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February 10, 2008

Open thread 101
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:33 AM *

There is a grey heron that lives by the Water of Leith in Edinburgh. It ranges from Dean Bridge to Canonmills. I’d not thought that an urban burn would have fish enough for it, but still it endures.

I used to walk that way of a lunchtime. Eventually, I became quite superstitious about that heron. Every time I would see it, standing in the water with the intense stillness that its kind seems to exude, my day would improve. Bad mornings would be followed by good afternoons. Good days became perfect.

Here in Noord-Holland, herons are ubiquitous. They stare at me fixedly from the reed beds in het Twiske, and peer unblinking from beside the canals near my office. Amidst the common rabble of ducks and gulls, beside the vanity of the swans, they stalk like aristocrats or priests, somber and watchful.

I guess I’m very lucky these days. Odd how it feels like being paranoid. All those eyes, watching

Comments on Open thread 101:
#2 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 07:00 AM:

All those eyes, watching…

An appropriate note on which to enter RoomOpen Thread 101.

#3 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 07:24 AM:

Is this where we learn the basics of open threads?

(OK, kinda lame, but it's the best I can do right now.)

#4 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:07 AM:

Sorry for the repetition. But it's an apt repetition.

(must click all links...)

#5 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:10 AM:

Thread 101.

Rats.

#6 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:44 AM:

Shortly after we moved to Oregon 30 years ago, we bought our first house. It was very cheap; one of its drawbacks was that it sat at the bottom of a saddle curve of terrain, so during the winter, when it rains a lot here, we got water flowing in from two sides of the lot. We also had very poor drainage so there was about 4 inches of standing water all winter in our backyard. The good news was that we had a lot of frogs living in our own private wetland, and so for several years we had a resident heron living off the frogs. It was like having a living house spirit in bird form; or maybe like having Hiroshige decorate your back yard.

#7 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:46 AM:

A fair number of people in my neighborhood have decorative ponds in their garden that they stock with fish, sometimes very expensive fish. I overheard a neighbor complaining bitterly about the loss of an insanely expensive koi, which he blamed on our next-door neighbor's cat. Now, Maxi is guilty of his share of scraps (as the notch on his ear can attest), but in this case he was innocent. Turned out that a heron was the culprit. Some people actually have bronze heron statues next to their ponds.

#8 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:48 AM:

I could have sworn that read "Threat 101" when I first saw it. Are we up that high? PaleGoldenrod Alert!

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:48 AM:

I get "stack overflow at line: 619" when I click on the Leith link then I hit OK and the photo comes up. I guess we can Leith it alone.

#10 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:52 AM:

Friends of mine had a resident heron in their ornamental pond, until the pond was clear of koi. Being country folk, they regarded the heron with something akin to the same resigned amusement associated with watching the goats eating the gooseberries.

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 09:11 AM:

101 = (1x2²) + (0x2¹) + (1x2&sup0)
101 = (1x4) + (0x2) + (1x1)
101 = 4 + 0 + 1
101 = 5

And 5 is how many moderators ML has.
By God!
I have finally figured out Da Abi Code.

#12 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 09:27 AM:

Serge @ 9 ...
I get "stack overflow at line: 619" when I click on the Leith link then I hit OK and the photo comes up. I guess we can Leith it alone.

I'd Leith as not - who knows what you might be forgetting!

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 09:39 AM:

xeger... I am not going to commit any further punning, even though the thread's subject was birds, a subject rich with possibilities. And, non, je ne egret rien.

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Sue and I watched most of the 1997 miniseries of The Odyssey last night. I've never read the original so I don't know how good the adaptation is. Sue went "Hey!" when we realized they had dropped the Siren episode. Still, it had a good cast, especially Armand Assante, Greta Scacchi and Isabella Rossellini. (Let's not forget Irene Pappas as Odysseus's mother. Ever seen her play Penelope?)

#15 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Herons? What happened to all those famous Dutch ooievaren?

#16 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:01 AM:

xeger #11 & Serge #9: All together now: The Leith police dismisseth us.

#17 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:12 AM:

Three herons patrol the shore across the road from my house. Occasionally they squabble over territory, but mostly they just stand very still and loom over the oystercatchers. Of all birds, I think they look the most prehistoric in flight -- something about the hunching, the shape of the head, the spread of the wings, the surprising size.

----------

Those of you who said that I would start enjoying Deep Space Nine more in the middle of the second series: you were right! Thank you for suggesting I stick with it.

----------

My crappy laptop is almost dead. Only one USB port works (the other got rammed inside the machine and is presumably lodged somewhere it shouldn't be). The battery only stays fully charged for one minute, then plummets down to 0%. There's something wrong with the little hole that the power cable plugs into -- it's loose and jiggly and this doesn't seem like a good thing. The lid doesn't stay shut when you put it down. And, after a recent falling-on-the-floor incident, the mouse clicky thing is unresponsive half the time.

So I'm thinking of getting this shiny Lenovo laptop as an unnecessary and undeserved gift to myself.

I'm a bit ignorant about computers and programming these days (all very different from learning BBC BASIC at my primary school's computer club, which had the only computer in the village), so I thought going down the Linux route might force me to learn more about the innards. Is this a good idea?

#18 ::: Spike ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:31 AM:

To derail slightly, as one of the ex-presidents of the University of Edinburgh Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, I have been asked to provide a film/TV series for Conpulsion. The idea being that in one of the rooms will have a projector rigged up, and people will drop in and out if they have time free. My real question is, what should we show? One suggestion was the Call of Cthulhu silent film, but if people have better ideas I would love to hear them.

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Madeline Kelly @ 17... I think they look the most prehistoric in flight

That's pretty much the way I feel when roadrunners show up in our backyard. They're slightly better flyers than chicken are, but, when they walk around and hunt, or when they just stare at you, it's a bit creepy. In a good kind of way.

#20 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:44 AM:

I saw this heron on my last trip to Boston. (Not a very good picture.)

My brother had a koi pond behind his house in Florida. A heron ate his koi, so he went out and bought more koi (with predictable results). I don't know whether his optimism outweighed his Ph.D. in ecology, or whether he prefers herons to koi and was just thinking of the fish as expensive heron chow.

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Spike@ 18... I'd suggest 1964's Outer Limits TV series.

#22 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:01 AM:

At one time I worked around the corner (and parked next to) an office complex with a decorative stream running into a pond with (non-expensive) koi; the stream had mosquitofish. After I'd worked there a few years, the egrets checked it out and found the pond. They had to put netting over it to keep the fish in it.
That's successful landscaping.

Downtown LA has red-tailed hawks that most people don't even notice. And there are stilts and widgeons in the river (and yes, sometimes herons or egrets).

#23 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:33 AM:

"Stilts and Widgeons" sounds like a shop that sells obscure hardware. (Motto: "All trades, their gear and tackle and trim.")

Or a band. Preferably one that plays period music on "those little buglike instruments".

#24 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Rochester has Peregrines!

There are actually a a fair number of them in the city - I'm not sure anyone has actually done a count - and it's not at all uncommon to see one perching on a lamp pole overlooking the highways when you're driving, or coasting over the various fields looking for lunch.

Since I grew up before Mariah and Sirocco moved into the area (the presumed progenitors of most of the Peregrines in the area, afaict), it still makes me smile when I see one sitting up on a lamp pole, or perched on a building ledge, or the like, watching the silly humans hustling and bustling around on the floors of the concrete valleys they now live in and around....

#25 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:42 AM:

Spike #18: Ooh, yes yes yes, Call of Cthulhu. Other than that...are you going for some kind of theme?

#26 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Ooh, I love Leith. My wife and I were married there in '94.

As an aside. The Making Light Indices project is still going, I've just slowed down as I've a book to finish writing this month and the number of posts per month increased substantially in 2006.

#27 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:58 AM:

There were herons living in the miniscule pond next to our house in Newport News. Even when they were stalking along the edge of the water, they looked intensely still.

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:04 PM:

P J Evans @ 22... They had to put netting over it to keep the fish in it.

It was quite disconcerting, years ago, to find a big tropical fish in our backyard. Maybe it was a flying fish and it had fallen off a nearby tree. Or maybe one of the Bay Area's airborne fishivores had snatched the fish off a nearby bath. Its being half-eaten leads me to think the former, and that it had been attacked by mutant winged piranhas.

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:12 PM:

My wife found the following at http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/02/sperm_from_bone_marrow.php

British scientists are ready to turn female bone marrow into sperm, cutting men out of the process of creating life.

Now why did she feel the need to bring this up?

#30 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:14 PM:

ethan @ 25... Please warn Spike that the dvd's FBI warning states that their antipiracy enforcement is accomplished by mi-gos.

#31 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:23 PM:

I saw a Green Heron yesterday, flying between Long's Pond and the eastern branch of Lake Lois. In flight they are the same size and roughly the same outline as crows, and on the ground they land in th tall reeds, point their beaks at the sky and vanish quite efficiently.

The second day in Britain, our first trip there, I bought a bird book. There were Great Grey Herons in dead trees overlooking a pond on the way to Sissinghurst, but it was the wood pigeons and blackbirds on the ground at the Tower of London that I life-listed first. Seeing Great Blue Herons is largely a matter of looking in the right place: they top the old pilings off West Bay Drive like just more Capital City public Art, and hunt the muddy shallows of Budd Inlet like a convincing argument that dinosaurs still hunt the earth.

On the other hand, when my nephew was five or six a Great Blue needing rest from a vigorous squall landed on top of his swing-set and teetered there for long insecure minutes, all graceless bony angles and half- open wings struggling for balance. My son insists it's wrong that anything that big and gawky should insist on nesting in trees, fifty feet off the ground, but such is their habit.


#32 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:32 PM:

I was gonna suggest Open Thread C++, but I couldn't think of anything appropriately clever to do with it.

#33 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Serge @ 29 -

My wife found the following at http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/02/sperm_from_bone_marrow.php

British scientists are ready to turn female bone marrow into sperm, cutting men out of the process of creating life.

Now why did she feel the need to bring this up?

Because she feels that, deep in her bones, women don't need men? :)

#34 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:50 PM:

Avram: You could explain that "This is going to be like Open Thread C, but with class." Though open thread C++ should really evaluate to open thread 100, but update Thread C to open thread 101. Now, if you'd made it open thread ++C, maybe it'd work out right. (But I love the idea of thread names with *side effects*.)

Can you tell it's been a long day?

#35 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Herons have started to become rather common here, just north of Atlanta, GA. I don't remember them being in the area when I was young. There was a green heron that used to haunt the inlet stream for the little pond in an apartment complex where I used to walk a dog. He stayed for the summer, and left at the end.

The armadillo line is moving north too. When I was a kid in middle GA, you never saw armadillos there. You do now.

#36 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:00 PM:

My high school has bald eagles. They are also parked directly under the Atlantic flyway, so it is common in the fall to see astonishingly large flocks of songbirds. I remember one evening coming back from cross country practice and stopping to watch this river of birds fly over for fifteen minutes.

They have herons too, but eagles... It's hard to top the coolness of a pair of eagles flying low over the school buildings.

#37 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:13 PM:

Fragano #16- how do you know that one?

Anyway, I was only brought up in Balerno, went to school at Heriots, which I think instilled in me my liking for historic buildings. But Leith was always a far away, dodgy place.
Although my great several times removed grandfather lived near the Dean bridge.

And I think I saw an otter on the water of leith up at Currie a few years ago.

#38 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Here is a snip of obfuscated text which can be compiled as C++ code and C code and can be interpreted as TeX markup and as a Perl script. The first two lines of the C++ code output are

On the first day of Christmas my only love gave to me
a partridge in a pear tree.

I think the part which begins with #define mysweetdiego is most moving.

Does there exist a poem somewhere which can be read in four different languages, preferably with four quite different meanings?

#39 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:23 PM:

What worries me most about the water of leith, apart from innapropriate development, is Japanese Knotweed. An evil plant, I want a science fiction plasma gun with which to extirpate it from Scotland.

#40 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:32 PM:

Serge@19: Yesterday, out in the park feeding the ducks, I threw a big piece of bread to a crow. It held the bread down with one clawed foot and tore pieces of bread off with its beak in a distinctly coelurosaurian manner.

#41 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:34 PM:

#38: "12 days of christmas" code:

If the code were written in Lisp, would it have a pair bridge in a parse tree?

#42 ::: joel hanes ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:50 PM:

All trades, their gear and tackle and trim

From one of my favorite poems. Thanks.

#43 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:50 PM:

guthrie #37: Because I am a native of London. For some reason, people seem astonished by this.

#44 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Avram @32:

I'm an idiot. I should have done something like this:

#include <iostream>
#include <blogmagic>
using namespace std;
int main()
{
  blog MakingLight = "http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight";
  int openthreadnumber;
  int openthreadcomments;
  openThreadNumber = MakingLight.CurrentOpenThreadNumber();
  openThreadComments = MakingLight.CommentQty(openThreadNumber);
    // leave space before the 1000 mark so existing conversations can finish
  if (openthreadcomments > 950)
  	{
  	thread NewOpenThread = new thread ("cleverStartingText");
  	MakingLight.Post(NewOpenThread);
  	}
	return 1;
}

(My C++ syntax is badly infected by C#, so this probably wouldn't compile even if you could find a blogmagic library to supply the appropriate methods.)

#45 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Fragano #43- I didn't realise its use had spread that far. I can't even say it when I'm sober.

#46 ::: hypochrismutreefuzz ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:11 PM:

There was a line in one of Dylan Thomases poems about the "heron priested shore".

#47 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:13 PM:

guthrie @39 bemoans Japanese knotweed; Puget Sound has that, plus scotch broom which, away from the insects that can eat its seeds, grows ten feet tall and drives out everything except the blackberries.

There is an urban legend that the Highway beautification program was responsible for the Broom, but in fact the first seeds came here via letter from Edinburgh. It was addressed to David Douglas, from Archibald Menzies at the University of Edinburgh, in exchange for seeds and botanical specimens for douglas fir and big-leaf maple, both of which I've seen when we were wandering lost in the southern highlands.

That trip to Scotland was memorable for people walking up to our group of travelling rosarians in the gardens of Crathes Castle on July 4th and congratulating us for ridding ourselves of the sasunnach, and for me finally life-listing the common eiderduck. The latter was rendered ironic when I saw a raft of fifty out at Kalaloch a few weeks later.

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:16 PM:

abi @ 44... Where can I get a copy of that cleverStartingText subroutine?

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Steve C @ 33... I hope not. Anyway, this gives a whole new meaning to the word 'boner'.

#50 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:18 PM:

JER #47- What sassenach? I'm afraid I don't quite get the reference.

Thats another of my pet moans- people have been too ready int he past to transplant plants and insects without considering their impact. I have made it my work to get rid of some giant hogweed by the water of leith, but its taken 2 years so far to kill off much of it. Even with roundup and a long handled hoe for when I feel like letting off steam, its still hard work.

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:21 PM:

Serge @48:
Where can I get a copy of that cleverStartingText subroutine?

Well, actually that was a string input to the constructor. The starting text generation routine only runs on the wetware, I'm afraid, and I don't have access to the source code. I just run the compiled version and see what I get.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:22 PM:

Tlönista @ 40... It just goes to show that there are plenty of wonders around.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:28 PM:

abi @ 51... Drat. I had presumed you weren't showing the whole program and that, further down, one might find a paragraph thus named with in it the coding for Wit & Cleverness. Oh well.

#54 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:45 PM:

guthrie @50, I can only believe they were speaking of George III, King of Great Britain and Ireland, who got an eviction notice on July 4, 1776.

#55 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:48 PM:

Oh yes, now I get it.

#56 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:55 PM:

Two kilometers east of the ocean, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the highly eutrophic Stow Lake surrounds Strawberry Hill, San Francisco's 15th highest hill out of the 43 that elevate the city. If three lakes truly makes a Chain of Lakes, then Stow is the easternmost--if one does not count the ponds of the Japanese Tea Garden--and the largest.

The hill was the home to Sweeney Observatory--a viewing platform, astronomical but not for astronomy--before the great quake last century took it down. The high reflecting pond still feeds Huntington Falls.

I have not seen strawberries on that hill, although a few patches of the wild woodland strawberry are said to remain, but there are blackberries and nasturtium fields and a few banana trees by the falls, and south of the hill is the 55 acre botanical gardens at Strybing Arboretum. Come the apocalypse, Strawberry Hill is defensible, with just the two stone bridges across the lake. You must learn to maintain the pumps, though, or eutrophic will turn distrophic.

Each spring the Great Blue Herons return to the trees of Heron Island near the boat house. The Great Blue is a narrow and angular bird, and when they unfold themselves from their resting dimensions to suddenly become visible in the high branches it is a surprise and a wonder. They arrive in January and leave by July.

Two herons have already arrived in the nesting trees. The 2008 Heron Watch Program starts in April on each Saturday: April 12, 19, 26 and May 3, 10, and 17.

#57 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 02:58 PM:

guthrie @ 50: May I recommend to you Charlotte MacLeod's The Curse of the Giant Hogweed? It won't help much with the hogweed removal, but it's a great fantasy/mystery.

I remember fondly the winter walk near Columbia MD, where Shymala and I turned a corner and saw a great blue heron maybe 10 feet away, standing as still as if it had been sculpted there. We spent quite some time communing with it, and it with us.

#58 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 03:56 PM:

We have egrets in New Orleans -- and ravens. Both are seen in large numbers around the Tulane campus main library. In NYC we have falcons -- and pigeons.

And rats in both.

But as far as I know the falcons are the only ones to eat the rats. They eat the pigeons too.

It is now the Year of the Rat, or the Year of the Mouse, whichever you prefer.

Gung Hei Fat Choy!

Love, C.

#59 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 03:57 PM:

UK Advice on eradicating Giant Hogweed with a chunk of history on changing plant names and confused taxonomy.

#60 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 04:11 PM:

I've had this song from 1776 stuck in my head off and on as I've been watching campaign coverage. If you haven't seen it before, it's a treat.

We have land,
Cash in hand,
Self-command,
Future planned...

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Mary Dell @ 60... Argh! Now I've got an ear worm burrowing into my brain. I'd better find myself some singing by John ("They'll run their pen through it!") Adams to chase the other guy out.

#62 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Dave- thats pretty much what I have been doing- spraying glyphosate on it in May, and coming back and cutting up the survivors and ones that I missed. I don't know who owns the land, and a lot of them are on the effectively public ground of the water of leith walkway.

I've got a variety of pictures of herons and other interesting things on the Water of Leith, but they were taken using my film camera, so are not scanned in. I spent many afternoons walking the dog(s) down the old railway line. Unfortunately I now live near Falkirk, although there are some nice areas around here. Ahhh, those were the days.

Am I the only native Edinburgher on here?

#63 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Guthrie: do 15+ year transplants count as "native" for these purposes?

#64 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Mary Dell (#60): Note that "Cool, Cool, Considerate Men" was not included in the original theatrical release, because Richard Nixon objected to it when Jack Warner gave him a private screening of the movie before release.

In another note (pun most definitely intended), I think we need to put together a playlist of Making Light-related music: "Vindaloo", "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (both the Hurra Torpedo and Bonnie Tyler versions), the Matthew Sweet/Susanna Hoffs "And Your Bird Can Sing", at least one Whisperado track....

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 04:44 PM:

guthrie @62:
I got as far as naïve in 14 years, then left before I had my t*.

-----
* which means I'm hungry

#66 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 04:58 PM:

Charlie- for the matter of knowing what it is like now, how to live and navigate in it, yes, 15 years is enough.

I guess I'm feeling a little nostalgic tonight, and in that way, being an immigrant from elsewhere does not count.
I think there is something you gain about a place growing up in it, a sense of it changing as you grow up, plus as a child you form bonds and memories and attitudes that are non-rational.
I remember when they put the new flagpole on Edinburgh castle, IIRC they got a Sea King in to lift it. Or when you coudl drive both ways up Princes street, and Saturday morning shopping was a fractious affair due to the huge numbers of people. Or when there were the green and the Red buses. Or when Kinleith mill had workshops and industrial units, and people actually worked there, even if the mill itself was shut.
Oh yes, and Scotland could actually win at Rugby, and we had real winters with snow that lasted for a week, and was sometimes heavy enough to ensure that those who lived outside the not yet completed city bypass had to be sent home early from school.

Abi- clearly you had a narrow escape. I am impressed with your ability to weave such a web of references to open a thread.

#67 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 05:12 PM:

guthrie @66:
I did not really escape. Click on the link for "Edinburgh" in the text for how I feel about the city.

I never learned to speak like a Scot, but I don't expect to love Amsterdam the way I love Edinburgh. Robert Louis Stevenson said it best.

I will say it fairly, it grows on me with every year: there are no stars so lovely as Edinburgh street-lamps. When I forget thee, auld Reekie, may my right hand forget its cunning!
#68 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 05:14 PM:

There's an annual migration of Pacific Golden Plovers from Alaska to Hawai'i, and some of them occasionally turn up in my yard.

There's a better picture of one here.

They have stilted legs and they're very skittish, but they also can be seen in the middle of the street in front of my house in the mornings. I always want to shout "Cars, you idiots, cars!"

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 05:19 PM:

Can someone tell me what the Moderator of the Church of Scotland does? I came across that reference in a YouTube excerpt from Monty Python's Flying Circus and became quite intrigued.

#70 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 05:22 PM:

Linkmeister @ 68... "Cars, you idiots, cars!"

That reminds me of when I was living in the Bay Area and one day found a peacock and his hens walking along. Considering that this was a busy street, it's a good thing that they decided to use the sidewalk.

#71 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Abi- ahhh, so you have it bad.

Serge- the moderator of the C of S is basically the president/ head spokesperson for the organisation. Such a cunning title.
But Pythons genius, there is probably some sort of actual history involving the C of S and "special effects". I recall watching the sketch on those brothers, one was called Dinsdale, and hunted by a giant hedgehog. It was basically a mickey take of the Krays, but as a teenager I didn't know anything about them, just found it funny.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:01 PM:

The wildlife area in Sepulveda Basin this morning had herons, egrets, Canada geese, and a couple of squadrons of white pelicans.
(The geese were in the lake, and the egrets were in the goose meadow.)

#73 ::: Ben Morris ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:17 PM:

A great blue heron would often take up residence around the house I grew up in, we had a small pond and a neighbor had a larger one. Watching a heron take flight never loses its appeal, they are wonderful creatures.

Anyone get a chance to read the Firefly novel Steven Brust posted on his website last week? I am in the middle of reading something else but the temptation to put that aside is hard to resist, Brust's books are so much fun.

#74 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:26 PM:

Constance Ash @ 58

There's a small lake on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge that has flocks of egrets numbering in the hundreds sitting on the water at the right time of day. Unfortunately, my camera battery packed it in the day before I saw them while taking a walk around the campus, so I have no pictures. My son and daughter-in-law live there, so I'll probably be going down to visit in the next year or so, and I'm taking an extra battery this time.

#75 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:30 PM:

Herons are my totem bird, I loves them and it's always a good day when I see one. 'Round here they like to hang out in all the suburban ponds during the summer. I only recently found out they don't migrate, they just hole up in river/creek sloughs where there are a lot of trees and water doesn't freeze for most of the winter.

They introduced peregrine falcons to our downtown in the mid-90s, and they took to it and a steady pigeon diet quite well.

And bald eagles come up the Missouri river, take a left at the confluence of the Kaw and Missouri and go on up to Lawrence, were they roost in abundance during the winter. Once when I still worked downtown, my boss called me to come to his office, he didn't usually do that. When I got there (he had a corner office) he handed me his binoculars and pointed toward the Broadway Bridge. A pair of eagles were flying gracefully over the river and through the bridge. Really cool.

Because of our parkway system, we have wildlife all through the city, some of it annoying, some of it pretty cool.

#76 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Serge @ 70

I think I've mentioned this here before, but it bears repeating. Incidents involving cars (or pedestrians with dogs) and peafowl are not uncommon in the hills just west of downtown Portland. The zoo there keeps a flock (herd, committee) of them, but they're not fenced, and often go walkabout in the surrounding parks and affluent residential areas. The furthest I've run across them (almost literally) was a mile or so from my house, which is on the opposite side of a major freeway, then up and over one of the medium-sized hills from the zoo. And there's no road over that hill; they had to have followed the hiking / bike trail.

#77 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:40 PM:

guthrie #45: It has spread to many parts of the world, I assure you.

#78 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:45 PM:

This may be the place for a ballade I wrote a while back, entitled, simply 'cattle egrets':

the bird sits calmly on the cow's high back
removing parasites if that's the word
the farmer's friend when poor farmers lack
the dips and sprays the wealthier preferred
to kill the ticks and aid the healthy herd
avian paradox that sits out in plain sight
the elegant egret most useful tick-bird
that comes from africa and yet is white

above us the high winds turn clouds to wrack
something like that we think must have occurred
the winds grabbed the birds up in their sack
and with a speed that should have blurred
the sight as somewhere we've referred
hurled these poor flyers westward in the night
new migrant status on each wing conferred
that comes from africa and yet is white

hard working mountain peasant in his shack
to wealthier men's opinions that deferred
now learns that these big fellows have the knack
to eat large vermin and are not deterred
by sight or sound or by restraining word
from relieving cattle in their itchy plight
the farmer will not have this helper slurred
that comes from africa and yet is white

prince in this opinion all men have concurred
that nature in her wisdom has the right
to send our farmers the companion bird
that comes from africa and yet is white

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:51 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 76... As for Hera's mascots that showed up near our then-house... Concord is many miles away from the Oakland Hills. The only other place where I'd have expected them to come from is even less likely: it'd have involved their walking on the very busy bridge that goes past the Mothballed Fleet, then 10 miles more to our house. It is a mystery.

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 06:52 PM:

guthrie @ 71... Jokes within jokes, eh? I love those.

#81 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 07:02 PM:

There's been a Great Blue Heron nesting alongside a pond next to Sligo Creek Parkway, just under the Washington DC Beltway. Sometimes I take the slow route just to look for the bird.

My parents are the only people I know who have seen the fabled red heron, though.

#82 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Avram @ 32 ...
I was gonna suggest Open Thread C++, but I couldn't think of anything appropriately clever to do with it.

Object? String people along with class? Inherit? Inherit class?

#83 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 07:08 PM:

So there we were on a Sunday afternoon, laundry safely in the machines at Canonmills Laundry, and ourselves sitting in the Orchard bar (that used to be the Northern) while having a quick play with the internet tablet, when we find this thread....

Somewhat disconcerting, as we'd looked for the heron earlier as we crossed the bridge.

#84 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 07:42 PM:

#76 and 79

They can fly. They roost in trees (and I've seen them on top of utility poles).

#85 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Re Tor's new program: Patrick, if those are the age categories of interest, perhaps you could consider just changing the "30+" to "Old fart"?

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:10 PM:

P J Evans @ 84... True, but peacocks, like roadrunners, don't fly long distances. With all the freeways and the bridges and the delta's nooks and crannies, it amazes me that Captain Peacock got anywhere without being turned into a pancake.

#87 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:45 PM:

I spent part of a day in Edinburgh, and have always wanted to go back. Graeme and I swore we would go there for our honeymoon, but it's been 8 years now, and we have yet to make the trip. Somehow, every time we get the money and vacation together for a trip to the UK, his mum wants to see us for some reason, and it's quite a drive from West Wales to Edinburgh. My hope is that when we manage to move back to the UK, that we can move to Scotland, where we'll both be equally foreign.

My true excitement is over the new Open Thread though. I've been waiting.
I'm putting together a playlist of lullabies. So far I have Tura Lura Lura, Summertime, Brahm's Lullaby, Godspeed and Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks, and When You Dream by Barenaked Ladies. I'm looking for songs that are appropriately soothing, but won't make me want to tear my hair out with their insipidness. Availability on iTunes is a definite plus. Folk or Broadway get extra points, as does being in a range that an out of practice soprano can sing. Mostly I'm just looking for some things that are real music, not dumbed down for babies. Any suggestions? Family favorites?

#88 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:49 PM:

#74 ::: Bruce Cohen

[ There's a small lake on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge that has flocks of egrets numbering in the hundreds sitting on the water at the right time of day. Unfortunately, my camera battery packed it in the day before I saw them while taking a walk around the campus, so I have no pictures. My son and daughter-in-law live there, so I'll probably be going down to visit in the next year or so, and I'm taking an extra battery this time. ]

We're gonna be at LSU rather extensively (as well as in NO) by the end of this month and next month (March), coz of da book(s). Will look out for those egrets.

Until I lived in one I had no idea of how beautiful swamps are, and filled with beautiful inhabitants -- not talking about humans here, but animals, birds, insects. As well as all those that are inimicable to human life, of course -- and that includes human beings too.

Love, C.

#89 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:51 PM:

RichM @#38: Not in the same way, but Here's a poem interweaving bits of five languages.

#90 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:52 PM:

#78 ::: Fragano Ledgister

[ . . . from relieving cattle in their itchy plight
the farmer will not have this helper slurred
that comes from africa and yet is white . . . ]

As so frequently, amigo, you hit it right, at the right moment.

(which is why it is so difficult that you hide the stuff these days over there.)

Love, C.

#91 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:53 PM:

EClaire @ 87 ...

I'm fond of Shriekback's Cradle Song

#92 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:56 PM:

The Edinburgh heron may have been a sign of improving water. For eight years I lived around Coolidge Corner (Brookline MA) and worked in Kendall Square or Lechmere (Cambridge MA); I commuted by bicyle as much as possible, which meant that several times a week I rode along some miles of the north bank of the Charles River (only 25 miles compared to Water of Leith's 35, and dammed near the outlet). Partway through that time, there was great excitement because a colony of cormorants had established itself on one of the docks (the dam has a lock, so large numbers of coastal cruisers harbor on the river); it was seen as a sign that the long cleanup of an area once called "the world's largest unflushed toilet bowl) was making headway.

Bruce@6: some friends put a frog pond on their out-of-the-smog retirement home for the music; he said the heron that showed up was not naturally blue, but colored by the intensity of his cursing.

Spike@18: Miyazaki is the foremost film fantasist today; there are several possibilities, but I'd recommend Spirited Away. Your audience may be too young to know The Princess Bride, but it should. For something from your side of the pond, Five Million Years to Earth (Quatermass and the Pit in the original UK release) -- sadly, it's increasingly relevant again in view of the rise of hysterical fear as a political movement.

guthrie@45: Ogden Nash referred to it in a poem I read >40 years ago, from a book that was a decade or more older.

#93 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 08:59 PM:

RichM @ 38: It's not exactly what you had in mind, but LanguageHat has a story up today on pentalingual sonnets.

#94 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 09:16 PM:

I like the SF timeline of inventions, but am I misunderstanding the concept? Aren't the mentions supposed to predate the inventions? If so, the invention of the submarine had already taken place.

#95 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 09:32 PM:

David @89: Yes, it's more like a program that fails to compile or run in five different computer languages. Even I can write one of those.

Stephen @93: "pentalingual" itself serving as a mongrel sired by "quintalingual" out of a dam "pentaglottal," I reckon. But it sounds like it describes a person who has five tongues.

Obligatory bird-riff: I wonder whether Antoine Cassar has considered translating Le Flacon into Maltese.

#96 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:56 PM:

#87: I'm going with Monster's Lullaby, but it was off a compilation filk (Quips and Quarks?) that I had at several hands, so I don't know the original author.

Oh, there's something in my garden, and it's been there for a week
I tried to feed it crackers, but that only made it squeak
I tried to wash its scaly head but all it did was cry
So I think I'll put it back to bed and sing it a lullaby
A monster's lullaby.
Nyah, nyah, your mother eats toads,
May you grow a fine wart on the tip of your nose.
Ding dong, the cat's in the well,
So run and fetch another one...
BTW, don't forget that what they find most soothing is loudish white noise, such as a vacuum cleaner or a computer fan, so don't be afraid to play adult music that's somewhat rhythmic. We're of the opinion that the reason certain genres of music are so popular is because all that most American children are exposed to is the musical equivalent of baby talk. (So-called "primitive" drumming styles usually offer more complexity than your typical pop song. Not to say there aren't good pop songs out there; just that it's a pity that those are all some people can appreciate.)

And heron! And another heron (with an egret!)

Maybe someday I'll get a long lens and not have to work so hard to sneak up on them. (My zoom is about what you'd expect from a point-and-click.)

#97 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 10:57 PM:

P.S. I defend my right to like crappy pop songs!

I just hate it when people think of them as the sole music out there. :p

#98 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:06 PM:

I think Pelicans looks the most prehistoric. They have an angularity which reminds me of the various pteranodons.

Birds, in the course of looking at one, do strike one as alien. They are still as anything, then they move.

#99 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:30 PM:

Janice @ #35, whereabouts in Middle Georgia did you grow up? I spent all my school years in Cochran.

joel @ #42, one of mine too. You're welcome!

ben @ #73, I read it. It was good. The apotheosis of fanfic.

EClaire @ #87, I'm partial to "Baby's Boat's a Silver Moon" and "Spin, Spider, Spin". I don't know whether iTunes has either.

#100 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:31 PM:

B. Durbin @ 96 ... is full of egrets :)

#101 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:33 PM:

I love crappy pop songs, don't get me wrong! "Toxic" is insanely catchy! It's just better done by Nickel Creek than it is done by Britney Spears. I just want some things I can sing that I like the lyrics to, I like the sentiment behind, and that have some musical complexity behind them. I mean, I can put "Rhapsody in Blue" on repeat, but it doesn't give me the same satisfaction of getting to sing to the baby bump. Ooh... maybe I'll start singing "I've Got Rhythm" when the kicking starts!

#102 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 11:45 PM:

P.J. Evans: I see the red-tails, and the Cooper's, and the Great Horned Owls. Once I saw a Gyrfalcon (transient).

I've seen the occaisional Heron, and Egret.

The Nivens put koi in their pond. Fuzzy saw a Great Blue Heron eat them. She netted the pond before they put in more koi.

When we were in Galapagos, we saw several Great Blue Herons (and some lava herons, much smaller, and with a much more desperate look). One of them "punched" a California Brown Pelican (we also saw California Sea Lions, and California Oystercatchers) in the breast with his beak.

Most surprising was the pelican doing nothing more than back up.

Either they have much denser feather than I thought, or the heron pulled his punch.

The fish market looked like this

#103 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Spike @ #18: I'd definitely concur with your choice of "The Call of Cthulhu." Or any other cinematic work shot in Mythoscope®.

Serge @ #30: Please be accurate. Mi-Go are, simply, mi-go. There is no singular, nor is any article appropriate, except for, optionally, "the." I'd hate for you to become a victim just because of a grammatical lapse, but they can be hyper-sensitive.

#104 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:10 AM:

re "home" and the sense of place and nostalgia.

I am not a native Californian. I have, however, become one, pretty much to my very bones, in the, almost 33, years I've lived here.

I recall when I discovered this, back in August of 1988. I was coming home from a trip to Tennessee (where I got my driver's license, and then drove a car out of state). I hit the swinging downhills of the 210, into the San Fernando Valley, and a song I didn't like (until that moment) came on the radio, and I was singing, like madman, along with Randy Newman that I loved L.A. Because it was true. And I've discovered other places I love as well. At least one I am more than willing to live in. I understand Lee's dilemma, and I know why he made the choice he made.

While I was in Iraq a friend of mine (native of Devon, living in Lompoc) sent me a mix of assorted British folk music, which included,

I don't know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I've been afraid
That I might drift away
So I've been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that's the reason why I seem
So far away today

Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
And now I'm going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything
I've ever had

Now I have moved and I've kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
I have kissed the ladies and left them crying
Stolen dreams, yes there's no denying
I have traveled hard with coattails flying
Somewhere in the wind

(Chorus)

Now I'm sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that could not get any higher
They've withered now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear
*

It brought tears to my eyes, and I sing along with the chorus, whenever I hear it now. It's richer for my having been to Scotland, but I still change the lyric, because California scans.

*Caledonia, Dougie MacLeod © 1982 Plant Life Music Ltd.

#105 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:14 AM:

EClaire @ #87: I'm partial to lullabies, too. The duo Trout Fishing in America has a few very good ones on their numerous CD's. And "Fire and Fleet and Candlelight" is a good one, although Buffy Sainte-Marie's version is a bit histrionic.

#106 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:15 AM:

Bruce/Serge: Peafowl fly. They are horrid pests.

For something so large, they fly quite well. They, like herons, are fond of roosting dozens of feet above the ground.

We had a cock which lived in the neighborhood and kept trying to mount the geese. This annoyed them, and the ganders, no end.

But to harm one is a 5,000 dollar fine in Arcadia. We had a friend the city was trying to bill for hitting one when it ran in front of her car, in the dark of night.

#107 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:22 AM:

Serge @#61: here you go.

The things I write are only light extemporanea
I won't politics on paper; it's a mania
So I refuse to use the pen in Pennsylvania.

#108 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:26 AM:

Serge: I've seen peafowl fly a 1/4 mile. They didn't seem exhausted when they landed.

#109 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:29 AM:

EClaire @ #87, you might try Linda Ronstadt's entire album of lullabies. It's a hokey concept (turning rock songs into lullabies), but there may be a little gold there for your purposes.

#110 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:22 AM:

Terry Karney (#104): When talking about songs of home and Scotland, I'm reminded of the Proclaimers[1] song Letter From America.

[1] Unjustly, they're only known in the US for one song. As good as "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" is, it's not even my third favorite of their songs; I'd put "Letter From America", "Act of Remembrance", and their cover of "King of the Road" ahead of it.

#111 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:24 AM:

Christopher Davis #110: I like "Throw the R Away".

#112 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:32 AM:

Christopher Davies: I have Hit the Highway and Sunshine on Lieth. I had the latter years before Benny and Joon.

It was quite the surprise to find the having a "hit single" so many years after the album came out (I'd not seen the film, and was surprised). Apparently Mary Stuart Masterson was asked if she had any ideas for the soundtrack and that was what she wanted in the movie.

Sadly one of my favorite songs on that album isn't written by them (My Old Friend The Blues).

They are great.

#113 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:38 AM:

(Rewriting, closed the wrong window earlier...)

EClaire: I highly recommend 'Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby', which you can find a great version of on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. (If you saw the movie, it's the song the three sirens are singing while doing laundry in the stream and vamping Our Heroes.) We used to sing this song, with about a dozen variously ad-libbed verses, while rocking our son to sleep.

#114 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Constance Ash @ 88

Here's a googlemap for the lake where I saw the egrets.

#115 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:11 AM:

EClaire (87), is looking for lullabies:
I just discovered "Mersey Lullaby," on Sandra Boynton's _Blue Moo_. I like it a lot, though I wonder what they were thinking...it seems to be the only song on the album that's not funny.

Guthrie (66), I'm uncomfortable with the idea that growing up in a place is the only way the place can become "home," as I grew up in a thoroughly nasty place and hated it. I spent years in cities and towns that weren't as bad as where I had grown up, even though they weren't exactly right for me. Then I found Cambridge, when I was nearly 30, and I suddenly knew what "coming home to a place I'd never been before" felt like. That was a shock, with Cambridge and the positive senses of "home" both being so new.

#116 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:26 AM:

There's a small not-exactly-decorative pond in the north part of town that has a flock of Canada geese dropping droppings all around it, and frogs in it. One day I noticed a blue heron in amongst the geese!

(I agree with Terry, they do very much look like pteradons when flying--but there was the day I was visiting a friend in Worcester, who works part-time at the Massachusetts Audobon site in Worcestor, we looked up and saw a pair of birds with -enormous- wingspans overhead, looked in one of her books and the only thing they looked like, were gooney birds! Gooney birds, overhead in Worcester?! but apparently, that's what they were!

#117 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:05 AM:

"Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby" is Alison Krauss? How is it possible I didn't have this already? And Sandra Boynton's Blue Moo isn't on iTunes, but apparently there's a song on Rhinoceros Tap that's titled "I love you more than cheese." Which, I love a lot of people, but I'm not sure if I love any of them more than cheese... that would be a hard decision. Because... cheese! Thank you for the suggestions so far, I'm making a list. The Proclaimers songs may end up on my shopping list as well, just because I love "500 Miles," and am willing to try just about anything else that is sung with those accents.

I agree with Adrian - some people aren't born in the place they find home. But I think everyone has that place that they fit, I'm just not sure everyone gets the chance to find it. I know I'm homesick for Portland, and finding myself dreaming about mountains now that I've moved back to Central Illinois. I was antsy, and ready to leave Portland when we left, but now that I'm here, nothing seems quite as good. The restaurants are bland, I can't find really fresh produce OR seafood, the voting system is silly, the weather is awful... er, perhaps I've started to rant. In any case, I know that home is out there, and this isn't it. Maybe Portland isn't it either, but it was an awful lot closer.

#118 ::: katie ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:31 AM:

guthrie @62: not native, but I live in Edinburgh.

And you're probably not mistaken about seeing that otter. There's been one around recently: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7050878.stm

#119 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:33 AM:

And to tie together the Alison Krauss and songs about home - how about the song "Gravity" where she sings "The people who love me still ask me 'When are you coming back to town?' and I answer, 'Quite frankly, when they stop building roads and all God needs is gravity to hold me down.'"

That sounds much closer to how I feel about the places I grew up.

#120 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:41 AM:

If we're talking about barely defensible pop and Scottish music, I get to bring up Big Country. I've been listening to their titular song a lot lately. Some of it is nostalgia, some of it is just the pleasure of hearing an electric guitar skirling like a bagpipe.

It's funny how much I talk about places I miss here. You'd think I was constantly consumed with nostalgia and homesickness. It's not true, though -- I try to find something to love about every place I live.

Today it was the way the mist rises off of the canals, blurring the lines of the reeds as their tips shine in the sunlight. The grass was white with frost, and the sky a vivid blue. Although there were no clouds, the contrails of planes scrawled mysterious symbols on the heavens.

#121 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:25 AM:

Talking of herons, I work a couple of blocks away from Lake Merritt, in Oakland. There's a bird sanctuary in it. Not infrequently when I'm walking by there, I'll see a bird which rejoices in the name Black Crested Night Heron.

Ben Morris@73: I'm a little over halfway through it now, and it's a lot of fun. Nothing earthshaking happens, or can happen; but Brust has the character voices down cold, and it's nice to spend some more time with them.

#122 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:07 AM:

abi, I know that heron well - used to see it a lot. It always reminded me of the late Donald Dewar MP.

There's also a kingfisher around the Dean Bridge somewhere; not seen it myself, but my father swears it exists, and reports seeing it about once every couple of months.

I think it's the way their legs trail out behind them in flight, and those broad low-aspect wings, but they do look distinctly pterosaurian.

Terry may be interested to know that there was an airline in the 1970s called British Caledonian, that actually ran advertisements featuring its stewardesses and the slogan "I Wish They All Could Be Caledonian Girls"...

#123 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:34 AM:

I've seen that heron! The spring family holiday of 2005 was a week based in an apartment in Canonmills, Edinburgh, exploring the many and varied attractions of the city.

That first evening as we wandered out in search of a Chinese takeaway, we crossed the bridge and one or other of the sons spotted the motionless heron in the shadowy shallows.

It was an excellent holiday.

#124 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:36 AM:

EClaire, I'm very partial to Vienna Teng's Lullabye for a stormy night at the moment. It's pop rather than folk or show, but it's the kind of pop that is aware of classical roots; Teng is a pianist in the Tori Amos mode. And very definitely not dumbed down or insipid.

#125 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:19 AM:

I've recently moved to Great Yarmouth (Norfolk,UK). Behind the town is Breydon Water, a large tidal estuary which is winter home to huge numbers of birds - including the odd heron. Yesterday I walked under the bridge that spans the sea outlet to the bay just as a Merlin flew low over the roosting birds. Up they soared - and I was treated to the spectacle of forty thousand birds in flight at once: Golden and Green Plovers, Wigeon, Teal, Dunlin, Knot, Redshank and Godwits; all shifting and coalescing like smoke. Helpfully they all group into flocks of their own species in the air, so that what, on the ground, is a puzzling kalidoscope of different birds becomes, in the air, a beautifully sorted display cabinet. Here are the Green Plovers, flashing black and white, there are the Golden, scintillating gold and white as their wings rise and fall.

And in among them, wings beating furiously, the Merlin hunted. The larger birds, the Herons and Shelducks, Pinkfeet and Swans stay unmoved - they know the little falcon is no threat to them. And then it's all over, the Merlin flies off with an unlucky Redshank trailing limply in its talons and everything settles back down. Ten minutes of pure beauty.

I love living in Norfolk.

#126 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:53 AM:

Spike @ #18, I can't stand it, I have to plug the Santo movies. Some of them feature traditional monsters (La Llorona, Dracula, the Wolf Man) and some of them feature a truly wacky Time Machine (e.g. Santo y El Hacha Diabolico) and some of them have both!

The single best one I've seen is Santo contra Dracula y el Hombre Lobo. It has a villainous hunchback who looks suspiciously like Inspector Clouseau in disguise, a quite handsome Dracula, Santo's buddy El Blue Demon, a cameo by a wrestler delightfully named Reynaldo El Hippie, and some pretty hysterical wrestling action.

They're available on DVD with English subtitles.

#127 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:03 AM:

Lullabies: Great Big Sea. I have The Hard and the Easy from them, and it's a fair amount of good music. I don't like everything on there-- if a song is slow, I require much more from the music, lyrics, and performance-- but the quick ones are great fun.

#128 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:09 AM:

I have sung (and probably will again) Heather Dale's Mordred's Lullaby at filksings. It's a lovely song, but I wouldn't sing it to my son.

There's always Tom Lehrer's MLF Lullaby, though.

#129 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:09 AM:

Re: Herons

A couple of weeks ago, I took my son to feed the ducks at a local pond. A great blue heron swooped down and landed in the water about three feet in front of us. I had a suspicion about what it was doing, so I threw a piece of bread directly in front of it. The heron stood stock still for a few moments and then, in a flash, skewered an 8-inch bullhead catfish that had come for the bread. My son (2 1/2) was most impressed.

re: Boynton and Krauss
Alison Krauss also has a very nice song on Boynton's Dog Train Album. All of the Boynton's CDs are on maximum rotation in my car, but our favorite song is "Pig Island" from the Philadelphia Chickens. It is sung by Scott Bakula!

Re: home
Home can change, imperceptibly. For a long time, even after I became a US citizen, I thought of England as home. Then, my wife and I were stranded in the UK after 9/11/2001. It was maddening and depressing to get the news from the U.S. filtered through BBC reporters with British accents. I suddenly realized that home was the United States (no more specific location than that), and England was just a pleasant foreign country.

#130 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:36 AM:

Mary Dell @ 107... Thanks. I needed that.

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:37 AM:

LMB MacAlister @ 103…

I blame non-euclidian geometry for this grammatical lapse. Lovecraft was well aware of grammar as a great source of horror, one so potent that he seldom dared use it. Who could forget the last line from Goodbye Mr.Ward, his tale set in a Providence boy's school?

…and, as I came across a paper written by young Ashton Smith, I found a clause, and it was dangling!

The horror! The horror!

#132 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Terry Karney @ 106… I stand corrected, regarding fowl matters. Still, one should be careful about what one writes, no matter how right.

"Ding! Dong!"
"Dad, there's a lady at the front door."
"And?"
"She said she didn't like what you said about peacocks."
"So?"
"Well, she's dressed with a funny head-dress."
"So?"
"She also said her name is Hera."

#133 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:47 AM:

Clifton Royston @ 85

perhaps you could consider just changing the "30+" to "Old fart"?

In some cases, mine f'rinstance, you could change "30+" to "30*". Real numbers allowed, of course.

#134 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:09 AM:

Terry Karney @ 104

That's a beautiful song; thanks for including the lyrics, not just linking to them.

108

Not only can they fly, but I think they've all been reading the Air Force manuals on air-to-ground combat tactics. Long ago, when we lived in California, we were on a day trip to Auburn, in the Sierra foothills, with our German Shepherd. The dog got a little too curious about a peacock he saw at a produce farm we stopped at, and the fowl took off, backed up about a hundred meters or so, and did a strafing run at the dog, claws out. Would have run right up his back if the dog hadn't dived out of the way.

And in other bird news. a few months ago a Red-Tailed Hawk took up residence near the top of Council Crest, the big hill we live at the base of. We could hear the calls on and off all day long as the hawk moved around the territory. It's probably still there, but we don't keep the windows open this time of year, so we don't hear it.

#135 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:24 AM:

abi #120: There ain't nothin' barely defensible about Big Country!

#136 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Lila @ 126: Santo y Blue Demon contra el Conde Dracula y el Hombre Lobo is my favorite, too! My favorite part is where Santo and Blue Demon, staying up late to keep watch over a woman targeted by Dracula, while away the time by playing chess. In wrestling masks. And holiday sweaters and neatly pressed trousers.

---

Re. Herons: A few years back a friend of mine and I went canoeing on the Little Miami in southwest Ohio. It was a fine trip, and we saw several Great Blues. When we got back to his house, his wife asked, "So did you guys have a good time?"

And my friend says, "Oh, yes. We saw six Hurons!"

There was a long pause, and his wife looked at him quizzically and said, "You saw six Hurons?"

And I said, "They passed this way three, maybe four days ago. I fear they may be spies for General Wayne. We must get this news to Blue Jacket and Little Turtle right away."

#137 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:45 AM:

To tie into comments about being old (before one's time) in the stuble-upon thread. The Black-Crested Night Heron photo has caption data which explains it was the last shot before the light faded.

Not that there was too little to capture the image, but too little for the camera's ability to focus.

re birds, in general. I was showing a portfolio to a gallery owner (sadly they don't do photography, but I had it with me, and the art on the walls was birds, and SLO and various other things which seemed apropos to what I had in the book). She commented that I had a good way with birds.

Looking at the bird shots, I guess I do.

I like them. I like to just sit and look at them. SLO (to which we plan to return) is a great place for birds. There are rising winds, where hawks can hover, seasonally swampy bits where egrets and herons, and the occaisional small crane show up. Streams where the residents stalk along. Cormorants, and oystercatchers and terns and bitterns and all manner of itinerant waterfowl on the shore.

The pteranodonlike pelicans, sailing in formation, and taking off in chaos.

And the little common kites.

Maia and I were walking the dogs (we'd taken them up to the top of a hill, where I spent a lot of time trying to get a good shot of windhovering hawks.

We came down the path, and a blaze of feathers as a kite decided we were going to ruin his last chance to grab a sparrow. No luck, he missed.

It was shocking. From nowhere this feathered missle appeared, and then; having failed, disappeared.

In the gloaming, at the bottom, were bats.

re Caledonia Girls: ah, the seventies, when ads were like that.

abi: For some reason I thought that song was aussie-pop. Now that you mention it I don't know how I didn't see the bagpipes in the guitar licks. I found a live clip from a show on Glasgow Green, and (while the sound quality isn't great) there's more of that guitar styling. I shall have to go find more of them.

For amazing things with guitar, I recall hearing Eddie van Halen noodling. He started playing both parts of dueling banjos, on the same guitar.

eclaire: re home. I discovered, about 20 years ago, that as some people need to be able to smell the sea, I need to see mountains. This weekend I was working in Long Beach, and had to drive through my childhood stomping grounds, which let me see the what is probably the most stunning arrangement of the mountains north of L.A. The green of the front range of the Angeles Crest, as it tails down, and the rising of the Mt. San Antonio (commonly known as Baldy) and San Gorgonio, San Jacinto was just visible to the far right. All of them bedecked in the white of winter, framed in the springtime greens of the mountains in the front.

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:15 AM:

Mexican wrestler Santo has nothing on Spanish wrestler Superargo who, albeit retired, fights various menaces with his muscles and with those neat psychic powers that he learned from an Indian wise man.

#139 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:37 AM:

Wildly off topic, but hey, it is an Open Thread, and All Knowledge Is Contained In Making Light, so I've got a question that's been bugging me for quite some time. How, exactly, does one pronounce Old Norse final 'r's such as those found in "ljóðaháttr" and "Miðgarðsormr" ?

#140 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Terry 137: Isn't "Dueling Banjos" normally played on one banjo?

#141 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:47 AM:

Xopher: the most famous rendition (in "Deliverance") is played on one banjo and one guitar.

#142 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:02 PM:

EClaire@87: How about "Mordred's Lullaby" by Heather Dale? (Well, I find it soothing.)


In other news: my sister saw something she thinks was a Golden Eagle on her balcony about a month ago (she has a blurry photo; it could be a Golden Eagle, it could be a very small flying sasquatch). We're sort of worried because the NY area is having a pretty brutal cold snap right now.

#143 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:14 PM:

Ben Cross as Sarek in the Star Trek movie? I'd have preferred Hugo Weaving.

#144 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:36 PM:

RE Wrestling Movie Heroes:

When I was a kid, the long-shuttered glorious downtown movie palace in Glen Cove opened for a couple of years to show low-budget crap. Sunn Pictures nature films, The Late Great Planet Earth, and for one fine summer 50 cent Saturday Morning Sci-Fi matinees.

One Saturday the movie was a wrestling hero who battled kidnapped Olympic athletes who had been turned into remote-control robots.

I may be confusing this detail with another wrestling film, but I think the hero was susceptible to electricity.

Any clues?

#145 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:58 PM:

EClaire @ 87: Longtime lurker, but I had to post. The best lullaby for sending both our kids to sleep has always been "Trust in Me" from Jungle Book. Siouxie and the Banchees did a cover in 1987. Works every time.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 144... That was a Superargo movie.

#147 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Xopher @ #140: Lila is right--in Deliverance, there was only one banjo used, and the dueling instrument was a guitar. But in traditional bluegrass, there are two banjos, hence the name.

#148 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:14 PM:

Serge @ #131: I believe "Goodbye, Mr. Ward" is part of what is now known as the False Apocrypha of H. P. Lovecraft. If the master himself had written that line, that participle would have been "evilly dangling, with noisome portent . . . ."

#149 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:18 PM:

abi @120 on Big Country

eh, I love that song, one of pop's pure pleasures. It's quite defensible I think, good fields of fire in all directions ;-)
In South Africa, used to sing it on the top of the Drakensberg (uKhahlamba) when no-one was listening, now in Wyoming and those few bits of mountain Colorado that aren't either private or ski areas.

Although my grandmother was born in Scotland, I've never been there, except by book (John Buchan's lesser-known novels, talk about your barely defensible pleasures). Nonetheless I miss it. My mother's other ancestors were Dutch, one Hieronymus Bier whose house still stands in Amsterdam. As a white English South African, I have no home anywhere, so am free to feel nostalgia for places I've never been.

I often have a heron for company while fishing the local reservoir. He usually does a lot better than me. The grebes are my favorite though, making their noises like a creaky door then vanishing splashlessly. Oddly enough I find when Googling 'grebe rusty hinge' that one of my pages shows up in the top 10. Hah, fame at last.

#150 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Someday when the subject comes around again perhaps I will be up to the saga of the May full moon in 1981 when I encountered a flock of peafowl on Puget Street and eventually became part of a parade of children, hippies, and cops trying to keep the birds out of traffic. They can fly, but what they're particularly adept at is leaping: the three males in the group eluded the policemen trying to corral them by jumping flat-footed, wings set, over a three story apartment building.

Also, after our heron conversation yesterday we passed one at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge exit from I-5, hunting frogs in the little mire in the overpass gusset.

#151 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:30 PM:

EClaire (87): I'm trying to remember the lullaby I learned as a teen. I think it was called "All Though the Night," and I want to say the melody was Mozart, but somehow I doubt it. (It started "Sleep my child and peace attend thee all through the night." Ring any bells for anyone?)

--(117): If you like Sandra Boynton, try "Snuggle Puppy" from Philadelphia Chickens. "Faraway Cookies" is great, too, although more of a love song than a lullaby.

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:32 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ 148... that participle would have been "evilly dangling, with noisome portent . . . ."

...thus generating an unspeakable horror?

#153 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Ooh, you should get No! by They Might Be Giants. Great kid songs on there, and the last few songs are all sleepy-time songs. "Bed Bed Bed!" is more of a march, but 'Lazyhead and Sleepybones' and 'Sleepwalkers' are lovely quiet songs.

#154 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:40 PM:

Mary Aileen, that's a Welsh lullaby, Ar Hyd y Nos.

http://ingeb.org/songs/sleepmyc.html

#155 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:44 PM:

#151: "All Through the Night" was played on an episode of Monty Python by a choir of men sitting on bicycles. They ended by ringing their bicycle bells.

#156 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Oh, for lullabies, I just remembered "Stay Awake", as sung both by Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins and by Suzanne Vega on the compilation of the same name.

#157 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Random question:

Would anyone have and be willing to lend me a copy of November 2006's Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine? There's a short story by Barbara Hambly about Benjamin January in it which I would like to read, and the magazine company does not have any back issues left for sale.

#158 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens (154): Yes! Thank you. I think I learned a Mozart lullaby at the same time; I'll have to see if I can remember it.

#159 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Terry #106, my partner once came very, very close to hitting a peacock on the street that goes past the Arboretum in Arcadia. We were thinking of how hard that one would be to explain to the insurance company -- I didn't know about the fine from the city.

#160 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:20 PM:

lorax: Yep. Baldwin loved them. Brought some in. They are now the city's official bird.

JESR: I really ought to show you the photos I took of the abandoned apple carts. I was playing semi-legitmate hooky from the Army (I was supervising a post-police call. It extended on to I-5, and I took my breakfast break there).

Lovely light that morning. If I'd known how large it was, I'd have gone back and poked around.

#161 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:23 PM:

Terry @ 106

That must not apply to the birds nesting in the Arboretum - I remember Don Fitch (hi, Don!) saying they'd walk around every spring looking for the nests, to remove the eggs and keep the population down.

(I also remember having one of the hens in my yard, a mile away from the Arboretum; one of the neighbors was worried about it being got by a cat. I'd worry more about the cat being got by the bird.)

#162 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:31 PM:

P.J. Hrmn... yes, Don has said that. Perhaps, as with chickens, they nest on the ground, and roost in the trees. I know I've seen them flying up (and I mean up) pecans and pines to points far above the ground.

#163 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Which reminds me of my favorite peacock story.

That damned cock (who thought our yard was his turf, and the geese his harem) was finally cornered, tosssed into a hav-a-heart and hauled off, at the end of day, to said Arboretum.

The Place was just closing up shop, but someone was filming, and they asked Maia, and her sister, what they were doing (as they had a peacck in a cage).

Maia replied, "Oh, we're here with the peacock they wanted," and strolled into the arboretum (to the disbelieving looks of all who heard), let the damned thing go and our early morning sleep was nevermore distrubed by the screeching of peacocks, and the honking of, enraged geese and protective ganders.

#164 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:39 PM:

Which reminds me that a skein of Canada geese flew overhead as I arrived at the train station at 6am this morning. I only saw one group, which flew right overhead through the glow from the lights, but I heard more. I think they were going over to Chatsworth reservoir (empty, now mostly wildlife area) for breakfast.

#165 ::: Wristle ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:44 PM:

EClaire @ 87: I'd suggest two songs Pierce Pettis wrote for his children: Little Man from Tinseltown and Great Big World from Great Big World, his most recent release.

#166 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:54 PM:

Terry Karney, does "there" = NWR or its environs? If so, I would, indeed, like to see the photo. I'm up on the plateau at the head of McAllister Creek, on the air road out to Weir Prairie drop zone, and the five miles between here and tidewater contains most of my lost causes and a couple I won, sort of.

Back in high school, I was one of the people who busted ass writing congress and demonstrating to keep Brown Farm out of the hands of Weyerhaeuser and the Port of Tacoma. Now I find myself, forty years later, with my entire social millieu in the crosshairs of the Fish and Wildlife Service's longterm plan to add every scrap of undeveloped land up to McAllister Springs into the refuge and essentially destroy one of the oldest farming communities left in Western Washington (dating, as it does, to Puget Agricultural Company, a Hudson Bay Company project).

This is especially ironic since the farmers of the lower Nisqually and McAllister Creek valleys have pretty much all sold their development rights to the county.


#167 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:04 PM:

P.J. They may have been headed to Pierce College, where the stubble is popular with them. They also hang out in the Sepulveda Basin.

I love L.A.

JESR: If I have the geography right, yes. This is a mediocre scan of one of the slides.

#168 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:11 PM:

Mary Aileen 151: (It started "Sleep my child and peace attend thee all through the night." Ring any bells for anyone?)

Yes. Bicycle bells. And bicycle bells ONLY.

Stefan 155: I think that's what she meant by "ring any bells."

#169 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:12 PM:

Serge @ #152: I've found my copy of the questionable story in question, which says,

…and, as I searched yet another crumbling volume, o! the horror!, dangling with noisome portent, I came across the paper written by young Ashton Smith with the unspeakable clauses!

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:25 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ 169... Mr.Ward was dangling a noisome portent? The horror!

#171 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:32 PM:

lorax @ #159 -
my partner once came very, very close to hitting a peacock on the street that goes past the Arboretum in Arcadia. We were thinking of how hard that one would be to explain to the insurance company -- I didn't know about the fine from the city.

I ran over a seagull once, while puttering around Niagara Falls at about 3am. It was dark and misty.

#172 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:36 PM:

#114 -- Bruce Cohen:

Do you think the egrets mistake golf balls for round food?

Love, C.

#173 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:38 PM:

Serge @ #170: This sequés neatly into the next story in the collection, "Ambiguously, the Dangler at the Threshold."

#174 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Xopher (168): Actually, no. I'd never heard of that version.

#175 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:45 PM:

Terry Karney, OH! Oh, yeah, I know that cart! My school bus went past it every afternoon.

#176 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:47 PM:

The only Big Country album I have is The Seer. I can play several of those songs in my head - the title song, "Teacher", "Eiledon", "Remembrance Day", etc.

"In a Big Country"
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered

Feels like a message right now.

#177 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Susan @171:
I ran over a seagull once, while puttering around Niagara Falls at about 3am. It was dark and misty.

The other seagulls never liked him. His feathers weren't light enough, they said, and it's true that he was not the true white that a gull should be. "Pelican grandfather," muttered the older ones, since seagulls don't know about speciation and can therefore say some pretty stupid things.

But the grey-brown of his feathers was not the real reason the other gulls shunned him. No, it was worse. He was said to summon the mists, and that was worse than pelican blood.

Seagulls, like all shore creatures, hate the fog. It dampens their feathers and sucks the warmth from their bodies; it hides dangers and food alike. When they huddle on the masts and congregate on the docks, they complain about dank chill days, and look forward to bright mornings with a fresh breeze.

A bird who gets the reputation as a mist summoner is therefore the worst of birds, outcast and lonely. So it was for him. No gull would permit him near the really good scavenging grounds. None would dance with him on the gusts and breezes. When he painted the cars with white splashes, he did so alone.

His isolation preyed on his mind, such as it was. He became slightly mad, prone to muttering to himself and cursing any bird that ventured near him. They said, when he was hit by the car one night, that it was all for the best. A mercy, really, since he was such a lonely, ugly bird, and a mist summoner to boot. And they were relieved to be rid of him, for seagulls know nothing of empathy.

But even gulls can learn shame, and so these ones did when they found his nest. It was a glorious structure, wider than a pelican's outstretched wings, taller than a stork. The walls were woven of the dark feathers they despised, cunningly worked together to form an image of such stunning beauty (to seagull eyes) that no bird who saw it was ever the same. None could describe what that image contained, not even to another gull, but all who saw it flew further, shat whiter, and cried louder all their days.

And none who saw it ever feared the mist again, nor shivered in the cold it brought.

#178 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:58 PM:

Susan @176:

Yes, but:

Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming

#179 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:59 PM:

#96: I believe the Monster's Lullaby is by Meg Davis. There's an mp3 of it on her old tripod site, megdavis.tripod.com.

#181 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:00 PM:

Actually, it was the night that was dark and misty (pretty much always is right next to the Falls). The seagull was kind of crunchy, in my brief experience of it.

One would think a gull would have better reflexes.

#182 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:01 PM:

:Susan @181:

Well, yes, I know, but the juxtaposition got me thinking.

#183 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:03 PM:

abi:
Yes, but:
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded

Let us Get Real, please.

Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming

You really think that's a good idea? Especially on February 11th, of all days?

#184 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:03 PM:

Constance Ash @ 172

Do you think the egrets mistake golf balls for round food?

If so, they were getting the balls that went into the water hazard. Those birds were sitting on the water in 2 or 3 large flocks, upending every once in a while to grab a fish or some other tidbit, I would guess. About every 10 minutes or so, birds would start peeling off of one group, taking off, and flying to another part of the lake. After a few minutes, that flock would have moved completely, sometimes chasing off another one. Looked like a crowd at a buffet circling through the serving trays as they were depleted.

#185 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:09 PM:

Now I have this memory of crunch in my brain. It was a dark and misty night, and I'm driving along and I go:

oh, sh-t, there's a

CRUNCH

...seagull in the road.

Not being in the habit of running over things, the only comparably winceworthy crunch moment I can recall was in the Red Bull production of The Revenger's Tragedy where they break bones with that same sound/sensation of crunch.

Previously I had the "All through the night" lyrics stuck in my head. This is not an improvement!

#186 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Susan @183:

Let us Get Real, please.

Step one to getting real, in my experience, is not putting too much stock in any song lyrics. They are an ambiguous oracle at best.

You really think that's a good idea? Especially on February 11th, of all days?

Today is where you are right now. If you have to pick yourself up and go on every day, that includes today.

(I still wish you'd link to Rixo in your name for comments. I forgot how to spell it again and had to go back to View All By to find it. I suppose I could just bookmark it, but I use too many computers.)

#187 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:12 PM:

Xopher: It's usually played on two banjos. The amazing thing about the piece Eddie van Halen did was the juncture. When the guitar and banjo are braiding together, he managed to voice the one instrument, both ways, at the same time.

I don't care much for his music, but damn the man can play.

JESR: I have some better images, but that's the only one scanned.

The light was great (Oct. morning) and I got some decent shots of the pumkins across the way. I took it in 2003.

#188 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:13 PM:

Susan @185:

I have had the BBC version of Perfect Day in my head for a day and a half now. If it's an earworm to your taste, it's the link behind "perfect" in the second paragraph of the post.

#189 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:22 PM:

abi:
Step one to getting real, in my experience, is not putting too much stock in any song lyrics. They are an ambiguous oracle at best.

I was, in fact, trying to express that the ones you quoted seemed singularly unhelpful and I wasn't going to put much stock in them. "Firebird" is more helpful.

Today is where you are right now. If you have to pick yourself up and go on every day, that includes today.

I start screaming today, I don't stop.

(I still wish you'd link to Rixo in your name for comments. I forgot how to spell it again and had to go back to View All By to find it. I suppose I could just bookmark it, but I use too many computers.)

I have two blogs and two to four websites; what am I supposed to do, alternate? Isn't that going to screw up my view-all-by? And I don't actually imagine folks here are that generically interested in any of them; anyone who knows me well enough to care can just google my name.

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:25 PM:

The Seagull Incident reminds me of the time that Fabio's nose collided with a seagull while he was on a rollercoaster - 'he' being Fabio, not Jonathan Livingston.

#191 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Susan (185): I once witnessed a pigeon get run over right next to me. There was an awful sense of inevitability in the vectors of the pigeon wandering in the road and the approaching car. I looked away at the last moment, but the SCRUNCH haunts me still. :shiver:

#192 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Serge @ 190 -

If that had caused Fabio's brains to merge with the seagull's, that would have been one dumb bird.

#193 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:42 PM:

Steve C @ 192... But a good-natured one too. Years ago, I read a lengthy making-of article about The Birds. The man who handled the seagulls said that those are very nasty birds.

#194 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Mary Aileen:
You're not helping with the removal of the crunch from my brain. :)

(Seriously - it's even worse when it feels like it is right under your foot.)

#195 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:46 PM:

Mary Aileen 191: Ah, you're not a New Yorker. If you were a New Yorker, you'd have crowed "Got one!!!"

#196 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Susan: The view all by is linked to the email addy. so blog links don't affect it.

I would link the blog I thought of most interest, to all and sundry, and then link to the others from there.

#197 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Susan 194: A long enough period of soaking will decrunch practically anything. So you see, the recommended method for removing the crunch from your brain is...

...do I really have to finish? Didn't think so. :-)

#198 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:58 PM:

LMB MacAlister #147:

But in traditional bluegrass, there are two banjos, hence the name

Dueling Banjos (original title: "Feuding Banjos") is not a traditional tune. It was written by prolific composer and recording artist Arthur Smith in 1955 and used uncredited in Deliverance. Usually composers of bluegrass and traditional-style tunes wouldn't go to court over copyright infringement of their tunes, but "Dueling Banjos" was a big hit and there was a lot of money involved with none of it going to Smith. He went to court and successfully established his rights to the tune and a chunk of the money. The original 1955 recording was guitar (Smith) and banjo (Don Reno). I have no idea why it was titled Feuding/Dueling Banjos instead of Banjo, but it was.

Bluegrass has deep roots and many influences, but as a defined musical style, it doesn't date back further than the 1940s, and Bill Monroe's band The Bluegrass Boys (where it got its name).

Arthur Smith also wrote Guitar Boogie. Y'all have probably heard it, even if you didn't know what it was. Smith played it much slower than today's guitar pickers do.
Arthur Smith's recording.
Tommy Emmanuel live.

#199 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:08 PM:

Lila @126: [..] I have to plug the Santo movies. Some of them feature traditional monsters (La Llorona, Dracula, the Wolf Man) and some of them feature a truly wacky Time Machine (e.g. Santo y El Hacha Diabolico) and some of them have both!

Would this be the same Santo who appears as a character in Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter? The same character, that is, probably not the same Santo...

#200 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:08 PM:

Tracie: There's an old egnlish mandolin tune which uses some of the early riffs in Duelling Banjos, not a big surprise, all things considered.

#201 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:08 PM:

Susan @ #171 & 181: At least the night wasn't dark and stormy.

#202 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:12 PM:

abi #186: I suppose I could just bookmark it, but I use too many computers.

I'd recommend PowerMarks, but when I went to get the link they were marked as end-of-life. I'd see if I could find similar; my husband swears by them.

#203 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:36 PM:

Tracie @ #198: I've heard "Dueling Banjos" played with two banjos several times, both live and on recording. These have been by groups that play what many call "traditional bluegrass," i.e., without much pop influence. I'm not about to get into an argument with you here on semantics, but it's not hard to find a good number of people who use the term "bluegrass" to refer to much of the string-instrument folk and folk-inspired music of the Appalachian and Smoky areas that's been created in the past century.

#204 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:47 PM:

My favorite peacock memory is an image of one perching in the lowest branch of a redwood tree -- about 30 feet up in the air -- with its tail trailing off behind. Something about the relative scale of the bird and tree was just so right. That was the same day I was woken by the sound of a thundering herd of peacocks chasing across the roof of the room where I was sleeping. Not as fond a memory. And yet, if I had some rural property, I'd be very tempted to have my own flock. Just because.

#206 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:06 PM:

More unspeakable horror.

#207 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:14 PM:

How about Kirk Douglas playing the banjo? With... gasp!... French subtitles? The horror!

#208 ::: Lauren Uroff ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:22 PM:

EClaire @ 87 , They Might Be Giants has several lullabies on their album "No!" and Sandra Boynton's albums Dog Train and Philadelphia Chickens also are lullaby rich. My favorite of all is I Need A Nap on Dog Train, which is a duet by Weird Al and Kate Winslet.

#209 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:30 PM:

The problem with having bald eagles nesting in the yard is that they bring home dead animals, and then only eat half. Luckily the ground at the base of their tree is soft enough that the other half lands with a thump, rather than with a splatter. Also, the parrot in the next building has learned to make baby-eagle noises.

#210 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:33 PM:

I've never seen a banjo with French subtitles before.

#211 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:35 PM:

mjfgates @ #209: My dogs do that (not the baby-eagle noises).

#212 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:37 PM:

Constance Ash #90: Hide?

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:41 PM:

LMB @ 210... Well, you have, now. Has your sanity survived the ordeal? I had hoped to find Kirk playing the banjo in 20,000 leagues under the sea, but without success.

(Hmmm... Captain Nemo... Underwater depths... Cthulhu... Add a banjo...)

#214 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:14 PM:
The Thing cannot be described - there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order.

Yeah. A banjo.

#215 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:19 PM:

ethan @ #156, but haven't you seen this?

Rob @ #199, that's him! (The character, that is: Santo, Enmascadero de Plata, played in this case by Jeff Moffat. The actual Santo's name was Rodolfo Guzman Huerta.)

#216 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:28 PM:

#87 Eclaire:

My favorite lullaby is Suzanne Vega's "Night Vision". I've sung both my boys to sleep with that one many times. Also James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James," modified to adapt to the right names. I add verses to both, especially the James Taylor one, to fit the occasion and my/their mood. One treat was watching their reactions, at some point, when I played them the album versions. I'm not sure they'd realized that I hadn't just made those songs up myself....

Almost anything rhythmic can work as a lullaby.
I've been known to sing the ohh-eee-oohhh---OHHHH-ohhh tune from the Wizard of Oz (the one sung by the guards in front of the Witch's palace) to calm a baby, or random church songs ("Ubi Caritas", "Resucito'", etc.), but they're not quite lullabies. Sometimes, I'll sing bits from _Chess_ to them, or the small parts I remember from Verdi's _Requiem_ or the _Chichester Psalms_. (That last is some of the most haunting and lovely vocal music I know; I should go back and relearn the part I sang in it many years ago in a college choir....)

#217 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:29 PM:

Susan (194):Sorry. Just trying to say I share your pain.

Xopher (195): I'm too squeamish to be a good New Yorker. That's why I stick to Long Island. Out here, we have lots and lots of seagulls, the occasional osprey, and far too many Canada Geese.

#218 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:37 PM:

#216:

"Quietness, blessed quietness
Sleep the whole night through
Then your mom and dad will go up to bed
Maybe make some more like you."

-- Garrison Keillor

#219 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:39 PM:

abi #177:

That was funny and interesting and weird and beautiful all at once.

#220 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:45 PM:

terry,

This is a mediocre scan of one of the slides.

ooh ahh. it might be something in the offness of the scanning, but i love those colours.

can i take it for wallpaper? i haven't seen yellow like that in months, & it's getting me down.

#221 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:50 PM:

Serge @ #213: My sanity has not, kind sir, nor may it ever recover. But your shared vision brings forth awful memories of eldritch, many-tentacled denizens of the Hyperborean depths, playing a thousand hideous banjos; Mi-Go, emitting a horrible perversion of the once-pleasant tones of auto-harp and dulcimer; noisome sounds of tittering mixed with fiddle whose runs and trills bring to mind a geometry never glimpsed by human eyes, and, horror of horrors!, the reanimated, rotting corpse of Captain Nemo, glaring malevolently and strumming on a depraved and vicious mandolin!

#222 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:04 PM:

#184 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) :::

[ Looked like a crowd at a buffet circling through the serving trays as they were depleted. ]

I saw that!

The snowy egret was saved from extinction by the Avery family, on their island kingdom in Louisiana. When the snowy egret was being hunted to extinction at the end of the 19th - early 20th century, for their plumes so popular for ladies' hats and the froth of the non-costume of the early incarnation of the show girl, the current reigning Avery made his kingdom a protected area for this and other birds as well. This was possible as they recovered so nicely from the Civil War by becoming Tobasco pepper barons -- which then operated not that differently than the previous regime of plantation slave labor ....

More than one Avery's history includes contribution to Arctic exploration and membership in the Explorer's Club (I learned that while working on the wreck that was the EC's membership records).

As for seagulls, they are the whingeist birds going. They never, ever stop complaining at the tops of their voices that they never get anything to eat, even when so gorged they can't fly.

Love, C.

#223 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:07 PM:

Gack -- meant -- their kingdom of Avery ISLAND -- they being, of course, the generationally famous and wealthy McIlhenny family.

Avery Island is one of the best places to visit in Louisiana. But try to do it during daytime, and still be sure to use lots of mosquito repellant.

The gardens are gorgeous, for one thing.

Love, C.

#224 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:08 PM:

Lila #215: Aiee! I had seen it before, actually, but I had forgotten how brilliant it was, so thanks for the reminder!. "Stay Awake": No longer such a good lullaby.

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:29 PM:

My wife found the following question from a little girl on the site...

Q: Mr. Zod, will there be lots of toys when you are President?
- Katie Vargas Spokane, WA

General Zod replies: Child, let me explain something quite important to you. Under my new order, I allow you to live. In return for your obedience, you enjoy my generous protection. I expect tribute. Your tricycle, your dolls, everything you own. All these you will gladly give to me. All swear allegience to Zod!

#226 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:31 PM:

Was it here that someone mentioned that they'd sung a Pogue's song, Fairytale of New York to their small child. They were waiting in line somewhere when the child was about three and she started singing it. It's on YouTube...

One hopes they didn't sing the whole song.

#227 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Comic book writer Steve Gerber died today. Mark Evanier gives him the sort of memorial post Mark does so well.

#228 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:46 PM:

Bruce #227 -- Waaugh!

#229 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:51 PM:

Evil Rob used to have a running monologue for seagulls: "Yep, I'm a seagull. Yep. Food here. Oooh. I'm a seagull." There was the instant in Finding Nemo when I knew he would love it. If you've seen it, you know the one.

I'm very good at bird-spotting from the car— especially "fenceposts", which are hawks (usually redtails) acting as though they are part of the fence. In some areas they're even spaced regularly along the top. (There's a lovely wildlife refuge right along I-5 on my drive home, so I see them quite a lot.) For raptors we have red-tails, Swainson's, Cooper's, white-tailed kites, kestrels... and once or twice I'm sure I've seen a falcon but haven't had the oppotunity for a positive ident.

You might gather that I like birds, but I'm not a birder. Just a nature junkie, and there's a lot of birds aroung here that are easy to spot.

#230 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:19 PM:

here is a story-background question i've been unable to google, but you people, especially new yorky people, might be able to help me:

i need a university or college in new york state, not in the city, but a single, let's say less than two hour, bus ride away from it. where it would be possible to study filmmaking, & which is not suny purchase.

a friend told me a name, but i forgot it, & now we're not speaking....

#231 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:37 PM:

Open threadiness:

Since I know there are both Torchwood fans and speakers of Welsh here, could someone enlighten me as to the significance of the pterodactyl's name? ("Myfanwy" or something like that.)

Bruce @ #227: that is indeed sad. With reference to the linked column, I will say in Mr. Gerber's defense that it is perfectly possible for a young, otherwise healthy NONSMOKER to die (rapidly) from pulmonary fibrosis. The first patient I ever lost was one such.

#232 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:42 PM:

miriam beetle@ 230 -- a two-hour drive from the city in which direction? North of the city gets you Mercy College, Iona College, Vassar, Pace, Westchester Community College, SUNY New Paltz..

#233 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:46 PM:

The pterodactyl has a name? *boggle* This was revealed when, now? (Rot-13 yer answers if necessary.)

(Uninvited not-so-humble opinion: Ep 4 was the strongest of season 2 yet. Second uninvited not-so-humble opinion: It did not have much competition for that title in Eps 1-3. Still, can't complain, it's Torchwood.)

#234 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:50 PM:

Wasn't there a beautiful princess named Myfanwy?

#235 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:53 PM:

It was in one of the Torchwood Confidential episodes, IIRC (something on the DVDs, anyway); it may not be official, it might just be what they call her off-camera.

BTW, a general plea for rot-13ing any Season 2 spoilers-- I only have access to Torchwood via DVD and hence have only seen Season 1!

#236 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Duh, sorry, I meant "Torchwood Declassified". Got it mixed up with "Dr. Who Confidential."

It's past my bedtime.

#237 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:15 PM:

Nicole LeBoef-Little @233, but I have been assured that part of the fun of being a Torchwood fan is complaining about it! 2.4 was pretty hard to find anything to complain about, though.

Birder vs nature junky: I'm not sure how I can draw the line. I do things to excess, and have the same feelings about trees, wildflowers, gardens large and small, rocks in all forms (from nice smooth grey sandstone cobbles from the beach to surplus granite time samples at Bedrock), derelict examples of domestic architecture, especially nice joinery, and any and all small portable products of the human hand. as I do about birds.

On the other hand, I only feed the birds. I only watch the sky and the tops of street lamps and the ground ahead of me for hawks (Peregrines, especially, often zoom past at ground-level after the ducks they flushed have begun to land again). I only smile, on days in midwinter when the rain and wind have kept me inside past the point of maximum gloom, when I look out the window and see the neighborhood bald eagle flying off with its talons packed full of hay the cows have rejected.

#238 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:15 PM:

Having read the whole thread now, Bird Memories come to mind:


WHITE PELICAN, COZUMEL
Me: "Oh, look, someone's hang-gliding up there--no, wait, that's a bird."
Hubby: "No way is that a bird. If that's a bird, it's a pterodactyl.

(no relation)


POSSIBLY AN ADOLESCENT GOLDEN EAGLE, BOULDER
So it was perched on top a telephone pole looking all eagle-like and regal and stuff, and this trio of crows was dive-bombing it and yelling at it. It was the crow noise that drew my attention as I was biking home. I'm sure that if I understood Crow Language it would have sounded like "Die, demon bird, evil raptor thing, eater of nestlings, begone!" The eagle had its head all scrunched up between hunched shoulders, defensive mode, but every once in a while it would stick its head out and go, "EEP! EEEP!" like a scared prairie dog. It was a really weird noise to hear coming from that regal eagle profile.

#239 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Lila - Roger that. Rot-13 all the way. Also vague nudge-nudge wink-wink offers to send you disks.

(Can L33t-Key's Text Transform tool be trusted to actually change the text I'm submitting in a blog comment form, not just make it look different on my computer?)

JESR - Well, I did have a couple complaints, but one of them I can sorta understand and the other of 'em I'm just gonna wait and see. I tend to find that any complaints I have about Torchwood get smoothed away the next time I hear the show's theme music.

#240 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:41 PM:

Nicole @ #239:

Can L33t-Key's Text Transform tool be trusted to actually change the text I'm submitting in a blog comment form, not just make it look different on my computer?

No, it doesn't really work. It's only there to make your OCD look bad.

#241 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:50 PM:

HEADS UP, anyone who uses Icy Hot! There's just been a recall posted--some patients suffering first-, second- and even third-degree burns. More here.

(Re Torchwood: Thanks, Nicole. I am trying to wait patiently for the next season's DVDs. (Oddly, the theme music is my least favorite thing about the show.)

#242 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:58 PM:

ginger,

a two-hour drive from the city in which direction? North of the city gets you Mercy College, Iona College, Vassar, Pace, Westchester Community College, SUNY New Paltz..

doesn't really matter. the character takes a night bus from nyc, the next morning, she's in her pajamas in her friend's dorm room at [college]. so it would be nice if it were a place where a bus runs regularly, i guess. & that has dorms.

which of those places is artiest? & what cities are they each located in (yes, that i can google if you don't recall offhand)?

oh, & thanks for your most prompt & helpful response!

#243 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:18 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ 221... Would The Music of Eric Zahn have filled its readers with even more dread if Zahn had instead played the banjo?

#244 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:40 PM:

Miriam @242 - one of my high school friends went to Vassar, and it was within a reasonable distance of NYC (75 miles, their web site says). They also have a film major. I don't know about the state of night buses these days, but certain train service between NYC and Poughkeepsie is regular.

#245 ::: Ben Morris ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:52 PM:

Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu played on electric guitar and banjo (among other instruments). If that isn't wonderfully evil enough they turn the last third of it into a metal song.

#246 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Serge @ #243: The banjo, I'm not sure. But the ukelele . . . Ia!! Sothoth!!

#247 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 01:38 AM:

abi #177

You can't be writing about Gimpy the Herring Gull. My relatives on Cape Cod felt sorry for Gimpy with his or her gimpy leg (two legged gull, one was mangled) and started feeding Gimpy. They didn't mind Gimpy, but then Gimpy started bringing friends, and a flock of seagulls makes a lot of mess in short order.

They stopped feeding Gimpy. Gimpy wasn't happy about that, and continued coming around being obviously annoyed at not being fed, for months thereafter.

Regarding herring gulls, back when the herring run in Brewster was still viable, I went there once with my aunt, and say just why herring gulls got the name herring gulls--they were present en masse at the herring run, preying on the alewives making their way up the fish ladder against the current of water pouring down to towards the sea, from the millpond further upstream. There were so many gulls, and they were so aggressive, that some of the fish that got past the greedyguts gulls, did os because the gulls were so busy trying to redistribute the catch (Gull A grabs a fish, Gull B grabs at Gull A to try to get the fish away, Gull C heads in to companionships for a chance at the fish, and amidst all the squabble, Gull A lets go of the fish, which wriggles away and jumps up the pools of the ladder to eventually the mill pond and safety from the gull hordes).

#248 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:41 AM:

Nicole (#239): Yes, it's how I ROT-13 things for ML.

Miriam: It's not supposed to be savable, so... yes, you may have it as a wallpaper. Try right clicking it. If it works, fine (and let me know).

If it doesn't, I'll send you a file.

Prints can also be arranged.

#249 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:46 AM:

Lila, #23: Or the name of a Morris side...

Steve, #33: ba-dum CHING!

Mary Dell, #60: The Republicans seem instead to have settled on this as their theme song.

Christopher, #64: Yes, but it's back on the DVD release! Sadly, the 3rd verse of "Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve" is still missing.
"They can't agree on what is right or wrong, or what is good or bad;
I'm convinced the only purpose this Congress ever had
Was to gather here specifically to drive John Adams mad!"

B. Durbin, #96: That's a Meg Davis song. Her "I'm Late" piece would also make a good lullaby, I think.
Oh, I'm late, I'm late, and I cannot find the gate;
The Queen will have my head, and I for sure will be dead.
The hole in the hedge is just big enough to wedge through --
Oh, I may make the date, oh but I'm late!"

EClaire, #117: You might check iTunes and see if Tom Smith's "500 Hats" is up; if not, check his website, tomsmithonline.com. It's a collection of Dr. Seuss references TTTO "500 Miles".

Nancy, #157: A Ben January short story? Sounds like a trip to the library may be in order for me...

abi, #177: Ooh, shiny!

Re lullabyes... if you can find it, Daniel Glasser's "Go To Sleep" is worth a listen. I don't know if it would be a good idea to sing it to a very young child, but one who's developed the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy will probably adore it.
Baby, go to sleep.
There are demons underneath your bed.
The demons underneath your bed will eat you up!

... and so on for about 8 verses plus a bridge or two.

#250 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:58 AM:

The Lovely Myfanwy

It's by Walter de la Mare, though, rather than being a traditional Welsh anything.

#251 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 03:11 AM:

Why is it the humans who get the mutations and super powers?

OK, so there are the Tenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

But why can't a hamster get bitten by a radioactive spider?

Or get exposed to the brain-boosting nanotech.

Or whatever.

#252 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 03:41 AM:

terry,

Try right clicking it. If it works, fine (and let me know).

it works, & it's wonderful. it didn't pixelate at all, & i've got a big-ass mac.

#253 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 03:47 AM:

Does anyone here know if the animated short film "The Silverfish King" (from the 70's) was ever made available on home video (perhaps as part of a compilation)?

#254 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 04:09 AM:

We used to have peafowl (at our "private zoo" in Manchester, UK). One summer all the peafowl (about a dozen) decided to walk out the gates each day, parade up the road a few hundred yards, then return in a leisurely manner through the gardens of our neighbours' houses. Most of the neighbours didn't mind, but we did once get asked to move them, which we did (hustled them down a garden) - except for the one on the roof...

At least one of our peacocks used to break up fights between cockerels - walk firmly between the combattants and deliver a peck towards each, then just stand there. Very effective.

#255 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 04:18 AM:

Dave Bell @251,

Your question reminds me of the short story "Our Neural Chernobyl" by Bruce Sterling (1988).

#256 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 04:38 AM:

LMB MacAlister @ 246...

Coming soon on the SciFi Channel, a recently discovered collaboration by PG Wodehouse and HP livecraft, Jeeves & Wooster in At the Banjos of Badness...

#257 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 04:59 AM:

I used to like seagulls. Then I worked in a seaside town and every Tuesday was rubbish collection day. Early in the morning, as I wlaked to work, the gulls would use their beaks to stab through the rubbish bags and scatter the contents all over the pavement looking for anything marginally edible. Worse still, as I walked past they would spread their wings and hiss at me and display those hands-length daggers known as beaks. This, despite the fact I told them every week, "I don't want your rubbish".

I'm not such a fan of them now.

#258 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 06:04 AM:

I actually have quite liked season 2 of Torchwood so far; I'd match all four episodes to date against anything from season 1. (Well, okay, the third ep was a little too similar to one of the s1 eps. Still, it worked for me.)

#259 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:05 AM:

miriam @ 242:

You're welcome!

Let's see: I think Pace in Briarcliff has dorms and a film studies major. According to their website, there's a shuttle bus service between the campuses (NYC and Briarcliff), so there's that -- the White Plains campus is accessible by train from NY.

Pace Campuses

#260 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:54 AM:

I'm enjoying the season two of Torchwood, but I'm also finding it's surprisingly time-consuming to watch an hour of TV every week (well, bittorrent it and then watch it on the computer screen, no actual TV involved) and blog about it. I know that sounds daft, but I haven't watched a television show in real-time in a quarter-century! It's a genuinely strange experience, this whole week-by-week thing. I'm not entirely sure I like it, though perhaps I'm not quite getting the right communal water-cooler experience since everyone's Torchwood viewing is so skewed with the different schedules in the UK and US and then all of us who are bittorrenting.

It's interesting to have to wonder what happened next for more than the time it takes to pull up the next episode on a DVD.

#261 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 08:27 AM:

Serge @ 256

hahhahhahhah - I'm banjaxed!

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 08:36 AM:

Susan @ 260... I haven't watched a television show in real-time in a quarter-century! It's a genuinely strange experience, this whole week-by-week thing.

Meanwhile my wife and I have gone the opposite route. She was so busy with her writing contracts at the end of 2007 that we taped most of the shows we were following, with the intent of watching them when things settled down. And? We've barely touched the hunongous stack of tapes, and probably never will, because most of those shows have been cancelled, Besides, since then, Sue signed up for NetFlix, where her list included a few British TV series where we didn't have to wait 7 days to find what happened next.

#263 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 08:52 AM:

Lila@231: Myfanwy is a traditional Welsh name, and also the name of a love song - Wikipedia link - composed by Joseph Parry in 1875. It's a beautiful hymn, especially when sung by a proper male voice choir. A fair few choirs have samples online if you want to hear it, or the Wikipedia page has a midi link.

#264 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 09:32 AM:

Serge:
This week-by-week thing seems, I don't know, a very 20th-century way to watch television. I don't know if I will do it again.

#265 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 09:45 AM:

TV shows on DVD are the greatest invention of the new millennium.

#266 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 09:48 AM:

Susan @ 264... Who knows? Maybe another series will come along that you will discover and devour on DVD and the only way to more of it will be the weekly schedule. That being said, being able to watch a TV show on a laptop is one of those things that make me stop and realize that, wow, this is the 21st Century.

#267 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Seeing as how this is an Open Thread and all:

Has anyone here been following Shadow Unit? I recently came across some of the associated LJs and that's eaten a day and a half so far.

#268 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:04 AM:

I'm avoiding Shadow Unit because I do not have the time or energy to involve myself in much right now. Same reason I read about Anonymous protests and feel bad about not helping, really. I also got a little tired of all the sekrit project giggling before it launched, but I could have asked about it, I'm sure.

#269 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:12 AM:

Open Thread: for those of us suffering from some form of lurgy, here is a place where you can get your hands on those microbes.

#270 ::: Ronit ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:28 AM:

Abi @120 and Susan @ 176 -- thank you.

Some days you really need a certain song.

#271 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:41 AM:

ethan #265: I just bought and watched the Firefly DVD series, and my wife and I have been going through the Mash DVDs. It's just so much *nicer* to have the TV as my servant, instead of me as its servant--hurrying to watch the show, timing bathroom breaks for commercials, missing important bits that get shaved out to add a bit more time to force-feed me detergent commercials, missing important bits because the baby started crying, etc.

#272 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:46 AM:

ethan and others: Here, here re: seasons on DVD. I quit watching television (for the third time in 30 years) in 2002, but have since bought several seasons' episodes of the shows I liked on DVD to keep up with those shows. Now, when I hear something strongly recommended, I'll check it out, and if I like it, I just buy it season-by-season. I can watch several episodes on a bad weather day or sick day, and use my slow periods at work to catch up. And this way I'm not tempted by all the other time-wasting crap.

#273 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Bits from C:

Why, one of the NASA astronauts is a veterinarian, but nobody ever thinks of us when the chips are down and the ring of fire has fallen and the Empire is on the doorstep.

Huh--I can think of at least three "end of civilization" stories in which a vet begins serving as a human doctor until an actual human doctor can be found, and in two of them continues to work as an assistant to the human doctor afterwards. I vaguely recall one of them including a line about "horses have kidneys too" or some such, even.

I forget where I read this, but I am sure I've seen that since CSI and its ilk became so popular, it's become harder to get convictions based on forensic evidence

It's apparently actually called "The CSI Effect".

Downtown LA has red-tailed hawks that most people don't even notice.

Downtown Pittsburgh has acquired several pairs of hawks (and, thus, significantly fewer pigeons) in the last few years.

I remember one evening coming back from cross country practice and stopping to watch this river of birds fly over for fifteen minutes.

My neighborhood gets that with the crows commuting every day. I like to watch when I'm outside at the right time (as the crows go by the sun rather than the clock, of course), because I loves me some corvids. Flying monkeys, they are.

So it was perched on top a telephone pole looking all eagle-like and regal and stuff, and this trio of crows was dive-bombing it and yelling at it.

Crows really don't like raptors. They'll even go for owls if the owl happens to be out in the daytime for some reason.

#274 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:09 AM:

(belatedly back to web-surfing after several days away) albatross (#219): I second your praise for abi's great seagull story at #177 -- thanks, abi!

Can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but they're building a row of big new houses near the top of the hill above us ("town homes," no less, though we're nowhere near town center), and on a monochrome cloudy day I saw about a dozen ravens all circling one place where the roof wasn't on yet -- soaring individually, in pairs, in groups, pausing for a while to settle on the exposed beams, then off again. Sounds corny, but it really was a symphony in black against a pale gray sky! I was almost disappointed when the roof got put on a day or so later. Though our neighborhood is never short of ravens, that was the biggest congregation I've seen.

Last Friday I spotted a pair of red tails circling over an area near the foot of our main hill, the light flashing bright orange off their tails (and the bellies too, I think). Beautiful birds.

Peacocks? Spectacular, but *so* noisy!

#275 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:38 AM:

Carrie S. @273 -- if you should happen to remember the titles of those books, that would be helpful in my search. ;-)

#276 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Ginger: Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling has Pamela Arnstein, though the fact that she's a vet is almost secondary to her skills with a sword--this may be where the "animals have kidneys too" quote comes from. The Stand--Stephen King--features a vet working as a human doctor but I don't remember the character's name; I think this one is also female. (The Stand also includes a group of untrained folks attempting to perform an appendectomy.) Aaaaand...the third one has totally fallen out of my head, I'm sorry.

#277 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:54 AM:

You want eldritch banjo? I got yer eldritch banjo right here.

#278 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:59 AM:

David Bell @ 251, well, there are Pinky and The Brain...

I have red-winged blackbirds on both of the southern feeders this morning, two on each feeder, fifteen on the peach tree, and, by the sound, probably a couple hundred up waiting their turn our of my sight in the oaks. Lovely birds in many ways, not least because if they keep making all this racket the coopers hawks will be here momentarily for a nice blackbird breakfast.

#279 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Carrie S: Thanks! I read The Stand before vet school, so perhaps I overlooked that character then..and I haven't read Stirling since the Island in the Sea of Time. If you ever recall the third book, just drop me a line. In the meantime, I'll go look up Stirling and give it a read -- thanks!

#281 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:17 PM:

Ginger: Heinlein's _Time Enough For Love_ has a veterinarian doing emergency medicine alongside a doctor in the Blitz. It's not a big part (and it's at the silly end of the book), but it's what I could think of off the top of my head.

I also recall from _The Hot Zone_ (nonfiction book on germ warfare) that a lot of US Army bioweapons researchers (supposedly they're only interested in defense, but I have no idea how true that is) are veterinarians.

#282 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:28 PM:

albatross @281 --

Yes, there are a number of veterinarians in biowarfare research, although not all of the researchers are vets. I think more of them are actually PhDs or MD/PhDs, but that's just my impression.

The Army has a strong veterinary corps, and most of them become lab animal medicine specialists (with some doing food safety/public health) as well as pathology.

#283 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:33 PM:

Oh, and Ginger, be warned, DtF is first of a series of three, and there's a second series on the way; only one of the books of the second trilogy has been published. So you're getting into a series that isn't complete, something I personally try to avoid. :)

#284 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Carrie -- thanks for the warning! When it comes to trilogies (and other lengthy series), I often find myself starting accidentally in the middle. I hate that. ;-)

#285 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Lila @ 231

I can't help out on any current cultural resonances for Myfanwy, other than the couple of cultural associations previously mentioned. But historic background, on the other hand ....

The earliest recorded examples I've found of the name Myfanwy date to the later part of the 13th century (e.g., in the Lay Subsidy tax roll of 1292 for Meirionydd) and in the 14th century a Myfanwy was the subject of a poem by Hywel ap Einion and their (presumed) relationship later inspired verses by the prolific 19th c. lyricist John Ceiriog Hughes, as well as the aforementioned Joseph Parry song beloved of choirs.

On linguistic grounds, the name seems likely to have arisen at least several centuries before the earliest surviving citation, although it isn't likely to have been part of the inherited stock of Common Celtic names as it derives from a hypocoristic name formula that seems to have been productive mostly in the second half of the first millennium. Specifically, the name is most likely to have arisen as a nickname meaning something like "my little slender one" (my + man + wy ~ 1sg-poss + "small, slender" + suffix of uncertain derivation).

#286 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Terry: Thanks for confirmation. {{grumbles a bit about LMB MacAllister obviously trying to make me PARANOID why yes OCD who me how could you tell grumble grumble}}

Lila: I totally admire your fortitude. Far beyond me. We've been availing ourselves of the Great TiVO in the Sky and having weekend Torchwood-watching parties with a friend whom we've just mananged to get hooked on all things Recent Dr Who. We're not good at avoiding spoilers online. We do intend to get the DVDs though. Just, haven't yet.

David Goldfarb: Oh, I'm not saying I didn't like Eps 1-3 - just that, none of them actually blew my socks off the way a couple of Season 1 eps did. I'm guessing that the rewatch after the season completes will be revealing - I'm getting a sense of "nothing is throwaway" here.

Susan: Such wonderful blogginess! Bookmarking it NAO.

#287 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 01:34 PM:

Nicole @ #286:
I find when I watch episodes on DVD in rapid sequence I can work myself up into such a fannish frenzy that the experience is much more intense and I like the whole thing better overall. So far I'm excited by S2, but not as excited as I was by S1. Lessened novelty factor? Time to calm down between episodes? Less strong a season? Ab ubg thvygl frk orgjrra Tjra naq Bjra? Hard for me to tell.

I had the same problem when I tried reading one of Baen's Webscriptions books chapter-by-chapter as they were released - I liked the book much less than when I later reread it all at once.

#288 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 01:40 PM:

Thread-crossing alert- A lullabye played on a ukelele.
(First verse:
Sleep you tight my darling
hope sweet dreams are on their way,
and the bedbugs keep at bay,
and you do not have to slay
any big ones who've mutated to the size of cats and dogs;
hope the bedbugs don't have talons and great teeth to bite your legs,
drain your marrow to the dregs-
but I'm sure they won't attack you if you lie here very still.)
One of my favourite lullabyes. And a nice tune, very suitable for babies who can't tell anybody what you're singing them...

#289 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 01:41 PM:

Serge #143: Hugo Weaving has got to be the most overworked Nigerian actor living.

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 01:44 PM:

I'd love to watch all of Firefly one episode right after the other, but there are so few of them, and I want the pleasure to last for as long as possible.

#291 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:08 PM:

Dan Layman-Kennedy @ #277: Now that's some truly eldritch banjo. Thanks for the link!

Serge @ #280: The bearded lizard/giant Gila monster--not so bad (they're slow and not unpleasant). The unseemly mix of glurge, gospel, hot rods, panic, and burning stupid--worse than ghastly.

#292 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ #286: Heh. No offense intended.

#293 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:21 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ 291... Ghastly? I thought that the unseemly mix of glurge, gospel, hot rods, panic, and burning stupid were the best part of it - especially if you've seen the MST3K version.

#294 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:29 PM:

I first heard this mp3 years ago, and reliably for these days, someone has put some sort of video together and it is now on YouTube. Carmina Burana on banjo.

#295 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:31 PM:

Dave Bell #251 - Perhaps the Legion of Super Pets stop these kind of accidents happening?

#296 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:33 PM:

LMB: You're welcome. And if you liked that, you might also dig Crow Tongue, whose Timothy Renner sometimes plays an instrument of his own design called an ent-banjo. (It sounds about how you'd think.)

#297 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:54 PM:

The Library of Congress Game. http://www.library.cmu.edu/Libraries/etc/game1/game1.swf

#298 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 03:26 PM:

LMB MacAlister: I know, no worries. Grumbling is one of my favorite pass-times.

{{Cross-checks spelling this time, apologizes for last time}}

Susan: Given my timing, I watched S1 pretty much the first half at a rate of 1 episode or 2 per day. Then I realized I'd have to wait for the next one to air. Ooh, that hurt!

#299 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 05:16 PM:

Carrie S: You might want to pick up a copy of, In the Company of Crows and Ravens (Marzluff and Angell, Yale University 2005). I enjoyed it a lot.

#300 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 05:38 PM:

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has just delivered in parliament an apology to the 'stolen generations' - those aboriginal and part aboriginal people who were forcibly taken from their parents and sent off to mission schools because... because that's what you do with natives to civilise them.
(http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/pm-says-sorry/2008/02/13/1202760343133.html)

Despite Rudd having the charisma of a small lump of putty, it was pretty moving. After all the the crap Australia has been doing with refugee detention centers and the shame of the Tampa affair (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Tampa), it's nice to finally have something positive to say about my country.

We're still in the early days of the Labour government, but I'm daring to feel a little positive. I hope you people(*) in the US get a similar present come election time.

(*) - I've never believed that saying 'you people' is an infallible sign of trolling. So there.

#301 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 05:56 PM:

Steve Taylor @300:

That's great news -- it sounds like you folks* are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm looking forward to a regime change here, myself.

*I believe "you people" is transformed to "Oúyen eoplepi". Thanks to Carrie S.

#302 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Apropos of nothing much, I'm going skiing tomorrow for a few days, in the Austrian Alps. It's with work, which (knowing my colleagues) means that it will be great fun.

I haven't skied in 20 years. I've never skied in Europe.

Wish me luck. And leave me lots of interesting stuff to read when I get back*.

----
* Like telling water to flow downhill, that.

#303 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 06:08 PM:

Take care, abi. And remember what they said at the very end of The Thing.

Keep watching the skis!
#304 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 06:18 PM:

abi@ 302:

Good luck with your ski trip! Just remember to watch out for the elephants.
The Carthaginian Invasion

#305 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 06:19 PM:

One more thing, abi... If you see this gent from MI6 on the ski slopes, get away as fast as you can.

#306 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:19 PM:

The mourning doves are back on the porch! For a couple weeks, a mockingbird swooped from across the street/parking lot and scared them away. Today they're back and no mockingbird. I hope it's just distracted permanently instead of dead.

#307 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:24 PM:

abi #302: Have fun in the Alps! And enjoy the glühwein.

#308 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:29 PM:

This is a brief note containing two words on the subject of the history of our shared larder:

We have, in point of fact, been so bold as to eat the plums that happened to be in the cold-box. It occurred to us after the fact that we ought to apologize for this act, since the most likely purpose to which those fruit were to be put was your own morning meal, and now you will have to be satisfied with something else; perhaps some hot or cold cereal, to which we might recommend adding milk and honey, as well as a bit of cinnamon or vanilla for a more piquant flavor.

We wish, once again, to beg your forgiveness for this act, and to even offer recompense when the market is once again open and selling that variety of plum. We offer as an explanation, if not exactly an excuse, the extremely hot weather we have been experiencing lately, which made the cold plums seem exceedingly attractive, and once we had take the first bite, the excellent — indeed, we would even say delicious — aroma and taste of the fruit overwhelmed our self-control, leading to the regrettable result with which you are now, we are sure, quite familiar.

We remain,
your most humble servant,
Paarfi Roundwood Paarfis

#309 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:34 PM:

We wanted to watch Farscape when it first came out, but it was only broadcast here on a station whose line of sight from us was right through the West Hills of Portland; ask the guys who drilled the light rail tunnel: that's some dense rock. So when the DVDs started coming out and we got a NetFlix account (sometime about the end of the 2nd season, I think) we just made 2 out of every 5 disks a pair of Farscape episodes. And kept doing that for another couple of years, all the way through the "Peacekeeper War". Worked out to about 4 episodes a week, sometimes 6. We could actually remember details of what had happened between episodes.

#310 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:38 PM:

There's a short story I'd like to find. I don't remember the title or the author.

All I remember are fragments of the story. Stars were vanishing. Had vanished, actually. Simultaneously. They appeared to vanish in order of their proximity to Earth, on account of the speed of light and all.

The point of view may have been an astronomer, or it may have been a friend (child?) of his.

It wasn't Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names of God."

The way I remember the opening scene, a kid who didn't understand what was going on was watching his dad. His dad had worked out what was going on and was watching for a particular star to blink out, which it did, right on schedule.

Anyone know what this was?

#312 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 09:44 PM:

#310: I don't think this is the story you're thinking of, but Stephen Baxter had a story set with his Manifold characters that had the stars blinking out, coming closer to Earth— as a result of the action of his protagonist, who had deciphered that the universe was an elaborate illusion, only made solid as to our present capabilities to access it. Therefore, the moon really had been flat up until some time when we could study it more closely with telescopes. He'd financed an incredible probe that would travel beyond what we could reasonably expect to reach for the next couple of decades... and broke the system. The story ended as the wave of change reached Earth— very haunting.

#308: Oooh. Nice.

#313 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Abi @302,

What part of the Austrian Alps?

I was just there two weeks ago--not to ski, though--and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty and the (Tyrolian and Italian) food.

#314 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Off topic comments (but hey, it's an open thread):

Two stories on the BBC website are pretty striking right now:

First, this story describes Chertoff (DHS secretary) promising that the folks alleged to have been involved in the 9/11 plot will get a fair trial, despite little details like having confessed under torture.

Then, this story describes an interview in which one of the SC justices seems to be pushing for acceptance of torture.

Do you ever just feel like you're living in some oddball dystopian SF world written in the 70s? You know, $3/gallon gas, looming worldwide recession, mounting ecological catastrophe, police state growing at home, that sort of thing.

#315 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:40 PM:

Lee at 249, re Ben January stories:

There's one in the November 2006 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and another in a book called New Orleans Noir. The back issues of the magazine are, alas, sold out. If you happen upon it, I could not ask you to break the copyright, but if you should need my address for some reason [looks at the sky innocently], leave a comment on my lj, which is linked by my name.

#316 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:22 PM:

Owlmirror at #308 - Lovely.

In other news, I've figured out why after years of lurking here, only working up the courage to post very occasionally, I've suddenly embarked on an attempt to take over Making Light for my own evil purposes. I quit World of Warcraft last month, and while the first few weeks were filled with hours of Freecell and aimlessly refreshing every website I check daily, my need for human contact has broken loose from its shackles and is terrorizing these innocent comment threads.

I do apologize.
(also... Elune be praised! /cry)

#317 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:40 PM:

Owlmirror @ 308:

*hysterical giggles*

#318 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 02:34 AM:

Owlmirror, #308: Nice riff!

Nancy, #315: Let me see what I can discover.

#319 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 03:14 AM:

Owlmirror @ 308

Nicely done.

#320 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 04:31 AM:

abi -- why the Austrian Alps? Why not the Dutch Mountains ;-)

Have fun!

In other news -- Coincidentally to this thread, our newspaper had an article just today about white-tailed eagles. Seems there's a breeding pair not far from Paderborn, which is very far west for Europe. They were almost extinct, but numbers have been going up since the '80's.

#321 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 04:52 AM:

Debbie @ 320... I don't think we'll ever see an exciting James Bond ski chase in the Dutch Mountains. On the other hand, how about a chase on ice skates?

#322 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 05:18 AM:

Replying to Ralph Giles (#994)from Open thread C:

The Blue Mountains were excellent. We went down the "Giant Steps", walked along the valley floor took the train up & cableway back across. The weather was overcast so it was pleasantly cool.

The Hunter Valley was enjoyable despite the tour operator.

Serge #180:
The 30-second Bunny theatre people haven't done "The Birds" yet but they have "March of the Penguins".

#323 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 05:38 AM:

Serge@321 -- it would surprise me if something like this ever took place again (dateline 1901!). Frozen canals are pretty rare.

#324 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 05:51 AM:

ginger,

I think Pace in Briarcliff has dorms and a film studies major. According to their website, there's a shuttle bus service between the campuses (NYC and Briarcliff), so there's that -- the White Plains campus is accessible by train from NY.

thanks. i used vassar before i saw this, & i sent it to the printers this morning (it's a comic book, & i'm doing a tiny print run for a convention at the end of the month). "poughkeepsie" is a word that sticks out more sorely than "briarcliff", though, so i may change it again, next edition.....

#325 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 08:17 AM:

albatross @314: Do you ever just feel like you're living in some oddball dystopian SF world written in the 70s? You know, $3/gallon gas, looming worldwide recession, mounting ecological catastrophe, police state growing at home, that sort of thing.

Damn, you're right! We should raid the estate of John Brunner, and see if there's an unpublished novel there that we're living in.

#326 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 08:49 AM:

Terry @#299: Thanks, I have read it. :) Now if I could just remember the title of that other book on corvids I wanted to read--it was a different author entirely, with a first name that began with C, and that's all I can recall.

#327 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 09:10 AM:

miriam beetle@ 324: You're welcome -- Vassar is probably a better-known name than Pace, and Poughkeepsie sounds more interesting than Briarcliff, eh? ;-)

#328 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:15 AM:

Debbie @ 323... So, we're not very likely to see 007 team up with Hans Brinker? Drat.

#329 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:38 AM:

This bit from a diary on Daily Kos made me crack up:

Right wing nutto:

Today, feminists at UNC-Wilmington print anti-Iraq War fliers saying that the "Bush" War on Terror has not improved the plight of women in Iraq. Meanwhile, terrorists in Iraq strap bombs to mentally retarded women before sending them to die in suicide bombing attacks – giving them no "right to choose" to abort the mission.

Response by diarist:

I can't seem to find a Bible verse equivalent for the phrase, "Oh, snap!" I will say, though, that if I were trying to show that feminists are wrong in claiming that Iraqi women are worse off since the invasion, I probably wouldn't try to dispute those claims by contrasting them with reports that women are now more likely to have bombs strapped to them and blown up. This is the first rule of persuasive writing, or at least it should be.

#330 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:48 AM:

I come with the daily dose of Teh Stupids.

I post this here not because I imagine anyone in the fluorosphere is likely to be devoured with anxiety because of this, or, indeed, likely to fall for it, but because I can see a good many of us beset by excitiable relatives, acquaintances, or co-workers who are wound up about it.

At my job, there's been a little rash of e-mails over Horrors! the fact that "In God We Trust" does not appear on either the obverse or reverse of the presidential dollar coins. This is not because the US Treasury has decided to sell out to the Vast International Atheist Conspiracy and remove this sacred phrase altogether, but because "In God We Trust", along with the date, the mint mark, and "E Pluribus Unum" is on the edge of the coin.

When you hear or read some dear soul venting about this (apparently there are some who wish to see these evil, atheistic coins recalled, because there can be no more pressing issue before the American people right now), please let them know this phrase is not gone. It's just in an unlikely spot. It might even be a useful teaching moment, a chance to point out that Not Everything You Hear Is Correct.

Introducing them to even more of the reality-based world by asking which is more important, what's on the money or what it's worth is your call. Anxiety over the latter may be part of what's driving the former.

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:52 AM:

Susan @ 329... The wingnuts are slipping if they refer to feminists as such, and not as feminazi. As for their lame attempts at irony, the less said, the better.

#332 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Owlmirror #308: An Internet is, even now, on its way to you.

#333 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 12:40 PM:

Bruce Cohen, upalong somewhere, mentions that he could remember the flow of Farscape between episodes; that's always my index of good writing. There are some episode teases and denouments, especially, that I can remember months and years after I've last seen them, and bits of dialogue from that show still come back to me in commentary on current events.

#334 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Somewhat random: a dear friend's Guild twelve-string was stolen from his van, in the short interval between parking it and gathering unloading help from the volunteers at KBOO; there were electronics and AV gear taken, also, and the broken window-glass spoiled his birthday cake. However, as he put it "a seventeen year relationship with a guitar is something different."

If any of you sources of lumination in the Trimet area see a blonde maple top twelve-string Guild Guitar for sale in less than transparent circumstances, please drop a word to the Portland police or even email KBOO.

#335 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Fragano #332:

Make that at least two internets. With a side order of plums.

#336 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Marilee #306:

Our mourning doves have just begun to reappear, at least in the aural sense. I've heard a few attempts at The Call, but nothing continuous, and nothing at crack of dawn, yet. And the current cold snap has shut them back up entirely. I hadn't really expected them to go full throttle until a couple of weeks from now, anyway.

#337 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 03:13 PM:

@#312, @#316, @#317, @#318, @#319, @#332, @#335:

Thank you all for your kind words.


I suspect that Paarfi's housemate(s) giggle a *lot* over his various notes and whatnot. Unless they roll their eyes instead, which well they might, after a few months or years or decades.

-

This is just to reply:

You fret
over
the strangest
things.

Just
write "plums"
on the
shopping
list,
silly.

#338 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 06:50 PM:

Steve Taylor @300 "Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has just delivered in parliament an apology to the 'stolen generations' - "

In John Marsden and Shaun Tan's picture book The Rabbits, that's the page spread ("They stole our children.") where I start sobbing.*

In true Open Thread form I have three related questions.

1) Does anyone have the address of the Weather Gods in charge of NYC? They seem a little unclear on the concept of winter + northern hemisphere (+/- Xdegrees of Latitude) = SNOW. Bah.

2) Why did the boiler in my apartment go out for the only three days so far that it's been cold here?

3) Why did I not notice abi was going to the Alps until it was too late for me to ask her if she would mind pouring vinegar on rocks to see if they really would break apart?


*I feel like every other time I post here I drag Shaun Tan into the discussion. I swear I'm not affiliated--just a little obsessed. I finally got my hands on the new book. The Arrival

#339 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Dido: 3 is because she told us all at the last minute.

You didn't fail to notice, you just didn't know.

#340 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 07:55 PM:

dido @ 338... It's like Terry Karney said. That's the thing with those International People of Mystery. They can't always plan when their services are needed to fight the likes of Ernst Stavro Blofield.

#341 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 09:21 PM:

dido #338:
Re:Shaun Tan's "The Arrival". So what did you think?

#342 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 09:29 PM:

#310: I'd have to look at it again, but I think that might be Greg Egan's Quarantine?

#343 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Laertes, #310, that sounds like Asimov's Nightfall. I like the story better than the book.

joann, #336, we usually have mourning doves year-round, so we really missed them. Shiva especially.

Soon Lee, #341, here's what I thought of The Arrival.

#344 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:02 PM:

#342: I googled up a brief synopsis of Egan's Quarantine and that's not it.

Thanks very much, though, for taking time to think about my oddball question.

It was a short story. I might've found it while browsing the web. More likely it was anthologized in one of those "Year's Best Science Fiction" collections. I'm pretty sure I first read it at least 5 years ago.

What I remember of the story was that the nearest few stars had just...vanished. Someone noticed that the intervals between the disappearances corresponded directly to their distance from the Earth and predicted the disappearance of the next-nearest star on that basis.

If memory serves, the story begins with that person watching as this star vanishes right on schedule, and I think our POV character is a friend or child of that astronomer, observing from nearby.

#345 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Laertes @344,

Your descriptions remind me of two different stories I've read in Asimov's, possibly about 5 years ago. (Or 3 stories, 2 set in the same universe). Definitely recent and not novels.

In one the disappearing universe was backstory to dealing with an ever-colder Earth, iirc. In another the break in the universe had a cone shape.

Hmm. Must resist temptation to go look at the Dozois's. I can choose to not read books just because I'm thinking about them. Mmmmm, books.

#346 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:52 PM:

Marilee #343:
For me, "The Arrival" is Shaun Tan's most accomplished work to date. The whole of it is a thing of beauty. I loved the virtousity of telling a story without words. The migrant narratives really resonated.

#347 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 10:59 PM:

Some meeting or other at work ordered in a catered Indian lunch on Monday. The leftovers were left out in the break room near my cube. My team mates dug in; I had already eaten so I loaded up a plate and wrapped it for later. A rice dish, something starchy made of chickpeas I think. A green bean dish I'd never seen before. A bowl of orange-brown sauce.

Later was tonight. I put the sauce on a heap of steamed carrots and spinach.

Oh, my.

I can't imagine how this must have been when it was fresh. As it is . . .

I . . . I just want to thank any Indians out there. Thanks for sharing this. Thanks to your whole damn civilization.

#348 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 11:47 PM:

stefan,

A bowl of orange-brown sauce.

butter chicken sauce maybe? rich & a bit tomatoey? i've never had butter chicken myself, due to its eponymous perils for a kosher-keeping person, but i've had butter muttar paneer, the sauce with cheese balls & peas. delicious.

#349 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 12:30 AM:

There's a lovely recipe for Butter Chicken here, although most of the time when I've made this, I've ignored the elaborate pre-marinating process and just added leftover cooked chicken/turkey to the sauce (I would assume that in actual practice, the restaurant likewise uses its leftover tandoori chicken).

#350 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 01:24 AM:

#348: I don't know. But it was . . . gawd.

And my dog licked out the paper bowl I brought it home in and looked at me like I'd been holding back all her life.

#351 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 01:30 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 325

Last I looked we were all firmly settled somewhere in Shalmaneser's main core (which is why it's so cold in here).

But what happened to the dome over Manhattan?

#352 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 01:40 AM:

Marilee, #343: No, it's quite definitely not "Nightfall"; I can't get from anything in Laertes' description to the plot of that. If he hadn't already said it wasn't "The Nine Billion Names of God", that would have been my first guess, although it's not an exact description of that either.

Stefan, re Indian food: I recognize that reaction!

#353 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:20 AM:

Julie L. @349: Thanks for that. I've been getting stereotyped with my chicken dishes, and that sauce sounds interesting and different from what we've had lately (which includes a curry from Nanny Ogg's Cookbook that my daughter made before she returned to kitchenless exile in the dorm).


#354 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:42 AM:

Stefan, speaking of the yummiliciousness of Indian food, tonight there was an exquisite dish at an Indian restaurant we went to: swordfish in a korma sauce. Ooooo. Orange-brown delight, for sure.

#355 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:57 AM:

Um, this is open thread time, right?

Ok. Well, to start things off, would you believe that Spartacus. I was so disappointed that I did not get to ring in.

In an effort to prove that I am not Serge/ethan/Fragano's sockpuppet, I will share something with y'all. I am on my way home from taping an episode of Jeopardy!, and I can't tell you guys how I did, but let's just say that I was so atwitter about the category that my brain mashed up about three different books and came up with something that wasn't quite right. I am a little embarrassed, but don't want to dwell on things. It was a really interesting experience. I finished up about 12 hours ago, and I'm ready to get some sleep. And yes, I do know the right answer, I can tell bore you to tears with details about the right answer.

So, if you've got nothing better to do on April 28th, you'll be able to see that I'm a real girl. Coincidentally, a Macmillan book editor (St. Martin's) was one of my fellow players, but she wasn't familiar with the *NHs. Her loss.

Now I have about 10 days worth of posts to try to catch up on. But first, to bed.

Happy Valentine's Day to each and every fluorospheridian, you brighten lives and that is a thing worthy of loving recognition.

#356 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:01 AM:

miriam beetle: I've always (as a non-jew) been amused that fowl aren't to be mixed with dairy.

#357 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:08 AM:

Me @ 355 - Spartacus was a question. oy. Really, I'm going to bed NOW.

#358 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:22 AM:

Tania: Will you still be in L.A. tomorrow? We could (if you have the time and the means to travel) get together for lunch.

Then I can connive to argue you aren't a sockpuppet.

#359 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 04:02 AM:

Any sxsw goers in the fluorosphere?

I'll be going to South by Southwest interactive--for the first time--in March. Given the crowds there (50k? 100k?), I figure other fluorosphii could be there and we wouldn't even know it, unless questions were asked ahead of time. So. Thus.

#360 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:52 AM:

terry,

I've always (as a non-jew) been amused that fowl aren't to be mixed with dairy.

yep. & the reason given (it's not derived from the bible verse, it's a later rabbinical edict) isn't that fowl are somehow the same as red meat. it's that if somebody saw you eating a dish of fowl & dairy, your butter chicken or your chicken cordon bleu, they might mistake it for red meat, & thus assume that red meat is permissible to mix with dairy.

and you would have doomed their immortal soul with your reckless* eating at a distance.

*i would have said wanton, but those actually are usually pork.

#361 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 07:04 AM:

miriam@ 360 -- Those later rabbinical edicts are another reason I'm glad my family was reform. ;-) Otherwise my grandmother's many chicken dishes would have been far fewer, and I'd have missed out on many Indian dishes as well.

#362 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 09:01 AM:

Tania @ 355... I am not Serge/ethan/Fragano's sockpuppet

Hmmm... This piece of apparel needs to be taken back to the cleaner before it grows a will of its own.

#363 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Just as an open-thread aside, Swiss Air is *not* impressing me with the whole famed Swiss efficiency today.... If I'm going to be stranded somewhere, it'd be kinda nice if they'd just go ahead and tell me here in Zurich, rather than trying to shuffle me off to Frankfurt despite the fact that my connection will probably have left before we land.

If I've been grumpy this morning, it's probably because of that, plus unhappy sinuses and the prospect of many more hours traveling.

Next time, I'll fly on an American carrier, so I can just start out with the assumption that they'll strand me somewhere a thousand miles from both my luggage and my destination.

#364 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 09:39 AM:

albatross... Bleh. I wonder if Hugo Gernsback predicted that people of the World of Tomorrow would have to deal with that aspect of air transportation.

#365 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 10:40 AM:

*i would have said wanton, but those actually are usually pork.

Hence "wonton woman" - implying she is small, round and tasty.

#366 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 10:43 AM:

ajay@ 365: But watch out, as wonton woman is usually steamed. Of course, if she's fried, it's still bad for you.

;-)

#367 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 10:55 AM:

Serge #364: I expect that Gernsback would have expected that luggage could have been compressed into a tiny container which could then be carried in the pocket. The passenger in the rocket plane, of course, would be decanted at the wrong destination half the time. Persons heading from Albuquerque, say, to San José, would have a 50-50 chance of finding themselves either in California or in Costa Rica.

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Fragano @ 367... This sounds more like Bugs Bunny's conception of the future, but starring Duck Dodgers.

#369 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 10:59 AM:

Ginger @ 366... wonton woman is usually steamed

And well she should be. Or have you never heard of Hunan Rights?

#370 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 11:20 AM:

Serge @ 369:
have you never heard of Hunan Rights?

Sichuan punster to the other: Hubei, have I ever! Anhui, I'm not going to Shanghai this thread anymore.

#371 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Apropos of nothing - I just entered Uruguay from Argentina, and I can see Making Light again.

While I was in Argentina, I got a 403/Forbidden message, but I could see new posts in the aggregator on my Google homepage. I got the same thing on my computer and on the public computer in the hotel lobby.

Have there been problems with Argentinians spamming ML, or are the Kirchners blocking from their end?

BTW - Buenos Aires is definitely worth the visit. We only scratched the surface and hated to leave. Highly recommended.

#372 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Tania #355: Weird. I just got back from filming an episode Jeopardy. Are you sure you're not my sockpuppet?

No, just kidding. That's really cool--I'd love to be on Jeopardy, but my problem I suspect would be that I would just never be the first one to buzz in. I'm not quick with the reaction times.

I'll definitely have to remember to watch April 28. Will you check in again and remind us closer to the date?

#373 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 12:00 PM:

I've been disturbed all morning by Patrick's Sidelight, "Penn Jillette, poisonous jerk", and have to get a little something off my solar plexus.

In case you have seen that link, his "joke" is along the lines of: Barack Obama is having a good month because February is Black History Month, and the problem the Clinton campaign has is that there isn't any White Bitch Month. Hilarity, according to Jillette, ensues.

I heard a radio interview with Jillette some time ago and, of course, he was funny and lively and told great stories about his chronically transgressive growing-up years, his time in high school, etc.

When Penn & Teller first came on the scene, they were a wonderful breath of fresh air. They were, magicially speaking, and here's a word you're going to get a bit tired of in this comment, transgressive.

Why were they transgressive? Well, the First Cause has to be, in my view, genuine originality. That is, transgressiveness isn't a state of being; it's a natural, even inevitable, by-product of profound originality.

I have never met Senator Clinton, but I have heard members of the media and members of the Senate who have met her describe Clinton as a bright, well-informed, warm, humorous and, yes, get ready for it, even charming human being.

I don't know that Penn Jilette has ever had any significant working (or other) relationship with Senator Clinton. I suspect that he has not. I suspect his "joke" is not born of experience, but comes instead from a tired media cliche and/or prejudice against Senator Clinton.

The "joke" is all got-up to look like transgression (Ha! You can't say that! Ha! Ha!), but in fact it's just a tedious rip-off of a tired cliche.

It's sad to see genuine transgressiveness fall so far.

I had a friend who was born original, he had it all the way down to his genes. He was, perforce, astonishingly transgressive, and he was loved by a great many people for being so. His heart was not ugly, but it was original and therefore pretty stinkin' scary... thrilling to those who have a taste for that sort of thing.

There are two ways genuinely original people can come to their ends.

One, they can fall in love with the notoriety their originality first brought them and eventually turn into money-grubbing, attention-seeking pigs, like Rush Limbaugh (who, of course, was regarded as "an original" early on, but is now just another, somewhat mouthier member of the echo chamber), or like, apparently, now, Penn Jillette.

Two, they can die from their originality.

See, because that sort of originality is a flame that burns bright, and fires that hot demand a tremendous amount of fuel. In the case of Penn Jillette, he has been reduced to knocking apart the furniture and pulling down his house in a vain attempt to keep the fire going. In the case of my friend, a world that on the one hand craves originality, but on the other hand likes to keep it on a very short leash, eventually killed him.

It was a god-damned shame and I hate seeing people like Penn Jillette dishonoring transgression when people like my friend were willing (or, forced, is probably more like it) to die of it.

#374 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 12:03 PM:

(In case anybody has a spare "not" hanging around, I need to borrow one for that first sentence in the 2nd para above: "... have *not* seen...")

#375 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 12:13 PM:

Michael: I suspect that folks who do a lot of crossing the boundaries of good taste for humor or effect just end up not seeing the boundaries anymore, even when it costs them. Cf Don Imus, James Watson, and probably dozens of others.

#376 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 12:20 PM:

@375:

Yahbut, but I don't consider people who do a lot of crossing boundaries for humor or effect particularly original. Maybe they were once, but they aren't particularly anymore. Or so it seems to me. Crossing the boundaries of good taste is the easiest thing in the world to do. Not too much harder, if at all, than behaving like a troll in just about any online forum.

#377 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 12:48 PM:

One of the times I was not asleep last night, I listened to the BBC reading letters from Chinese listeners about Steven Speilberg; a constant theme was that he only dropped the Olympic contract to "get more famous."

Isn't he well past the point of diminishing returns on fame? How would Speilberg get more famous, and when he did, what good would it do him?

#378 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 01:06 PM:

Michael 373: Yes, I've noticed that Penn Jillette has become a garden-variety asshole. And he's a right-wing asshole at that. I watched their "Bullshit!" episode about recycling, and it had more handwaving in it than one of their old magic shows. Their point was that recycling is stupid and pointless and does nobody any good. The places where they were bullshitting were obvious to anyone who actually knows anything, but most people don't, and were probably convinced.

Listen, Penn, there's no "rich spoiled has-been magician asshole" month either. Where's your next boost coming from?

#379 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Listen, Penn, there's no "rich spoiled has-been magician asshole" month either. Where's your next boost coming from?

Not to mention that he's the one who gave his daughter my A #1 "Your Honor, the Defense rests" name: Moxie Crimefighter Jillette. (I thought that was spelled with a G, not a J?) At least "Moon Unit" is kinda cool.

#380 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:21 PM:

TexAnne... You probably won't be interested in a photo of a non-bishirted Hugh Jackman from the Wolverine movie, but I thought I'd mention this anyway.

#381 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:28 PM:

Xopher @376, that Bullshit episode, along with many other anti-recycling "analysis" pieces, carefully ignores the cost of other means of waste disposal, and ignores the degree to which most costs associated with recycling are either sunk costs of the existing waste disposal or goods-transport system (ie, shipping containers of sorted plastic to China for reprocessing is not much more expensive than shipping empty containers to China, and does not add to the number of containers shipped).

There are plenty of ways in which the current consumer product manufacturer to consumer to waste stream could be improved, but most of them have to do with reducing the amount of waste produced at every step, and not so much with reclaiming raw materials from the waste stream vs burying it all.

#382 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:30 PM:

#378, that is. Should probably wash my bifocals. Or is that a time and energy inefficient process?

#383 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:45 PM:

JESR @ #377, I heard that same segment on the BBC (midnight, my time). The first thing that crossed my mind was "Here's that Chinese nationalism I keep hearing about." Then I heard the "wants to get more famous" line and thought "Huh?" and then thought "Goes to show how little even the average educated Chinese knows about Western entertainment culture."

#384 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 02:57 PM:

miriam: I knew it was edict, but I didn't know that was the reason. What an abstruse stretching of the idea of not placing stumbling blocks before the blind.

#385 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:02 PM:

JESR 381: Those were exactly the kinds of handwaving I was talking about, yes. They glossed over job creation and made fun of source separation too.

#386 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:23 PM:

For those not following C-Span today:

The House just voted to cite both Bolton and Miers for Contempt of Congress.

The Republican members of the House >left the chamber before the vote.

#387 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:27 PM:

ajay, ginger, serge,

yes, i believe that was my first pun on making light. i hope you are all pleased with yourselves.

#388 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:32 PM:

miriam beetle @ 387... Bwahahahah!!!

#389 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:46 PM:

Gosh, Vic wants to be my valentine.

http://dockets.justia.com/search?q=DAVID+L.+KUZMINSKI

#390 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 03:51 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 386 -
For those not following C-Span today:

The House just voted to cite both Bolton and Miers for Contempt of Congress.

The Republican members of the House left the chamber before the vote.

[Keanu]Whoahhh[/Keanu]

#392 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 04:14 PM:

miriam @ 387: Mazel tov! I had no idea. Congratulations! ::applauds::


::is hungry again::

#393 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 04:22 PM:

Terry & Serge: That was a Why? Why? *shake fist at sky* kind of question.

Soon Lee @341 re: the Arrival. Well...I covered just about every bookstore in the area today and bought every copy I could find. I still don't quite have enough to cover all the people I'd need to send it to (as opposed to all the people I'd *like* to send it to).

The Red Tree is still my favorite because it speaks directly to me, but this is just stunning.

#394 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Linkmeister @383, indeed, you and I are at one on that response; how did you feel about "We Chinese do not care about these moral issues?" which may or may not have been part of the same letter that asserted that Westerners who worry about Darfur are just covering up their greed for African resources.

Xopher @385, hand-waving indeed; so much of political discussion is misdirection and obfuscation, especially when it comes to economic and environmental issues. It's amazing how often the object of discussion can be redefined in mid-argument.

#395 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:02 PM:

dido @ 393... What did I say that caused the fist-shaking?

#396 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:03 PM:

Steve C @ 391.... Curses!!!

#397 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:04 PM:

re 381: They shouldn't bury much of it at all. Anything in my county that isn't recycled goes in here and comes out here, with all the ferrous stuff pulled out of the ash and recycled to boot. There's a lot of BTUs in that stuff. Glass, metal, and plastics 1 & 2 get recycled curbside or at the transfer station, and we have a huge wheelie bin for paper. Leaves get composted into this, which I use bags and bags of. I don't know whether any of this pays for itself, but certainly the cogeneration and composting beat trying to dig a bigger hole.

#398 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:30 PM:

#363 Not to say the service is any good because it mostly isn't but Swissair is not really to blame. Swissair went out of existence some time ago. Crossair went out of existence more recently.

At one time in the remote past I has a nodding acquaintance with some Swissair management in the days of reserved jobs for airforce people and such.

The current incarnation is Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. There is a tension between somewhat subsidized small country national flag carriers - Sabena, KLM et. al. and profit making enterprises that leaves little room for small carriers, even small brands with ties to operations with more money.

Neither is this an endorsement of large country national flag carriers along the lines of Aeroflot.

#399 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:33 PM:

Lori @ 386: Now if we could just get them to do that all the time ... is anyone going to be savvy enough to mention "obstructionist members who apparently don't take their positions seriously" or words to that effect?

One could only hope.

#400 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Northern Illinois shooting. My brother is fine; he was in the lecture hall and saw some of the havoc. He is also not the shooter, which was kind of a concern given how little I knew from news reports.

#401 ::: Clark E. Myers ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:46 PM:

##'s 375 and 376.

I'm not all current and content to be that way but in my day Lenny Bruce was original and perfectly capable of drawing lines. Bruce could and did do a fine clean act when high school prom crowds, or other groups he considered should be protected from his normal act, showed up at hotels or other places he was on stage - whatever his own reason may have been I do not know. Given that so far as I know he thought quite properly that his act was constitutionally protected and mistakenly that this would protect him I doubt fear was any part of the motivation.

Same with Shari Lewis who was on occasion paid very well indeed to do a surprisingly blue act - not least because she was who she was - and who again could go out of her way when the audience included folks who were there perhaps to see Shari Lewis and Lambchop not blue material.

No doubt it has become harder to do as lines are more often crossed.

#402 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 05:46 PM:

Bearer of bad news here -- gunman on the DeKalb campus of Northern Illinois University -- numbers of wounded I'm seeing is 15-18.

#403 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Lori @ 402 -

Damn.

It'll probably be less than 48 hours before some NRA wingnut says that this would have been prevented if students were allowed to carry firearms on campus.

I hope there are no fatalities, but I've heard reports of head wounds.

#404 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 06:14 PM:

Last I heard, gunman was confirmed dead. So is the only cellphone number I have for my brother at NIU; I am going to growl at him for that. Baby Sister has started answering the phone, "JM's fine." I'll post somewhere, probably here, if I find out more, but I'm not really high on the people-to-call list. Maybe because I keep joking that JM fits what I could learn of the shooter. I hope everyone else gets out all right.

The good thing is, the situation's over. It's all getting news now, not watching it unfold.

#405 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 06:33 PM:

Dammit. Not another one.

This is turning into a really rotten day. (It was already rotten for reasons having nothing to do with shootings, I mean...the "not another one" was about the fact that there are way too many people losing their shit and shooting random strangers these days. Not that any number above zero would be acceptable, but...you know what I mean.)

#406 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 06:57 PM:

EClaire #87: I always sang my daughter the Grateful Dead's "Ripple" as a lullaby. Worked beautifully.

Peter, Paul and Mary have a good version of "All Through the Night" on the Peter, Paul and Mommy album. There are other good songs on it, too.

Another one I like is Fred Small's "Everything Possible."

The Coventry Carol is framed as a lullaby, but might actually be on the grisly side (hush so Herod doesn't KILL you, baby) -- but I can forgive it a lot because it's in Mixolydian mode.

My mother mostly didn't sing lullabies. She sang me Broadway show tunes. I did the same for my daughter, but with different shows.

Of course, what my daughter liked best as an infant, I couldn't reproduce in single-voice; she liked harmonies. A LOT. Her favorite tape when she was three was the Mamas and the Papas. And she was carrying the Mama Michelle descant.

I would say any music you find pleasing ought to work for the baby.

#407 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Guman was ''a skinny white guy with a stocking cap on.''

[anguished snark]
When are we going to crack down on Those People?
[/anguished snark]

#408 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Rikibeth @ 406: but I can forgive [Coventry Carol] a lot because it's in Mixolydian mode

[nitpick]Actually, it's harmonic minor, with a Picardy third (i.e., raised from minor to major) at the end.[/nitpick]

Gorgeous, though.

#409 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 07:59 PM:

Lee, #352, no, having just read my post, I realized Nightfall is the opposite! So now I wonder what I was thinking of.

#410 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 08:32 PM:

Dave Bell @251: Mostly those are experimental subjects: the mouse in Flowers for Algernon, and the eponymous Rats of NIMH come to mind. The ones I can think of that don't involve human meddling are usually cast as evolution in action, but I'm failing to think of any off the top of my head. (The incoming cold front is addling it more than usual.)

Terry Karney @384: We Jews were inventing reasons to feel guilty long before the Catholics got in on the racket. Quite a few gazeirot seem to be mostly about irrational guilt.

#411 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 08:37 PM:

Serge #368: More or less, but alternating with Rocky and Bullwinkle.

#412 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 08:42 PM:

Lullabies:

The elder child, a reasonable soul, fell asleep to the camp song "Dickie Bird " (High in a tree a dickie bird, boom salla bim bam bah sala do sala di-in high in a tree a dickiebird sat). His sister, else "The Thing That Wouldn't Sleep" prefered the entirety of the Pentangle "Sweet Child" album, although on lucky nights I got away with just "The Trees they Do Grow High" and "Sovay."

#413 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 09:20 PM:

Tim Walters #408: it isn't? Thanks for the correction! Whatever the structure, it gives me the absolute shivers, in the best way possible.

There are some other pieces that were specifically listed as Mixolydian that sounded similar and gave me the exact same frisson, so I misidentified.

I especially like Alison Moyet's recording of the Coventry Carol. Unearthly.

#414 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 10:39 PM:

JESR @ #412, that reminds me that my mom used to sing my brother to sleep with "Tit Willow" from The Mikado.

This is not what you'd call a definitive version (they leave out the middle verse, which has a suicide in it) but it has a charm of its own.

#415 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 10:55 PM:

Well, after listening to the different versions of the Coventry Carol on iTunes (from Kenny Loggins to Charlotte Church) I'm going to have to go with one by the Mediaeval Babes - a little slower, but with some really nice harmonies, and not overdone with the instrumentation. It's lovely, and not something I was at all familiar with.

#416 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:04 AM:

I just noticed that your copyright notice reads "Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved." You might want to add 2008.

#417 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 05:41 AM:

387: One of us! One of us!

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 06:58 AM:

ajay @ 417... Doesn't miriam need a minimum of three puns atrributed to her before she can join the Puntificate? Ginger, do you vet her admission?

#419 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:02 AM:

Serge #418: The Puntificate? That's based in Puntiac?

#420 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:08 AM:

Fragano @ 419... No, it's based in Carthage. Ever heard of the Punic Wars?

#421 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:58 AM:

Serge @ 418: Yes, I'll vet her admission. I think she's demonstrated a need for strong medicine, or perhaps just a strong drink. (I know, I ought to cut this out.) We've managed to infect her with our punfluenza, and now she's feverishly avoiding us. I just hope I don't have to cough up any dough.

#422 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:15 AM:

Serge #420: That's such a puny place.

#423 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 11:50 AM:

Serge 418 Ginger, do you vet her admission?

Not if miriam wants to be an inveterate punster.

Ginger 421: I just hope I don't have to cough up any dough.

Not if you stop loafing, rise to the occasion, and [TRULY DISGUSTING "YEAST" PUN OMITTED HERE]. But I think we're aglutenating several different punch centers here, and mine in particular are crusty, half-baked things. So while it's been a slice, I gotta go.

#424 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:22 PM:

On a more serious note: TNH's latest Particle reminds me of why the Saudi religious police are on my list of organizations of whom I want every last member to die, and the sooner the better.

The others, if you're curious, are Al Qaeda (all franchises), the members of religious courts in Iran, and (though I go back and forth on them) Hezbollah. (The LRA doesn't make the list because they press children into membership; as for the adults, may molten lead flow in their bone marrow.)

#425 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:22 PM:

I see a ferment of activity, with the acid wits demostrating a sour dispostion, and the crusty regulars thinking it's a crumby thing which has been done to miriam; having led her down this dark path they aren't content to let her be simply miserable, but instead make it seem she has risen to some height.

#426 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Terry Karney @ 425... having led her down this dark path they aren't content to let her be simply miserable, but instead make it seem she has risen to some height

I guess we crust the line.

#427 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:36 PM:

Xopher @ 423: I must make a small correction: I am an invertebrate punster -- I am spinelessly unable to resist a pun. Thus, as a vet, I can only approve of miriam's evolution in this direction.

As for the rest, all I can say is..listen Bud, no woman would ever joke about yeast. ::shudder::

Terry @ 425: your rye statement has me thinking of ways to butter you up, although I suspect I'll rueben it later.

Gosh, now I am hungry.

Xopher@ 424, more seriously: I agree. The religious police have no business being in existence anywhere. Saudi Arabia keeps getting a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card from this administration (anyone remember that 15 out of 19 hijackers were Saudis?) and for what good? So Shrub can walk hand-in-hand with the Emir at Camp David? (or wherever that was)

#428 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:36 PM:

Well, at yeast we know where the line is. And it was done in the pursuit of leaventy!

#429 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Wheat will it take to stop this from rising again? Donut you realize the potential for trouble, or does it need to be spelt out? In one word: pain.

;-)

#430 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:50 PM:

Rikibeth #406: The Coventry Carol is framed as a lullaby, but might actually be on the grisly side (hush so Herod doesn't KILL you, baby) -- but I can forgive it a lot because it's in Mixolydian mode.

and Tim Walters #408: [nitpick]Actually, it's harmonic minor, with a Picardy third (i.e., raised from minor to major) at the end.[/nitpick]

To nitpick Tim's nitpicking, I've heard the Coventry Carol performed with a flattened 7th, making it a natural minor (or Aeolian mode). The Mixolydian mode also has a flattened 7th (compared to the major scale), which might explain the confusion.

#431 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 12:50 PM:

Invertebrate punsters--don't slug me!

#432 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Ginger 427: That was an Emir from the UAE IIRC. But the Saudi royals are tight with the Texas royals Bushes, and have been for a long time.

The Saudi Royal Family just barely doesn't make my list.

#433 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Xopher @ 432 -- you're right, and you're right.

Boy howdy, the Bush propaganda is powerful -- no one thinks of them as Connecticut Preppies anymore. ;-)

Paula @ 431: at least you beat him to the punch..line.

#434 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 01:45 PM:

The flourosphere is leaven on hearth.

#435 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 02:14 PM:

Wow, something is actually working exactly as it is supposed to work:

Someone googled "directions to dance schottische", up came my blog post called "How to dance the early schottische", and they clicked on it! (I see this via Typepad's hit-tracing screen, which lets me show what google search was made.) I have made education available to someone. That is just so cool.

This almost makes up for the insane magic ritual I have to perform to make LJ cut tags work through Typepad.

#436 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Your weekly dose of hamster news:
Hamster prices triple in China

#437 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Susan @ 435... I have made education available to someone. That is just so cool.

It IS a great feeling.
Congratulations.

#438 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 02:44 PM:

re: lullabies...

My daughter responds very favorably to my humming the Imperial March from Star Wars. "Da Da Da Dum DA Da Dum DA Da" etc.

That and what my wife laughingly calls "Daddy Songs" where I mix and mangle rhyme, rhythm, meter, tone, words, etc. from a mishmash of stuff I know ("Hush a bye/don't you cry" etc.), and stuff that just falls out of my mouth as I'm falling asleep trying to get my daughter to sleep. I've a limited vocal range that does not span a whole octave, so I tend to have to "shift up" or "shift down" mid-verse to keep my voice from either cracking or grating out to boot... when I'm not just plain bending the "tune" to suit.

The video my wife has of me singing my daughter to sleep when she was much littler (she turned 1 Wednesday!) is both embarrassing and hilarious to watch. I am so obviously falling asleep at the time...

re: Congressional Republican Walkout...

I caught a bit on NPR this morning where they were interviewing John Michael McConnell, head of the DNI, (cannot confirm this, new Great Firewall at work blocks NPR and most newspapers! Could have been some ex-head of some intelligence agency, but I thought I heard McConnell...) about it: he was saying that the crux of the issue - the part that the Pres. is upset about - is the bit where the House version of the FISA bill does not provide the retroactive immunity to the telecom companies that the Senate version has... Pres. Bush's statements on the matter can be reformulated to say: "I'll veto the bill and put Americans in Grave Danger from Terrorists if the House doesn't give the Telecom Companies retroactive immunity from litigation." (That last bit adapted from Slashdot commentary)

Hmm. Nice how writing the bit about lullabies kept me from getting worked up and cranky when I wrote the second bit about the walkout...

Later,
-cajun

#439 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 02:49 PM:

#87 EClaire

My daughter adores "Little Bird" by Elizabeth Mitchell, and "If I Had a Boat" by Lyle Lovett.

I also commend unto you Woody Guthrie's various recordings for kids. They're kid specific but (esp. "Take You Riding in my Car") big fun.

#440 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 02:56 PM:

Open Thread random topic shift: I made Xopher's Black Hole Brownies of Death for a potluck at work today, and they were a big hit. Which is good, because if I have any left to take home I'm going to end up making myself sick.

#441 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Cajun @338: While the "immunity" bit supposedly* protects the telecommunications industry, in actuality it sweeps the wrong-doings of the Bush regime under the proverbial rug.

It's his own a** Bush is trying to cover, and I hope the House Democrats continue to tell him to go Cheney himself.

*If the telecos are responding to a legitimate warrant they're already protected. No warrant, no immunity.

#442 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 03:38 PM:

Lullabies for EClaire:
Mama Cass, "Dream a Little Dream of Me".

"Mockingbird"

The Beatles, "Honey Pie" -- very good for colicky babies or when it's just one of those days. (Honey Pie, you are driving me craaaazy...)

Bonus material, just because: Mama Cass and Julie Andrews.

#443 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 03:54 PM:

Also, for recorded music, both of my offspring found "American Beauty" and "Dark Side of the Moon" calming.

(non seq) One of the worst things about winter is the amount of sweater fuzz that gets in my keyboard and mouse and results in having to go back and insert E S and D with extra force, today.

#444 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 03:55 PM:

serge, ginger, ajay xopher, paula,

dude, i was feeling all high off of one little pun & now i just watch in awe at how the real professionals do it.

carry on. i'll be here in my little corner, watching, like before.

#445 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 03:59 PM:

miriam @ 444 -- oh, please do feel high -- as well you should, since this has continued to rise far beyond anyone's expectations. Also, please remember that we all started off just the same: little baby puns here and there, slowly growing into the punderous monster(s) you see here.

Food is an excellent source of puns, and you may well souprise us again.

#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 04:00 PM:

miriam beetle @ 444... Now, now... Of course you are now a member of the Puntificate. Not only did you contribute a pun, but it started a subthread.

#447 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 04:11 PM:

After all, where would bread be without starter? And where would we be without your wanton pun? I rest my case*.

*of whine.

#448 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 04:20 PM:

Ginger, that was beerly a pun.

#449 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Not only did you contribute a pun, but it started a subthread.

Where will this end? Son of Pun. Bride of Pun. Pun's Labyrinth.

#450 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Nancy, @ 448 -- Albarino ill will towards beer, but I'm going to pinot attention. It's not that I don't kir, but I prefer wine.

#451 ::: Mary Aileen points to possible old spam ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 04:29 PM:

The concensus at the time seemed to be that this was particularly ironic spam.

#452 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 05:27 PM:

#430 ::: Madeline Kelly: I've heard the Coventry Carol performed with a flattened 7th, making it a natural minor (or Aeolian mode).

This got me googling, and I found out some interesting stuff. Apparently the original manuscript (from 1591) was destroyed in 1879, and all we have is an early-19th-century copy, which (as shown in the Oxford History of English Music) has the raised sevenths (although some are editorial).

Rikibeth's reference version (by Alison Moyet) uses raised sevenths as well (although she eschews the Picardy third on many verses).

#453 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 05:31 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens #448: You are in need of ginger beer, are you? That's a bit rum.

#454 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Ginger #450: You whine gingerly?

#455 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 05:52 PM:

EClare @ 87: I used to sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" when I was trying to calm my son down. He's less fond of late, but it worked wonders when he was a baby. He also liked "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" (Primus cover), "Tangled Up in Blue" (Indigo Girls cover) and "Space Oddity," although those are maybe not as soothing as you're after.

Hmm, I remember my father singing "In My Life" to me; I've always loved that one.

#456 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 05:53 PM:

Fragano @454: Especially when I'm ailing.

#457 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 05:58 PM:

Ginger #456: Serge would recommend garlic for that, I'm sure.

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 06:27 PM:

Fragano @ 457... Let's mead at the halfway point, especially if garlic is involved.

#460 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 06:34 PM:

Fragano @ 457: So, what does a sick vampire do?

#461 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Ginger @ 460... Have his stake rare?

#462 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Serge #459: Ajo! I'll tej you up on that!

#463 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Ginger #460: An ill vampire needs a vambrace.

#464 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:35 PM:

Serge, Fragano: oh Gamay a break! You guys are usually pretty soave, but how about one good retsina use garlic?

#465 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:38 PM:

Fragano @ 463: isn't a vambrace simply armour against amour?

#466 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:41 PM:

Ginger #465: Things may be different, it is whispered, on the Amur.

#467 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:47 PM:

Fragano @466: Ah? More!

#468 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:05 PM:

OK, I figured I'd come here for suggestions, given the frighteningly above-average general knowledge base shared among the regular commenters....

My 12 year old son's currently in the hospital, after being newly diagnosed with diabetes.

My wife's with him right now, and I'm at home with the other two kids (since it's flu season, they've barred visits from under 14-yr-olds, period).

Can anyone suggest decent online information sources that I should be reading until I join my wife tommorrow at the hospital for the whole "parent training"??? Thanks.

#469 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:13 PM:

Bill @ 468: Go here

#470 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:16 PM:

...and my sympathies on this life-changing event.

#471 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:20 PM:

Bill Blum #468: You have my sympathies.

#472 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:24 PM:

Ginger #467: Amore would require the moon to hit my eye like a big pizza pie, and that would be painful.

#473 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:28 PM:

miriam, if you should choose to challahf and slug us, that would be a re-proof well deserved.

#474 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:35 PM:

Fragano @ 472: Please say no more; I certainly don't want you in bed sore, waiting for your amah..

#475 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:40 PM:

Bill 468: I have no resources to offer except my good wishes.

#476 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 08:41 PM:

Ginger #474: Especially since I could be sent to India, and could end up in Mysore...

#477 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 09:11 PM:

Fragano @ 476: could end up in Mysore...

Are you sure? Not Bangalore? In either case, I'm sure, you can still find a bookstore...but I shouldn't be a bore.

#478 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 09:29 PM:

Bill Blum @ 468... I'm sorry to hear that.

#479 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 11:36 PM:

JESR, #443, I use a small (size 10 steel) crochet hook to get cat hair out of my keyboard and trackball. It would probably work for sweater fuzz, too.

#480 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 11:54 PM:

Bill Blum @468,

What Ginger wrote, and a site like recently diagnosed children.

The rest of what I'm writing is for later. These are more general thoughts.

1. Reading online articles about meds and treatments:
With medical information, the tough part can be finding the good among the sea of bad, and then finding the great among the good.

Learning how to recognize accurate quotes and summaries of medical studies / journal articles can help in learning to recognize good resources. for example: How to read a medical journal article.

I think it's good to go straight to journal articles and abstracts whenever you read a press account of a new study or medicine: Pubmed is the feed for that, although you'll soon find diabetes resources where others will have distilled the info down(1).

The alternative is going to the raw web for info. Similar to how it isn't good to read the drug warnings for your own medicines(2), it can be stress-inducing to go to the web first. There are articles that can make snake oil sound like well-studied medicine, or make time-tested treatments sound like dangerous experiments. That's why I recommend building up a lens/ filter / practice of reading journal articles.

2. cognitive behavioral therapy.
Consider CBT for your son. Not (just) because he could react with anger or depression or stress to the diagnosis, and not (just) because Jr. High is tough enough as it is. It's because the better he is with understanding his own thought patterns, the better he might be at noticing if his blood sugar is off. It isn't a substitute for careful monitoring, but the more mindfulness he has, the better he'll be at catching if his sugar is slightly out of the normal range, up to a point(3).


--------------
(1) This online guide to online diabetes resources seems to be detailed and accurate based on samples I've read.

(2) Get a friend or family member to read it, and you read it for their meds. That way, if you have a symptom you can ask them to check if it is listed.

(3)if it is strongly off--which can happen for a variety of reasons--that's a different story. Then it'll be you noticing it.

#481 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 12:51 AM:

Apropos of nothing, did anyone else here sign up for the shiny new Tor newsletter, only to receive their first e-book download and discover that all the pages were blank?

Got the email with the link to Brian Sanderson's Mistborn, downloaded it, and every page was blank. Nice cover, but that's all I got.

Is it just me?

#482 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 01:43 AM:

It worked for me, although for some reason on my home computer I had to reload the page to get anything to show up.

Finished the book and then went out and bought the damn thing. Tor Free Library 1, Baen Free Library 0.

#483 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 02:10 AM:

Bill Blum, there should still be a Juvenile Diabetes forum over on about.com; that's sort of the last hold-out in the old style forum based online mutual support group. The ADA page linked to up thread is also a very good source of information, as is your local ADA chapter. Patient/parent education is one of the most developed parts of the diabetes treatment system, and part of why it works is how very many places there are to find good help online.

I just started taking insulin last week, and I'm thrilled to find that the needles don't hurt at all. The first time I gave someone an insulin shot, it was back in the day of glass syringes, and believe me when I say these are way, way better.


#484 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 02:19 AM:

Works OK here, using Foxit reader. As a farmer, by the end of the prologue it was feeling some how wrong. I was wondering where the food from a city could come from. Is there an equivalent of grain from Egypt?

#485 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 02:43 AM:

Summer Storms #481:
Mine downloaded & displayed fine.

#486 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 08:55 AM:

I can't resist recording my amusement that Bush, the macho, swaggering 'commander in chief' of a party of macho swaggerers, doesn't dare to go to Kenya during his tour of Africe, but is sending Condoleezza Rice there.

It reminds me somehow of the time in the 1870s when Indian troops (then under British command) were brought to Europe to reinforce the British-based army, inspiring the music-hall parody

"We don't want to fight; but, by Jingo, if we do,
We won't go to the front ourselves, but we'll send the mild Hindoo." *

* I don't know who the Indian troops were. They may not really have been Hindus, and if they were Sikhs or Gurkhas the adjective 'mild' might not have applied. But allow something for poetic license - it made a good rhyme.
Yes, I do know that Condi isn't a Hindu.

#487 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 09:11 AM:

Somewhere upthread: "wanton pun"? Surely that should be wonton pun.

Sarah (#455) mention's L. Cohen's "Hallelujah" as a lullaby -- fine as sung in person, but don't play the Jeff Buckley version, which is both beautiful and (eventually) filled with a kind of supernatural fire. Another song in the guise of a lullaby is "Summertime" ("hush little baby, don't you cry").

#488 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 09:29 AM:

Another open thread comment: I finally made it home, thanks to Swiss Air and the weather holding out. (I also slept for about fourteen hours in the hotel room they got me, which made the flight yesterday much more pleasant.)

And this isn't up to the standards of the really good writers here, but I wrote a bit on the plane....

The inside of an airliner in flight
is not exactly what you'd call a place
but I will walk this one in dreams tonight
and know its in-between-ness as a grace

Where else could I recall the dreams I had
of places hard to find, I'd go, one day?
Of course the journey's end will make me sad
and ready, though I'm not, for next away.

#489 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Coming in belatedly (long, messy story), and at the risk of repeating myself:

Egrets

Once as I travelled through a quiet evening,
I saw a pool, jet-black and mirror-still.
Beyond, the slender paperbarks stood crowding;
each on its own white image looked its fill,
and nothing moved but thirty egrets wading -
thirty egrets in a quiet evening.

Once in a lifetime, lovely past believing,
your lucky eyes may light on such a pool.
As though for many years I had been waiting,
I watched in silence, till my heart was full
of clear dark water, and white trees unmoving,
and, whiter yet, those thirty egrets wading.
Judith Wright, from Birds (1962), aka Thirty Egrets Wading

#490 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:41 AM:

Summer Storms @#481:

Worked for me. Now I have to figure out how to get it onto my Kindle.

#491 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Mike Mignola's Abe Sapien has his own 5-issue comic-book now coming out. I wonder how uncommon the following exchange is among people working for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is.

"Where's the worst place they ever sent you?"

"Estonia. A guy ate his wife. He claimed to be from the center of the Earth, but it turned out he was just crazy. You?"

"Oakdale, California. Summer. No air conditioning. Three weeks watching a kid cough up toy trains and screwdrivers."

#492 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 11:48 AM:

Faren Miller @487, "Summertime" is one of those songs that can't be sung properly except at full voice. I suppose it could work as a lullaby for a child at the other end of the house, or inside while one is out weeding the garden.


#493 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 11:58 AM:

Thanks to everyone for the links--- I'm sitting in the hospital right now, after round one of Diabetes Education, aka "Hey Jack, wanna watch your mommy and daddy stick each other with needles?"

For the record-- he self-diagnosed. My wife's got thyroid issues, and he read the "you may have diabetes" poster in her endocrinologist's office. My wife (an RN) discounted his comment... "oh, you're just imagining things."

The pediatric endocrinologist, of course, thought this was a hoot, and noted it in the chart that it was self diagnosed.

Thankfully, since we homeschool, we don't have to worry about getting the 2nd set of insulin to school, et cetera.... He seems to be taking it well, and he knows two other kids in the homeschooling support group that are diabetic, so they should be a good source of support for him.

... and he's taking FAR too much glee in the fact that Daddy and Mommy have to practice sticking each other with needles. Now I must log off, he just asked the nurse if he can practice giving Daddy some saline.

#494 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 12:36 PM:

#481, 482: I too had to hit reload before I got Mistborn properly. The first time some of the pages came through, but half the cover and all the pages after some point were blank. Reload seemed to do the trick. Haven't had time to read it yet. I suspect the content distribution network was hiccuping.

#495 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 01:12 PM:

I have a question about InterVideo WinDVD... I recently installed it on my laptop to play movies and such, but scenes with any darkness in them are rather difficult to view. One would think that there'd be a lumonisity/contrast button somewhere obvious, but I have often been perplexed by who some software designers think will be using their creations.

#496 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 01:22 PM:

Bill Blum, my cousin was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at 6, and was in his turn responsible for diagnosing his own little sister at 2 and then my Dad (he was ten, Dad was 42). He grew up to fight forest fires carrying insulin and snacks in an ice pack, which you are free not to tell your son if that freaks you out.

As a parent, you need to be mindful that diabetes isn't a mathematical process but rather more like managing a salt-water aquarium. Things can go wrong without apparent cause, and if they do there's probably not anything you could have done to prevent it short of being omniscient and having X-ray vision. Take action, but don't take things personally, and don't guilt out. In the long run, the people I know who grew up diabetic and are competent adults are the ones who did the tests and stuck themselves with needles and got on with life. Everybody has something to take account of- and compared to, say, PKU or severe allergies, diabetes is pretty easy to make room for.

#497 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 01:56 PM:

Serge@494:

I've never had good luck with Intervideo on any PC--- I use VLC or PowerDVD. Former's free, latter's not-- but seems to be the bundled software of choice with many add-on DVDROM drives of late.

#498 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Bill Blum @ 496... Thanks for the tips.

#499 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Xopher #424:

The creepy thing about the LRA is that it's a self-sustaining kind of evil, like the Blight in _A Fire Upon the Deep_. The older I get, and the more I read about various historical horrors, the more sure I am that humans are capable of an amazing range of socially-supported behaviors. I read a piece from an interview with the guy in charge of a major torture and execution camp in Cambodia during the reign of the Kmer Rouge. It was just amazing in its creepiness, this guy who had been a math professor, and then became a revolutionary and an executioner. And it was self-sustaining, at least for awhile (they were pretty clearly consuming what was left of the wealth of the previous society).

The interview was in the Thursday edition of El Pais, if anyone's interested in looking it up. The paper's online, but I don't know if they have old issues up.

#500 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Patrick's latest sidelight on immigration officials and the baby isn't linking for me in Firefox. Aggravating, because I read the headline and thought "WHAT???" So I look forward to finding out the rest of the story.

#501 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 03:04 PM:

EClaire 499: It's a broken link. Doesn't work for me in either Firefox or IE.

#502 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 03:15 PM:

EClaire @499,

I want to note--because not every news story on the baby wrote about this important fact--that the baby was on oxygen the entire flight.

Elsewhere some callous person had asked "well, how did ICE (named after the contents of their hearts, methinks) really know?" I think the presence of Nurse and Oxygen on the flight is sufficient. That, and medical papers, and a hospital waiting to take the baby into its care.

When a person has been on oxygen for at least the past several hours, the decision to not let them have more oxygen--to prevent them from going to an ambulance which has oxygen waiting--is a medical as well as a criminal decision. Practicing medicine without being a doctor is a felony even without a patient dying.

If those swearworking swearwords had any real concern, they could have simply sent an LEO to escort them to the hospital. An escort who'd have been called back quickly, because all the mother, child, and nurse's paperwork was perfectly in order.

#503 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Here is the link to the story about the baby.

I cannot even imagine that mother's horror. Her baby son dead, for no goddamn reason other than our irrational fear that They're All Coming To Get Us.

#504 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 04:17 PM:

Wow. Just... wow. Saying anything about it seems so callous now. That's just nuts.

#505 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 04:31 PM:

There is no pit of hell deep enough to house those Homeland Security bastards.

#506 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 07:40 PM:

Catching up:
Dave Bell @251, have you seen any episodes of a rather disturbing UK animated series, called 'I Am Not An Animal'?
It was first shown on the ABC at night back in 2005, but has been repeated.

And Pinky and the Brain has already been mentioned. One of my favourite bits on YouTube was a clip of 'The Brainstem Song', since squelched by Warner Bros, but I hope you may be able to find another version somewhere. I'd never heard of P & t B before seeing that, and have been looking around for it since, so I wonder if WB is doing that nose-cutting face-spiting foot-shooting thing.

abi @302 I noted you'll be/have been skiiing in the Austrian Alps. That reminded me of a frustrating incident in the last year or so. The cartoon Non Sequitur – which I generally enjoy – had a schoolchild character punished for writing about going skiing in the Australian Alps. There was no explanation why; were we supposed to execrate the stupidity of the teacher? But I had some problem finding any email for the writer to ask, for instance, if he'd looked up the dates of the ski-season (mid-year here of course), or checked that we did have them. (Which also reminds me of a similar frustrating recent song about 3 billion people on Earth. The musician has a website, but no way of contacting him to point out his error.)

B Durbin @312, Another story again, I just remember bits (possibly something Illuminatus? Phillip K Dick?) where the world was some sort of simulacrum started on the date of the death of Queen Victoria, and controlled by some kind of super-being(s) who manifested as her.

#507 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 08:10 PM:

Apropos of nothing, I will be burbling on publicly about dance at a concert of the New York Consort of Viols tomorrow (2/17) in Manhattan, if anyone happens to be in New York with nothing to do. I have put a flyer here and can reserve some comps if I know someone is coming (send email) by around 9am tomorrow morning, after which I will have no net access. Despite the "Tourdion to Tango" advertising, it's more tourdion than tango - basically, it's 14th-18thc music that then takes a flying leap to modern pieces inspired by the older stuff. And all on viols!

(And thus on a Saturday night, we are not out having a social life, but instead are home composing witty remarks about tourdions and resisting the urge to insert kooky theories about Branle Gai. I will get a life when someone convinces me it's an improvement over this.)

#508 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 08:39 PM:

Susan, that's pretty damn' cool--and it sounds like a life to me!
However, my cross-country teleportation unit is currently out of order (when you all buy Rigellian prodcuts, be sure to get the extended warranty, and if you have to pay extra for a repair manual in a terrestial language, do it--learn from my mistakes), so the best I can hope to do is think soothed-throat, smooth-talking thoughts in your direction.

#509 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 08:51 PM:

fidelio:
Well, I'm going to San Diego in a month or so, though not to talk about dance, and via airline sardine can rather than cool futuristic technology.

#510 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:08 PM:

fidelio @ 507... You didn't happen to buy those Rigellian products from one Harcourt Fenton Mudd, did you?

#511 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:18 PM:

Susan #508: When, exactly, are you going to be in San Diego?

#512 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Ginger #477: Not at all. I just want to find out who poured the corn in Cawnpore.

#513 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:35 PM:

Fragano: at least March 7-9, possibly extending a day on either side if I decide there are interesting things to do in San Diego.

#514 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:42 PM:

Susan... My best wishes to you for both of your trips.

#515 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:44 PM:

Serge (494): These instructions are for version 4; yours is probably more recent and may be different.

1. Open InterVideo WinDVD. As you'll notice, the UI for the control panel is based on Some Guy's unpublished steampunk novel, as opposed to looking like a DVD player or a remote control or anything remotely familiar.

At the far right of the control panel, above the Eject button and right of the InterVideo logo, is a teeny-tiny arrow that's basically invisible until you mouse over it, when it lights up green. This is just like the standard invisible green arrow on your phone.

2. Click the invisible green arrow.

3. You'll see a menu. You want to adjust the display, so click Color. (You thought it would be in the Display menu, didn't you? This bit of subterfuge is all explained in Some Guy's unpublished steampunk novel.)

A subpanel opens, and presents you with a series of slider bars with tiny eggs at each end. If you mouse over the slider bars and eggs, you'll notice nothing. In UI development, this is called "intuitive design." The top slider bar, with a black egg on the left and a white egg on the right, is the brightness control, believe it or not.

4. Slide this control all the way to the right. You might think you can get by with a little bit to the right, but trust me. All the way to the right.

Your movies will now look normal.

Alternatively, you can right-click in the video window and choose Setup. However, none of these options appear anywhere in the Setup dialog box, or anywhere else.

#516 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:54 PM:

Serge: "both" my trips? That wasn't an inclusive list! February weekends are (in order): New York, Boston, New York, and possibly New York again, depending on how I weigh my need for the Scottish play. March is New York, San Diego, Westchester (NY), then two weekends at home (one of which I will have four or five houseguests). April so far is Boston, Vermont & Boston, possible Boston again but am trying to stay home, and Boston again. May is New York, Michigan, home, and Baltimore.

My life is pretty much divided between day job and trips and research, which is why I have no other life and am constantly on the edge of breaking down from exhaustion.

#517 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 10:54 PM:

Susan #512: Ah, alas days before I get to be there.

#518 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 11:34 PM:

Susan @ 515... I stand corrected, and thus I wish you my best wishes for all of your voyages.

#519 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2008, 11:36 PM:

HP @ 514... Thanks. I'll go try your suggestion. If it works, I'll be able to watch my DVDs of Jason King without sending my wife running away from the room in disgust.

#520 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 12:13 AM:

(Cont'd from 518)

HP... I couldn't find the controls that you described, but everything looked fine when I watched the opening scenes from the 3rd X-men movie a few minutes ago. What was different? The lighting in the room must have hit the screen at an angle that messed things up earlier today. No matter what, my many thanks to you. To Bill Blum too. I hereby award a coupun to each of you, which you can use to ask for a pun to be committed, or for one not to be committed. Thanks again.

#521 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 12:42 AM:

Susan... I finally received The Revenger's Tragedy from NetFlix. Thanks for the recommendation. I suppose I should refrain from watching it on my laptop at the office during this week's lunch breaks - not without earphones, anyway.

#522 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 12:45 AM:

ethan... Remember when you posted on Thread C a YouTube link to Francoise Hardy's song? I passed the link on to my friend Elisabeth who was a teenager living in France in those days. She very much enjoyed being reminded of those moments of her youth.

#523 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 02:37 AM:

Susan @ 506: And thus on a Saturday night, we are not out having a social life, but instead are home composing witty remarks about tourdions and resisting the urge to insert kooky theories about Branle Gai.

I can relate, having spent my Saturday evening composing a piece of music using only chords which contain the note D (except for the bridge, which provides much-needed relief).

#524 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 02:39 AM:

Susan, #506: One of the afternoon sessions at the contradance weekend I'm attending featured all contras which used steps borrowed from other kinds of dance -- Scottish, square dance, Appalachian dance, international, and some others I'm forgetting due to "late and tired". It was a terrific set! (And I note, gleefully, that I'm getting my stamina level back up; last year just going to the Saturday night ball wore me out, while this year I've danced the entire weekend and plan to do more tomorrow. Not that I danced every single dance -- but then, I've always paced myself.)

#525 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:45 AM:

Lee:
Not that I danced every single dance -- but then, I've always paced myself.)

Somewhere or other in one of my Victorian dance manuals I have an etiquette tip that a lady should never dance every single dance at a ball, as it makes it look as if she rarely gets asked to balls and therefore is desperate.

(Not that this is relevant in a modern setting, it just wandered through my mind by free association.)

#526 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 07:08 AM:

Susan @ 524... I have an etiquette tip

It's interesting that, in French, étiquette has the meaning that it has in English, and that it also means a label - whether on a can of beans or on one's reputation. Come to think of it, it makes sense. After all, if one doesn't follow the rules of behavior ('one' being a person, not a can), one will be labelled into a certain category.

#527 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 09:05 AM:

Tim:
I can relate, having spent my Saturday evening composing a piece of music using only chords which contain the note D (except for the bridge, which provides much-needed relief).

Okay, I will ask: why are you composing a piece of music using only chords which contain the note D? Personal challenge? Class assignment? Aesthetic obsession? Broken instrument?

#528 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 09:22 AM:

I am back from Thailand! In Thailand, the cats, though many different colors, have very Siamese-shaped heads and ears. It took me an embarassingly long time to figure out why that is.

Fragano: After you mentioned S.P. Somtow, I looked around in Bangkok and found a copy of Moondance. Vaguely recalling an interesting conversation about it here on ML, I grabbed it. It is now waiting for me to finish Latro in the Mist.

#529 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 09:26 AM:

S.P.Somtow? One of these days, I'll have to find a copy of Jasmine Nights if it ever came out in book form. I enjoyed it when it was serialized in weekly magazine Pulphouse, but I think my sub ran out, or the magazine passed away, and I never saw the rest of the story.

#530 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 09:40 AM:

Susan, San Diego in March almost sounds like it would be worth a plane trip.
As John Buchan had it, "It's a great life if you don't weaken." Here's hoping your strength holds up!

Serge, I did not. Give me credit for that much good sense.

#531 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 09:54 AM:

fidelio @ 529... Glad to hear it. You didn't get those Rigellian products from Cyrano Jones either, I take it.

#532 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 12:22 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 511:

who poured the corn in Cawnpore

I don't know who did it, but I can tell you this: the clean-up chore was done by the corps. At the end, the commodore in Bandore said, "I can't take it any more!", and went ashore.

Now, would anyone happen to know who dropped the ball in Baltimore?

#533 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Since I'm stuck having to go thru all of Sue's writing expenses for 2007, I asked her to put on some movie soundtracks. Lord of the Rings is on, and this makes me want to watch the whole thing all over again. It also got me thinking of what if the Monty Python bunch had done LoTR. I can easily see John Cleese as Saruman, Gandalf and Aragorn.

#534 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Serge @ 532:

So, instead of the Riders of Rohan we get the Knights Who Say "Ni!"?

And what about...shrubbery?

#535 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 01:19 PM:

Ginger @ 533... what about...shrubbery?

Need I mention Treebeard?

#536 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 01:30 PM:

Ginger #531: That raises the even more vexed question (why are the balls in Pennsylvania blue?) of why there was only a ton of washing in Washington.

#537 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 535:

..and why the stick is red in Baton Rouge?

#538 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 02:28 PM:

Ginger @ #536: [Hand shoots up and fingers snap] I know that one!

That would be because the Houmas and Bayagoulas rubbed blood and red dye on it.

#539 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Susan @ 526: Okay, I will ask: why are you composing a piece of music using only chords which contain the note D? Personal challenge? Class assignment? Aesthetic obsession? Broken instrument?

Special effect. It starts with guitar and bass alternating D harmonics an octave apart, which made me think of a clock ineluctably ticking away, which made me want to keep it going as long as I could without boring the pants off the listener. So first the melody plays just over the harmonics, then over the full chord progression, over which the harmonics continue to play, slotting (hey presto!) neatly into every chord.

Not sure if it's actually cool, or just a stunt. But I expect the band will let me know.

#540 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 02:46 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ 537:

We have a winner!

The Houmas, they're the ones who drive those big gas-guzzling pseudo-military vehicles. Now you know.

#541 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Serge #532: And Michael Palin as Frodo.

#542 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 03:05 PM:

Fragano @ 540... Yes. And Terry Jones as Sam. Eric Idle as Merry and Pippin. Graham Chapman as Legolas. Carol Cleaveland as Arwen, Galadriel and Eowyn.

#543 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Serge, Fragano:

The cheese shop, for hobbits!

Frodo and Sam sneak into Mordor by using a giant wooden rabbit!

And instead of orthancs, there's the Holy Hand Grenades...

#544 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 03:27 PM:

Fragano 435: And what did Della wear? She wore her new jersey, of course!

There's a whole songfull of those.

#545 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Xopher #543: As long as Georgia's not on your mind...

#546 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Xopher... And where has Oré gone?

#547 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Ginger #542: That is an ex-palantír.

#548 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 04:06 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @546: it's pining for the fjords.

#549 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:00 PM:

On second thoughts, let's not go to Minas Tirith. It is a silly place.

#550 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:05 PM:

Re: TSA killing a baby: I've expected something like this to happen for a while now. (I'm not terribly happy to be proved right.) The TSA isn't about defending America, it's about controlling it. Random brutality and inhumanity are all part of keeping the population intimidated.

Random: I just had a couple of born-again types knock on my door. A couple of young men, one each white and black. (Possibly teens, these days even college students look like "kids" to me.)

I tried to be polite about telling them I wasn't interested, but I'm afraid I handled their "information packet" like a dirty diaper, and managed to give it back to one of them. So when I went to do laundry, they hung it on my doorknob. Bleah.

#551 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:12 PM:

::writes on wall::

"HOBBITES EUNT DOMUS"

#552 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:30 PM:

I have now finished my concert-commentary and am at the 5th Avenue Apple Store, which is the scariest store I have been in since Japan. I am on the weirdest combination of a very small keyboard and HUGE (24" wide or so; bigger than our family television when I was a kid) screen killing time until my Genius Bar appointment for some repair-luv for my borrowed laptop. "Oh, just hop on a computer for awhile" they said. Oooo-kay. Hop, hop. I feel like a dweeb surrounded by so much coolness and good design. I shall find a corner (no chance of a quiet one) and work on my polka quadrilles. (The Clark Kent approach to dweebiness: assume secret identity!)

#553 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:32 PM:

Incidentally, ML looks much better than DK on a ludicrously large screen. DK apparently has fixed width columns, so it appears as a narrow ribbon in the center. ML spreads out to fill the space.

#554 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Serge @ 541: Carol Cleaveland as ... Galadriel
And her twin sister who has been setting light to Lothlorien's beacon (which is ring-shaped).

Also, can we have Terry Gilliam as Gollum as well as animating the Black Beast of Khazad-dûm?

#555 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 553...

Galadriel: Oh, wicked, bad, naught evil Zoot! Oh, she is a bad person, and she must pay the penalty! Dingo: You must spank her well, and after you are done with her, you may deal with her as you like... and then... spank me.

All: And me. And me too. And me.

Galadriel: Yes. Yes, you must give us all a good spanking.

#556 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Susan,

You're just a different flavor of cool!

#557 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 07:11 PM:

Update to the Diners in New England thread from 1986: O'Rourke's has re-opened.

#558 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 07:15 PM:

Ginger #550: You're the Mordorean Liberation Front?

#559 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 07:54 PM:

Serge @544: Surely Galadriel's naughty sister is Beruthiel?

#560 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 08:09 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 557: That's the People's Liberation Front of Mordor!

#561 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 08:13 PM:

Ginger @ 559... PLFM splitters!

#562 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 08:15 PM:

Julie L @ 558... But Beruthiel is said to be not evil but naughty.

#563 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 08:17 PM:

Julie L... Oops. I meant, Beruthiel is evil rather than naughty.

#564 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 08:21 PM:

Serge @ 560:..and the Mordorean Popular People's Front.

#565 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:17 AM:

Serge@528: I know for a fact that Jasmine Nights had a book edition. I didn't even know that it had been serialized, actually.

#566 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:38 AM:

"Right. Well, Mr Frodo here, he lived in a hole in the ground with his mad Uncle, walked uphill to Morder, both ways, in the snow, where they used to tear off all his clothers, feed him to a spider, dress him as an Orc, and then threw him into an active volcano." Sam paused significantly. "And all before Second Breakfast."

#567 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 05:12 AM:

Picturing the scene on the wall of Helm's Deep...

"We are the fighting Uruk-hai! We will tear the Horsemen's limbs from their bodies!"

"You don't frighten us, sons of a silly person! Go and boil your bottoms! I fart in your general direction!"

#568 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 06:50 AM:

'Hom. Hoom.' Said Treebeard. 'Now, what, exactly, did you mean by saying that you were a lumberjack and you were okay?'

#569 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 09:40 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 564... Thanks. I think I'll go and subtly drop hints to my wife as to something I'd like for a present for my birthday or Christmas. (Mind you, my idea of subtlety usually has a lot in common with Mel Brooks's approach to humor. Or with Wile E. Coyote's to bird-hunting.)

#570 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 09:40 AM:

I'd like to thank all those on ML who have, at one time or another, recommended the Aubrey & Maturin books. I just finished #3 and am enjoying them immensely (I picked up Master and Commander at the thrift store, and luckily my library seems to have most or all of the rest).

Am I the only one litgeeky enough to notice that "Qvy" (gur anzr bs gur yvggyr Vaqvna tvey) zrnaf "urneg", naq gung gurersber gurer'f nyy xvaqf bs flzobyvfz va Qvnan'f inyhvat bs ure ng bayl 3 ehcrrf, naq jung unccraf jura fur trgf ure 3 jvfurf? (HMS Surprise spoilers)

I suspect Mr. O'Brian of a great many little touches like that, but I've been zooming through the books at a great rate to get to What Happens Next, so I've probably missed a lot. I did catch the village called Swiving, though.

#571 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:18 AM:

Silly LoTR jokes aside, which scene in the story, or in its various adaptations, is it that you remember the most vividly? For me, it's during Aragorn's coronation and everybody bows down to him, but when he turns to Frodo and his friends, he says "No. You bow down to no one."

#572 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:37 AM:

Serge, while that scene is certainly monumentally impressive, and always makes me think of Aragorn "Now that's a king," I can't choose that one, or any other single scene, as the one I remember most vividly. Tolkien is full of vividly-evoked settings, powerful scenes, and moving, even inspiring speeches. Glorfindel at the ford, Galadriel's mirror, the fall of Gandalf at Khazad-Dûm, and the confession of Boromir all spring to mind, and those are just in the first book.

#573 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:48 AM:

My favorite scene is the one where they all say "Eglerio!"

:::::::

I'm looking for a short story I lost the link to. It's probably recent, it's about the Tin Man, and it has nice prose.

The author has a moderate number of stories published here and there, and a collection of short stories which I think is at a self-publishing site. It costs $14.99. In other words, I started to read the story, it looked promising enough to see what else the author has done, and then I got distracted.

There's an apostrophe in his last name.

#574 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 12:05 PM:

My favourite scene is when Merry and Pippin ride up to the Grey Havens to say goodbye to Frodo and so Sam can have company on the way back.

#575 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 12:14 PM:

Apropos of nothing, but since this is an open thread, it looks like my old stomping grounds are in flames today.

#576 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 12:24 PM:

Lila: You sad poor lucky person. I resisted the siren song of those books for... about ten minutes after I finally succumbed to the exhortations.

I rationed myself (at the time there were all of 13) to one a month. That sort of of worked (I'd finished the third, and found the fourth in a used book store... there went that resolution).

Then came the horror. I was now waiting for the next one to come out. On the upside, they hold up, brilliantly.

(p.s. I didn't know that, but there are almost certainly tons of those little liagnappes which some get, and some don't, based on their little quirks of understanding.

#577 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 12:30 PM:

Memorable scenes from LoTR:

Bilbo's parting. The ride to the Inn at Bree. Meeting Tom Bombadil. The Barrow-wight. Weathertop. Seeing Bilbo at Rivendell. Moria, and the evidence of the last days of the dwarves. Khazad-Dum and the loss of Gandalf.

Then there's a lot of action, which carries me along until the end, and then there's Bilbo leaving with the Elves for Grey Havens, and Frodo going with him. Sam going home to the wife and kids.

#578 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 01:14 PM:

My own memories are a mishmash of reading the story 31 years ago, and Bakshi's adaptation, followed by the Rankin-Bass TV adaptation, and of course Jackson's. Besides what I already mentionned, what I remember the most is Frodo going back to the Shire and finding that, after what he's gone thru, he can't fit anymore, and Sam taking him away then his coming home to his wife.

#579 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:07 PM:

Serge @ #570: in the books, the coming of the riders of Rohan to the Battle of the Pelennor fields, and Eowyn's confrontation with the Nazgul.

In the movies, the deep breath Aragorn takes right before he turns around to be cheered at his coronation. That, and the establishing shot of Gondor, which brought tears to my eyes. Oh, hell, and one more: those beacons traveling along the ridgeline. Tears, again.

Terry, re Aubrey & Maturin: I'm trying to hold off reading them all at once by interspersing other books. Right now I'm reading Steven Johnson's The Ghost Map about the 1854 London cholera epidemic (possibly the only epidemic in history to be stopped by one guy with a wrench).

#580 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Re: Patrick's sidelight about the tragic death of Michael Tony Futi, and the bit he wrote in the mouseover box...

I have additional snark to add to Patrick's already snarky reaction.

While it's important to keep 2-week-old infants from slipping into the country to take American jobs, it's doubly important to keep 2-week-old infants, who are American citizens carrying U.S. passports, from slipping into the country to take American jobs.

#581 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Memorable scenes in LOTR: Sam saying, "Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you." I never cry at movies, but that scene on the screen made me all misty-eyed.

A memorable scene that didn't make the movie: Eowyn's bitter little speech about, "Your words are all to say, you are a woman and your place is in the house; but when all the men are dead, you have leave to be burned in the house, as they will no longer need it." The movie leaves you with the impression that she's accepted being left behind, until she scoops up Merry on the way out of the camp.

And of course, there's the moment of Eowyn's confrontation with the Nazgul King. I like the movie version better for this -- a page and a half of astoundingly purple prose condensed down to its essentials:
"You fool! No man can kill me!"
"I am no man." WHAM!

Side note: between that scene and Macbeth, does anyone else now have the habit of looking very closely at the exact wording of prophecies and suchlike, scanning for loopholes?

#582 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:22 PM:

LOTR scenes I found memorable include but are not limited to: the Barrow-Wight; Aragorn's entry to the Paths of the Dead; the Watcher in the Water at the entrance to Moria; Gandalf's "Fly, you fools!" in Moria; Denethor's death clutching the palantir, and the entire chapter describing the Scouring of the Shire.

#583 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:33 PM:

The movie version of Boromir's death after he tries to make up for what he tried to do to Frodo.

#584 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 02:42 PM:

Eowyn laughing.

The rabbit cooking in Ithilien.

"The hands of the king are the hands of a healer"

Legolas and Aragorn and the epic tracking.

Galadriel with the star shining between her fingers.

Shelob's lair, "The last child of Ungoliant born to the unhappy world"

Really, the books are my first love, and just thinking about which scenes I remember brings more scenes into my memory. I never saw the new movies, because I know what everything looks like, so why bother and risk losing my pictures?

#585 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Apropos spiders & LOTR:
The night before following picture was taken, I'd been skimming a friend's copy of LOTR & read "Shelob's Lair". It's Golden Orb Spider breeding season in Australia.

#586 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Linkmeister, #581: Denethor's death clutching the palantir

Oh, yes. That was one of my huge disappointments with the movie. Flaming!Denethor running out of the hall and off the end of the cliff may have been good SFX, but (1) it was completely unbelievable (to the extent of knocking me out of the story to say, "He couldn't possibly run that far being on fire!") and (2) it lost us the searingly powerful image of "two aged hands withering in flame".

Actually, the entire handling of movie!Denethor was a disappointment, although I do understand the time constraints that led to it. In the book, we actually get to see Denethor's original competence and then his descent into madness after he looks into the palantir. It's hard to understand how movie!Denethor could have been a successful Steward of Gondor for so many years, because all we see is him being abusive to Faramir and being insane. But that arc would have been really hard to show in a movie, especially one that was so time-compressed.

#587 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 06:55 PM:

NBC has a new reality show coming soon and it's called "My dad is better than your dad". I can't wait for the spinoff "Your mother wears army boots". And I'm so glad we're now using NetFlix.

#588 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 06:56 PM:

Serge #570: it has to be Sam, painstakingly replanting the trees in the Shire, for several reasons.

First, that he's been all the way to Mordor and back and there's still work to be done.

Second, that he attends to the whole Shire and not just his home turf (although there's a slight bias towards the Bag End area).

Third, the equitable way he deals with the dusty grains in that box -- adding a grain to each planting, and casting the remainder out to the winds.

Fourth, that the Shire needed fixing in the first place.

Fifth, that the gift he'd carried through most of the story (and that I'd forgotten about until he came to use it) was so very useful.

Sixth, that after having a supporting role (literally, towards the end of his and Frodo's journey) for much of the story, Sam gets his moment of public heroism.

Obviously I think it was a mistake to omit this part of the story from the film.

#589 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Madeline Kelly @ 587... I had forgotten that whole thing. Then again, that's what happens when one has read a book so long ago that some of the people he deals with weren't even a glimmer in their parents's eyes. (Yes, ethan, I am talking about you.) I can understand why it didn't make it into the movies. For one thing, even the expanded DVD edition would still be too short to fit everything in. And would Sam's tree-planting have fitted in a version of the story without the Scouring of the Shire? As for the latter, I can understand why it was important for Tolkien to have that in the story, but, even 30 years ago, I myself felt that it was anticlimactic. That was just my own reaction, mind you.

#590 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 07:14 PM:

Tim Walters #538: It starts with guitar and bass alternating D harmonics an octave apart, which made me think of a clock ineluctably ticking away, which made me want to keep it going as long as I could without boring the pants off the listener.

Or you could treat the D as a pedal note and change the chords over/under/around it without bothering to make them fit. Nothing could be less boring to the ears! (I suggest this because on Friday I spent a few minutes writing out the chord symbols for Bach's Prelude in C major (you know, the one that everyone knows, not the other one) for my guitarist friend, and the pedal G in the second half sounded lovely.)

WRT The Coventy Carol, I've been humming it to myself and I think I can't have been right to say that all the 7ths were flattened. In fact, only the first 7th in the melody works (for my ears) in its unraised state. Maybe I was so taken with that one that I neglected to notice the other 7ths weren't flattened. Hmm.

#591 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 07:26 PM:

Serge #588: Well, the Scouring of the Shire should've been in the film too!

It's never seemed anti-climactic to me. The bit before they return to the Shire, with Aragorn's crowning etc, always felt like it wasn't part of their story. I resented Aragorn horning in on things, when clearly the story was about the hobbits. And the Shire had appeared such a safe, protected place that it really hammered home the extent of Sauron's evilness (through Saruman) that such a place could be destroyed.

We can only ever have our own reactions. Glorious diversity of opinion and all that kind of thing.

#592 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 07:58 PM:

Madeline Kelly @ 590... On the other hand, Aragorn's coronation is a tangible way of showing that, for a time, Middle-Earth will get some peace after that terrible war. As for the effect of the war on the Shire, Frodo has a vision early on that, if he does nothing, his own world will be destroyed. He save the world, he saves his own world, but he pays the price of not being able enjoy any of it.

(By the way, I hope that neither this nor my earlier post offended you. It was never my intention.)

#593 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 08:14 PM:

Serge @588: (re Scouring of the Shire) Even as a youngster (my mom corrupted meintroduced me to Lord of the Rings early) I saw fairly clearly a point about expecting to return to find home more or less unchanged, and about Frodo not finding recognition or acceptance in his home land.

Lee @580: (re the precise wording of prophecies) Yup, started paying close attention to the wording of anything like such. Also good preparation for reading legal texts....

Tim Walters @538: (re boring the pants off listeners) Seems to me Bolero is proof that it's not necessarily something you need to worry about overmuch.

#594 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 08:23 PM:

geeoksaur @ 592... What you said reminds me of the 1946 movie The Best Years of Our Lives, when three veterans come back to their home town, and find that while some things haven't changed, some have, although not as much as they themselves have.

#595 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 08:34 PM:

Madelaine #587 & Serge #588 Too sick & too tired (PTSD & other sequelae of 3 weeks in hospital) to marshal my full arguments, but to me, some of the major take-away messages of Lord of the Rings are in the Scouring of the Shire, and Sam's achingly-familiar and seldom-achieved wish for restoration of its beauty

There's something I certainly feel quite strongly that relates to that; it's recently been called 'solastalgia' (1, 2, 3), and they're saying it's new. But I think it probably started to have a major impact around the time of the Industrial Revolution. Read some nineteenth century writing on the devastation not just to people, but places caused by the massive changes then — not just writing about it, but ones that just refer to it, or have it as part of plot points. And it's been continuing since.

(Later) Lee #585 — yes; Denethor's treatment in the Jackson films left a particularly bad taste.

Soon Lee #584 A couple of links about Golden Orb Weavers.

[My goodness, there's a lot here to catch up on since Australia Day weekend. It feels good to be connected again, despite the massive email catchup job.]

#596 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 10:10 PM:

FWIW, "The Scouring of the Shire" feels essential to LOTR. It has since my first reading of it all, lo these many long ages ago. Losing the replanting of the Party Tree and the re-growth of the Shire to a box of salt and herbs just -- ahem -- tasted wrong.

Love, C.

#597 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 10:14 PM:

Serge at #588 writes:

> the Scouring of the Shire [...snip...] I can understand why it was important for Tolkien to have that in the story, but, even 30 years ago, I myself felt that it was anticlimactic. That was just my own reaction, mind you.

For me it was one of the crucial sections of the book, and its absence is my strongest regret about the movies. I first met LOTR at about the age of 15, read it straight through twice, then settled down to rereading the mines of moria and the scouring of the shire again and again and again...

I do wish Jackson could have found time space and money for it.

#598 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 10:50 PM:

When I was a child reading the books, the scenes that stuck with me most were Frodo's crying out "A Elbereth Gilthoniel!" as he struck at the Ringwraith, Aragorn's recitation of the Ballad of Beren and Luthien (which I went to the trouble of memorizing, in my early teens), and Eowyn's killing of the Nazgul king. The one that made me cry bitterly was Snowmane's death at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. I wasn't crying for Theoden; I was crying for Snowmane. (And the grass grew long and green... I'm tearing up now.)

The one that made me sob in the movies was "Ride to ruin and the world's ending." I hadn't yet experienced Anglo-Saxon poetry read aloud when I was a child. It makes a difference.

Oh, and of COURSE I look very very carefully at the wording of prophecies It's IMPORTANT!

#599 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:15 PM:

About the Scouring of the Shire... Again, my apologies. I never intended to cause offense.

#600 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:30 PM:

Serge at #598 writes:

> About the Scouring of the Shire... Again, my apologies. I never intended to cause offense.

Well you certainly didn't offend me, despite my disagreement. After all, what was the net created for, if not arguments about science fiction and fantasy?

And porn and cat photos too, I guess.

#601 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:37 PM:

Steve Taylor @ 599... After all, what was the net created for, if not arguments about science fiction and fantasy? And porn and cat photos too, I guess.

And doggies too.

#602 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:44 PM:

The particle on 'the cognitive basis of fanfic' - I half agree with it, as (for instance) Modesty Blaise and Sherlock Holmes both keep walking and talking in my head after I've finished a story, and I would read any new fan-written stories about Modesty Blaise that I found, and I *have* read lots of Sherlock Holmes by hands other than the original.

But... I don't get - and I don't think Cory's post explains - the love of mashups and crossovers which seems so prevalent in fanfic, a love which I don't share or understand.

I half expect that someone reading this post is thinking right now "Yes... Sherlock Holmes and Modesty Blaise - I think I can make it work!"

#603 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:58 PM:

Serge @ #600: And lovely doggies they are, too! (I have two Catahoulas and a bulldog-gremlin mix.)

#604 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:21 AM:

Serge at #600

It's not that they're not cute dogs - they are - but it's the look on Jefferson the cat's face that catches my eye.

Do not leave your car keys or credit cards where he can reach them.

#605 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:38 AM:

The caption to the picture of Jefferson reminds me of Terry Pratchett's essay on The Naming of Cats, which says that cats have many names, including but not limited to the name you give him when you first get him; the name everyone ends up calling him most of the time; and a short, sharp name suitable for shouting whenever you notice suspicious movement on the kitchen table. ("The Egyptian cat-goddess was called 'Bast'. Now you know why.")

#606 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:03 AM:

The real problem I have with Peter Jackson's treatment of the Scouring of the Shire is not that he didn't show it happening, but that he showed it not happening, if you see what I mean.

It seems to me that, if it couldn't have been included, there ought to have been some way to move gracefully from Victory Celebrations in Minas Tirith straight to Back Home in Hobbiton, Some Years Later, leaving room for the Scouring to have taken place off-screen.

#607 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:20 AM:

Steve Taylor @ #601:

While I think Cory's theory explains a lot of fanfic, it's by no means exhaustive. That said, at least some crossover fanfic can be explained through Cory's framework, as the fictional equivalent of having two friends in separate social circles who you think would get on really well if you ever got the chance to introduce them to each other.

#608 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:24 AM:

Paul A. at #606 writes:

> [...] That said, at least some crossover fanfic can be explained through Cory's framework, as the fictional equivalent of having two friends in separate social circles who you think would get on really well

You're right actually - Cory's framework does cover crossovers. I'm still bemused as to their seemingly disproportionate popularity, but that's my problem, not anyone elses.

#609 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:26 AM:

...or, come to think of it, of having two friends in separate social circles who you think would get on each others' nerves in a really entertaining way.

(Which would be a more likely basis for a Holmes-Blaise meetup, obviously.)

#610 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:56 AM:

Paul A. at #608 writes:

> (Which would be a more likely basis for a Holmes-Blaise meetup, obviously.)

They *do* have notably different problem solving styles. But they both love interesting trivia, so that's some common ground...

No!!! This is how the sin of crossover fanfic starts! I'll be good and go and get dinner ready instead.

#611 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:17 AM:

Crossovers can be startlingly good, though, at least musically. Give a listen to the exceedingly odd pairing of Alison Krause and Robert Plant on Raising Sand. It really works.

#613 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:51 AM:

Linkmeister at #610 writes

> Crossovers can be startlingly good, though, at least musically.

Music is one area where I really do like to hear people mess around. Hearing Public Enemy's vocal mixed over the instrumental track of Dexy's Midnight Runners doing 'Come on Eileen' is not only bizarre, it's wonderful music. So is Public Enemy mashed up with Herb Albert's Tijuana Brass, come to think of it.

> Give a listen to the exceedingly odd pairing of Alison Krause and Robert Plant on Raising Sand. It really works.

I'll seek it out.

#614 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:58 AM:

Madeline Kelly @ 589: Or you could treat the D as a pedal note and change the chords over/under/around it without bothering to make them fit. Nothing could be less boring to the ears!

Always a good plan--I particularly remember someone taking vast liberties with "Joy To The World" in very much this fashion, on a mean-tone organ yet--but I neglected to mention an additional constraint, which is that the piece needs to sound like* spaghetti-western soundtrack music. That said, there are some prominent E-flats in the melody and harmony, so crunch is not entirely absent.

Cheesy demo in effect for anyone who's curious (and willing to put up with a bit of MIDI and the fact that I can't whistle as well as that guy on "A Fistful Of Dollars.")

geekosaur @ 596: (re boring the pants off listeners) Seems to me Bolero is proof that it's not necessarily something you need to worry about overmuch.

True, one person's snooze is another's trance.

*For certain values of "sound like" between zero and unity.

#615 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:48 AM:

The most thrilling moment in all of The Lord of the Rings for me has always been Éowyn facing down the Nazgûl. "Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you if you touch him!"

(And no, I can't agree that the movie version was better. It cut out the soul of the whole thing.)

As to prophecies that require careful reading, I've been reading Herodotos, and in book I of his history we have, "If you lead an army against the Persians you will cause the downfall of a mighty kingdom." And afterwards Croesus wrote to the Oracle at Delphi complaining, and the Oracle answered him saying, "You should have asked which kingdom."

#616 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:56 AM:

LMB MacAlister @ 602... Ours are all recue cases. Steve Taylor @ 603... Luckily he has show no Toonces aptitude (or lack thereof) toward human vehicles. Paul A @ 604... "Where is that turkey baster?"

#617 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:25 AM:

Crossover fanfic can be interesting because it takes things which are familiar and makes them interact in interesting ways. I don't read a lot of fanfic-- I read a few Yuletide pieces recommended by friends, but very little more-- but a well-done crossover is sort of logical. Of course there's more than one story going on in the world. It makes sense for two people to run into each other, even if they're from different books. Then the recognition comes in-- I know where that came from!-- and you can make the two logical systems dance with each other.

#618 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:43 AM:

At first sight, the problem with a Holmes-Blaise fanfic is that their lives didn't overlap. But the Sherlock Holmes films made by Universal Studios were set in the 1940s, which leads to possible overlap.

I'm just wondering what Watson and Willie Garvin have to say to each other.

#619 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:06 AM:

I don't make these things up, I just report them.

What good is a glass dildo?

#620 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:17 AM:

I'm not much of a fanfic reader. The one, however, which comes most to mind is that by Fred Saberhagen.

#621 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:00 AM:

Dae Bell @617 At first sight, the problem with a Holmes-Blaise fanfic is that their lives didn't overlap.

Well my first thought would be to have them investigate the same or related mysteries 60 years apart, in a compare and contrast of the periods, characters and investigatory methods. The Nazi-fighting Holmes from the 40s investigating The Network might be interesting though.

#622 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:25 AM:

I sem to remember a TV movie of the early 1990s where a modern woman comes across a primitive cryogenic unit with Sherlock inside of it.

#624 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:16 PM:

BTW, could someone help me with a translation into Old English of something along the lines of 'Congratulations on the birth of your daughter Éowyn.'

Since one of my friends has just gone and named his daughter that.

#625 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:50 PM:

"I go to my fathers, in whose mighty company I need not now be ashamed."

#626 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Neil Willcox #620: The Nazi-fighting Holmes from the 40s investigating The Network might be interesting though.

What, don't tell me Katie finally found her hubby's sekrit time machine....

#627 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Steve, #609: There are some crossovers that just beg to be written. Here's one of mine that might amuse you (it's very short). It's a crossover between Bones (the Fox TV show) and... well, that would give away the punchline.

Bruce, #618: Ooh, pretty! And that's art glass; they're made of borosilicate (Pyrex) and presumably annealed, which means not fragile at all. I've seen properly-annealed borosilicate beads bounce when dropped on a tile floor, completely undamaged. I have a lot of friends who'd be interested in those. *bookmarks site*

#628 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Lee: re glass dildos. I've heard good things about them. My concern is that a bead is round, and these aren't.

That said, by all reports they are durable, and quite versatile. They've been around for years now, so I presume that any fragility would have become, tolerably, well known.

#629 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Lee,

It's not that I was concerned about the durability of the, um, tools; I just couldn't resist the text I used for the link. And I wonder if, when you use them, the magic goes away.

#630 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:09 PM:

A cross over short story published years ago told us what Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger were up to during the events of the Martian invasion described by H. G. Wells (wish I could recall author and title; I read it sometime in the 70s).

It started off with Dr. Watson excoriating the published accounts of the Martians written by the journalist H. G. Wells; he blamed Wells for pretending to scientific knowledge he clearly lacked.

One of Holmes conclusions: the 'Martians' clearly could not have been natives of the planet; they must have been from another star, and made use of Mars as a staging area for the invasion.

#631 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:25 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 629... Would it be 1975's SHERLOCK HOLMES'S WAR OF THE WORLDS by Manly Wade & Wade Wellman?

#632 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:01 PM:

Lee at #626 writes:

> Steve, #609: There are some crossovers that just beg to be written. Here's one of mine that might amuse you (it's very short). It's a crossover between Bones (the Fox TV show) and... well, that would give away the punchline.

Unfortunately I've never seen (or heard of) Bones. There's another problem with crossovers - they require me to know *two* bits of popular culture!

#633 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:08 PM:

Serge @630: Thanks. I googled that title, and found this link; apparently the first part of that book was published as The Adventure Of The Martian Client in the December 1969 issues of The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction (and picked up in some 'best of' collection where I read it).

Now I can keep an eye out for that book to read the rest of the story... or see if my friend with the comic book shop has the 4 part series based on the story (mentioned at tne end of the article I linked to).

#634 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:28 PM:

Steve@631

(Minor piece of info about "Bones")

Gur bayl guvat lbh arrq gb xabj nobhg Obarf vf gung vg pbfgnef Qnivq Obernanm.

#635 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Terry, #627: When you're talking about art-glass beads, a lot of them aren't round at all. Sculptural glass is very popular -- flowers, leaves, frogs and other critters -- and abstract geometrical stuff too. What makes it a bead isn't the shape, but having a hole all the way thru. (Sorry, you triggered my Inner Jewelry Geek there.)

I'm also thinking, on the basis of the pictures, that these items are fairly thick-walled, which adds sturdiness.

Bruce, #628: Ah, okay. I see that a reference must have gone over my head again. :-) Looking at them, I ended up with "A wizard's staff has a knob on the end" as an earworm.

#636 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Jen Roth, #622, quite a story! I wonder if she ever thought of hitting the customers with the crop!

Terry, #627, not all beads are round. I finished a piece that had triangles, odd shapes, and a poppy flower recently: Poppydelic! the odd shapes are fiberoptic chips.

#637 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:37 AM:

I see from the sidelights/particles that somebody has done far better than I at visualising The Disemvoweler.

#638 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:39 AM:

Serge@621

Yes. "The Return of Sherlock Holmes". Starring (according to imdb) Michael Pennington as Sherlock Holmes and Margaret Colin as Jane Watson. One of the plot points is that Jane is a descendant of THE Dr. Watson and discovers some clues in old documents of her ancestor that lead her to Sherlock.

#639 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:48 AM:

Michael @ 637... That's the one. It was so long ago that I had forgotten about the woman being Watson's descendant.

#640 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:49 AM:

Dave Bell @ 636... Teresa the troll-slayer. Cue in Basil Poledouris's score.

#641 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:37 AM:

Marilee (#635): nice necklace!

#642 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:52 AM:

Bruce @ 618, if those weren't so pricey, I'd have bought one years ago. My boss and I had a running disagreement on how to juice citrus (I liked a manual juicer with a cup, she liked to use a fork, and she didn't want me to use the juicer) and I was sorely tempted to buy the one that looked most like a citrus reamer and tell her that that's what it was, just to have the secret glee of watching her do kitchen tasks with a sex toy.

Sadly, she wasn't paying me enough to make it worth the amusement.

#643 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:19 PM:

I'm dragging myself away from the book thread to post this delicacy I discovered just now: Neuticles.

What are these, you ask? Well, they are implants designed by a veterinarian for those male dogs whose owners had issues. I see there are cat-sized implants too, but that's a later addition.

Veterinarians in private practice run into the problem of male owners (rarely the female owners) who refuse to neuter their male dogs, because it reflects badly on their manhood. Or..something. This bright idea was the brain child of a male veterinarian. I've never used them in my brief periods of private practice (pun intended), but I knew about them. I must say, whatever it takes to get the dogs healthy -- but I had no idea they'd taken the marketing one step further. I'm almost tempted to order a keychain.

Almost.

I did order a brain cell from GiantMicrobes, and a rabies virus particle. They're very cute.

#644 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:32 PM:

There's a total lunar eclipse today/tomorrow. For those of you in the States, it will reach totality around 10 p.m. EST on Wednesday. Reuters has more info here.

If you'd like to view it, you can check in on this website, run by a good planetarium:
http://wdrblog.de/teleskop/

#645 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:34 PM:

Ginger -- "delicacy" as in "prairie oysters"?

#646 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:39 PM:

Lee @ 634

Ah, I was trying to be clever, and failed, I guess. It all started when I watched a show on HBO about some guys who design dildos and have their porn star wives test them in group scenes (and the ones they make are humongous; they're interesting sculptures, but I question their utility). I was immediately thought of the Niven story, "What Good is a Glass Dagger?" and started laughing about the idea of a sex therapist asking a patient if using a magic dildo made the magic go away.

Rikkibeth @ 641

*Snort* I wish you had given it to her. That's one of those jokes that's better if the butt of the joke never does figure it out. *Snort* Citrus reamer? *Snort*

#647 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:40 PM:

Debbie @644: Yup. And "Mountain Oysters", and other fine dishes. Only these are fake.

#648 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:11 PM:

NASA also has quite a bit of good information on tonight's Lunar eclipse. The weather here in NYC seems to be cooperating, too.

#649 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Font questions:

What font is used in this cover?

Is there either a website or a program that will display a text selection in all the fonts I have installed? There has to be an easier way than pasting the same text in MS Word a gajillion times and changing the font selection for each instance of the text.

#650 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:36 PM:

shadowsong 648: I don't know of any such thing, but if you put the sample text in just once, highlight it, and go to Format/Font (instead of using the Font pulldown), you can see the text displayed in any font you like (or even use up and down arrows to step through them all), tweak it for size and special effects, then hit OK only when you're satisfied. If you want to end up with a document of font samples, I don't know any easy way to do that.

#651 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:38 PM:

Ginger (642): Your second link is messed up (you forgot the 'http://'). Giant Microbes

#652 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:43 PM:

shadowsong @ 648: Looks like Copperplate Gothic or something similar.

#653 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:48 PM:

I'll second Tim on the 'Copperplate Gothic'. (At least they didn't use 'Peignot' or something equally hard on the eyes!)

#654 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:53 PM:

Xopher @648: that's very nearly what I was looking for, thank you

and Tim & PJ @651-652, that looks right to me as well, thanks.

#655 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:07 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 650: That's puzzling -- I was able to click on the link and go to the site from my post. I wonder what happened -- perhaps your browser didn't like it?

#656 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:41 PM:

Ginger (654): It came up as a relative link (was looking for it on nielsenhayden.com) because of the lack of the 'http'. Maybe your browser corrected for that?

#657 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:49 PM:

Mary Aileen: I wish I knew. Both links looked the same and got the same results. Sorry about that!

#658 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:52 PM:

Ginger: No prob. :)

#659 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Shadowsong, #648: To be more specific, Copperplate Gothic Light. And you can do the same kind of text sampling in Corel Draw that Xopher mentions in Word.

#660 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Woo woo woo!

I just scored two tickets to the Patrick Stewart production of the Scottish play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for Friday night! And it didn't involve standing in line in the snow! What have I done lately to deserve amazing ticket karma? (The show is supposedly totally sold out. If anyone else wants to see it, there's one more ticket left for Friday as of a few minutes ago!)

Now I just have to find someone else to see this with and explain to my boss the extreme importance of leaving work early Friday to go to Brooklyn. And now I have an excuse to spend Saturday at the library, since I'll already be in town! And I can buy corset boning! Free weekend, who needs a free weekend?

Woo woo woo!

#661 ::: Eclipse visible now! ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:12 PM:

The total eclipse of the moon mentioned upthread is going on now, but the best part--moving into totality--doesn't happen for 50 minutes yet.

Totality starts at 1 minute past the hour (10:01pm est, 7:01pm pst)

Here's a fine animation of what happens when in tonight's eclipse.

#662 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:12 PM:

Thanks, Faren! I made it to go with that tiedye shirt!

#663 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:23 PM:

A question for the deep knowledge of Making Light: what do you know of alternatives to standard keyboards and two-handed typing*?

A friend has an injury and upcoming surgery that's going to limit their use of their right (dominant) arm and hand for weeks. This will make keyboarding difficult, especially for someone where writing is a big part of work.

I've seen references to chords(?) and other non-standard-keyboard text entry methods. Any experiences with them?

________
* non-snicker versions

#664 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:13 PM:

I'm torn about the news that Lawrence Lessig may be about to run for Congress in California's 12th district.

I live in that district. Tom Lantos was my congressman. I contributed and volunteered for Ro Khanna, his [defeated] opponent in the 2004 primary race.

On the one hand, I really like Lawrence Lessig even if I depart from him on some trivial policy issues. I wholeheartedly agree with him on all the matters that really count. On the other hand, Jackie Speier is the Democratic machine candidate who would otherwise be a shoe-in for the seat. She's already lined up a lot of important endorsements, and she's got a million times more name recognition.

I fear his candidacy would be doomed before it got started.

And, sadly, I'm still way underprovisioned with Internet-era optimism these days, so Lessig's "Change Congress" campaign tastes like dangerous naïvete to me. I'm ashamed to admit that, but I'd be lying if I didn't.

So— fellow light-eaters, what should I do? A) Get over it and help shove the knife into Jackie Speier? or B) Stand back and let Larry Lessig learn for himself that reforming a corrupt system requires more than a fancy Javascript widget and CGI script?

What to do what to do what to do...

#665 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:39 PM:

I'm such a bad person.

I was explaining to a young friend who misspelled 'adrenalin' that it comes from 'ad-' "on top of" and 'renal' meaning "of the kidneys." And then I went on to explain that 'epinephrin' is the same thing in Greek ('epi-' "above" and 'nephr-' "of the kidneys").

Good so far.

Then I told him that 'Nephretitti' meant "woman with kidney-shaped boobs."

He was like "Wow, that's amazing." I told him I was kidding right away and gave him a correct translation for 'Nefertiti' ("a beautiful woman is come"), but I still felt bad for playing such a shabby trick.

He was good about it though. Laughed and everything.

#666 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:08 AM:

The meaning of the name Nefret is Beautiful
The origin of the name Nefret is Egyptian
Nefret is on 10 favorite name lists

#667 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:09 AM:

Meanwhile, near the kidney-shaped pool... Or was it a pool-shaped kidney?

#668 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:22 AM:

Nefret fretted a lot as she walked by the pool, until the boat dropped ankhor.

#669 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:09 AM:

Wait, wat?

#670 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:25 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 662

AFAIK chord keyboards take a while to become proficient with, and in the meantime are even more clumsy than two-finger hunt and peck typing. How about using speech recognition to get text in as a first pass, then fixing up problems in the text by typing with a chord keyboard? Speech recognition has gotten fairly good; I think that would be faster than just typing with an unfamiliar gadget.

#671 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:18 AM:

Bruce @669,

Speed check ignition? Good idea, and you're right, it has become much better.

Although even with those subvocalization microphones (they're out in Japan), speech recognition won't be good for cafes and public places when you're working and hanging out with others.

Not long ago I had a short-term injury that meant only 6 fingers for typing for a few days. In that case I was slower but not horribly so: I figured out some substitutions that worked*, and I could still use my mouse. But a few days isn't at all like 6 weeks.

* I wonder if playing the piano makes that easier?

#672 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:49 AM:

Serge #591: No offense taken! The LOTR books and films always do bring out strong and diverse opinions, I find.

Tim Walters #613: Nice whistling! And it does indeed sound spaghetti westernish. I hope your band likes it.

#673 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:56 AM:

I agree about the Copperplate Light; it looks to me like the cover designer stretched the lettering a bit in the y-axis.

#674 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:52 AM:

Here's one rather old PDF on one-handed typing.

Two features to think about: Windows has accessibility options which include "sticky" keys. so that keys such as "Ctrl" and "Shift" don't have to be pressed at the same time as the key they modify. And "word prediction" in a word processor can help. (I know it's in Open Office.)

Also, although a bit more hassle, there are Dvorak keyboard layouts for one-handed typing.

Here's one description, (further down the page) and it also is a keyboard option in Windows. There are links on the page, too.

Yep, you need the Reguional And Language Options in the Control Panel. You install a new language, which brings up a list of keyboard layout, with a clutch of United State Dvorak layouts at the end.


Hope that's useful.

#675 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:32 AM:

Madeline Kelly @ 671... The LOTR books and films always do bring out strong and diverse opinions...

...unless we're talking about the Rankin-Bass adaptations.

#676 ::: JamesE ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:23 AM:

Kathryn@662: The man behind that source of all things geek, XKCD, has come up with a one-handed keyboard layout that works by reflecting the right-hand side of the keyboard onto the left when you press Caps Lock. It's for Linux, but there are Mac and Windows equivalents mentioned in the comments thread.

#677 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:32 AM:

Serge@674

Although you probably do get strong reactions to the Rankin-Bass adaptations. Perhaps not quite as diverse, however...

(Although I did kind of like their adaptation of The Hobbit.)

#678 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:43 AM:

Michael I @ 676... I thought that R-B's adaptation of "The Return of the King" was leaning toward oh-hum,. I never saw their "Hobbit", but my wife often said that she hated how ugly their elves were.

#679 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:51 AM:

Kathryn @ 662: I played with Dasher a bit when it was in beta. It's fun to use, and with a little practice, you can get close to touch-typing speed. It's a keyboard-free text input device, based on letter-frequency and common letter combinations. It also learns from your writing style.

Works with a mouse, but it's designed for disabled people with extremely limited mobility, so it also supports joysticks, breath-input, gaze-tracking, etc. It might be overkill for your friend, but it's worth downloading to play with anyway.

#680 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:53 AM:

Serge #557: 'Ra!' cried the man, he was Set. None could horus.

#681 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Fragano: Amon to that.

#682 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:40 PM:

Fragano... Xopher... I guess we're all Set.

#683 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:12 PM:

A punning thread about Egyptian gods? Anubis was gonna happen. It's going to drive us all Nuts.

#684 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:15 PM:

Isis-pect the usual guys will an-Nile-late the rest of us in the pun wars...

#685 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:15 PM:

But, on the Hathor hand, if Serge and the others want to carry on punning, why should I Ka?

#686 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:16 PM:

I mean, as long as it keeps them Hapy...

#687 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:19 PM:

I love how these puns apyramid other erudite conversation. And anyone who Sphynx we're single-minded is going to be ankh-ry...

#688 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:35 PM:

abi @ 686... I love how these puns apyramid other erudite conversation

It sands to reason.

#689 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:10 PM:

Serge @ 687... Hathor came up with a lame one this time.

#690 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:11 PM:

Abi, you're back from your days in the lap of Luxory? It was Aten to one you'd drop into this conversation, but now that you're here, I expect that you'll Bast all of us (with the possible exception of Serge).

#691 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:29 PM:

Fragano @ 689... I expect that you'll Bast all of us

Of course. How could you have Thoth otherwise?

#692 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:32 PM:

Serge #690: I must have been in Shishak.

#693 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Sigh...I may have to desert. I can't seem to scarab any good puns right now.

#694 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:47 PM:

abi @ 692... I may have to desert

Take Cairo yourself.

#695 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Re the "Land Called Paradise" sidelight...I am struck by how much PostSecret has affected our public discourse.

I know there are other "people holding signs up" sites, such as sorry everybody and apologies accepted, but the video seems to have a lot of story in each placard. That's very Post Secret.

(I mentioned this to my mother, who said, "What's Post Secret"? I felt so 2.0!)

#696 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:09 PM:

It being an open thread, I wish to whine about having caught two, distinctly separate, and utterly malignant versions of the flu, this season, once in November, and once now. Bah.

#697 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:12 PM:

I, for one, would Nefertiri to contribute to a pun thread. That is, if I wasn't catching up on some other project. It just isn't pharoah!

#698 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:15 PM:

abi @ 694...

What is PostSecret?
(Me, I feel like the beta version. By the way, there is a French pun in there.)

And, yes, "We the People" means all of us.

#699 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:20 PM:

Serge @697:

You'd beta be kidding about never having heard of Post Secret.

I read it every Sunday when the new postcards get put up, just to fall in love with humanity again. I love the strong people for their strengths and the weak for their foibles. It's the wonder of humanity, distilled and renewed for your convenience.

#700 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Rats, this talented bunch has taken all the good ones! It would have been Pharaoh to leave some for the rest of us. This always happens; turn your back niter day and it's Osirisly hard to catch up. Where are the Ma'aterators when you need them?

OK, I Ammit I'm jealous. I'm trying to sistrumatically go through all the Egyptian gods, but I just can't Geb my act together; I haven't Thoth of anything! This chain is a Tefnut to crack. Well, I don't want to keep Ptah-ing you all with the same brush; I Bes you're tired of it too, and don't want Tawaret out completely. If you want more, sorry: I have Nun.

#701 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:32 PM:

abi @ 698...

bêta: someone who's dumb as a beast...

In other words, I wasn't kidding. (Does mama goat ever tells her children that they're the result of a goating accident?) Thanks for the link.

#702 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:42 PM:

Oh Osiris punning! And I was away from the keyboard just long enough for everyone else to get the good ones. Shu-t, I am so ma'at at myself..ptah!

#703 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:49 PM:

You guys are excellent. IMHO tepid puns are a rarity on ML.

#704 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Anubisy bodies would get all wrapped up into this punning.

#705 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:17 PM:

Evidence in favor of the hypothesis that Germany is more civilized than the US.

#706 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Serge #521: This is a bit belated (I've been away), but thanks for letting me know that--nice to know I indirectly made someone happy.

Bruce Cohen (StM) #618: Speaking of unusual sex toys, my roommate's boyfriend does advertising work for a company that makes stainless steel dildos. The idea is horrifying to me, but they do look cool, and it also means that he and my roommate get to go to the AVN trade show in Las Vegas every year, which results in very cool pictures of the likes of Belladonna (avec my roommate) and Jenna Jameson.

I also second the recommendation, up there in the early 600s, of the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album. It's fantastic.

#707 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:27 PM:

ethan @ 705... stainless steel dildos. The idea is horrifying to me, but they do look cool

Literally?

#708 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 06:19 PM:

Serge@ 706: Well, metal does transfer heat more efficiently.

Digression into cool nerdiness (or is it nerdy coolness? You decide.)

One morning I went out to start the car, aka "warming it up" before the rest of the family finished the departure rituals. The air temperature was well below freezing (IIRC 21F, -6C). I noticed a bottle of water on the console looked like liquid water, so I picked it up -- and to my surprise it was indeed liquid. Suddenly it transformed instantaneously into ice. I watched the crystallization progress from top to bottom. It was the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

#709 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 06:32 PM:

Ginger, I saw that one time in a bottle of Coke that had been out in the cold (being brought home from the store in one of those icy Michigan nights). In that case, the liquid was pressurized, and its crystallization was accounted for by the change when I opened it.

In your case, I think it's something I'm just learning about myself: agitation encourages crystallization. I've learned this in connection with ganache: you make the ganache, and let it cool, and it's a viscous semiliquid. Then you put it on a marble slab and agitate it with a scraper, just a little, then leave it alone and it solidifies.

But what I did NOT know was that that worked with water, too (the motion when you picked it up agitated it). That makes sense, it's just, as you say, extremely cool.

#710 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 06:35 PM:

Er...I meant that I, myself, am learning about crystallization through agitation. Not that crystallization through agitation is something I'm learning about myself.

"Christopher, don't get so agitated! You know you tend to crystallize!"

"You're right. Darn my Tritovian forbears, anyway!"

#711 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 06:50 PM:

Xopher: Yes, the supercooled water crystallized upon agitation -- I had forgotten about the ganache doing the same.

It's funny how interesting chemistry has become, now that I don't have to get any grades in it. My mother was a p-chemist, and taught me about sublimation. You can see this phenomenon all winter long if you spray your windshield with fluid, spread it with the wipers, and drive along (especially in the sunlight). Solid to vapor without stopping in liquid phase = sublimation = the coolest. I keep pointing it out to my son, who is probably totally bored by all this now.

She also taught me about ketchup: it's thixotropic. I can never remember the actual definition, but I will never forget that ketchup has it.

#712 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Lee: The dildos aren't walled. They are solids. I wasn't thinking, oddly enough, of art beads. I was thinking of bead-blasting, and the like. Was a brain-o.

Re speech recognition, Maia (who can't spell) uses Dragon. It's pretty good, though the nature of it's errors are such that a spell-checker isn't likely to catch them; one needs to make a close reading of the text when done, to correct for "speed-check ignitions"

#713 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:32 PM:

Ginger @#707: That is indeed cool. My guess is that the water was probably distilled or filtered, anyway very low on ions. When you picked it up, you probably washed a microbubble or dust particle into the liquid from the neck of the bottle. (Since you said the crystallization started there....)


Apropos of nothing, I just discovered My M&M's, custom candies from the source. (Major Flash warning.) It looks like you need $50 to play (for two to five pounds of candy), with two main options:

1) Single-color bags of one of 22 colors (minimum: 8 7-oz bags or 1 5-lb bag). The site says "colors can be mixed", but I couldn't see how to do that with the interface.

2) custom-printed M&Ms -- one or two messages, each with two lines of up to 8 characters. You can have one of 17 single colors, or 7 predefined mixes of two to five colors. You can also get it packed in several sorts of bags, boxes, and such. (Minimum order is 4 7-oz bags).

It looks like all of the above are only for basic M&M (that is, no peanut etc.), but I'm guessing that a phone call would allow for other varieties and/or more complex combinations, presumably at higher prices. The sidebar said they can do Dove chocolates too.

#714 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:42 PM:

Xopher @ #708:
My current weird soda project is collecting cans which are empty but have never been opened.

#715 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:52 PM:

M&M AddenduM: Their "business" page has more options: Up to three colors in a mix, two-sided customizations, and graphic logos (all logos in black ink -- they note a few colors as "non-printable"). I haven't poked too far into the pricing, but volume discounts start at 5% for orders over $1000.

#716 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:55 PM:

David @ 712: My guess is that the water was probably distilled or filtered, anyway very low on ions. When you picked it up, you probably washed a microbubble or dust particle into the liquid from the neck of the bottle. (Since you said the crystallization started there....)

That sounds reasonable; my hypothesis was the warmth from my fingers, since it appeared to start from where I'd touched the bottle. In any case, I just wish I could do it again. (Unfortunately, my partner drank the water on the way home..and the other bottles in the car have all demonstrated the typical development of ice. Phooey.)

#717 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:00 PM:

David 712: If she picked it up by the neck, the top of the bottle would have the most agitation. Do you really think a seed is necessary in that case? You don't think the agitation alone would do that?

Susan 712: Just for the pure confusement value? Or dare I ask why?

#718 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:07 PM:

xeger@ 695: You have my sympathies.

I once had the flu three times -- the second bout was really a flare-up of the first, since I hadn't realized I was in the throes of the flu -- and the third round was a week-long extravanganza of chills and fever. At the same time, my hot water heater went out.

Ever since that winter, I've religiously gotten my flu shot every year. Now I just have this 3-week old bronchitis that I'll eventually get over. ;-)

#719 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:07 PM:

Also, doesn't water start crystallizing from the outside? In this case, the surface and around the sides of the bottle, but starting at the top, since the agitation began there.

I don't know. I'm asking.

#720 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:17 PM:

thixotropic: the property of various gels of becoming fluid when disturbed (as by shaking)

#721 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:19 PM:

Xopher@718: In my hypothesis, the supercooled water was "agitated" by the slight but abrupt change in temperature where my fingers touched the bottle. In David's hypothesis, the movement induced by my fingers dislodged a particle which then caused the cascade reaction -- much like adding salt to almost-boiling water then causes a boil-over.

#722 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:22 PM:

Xoper @719: Yes.

I always have to look it up again, but really, all I have to remember is "ketchup is thixotropic".

#723 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:27 PM:

Did it freeze before it moved? From your initial description it sounded like you moved it and THEN it froze. (I'm picturing a whole lot of invisible microcrystals in a sort of solid-water-in-liquid-water emulsion; you move it and a few of them bash against each other and lock together, forming larger crystals which bash against each other etc.; chain reaction leads to the whole thing solidifying. I don't know if that makes sense or not.)

#724 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:54 PM:

The fluorosphere... Where stainless dildos lead to a discussion on chemistry. And yes, Ginger, that was neat. Meanwhile, a few years ago, I was in our living-room when I heard a loud crash issueing forth(*) from the kitchen. I looked around, but could find nothing suspicious, not even an innocent-looking cat. I opened the cupboard, and found a heap of glass where a... ah... glass had been. The darn thing had collapsed on itself. I think I had just washed it in hot water and scrubbed it with fine steel wool. Doing that many times must have introduced very tiny cracks. The whole thing probably cooled off and...

No, I've never tried that with something like the glass dildo mentionned some time ago.

(*) Hey, this is one place where you can write thing s without too many eyebrows being lifted.

#725 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:58 PM:

Xopher - thanks for the gentle spelling correction.

ethan - arrgh. Now I'm humming Steely Dan tunes.

Terry Karney - I keep meaning to say "Sorry" - We were doing the TV thing on Tuesday and Wednesday, flew out around noon on Thursday. If I'd been in LA for a longer time I would have made the time to meet you.

#726 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:03 PM:

I'm going to pop in without having read the thread thus far (no time to keep up, lately!) with two things, one funny, the other very much not.

1. (Funny) I saw a sign at a local bar & grill advertising "Jäger girls here on Tuesday!" I was very excited until I realized they were referring to Jägermeister, not Girl Genius.

2. (Not Funny) Bill O'Reilly apparently thinks we shouldn't lynch Michelle Obama unless she really is angry and militant. (Apologies if this is already old news.)

#727 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:05 PM:

Xopher@722: No, I touched it, moved it slightly, and then watched it freeze. Yes, your description fits a supercooled liquid cascading into a solid - the agitation can be molecular, as in a tiny amount of heat or movement from my hand. I just remembered another supercooling event: when you boil water and add a lot of solute (i.e., salt) and let it cool slowly, all the salt stays in solution. If you nudge the container once it's cooled, you can watch all the solute precipitate out -- it's as if supercooling is a trance state and then all the molecules wake up. ;-)

#728 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:08 PM:

R.M.Koske @ 725... I'd be bummed too. By the way, do you know how the jaegermonsters came to be? There was a scene in the first issue whose composition left a big empty space in a corner. Foglio didn't feel like doing one more robot, so he drew one of those weird-looking guys off-the-cuff. And the rest was History.

#729 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:09 PM:

Serge @ 723: I dunno about that -- my eyebrow is definitely raised. It's the right eyebrow, indicating "puzzlement mixed with amusement and a touch of disbelief". The left eyebrow is the one you don't want to raise.

;-)

Now, I must ask: steel wool for cleaning glass? Doesn't that cause scratches? (It's still the right eyebrow up.)

#730 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:10 PM:

When we moved to Albuquerque, it took Sue a long time before she could remember to deal with one local feature when cooking. We're one mile above sea level and things boil noticeably faster - even if you stare at them.

#731 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:14 PM:

Ginger @ 728... Well, the glass's contents were rather hardened and I didn't feel like letting it soak for a long time. Besides, it was very fine steel wool. Honest.

Eyebrow still raised?

#732 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:19 PM:

#727, Serge - Ooh, I'll have to go play "spot the first Jaeger".

I'm not too familiar with Germanic spellings - is Jaeger a "no fancy characters" rendering of Jäger, or are they actually different? I tried combing through GG to see how Jaegermonster was spelled, but gave up, probably too quickly.

#733 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:24 PM:

Serge @ 730: Ah. Much becomes clear -- rather like your glass, I suspect. I hope I don't shatter..eyebrows have returned to their resting position.

I can't hold it back any more: "I knew I shoulda taken a left back at Alba-quoi-que!"

#734 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:50 PM:

Re: supercooling:

When I was a kid and had some chemistry gear (stands, clamps, glassware)*, my dad set up an demonstration that had impressed him when he was taking science in high school.

Step one was setting up a large test tube filled with water, clamped to the stand, with a thermometer also clamped to the stand with its bulb in the test tube.

Step two was mixing up a brine of ice and salt in a beaker, which was propped up on a separate stand, so that the beaker of brine surrounded the test tube. Letting this sit undisturbed, you could see the temperature of water drop down below the freezing point of water, to about 20°F (impressive enough; I didn't know water could get colder than ice).

The last step was a bit tricky: while one person held the beaker, another person slid its stand out from under it. Then drop the beaker slowly down and then away, careful not to jostle the test tube. At this point, the water is still fluid, and the thermometer shows 20°F. Then my dad tapped the test tube with a pencil, and the water froze up in an instant, and the temperature jumped to 32°F.

That last bit still intrigues me. I've heard it attributed to latent heat, but that seems more of a description than a reason.


* Of course, buying real chemistry gear is out of the question nowdays; you might be making meth or explosives...

#735 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Tania: You do me too much kindness. Keep it in mind for the next time. E-mail to my handle at Lj.com will arrive fastest.

Re the fluids... If it was stably supercooled, the compression at the interface of plastic and liquid could have been agitation enough.

I hate it when I forget a beer/cider in the freezer and it's just frozen enough to not snowflake on opening, but go to a damn-near solid when I try to pour it, with a resulant extrusion of beer-slushy.

The problem of agitation is why fudge often ends up granular.

#736 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Tania #724: Oh, Steely Dan. Duh!

#737 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:39 PM:

R.M.Koske @ 731... The first JM is seen in the street scene at the very beginning where everybody goes what-the-heck then we see what they're staring at: a timegate with a future version of Agatha.

#738 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:04 PM:

Tania...to be honest I didn't even notice your spelling error. I really was talking about my young friend in Portland.

#739 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Ginger, #710: IIRC, "thixotropic" is the property of reacting as a solid under a sharp pressure and as a fluid under a gradual one. The canonical example is "oobleck", made by mixing a lot of cornstarch with a little water; I don't know the exact proportions, but it's been done in several bathtubs at SF conventions.

"There's oobleck in the bathtub -- the con's not over yet!
It's wonderfully ooky, and it's thick and white and wet.
We know hotel security would say it's got to go,
So there's oobleck in the bathtub, but no one's s'posed to know."

#740 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Xopher, you're so gentle that even you didn't notice!

#741 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:51 PM:

Xopher @ #716:
They just seem like a nicely weird thing to have around. Confuses my friends. I feel like there ought to be some sort of sleight-of-hand potential with them.

#742 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:18 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, #662, it would depend on how long he can't use the arm. It can take time to learn chord keyboarding and the chord keyboards were rather expensive the last time I saw them. Another possibility is speech-to-text software. Some people really like it and some people really hate it. That costs some money, too. When I've been one-handed, I've just typed with the other hand alone (and moved my trackball to that side). My speed drops down to about 50wpm, but that's okay.

Lee, #738, Geri Sullivan planned oobleck at Boskone. I wonder if she did it.

#743 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:23 AM:

I always remembered ballpoint pen ink as the canonical thixotropic material.

There seems to be some disagreement with Ginger's mother about whether ketchup is truly thixotropic, leading to other terms I have never heard of before such as the (also non-thixotropic?) dilatant nature of oobleck and the general concept of rheopexy.

#744 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:01 AM:

Susan 740: So I got it right! It was for the confusement value!

#745 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:50 AM:

JamesE @675 (reflecting keyboard), HP @678 (Dasher), Dave Bell:

Thank you for the pointers: I'll be sending those along.

Marilee and Bruce.
I think speech recognition will cover some but not all of their needs--typing while talking, for example, which I know they do when interviewing people.

There's now four weeks until the surgery, and then X weeks (6?) with limited or no using the right hand afterwards. 4 weeks could be long enough to try out and learn something, no?

#746 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 02:07 AM:

My calendar says that today (the 22nd) is Mr. Macdonald's birthday. Do we have confirmation?

Just in case - Many joyous felicitations on the anniversary of your birth!

#747 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 04:03 AM:

abi@698: I'd never heard of PostSecret either. I'm not sure why you think everyone would have.

#748 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 04:08 AM:

David @745:
I'd never heard of PostSecret either. I'm not sure why you think everyone would have.

I think because, for the past few years, every time I've mentioned it to someone in virtual or meatspace, they have.

Interesting how these things come in clumps and waves.

#749 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 06:52 AM:

Re: Postsecret - one of my former co-workers had a postcard selected for the book. She probably regretted mentioning it, as several people hounded her to tell which one, but she would never tell (and I don't blame her!)

I don't visit the site because in the early days after I discovered it one of the postcards was about someone covering up a very disturbing sexual assault and then becoming sexually promiscuous as a response. It bothered me so much I lost all fascination with the site. It is "scary" now.

#750 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 07:05 AM:

Oh look, the lynching link is a sidelight, and has been for days. *facepalm*

#751 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 07:29 AM:

R. M. Koske @ #731: I'm not too familiar with Germanic spellings - is Jaeger a "no fancy characters" rendering of Jäger, or are they actually different?

The former is correct: adding an e after the vowel is the standard kludge for when you can't do the little dots.

(And however you spell it, "jaeger" means "hunter".)

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 08:51 AM:

Until a couple of years, one of my cubicle neighbors used to be someone called Mick Yagger.

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 08:53 AM:

Why does Susan collect cans which are empty but have never been opened?

Because she can.

#754 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 09:49 AM:

Serge #752: Jacques Offenbach would have it because she can-can.

#755 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 09:51 AM:

751: sounds like you were in a remake of Office Space.
"No way! Why should I have to change my name? He's the one that sucks."

#756 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:00 AM:

ajay @ 754... Unluckily for my cubicle neighbor, he looked like John Turturro, not like the famous Mick.

#757 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:02 AM:

Fragano @ 753... I don't know if Susan can-cans, but if she can have toucans, maybe she can have parrots, with whom she can dance the gavotte.

#758 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:11 AM:

Can't can-can. Gavotte is one of those words that has meant several different dances over the years. I can do some of them, but not others.

Walked to work in the snow. Later, walk to train station in snow. Then I can go by transit for a good 2.5 hours before more walking in the snow. I hate walking in snow, even with snow boots and warm wool socks. This had better be a good production.

#759 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:11 AM:

...while eating canapés.

#760 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:14 AM:

Also, no parrots or toucans, though I used to have parakeets when I was a kid. I suspect my cats would be incompatible with pet birds.

#761 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:25 AM:

Susan @ 757... Walking in the snow? Yes, the pleasure is vastly overrated. And I did walk to school in the snow. On flat ground. Both ways.

#762 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Susan #757: Well, perhaps the belair or bélé or quadrille (which, like the gavotte, has many meanings, interpretations, cultural significances & so on -- unless Serge was confusing it with the garrotte which he was planning to use on me...).

#763 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:28 AM:

...for that very, very, very evil pun.

#764 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:29 AM:

@ 757... Can't can-can.

Drat. And me about to suggest that we do a Moulin Rouge thing for the worldcon masquerade. Of course I'd have played Toulouse-Lautrec.

#765 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Fragano @ 761... Hmm... Should I use the garrotte or the stick?

#766 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Julie @ 742: Fascinating! I'll have to forward those links to Mom. Thanks!

#767 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:37 AM:

Fragano @761:
You have made me very happy with "belair or bélé or quadrille", since I had no idea what the first two were and had to google and now am thinking how nice it would be to go to a warm, friendly place for dance research (as opposed to tomorrow, when I will have to walk to the library in NYC in the snow, sigh.)

I have blogged one piece of deep quadrille geekery and will get around to more at some point. Tomorrow's library trip partly concerns polka quadrilles and mazurka quadrilles and will eventually result in the generation of more geekery.

#768 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:39 AM:

Serge #764: My students would probably have you use both.

#769 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:41 AM:

Serge:
Aren't you a little too tall?

#770 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:42 AM:

Serge #763: You're not short enough, surely?

#771 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:46 AM:

xopher @ # 704: I dunno. "Hundreds of abusive phone calls" sounds about at our level.

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ # 662: speaking from a rehab perspective, trying to type with the injured hand as early and often as possible might be critical to your friend's rehabilitation.

The appropriate medical professional to ask about this is NOT the surgeon but rather either a physiatrist (PM&R, or Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist, an M.D.), an occupational therapist, or a certified hand therapist. The ASHT website has a "find a therapist" feature (click on "consumers").

(This is not to negate the many excellent suggestions on chord typing, voice recognition, etc.--it's a "both-and" not an "either-or".)

(And I'm not slamming surgeons; they're mostly very good at what they do. A few of them are very bad at recommending appropriate rehab after surgery--an attitude I've run into both with my patients, and when I myself was the patient.)

#772 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:46 AM:

Susan #766: Caribbean folk dance would certainly make an interesting field of study ('quadrille', for example, is a Jamaican folk dance that owes as much to Africa as to Europe, and the same is true for the belair and bélé in the eastern Caribbean.

Amber Marget, oh gal,
you no hear de bélé drum a roll?

#773 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:47 AM:

Susan @ 768... Oui, oui... But José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón was a bit over 5'9" and he managed to pull it off in John Huston's Moulin Rouge. Mind you that must have been not much fun for his knee caps.

#774 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:18 AM:

That Viva Obama video in Teresa's Particles is great!

#775 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:19 AM:

Serge (729): Things like dried beans take longer to cook, too, because they don't get as hot when boiling.

----- (751): Years ago I knew (slightly) a kid named Mick Jagger. His parents owned the local pizza place, Jagger's.

#776 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:25 AM:

Comments on the flu... I always get a flu shot, and have not had flu in many years, though I get my share of winter colds. This year, however, I understand that two of the three strands of flu which were chosen to go in the 2008 vaccine did not, in fact, show up. Two other mutated strands did. This means that the flu vaccine is only 1/3 protective.

I heard on NPR yesterday that the PTB have decided to change the vaccine components completely for 2009; that is, none of the 2008 components will be in the 2009 shot, something which hasn't happened in decades.

#777 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:35 AM:

Fragano @ 771:
If I looked into it, my focus would probably be its connections with European dance and the modifications of forms like the quadrille. I will put this on the list of Things To Research Some Day. Any idea if there's much in the way of written records, or would this be an oral history/folk tradition project?

#778 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Lizzy @ 775: Part of that problem is built into the system; the decisions on which strains and substrains to include is made in the "off-season", so to speak. Flu patterns do change; the substrains circulating early this year were in the vaccine, but have changed recently. A(H1N1) was predominant, but now it's A(H3N2) that's the most common substrain. CDC site

They've been talking about changing the system for years. I hope they do upgrade it soon, as it would be nice to have a vaccine that is more effective. At least this year's vaccine is slightly more than 1/3 protective; one of the substrains is partly suppressed by the current vaccine. In any case, vaccines are never 100% prevention; they prevent some cases from occurring and reduce the severity of illness in other cases.

#779 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:49 AM:

For those of you who can't follow the lyrics in "Viva Obama":

Al candidato quien es Barack Obama
To the candidate who is Barack Obama
Este corrido le canto con el alma
I sing this corrido with all my soul.
Humilde fue nacido tambien sin pretencion
He is of humble birth, and without pretension.
Empezo por las calles de Chicago
He began on the streets of Chicago
Trabajando pa' lograr una vision
Working to achieve a vision
Pa' proteger la gente trabajadora
To protect the working people
Y traernos todos juntos
And bring us all together
In esta gran nacion.
In this great nation.

CHORUS:

Viva Obama! (Viva!) Viva Obama! (Viva!)
Familias unidas, seguras, y hasta con plan de salud.
Families united, secure, and with a health plan.
Viva Obama! (Viva!) Viva Obama! (Viva!)
Un candidato luchando por nuestra nacion.
A candidate fighting for our nation.

Nada importa si eres de San Antonio
It doesn't matter if you're from San Antonio
Nada importa si eres de Corpus Christi
It doesn't matter if you're from Corpus Christi
De Dallas o Del Valle
From Dallas or El Valle
De Houston o Del Paso
From Houston or El Paso
Lo que importa es que votemos por Obama
What's important is that we vote for Obama
Porque su lucha tambien es nuestra lucha
Because his fight is also our fight
Y hoy que tenemos la urgencia para un cambio
And today we have an urgent need for change
Vamos todos unidos
We all go united
Con nuestro gran amigo
With our great friend.

CHORUS:

Viva Obama! (Viva!) Viva Obama! (Viva!)
Familias unidas, seguras, y hasta con plan de salud.
Families united, secure, and with a health plan.
Viva Obama! (Viva!) Viva Obama! (Viva!)
Un candidato luchando por nuestra nacion.
A candidate fighting for our nation.

#780 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Susan #776: I don't know much about the history of dance. I presume there are some descriptions going back to the 18th century, and I know there's been some work by folklorists and anthropologists, especially since the War. There are a couple of publications such as Jamaica Journal, Caribbean Quarterly that you might explore for more information.

The person I'd expect to have written most on the subject is Rex Nettleford who is both a choreographer and a social scientist, but I don't know if he has.

#781 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:14 PM:

#778

Side note: 'el Valle' probably means the Rio Grande valley, winter home to many migrant workers.

#782 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:19 PM:

P J Evans #780: Oh, it definitely means that.

#783 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:43 PM:

addendum: I got the flu shot. Now I have the flu (apparently a mild case, thank Heaven). So if I'm incoherent, that would be why.

#784 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Lila@ 782: My sympathies to you! Hope you get well soon.

#785 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:22 PM:

Lila 770: xopher @ # 704: I dunno. "Hundreds of abusive phone calls" sounds about at our level.

In this country he'd get the abusive phone calls, but no one would be punished at all. That's what I'm getting at. We think brutal, life-altering emotional abuse of teenagers is OK (and by 'we' I mean hoi unwashed Amerikan polloi, not you and me). At least in Germany they did something about it. Maybe the programs won't broadcast the names and hometowns of minors any more.

Teresa 778: Isn't a corrido almost by definition a tragedy? I mean of the "everybody dies" type? And aren't they usually about criminals? Given the lyrics it seems odd that the author explicitly calls this a corrido in the second line, or am I just misinformed about what a corrido is?

#786 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:26 PM:

Duid anybody ever notice that there's a Vulcan among the characters of The Great Escape?

#787 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:32 PM:

Susan @ 757 ... Can't can-can.

Serge @763 Drat. And me about to suggest that we do a Moulin Rouge thing for the worldcon masquerade.

Then it would have to be a can't-can or perhaps a can-can't.

Not a can't-can't though, as every schoolboy knoes that's the same as a can-can (in some traditions performed backwards and upside-down).

#788 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Neil, I thought a can't-can't was what here in America we call We All Fall Down. Trying to kick with both legs at once and so forth, very awkward-looking, not to mention risky to the coccyx.

(Yes, Serge, that's for you. Take it away.)

#789 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Xopher @ 787... Yes, Serge, that's for you. Take it away.

No can do, even though I was born in Canada.

#790 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:41 PM:

Xopher @784Maybe the programs won't broadcast the names and hometowns of minors any more.

That's probably unrealistic for shows like American Idol and its offshoots. Part of the point is rooting for the home team, for one thing.

As far as broadcasting and publishing names and addresses generally, that's something that really bothers me. I often think there's no really pressing need for me to know someone's full name (let alone their address!) when reading a news story. Interestingly, full names are seldom reported in German newspapers*, even of convicted criminals. "Markus G. was sentenced today to three years for armed robbery" would be a common phrasing.

*When the story concerns things like crimes or accidents, not for stories conveying most other types of information.

#791 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:49 PM:

Serge 788: I meant the punseed in my post.

Debbie 789: I wish the people who run things like American Idol and its ilk would all die. In a humiliating, soul-destroying way, and accompanied by bad pop music.

#792 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Xopher... You mean, like Kant going to the Moulin Rouge?

#793 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:56 PM:

Xopher -- Yeah, I'm not really a member of the target demographic for those shows myself. The degree of manipulation of the audience (not to mention what the candidates go through) galls me. It's all very cynical in the worst way.

#794 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 02:40 PM:

Can Kant cant?

Can't.

#795 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Anybody here going to be at ConDFW this weekend? I'll be there, though not in the dealer room -- they sold out before we got our app in. But look for me at the ApolloCon room party!

#797 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 06:11 PM:

Open thread: is anyone else concerned about the current scandalmongering surrounding McCain? I mean, don't get me wrong--I hate the guy, and the idea of his presidency scares the helling pants out of me. But whenever I see any of this current coverage, all I can think about is how we know that the MSM only scandalmongs when it serves their purposes. And while right now their purposes and my purposes might be the most aligned they'll ever be, it still worries me, because even that level of alignment isn't very high, and I deeply, deeply don't trust them, besides. And, y'know, it just in principle shouldn't be how things work.

#798 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 06:18 PM:

ethan... Helling pants?

That being said, if the MSM is doing this to undermine McCain, who do they want instead? Certainly not Obama or Clinton.

#799 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 06:28 PM:

Ethan: I've had the same reaction - I've been wondering "Just who does this serve?"

All the N.Y. Times' sanctimonious posturing about how well-documented the story is and how the people must know just makes me more suspicious; after all, they're the same paper that suppressed the excruciatingly well-documented story on Bush's massive illegal wiretapping of Americans because they didn't want it to affect the 2004 elections!

My gut tells me there is something else going on here. I also note that they are suddenly running stories about how the problems of the Clinton campaign don't prove that Obama is popular, but rather that Clinton is a bad manager.

#800 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 06:34 PM:

Xopher @ #784:

The definition I found when I went looking just now says that a corrido "reflects the popular sense of notable events affecting society such as violent murders and other spectacular crimes, the daring feats of revolutionary soldiers and bandits, natural catastrophes, train wrecks, love affairs, political intrigues, various humorous episodes, etc." ( http://carriagehousebandb.ca/corido.html )

#801 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 06:37 PM:

I didn't care about the former staffers' concerns about a possible affair between McCain and the lobbyist, but the idea of favors done is much the more telling point. He is viewed as the champion of all things ethical by far too many members of the MSM, even though he's not; anything which gets them to look more closely at his practices rather than his "Straight Talk" on the planes/buses is useful.

#802 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:37 PM:

Serge, I stole "helling pants" from Stephen Fry's Making History, which has a lot of hilarious swear-replacements in it.

Linkmeister, I agree that the accusations are pretty damning, and also that the affair is not the important part (though one of the things I'm afraid of is that "He had an affair!!!" might become a rallying cry for Democrats, which for obvious reasons is a terrible notion).

It's just that, like Clifton says, I can't help wondering who this serves. Now, if we're entering some kind of new utopia where the MSM actually investigates and reports on things, then this is fantastic! But I kind of doubt it, and now I'm left thinking--if they feel the need to take out McCain, is it because he's so crazy that any alternative is better, or (and I wouldn't rule this out, Serge) do they have their own twisted reasons to actively work for a Clinton or Obama administration? If it's the latter, it doesn't affect my vote or my hope for the outcome, but it does make me even more scared for the future than I already am.

#803 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:45 PM:

ethan @ 801... if they feel the need to take out McCain, is it because he's so crazy that any alternative is better, or (and I wouldn't rule this out, Serge)

Or maybe somebody who wants his own guy in the Oval is in cahoots with some influential MSM people, hoping to derail McCain even thought the replacement would be just as dangerous. On the bright side, it's nice to see a Republican politician on the receiving end of this crap.

#804 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:47 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, #744, yes, if he has that much time before the surgery, he should be able to figure out if and what he wants to use.

abi, #747, I was amused when today the local NBC station advertised through all their news shows that they're doing a special on PostSecret tonight. The actual video isn't up yet, but they have some text.

Ginger, #777, I spent way too long standing and sitting up straight at my local Kaiser pharmacy yesterday (they changed software, process, and procedure) and while there, overheard three different people who'd thought they had flu, but the tests were negative. So something very similar is going around, too.

#805 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:59 PM:

Susan, cats (equals not) prey animals of any kind. I imagine a bIg parrot (Amazon, African Grey, Macaw) might just scare the f-k out of a cat enough to make it safe but I would not count on it. I miss my budgies (my first pet was a budgie) but they would not be safe in my house.

The least likely culprit (Badb Catha, the world's dumbest cat (tm)) is actually the only cat I have that has the hunting sense and kills any mouse that she gets hold of. I do not want to think about her and an innocent parakeet.

#806 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:18 PM:

796/798 and others--

I think the answer to "What do they want?" is spelled B-L-O-O-M-B-E-R-G, myself.

I may be wrong, I know.

#807 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 12:53 AM:

Well, the WaPo pointed out that for a guy who rails against "special interests" he's sure got a lot of their representatives working for him.

His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways.

Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O' Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae.

Public Citizen, a group that monitors campaign fundraising, has found that McCain has more bundlers -- people who gather checks from networks of friends and associates -- from the lobbying community than any other presidential candidate from either party.

By the group's current count, McCain has at least 59 federal lobbyists raising money for his campaign, compared with 33 working for Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani and 19 working for Democrat Clinton.

#808 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:01 AM:

So, I'm curious: Did anyone else who watched the latest episode of Torchwood notice the Stephen R. Donaldson reference?

#809 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 09:35 AM:

Dunno about this McCain business, but I'm delighted that "my" Representative Rick Renzi is in deep doodoo for financial misbehavior. (Huge district. I never voted for the SOB.) I'm kind of sorry for his 12(!) kids, though.

#810 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 09:48 AM:

Marilee @ 803: There's a couple of nasty viruses out here this winter; besides the flu virus in all its incarnations*, there's a rhinovirus that's causing a nasty bronchitis (I'm still battling it myself) and a few other viruses causing various other colds. I'd rather have had the flu than this virus, but it's too late. :-P

My Kaiser pharmacy is also dealing with computer changes -- it must have been a system wide "upgrade". ;-)

*what color is a flu in-carnation? Serge? Fragano? Xopher? Bueller?

#811 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 10:13 AM:

Ginger (809): The viral thingy going around my office is low-level but lingering. I've had it two-weeks-plus and counting, and nobody else that's gotten it is entirely well yet, either.

Flu in-carnations are obviously blue.

#812 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:41 AM:

Nonsense, Mary Aileen. A fluin carnation is, as the name suggests, fluin. Fluin is a little-known shade of indigo; I'm reasonably certain that this is not a natural color for a carnation, so it's probably dyed.

Or at least pretty sick.

Speaking of mashups: This morning on Studio360, on an interview with Jimmy Carter (the Blind Boy, not the former POTUS and humanitarian), the gentleman said he was taking new approaches to gospel classics.

He then proceeded to sing the words of "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun"! I seem to have been the first to comment on this fact. I wondered whether it was deliberate, but since the title of the album is Down in New Orleans, I now suspect it was.

#813 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Ginger @ 809... what color is a flu in-carnation?

The color of ichor.

#814 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 01:26 PM:

A fluincarnation shades from viridian to vermilion via obsidian. Due to some developmental problems it can lead to fludiscarnation which has been very discomfiting to both the divines and the divinities of the vicinity.

#815 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 03:08 PM:

Memorable etiquette tip:

"Kissing the hand is exploded."

(Durang, late 1840s or early 1850s)

So glad to know this.

#816 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 05:18 PM:

810, 811, 812, 813: Alas, no one seems to think that Caput mortuum would be the color of fluincarnation.

What in Tarnation is this place coming to?

#817 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Susan @814:
Kissing the hand is exploded.

I can not get that "is" into my head. My brain swaps it for "that's", and offers a sort of mashup image between Tom Lehrer's I Hold Your Hand In Mine and, well, messy kabooms with gobbets.

So yes, memorable. Noted. Thank you. (*shudder*)

#818 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 05:35 PM:

I have decided that Durang is a Scamp, and possibly a Bad Man. Is it okay to plagiarize yourself if you admit to plagiarizing everyone else? (Keeping in mind that the mid-19thc approach to plagiarism seems to have been rather more laissez-faire than it is today.) Is this someone who should be offering etiquette advice? What if it's someone else's etiquette advice?

#819 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 05:39 PM:

I am reminded of Thomas Mallory, who wrote parts of the celebration of chivalry and honor that is Le Mort d'Arthur while in jail for, among other things, rape.

#820 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 05:42 PM:

Susan"Kissing the hand is exploded."

At first I thought of Cronenberg's Scanners and of Michael Ironside using telepathy to blow up the ehad of Louis del Grande. Then, it got me wondering whether 'exploded' is a quaint way of saying 'right out', or 'a big no-no'.

#821 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Serge #819: Adonai elohenu adonai ehad?

#822 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:10 PM:

Fragano @ 820: You left out the "Shma Yisroel..".

#823 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:32 PM:

Ginger #821: That's because I'm only half-Jewish.

#824 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:55 PM:

Fragano... Ginger... Dare I ask what you said?

#825 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 07:00 PM:

Serge@ 823: It's part of the prayer known as the Shema (Shma); it's supposed to be the last thing a Jew says in life. It translates roughly (meaning, off the top of my head) as "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One".

#826 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 07:59 PM:

Serge #823: I just left off the 'Hear, O Israel' bit. It was in response to your typo of 'ehad' for 'head'.

#827 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Fragano @ 821: :-D
So, how do you decide which half? ;-)

#828 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 09:53 PM:

Paula Helm Murray, #804, cats are frequently killed by large dogs, wolves, and coyotes.

Ginger, #809, there were two supervisors monitoring on Thursday and I i/n/t/e/r/j/e/c/t/e/d/ m/y/s/e/l/f/ i/n/t/o/ joined their conversation and found out that the Largo pharmacy had 60 people in line! They knew that because someone drove down to our Manassas pharmacy because they thought it would take less time. I did this kind of new software/process/procedures all the time when I consulted (stand-alone word processors instead of meds) and it never went this badly.

#829 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 10:28 PM:

I associate that prayer with after-dinner singing, though it may just be that that was the only Jewish praying I was regularly exposed to.

Serge: it's hovering around the edges of my mind that "exploded" may be an overly-literal translation of some word that was being used figuratively. It just has that feel.

#830 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:02 PM:

Serge, Susan: Exploded used to mean several things, and the "Kaboom" aspect is late.

One of the things it meant was, for want of a better phrase, passé.

O'Brian uses it in... oh, which was it... I the Surgeon's Mate comes to mind, "Aubry thought the fashon for small bosoms had been completely exploded," if memory serves.

That's almost certainly not quite exact, but it's probably a pretty close paraphrase.

Sadly I can't find the issue of World Wide Words which, memory tells me, recently addressed just this usage of exploded.

#831 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:04 PM:

Maybe "exploded" as in "exploded view," i.e., examined part by part in detail? Then it could be a chapter heading...

OK, it's a stretch.

#832 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:39 PM:

Our American Heritage dictionary doesn't give any old definition of the verb 'explode', but it has an entry for 'exploded view':

An illustration or a diagram of a construction that shows its parts separately but in positions that indicate their proper relationships to the whole.

Maybe there was a very specific way to properly kiss a hand and someone drew a diagram. The very idea brings to mind one of Wile E. Coyote blueprints, which did tend to lead to explosions.

#833 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Ginger and Fragano... Oh, that's what it means, and that typo is why this came up. So much for proof-reading.

#834 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Susan 828: I associate that prayer with after-dinner singing, though it may just be that that was the only Jewish praying I was regularly exposed to.

I have four questions about that.

#835 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:02 AM:

Xopher @ 833... And they are?

#836 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:55 AM:

Why is this use of exploded different from all other uses of exploded?

#837 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:29 AM:

I have no actual evidence, but I think "exploded" may be a pair with "bubble" (as in South Sea Bubble), and then got used for the end of any short-term fashion.

#838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:50 AM:

Susan @ 835... Oh, we're just trying to tease out what Durang could have meant. Hmmm... What if it was a typo?

"Why did you blow up the house?"
"Butbutbut... Boss! That's what your note said."
"I wanted to look around inside for stuff to steal, moron. Not much left to steal now, is there?"
"But... The note said 'the house will be exploded', boss."
"Della typed it for me. It should have said explored, not exploded. Della, you're fired."

#839 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:53 AM:

Serge: actually, that was a joke back at Xopher.

#840 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:43 AM:

Susan @ 838... Oops. Hoisted on my own pétard.

#841 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:40 AM:

I have blogged about yesterday's research accomplishments in figuring out the Stupid Publishing Tricks and self-plagiarism of Charles Durang. I wanted to call it "Susan and the Mystery of the Missing Middle" but I reminded myself that I want academics to take me at least semi-seriously. It doesn't directly relate to dance research, but I am easily distracted by small quests.

This has nothing to do with his use of exploded, but it does show that badly-concealed publishing scams have a long history.

#842 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 12:04 PM:

Ginger #826: It's whichever half gets the joke.

#843 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 12:33 PM:

I know this isn't a specifically political thread, but I feel the need to point out two items:

1) Ralph Nader has announced that he's running for President as a third party candidate.

Words fail me.

2) The right wing is using the NYT story about McCain and Iseman/lobbyists, etc. to unite behind McCain. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, the liberal media is out to get him, etc.

***Warning -- nutjob conspiracy theory*** If I didn't know better I would think the Times ran that story in order to facilitate that very event.

#844 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Lizzie L... That'd be rather Macchiavellian of them, but that would answer the questions that ethan brought up a few posts up.

#845 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:05 PM:

Serge, I missed that post and a few others, but yes, it would, wouldn't it? Untrusting, me? Not at all. Excuse me while I locate my copy of Nineteen Eighty Four, I know it's around here somewhere -- probably right under that edition of the Sunday New York Times...

#846 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:13 PM:

Lizzy L: Oh, geez. The world is a scary place.

#847 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:15 PM:

The oldest definition from dictionary.com: 10. Obsolete. to drive (a player, play, etc.) from the stage by loud expressions of disapprobation.

From the Latin meaning, "to drive off by clapping." (So explode, presumably, is related to applause.)

Kissing the hand, then, is not merely passe or unfashionable. It has been driven from the stage of etiquette by loud expressions of disapprobation.

#848 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Serge @ 849: The Four Questions begin "Why is this night different from all other nights?" and go on to specify the differences (so it's really one question with four subparts, but who's arguing?). It's the part of the Haggadah that is read by the youngest person at the table, so as soon as children learn to read they're part of the show. It's a ritual of growing up, in a way.

The phrase "Baruch atoi adonai" (and similar ones) does show up in the Haggadah as well as in other daily prayers, which may account for the familiar sound.

Fragano@ 841: Ah, so it's your better half! ;-) (Of course, this applies only if you're not Reform or Reconstructionist.)

#849 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:34 PM:

Ginger @ 847... Ah hah!

#850 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:47 PM:

Serge @ 848: The best part about the Four Questions is, that means you're about to eat. You see, the whole time everyone is reading the Haggadah, the delicious aromas of your dinner have been emanating from the kitchen, and you've had nothing since lunch. ;-)

#851 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Lizzy L #842: Enycu Anqre has announced that he's running for President as a third party candidate.

And the Enycu Anqre/Eba Cnhy ticket unites the nation! Whee!!!

#852 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 02:23 PM:

Earl at 850, wow. Does it hurt when your mind bends like that?

#853 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Susan @840, I'm not familiar with the printing tech of the late 1840s, but I find myself wondering if they had a unique, reusable, printing plate, thus explaining the odd page numbering: could they really not need to reset the type, after several years?

And it doesn't feel quite right for how books are physically constructed.

But I have a mental image of Charles Durang with a loft full of unbound copies of his magnum opus, and figuring out how he could sell two different books. I wonder if vanity publishers were around then?

#854 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 02:56 PM:

Dave: I really don't know - printing technology is not my field either. But I can't believe that they would reset the type and not bother to reset the page numbers to something consecutive while they were at it.

The notion of Durang in his attic carefully dividing and merging sets of pages into new combinations is entertaining, though.

I didn't even get to the problems of plagiarism in 19thc dance manuals - lots of them are word-for-word copies of older ones or include substantial chunks of older text. It can be quite a challenge to figure out who the original writer was. Durang is unusual in that he actually admits to his borrowing and credits his sources by name. Other authors (who may actually be in-name-only credits on books slapped together by publishers). I particularly like his description of his 1856 book:

...matter selected from the best foreign authorities, and combined with indigenious composition

Yes, "indigenious"!

He also notes that the one noted female teacher of his era (Mrs. Henderson) was more clear in her writing than any of her celebrated contemporaries, which is quite a smackdown given the list of male writers he cites.

#855 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:22 PM:

Ginger #847: I am always unorthodox.

#856 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:07 PM:

(brightly)
I am an Ashkenazi goy, although I'd be more likely to be Sephardic based on family background.

#857 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:15 PM:

My father never made it clear what his grandmother was, but I'm inclined to believe she was Sephardic.

#858 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:34 PM:

Susan, Fragano: In my decidedly humble opinion, the differences between the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim can be boiled down to details about how to wrap the tefillin, how to make your gefilte fish, and which language you pray in. In other words, the stuff we like to argue about, but which -- in the end -- really makes no difference. Within the Ashkenazim, there are differences of opinion based on which Rebbe your family's hometown had; for example, the Lubavitchers still thrive albeit in Brooklyn NY, and their rivals the Satmar are not too far away. You should hear the bitter arguments these two groups get into..or perhaps not. Family arguments can get heated.

Luckily my relatives were not from any of those towns, nor were they ultra-orthodox, if they were even religious. For me, being a Jew is much more a cultural thing than it is a religion, and the broad base of Judaism has a lot of culture to offer.

After all, the Ethiopian Jews are neither Ashkenazim nor Sephardim. ;-)

#859 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:24 PM:

HP: Yes... I knew it was in there, and that's what I recall. There were some interesting comments in (IRRC) Pepys, about actors being exploded off the stage.

Ginger: I help with a friend's permanent floating Seder. A few years ago (perhaps 10?) Passover was on Good Friday. So I hadn't eaten since well before lunch. My job, the main part of the cooking (that year was roast duck, gingered carrots, and a really poorly built passover cake. That was the only one done from recipe. It wasn't horrid, merely wretched; poorly thought and not well balanced.

The popovers I found recipes for a few years later.

I am so glad this years Passover is so much after Easter.

#860 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:39 AM:

And the award for "Best Oscar Acceptance Speech Mentioning Both Asses AND Nipples" goes to...

Tilda Swinton!

#861 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 03:34 PM:

I visited my parents in Florida last week. I booked a frequent flyer program flight with a stopover and lots of waiting.

So, I brought my XO laptop ("One Laptop Per Child") with me, to check email and use as an ebook reader. I loaded it up with classic books from Project Gutenberg, and looked up how to turn off the WiFi so I could use it on the plane as well.

It was great. The screen, with the back lighting on, was brilliant and crisp. With the back lighting turned off, the text was perfectly clear and readable under the light of the planes' reading lamps. I read E.E. Doc Smith's Triplanetary and most of Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus with it in that mode.

The no-brainer network searcher found and connected the Orlando, Las Vegas, and Portland airports' free WiFi. I was able to check my AOL and Comcast email accounts. (The browser had trouble with my work email.) The keyboard is a bit too small for touch typing, but I knocked off three or four email messages as well.

And . . . folks . . . the thing attracts geeks like a cute baby in a stroller attracts cheek-pinching old ladies. I was approached by at least six people, on the plane and in the terminals, who were utterly entranced by the thing. I demonstrated it, let them fondle it, and explained the OLPC project. (One couple not only liked the computer, but photographed my home-made case.)

They all wanted one.

I'm considering stenciling LAPTOP.ORG on the case, so I can tell people where to find out more about the project and the XO.

#863 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:36 PM:

I'm going to be on the radio. It's been about a year and a half in the works, but Justice Talking will be running the piece on Mar. 3rd (I think it's this one.

The piece is about 6 minutes, out of four hours of interview, so I've no idea what's in it.

#864 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Terry, your link is munged. Can you try again?

#865 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:18 PM:

Stefan:
Burning question: would I be able to access a unix shell account using the XO? I still process mail much more efficiently with mutt than with any GUI.

#866 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:22 PM:

Terry @858: I think I posted that comment 846 prematurely. I didn't mean to suggest that I'd pipped all of you with a mere online dictionary search. Rather, it was I who looked it up for the first time and thought what I found was pretty cool. So the intent was, "Hey, look what I learned today!" But I didn't provide enough context, so it came off a bit pedantic. Sorry.

#867 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:22 PM:

It being That Time of Year Again, I humbly solicit Hugo nomination suggestions of things I have read/seen, can read/see this week (I read really fast), or are so good that I ought to nominate them unread/unseen. People too, for the relevant categories.

#868 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:33 PM:

#864: Yes, the as-distributed "Sugar" user interface has a Linux console application. There's a standard distro -- Ubuntu I believe -- underneath. You can use it to run anything text oriented.

Sugar is definitely a kiddie interface. I've read that some folks have installed light-duty alternative X interfaces to make the unit more adult-friendly.

#869 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 07:33 PM:

Susan's post: seconded.

As a Reader I know that it is my responsibility to nominate well, and I will likely use up mostall of my free time this week carrying out my solemn duty.

The difference between finalist and 6th place is often just one or two votes, and finalists have made the top five with as little as 18 votes.

#870 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:24 PM:

I should note that I rarely nominate in the fiction categories because my reading is so untimely (my to-read pile has been accumulating since the early 1980s, and not all of them were new books when I got them) and I have a tendency to forget I've read something eligible. But if I get my hands on a worthwhile novel or two, I can burn through one Thursday night and one Saturday morning, and I can certainly absorb short fiction and look at anything posted on the web or otherwise easily available.

I make more of an effort to read stuff on the final ballot.

#871 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Ulrika and Hal have new living room furniture and Hal had a picture of it, and what do you know, there was also an interesting picture of Terry Karney. Must have been a while back -- doesn't look like the LJ hatted icon.

#872 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 01:55 AM:

HP: No, it wasn't pedantic at all (at least not to me). It was the information I couldn't find.

abi: I'm sorry, I was rushing off to babysit, and didn't preview properly. Here is the fixed link to the piece I think it is. I will have to stream it, because there's not one station which is close enough to me to listen to the broadcast.

Marilee: That photo is from... I want to say 1997, but it might be '95. A crop of it was my Lj icon for quite some time, and I occaisionally use it still. I was being lazy for hallowe'en.

#873 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:30 AM:

Xopher, #811: Is it time to pull out my Music Lecture about ballad meter again, or do you still remember it from last time? :-)

Ginger, #847: There's a truly awful pun based on that near the end of John Moore's The Unhandsome Prince. If I'd been reading it at a con and he'd been there, I would have had to have hunted him down and thrown peanuts at him.

#874 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 08:50 AM:

Lee @ 872: The Unhandsome Prince, you say? OK, I have to find this book and see for myself. ;-)

#875 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Seen since I landed in Oakland on Sunday night…
- two young women holding hands on the shuttle bus from the airport to the BART train station.
- one young man picking his nose when I switched trains at 12th Street.
- people wearing winter coats.
- a wood chipper named Vermeer.
- an ad for a line of bras named Bali.

#876 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:30 PM:

Lee 872: That's OK! Everything's fine. We're fine here. How are you?

No, I'm quite aware of what makes it possible...but Mr. Carter apparently never read Jurassic Park.

#877 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:34 PM:

Serge @ 874: ..a wood chipper named Vermeer

That's just wrong!
;-)

#878 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Serge #874:

Bali bras have been around for lo these many ... *not* a Sign or Wonder.

#879 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 04:35 PM:

Serge #874: How appropriate that you listed those things in that order, because, working backwards, the Bay Area's loose women, brutal wood chipper murders, umm...I'm gonna go with decadence, and horrifically ill-mannered youth are ALL the direct result of the homosekshuls they've got there. SOCIETY IS FALLING APART.

#880 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 04:52 PM:

ethan @ 878: How do you know the young man is gay? Just because he's behaving in a way that you find despicable...


;-) :-P

#881 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Ginger, the nose picker was horrifically ill-mannered. The homosekshuls were the two women holding hands.

#882 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:36 PM:

ethan #878: You young whippersnapper, I tell you I knew that society was falling apart when I saw young wimmin a kissin' of each other on the streets of Noo Yawk back in 1983. Back in them librul Reagan days, and things have just got worse since then. Now git off my lawn.

#883 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:42 PM:

Well, it's a relief to know that society can "be falling apart" for fifteen years and not actually finish falling apart. Either there's no there there or there's a hell of a lot of there there.

#884 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 07:04 PM:

ethan #882: 2008-1983 = 28.

#885 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 07:38 PM:

Xopher @ 880: I beg to differ. The two women holding hands were just a cute couple. The young man picking his nose is the despair of his mother (as the mother of an 11-yr old boy, I feel safe in saying this), and the woodchipper named Vermeer is just plain wrong.

Of course I'm not biased.

#886 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 07:50 PM:

Fragano #883: Yeah. Twenty-eight. That's what I said.

In other words: oopsy. I don't know how I did that.

Ginger #884: SIN! SIN! SIN!

#887 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 07:54 PM:

WAIT! Fragano, you trickster! It's not twenty-eight!

Oh my god. My head. Simple arithmetic is TOO MUCH.

#888 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 08:02 PM:

ethan @ 885: What does the late Cardinal Archbishop of Manila have to do with Serge's post?

::innocent face::

#889 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Ethan #886: 28, 25... Yeah, there's a difference. Now, what is it that they teach you at Oberlin?

#890 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 08:52 PM:

Xopher @#716: You don't think the agitation alone would do that?

My understanding of the process is that providing a seed is how agitation does that! Your scenario at #722 is also reasonable -- there are several sorts of possible seeds, any of which will suffice. (And most of which are invisible to the naked eye, so who knows which it was?)


#891 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:52 PM:

Ack! Assaulted on all sides!

Ginger #887: Well, you see, he...um...well...dammit, I got nothing.

Fragano #888: I could just as well ask what you teach at that college of yours. Except that I know what it is, and it's not math. Well, the very different me that went to college only took one math class in the whole four years, and he didn't pass it, either, so I guess I'm reaping the fruits of his stupidity. At least I know that 8-3 = 5.

#892 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 10:57 PM:

Apropos of an open thread and nothing else aside from howling at at the moon....

this weekend we determined the only chest freezer we had had shot craps, we lost some meat, turkeys and corned beef.

Then this afternoon our furnace made the hella noise of the circulated-hot-water-furnace pump ripping it's parts apart.

Dammit. the house is piling on.

did I mention I''m looking for work? Anyone need freelance proofing/editing?

#893 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 01:55 AM:

Paula Helm Murray: We had a sink require calling the plumber (late on a Weds evening). I think his charging the line, when they got the work done Thursday, caused the float-valve seal to give way.

The new toilet was finally installed Sunday evening.

I feel your pain.

#894 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 06:59 AM:

Ethan #830: So do I. I hang my head in shame.

#895 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:41 AM:

#891, Paula Helm Murray -

The feeling of the universe piling it on is horrible - my sympathies. Is it at least nearly spring where you are?

On a vaguely positive note, you could take the carcase* of the freezer and make a super-efficient refrigerator out of it.

*I was amused to learn that the outer shell of a cabinet, excluding the drawers and/or doors, is called a carcase, which makes using it here doubly appropriate.

#896 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 10:23 AM:

joann... So Bali bras have been around(1) that long? Still, I laughed when I saw that ad on TV and had to explain the reason for the hilarity in terms that wouldn't embarass my mother-in-law, who was then present.

Anyway, I'm almost off to getting my bottom kicked... I mean, to getting my yearly review. Later I may tell you of my going to the DeYoung Museum and observing two Star Trek fans chatting with each other.

(1) Around what, I shall not ask for fear of being thought of as a jejeune nose-picking man who throws who-knows-what in Vermeer(2)'s wood chipper.

(2) Did I ever tell you, Ginger, of the time last Xmas, when I saw a metermaid's little putt-putt vehicle plainted black&white like a police car, with the name 'Interceptor'? And let's see if you recognize the reference.

#897 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Being in CT, wood-chippers instantly make me think of murder.

Unrelated:

Fragano: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! My life has been enhanced by fine reading last night.

#898 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:18 AM:

A wood chipper named Vermeer is not wrong at all. That company's been around for a while now. I once scored a Vermeer feed cap for Juan from a Vermeer implement dealer on Machinery Hill at the Minnesota State Fair; he needed it for his Great Artists and Thinkers feed cap collection. The previous jewel of the collection was a Jung* seed corn hat, from the seed dealership of my youth. Speaking of which, the second Jung seed catalog just showed up, so I will be thinking thoughts of spring and summer and planting, when I take my break from the workshop in a bit.


*He had a Jung windbreaker, too, with the little infinity sign and the sprouting seed. He always wanted me to embroider "Fertility without guilt" underneath it, but alas, I didn't do it, and the jacket has long since worn out.

#899 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:32 AM:

Susan #896: I'm glad to have been instrumental.

#900 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:02 PM:

William F. Buckley has died. What happens to National Review now?

#901 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Susan @ 896... A chip off the old bloke?

(Not one of my best. Not really inspired, I guess, after getting my yearly review. Not bad. Not great. Got knocked down because of the time I showed my irritation to the group's jerk during a meeting. Didn't seem to matter much that everybody agrees he's a jerk, or that all our users much prefer working with me. Good thing I'm meeting a friend tonight.)

#902 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 01:30 PM:

Serge @ 895, 900:

The first thing that comes to a veterinarian's mind is the anti-flea and tick medication, Interceptor, but I'm sure you weren't thinking of the meter person as a flea (no matter how annoying they might be..). The second thing that comes to mind is the police Interceptor, but that clearly is not what you were thinking of.

So, Captain Scarlet, where does all this lead? ;-)

#903 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 01:37 PM:

Fragano 899: One hopes it will follow him straight to Hell, but I think one hopes in vain. The evil that men do lives on after them.

#904 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Ginger @ 901... Have you ever seen the first Mad Max movie? No, not Road Warrior. The one that came before that? The Interceptor was Max's pursuit vehicle.

Captain Scarlett? I see myself as Virgil Tracy.

#905 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:43 PM:

Serge @ 903: Mad Max -- of course!! ::smacks forehead:: I knew that! I only watched it a million times on cable tv (when I was supposed to be studying..). There was something hypnotic about all those miles of empty road.

It just goes to show you that my studying was more effective than my watching. ;-)

By the way, my sympathies on your yearly evaluation -- our system is geared to prevent anyone from ever being rated "excellent", so the best I can do is "satisfactory". What can I do but roll my eyes and sign the forms?

#906 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Ginger #901:

Captain Scarlet? Hopefully not with the Mysterons conquering the earth.

#907 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:06 PM:

Fragano @ 905: Would you rather have Captain Blood?

Wait -- it's Captain Brown! I'm getting so confused...is it Colonel White, in the library with Miss Scarlet? Or is it Captain Scarlet in the, er, cockpit with Lt. Green?

;-)

#908 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Ginger @ 904... It just goes to show you that my studying was more effective than my watching.

I'm sure that the doggies and the kitties that come your way are relieved by that state of affairs.

#909 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Ginger @ 904... It just goes to show you that my studying was more effective than my watching.

I'm sure that the doggies and the kitties that come your way are relieved at that state of affairs.

#910 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:49 PM:

Serge @907, 908: As long as they don't relieve themselves on me, I am relieved.

#911 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:53 PM:

Ginger @ 904... As for the yearly review... I should keep in mind that, when I had dinner with my sisters-in-law last night, my 6-year-old nephew spontaneously raised his glass to me. I'll ignore the fact that he had earlier made himself drool into it not long before in his (successful) attempt at grossing out the adults.

#912 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 04:00 PM:

Serge #910: he had earlier made himself drool into it not long before in his (successful) attempt at grossing out the adults

Uh-oh. If you're not careful, soon that kid's gonna be picking his nose in public while holding hands with two women.

#913 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 04:13 PM:

ethan @ 911: In other words, just like my son!

;-)

#914 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Serge: Connecticut's notorious woodchipper victim was a woman, actually...

My most memorable performance review came after I'd used my pre-review written self-evaluation to describe my accomplishments for the year as "turning myself into a human simulacrum of the $60,000 software this company is too cheap to actually purchase".

I left that job soon afterwards.

#915 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Ginger @ #904: I think everyone's system is like that. If a supervisor were to rate a subordinate "excellent", the subordinate might take over the supervisor's job.

Similarly, in the PTA program from which I graduated, the highest grade it is possible to make in a practical exam is a 90.

#916 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Serge #903: And not Jeff Tracy?

#917 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 04:57 PM:

Ginger #906: I think it's Captain Umber doing the rumba while consuming raw cucumber.

#918 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Susan #913: Wowee. That sounds immensely satisfying, assuming that leaving that job turned out for the best.

#919 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Best spam email subject line ever:

Tunnel Planet Game Skeleton Clown Toilet Window

It makes sense, sort of. There's a MMPORG called Tunnel Planet, which has a scary character known as the Skeleton Clown, and in his lair there's a bathroom with . . . a window.

#920 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Susan @ 913... Connecticut's notorious woodchipper victim was a woman

Never let the facts stand in the way of a pun. Oh, and I'm surprised nobody has brought up William H. Macy, criminal mastermind extraordinaire.

#921 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 07:17 PM:

ethan @ 911... It's even worse than that. When my nephew's uncle put on some African music, the little guy started dancing, and doing a good job of it.

#922 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 07:22 PM:

ethan:
Well, it was certainly good in the long run. In the short run, it involved (in no particular order) eight years with no health insurance, graduate school, the discovery that the profession trained for in grad school was actually not what I wanted to do, a few years of dire poverty and unemployment or pseudo-employment (temping), severe depression, and the discovery of what I really wanted to do, which will keep me busy and as happy as I ever get for the rest of my life, especially if I can ever manage to, um, quit my current day job, go to graduate school (for the right thing this time), and do what I really want to do full time or even half-time.

#923 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 07:28 PM:

Fragano @ 915... Nah. Virgil is the one flying the lumbering transport, but, they can't do much until he shows up. Some times though, due to my usually being 1100 miles away from my co-workers, I feel more like John Tracy.

#924 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Several blogs have reported today that Preditors and Editors is being sued by Barbara Bauer and Victor Cretella. (The former name should be familiar to readers of past bad-agent threads here; the latter is apparently an attorney for PublishAmerica, which should be familiar to readers of bad-publisher threads here.)

Here's a post on Smart Bitches with more details.

The proprietors of P&E are accepting donations for their legal defense.

#925 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:23 PM:

Lila @ 914: In our case, it's set up so that if your rating drops, your continued employment has to be justified -- so if one year you are "excellent" you cannot drop back to "satisfactory". >:-P I suppose the very last evaluation I ever get could be "excellent" and then they can be sorry I'm retiring (when I get there..).

I keep reminding myself that as long as I am "satisfactory" I am employed, which is good.

Fragano @ 916: While Captain Red lies in bed holding his head, regretting that cheese spread brought in by Fred, Leftenant Green -- not to be mean -- is being a queen and getting the place clean.

#926 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:25 PM:

ethan #911 - Uh-oh. If you're not careful, soon that kid's gonna be picking his nose in public while holding hands with two women.

(Must resist asking how he's picking his nose. Must... Resist...)

#927 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:40 PM:

A woodchipper named for Vermeer
May strike some as decidedly queer.
I'm just glad for my part
That it doesn't chip art,
But it might chew away the veneer.

#928 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:27 AM:

Neil @925:
Making an assumption about the relationships in question, I'd point out the falsity of an old saying.

You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

#929 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:39 AM:

Every. Single. Time. I see spam, I continue to see it over and over again. Checkbox tricks don't seem to work. My apologies.

#930 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 08:41 AM:

#929, ethan -

Spam afterimages? Ugh. It's bad enough the first time.

#931 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 09:09 AM:

Apparently, all the Guantanamo Bay torture interrogation sessions were videotaped, according to this slate article. I wonder if any still exist, and if any will still exist the day after the election of a Democrat for president. (And my fear is that they will, because the folks who have them will know the regime change doesn't matter for their legal safety.)

#932 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 09:20 AM:

903, 904: there was a real car called the Interceptor. Look -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jensen_Interceptor

it was a product of the late British automotive industry. Not driven, alas, by Mad Max.

#933 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 10:01 AM:

Fragano @ #916:

When you think of the hosts without No.
Who are slain by the deadly cuco.
It's quite a mistake
Of such food to partake.
It results in a permanent slo.

#934 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 10:06 AM:

Latest from my trip to the Bay Area... There were no earthquakes last night when I met my friend Yoko, not here anyway, but Tania pointed out in my blog that there was one elsewhere - in England. I figured out a solution to a problem with a story Yoko's working on. And I figured out how to rearrange her furniture to accomodate that big couch.

#935 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 10:08 AM:

I have my little assortment of webcomics and web-available comics that I read daily, and one of them seemed like something ML folks would especially enjoy this morning. Then I decided that if was gonna share, I wanted to go ahead and share more than one.

Ballard Street is odd and to be truthful rarely makes me actually laugh, but I find it consistently charming. Todays comic has a funny sign in it that makes me think of the way friendly conversations often go. (Ballard Street is web-available, so the archive only goes back a month.)

I also enjoy Frazz (archives only go back a month) and Ozy and Millie (the archives go back to 1998!)

These aren't really quotable, relevant strips like xkcd, or meaty stories like Girl Genius, they're just gentle little things that reliably make me smile.

#936 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 10:16 AM:

Serge @ 722

Protecting kneecaps while playing artistic dwarves: get a pair of the kneepads used by construction workers when installing flooring. You can get quite a good set for $15, and your knees will thank you. The dwarves, however? ...

#937 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 10:48 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 936... Of course, to pull off playing Toulouse-Lautrec, I'd also kneed talent.

#938 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 11:14 AM:

Serge #922: Me, I want to be Hiram H. Hickenlooper (but with better-looking glasses).

When I was little, I wanted to be Torchy the Battery Boy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wujTB-nDe-M). Honest.

#939 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 11:22 AM:

Ginger #924: You, clearly, don't want anything to do with any of the Angels.

#940 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 11:22 AM:

abi @ 927... You asked for it.

Mandy: Speak up!
Brian: Mum! Sh!
Mandy: Well I can't hear a thing! Let's go to the stoning.
Big-nose: Sh!
Brian: You can go to a stoning any time.
Mandy: Oh, come on Brian!
Big-nose: Will you be quiet?
Big-nose's wife: Don't pick your nose.
Big-nose: I wasn't picking my nose ... I was scratching.
Wife: You were picking it while you were talking to that lady.
Big-nose: I wasn't.
Wife: Leave it alone...give it a rest...
Cheeky Man: Do you mind? I can't hear a word he's saying.
Wife: Don't you "do you mind" me...I'm talking to my husband.
Cheeky Man: Well go and talk to him somewhere else! I can't hear a bloody
thing!
Big-nose: Don't you swear at my wife.
Cheeky Man: I was only asking her to shut up so we can hear what he's saying,
Big-nose.
Wife: Don't you call my husband "Big-nose."
Cheeky Man: Well he has got a big nose.

#941 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 11:26 AM:

Fraganop @ 938... Don't you mean Hiram H. Hackenbacker? And yes, his choices of glasses were ghastly. He must have gotten them at the same place that Joe 90 did.

#942 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Paul A #933: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

#943 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 12:17 PM:

albatross: It seems they have already been destroyed, and in such a way which opens people up to contempt, and obstruction of justice charges, should the Congress, or a spineful DoJ, go after them.

#944 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 12:27 PM:

Paul A. @933: *applause*

#945 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Serge #941: Clearly, I meant Hackenbacker, but something must have thrown me for a Hickenlooper. I blame it on the Bossa Nova. Or something.

BTW, who's 'Fraganop'?

#946 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Fragano, the appended 'p' is a rather old-fashioned way of querying whether you exist. It's still quite a curious usage, though, if not actually rude.

#947 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Fragano @ 945... I blame it on the Bossa Nova.

So do I.
Cursed typos!

#948 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 01:39 PM:

I'm posting to the Open Thread because it's still in use, but I'd love to have a Political Comments Thread that we could go to. Thought you'd like to know: yesterday I sent $25 to the Obama campaign. This morning I got an e-mail inviting me to be part of a phone bank calling Texas to support the campaign. They provide the numbers and the script, you make the calls, I assume from home.

I've decided not to join in, but if I get the same e-mail about joining a phone bank for Ohio, I'll do it, because I lived in Cleveland for a while and still feel a tie with that region and state. I'm impressed by the Obama communication: cool and inviting at the same time. I gotta say, the guy appears to be running a superbly managed campaign, which says something positive about his organizational abilities and his skill in choosing people.

#949 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Fragano L@ 939:

I'm keeping the Angels all to myself, that's why. Besides, why should they have to run around after all the (male) Captains and clean up all the (male-derived) messes? Let the boys clean up for once, I say!

No, I never watched Charlie's Angels. Why do you ask?

;-)

#950 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Fragano, the appended 'p' is a rather old-fashioned way of querying whether you exist. It's still quite a curious usage, though, if not actually rude.

Whoops, not quite right. "foo-p" is an old geekish usage, dating back to the heyday of Lisp -- in Lisp, predicates have names ending with "p", so the Lisp hackers would use it in English to "questionify" a statement, thus "are these clean?" becomes "clean-p?", or (famously) "do you want some of this soup?" becomes "split-p soup?"

I've never heard it called rude, but I've also never heard of using it on someone's name. The classic slang for "where are you" or "are you still there", would be "ping Fragano?", after the UNIX "ping" utility (and sonar). Without the question mark it's an imperative, implying "please respond now".

#951 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:12 PM:

PS to my reply to Xopher @#946: I guess "Fragano-p" could mean "are you Fragano?", but that seems beside the point here.

#952 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:15 PM:

We have heat again, the coupler on the pump had seized and thrashed itself apart. Since it's about the cheapest and easiest part on a circulated water heating system I'm relieved (Sears guy came and looked at it, said they don't do repairs and gave me a HUGE quote on replacing the whole system).

I'm feeling a little bit better, the cost was within reason. And the service company is one we're going to use again, they do the services we most need (plumbing and heating repairs), they're close to the house and they did not get distressed that I didn't have a check to pay them on the spot--he gave me the invoice and said, "Mail or bring the check down when you get it."

The only down side now is that it will take the house about 12 hours to get completely warm again, but once it does, the nice thing is it's an ambient heat that warms the furniture as well.

#953 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Paul Helm Murray #952: There's nothing quite like waiting for a long-cold house to warm up once the heat comes back on line. I'm glad things are on their way back up.

#954 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Xopher #946: I would never accuse Serge of rudeness. Perhaps of denim.

But do I actually exist? I'm pretty certain there are a number of people (mostly students) who wish I didn't.

#955 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:41 PM:

David 95[0|1]: I was translating it as "Is there a Fragano?" Understandp?

#956 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Fragano @ 954... Serge doesn't cotton to rudeness.

#957 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Ginger #949: And here I was going to ask if you were Harmony or Rhapsody Angel...

Charlie's Angels. Oh dear. Well, not watching that is hardly an offence. Of course, not watching the Six Million Dollar Man...

#958 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Harmony? Angel? When did we start talking about Buffy?

(I know, I know, "when did we stop?")

#959 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Fragano @ 957: I'm a bionic watcher from way back, but my heart belonged to the Bionic Woman(..and the Bionic Dog). The current incarnation is so disappointing.

#960 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Serge #956: No rudeness in any fibre of your being.

#961 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:07 PM:

Fragano @ 957: I'm a bionic watcher from way back, but my heart belonged to the Bionic Woman(..and the Bionic Dog). The current incarnation is so disappointing.

#962 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:16 PM:

I accidentally typed ".com" instead of ".net" trying to go to boingboing, and got one of those bogus search sites that tries to capitalize on the real site's audience.

First category: "New Gadgets." Second category: "Sapphic Video."

I've also sometimes accidentally gone to "www.makinglight.com." There's a category there for "Salton Yogurt Maker."

I'd really like to understand those algorithms.

#963 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:16 PM:

After watching the ending credits, I wonder if Captain Scarlet should have been called Captain Klutz.

#964 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:23 PM:

Terry #943: I'm skeptical of all claims about this stuff by now. Just to be clear, these tapes that have apparently been destroyed are the ones that hadn't been made, of stuff we weren't doing, to people who damned well deserved it, right? Just trying to keep the official stories straight....

Similarly, we have officially stopped using torture, which we weren't using (except for a few bad apples). And we've closed down those secret prison/torture facilities we weren't running in various spots all over the globe. And waterboarding isn't torture anyway, and besides, it's essential in getting hardened terrorists to break down, beg for mercy, and tell the interrogators everything they know.

It's important to keep the official stories straight.

#965 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:34 PM:

albatross @ 964: I believe the latest story, direct from Michael Mukasey, is that waterboarding would be torture if it was done to him. Apparently he's started to think, however feebly, about the logical consequences of his and his superiors' being criminals.

#966 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Xopher @#955: David 95[0|1]: I was translating it as "Is there a Fragano?" Understandp?

t t

[For the Lisp-deprived: "t" is Lisp for "true" ("nil" would be "false"). He offered two expressions to evaluate. ;-) ]

#967 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:45 PM:

Clifton Royston: I'd love to see that shucking and jiving, and the justifications for it being torture for me, but not for thee.

albatross: I gave up on keeping the stories straight. I went straight to judgement a while back. These people torture, it's one of those things which, when engaged in as a practice, pretty much negates the ability of the speaker to moralise on anything, or be seen as an honest person.

#968 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:46 PM:

And now for something completely different! Does this remind you of anybody you've had to deal with?

That second image deserves a caption in the style of Despair.com, but I can't quite get it to jell....

#969 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 04:02 PM:

Paula HM #952:

It's all your fault. The igniter thingy in our upstairs furnace died yesterday, with a large crack. It has now been replaced.

#970 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 04:20 PM:

David Harmon @968:

On a first pass, I got this.

Something relating tunnel vision with television keeps trying to come to the fore brain, but it's not quite here yet.

#971 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 04:30 PM:

David Harmon @ 968 -

This is what I can make of it.

Tube top

#972 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 04:37 PM:

I keep thinking of the hedgehog as a PHB (heh). Maybe something like "That's called FOCUS, dammit!"

I've gotta say, Cute Overload has been raising the bar lately....

#973 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 05:39 PM:

Terry:

Mukasey's remarks were reported here (Washington Post) among other places. Query Google News for "Mukasey waterboarding" and you should find quite a number of references.

Of course, that was a few weeks ago. Now Mukasey is instead well into the argument of "Of course even though torture might have been illegal, we can't even think about prosecuting the people who did it, because the DOJ told them it was legal, and like, that would be so unfair."

#974 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 09:42 PM:

David Harmon @966:
Of course, a real Lisper would tell you that should be '(t t).

#975 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 11:47 PM:

albatross: I read that when it came out. What I saw Mukasey doing was say, "The DoJ said it was legal, so we can't do anything about it."

We'll ignore that the DoJ brief isn't to make that sort of decision.

What I've yet to see him do is opine on the tortuous nature of the technique. He's hiding behind the rules of law to say, "well it was legal, so the nature of it isn't something for me to examine."

Pissant.

#976 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 06:01 PM:

Geekosaur @#974: Admittedly, it's been a while....

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