serious neurological problems, might not be such a good idea...

#811 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 12:01 PM:

Neil Willcox (#793) recommends Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself as a fantasy without much magic. I liked it too: impressive for a first novel. I thought the sequel, Before They Were Hanged, went haring off in the wrong direction for way too long (Abercrombie seems incapable of writing anything under 500pp), but have just read the final book of the trilogy, Argument of Kings, and all is forgiven. It almost reads like anti-fantasy, it's so intent on scraping off the shiny veneer and showing the muck below (especially in battle scenes). There *is* some use of magic, but even that is unconventional and unsettling. Not a happy book, but well worth reading.

#812 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 12:09 PM:

Say, Faren, how is Faren's Computer doing?

#813 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 12:13 PM:

If anyone has ever suspected that "Cthulhu" is actually a Scandinavian product designation, here's proof.

(No? OK, maybe it was just me, confronted with a whole wall of them today.)

#814 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 12:17 PM:

Debbie @813:

I always find myself singing softly, to the appropriate Village People tune:

It's fun to shop at the I-K-E-A
It's fun to shop at the I-K-E-A...

I have never expanded this into a full pastiche, because I think that little critter you linked to would possess my brains for so doing.

#815 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 12:41 PM:

Abi... No lovecraftian homage to IKEA, but here is mine to 1960s TV show Green Acres...

Green Ichors is the pond for me.
Toad spawnin' is the life of me.
Land spreadin' out so far and dead
Keep old Arkham, just give me that country dread.

R'lyeh is where I'd rather flay.
I get lethargic when I slay.
I just adore a madhouse view.
Dah-ling, I love you, but lock me in dark venues.

...The spores.
...The roars.
...Foul air.
..Beast's lair.

You are my strife.
Goodbye, dungeon life.
Green Ichors we are there.

#816 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 12:45 PM:

At Alpha this past year, our lone horror writer had a Pentapus. Too few legs for an octopus, but extremely good for taking pictures with people and use as a pillow.

#817 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 03:59 PM:

SQUEEEEEE!

German TV is going to start showing Dr. Who, starting this Saturday.
http://www.prosieben.de/spielfilm_serie/dr_who/

Y'all, I haven't been able to watch Dr. Who regularly since 1987. To my knowledge this is the first appearance on German TV ever (although it's possible it might have shown up sporadically, late at night, on obscure regional third channels -- that was how I got to see Black Adder.)

And abi @814, Serge @815 -- perfect!

#818 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 04:09 PM:

Debbie @ 817... Thanks. Come to think of it, the last image from the show's opening credits was a recreation of American Gothic. Thus my dragging it into lovecraftian territory wasn't that silly, with or without one of the Gabor sisters in its cast.

#819 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 08:57 PM:

WAY off topic, as in I haven't read any of the topics here:

OKAY. ML'ers who are also VP alumni, please tell me to finish my crappy story and send it in to apply to go to VP.

[That's the end of the desperate plea for completely uninformed encouragement from people who don't know if I can write my way out of a freakin' paper bag. So carry on with your bad ol' selves while I exercise to Public Enemy, "1 Million Bottlelegs." 'Cuz you have better things to do and that's how I roll, and ML comment threads KNOW ALL THINGS.]

Love, Kimberly

#820 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 09:02 PM:

RE: #819:

How I roll is apparently with TYPOs: I mean, erm, "1 Million Bottlebags"

Because that's the name of the actual, you know, song. And now that one's over and we're dancing to The Cure, "Other Voices."

Sorry!

#821 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 09:52 PM:

shadowsong, maybe he'd like Lawrence Watt Evans' Obsidian Chronicles:

o 1 Dragon Weather (1999)
o 2 The Dragon Society (2001)
o 3 Dragon Venom (2003)
(courtesy ISFDB)

I'm not normally a fantasy fan and I really liked these. The dragons are not exactly what you think.

#822 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 10:15 PM:

@ Serge 815:

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started in this Auckland port
Aboard this ill-starred ship,
Aboard this ill-starred ship.

The mate was a man of bonhomie
The skipper brave, and how!
And neither of them would live to see
The port of Callao,
The port of Callao.

The weather started getting rough
The tiny ship was tossed
Despite all the courage of the fearless crew
The Emma soon was lost,
The Emma soon was lost.

The ship set shore on the ooze of this
Unmapped antarctic isle
With Johansen
The great Cthulhu
Crewmen Briden
And Rodriguez
The Elder Gods
And the rest
Here on Cthulhu's Isle!

#823 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 10:56 PM:

HP @ 822... I love it!

#824 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 11:35 PM:

Serge, I was inspired by you.

Lessee... what else have I got?

Now Asenath's smart and kinda cute,
With great big eyes and gills to boot
But Edward's only seen the sights
A guy can see from Arkham Heights
What a crazy pair!

But they're consciousnesses
Inimical consciousnesses yet you'll find
They walk alike, they talk alike,
They even drive a car alike.
You could lose your mind --
When two consciousnesses
Are sharing one mind!

Um... needs work.

How about "The Many Loves of Charles Dexter Ward"?

Or

A shoggoth's a shoggoth of course of course
Unless of course it's a half-breed shoggoth
That is of course unless the shoggoth's
The famous Dunwich Horror!

"Wilbur!"

I suspect I could go on like this all night, but I think it's off to bed instead.

#825 ::: Cadence ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2008, 11:52 PM:

I know of no better place than a Making Light Open Thread to call for help identifying a SF-ish book, so here goes:

The book in question is children's or YA book. Key bits of the plot:

There were colored rings that floated around everywhere - large enough that they a person could walk through them. They would teleport you somewhere else, and possibly transform you into some form that would find the environment there hospitable. Some of these rings would take you down the street, some to a different planet. The color was a hint as to the type of place - blue and green were pretty safe; a red ring took them to a tiny bubble of safety on a planet of lye-mud. There were black rings that were mysterious.

Most people couldn't see or use these rings, and possibly some who could couldn't see the colors. The protagonist could, of course, and also could possibly control the ring's movement to some extent. He had a group of friends that could see them too, and I'm fairly certain they had adventures.

At some point they were kidnapped(?) and stranded on an island that rings didn't come by, though they saw flashes of them in the distance. Then they found a black ring underwater, farther down than they could dive and still get back to the surface.

I probably read this book in the early-mid 90's, and I've tried without success to identify it a few times since then. However, an acquaintance of mine just asked if anyone knew about it, and between us we managed to come up with the above plot bits, which is a lot more than I've managed before. But of course, no title. She would have read it '80-82ish, and she says she has the impression it was older.

Surely someone here can help us out?

#826 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 01:02 AM:

Cadence @ #825, should the collective mind here fail you, you might try the Name that Book group at Library Thing.

#827 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 01:10 AM:

One more book recommendation: The Federalist Papers. Some of the people who wrote the US Constitution explain why they did it they way they did. Valuable for anyone who wants to understand political science (not just US) as well as US history.

#828 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 01:15 AM:

Cadence @ #825: I remember the book from that description, but I don't remember enough more to help you find it. I would probably have read it in the mid '70s. It might have been by Andre Norton, not sure about that. To Linkmeister's recommendation, I would add the ABE Books Book Sleuth group.

#829 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 01:53 AM:

Hey! That's a book by Doris Piserchia, hang on and I'll get my copy ....
Spaceling, by Doris Piserchia, Daw 1978
"The ability to see other-dimensional rings that float in Earth's atmosphere was a late mutation of a few space-age humans. Daryl was under the care of the institution for muters, and she had discovered that if you jumped through the right ring at the right time it would land you in another dimensional world and another shape.
SPACELING is the story of Daryl's desperate efforts to unravel the mystery of why she was being held captive and of what was really going on in a certain alien dimension. Because she was sure that it was all bad and that someday everyone would thank her for the revelation.
But instead everyone was engaged in a wild effort to hold her down, to keep her on this Earth, and to keep the world simply intact!"

You'd probably like her other books - The Dimensioneers (1982), Earthchild (1977), Star Rider (1974).
It's a damn shame she stopped writing.
-Barbara

#830 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 01:58 AM:

Oh, and punkrockhockeymom @ 819: Finish your damn story and send it in to VP. You will never regret doing this. You will regret not doing it.
Simple, really.
-Barbara, VPX

#831 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 05:59 AM:

HP @ 24... "Wilbur!"

Shouldm't it be "Will bury!" ?

I wonder what a lovecraftian take on "My Mother The Car" would be like. Heck, it's about a mother coming back from the dead to haunt her son's garage if not a damp and dank basement.

(By the way, in case you missed it, Mary Dell once showed ML her photoshop fu by turning The Love Boat into a vessel of nameless horror.)

#832 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 06:30 AM:

Whoa! That book search took just about exactly 2 hours.

I should make some enquiries on those recommended sites for the pair of mysterious books (unknown author & title) I'd like to find. Both of them are early 20th-century, and one is most probably only known in Australia, so I'm not that hopeful.

#833 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 08:45 AM:

Another good site for trying to find books is Loganberry's "Solved Mysteries" page. Although it costs to submit a new query, there is an extensive, searchable database. That's how I was able to find Lillian Lieber's "Infinity", a book I loved in high school and was trying to remember. (It's being re-issued this year, btw.)

#834 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 10:36 AM:

[Late to the party, but at least not unCulutured]

Dark ages for the Freemen were protracted
for many years they'd guilds and dukes to hobbl'em
till one day by forbidden Minds contacted
they found they had an outside context problem

the Kwizatz Haderach looked far ahead, then
and saw the Empire gone, forgot, reviled
his hearty Freemen soft, their sands defiled
and ships commanded by AIs; not by men

To make the biggest impact, that he measures.
a smile's ghost as he turns histry's tiller
an ROU called Fear is the Mind Killer
and Freemen glanding Spice for future pleasures

A few more centuries his vision baring
the Mu'ad Dib sees a monument on sand dunes
abandoned, with inscription lit by two moons
he looks upon his own hard works, despairing.

#835 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 11:03 AM:

Kimberly @ #819:
I'm not a VP alum nor ever likely to be, but having accepted a Dangerous Muffin from the VP folks this weekend, I demand that you finish your story and submit it as I have free-floating guilt about accepting the Muffin without having any intention of attending VP and need an actual writer-type to serve as a proxy attendee.

#836 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 11:34 AM:

"Oh, drat, Viable Paradise," I said to myself after reading some of the above comments. "I don't have a story ready to submit to them and if I haven't missed the deadline already it's probably too soon for me to even HOPE to..." Then I went to the VP page and saw that submissions close June 30. Not that someone sending one that late is likely to get in.

We'll see if I can get my act together this year. If not, there's always next year, I suppose. But THIS year FOUR of the instructors are people I've already met and like, which makes it a very attractive proposition indeed.

#837 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 12:28 PM:

there is no brilliance on distant shore
a moment's hesitation serves to tell
just what it is that all the fools adore

so much there is to hate or to abhor
we listen for the coming morning bell
there is no brilliance on distant shore

the morning news is more accounts of gore
modern accounts of bomb and shot and shell
just what it is that all the fools adore

you moan and cry and huddling on the floor
give way to tears and let go a loud yell
there is no brilliance on distant shore

safe in their beds the leaders gently snore
at telling the safe stories they excel
just what it is that all the fools adore

this is we're told another kind of war
the path to heaven has to pass through hell
there is no brilliance on distant shore
just what it is that all the fools adore

#838 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 12:42 PM:

#776 Stefan

I think one of the appropriate terms is "malevolent."

Malfeasance applies factorialized....

#839 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 12:50 PM:

#8
I think it was Spaceling (but possible The Dimensioneers)in which Earth had gotten into very bad shape with a shortage of petroleum/oil due to squandering on inefficient vehicles and wasteful heating and power plants....

Star Rider the original cover was a misleading one (so what else is new...) showing a human character on a horse--shouldn't have been a horse, IIRC it should have been a dog.

#840 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Serge @ 831
Shouldn't it be "Will bury!" ?

Only if you're flying.

#841 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Fragano @ 837

Very good work. Depressing, but good.

#842 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 841... What if your body is shaken with fits of coffin?

#843 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 02:55 PM:

It's been 20 years since I read it, but as I recall the equivalent of spice comes from salt crystals that encrust the giant sand pretzels.

ISTR it being a "beer blast", but this could be influence from the Kumquat Haagen-Daaz, He Who Pours Without Foam.

I wonder if there's a market niche for 'What Would Maud'Dib Do?' merchandise.

Oh, ghods, yes. A T-shirt with those words and a line drawing of a phalanx of Fremen with banners and really, really big knives charging.

Epacris, Bruce, I have access to a competent artist who is also a fan; may I present the idea to him for possible Cafe-Pressing?

The funniest thing was the squirrel who froze in the midst of raiding one of the feeders when he saw the hawk...fortunately the hawk didn't spot him!

About a month and a half ago I saw a hawk attempting to catch a sparrow; the hawk failed due to the sparrow's superior manuverability (I presume it missed its inital stoop and was reduced to attempting a chase) and landed on a nearby roof to perform the best "I meant to do that" I've ever seen outside of Felis domesticus.

I wonder if folks here have responses to [a piece of stupid Republican propaganda], that as commensurate to the task of exposing that stuff as the slime it is and disempowering it...

That's easy: higher taxes for the rich because the rich benefit more from the services taxes pay for.
If you want the long version, it's right here.

#844 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 03:16 PM:

Carrie: I promise I'd buy at least one "What Would Muad'Dib do?" t-shirt, if they cost less than USD 25.00.

Higher taxes for the rich also because their wealth is possible because of the social structures that make other people need government help. A more difficult argument to make.

#845 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 04:07 PM:

Carrie S @843, tho' Bruce's suggestion @625 wasn't quite the (extremely fuzzy) image I had in connection with it, there's certainly no stop to you using the phrase.

albatross @834, among your poem's other excellencies, I do love the image of Paul turning history's tiller.

#846 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 04:07 PM:

Carrie S @843, tho' Bruce's suggestion @625 wasn't quite the (extremely fuzzy) image I had in connection with it, there's certainly no stop to you using the phrase.

albatross @834, among your poem's other excellencies, I do love the image of Paul turning history's tiller.

#847 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 04:18 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #841: Thank you.

#848 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 04:23 PM:

I can't wait to get my big tax refund check so I can stimulate the economy by buying one of these:

Thomas Kincade Faith Mountain.

#849 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 04:24 PM:

I can't wait to get my big tax refund check so I can stimulate the economy by buying one of these:

Thomas Kincade Faith Mountain.

#850 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Carrie S @ 843

Epacris, Bruce, I have access to a competent artist who is also a fan; may I present the idea to him for possible Cafe-Pressing?

Certainly, as far as I'm concerned. Let us know when they're available.

#851 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 04:42 PM:

Carrie S., #843: It's also helpful if you define what you mean by "rich", since a lot of people have self-definitions wildly at variance with reality. When I talk about "higher taxes for the rich," what I generally mean is any household with annual income (not assets!) of $200,000 per year or more. That figure encompasses fewer than 10% of American households. (That also means income from any source, not just wages -- which is the other thing that confuses a lot of people. Interest income and trust-fund income is still income, though the latter especially is often exempt from taxation under our current system.)

#852 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Serge (#763): I know how to rearrange photos (both in, and between galleries).

Lj tells me, in response to my support request, that I am corect when I say there is no way to change gallery orders, but they've gotten requests to add it as a feature. I may go to the feature request page and add one more voice to the choir.

#854 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 10:36 PM:

I finally got around to December in my to-be-read short fiction stack, and have now read "All Seated on the Ground".
And wow. Not story-wow, though there is that, but a wow moment of me figuring out why certain books affected me. This, and Archangel by Sharon Shinn, both really hit the part of me that sings and hasn't sung in a couple years. Choirs. Solos. Being confident in my voice in a way I haven't been since I was seventeen.
It affects me because I have done it, and so I know what it feels like and what it could potentially feel like. The other half of 'write what you know', I guess.
I'm going to be looking at all sorts of books differently now-- there are lots of them that strike that particular chord in me, and I want to see if they're from the same source.

#855 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 10:39 PM:

#851 Lee:

Another complicating factor here is that costs of living are radically different in different parts of the country. I was probably richer living in a small town in mid-Missouri on less than half my current salary, than I am now in Montgomery County, MD (DC suburbs). This affects all kinds of stuff, like tax brackets and the AMT, minimum wage (the illegal immigrants who speak no English and are literally fresh across the border, around here, work for much more than minimum wage), poverty rates (you can raise a family in a low cost place for what it costs to live as a poor single person here), etc.

One of the weirder effects of this is that, depending on where you live, different things are expensive or cheap. Manufactured stuff that's available from chain stores and online is very cheap, when you're living on a DC salary. But food is pretty costly, and housing is horrifyingly expensive, even after a year and a half of down market. Back in mid-Missouri, a house was not nearly so expensive relative to income, but a car or a book from Amazon or a computer was more expensive.

#856 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2008, 10:50 PM:

Terry Karney @ 852... I'd better go add in my 2 cents. What I don't get is that we have to. Isn't it obvious that people would want to decide in which order their individual galleries are to be displayed? Heck, they make it possible for our link list to be ordered as we see fit.

#858 ::: Cadence ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 02:08 AM:

A bit belated, but thank you everyone, and particularly Barbara Gordon for help with the book identification! Two hours is pretty impressive.

I've also bookmarked all those search sites for future reference. I'm sure they'll come in handy.

You have no idea how much my mind is eased by knowing what that book is, though. All these years, some corner of my brain was distraught...

#859 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 02:14 AM:

Stefan @ #857, be prepared for slow loading times at the Center for Public Integrity site referenced in that. I tried it from the story in the NYT and it took quite a while.

#860 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 05:04 AM:

Me @621: Finally, after a week without, somebody has cleared the internet tube carrying boingboing and I can get my daily fix of geekery. I wonder what that was about....

#861 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 07:32 AM:

Whoa Redux!
Put in queries about those two books (see @832) & very soon there was an identification for the Australian one. Pleased & Amazed, & Thankful to the respondent.
The other is an old, odd, book in a very crowded field. I'll keep hoping, tho'.

#862 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 08:54 AM:

When I talk about "higher taxes for the rich," what I generally mean is any household with annual income (not assets!) of $200,000 per year or more.

That sounds like a reasonable rule of thumb, though as albatross says a lot depends on where you live.

Anyway, in general, the more assets you have, the more you use services such as police (to keep folks from taking your stuff) and fire departments (to keep your stuff from burning).

#863 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Barbara Gordon #829

Hey! That's a book by Doris Piserchia, hang on and I'll get my copy ....
Spaceling, by Doris Piserchia, Daw 1978


You'd probably like her other books - The Dimensioneers (1982), Earthchild (1977), Star Rider (1974).
It's a damn shame she stopped writing.

Oh, yeah! She's done a bunch of books, several featuring adolescent girls with some sort of world-hopping capability:

Spaceling: rings, mutation
Earthchild: suspended animation, through and past a biological apocalypse
Star Rider: Companion animal, been too long since I read it to recall details
There was another with companion lions, that might be The Dimensioneers

Other books:

The Spinner, a whacked-out horror story involving a spiderlike alien. (Warning, this one pegs the weirdometer even without the baddie.)

And two I just realized I have, but never got around to reading: A Billion Days Of Earth, and Earth in Twilight. (Hmm, there's another theme, shared with Earthchild...)

#864 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 09:46 AM:

Bah, missed that on preview: "You'd probably like..." is Barbara's text.

#865 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 09:54 AM:

On following the link in the "When you care enough to hit send" particle:

"I can create drama out of anything." I had a girfriend once who had that motto. She didn't like my reviews.

#866 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Typepad support is full of idjits, just saying. This is the same company that owns (owned? I can't keep track) LJ. You would therefore think they would know if LJ cut tags work in Typepad, and if so, how to make them work, right? Nope! Support insists to me that LJ cut tags are not supported by Typepad and therefore do not work. This bounces off the reality that I can sometimes make them work, and am just unclear as to what the Sekrit Formula is that makes them sometimes work and sometimes not. I suppose when I figure it out I should inform support. In the meantime, ***headdesk***!!!

#867 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 11:00 AM:

I just went to LiveJournal's suggestion box and asked them to make it possible for the blog's owner to decide in which order to display galleries. I can't wait for them to start bending over backward to fulfill my wishes and desires.

#868 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 12:24 PM:

Open thread randomness:

A goth in England who leads his girlfriend around by a leash was kicked off of a bus. The bus operator cited safety concerns.

The company is, however, writing to him "to apologise for any distress caused by the way this matter was handled".

Just in case anyone needed to know that.

#869 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 12:37 PM:

abi 868: Somehow it bothers me much more to see a guy leading a woman on a leash than the reverse, or if the two people are the same gender.

Now, I might lead someone around by a leash. Haven't done it yet, but...well, I might. But I would make sure the leash was easily detachable at his end, and easily dropped at my end; and I wouldn't do that in a crowded place or, gods forbid, on a bus.

#870 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 12:43 PM:

I need a new leash on life.

#871 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 01:56 PM:

abi @ #868: people leading other people on leashes, no matter what the gender(s) involved, trips my "don't involve unwilling bystanders in your scene" switch. Please, people, I don't want to hear you talk to your therapist on your cellphone, I don't want to watch you fight with your kids, and I don't want to know about your dom/sub leanings. Bring back the concept of privacy.

(Why yes, I am an old fart. How could you tell?)

All that said, I don't think it was appropriate to throw them off the bus. Yes, I think they were being rude, and I do think the lady's neck might have been at some risk in a sudden stop. Similarly, a person wearing too much perfume on the bus is being rude (and may also pose some risk, esp. if someone on the bus has asthma), but such a person wouldn't be thrown off the bus. I wonder if the gentleman would have detached the chain for the duration of the ride if politely asked by the driver.

#872 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Xopher: Leashes (for people) in general bother me. I have this problem with consent. Yes, I know the person leashed probably consented to it, but it bothers me.

For some reason, however, I tend to share your sense that the consent is more freely given when the roles aren't "traditional" and merely magnified by the overt declaration of subservience.

But I don't think I'll ever be using one, from either end of the equation.

#873 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Abi,Xopher, & Terry, you practically forced me to google "baby leash" in search of a picture of a non-consenting human on a leash. I found this site about baby caging. (Presumably a joke site. Not for the very sensitive! I found it funny but others might not.)

#874 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 02:43 PM:

Mary Dell: I loathe baby leashes.

They encourage people to see children as less than human. One can hold their hands, or keep them in a stroller (yes, that's a non-consent issue).

The only justification for such things, is the same one I have for dogs, horses, etc. They don't know better than to run off and do things which will get them hurt, and I doubt, very much, that any of the baby leashes are around the child's neck.

#875 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 03:27 PM:

Terry Karney...

Could you email me the link to where you posted that feature request in LiveJournal? It'd appear that I posted mine in the wrong place.

#876 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Terry, #874: I have to disagree with you about toddler leashes. I don't have kids myself, but I do have a lot of friends who do, and I've seen just how short the time can be between "kid perfectly all right next to Mom" and "kid 20 feet away, messing with something potentially lethal" -- and if "potentially" turns into "actually", who gets blamed for it? The parents, for not keeping an eye on their child, even though they may only have been focused on something else (such as paying for a purchase) for a few seconds.

Holding the child's hand is a nice idea in theory. In practice, it puts considerable strain on the child's shoulder (especially when the child is lunging to get away!) and is subject to failure without warning (the parent is distracted for a moment, the grip slackens, the child is outta there). Strollers work, but they limit the child's ability to interact with his or her environment (which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not), and they can be hazardous to other adults. I've come home from crowded events with bruises on my legs where strollers got shoved into me by parents who were looking at something else, and the higher the density of strollers, the more likely this is to happen.

The kiddie leash allows the child a certain amount of autonomy without unnecessary risk, and gives the parent the ability to run errands without having to focus on the child every single second. I see it as a win/win.

#877 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 04:56 PM:

Carol Kimball #542: I learned the railroad one as "Paddy on the Railway," starting in eighteen-hundred-and-SEVENTY-one, when he puts his corduroy britches on, and the chorus goes "terra-me-oory-oory-ay," or something very like that. My ex-husband used to get a laugh at Irish sessions by claiming that "terra-me-oory-oory-ay" was Gaelic for "take this job and shove it."

The Tossers (an Irish punk band out of Chicago) have something clearly related, although to a different tune, that mentions corduroy britches. It's sung about four times as fast as the "Paddy on the Railway" I know.

#878 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Lee: having been an au pair and been an elder child on several occaisions (gaps of six, to 31 years). I still loathe leashes.

Not least because they aren't all that good at preventing the child from getting into grave danger, and they do let parents think the kid is under supervision.

I've see more than a few cases of children pulling things down onto themselves, while the parent was blithely doing something else.

Kids are clever. They aren't stupid, merely ignorant. I spent this past weekend camping with some who were ill-trained. One of them was fond of throwing (yes, throwing) things into the fire (we were camping). He was "supervised" all the time. It wasn't the best of supervision.

What I've seen with the leashes is parents who end up treating the child as though they were just a pet. If you have a toddler child in an ambulatory state, they (based on my experience) need to be given a considerable amount of the caregiver's attention, all the time.

#879 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 06:33 PM:

Whoa! I'm not talking about anything non-con! Toddler leashes...well, their value is debatable, but I was strictly talking about dom-sub stuff between consenting adults!

I'm not saying you shouldn't be discussing toddler leashes, only that for me they're a totally separate issue from adult leashes. They're not done for anything like the same reasons, and the relationship between the two people is entirely different (if it's not, somebody needs therapy in one direction, and prison in the other).

Terry and Lila, would it squick you to see me lead another person on a leash—at a costume party, where he's dressed as a dog, with plush floppy ears and paws, and goes around on all fours, and generally engages in doglike behavior (house-trained)?

I don't want to get into a whole discussion about how it shouldn't squick you to see me leading a guy in full leather either, because that's all a game too—I don't believe that, because the fact is I believe you have a perfect right to be squicked by anything that squicks you; besides, I believe in avoiding squicking other people whenever possible,* because I am, at least by intention, a courteous person.

The last time this came up, I made the point that I would not do anything that violated the basic tenets of courtesy (well, sometimes I lose my temper, but that's another story). I'm not going to lead someone on a leash in a crowded space, as I said above, but neither would I lead him (for me it would only be a him) into a party hosted, or even to my knowledge or expectation attended by, people who are offended or even just squicked by any hint of a dom-sub sexual relationship. Even at a party friendly to such things, I wouldn't (for example) keep him sitting at my feet if it became unsafe to do so, or even if it seemed to be inconveniencing other partygoers.

Really, most of these issues evaporate if one applies ordinary standards of safety and courtesy. I spin fire, too: I'm not going to light up my spinning wicks in the consuite at WorldCon. I mean, hello. Credit for the sense the gods gave a turnip, please?

*Exception: if there's a political purpose to squicking people. I might very well participate in a gay kiss-in, if the place and the point were worthwhile. In fact if someone is squicked by me kissing my boyfriend (and I don't mean the kind of mashing that would make people uncomfortable no matter who the particpants are, just kissing), I think it's a positive good to keep doing it until they get over it, or go away. If the host of a party is squicked by two men kissing but not by a man and a woman kissing—guess what, I'm not at that party!

#880 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 07:47 PM:

Inevitably...

All Hail Discardia

#881 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 10:06 PM:

Kids and leashes... as with any parenting tool, or any tool at all, it depends on whether it's used well or poorly. A friend of mine walked on a leash for a while-- she was youngest of four. The two wrist parts went around her and her brother's arms, and her mother held the center while herding the two older kids. I think they can be useful for keeping the child attached to you, too, not just close-- I don't mean roped tightly or anything, just that if you have a multi-kid family in the mall, people may shove between you at some point, and it's possible to lose a kid just from that even if you're watching.

I'm the same way about power dynamics, Xopher. An older man and younger woman makes me want to check that everything's all right. Older woman and younger man, perfectly fine. I think it's in part because the relationship has its weight, what it's doing to the people in it, and there's what society does. Society's going to do its thing no matter what the relationship does, but if the two do the same thing, it causes a big power differential.

#882 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 10:58 PM:

Xopher: In those contexts, no I'm not squicked (heck, the costume sounds cute). If I think the function is consensual, it's not that bad [part of it also might be that I "know" you, and don't think you'd be involved in a non-con situation, so the squicky-bits are stripped away].

It's, perhaps, like Diatryma's questions about age gaps.

I am funny on them, because my grandmother was some twenty years my grandfather's junior, and his third wife about forty-five. So far as I know the relationships were (as much as the time allowed) fairly equal (and I don't know what caused the divorce from his first wife. All three unions had children, and all the children knew each other).

Then again, Maia is 12 years my junior.

But when I hear of a 35 year old man and a 23 year old woman, I don't think it's going to last; and suspect it's not healthy.

I also tend to think the same when the genders are reversed, I just expect the 23 year old man to be less likely to be taken advantage of.

#883 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 11:05 PM:

Reprogramming an industrial robot into a catapult which throws bowling balls and fireballs:

http://www.manapotions.com/robopult.html

The distance isn't really that great for a siege weapon, but the precision is nice and it's a neat hack.

#884 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 11:14 PM:

Rikibeth @ 877: They probably got it from the Pogues, who did that song on their second album, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash; the Pogues' version of 'Paddy' alternates between slow and mournful and punk manic-frantic speed.

Terry, re baby leashes: My younger brother wore one for a while when he was around 2 (I think?), after he suddenly ran away from my parents here. Right up to the edge, at a point with no wall or railing. He had just learned how much fun it was to play chase, too, so it would have been too dangerous for anyone to try to run after and catch him. My father crawled out to him, very slowly, to retrieve him.

#885 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Baby leashes certainly look silly, but after observing, as a driver and a walker of a very large dog, the behavior of very young toddlers, I think they have a purpose.

Said very young toddlers are mobile, but seem to have no inertial guidance mechanism. They're like those wind-up toys that roll until they hit something, then reverse and spin off in another random direction. When carefully guided they can keep up with mom, otherwise it's Brownian motion.

If Mom or Dad has another kid to look after, or a loaded stroller to push, that leash could mean the difference between life and death.

#886 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 12:21 AM:

I'm amused that the idea is my objections are based on looks, or other aesthetic problems. I've dealt with kids, from diapers to toddlers, to semi-rational, to reasonable.

Is my feeling about them correct? I don't know. Is it reasoned... yeah, I think so.

Is it possible they are, at times, the best course of action? Certainly.

But I don't like them, and it's not just based on how they look.

#887 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 12:50 AM:

Susan, #866, the one on Kickery today worked and the one on Rixosous didn't.

I think leashing between consenting adults is fine. The article says it was the girl's idea, and that the boy treats her like a pet -- dressing her, feeding her, etc. I guess she likes that. I do think the leash might have been unsafe on the bus, and not only for them.

#888 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 12:57 AM:

Marilee: I think I not only fixed the Rixo one retroactively but managed to post again on Rixo and have it work! I wish I could say I've discovered the secret, but it's still partly trial and error. Crazy system. And to think that I believed that by putting both blogs on Typepad (I considered LJ for Rixo) I could save myself learning LJ stuff.

#889 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:15 AM:

In case anyone still cares, I will mention here that the Disemvoweling article is currently being taken over by a few people who have been disemvoweled here. I made one attempt to revert the edit and asked for a better example, and someone else made one attempt at a compromise edit; but of course it didn't work. I'm sorry, but I can't even bear to look at it again. kthxbye

#890 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 03:27 AM:

The original leash story: when I saw it reported, here in the UK, I felt the couple were inviting hassles. It crossed a boundary.

In other circumstances? Let's just say I have fantasies, but I doubt I'd ever find the right other person to indulge them with. Full public? No. Selected group? Maybe.

And the extra bits I hear about the couple: they're in territory I don't want to explore.

Anyway, I'm not really confident enough of my own body to want to go for the stuff Xopher suggested; I'm old and bald and overweight, and I find myself thinking that I'd look silly. Which isn't really the objective.

#891 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 09:45 AM:

Bit of an update on Heath Ledger's death (vide supra, #853). Apparently the people from the W***boro 'church' are threatening to picket "his funeral" — by which I suppose they mean memorial services in the US, because they've said they're not coming over to his family home in Perth, Western Australia* — and the red carpet at the Academy Awards. Good luck with that one. Duelling pickets with the screenwriters perhaps?

*Hideous tho' it would be for his family & friends, a perverse imp in me would like to see how WBC would go down over here. It might draw out our own haters (supported soberly in serious articles by certain churchmen & opinionmakers), and perhaps (I think in my hopeful moments) set off a backlash of support for our GLBT(sp?) community among the 'silent majority' of decent people.

#892 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 10:28 AM:

Leashing couple:
I think the girl (she's 19) has got a pretty good racket going here. Her boyfriend lays out her clothes, cleans house, washes up, etc., because one wouldn't expect one's pet to do any of these things. It's the same deal as my tremendously spoiled cats!

#893 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 11:37 AM:

Mez 891: Yeah, I heard that on a gay site. The Ozzie gay community is saying "Just let them come here!" I think if they did go to Perth there would be blood, and it wouldn't be gay blood.

I also heard that Fred Phelps isn't allowed in Canada, and that there, unlike here, hate speech is not only not protected, it's illegal. I don't know if that's true in Oz. Someone from there care to comment?

If there's a memorial service in NYC, I'm not sure whether protection or counterdemonstration would be the best approach. If the latter, I know a couple of things I'll paint on signs: "W B C = Worthless Bogus Christians" and "W B C go back to HELL"

#894 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Susan: yep! And I'm sure YOU know that that dynamic is often played out more subtly in other types of dom/sub relationships.

#895 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 12:46 PM:

xopher @ #879, context, context, context. The doggie costume would not squick me, though I might find it rude in certain contexts (formal art gallery opening?).

What I object to is people playing sex games in public. (Also picking their noses in public, fighting with their family members in public, etc. etc.) It is, for me, primarily an issue of politeness; I don't want to be that involved in a stranger's life, and in a place like a bus where I can't readily get away from it, I think it's rude.

When I saw leashed couples at DragonCon I was squicked, but didn't feel they were out of line, because the con is a place and time when one can reasonably expect to see things like that, and I felt I had, as it were, signed up for it. When they took it out on the sidewalk, I felt differently. The people out there had not signed up for it.

I agree that politically deliberate use of rude actions is an appropriate use of shock value--indeed if it weren't shocking it would be useless in such contexts.

#896 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:30 PM:

Lila: I think calling it a "sex game" is a little reductive; they're doing a whole lifestyle thing here, and they don't seem to be doing anything sexual in public at all. Do you have a similar negative reaction to that common lifestyle/sex game/discrimination symbol, the wedding ring, being displayed in public?

#897 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:41 PM:

My immunity to épater les bourgeois is really strong these days. Mostly I just wish they would get over it.

#898 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Lila 895: Yes, I specified "at a costume party" for that reason. Context is everything.

However, Susan is correct at 896, when she says it isn't a sex game. Yes, they proclaim a relationship of a particular kind, but they're not having sex. Some dom/sub couples leave it in the bedroom; others don't. If they leave it in the bedroom you probably won't see a leash on the sub (even if s/he wears one in private), or even know which member of the couple IS the sub.

Susan 896: I agree that most people object to the leash but not the ring because the leash is unfamiliar and makes them uncomfortable, but OTOH there's an important difference between the two: the leash is dangerous on a crowded bus, which the ring is not. Unhooking the leash during the bus ride is not an unreasonable requirement, just as removing a wedding ring before having an MRI is not.

#899 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:46 PM:

C. 897: I wish the bourgeois would get over it too. That is, in fact, the justification for gay kiss-ins and the like.

#900 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:46 PM:

891: can't help thinking that it might be a good idea if they went to Perth. Even the not-particularly-supportive bits of the Perth population might be spurred into action by the sight of the Phelps clan being obnoxious at the funeral of a dead local boy.

896: it's a bit more in your face than a wedding ring. If the woman wanted to wear a dog collar or something as a symbol, no problem. But this is like those cults where the wife walks four paces behind her Lord and Master, head bowed - and that squicks me out as well, however consensual etc it may be.

BUT that doesn't mean I want it banned. Just that equating it to a wedding ring is false.

BUT, gripping hand - I think it probably was a bit unsafe to have it on a bus. She's essentially got a sturdy noose round her neck attached to someone else. Not a great idea. Now, if it was just a length of thread which would snap easily... no problem.

#901 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Me 893: Someone from there care to comment?

Like, for example, Mez, who made it entirely clear she's from there. Duhh on me.

Mez, do you know if WBC-style hate speech is protected or allowed in Australia?

#902 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:55 PM:

Susan @ 896 ...

I'd have to say that a leash seems like trying to provoke responses - and certainly there's more subtle options, like wearing a collar, but not unleashing the full effect on the unsuspecting public, so to speak.

The difference for me is how in-my-face the object in question happens to be. I may or may not notice a wedding ring (unless it's being waved under my nose repeatedly, and with emphasis) -- I'd be hard put to not notice one person leading another around with a tether[0].

[0] ... and from a strict traffic perspective, -anything- on a leash has a distressing ability to trip others, or get tangled with them :)

#903 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Xopher (#893) I Am most distinctly Not A Lawyer, but there are some hate speech laws around in Oz. I think some or all of them are State-level, because I can remember only in the last few years there being a fuss because a couple of 'Christian' preachers were prosecuted in Victoria for preaching some hateful things about Muslims.

#904 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Xopher:
I'm not quarreling so much with the bus company position, though I think it's a smokescreen for prejudice. I think the odds of a bus accident in which the leash and collar become a safety issue are probably low to nonexistent but bus drivers who feel free to call passengers "freaks and dogs" are a problem.

But I don't agree that wearing a collar and leash in public is a "sex game" in a way that wearing a wedding band is not. Both are blatant advertisements of what a couple gets up to in private, or might get up to, or what people think they get up to, and the wedding band has similar collar-like connotations of marking a woman as a male's possession, only partially negated in some places by broader recent usage. (Ever see a man wearing a honking big diamond to indicate his engagement?)

Why is advertising a relationship style that may or may not say anything about what they do sexually different from advertising a relationship style that may or may not say anything about they do sexually? If anything, a wedding band is more problematic, since in most places (thankfully not all nowadays) it also symbolizes a willingness to accept special privileges not available to others.

#905 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 02:04 PM:

xeger: Also the wedding ring isn't indicative, per se, of the nature of the relationship. No one knows who the spouse is, absent outside evidence.

In addition, most couple exchange rings, so there is reciporicity.

As for tripping/fouling hazards, I think I mentioned those in the toddler leash issue. :)

#906 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 02:16 PM:

May I point out that sometimes the collar-and-leash thing isn't a lifestyle at all, it's just costuming? My ex and I did that at a few cons -- sometimes with me wearing the collar, sometimes with him. It had no bearing whatsoever on the rest of our relationship, and after we'd done it a few times, we moved on to newer costuming. So I don't assume that anyone playing leash games at a con is necessarily into BDSM unless they make it clear in other ways.

On a completely different topic, is anyone else going to be at Chattacon? If so, drop by and say hi -- I'll be in the dealer room, at the Instant Attitudes table.

#907 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Lee:
That's why I have a problem with calling it a "sex game". None of the news coverage I've looked at has said a single word about their sex life.

#908 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Off the current topic, but an interesting realization that something has been going on for longer than I thought...

Sue and I watched Bladerunner last night. I'm not sure how different it is from the director's cut that was released in theaters in 1992 without the narration and without the no-end-date finale. Absent the narration, the characters, natural and artificial, feel cold and aloof, except for Roy Batty was the most human and emotional of them all. Which may have been the point.

What had me go 'Huh?' was to hear someone say 'laying down' when he meant 'lying down'. Already this was happening in 1982, and has gotten worse since then.

#909 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Serge: It was an issue when I was learning to speak English, back in 1968.

#910 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:11 PM:

Terry Karney... That far back? I wonder if it happened even in movies of that era too.

#911 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:19 PM:

Lay/lie is one of those things that gets beaten into (or out of) you at an early age, Serge. It was something we were corrected for when I was in grade school in the early 60s. I expect it goes back much further than that.

#912 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Xopher... Meanwhile, I wonder when "Where are you at?" came into acceptable modern parlance. Or was it always correct, and simply became more popular in the last few years?

#913 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Lee @ 906

Have you ever done the costume thing with each of you holding the other's leash? I think that might make a good costume piece.

#914 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Aaaaagh! I posted on the Giuliani number!!!!


Serge 912: It's a regionalism. Whether it's correct depends on who you talk to. Or to whom you talk, depending.

You know, when Terry said he was learning English in 1968, I thought "Huh, I thought Terry was a native speaker," then went "Duhhh, Terry's a lot younger than you, doofus!"

I blushes, I fairly blushes.

#915 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Serge: That construction isn't acceptable parlance to me, but, "what are you at?" as a question about activity doesn't strike me as horrid.

#916 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Serge @912:

While "where are you at" may be modern usage, it is incorrect. My mother discouraged that construction when I was in grade school by answering, "Behind the 'at.'"

The question is, and always should be, "Where are you?"

#917 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:45 PM:

Xopher @ 914... You're older than Terry?

#918 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:48 PM:

Terry and Lori... That's what I thought, but I didn't want to make assumptions.

#919 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:54 PM:

Well, unless Terry really IS a non-native speaker of English, or was in some way severely delayed in language acquisition, I think so. I was born in 1959, so I would have started learning English by 1960 or '61. Now, he may have been talking about school learning, but he was saying "learning to speak," so I don't think that's the case.

#920 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Xopher: You know, when Terry said he was learning English in 1968, I thought "Huh, I thought Terry was a native speaker,"

He shoots. He scores.

I was playing with the way things look. I'm pleased to have forced a branch on false assumption.

#921 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 04:58 PM:

Xopher @914:
Aaaaagh! I posted on the Giuliani number!!!!

No, you posted your own number, which represents a little birthday in every open thread. Just because G's tried to take it over is no reason to let him. You've had it longer.

(I do wonder if 911 will become like 13 - will hotels that have no floor numbered 13 also go from room 910 to 912 without a break?)

#922 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:07 PM:

Abi @ 914... no floor numbered 13

Maybe my memory is playing tricks on this MLer born in 1955, but, when I was at LAcon, I think I noticed that the hotel had no 10th floor. Apparently, it's an unlucky number in Asia. I think.

#923 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:11 PM:

Terry Karney... Xopher... Will the real Dorian Gray please stand up?

#924 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Completely at random, as befits an open thread:

A photo archive of Helen Gibson, Hollywood's first stuntwoman.

It's amazing what you find on bookbinding mailing lists.

#925 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:19 PM:

Serge: That would be the Hilton. It has no 10th floor (so I was told at the '84 LACon), because the programming of the phone system couldn't cope with the 10 in the numbers.

I don't know as I believe it, but there you go.

The funny thing is, the 13th floor of that hotel is the 13th floor, even with the excision, because there is a floor for office space, which cannot be reached from the elevator (it's between the convention spaces and the rooms).

#926 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:24 PM:

Serge: So far as I know, I'm not DG, and only a well preserved 40.

I don't know how old Xopher is, and shan't hazard guesses as to his hidden artworks.

#927 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:34 PM:

abi 921: You are correct, of course. Thanks for the reminder.

Terry 926: You may not know how old I am, but there's a fairly easy-to-solve puzzle in my post at 919 that will give you the answer! And to refine it you can use abi's only-slightly-cryptic clue at 921.

Oh, wait, that will only give you the age I'm claiming to be, won't it? Well, that's all that's under discussion here. And stay away from that door, it doesn't go anywhere. The draft? Your imagination.

#928 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Terry Karney @ 925... It has no 10th floor (so I was told at the '84 LACon), because the programming of the phone system couldn't cope with the 10 in the numbers.

Their explanation strikes me as a bit dubious. That being said, in 2006, that didn't prevent people from spoofing one of the Twilight Zone's famous episodes with "But, miss, there is no tenth floor!" Another elevator gag inspired by the TZ was "Room for one more."

#929 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:42 PM:

Xopher: I know the day of the year on which you were born. I know, from context, you are older than I. I have inferred, from comments, that you are more than 5, less than 10.

I figure that puts you in a close-enough ballpark for me to make other assessments when talking to you.

The door is safe, I've read Bluebeard.

If I really want to know how old you actually are, I can interrogate you. :)

#930 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:44 PM:

DRAT: Right after I hit post I realised I wanted to say,

Xopher, if I want to know how old you actually are, I haff vays of makin'k you talk.

#931 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:49 PM:

Terry Karney...

"I haff vays of makin'k you talk."
"You can't!"
"Take him to... Detroit!"
"Noooo! Not Detroit!"

#932 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Terry: At 919 I say "I was born in 1959." I think this broadly hints at my approximate age, don't you? :-)

#933 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:52 PM:

Terry @930:
I haff vays of makin'k you talk.

I think the real trick would be to have vays of makin'k him stop talking when he's on a roll.

Me, I don't think there's a power in the 'Verse can do that.

I certainly hope there isn't.

#934 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 05:58 PM:

abi: To drift back to a different thread... ball-gag.

Serge: Detroit I can handle, Toledo... not so much.

#935 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 06:04 PM:

abi 933:

#936 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 06:10 PM:

Re "sex game", I stand corrected. I was ignorant enough to assume that, in a non-costume-party context, a man leading a woman whom he identifies as his girlfriend around on a leash is making a statement about their sexual relationship (as well as possibly a statement about their entire lifestyle). As you have discovered, I don't know from alternative lifestyles.

I shall try not to be such a rube in future.

Even without the sexual connotation, though, it still strikes me as oversharing. (Not to mention the whole safety-on-a-moving-bus issue.) But again: a matter for Miss Manners, not the cops.

#937 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 06:44 PM:

#936:

Isn't it possible that it's just theatre? No sex, no sharing, just ... play-acting? Assumptions all in the mind of the beholder?

#938 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 06:45 PM:

Terry @934:
abi: To drift back to a different thread... ball-gag.

That always makes me think of some of the comedy jugglers I've seen in my day.

I guess Xopher (@ 935) was watching and was rendered speechless by the humor?

#939 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 07:13 PM:

joann @ 937 ...

... better than in the eyes of the beholder -squick-

#940 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 10:04 PM:

abi: just showing you the power in your Verse.

#941 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 10:12 PM:

Xopher... May the Verse be with you.

#942 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 10:37 PM:

This is getting verse and verse as rhyme goes on.

#943 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2008, 10:43 PM:

joann @ #937:
I can think of three possibilities:
(1) they follow the game to its logical conclusion and don't have sex, since one doesn't generally have sex with one's pet.
(2) they have sex but drop the role-playing at the bedroom door and are just two people.
(3) they don't drop the role-playing.

My experience with pet role-playing is minimal but suggests that 1 and 2 are at least as common as 3, maybe more so. I'd guess 2 if I had to guess since they're also engaged, which suggests that they maintain a parallel human-human relationship along with the master-pet roles. But in any case, it's not like they were doing either 2 or 3 on the bus, and I can understand getting a little bit pissy about being denied public transit and called names by a bus driver.

#944 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Well, I was called away for a few days, and there's a new open thread, and I'm not sure that anyone's interested in any more Lovecraft/sitcom-theme pastiches, but in any case:

There's a color out of space
Turning everything to blight,
There's a shuggoth from the South Pole
Eating everything in sight,
Cthulhu cults are running wild,
Lavinia Whately's great with child --
Clark Ashton Smith, where are you?

And for Serge, "My Mother, the Car," by H.P. Lovecraft

I had never heard of Detroit prior to the events of 1965-66. They say it is a queer place, more empty buildings than people nowadays, although it used to be quite the city. Most people avoid the area -- the Interstate is poorly maintained, and the Amtrak never went through. Strange rumours abound of Old Man Ford, who must be rich as Croesus, and of strange rituals and ancient religions. But it is the inhabitants of Detroit that evoke the greatest horror among the ignorant and superstitious. It is said that they have great, lamplike eyes, and an eldritch chromium tint to their teeth when they smile....
#945 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 11:23 AM:

HP... Par Zothique, c'est magnifique. And yes, I think it is safe to say that Lovecraft spoofs are always welcome. Just carry them over to the new dread... er.. thread.

#946 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 01:38 PM:

Oooh, "I had never heard of Detroit prior...", excellent.

#947 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 03:09 PM:

Carrie S #862: I don't think that's generally true. Wealthier people often provide services for themselves (schooling for their kids, medicine for themselves, private security by way of alarms and gated communities) that poorer people might need from the state. Allowing everyone to pay taxes limited by the value of the services they got from government would not result in rich people paying more taxes. This is why some very rich people can live quite well in very poor countries, where the governments barely function at all, and most people are in very bad circumstances.

#948 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 03:32 PM:

Susan #943 and others:

I agree with Xopher's comment earlier (I think it was Xopher). It's hard enough to live together with wildly varying beliefs, lifestyles, tastes, etc., without pushing it onto everyone else. IMO, while the law ought not to be telling people whether to wear a leash or whatever in public, doing so is just rude.

A free society, where we don't all share a lot of values, is a wonderful thing. I think it's maintained largely by people *not* trying to force their beliefs, ideas, lifestyles, etc., on passers-by.

I will admit that I can't specify a good line to draw for this; if people are offended by my wearing a wedding ring, or Xopher kissing his boyfriend, or some devout Muslim woman wearing a headscarf, I'm not really interested in trying to fix that for them, though I won't wave the wedding ring under that person's nose. But genuine courtesy is one of the best ways I can see to let people who don't agree on much get along, and even come to like each other.

IMO, genuine courtesy is necessary for a diverse society to function.

#949 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2008, 12:29 AM:

Susan, #888, when you feed to LJ, you can change your blog, but it won't change on LJ. They take the first and that's it.

(Sorry I'm late responding. It turns out that three doctors' appointments in two days is not a good idea and I skipped LJ and ML yesterday to sleep.)

Terry Karney, #920 , I looked at it, calculated if that date made you roughly the age you are, and knew what it meant. FWIW, I'm older than both you and Xopher.

#950 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2008, 08:46 PM:

Serge @ 908: The Oxford English Dictionary shows that the lie/lay confusion has been going on for at least 1200 years.

#952 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 11:48 AM:

Yay Jim!

#953 ::: spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 09:39 PM:

[ Spam from 173.234.92.191 ]

#954 ::: Bill Stewart Sees More Spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 02:15 AM:

I'm guessing from the name it's more from the spammer you just deleted?
I'd say it's link spam, but I think spam only comes in squarish blocks?

#955 ::: spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 10:39 PM:

[ spam from 173.208.71.160 ]

#956 ::: P J Evans sees more spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 10:41 PM:

A spam epidemic?

#957 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 08:48 PM:

The amazing thing is, they've posted many such spams here under the same username, over months and months, I guess all trying to get some kind of attention to their URL. Seriously, check their View All By.

(Would the user name translate as holy (female) hick, more-or-less?)

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