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June 6, 2008

Open thread 110
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:55 PM *

Today is one of twelve Date Unity Days* of the year. Now the Americans and the Europeans can relax and agree that it’s 6/6/08, regardless of whether the first 6 or the second refers to the month of June†.

This confluence does not go unnoticed among the servers and the wires. Indeed, it is scrutinised and studied, almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the mathematical niceties of the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

But this is no sinister invasion to be repelled at the last minute by some computer virus. Rather, let us invite the Internet to this party of sixes, and make it at home. What could be more fitting for this purpose than Open thread 110**?

Go on, say something interesting. Entertain our guest.

* Acronym intentional

† The only US date that goes unquestioned in Europe is 9/11‡

‡ Which brings us to the other reference for 110. (Thank you, Xopher, for reminding me.)

** Don’t make me spell it out.

Comments on Open thread 110:
#1 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 03:57 PM:


#2 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:05 PM:

The tech Gods of the site should be aware: takes you through a strange sort of time warp.

(This is clearly a lingering side effect of last month's tech crisis, of much lower importance than the other side effects; but it should be on The List. :))

#3 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:08 PM:

You're welcome.

I'm still trying to figure out some bits of this, but I'm sure I'll get it when I'm less completely brain-dead than I am right now.

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:24 PM:

it is scrutinised and studied, almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the mathematical niceties of the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

Darn tripods!

#5 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:25 PM:

I'm still trying to figure out some bits of this,

You've already got it.

#6 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Do I really get post 110 on thread 110 on 110/110?

#7 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:33 PM:

Well, just vomited forth a web page claiming that my access to their site is punitively blocked because I'm a robot and not a human being. We'll see how long it takes for them to fix it, and if it happens again as soon as my ISP changes my dynamic IP address.

#8 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:35 PM:

my access to their site is punitively blocked because I'm a robot and not a human being

Well, I for one welcome our new Earl Cooley III overlord.

#9 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:36 PM:

Random comment: You know you're living in a globalized world when you spend a pleasant dinner reading a Spanish newspaper while eavesdropping on the Italians talking at the next table, at a Chinese restaurant, in The Netherlands.

Have I mentioned that I kinda like this world?

#10 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Out of curiosity, albatross, where in the Netherlands?

#11 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:39 PM:

abi: Leiden. I was at a conference at the Lorentz center this week.

#12 ::: Ben Engelsberg ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Well, just vomited forth a web page claiming that my access to their site is punitively blocked because I'm a robot and not a human being. We'll see how long it takes for them to fix it, and if it happens again as soon as my ISP changes my dynamic IP address.

So, to sum up, you are not a number, you are a free man?

#13 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:41 PM:

Earl #7:

Just what I'd expect a robot to say.

#14 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Lovely place, Leiden. A good college town. A couple of my colleagues live there.

Have fun!

#15 ::: james ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:43 PM:

#7 - it's not just you, it's nearly everyone:

#16 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:48 PM:

abi #14:

It seems pretty nice, though I mostly saw the inside of the conference center and some restaurants near the university. I actually rented a bike, despite not having ridden since college, and managed not to end up in a canal. But I'm flying home tomorrow.

You're in Amsterdam, right?

#17 ::: james ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:50 PM:

RE: Amazon. should work.

#18 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Old joke that only works in print — there are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary notation, and those who don't.

#19 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:53 PM:

All hail the power and gloriousness of the New Open Thread! I beseech ye, observe and wonder! IOW "Gentlemen, BEHOLD!"

I have a link for you, to be filed under "The World: It's Small."

Purportedly it's an article about the JFK's assassination. Certainly the subject header says so, and its author, Greg Parker, has a website dedicated to the issue.

But I'm really not sure how this article fits in.

The reason I notice this article at all? It's about Weilbaechers - my mother's family. My cousin found via a random semi-vanity Google search (is it really a vanity search if it's not your name but your mother's maiden name?).

So, amused, I start reading... and then I'm going, "Hey! That's my grandfather! That really is!"

Although exactly what relation Dr. Maurice O. Weilbaecher (my grandfather) has to whatever case Parker's making about Joeseph O. Weilbaecher (relation unknown, at least to me) and this David Ferrie person upon which Parker seems to be casting aspersions, I do not know. It looks like he, too, just started Googling random contemporary Weilbaechers, and then trying to find out just about everything he could about them.

Not to mention there's a certain scent of Crackpot Conspiracy Theory about it all. A sort of "ooh, look, isn't this sinister too? And - ooh, look, another random fact I can make sound sinister! Oooh! Look!" Y'know. Fact finding to support the preexisting argument. Except I just am not sure what the argument is. Possibly it's connecting the assassination to research in eugenics and biological weaponry. And the Knights of Columbus. Who stand in for the Knights Templar, I'm sure. Not to mention we're playing the 6 Degrees of Separation From Jack Ruby game. Yay!

So I read along, all "What exactly is he saying about Grandpapa?", and then I get to this paragraph at the end:

A search of the web on Weilbaecher and some of the other doctors
shown above revealed a number of references to Jesuits. Another
shows the grand-daughter of Maurice got married in a Wiccan
to a grandson of one of grandpappy's partners. Yet another
shows a Dr David Weilbaecher as being involved in getting a medical
"miracle" recognised as such by the Catholic Church.
Hey! Hey! Hey, that's ME! That's me in there! He's talking about me! Duuuuude!

Only, who exactly is he alleging my husband's grandfather was? And what relevance does our handfasting have, again, to JFK and incidentally the price of rice in China? Dude?

I have emailed the author asking him these things, and expect no end of entertainment to follow.

Thank you, open thread; you are all powerful and full of sparkly shiny things.

#20 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:56 PM:

Rob #18: Next we're going to get to the T-shirt question, right? ("How many people can read hex if only you and dead people can read hex?")

#21 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 04:57 PM:


I live (and am currently sitting) in a village just north of Amsterdam.

Good idea renting the bike. Dutch cities and Dutch culture are both intimately linked with biking. (I haven't fallen into a canal ever, but on one drastically homesick afternoon I did nearly crowd a friend into the river.)

Safe journey home.

#22 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:04 PM:

Just an aviso. The odds of my showing up much between now and 23 Jun, are slim. The odds of my being an active participant in any interesting conversations is practically nil.

I'll be at beautiful Camp Bob, until then.

Take care. I'll write if I get work.

#23 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:04 PM:

Earl #7: Are you sure you're not a cabbage or something?

#24 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:28 PM:

abi #21: Thanks! The good news is, Swissair doesn't have a chance to mess up my flight this time. The bad news is, United does, and they're probably more likely to do it.

#25 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:31 PM:

albatross 9: I made a similar comment to a friend when we were in a Spanish restaurant being waited on by a French waiter while listening to a Swedish Finn singing Brazilian songs in English.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:33 PM:

And I should have known it was binary. It's been a long week.

What threw me is that it's also Open Thread One-Ten (OTOT); even though I knew that couldn't be it, my mind kept drifting to it.

#27 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:35 PM:

The only US date that goes unquestioned in Europe is 9/11

On 9 November 2005 I caught a coach from Rotorua to Auckland*. Neither I nor any of the other passengers were able to convince the driver it wasn't the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

* Having just been been walking through the Land of Mordor (formerly known as Tongariro National park) I was referring to the city as "Orcland".

#28 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Working reservations in a hotel, whenever I get a reservations request from overseas in the 6/6/08 format, I always respond back to them with a confirmation in the format of June 6, 2008, which helps prevent mixups.

Although we do often list Japanese under their given rather than family name. Either they try to compensate for us or we for them or both, and we almost always seem to get it wrong.

#29 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:52 PM:

Sometimes I worry that I too often use open threads to plumb the depths of the fluorosphere’s accumulated wisdom. This place just includes such a massive amount of knowledge, it often surpasses the power of a million googles. (Which is, by the way, a one with a hundred and six zeros behind it.) The lure to ask is irresistible!

I’m looking for a very specific kind of cookbook or cooking lesson thing. I’m not even sure if what I want would qualify as a cookbook. Here's the thing: I know how to follow a recipe, and I can cook many things perfectly well. I'm even pretty good at improvisational cooking, of the ‘put spices on meat/veggies, cook them together in a pan, eat’ variety.

What I don't know is a lot of the dead simple, 'duh' techniques, the kind that people usually say they learned from parents or other relatives, stuff you don't put in a cookbook because people just know them. This isn't to say my mother couldn't cook, it's just that when I lived with her I let her do the cooking. I paid some attention, but I was never there cooking while she watched. And some basic stuff about how to use knives or whatnot entirely escaped me, and I just pick up something sharp and try to cut things, heedless of if it's the right tool for the job.

I'm looking for a book that will go into detail on the fiddly bits, that will explain what knife and cutting board and pot to use in certain situations, and how exactly to sauté and how to slice, when to use a saucepan and when to use a skillet. I'd prefer a big shiny book, but other media (videos, etc) might be fine if they were particularly awesome.

I've thumbed through some 'beginner's cookbooks,' but they either started far too basic (this is how you preheat your oven! This is how you measure ingredients) or focused on recipes that didn’t include any advanced techniques.

At home I mostly use a Joy of Cooking and a Better Homes and Gardens, together with the internet. I'm not even sure if such a thing as I want exists. But I figured I might as well ask.

#30 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Dylan Meconis, she of Battlestar GalactiSimpsons, has also created a small, but amusing, Nerd Taxonomy.

#31 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:56 PM:

An example of a very capable political phone message.

#32 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:56 PM:

Leah Miller @ 29, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman might be a place to look. It generally covers those things within recipes, though.

#33 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 05:57 PM:

Well, my Amazon access is back. Odd thing was, the message I got depended on the browser I used. Firefox and Safari gave the get thee hence, foul robot page, and Internet Explorer and Opera gave me a more generic sorry about the problem page.

As for being an overlord, I've actually given that a fair amount of thought; I've come to the conclusion that I could only be a truly effective tyrant if the job includes perks of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. I am ready and willing to serve in that capacity, but, as you can see, I'm a bit picky about the signing conditions.

#34 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 06:01 PM:

Leah Miller #29: Cook's Illustrated magazine often has sections like "Knifework 101" and "Sauteeing 101," with clearly-drawn illustrations. The "how-tos" section of their website ( looks to contain most of the things I remember. They say they have a free 14-day trial; I don't know if it requires entering credit card information, but I've had a subscription in the past ($25/year) and found it to be very good value.

#35 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 06:03 PM:

I'll be at beautiful Camp Bob, until then.

[muttering]Lucky schmuck[/muttering] I mean, Have fun! :-)

#36 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 06:11 PM:

Dylan Meconis is also a fan of the classics, and she recently posted about finding a snippet of The Lost Books of the Odyssey posted to a telephone pole. The work appears to be similar to Borges' "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" (that is, the conceit is that the text was an archaeological discovery rather than written by a modern author).

She has two excerpts up, which I thought looked like something that the literati of the phosphorosphere might enjoy.

In the lassitude after love Odysseus asks Circe, "What is the way to the land of the dead?"

Circe answers, "You are muffled in folds of heavy fabric. You close your eyes against the rough cloth and though you struggle to free yourself you can barely move. With much thrashing and writhing, you manage to throw off a layer, but find that not only is there another one beyond it, but that the weight bearing you down has scarcely decreased. With dauntless spirit you continue to struggle.

"By infinitesimal degrees, the load becomes lighter and your confinement less. At last, you push away a piece of coarse, heavy cloth and, relieved, feel that it was the last one. As it falls away, you realize you have been fighting through years. You open your eyes."

The book itself is available as a free download (although also available for purchase in print if one so desires):

#37 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Wow, that's lovely writing there, very dark. It seems to me very much in the flavor of Calvino.

#38 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 06:42 PM:

Leah Miller #29:

Would Jacques Pepin's La Technique sound about right? (Fear not, it's in English.)

#39 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Leah, what you want is Egullet. Their forum has a large selection of cooking courses and demonstrations, often by professional chefs. This includes things like knife skills, choosing a knife, and how to sharpen a knife. (along with a whole lot more, including things you maybe didn't want to know, like how to make confit of duck *g*)

I find their material is more helpful than cookbooks as it starts with the very basics and takes you up to professional skills, all in one place and with one teacher. Since the basics build into the professional skills in a logical way, it's very useful. Often similar material is addressed by several people within a discussion, so if one explanation doesn't click, another may.

I would begin with the class on picking a knife I think. After you have identified a knife to work with, I'd check whether it's sharp. Then, once it's sharp, I'd start on the knife skills course. Potatoes for the win!

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 07:03 PM:

This is the master key to the great gate,
we hold it close and know it keeps desire
as far from us as we would modulate
our patient thoughts. So much is on the wire
that we would not expect you to enquire
about such matters we must deem absurd,
you would take after your departed sire;
we are the keepers of the truest word

We will erase and then rewrite the slate
as long as you sing gravely in the choir
in tones that cheer and do not sneer or grate,
you'll find that we are conqueror and buyer
and that our hand is over you entire.
All that you have we have indeed conferred,
your very heart we know is out for hire;
we are the keepers of the truest word

We are the masters of what you call fate
and will place you into the line of fire
for our good reasons and not out of hate.
Since all you have we easily acquire,
we see you as just one suit of attire --
or just another member of the herd.
Who cares how well you play on the lyre?
We are the keepers of the truest word.

Prince, on such matters you are no denier
but keep your eye upon the noble bird,
do not with any fools seek to conspire;
we are the keepers of the truest word.

#41 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Rob Rusick #18: My younger son is the proud possessor of a t-shirt bearing that message.

#42 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Interstate 110 in California, at least the part of it that was the Arroyo Seco Parkway, was the first freeway in California. For that reason, the number always brings to mind the theme of Unintended Consequences.

#43 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 07:56 PM:

Fragano #40: Very nice. I think you wrote "on" for "upon" in the second to last line of the second to last stanza. At least, it seemed to miss a beat.

#44 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 08:08 PM:

I’m looking for a very specific kind of cookbook or cooking lesson thing.

I think you might want the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

#45 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 08:19 PM:

Leah, #29, the closest I've come across is Good Housekeeping's Complete Cook's Book. This seems to be out of print; there may be a newer version under a different title (It's a bit late and I can't concentrate well enough to check but I will be browsing the food section of a bookshop or two tomorrow so may be able to give more information then). It's not exactly what you're describing but it does go into detail of what cooking techniques are suitable for which cuts of meat, types of vegetable etc. I describe it as the book that tells you everything you need to know before you start to follow a recipe.

#46 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 08:30 PM:

I like Robert Rodriguez' advice with regards to cooking: You don't need to learn to cook everything well, just the stuff you like. His advice is to start with half a dozen dishes you love to eat and learn to cook those. Everything else is extra.

#47 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 08:31 PM:

Alex #44, my Fannie Farmer at least (a 1990s paperback) doesn't have instructions on that basic a level, or if it does, they aren't easily accessible to the casual user. Joy of Cooking's slightly better in that regard, but I still think the Cook's Illustrated how-tos are more along the "basic kitchen technique" lines that Leah wants, since she's already got Joy of Cooking and it's not giving her what she wants.

#48 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 08:40 PM:

Leah @ #29:

I second Alex Cohen's Fannie recommendation. I have a fondness for the edition published in 1968, but Marion Cunningham's 1994 revision is acceptable. I have both. I learned to cook working my way through the 1968 Fannie. My eight year-old self learned to cook because Grandma cooked, and she is awesome and my mother's cooking skills are seriously lacking. I was doing the household cooking by the time I was ten.

Julia Child's The Way To Cook has good information too. Arrgh. I wish I was at home, I could look through my shelves and see what looks like it would fit the bill.

Looking at that picture of my shelves, what about one of the Alton Brown books about technique for covering which pan to use, when, and why.

#49 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 08:55 PM:

Earl Cooley III @7:
"Bot-like searching detected"?

Xopher @26:
It's a sign! (which will make sense only to those who know some Hebrew)

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 09:05 PM:

albatross #43: Thanks! It seems to work to my ear, but you're probably right.

#51 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 09:06 PM:

Leah: I offer up Linda Hodges Gibson's The Off-Campus, On-Campus Cookbook which my Mom gave me upon going away to college. It may not be as thorough as you'd really like, but the things it does cover, it covers for an audience that is cooking for themselves for the first time.

"Over 225 Easy and Inexpensive Recipes"
"Guides for buying and storing meat, poultry, fruits, and vegetables"
"All About Eggs"
"Sample Menus"

I use it constantly for substitutions and common measurement conversions. It may or may not still be in print. It may or may not be useful to you.

#52 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 09:31 PM:

In my 8th-grade photography class, Vic Cooper had a 110 'spy' camera. I coveted that thing. Years later, I somehow ended up with a used one sort of like it that never ever worked. So much for that dream. They seem to be phasing out the film, so spies probably have to use digital cameras now.

In other news, another one of my notebook gags has showed up in a reputable venue. The way I had it, you can just see the tennies of the aliens, whose socks stand taller than our heads, and the humans are looking at a copy of To Serve Man and saying, "My god! It's a tennis book!" (You can see how the great Ruben Bolling handles it in this week's "Tom, the Dancing Bug.")

#53 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 09:43 PM:

Apropos of it's Friday afternoon:
The human ear is not designed for 3 1/2 hours of conference calls. Even when you can switch headphones / earbuds.

Leah @29,
I'm thinking a combination of 2 things could help. riffing on stuff we've said in earlier discussions on cooking (which we do a lot, and is always fun to do. Food pron!)

1. A book like Shirley Corriher's CookWise: the Secrets of cooking revealed. She goes into the useful details of how recipes work & why the ingredients used are used--their chemistry and interactions with other ingredients.

It isn't a beginner's book per se, but then you're not a beginner--you just need updates on the basics you didn't get earlier. By teaching you the Why-it-works, it saves you a bunch of trial and error.

If you cook through the book (200 recipes- all the ones I've tried so far are tasty), then by the time you're done you'll have a good working knowledge of cooking & will know how to improvise*. I like her style/methods--there's also Alton Brown's books and similar**.

2. Something like's recipes and instructional vids. (the website for Bon Appetit magazine). They have 20k recipes, with user rankings and comments.

The how-to videos help.

It isn't hard to find easy recipes for a particular ingredient which other users have ranked highly. So once you've learned one custard recipe, you can search for others to play with.

* Nothing is too complicated, and it's not encyclopedic--just enough that when you're done, you'll know why "this flour instead of that," or "are eggs necessary here," or "why do they specify 150 degrees."

** I love my Bittman "how to cook everything" & my "Joy of Cooking,' but I don't recommend those for learning. Over 600 pages = too much. Ditto McGee. Cookwise is like a refresher for what you learned (or want to have learned) at home. The big tomes are like a refresher for culinary academy.

#54 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Debbie #930 in the previous Open Thread:

Yes, I've noticed it too. Posted comment is noted in "Recent Comments" on the "Front Page" but doesn't appear in the actual thread.

Further, I've had trouble with the whole threadful of comments loading with OT109. My browser normally only gets up to Julie L.'s comment #898. I'm also using Firefox (ver on WIndows XP. I wonder if it's because of the threads being so long that the browser times out, before downloading the whole thread?

#55 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 10:25 PM:

Re-loading the webpage will eventually fix it. First time I noticed it happening was yesterday.

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 10:45 PM:

On dialup my browser times out at around 400 comments. (Ouch.) Best excuse I could find for going to DSL.

#57 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 11:10 PM:

Leah, i have to beg off that I'm a cookbook freak. So I don't have a favorite. That said, I have keepers and stuff that I buy to see if it iinteresting to use (If I buy it and don't use it after 2 years, it gets resold). Most all of them are purchased at thrift stores, flea markets,1/2 Price Books and things like our Pembroke Day School Clothesline Sale so I'm never out big bucks.

Good Housekeeping has a shorter all-purpose cookbook that shows techniques as well as lots of good basic recipes.

The coolest thing I found recently (at the Pembroke sale) is a book of food science, why things work the way they do and how different materials should be treated to get the best result.

#58 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 11:46 PM:

Reader's Digest used to have a good basic all round skills cookbook part of their Complete Guide series for home crafts.
It did have a fantastic white vanilla cake recipe in it. I haven't read it since the early 80's so I don't know what is in the current editions.

#59 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 11:47 PM:

Leah: Probably a bit beyond what you're looking for, but I've coveted the Culinary Institute of America's The Professional Chef for a while. (It's probably well beyond what I'm prepared to learn from too.)

#60 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 11:49 PM:

Fragano, #50: FWIW, my ear stumbled at the same place that albatross' did. "Upon" just seems to flow more smoothly there.

#61 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Delia Smith is famous for taking people from the basics of cooking onwards in a number of her books. Being bestsellers, there'll probably be 2nd-hand copies around, tho' I'm not sure if they were adapted for the US market.

Nowadays she (or her multinational marketing conglomerate) have, naturally, a website. This includes online 'how-to's which could be handy for a quick perusal of particular problems.

Do you think this 'Non Sequitur' strip (3rd of June, another sleepy, dusty, Delta day) is a little sideways reference to NYC's recent crane collapses?

#62 ::: zzatz ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 12:48 AM:

In addition to learning cooking techniques, I suggest spending time getting to know ingredients. For example, high temperatures call for oils with high flash points, such as peanut or grapeseed oils. Olive oil can be used with medium heat. Extra virgin olive oil shouldn't be cooked at all - reserve it for when the raw flavor matters, otherwise use something cheaper.

Another example is that cooking mellows the sharpness of onions and garlic. You can cook onions for a long time, and the flavor keeps getting more interesting. But garlic gets bitter when overcooked, so it should be added later than the onions. In some recipes, you want the bite of the raw onion/shallot/garlic.

One of my local Public TV stations recently showed the old Jacques Pépin series on technique. Check your local listings. He also has a DVD set, as well as the previously mentioned book.

For home-style Chinese cooking, I like "How To Cook and Eat in Chinese", by the woman who invented the term 'stir-fry'. Part 1 covers the materials, tools, preparation, and cooking techniques. Part 2 provides recipes.

#63 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 12:55 AM:

I have adopted the date format that I expect someday (maybe when the US goes metric, so don't hold your breath) will become the standard:


Aside from being logical, like the 7 June 2008 format, if you type a bunch of dates in the computer this way they can automatically be sorted. (I first discovered this when typing up a series of concert bootlegs.)

I have completely switched over to this now, even when writing checks. 95.06.07 was even easier, but 08.06.07 is problematical, so "2008" is necessary.

#64 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 01:07 AM:

Joy of Cooking is kind of thin if you're learning how to do stuff, you have to know what you're doing before you use it.

I have mad bread skilz, once I got the stand mixer we gave away the bread machine because I hated the bread machine loaves and when you form the bread yourself, you can do a lot of different things.

And I've practiced lots and lots. My family likes just about anything that comes out, it's hard to keep still until the bread cools enough to slice safely. well... sometimes it just gets gutted and eaten on the spot.

#65 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 01:08 AM:

Jeffrey Smith #63:
That's pretty much the date format we use for work computers used to capture analysis data, for the reason you mention. Except that we use e.g. '20080607' to name our folders. I avoid using dots and spaces in my folder/filenames ever since I got caught out when shifting from Windows XP to an OS that doesn't cope with spaces.

#66 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:28 AM:

Jeffrey, you're almost using ISO8601

#67 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:35 AM:

Jeffrey, #63: I think anyone who's ever had to do date-sorting with a computer uses that format. I adopted it for the same reasons.

#68 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:40 AM:

Spherical Time @ 28: "Although we do often list Japanese under their given rather than family name. Either they try to compensate for us or we for them or both, and we almost always seem to get it wrong."

In academia this is dealt with by entirely capitalizing the family name, i.e. NAKAMURA Tetsuo, or WANG Xin. That way, it's clear which is which no matter how it is written. (Though I haven't yet seen a "John SMITH" anywhere, which would seem fair.)

OpenThreadiness: I vaguely remember someone mentioning a site that helps tie YouTube segments together into a single video for ease of watching, but I can't find it. Does anyone remember what I'm talking about? I found out that there's a documentary version of Guns, Germs, and Steel I want to watch.)

#69 ::: Bob Rossney ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 04:54 AM:

I find ISO8601 so useful that I find myself getting irrationally angry at the users who "need" their dates to be presented in some "more readable" form. Hrmph.

With regard to the remarkable Ned Sublette: I sort of worship him for his performance, alongside the fantastic Mark Manley, in Cory McAbee's The American Astronaut. You can see it here: The American Astronaut is not a movie for everyone, but those who love it really love it. Also: Ned Sublette.

#70 ::: Julian ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 04:58 AM:

Most of what I know about cooking I learned from Joy of Cooking and Alton Brown.

A lot of episodes of Good Eats include some useful bit of technique, but it's a very random way to learn. There was an episode recently (American Slicer) that was about knives and cutting technique, and is probably worth watching.

His first cookbook (I'm Just Here For the Food) covers some of the basic stuff.

#71 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 05:02 AM:

Open thread linkiness:

I recently encountered an interesting set of documentaries on the radio, in which a BBC investigative journalist reports on organised crime set-ups in various parts of the world (Brazil, South Africa, the Balkans, and... Canada), including interviews with some of the actual criminals.

Episodes are available on the BBC web site, beginning here.

#72 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 08:35 AM:

T.W. from Open Thread 109 and anyone who's interested: You mentioned summer savory, and the fact that it's not always easy to find. It's readily available where I am. It's known as "Bohnenkraut", and if you buy some fresh green beans (yummmm!), you'll often be handed a hefty sprig to add to the cooking water. It goes very well with green beans, either warm or cold in salads. (And if you really can't find any, email me and we'll talk.)

#73 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:17 AM:

Bob Rossney #69: With regard to the remarkable Ned Sublette

I was just noticing that he's in the credits of some of Glenn Branca's early works. Impressive career he's had himself there.

#74 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:01 AM:


My sister is very fond of that movie (and McAbey's work in general). I think it's a bit surreal, but interesting.

#75 ::: Oft known as Portland A.J., surname beginning with L ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Name munged because I don't want to directly connect my real name with my somewhat more personal livejournal.

Apologies if anyone has done


before: I had to give it a go, regardless of whether fellow ML'ers have indeed addressed every possible parodical variant of William Carlos Williams.

Those of you who I've added in past: well, now you know it's me.

Oh, and I'm back in Portland now!


#76 ::: Marcos ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:16 AM:

Note that the even Global Unity Dates from April on (4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10, 12/12) all fall on the same day of the week as each other in any given year. This coincidence handles a big chunk of the memorization required for John H. Conway's "Doomsday" technique for calculating the day of the week for any date.

#77 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:34 AM:

heresiarch @ 68: Thanks, I'll try to keep that in mind.

#78 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:51 AM:

#69 ::: Bob Rossney :::

PNH generously put the title of the remarkable Ned Sublette's latest book, The World That Made New Orleans, up in his "Particle" -- it's a link to a long interview with the equally, though younger, Jamaican writer-scholar, Garnette Cadogan, for Bomb Magzine. There are also videos of Ned performing, etc.

#73 ::: ethan :::

Ned tuned Branca's guitars (as he did Rhys Chattham's -- who will be doing a huge retro of his guitar things at Lincoln Center in August; Ned's one of the 'under conductors'). He tuned by ear, with tuning fork, and taught Branca a great deal about composition, since Branca was not, at least back then, a trained musician or composer.

That article on Bo Diddley that poured out of Ned last week, when hearing of the death of Bo Diddley, and that I mentioned on the previous Open Thread? He did place it, btw. With The Smithsonian Magazine.


#79 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:55 AM:

Since we're talking about cookbooks, and someone mentioned a Chinese one, I'll take advantage of the opportunity. I once saw a book that went through the basic layout of a menu in a Chinese restaurant. It gave the characters for each dish, explained what they meant, what the cooking techniques and terms were, the history of the dishes and various types of Chinese cuisine, and tied it all in with the culture and language. It was fascinating, but I didn't have the money to buy it then, and now I can't find it, or anyone who's heard of it. It may have been British. Any ideas?

#80 ::: pensnest ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:08 AM:

Owlmirror, #36

Circe was a dungeon master?


#81 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:31 AM:

heresiarch @68:
Once or twice I have seen the capitalization technique used with Western names; I think it was a Japanese academic workshop or seminar.

#82 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:37 AM:

@zzatz #62: Doesn't that cookbook have a foreword by Pearl S. Buck?

#83 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:52 AM:

Lee #60: That sounds like a consensus to me, and while I can't change it here, it will be changed else where. Thanks.

#84 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:59 AM:

geekosaur @81, re heresiarch @ 68,
I get the last-name-capitalization a lot in emails from friends and business colleagues who don't have a lot of real experience with western styles.
It always makes me feel like YHWH when I get an email saying
"Can RION-san please help me with my presentation?"
(In Japanese, the third person is often used to refer both to oneself and one's interlocutor).

#85 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 12:26 PM:

Yes. IMO, needs reprinting. (Somewhere in one of the boxes ....)

#86 ::: Eddie Cochrane ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 12:41 PM:

A good few years ago I had the Good Housekeeping Step-by-step Cookbook recommended to me and has been the most useful cook book I have owned. It's not just all the recipes but that it has a lot of explanation of techniques, and being someone who has zero feel for cooking, it is the one I've turned to for a lot of the basics.

#87 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Constance Ash #78: Damn. Even more impressive.

#88 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 01:25 PM:

A. J. @ 75

Welcome back. We hope you brought the sun with you; it seems to be hiding from us.

#89 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 01:28 PM:

(pulling things over from OT 109)
@Epacris #983:

cajunfj40 @921 Stuff-onna-stick and deep-frying thereof was also discussed in Open thread 70, starting around here with coverage of the Minnesota State Fair of 2006.

Thanks Epacris, I'll have to check that out sometime.

@Epacris #983:
In other news, it appears Moon Pies are an USian equivalent of Wagon Wheels in Oz (& UK?). Here they've shrunk from about a 4" diameter to 3" or slightly less. US foods are thought to have swollen up in the same time. Any thoughts on Moon Pies? I wonder if the UK Wagon Wheels have minimized themselves similarly?

@Mary Aileen #986:

Epacris (983): Yes, Moon Pies are what I thought of when someone described Wagon Wheels. They're mainly a Southern US delicacy, and pretty big. Four inches sounds about right.

I've seen Moon Pies at many truck stops, both Northern and Southern. In my youth in the South, Moon Pies were a treat I'd go for whenever possible. I particularly liked the double-decker ones. Nowadays, it seems they've done something horrid to the recipe (or would that be formula?) and they've become rather dry and much less yummy than I remember. It's also harder to find all the variants I remember up North. There used to be single and double decker variants, Vanilla, Chocolate and later on I think Strawberry may have arrived. Up North, all I see are double-decker Vanilla and sometimes Chocolate. 4" does seem about right - and they were about that size when I was younger too, IIRC. I think they might have gotten a bit thinner, though, maybe less marshmallow-type filling? I wouldn't be surprised if they have shrunk recently, as it's been a number of months since I had one.

Never had a Wagon Wheel for comparison, sorry.


#90 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Did anyone else here watch Our Man in Havana on Turner last night? I was completely blown away. The cast! (Alec Guiness, Ernie Kovax, Burl Ives, Noel Coward, Maureen OHara and more). The dialog! (Witty to the max.) The relevance! (Faked data on Cuban weapons installations -- not to mention all Alec's "00" operatives -- *and* a lot of humor from attempts at private conversations in the men's loo.) The darkness! (Moles, assassins, whores, strippers, police corruption etc. etc.) The newly slapped-on G rating!

It had been ages since I'd seen the thing, and these days I can savor it much more.

#91 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 01:29 PM:

As you may have noticed from my recent writing, if I wwere bipolar you might assume I was in the manic phase. Stuff has been streaming off of my fingers and through the keyboard to the screen.

Including some stuff for a furry shared-world site.

Which led to this description of a story I was working on:

Me, I'm just writing. But it seems to involve Lady Helen, the late King of England, assorted nice Jewish boys, at least four Police officers, two American tourists, a theatrical performance, and a chorus of ricksha drivers.

Right now, it all makes perfect sense.

#92 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Geekosaur@81: I see last name in all caps used frequently in genealogical circles. The intent is apparently to make the surnames stand out for those skimming.

Said circles also prefer their dates in 6 Jun 2008 fashion.

#93 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:06 PM:

Tlönista, 82
& zzatz #62, & P J Evans, 85

Are you thinking of Pearl S. Buck's Oriental Cookbook? (1972/74)

re: Juli Thompson, 79,
Since we're talking about cookbooks, and someone mentioned a Chinese one, I'll take advantage of the opportunity. I once saw a book that went through the basic layout of a menu in a Chinese restaurant. It gave the characters for each dish, explained what they meant, what the cooking techniques and terms were, the history of the dishes and various types of Chinese cuisine, and tied it all in with the culture and language. It was fascinating, but I didn't have the money to buy it then, and now I can't find it, or anyone who's heard of it. It may have been British. Any ideas?

No ideas here, but that sounds friggin awesome! Please post us a followup if you find it.

I got the long thread refresh error too. I had to clear the cache (firefox) in order to see the last dozen or so comments.

#95 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:53 PM:

OK, the Doctor Who two-parter is finished.

If that doesn't get a Hugo nomination there's going to be some really remarkable qualifying drama filling the lists

#96 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:56 PM:

Me @45, Eddie Cochrane @86 - From browsing the Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook, it looks like it contains much of the information of the out-of-print Good Housekeeping Cook's Book, but with more recipes integrated into it; in other words, even more like it sounds Leah wanted. I am willing to endorse it as much as possible, considering that I haven't actually read or used it.

#97 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 02:58 PM:

There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand trinary, those who don't, and those who are reaching for a dictionary.

I've heard of a book that analyzes Chinese menus, but thought it was mentioned in the New Hacker's Dictionary, and a fast look doesn't turn it up.

#98 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 03:20 PM:

It's probably both more and less than you're looking for, but I love Good Eats. Alton Brown does a very good job, I think, in explaining not just the how but the why of things. And he's just so gosh darn cute, although I realize that's probably irrelevant. They're on video -- the only downside I can see is that he only deals with one issue an episode (beef itself takes two episodes, IIRC), so getting through them would take a while.

"Good Eats" is one of my kids' favorite Food Network shows, along with "Ace of Cakes."

#99 ::: zzatz ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 03:34 PM:

don delny@93: No, How To Cook and Eat in Chinese is by Buwei Yang Chao, first published in 1945. I have the 1972 paperback, which is holding up surprisingly well. Unlike my copy of Joy of Cooking, which is shedding. I looked at a newer version of Joy, but didn't like it; I don't recall why.

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 04:01 PM:

Faren Miller @ 90... Drat. I'll have to make sure to catch Our Man in Havana next time TCM show sit. Right now, they're showing On The Beach, which they'd aired not long ago, so who knows? (I am looking forward to the day when someone at TCM decides to show, back to back, On The Beach, Dr.Strangelove, Failsafe and The Bedford Incident. Wheeee! Not.)

#101 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 04:07 PM:

The Lost Books pdf has registration marks on every page, even though it's meant to be read on the screen. I find this to be a terrible waste of nonexistent ink.

#102 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 04:08 PM:

Clifton @ #94, following the links, here's the text in more legible form (scroll down a tad).

We shoulda done that for our pool.

#103 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 101: The better to impose them, my dear. And it's especially important to check colour registration printing in black ink like this!

What's more odd, the left and right pages seem to be switched.

#104 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 05:25 PM:

There was a paperback book called The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters by McCawley, which helps you read Chinese menus. It is absolutely not a cookbook. (Could also use being reprinted.)

#105 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 05:44 PM:

zzatz, 99,
re: How To Cook and Eat in Chinese is by Buwei Yang Chao, first published in 1945.

Ah! Thank you for that. Triggered a nice little link-trance, that. (Among other things, the word stir-fry is attributed to the author(s).* See Language Log via Adam Sampson.

*bonus round:
“Hse” is the gender-neutral term for he/she coined by Professor Yuen Ren Chao, Dr. Chao’s husband, to make up for a third-person singular pronoun in English other than the rather formal and stiff sounding, “one.” via Tigers and StrawberriesTigers and Strawberries

#106 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 05:49 PM:

heresiarch @68, et al.:

Fully capitalizing the family name, whether it comes first as in Japanese or Hungarian or last as in English, French, etc., is common practice in the Esperanto community.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 05:53 PM:

Jim 106: There's an Esperanto community?

#108 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 06:02 PM:

I have a question about the definition of sockpuppetry. It's obvious that when one person posts to the same thread on the same forum about the same subject under different names, trying to create an appearance of consensus for some position they hold, that's our prototypical sockpuppetry. On the other hand, if someone uses multiple online handles but never uses two of them on the same forum, or refers to anything said by one of their online persona when writing under another, that's not a use of sockpuppets. Where between those extremes would you draw the line? What if someone were to post to the same forum with different handles, but not to the same thread? Or to the same thread, but the different personas don't support one another; maybe they argue against each other (non-trollishly, let's say, for the sake of argument)?

I have a vague story idea about a guy whose multiple online handles are connected to him, & his anonymity lost with bad real-world consequences, as a result of some researchers running a stylistic analysis tool that shows when two extensive samples of text are probably written by the same person. The above questions may or may not be relevant to the story, depending on how and whether it develops.

The idea occurred to me a while ago after I was involved in a discussion on another forum, where someone emailed me offlist pointing out that several of the other posters were the same person, and the poll I had taken was invalid because most of the votes on one side were spurious. After the fact it seemed obvious, because they all wrote in the same pedantic style, but I hadn't noticed until this friend pointed it out in offlist mail.

#109 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Clifton, #94: Cute, but not at all the direction I thought it was going to go. After the first couple of sentences, I was expecting something more along the lines of this:

If you are reading this then I can only assume that you have removed the pond under which this note was buried.

Of course, as I am not around at the moment, I am not in a position to comment on why you may have chosen to remove the pond and, it is fair to say, that there could be any number of reasons for doing so. Still, I feel it only my duty to warn you that if you continue along this path, the results may be dire.

You see, this is no ordinary pond. This property was acquired by the Council of Watchers in 1978 specifically for the purpose of sealing an incipient Hellmouth at this location. The pond was installed to make sure that no one would be likely to disturb the seal in the course of future years.

I cannot stress strongly enough that breaking the seal would be a very bad idea. The things which would be likely to emerge would eat your sanity, if not your brain itself. By far the safest course of action would be for you to put the pond back as you found it. If you fail to do so, I cannot answer for the consequences.

The reality was a tad anticlimactic.

#110 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Xopher @107:

Yes, smaller than sf fandom but large enough. I'd guess somewhere between 100,000 and 2 million speakers -- the higher figure is more commonly quoted but I suspect the true figure is lower.

#111 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 06:33 PM:

PNH: About the "Whitey" video...did I ever tell you I like you? I lied.

#112 ::: Carol ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 06:57 PM:

Re: Chinese food

Out of the mists of memory comes a college or university (Columbia?) that offered a language course in then-current Restaurant Chinese. As many of the local entrepreneurs of these establishments had fled China when it went Red, and the Mandarin (?) was highly stylized, ordinary Chinese/English English/Chinese dictionaries would get you nowhere.

For example: The Clouds of August
Was it a soup? A dessert? The presentation of part of a main course?

Vague recollections of Calvin Trillin mentioning it.

#113 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 07:00 PM:

Elise is having another of her fabulous sales -- look at the necklace crowns!

#114 ::: Carol ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 07:01 PM:

Forgot the kicker:

The first taught, and most useful phrase, was
"Please bring me what those people are having."

#115 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 08:45 PM:

Someone posted this insane video on a website I frequent, under the title "Would you do this?"

My answer was "If the word 'no' were written a thousand times on every subatomic particle in the universe, it could not express the noness of my no."

#116 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:12 PM:

Xopher @115 - For many years my friends and I have suggested that the Earth's Defence System consists of a giant forked stick, a pair of elastic braces and my friend Stan*. It's good to see that this plan is being taken seriously.

* I note that to saturate this system aliens would only need to send 2 UFOs at once. I note in addition that on one occasion I contended that the moon was only a mile and a half up, and then calculated what mass it would be, assuming it was made entirely of cheese; this was part of the costing for upgrading the slingshot to a rocket-harpoon. I don't think that anyone was fooled**.

** Unlike the time I explained that stealth bombers travelled faster than the speed of sound to outrun radar waves; I was told off for misusing my scientific knowledge for that one.

#118 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Bob Rossney, #69, I didn't know that was Ned! That's a weird movie. I watched it twice and decided I was probably not the right audience and sent it back to Netflix.

Oft Known, etc., #75, back home, Yay!

Jim Henry, #108, you don't need a tool -- Teresa and I used to do this all the time on rasff.

#119 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:25 PM:

American Astronaut is a damn weird movie, and I only ever saw half of it (at a friend's house.)

#120 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:48 PM:

1. Patrick, you bastard.
2. Xopher @115, that has my son written all over it (but then he's nine.)
3. Squee moment of 2008: I've been BoingBoing'd for Paul Bunyan and the Spambot. (Also Sideshowed, which was pretty cool, too.)

#121 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:57 PM:

Michael, #120: And well-deserved, too! You've really caught the flavor of the originals.

#122 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:14 AM:

I always did love Paul Bunyan stories. I think maybe I got another of these in the pipeline, with Nikola Tesla. Still mulling it over. They're fun to write, though.

#123 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:42 AM:

#119: The rocket nerd community has this schizo attitude toward The Astronaut Farmer.

On one hand . . . a guy building a rocket! In his barn! And he's defying authority to go into space!

On the other . . . so many technical flaws that the bad paint job on the Saturn V in Apollo 13 pales in comparison.

And it turns into a relationship picture. Which rocket nerds think is icky.

#124 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:15 AM:

Let it be noted that the unity dates aren't the only unambiguous ones. In the European format, anything after 14 January or the 13th for any other month qualifies. In the U.S. format, anything after the 13th in October through December does.

#125 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:33 AM:

People continue to be impressed with Little Brother:

Michael Swanwick's latest blog post has some nice things to say, and a story about spreading the word to a section of the population that one might not immediately think of as being part of the book's audience.

#126 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:58 AM:

Jim Henry @ 106: "Fully capitalizing the family name, whether it comes first as in Japanese or Hungarian or last as in English, French, etc., is common practice in the Esperanto community."

Interesting. I wonder who did it first?

Lee @ 109 I like your version better. If I found your version, I'd fill the pond back up, half out of admiration and half out of caution.

Xopher @ 115: Wheeeee! I would do that nine times.

#127 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 04:02 AM:

Calling upon the infinite wisdom (and collective memory) of the Fluorosphere:

While reading Charles DeLint's short story "Pixel Pixies," I was reminded of another short story about a man corresponding with an author friend about the author's belief that there's some kind of fairy-ish creature living in his typewriter, helping him write...and it's under attack by some other creature(s). If this sounds familiar to anyone, can you remind me of the author, title, and collection/anthology in which it appeared?

Many thanks!

#128 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 07:23 AM:

PJ Evans @104:_The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters_ by McCawley

Damn, you beat me to it. Multiple used copies can be found through at very affordable prices, though I feel compelled to say that I didn't find this book quite as useful as I might've hoped, even from the perspective of (at the time I acquired it) some minimal foreknowledge of the basic "critter" characters that tell you which animal is involved. Among other things, IIRC he failed to explain that the "meat" character (esp. when used as a radical within more complex characters) is often simplified to look like the "moon" character, which confused me no end. The format is also very dense and textbook-like; the second half of the book is a comprehensive dictionary of practically every term one might expect to see on a menu, but I suspect that its organization (radical-based character lookups may be too complex for complete neophytes, and its print too small for dim restaurant lighting.

There's also a vaguely similar book called Swallowing Clouds by A. Zee (yes, seriously) which is more rambling, conversational, and multidisciplinary-- the author hops back and forth among culinary detail, cultural history, personal anecdotes, and random linguistic quirks-- and thus (imho) far more enjoyable. Zee also supplies almost all of the Chinese words in basic handwritten form (as one would probably encounter them on a chalkboard of daily specials or a ballpoint-scrawled menu page) vs. McCawley mostly using rather small typographic fonts.

#129 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 08:39 AM:

Marilee @118:

Yes, if someone is using sockpuppet handles in the same thread, and they post a fair amount of text and have a reasonably distinctive style, you don't need statistical stylistic analysis to say "all these handles are the same person". But if said handles are posting on multiple, unrelated forums... not so easy. If the same guy who was posting to the Kalusa comment forum under three or four handles were to show up, say, here at Making Light, I wouldn't be as confident about identifying him by his writing style alone as I was when I saw several posts by him under different names in the same thread about the same subject.

#130 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:46 AM:

WRT the CBS forum Particle, I was struck by this:

no words that teenagers use a lot that some people think aren't swearing but we do

Mind-reading much? How is anybody else supposed to know what specific words they're talking about? Teenagers say a lot of things.

#131 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Ya know, we can complain about Wikipedia all we want, but I say thank heaven to it for left-out-nerds like myself who would never have understood what it meant to be "rickrolled" without the wiki.

This is in reference to the particled... er... does one give that sort of thing away? I'll shut up just in case... Please delete this comment if I have come too close to violating rr etiquette.

Will there come a day when weenies like I was in junior-high school will be able to stay hip? We may be living in that very age right now.

#132 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Is A. Zee, author of Swallowing Clouds also A. Zee, physicist and author of Fearful Symmetry, that most excellent book that I read and coveted nearly two decades ago? Amazon seems to suggest that it is so -- and now that the latter is available in paperback I'm going to have to snag myself a copy.

Thanks (and perhaps blame) to Julie L. *g*

#133 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 02:55 PM:

Bridge of Birds: Wow. Just ... wow.

#134 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Attention Patrick: the link on your latest "Wired" particle is broken - it goes to Making Light.

#135 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 05:17 PM:

(Thanks for fixing the HTML on the Wired article link.)

The "copyright vs culture..." link seems to me to be a lousy exemplar of out-of-control copyright law. The theme isn't an anonymous folk melody. It's a song written by a known composer, who is still alive. I gather from the article that the copyright is still owned by the composer (not sold outright to CBC), and that it's forty years old (not a Disnified 75-to-95). Contract disputes suck. Unsettled contract disputes suck for everybody. This sucks, but what's the larger issue in re "copyright vs culture"?

Similar situations where I *do* see a larger issue:

A work whose creator can't be found.
A work whose creator has died, leaving the rights to heirs who don't care and will never do anything with it.
A work whose ownership is spread out over a lot of contributors, so that it's impossible (impracticable) to get 100% agreement on doing anything with it.
A work which was released in ignorance of the law, so that there's no clear license which captures the intent of the creator.

I'm not saying these are situations where copyright law should be changed (or ignored). Only that they are varieties of "that sucks" which invite the discussion "is that really the way we want it?" This hockey thing... I don't see it.

(ObSF: Just finished re-reading Karl Schroeder's _Permanence_, in which the Rights Economy of human space is slowly being dragged down by the weight of billions of enforceable micropayments covering every single action anyone takes..)

#136 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:14 PM:

Lee @#130: I thought that line was great, possibly because I married a man who, bizarrely, thinks "hell" and "damn" aren't real swear words, and thus has accidentally uttered them in front of my mother.

Anyway, I don't see that as requiring mind reading, I think it just means that "oh, c'mon, all the kids say 'sucks' nowadays" won't be accepted as an argument.

#137 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:27 PM:

Syd #127, It's Stephen King, "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" - one of my favorites, although I can't remember offhand which collection it's in.

#138 ::: Randall ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:46 PM:

Jeremy Preacher @137, you beat me by seconds. "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" is in _Skeleton Crew_.

#139 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:54 PM:

OK, 'hell' and 'damn' definitely seem extremely mild to me. And 'sucks' doesn't seem like swearing at all.

But then I live in the NYC area, where people say 'fucked up' right in business meetings and no one blinks an eye. Phone conferences with Memphis, not so much!

#140 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 07:51 PM:

Jeremy @ 137 and Randall @ 138--THANK YOU! That was driving me bananas.

And I was about to say that my next task was to figure out how I could have read it in Skeleton Crew when I've never laid eyes on the book...but just checked to discover it also appeared in Secret Windows, which is right this moment sitting in a prominent place on my overstuffed bookshelves.

Thanks again, gents!

#141 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 08:29 PM:

Fragano@40: Ooh, shiny! We don't get enough ballades around here. (Do you know Poul Anderson's "B of an Artificial Satellite"? (a personal favorite))

Jim Henry @ 110: A range of 1e5 - 2e6 \sounds/ high for SF fandom even if you include everyone who does something connecting to other people (i.e., beyond reading/viewing). Has anyone come up with a plausibly authoritative estimate? (I'd certainly believe over 1e5 worldwide, but I'm not sure how much over.)

#142 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:04 PM:

Mary Dell, #136: Now, you see, *I* don't think "sucks" is a swear word. The worst that can be said about it is that it's vulgar. If they want to say "no vulgar language," they should just say that rather than being stupidly coy about it, like somebody saying "rhymes-with-witch" and thinking they're oh so cute and clever. NOT.

#143 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:09 PM:

CHip #141: Unfortunately, I don't. I shall try to find it.

#144 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:22 PM:

Oooh. Bridge of Birds -- without, as far as I can tell at a quick glance, Number Ten Ox! First person narrator is a young (and already outrageous) Li Kao!

The final draft was better. Splitting the roles was good. But this is a wonderful DVD extra.

(Toddles off happily to read.)

#145 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:42 PM:

Wait -- Number Ten Ox is here, after all. Everything is the same, but different. I'm loving it.

#146 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:04 PM:

Michael Weholt #131: Let's put it this way: that's the sort of thing that allowed me to explain it to my son the astrophysics grad student (currently interning on a project that he insists to his father the ignoramus is not about stars with BO and flatulence).

#147 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:03 PM:

Your papers, please

#148 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:02 AM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing on this thread, but a conversation with friends elsewhere. I just got my Technician License as a ham radio operator, call sign not yet assigned. How many others here are hams?

#149 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:17 AM:

Erick Wujcik, game writer extraordinaire, has passed away, after a battle with cancer.

Erick was probably most prolific in his writings for Palladium Games - he wrote and/or developed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ninjas & Superspies, and many other titles for them, but was probably most influential to the larger gaming community - both players and developers/writers - for his work on the Amber: Diceless Role-Playing system, which was put out by Phage Press, and was as powerful an example of how gaming could be different from then-existing tabletop games as Vampire: The Masquerade from White Wolf was in its own way.

He was also, by all accounts, a genuinely nice guy, the only bad thing about whom I've ever heard said was that he didn't publish more stuff.

He will be missed, but his influence will always be felt.

Fair sailing, and clear weather, Erick.

#150 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:27 AM:

Lin D, 148,
Apropos of absolutely nothing on this thread, but a conversation with friends elsewhere. I just got my Technician License as a ham radio operator, call sign not yet assigned. How many others here are hams?

Also a ham, though you'll never see my callsign connected to this name. Be smart, and don't associate your callsign with any of your online usernames: it makes it trivial for mall ninjas to look up your ICBM address.

#151 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:57 AM:

don @150:
Wasn't going to, for that very reason, but thanks for the reminder. Email spam on the email address sufficient annoyance.*

The conversation was regarding how many sensible sf fans were hams as well, and I immediately thought of ML (being a group of level headed people, with or without sf). I'm just curious.

*The amusing spam being they can give my website, reference some post I wrote on ML months ago, higher listings in search engines.

#152 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 01:10 AM:

mcz @132:Is A. Zee, author of _Swallowing Clouds_ also A. Zee, physicist and author of _Fearful Symmetry_[?]

I have no idea, although the biography on the back cover of Swallowing Clouds seems distinctive enough for verification: "Born in China, reared in Brazil, and educated at Princeton and Harvard"? His previous book was evidently titled An Old's Man's Way.

#153 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 02:17 AM:

Scott Taylor #149: Erick Wujcik, game writer extraordinaire, has passed away, after a battle with cancer.

I played the Amber diceless RPG over on GEnie, back in the day; it is a very clever game system.

#154 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:42 AM:

Scott Taylor #149: Thanks for bringing the news here. After carrying it to a couple other places myself, I was feeling too sad to want to do much more.

#155 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:28 AM:

Paulina Borsook on geek sex is extremely funny, though not on purpose. Polyamory means having lots of girlfriends who aren't allowed to talk to each other, and geeks prefer BDSM because they have to have instructions on what to do next.

#156 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:57 AM:

don delny @ 93: Nope, it's a much older cookbook by someone else, and Pearl S. Buck just wrote the foreword. IIRC it sheds light on the development of Chinese-American cuisine.

Syd @ 127: No leads, but at the London Sci-Fi Film Festival I saw two neat little shorts, The Phonekeeper and Watching the Watchman, that used the same premise of tiny people living in machines (an alarm clock and an answering machine, respectively).

#157 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 09:15 AM:

Don Delny, @#150;
I knew ham radio operators were savvy critters, but really--entrusting them with the Button?
Not sure that's quite proper. ;)

#158 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 10:01 AM:

More bad fannish news: Tom Smith, filker extraordinaire, tore his right quadricep this weekend while getting onstage for a performance. He's okay postsurgery, but this blows away his summer con schedule, including Duckon, Contata (where he was scheduled to be Toastmaster), and Anthrocon. Since he's a professional musician and a large chunk of his income rests on selling his CDs at his gigs, it's a big hit for him. (I don't know whether he's got medical coverage.)

Disclaimer: I'm on the Contata concom, and we're working to replace Tom (as much as that's possible) on two weeks notice. We're also working to assist him at the con as much as possible.

Is this the summer of losing con guests just prior to the event? (If so, I'm glad it was only a quad, for Tom.)

#159 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 11:11 AM:

I know I'm going to regret this...

"I'm glad it was only a quad"

Better quad than sod.

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 11:54 AM:

Every once in a while, Turner Classic Movies runs some promo featurette for a studio's upcoming films. Last night was one from MGM in the early 1960s. Much fanfare for movies I had never even heard of. I was rather amused by the one showing Yvette Mimieux taking a shower in the men's changing room while Richard Chamberlain is a few stalls over and he casually mentions he's invited a bunch of guys to join them in the shower.

#161 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:16 PM:

Serge (#160): I saw the promo thing too -- officially a studio anniversary celebration plus mention of things "in the works". A very weird combo indeed, mingling Serious Literary Adaptations with Elvis movies and all sorts of D-level stuff. Many of the future projects probably got nixed, though I know they adapted The Loved One.

Did you switch from Turner to the Discover Channel documentary on NASA (part one) afterward? Fascinating footage from the days of my youth, and a sorta tie-in to Turner's pair of SF flicks.

(Just see what I get up to when the allergies get too bad for lengthy night-time reading! But I still wish I had had the energy to go back to Turner at 11 pm and watch Kwaidan.)

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:33 PM:

Faren Miller @ 161... I thought about taking a look at Discovery's NASA documentary, but, considering how I felt after recently watching the mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, I didn't want to end the day feeling depressed. (Besides, I had just finished reading an article by Robert Metzger about Oil's impending exhaustion and that was enough to make me feel not cheerful at all.)

#163 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:54 PM:

An actually insightful mainstream media look at Charlie Stross's writing and the role of science fiction in general, here (Guardian.)

#164 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:38 PM:

So every time someone says something sexy at that Apple thingamie, Twitter goes kaboom.

And every time the Netherlands scores a goal in the football* game currently on, my whole village erupts in cheers.

And here I am pottering about in my bindery.

ZEITGEIST FAIL, that's me.

#165 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:51 PM:

abi @ #164, "pottering about in my bindery"

You're making clay books?

#166 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:55 PM:

linkmeister @ 165... You're making clay books

They probably are romans à clay.

#167 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:08 PM:

abi @164 - sounds more like some serious multitasking.

Go Oranje! At least today ;) (I'm having a blast listening to the learned football commentary from my 13-yo son.)

#168 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Serge #166: I expect abi to be working on a flying saucer.

#169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Fragano @ 168... Not book plates?

#170 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Fragano #168: Given her self-described talent to make complex systems crash, I hope they're test-flying it in a nice, remote place where it won't hurt anyone coming down.

#171 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:40 PM:

The Netherlands won (3-0 over Italy).

There goes productive work in the office tomorrow, or in the village. There aren't many people hooting and hollering in the streets, but the match has only just finished. I suspect that the mood will grow.

#172 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:42 PM:

I don't want to harry the punsters, but no one has made the obvious comment yet. Not that I'm one to hog wart's rightfully others' territory, of course. That would spell certain disaster.

(Actually, "potter" is just British for "putter", but don't let the facts get in the way of a good thread!)

#173 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Leah Miller waaay back @29 -- there are a lot of good suggestions up-thread of here. All of us are interpreting your question in slightly different ways, so let us know which suggestions seem most plausible.

I think that the category you're asking for is books on cooking technique, which I sort of collect. Pepin's La Technique has been mentioned, but you probably want Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques, which has both La Technique and La Methode in one volume. These cover stuff like knife cuts, trussing chickens, and so on. Ken Hom has a similar book for Chinese cooking, called Chinese Technique. Both of these can be obtained, used, very inexpensively (under five dollars delivered if you shop around). The CIA has a couple of textbooks that fall under this heading as well; if you're interested, I can provide more titles.

I also like the suggestion to look at eGullet. They have a number of worthwhile in-depth tutorials.

Finally, you should look seriously at Madeleine Kamman's The New Making of a Cook, especially if regular cookbooks seem too basic. Kamman starts with the assumption that the reader wishes to cook well and is willing to work at it. She cuts no corners and takes no prisoners -- but she covers technique, some food chemistry, food safety, and much more.

#174 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:52 PM:

abi @ 172... no one has made the obvious comment

Its being obvious is why we didn't go for that pun. We do have some standards, after all.

#175 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:54 PM:

Serge @174:
We do have some standards, after all.

Speak for yourself, mon ami.

#176 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Neil Willcox (116):
...Unlike the time I explained that stealth bombers traveled faster than the speed of sound to outrun radar waves...

Wait! Wait! Supersonic submarines ... they actually could outrun sonar, so no-one would know where they were, nope, not a trace. It should only take a little more power to go that fast underwater, right?

AFK while I get a patent, apply for government funding, and become filthy rich. Bwahahaha!

#177 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 05:08 PM:

Victor @ 173: The CIA has a couple of textbooks that fall under this heading as well...

Delicious and Deadly: The Professional Chef's Guide to Neurotoxins

Knife Technique for Filets and Silent Assassination

Cooking at 500 Yards with the Barrett .50

#178 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 05:09 PM:

Serge #169: That would be a mug's game.

#179 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 05:18 PM:

#177: A friend of mine's wife is a Culinary Institute of America graduate. He says she's licensed to carry a knife for her country.

#180 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 05:42 PM:

Lin D (148):
Congratulations, it is time to haunt the FCC ULS to see when your license gets granted. From that moment on you can transmit, no need to wait for the paper license. I assume that you passed the test this past weekend (based on not finding anyone with your last name and first initial (assuming the view-all-by email is somewhat indicative of your name)with a recent application). Give it about a week after the VEC gets the paperwork in (mine went in very quickly).

don delny was being silly. The callsign database is an open federal record, and will include your mailing address. From that I can drop a missile on your head, or just home in on your signal.

If you haven't guessed, I have a license (General, with code), KB1IYK.

#181 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:27 PM:

In reference to the particle "At Last, The Long-Rumored Whitey Tape."

Duuuuuuuuuuuude. [ Sad shake of head ] I never would have expected this from you.

#182 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 08:50 PM:

Well, *that* was disappointing. He wrote me back. It was all not-so-plausible deniability (how dare I insinuate that he's insinuating anything?), indignation about my post here, and cheap witch jokes.

Pleh. I want a better class of crackpot. Can I return this one for a refund?

#183 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 09:19 PM:

That's a letdown, Nicole. Maybe keep pokin' at him? Although I guess that could potentially get ugly.

#184 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 09:32 PM:

Nicole, you really don't want a better class of crackpot, believe me. It's a good thing all this one managed to do was splutter indignantly.

I've had a much "better class" of crackpot after me in the past, following me around on the 'net and trying to dredge up crap to post about me. (Not naming any names in case he gets a burr under his saddle to Google himself or something...) Again I say, ya don't want it, believe me, and if I'd thought about your earlier comment a little more, I would have advised you against even that much poking of kooks.

#185 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 09:34 PM:

Interesting -

SecDef Gates appoints not-Zoomie to top Air Force post.

In the aftermath of last week's resignation of the top two positions in the USAF, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has nominated General Norton A. Schwartz, the current head of the USAF Transportation Command, as USAF Chief of Staff.

Schwartz is Transport through-and-through, and he's got a lot of Special Operations (and Joint Operations) hours under his belt as well. He's also the first non-fighter jock Chief of Staff in something like three decades, and almost the only non-fighter or bomber pilot ever to hold the post.

Furthermore, he appointed a bomber jockey, Lt. Gen William Fraser III, as vice-chief of staff, and Michael Donley who is currently the director of administration and management at the Pentagon, as Air Force secretary - and Donley is ex-Airborne (72-75), not a former Air Forcer.

Gates is basically completely bypassing the fighter mafia in the Air Force - not one of the top three positions will be an air superiority boyo, and one of them is a former ground-pounder to boot. This could be interesting developments in the Air Force - and may be a dark day for those who believe the F-22 is the be-all and end-all of Air Force budget requirements...

#186 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Nicole - second Clifton's comments @ 184. I made one smart-ass comment in a newsgroup ten years ago, and things spiraled from there. Some of the nuts are harmless and amusing, but some are really and truly obsessive-compulsive psychopaths, and it's not always easy to tell which you're dealing with until it's too late. Even now, a Google search on my name shows a lot of the resulting messiness, and I'm careful to stay away from the guy -- because he's still out there, causing as much grief as he can, because that's what he spends his time on.

#187 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 10:43 PM:

Seen on a friend's livejournal, posted 10:01 PM EDT:

Rep. Kucinich is currently reading articles of impeachment against President Bush on the floor of Congress. is streaming his speech. At this moment there is *no* coverage anywhere else I can find online.,, are all blank on the subject. According to the friend who clued me in CNN isn't interrupting or putting a ticker on Larry king Live.

Kucinich is my new hero.

I seem to have missed it. Anyone have further details?

#188 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 10:44 PM:

Breaking news that the Purchased Presses aren't reporting...

Bush Impeachment: Open, Live Blogging #2 by xerxes3 Mon Jun 09, 2008 at 05:32:47 PM PDT

Rep Kucinich is reading 35 Articles of Impeaching, INCLUDING ELECTION TAMPERING>

GO, GO, GO!!!

When in the course of human events....

#189 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 10:47 PM:, I posted a political thing before Paula Lieberman.

But her post has actual useful links.

I love the Fluorosphere!

#190 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 11:14 PM:

The stuff is damning, for anyone who isn't kin to the infamous New Jersey Congressman during the Nixon impeachment hearings who made the immortal statement, "Don't confuse me with the facts."

THIRTY FIVE>/b> articles of impeachment, thiry five, Rep Kucinich is reading.

Dennis Kucinich and Henry Waxman, I love you both.... and may the names of those who have interfered, blocked, colluded to block investigations, destroyed evidence, etc., over the past seven and a half years, carry forward their due culpability and infamy.


Still listening, and angry all over again about malfeasance after malfeasance after malfeasance....

#191 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 11:41 PM:

A term I was foundering on above, "obstruction of justice."

#192 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 01:14 AM:

I am proud to say I was a delegate for Kucinich in 2004, when he was so clearly the candidate for idealists who don't buy into the idea that you can't actually campaign on ideals. I would have voted for him had he made it to the primaries this time around too. He didn't, because, apparently, "God had a plan for him" [she said with tongue firmly in cheek].

And here he is, doing what ought to be done but what was politic not to do. Go Kucinich!

(My cynical husband is pointing out that strategically now is a "safe" time to do it. Whatever. What matters to me is, it's being done. Finally.)


Clifton et al - no worries, I'm not going to keep poking. I corrected him on some serious factual errors and explained a little bit about how when you stick lots of facts together under a heading the assumption is the facts are presented in order to support some argument to do with that heading, and I left it at that. Should anything go stupid, the phrase "You messin' with me? You messin' with the whole family!" comes to mind, as quite a few members of it have been laughing their asses off since my cousin found the article in the first place.

I suppose it was silly of me to post about it here at all, but coming across it left me wanting very badly to share the absurd bizarreness of it with friends. And the Making Light crew seemed the right batch of friends for this particular absurdity.

Ah, well. I expect the entertainment there is over with. More attention to spare for Kucinich and the impeachment!

#193 ::: JimR (somehow the R disappeared before) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 01:41 AM:

RE Kucinich and his glory...
I hope this is important. I hope that it amounts to more than his previous efforts at Cheney, but Pelosi has already said it's a no-go. It would be one of our national highlights, impeaching this criminal, and it would, I think, help heal a lot of the damage done to our nation's reputation.

However, I fear 'tis but a tale of sound and fury...

#194 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 01:42 AM:

Scott Taylor, #117, that looks just like my microwave, except it's clean and the glass platter goes around when you turn it on. Hmmm....

Lin D, #148, I was one when I was 13, but I'd been mostly interested in building the radio and didn't actually keep it up. My brother stayed on for a while.

#196 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 08:17 AM:

The camera reports another hue
what we can see astonishes the eye:
The Martian sunset is a shocking blue.

On the red planet we observe the new,
the stars are brighter in that darker sky;
the camera reports another hue.

We get to see this from the forward pew,
robotic vision can tell us no lie:
The Martian sunset is a shocking blue.

This is astonishing, this polar view,
we thought a Martian heaven dark and high;
the camera reports another hue.

A vision of this sort we had been due
in tales that Ares would soon dignify;
the Martian sunset is a shocking blue.

I urge the journey of a human crew
with all the skill that knowledge can supply.
The camera reports another hue:
The Martian sunset is a shocking blue

#197 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 08:26 AM:

On Supersonic Submarines: Inspired by the line in The Hunt for Red October* that the Red October is the size of a WWII aircraft carrier, I've occasionally thought about submersible aircraft carriers**. Supersonic submerisble aircraft carriers though; now were're getting somewhere. One concern: speed of sound in seawater is about 1500 m/s (3300 mph).

On vulgar language: When I was at school, one guy got sent off for swearing during a rugby match. "But I only said 'bloody'" he complained, which didn't help at all. I'll note that a deaf ear was usually turned to brief involuntary exclamations at a moment of impact.

On Sockpuppets, I realise I have a larger number of internet identities than I thought. In places where I'm a real human being, I either go by my name or Neil W (these all link back to the same email and blog). In places where everyone has a nom d'internet I go with the crowd and pick a silly name. Usually it's either relevant to the forum, or it's one of november (usually book or film fansites) or monkfish (usually game sites). And in addition a friend and I have just started blogging about films under pseudonyms. Phew. Still, it's one identity per site, and in general the interests don't overlap.

* And possibly by UFO's Skydiver
** The concept is deeply flawed unless you use planes like in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

#198 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 08:26 AM:

Teresa really needs to see this article re: yarn work and math.

#199 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 09:08 AM:

Someone has recreated a number of classic photos using Legos.

Some of these are pretty cool.

#200 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Chiming in about vulgar language -

My parents didn't curse much when we were kids, and my sister and I generally cursed less than most of our peers.* But she got detention one day in junior high for saying that she was "pissed off." Her reaction (and mine) was, "That's a bad word?" It is one my parents used fairly casually. I still can't see it as strong language. Super casual, yes, and vulgar rather like "screwed up" is vulgar, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it in front of a young kid and I wouldn't correct a young kid who used it. It just doesn't ping as cursing to me.

*I think. She might have been sticking to the clean language when I was around.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Neil Willcox @ 187... Let's not forget the Seaview's flying sub. That being said, I am amazed to realize that Gerry Anderson never came up with a submersible aircraft carrier. He came up with pretty much everything else, including an atomic-powered tractor used to move the Empire State Building - with the expected results. (One of my favorites among his inventions was the plane hangar that had the plane wind up outside by having the hangar move back instead of having the plane roll out.)

#202 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 10:21 AM:

Several navies built submarines which could carry and launch small aircraft. Consider this as equivalent to the way that cruisers and battleships could carry and launch small aircraft.

Something like the Harrier would work well, and that would sort of fit with general Cold War craziness of invention. VTOL does get around some of the problems, and in a slightly earlier era there were the propellor-driven tail-sitters. Gerry Anderson might have gone for super-helicopters that folded their rotors away.

Oh, I can see some quite cinematic ways of doing this.

#203 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 10:36 AM:

Two VTOL Tailsitters are are described on the Fiddler's Green site, where you can also buy the paper models to assemble.

Worth a look around.

#204 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 11:13 AM:

Invoking openthreadedness: medieval polyphony explained to you. Possibly NSFW, though it was my boss who showed this to me. And we are in the music presenting and education business, so it is work related ...

#206 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Fragano #196, that's lovely.

Scott Taylor #199, what does it say about me that I clicked and immediately started looking for "V-J Day, Times Square?"

Also, very amused that the daisy-and-rifles picture was staged with Imperial Stormtroopers.

#207 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Rikibeth @ 206 -
Scott Taylor #199, what does it say about me that I clicked and immediately started looking for "V-J Day, Times Square?"

That you have good taste in historical photos? :-)

(the Lego version of V-J day is currently acting as my background on my work machine - my home laptop has Tienanmen square as the background on the internal display - the external I try to keep uncluttered, as it's my primary workspace).

#208 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 02:13 PM:

abi @ 175... At least you seem to be implying that yours truly has some standards. (Some mauvaise langue would say that my standards are so low that I frequently have to brush off all the fridge-underside fuzz that keeps sticking to them.)

#209 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 02:29 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @#196: Ooo, nice one.

#210 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Nancy @97: That's "ternary", not "trinary". I might even know why if I knew Latin, but I don't.


#211 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 07:23 PM:

Rikibeth and Mary Dell, thanks!

#212 ::: Kathy Li ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 09:00 PM:

Scott Taylor @199. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am sooo loving the idea of Cartier-Bresson rendered in Lego. And it's a Strobist shot to boot.

#213 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 09:27 PM:

Serge @201: Gerry Anderson did do a submersible aircraft carrier of sorts, the SkyDiver from the series UFO. I say, "of sorts" since the design only carried one aircraft, which puts it on a par with the Surcouf, M2 and others.

#214 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 09:32 PM:

Say, it looks like Usenet is about to get a knife through the heart.

Time Warner Cable said it will cease to offer customers access to any Usenet newsgroups, a decision that will affect customers nationwide. Sprint said it would no longer offer any of the tens of thousands of alt.* Usenet newsgroups. Verizon's plan is to eliminate some "fairly broad newsgroup areas."
Too bad. I can't cope with the amount of traffic that goes through here, and I can't generate any traffic at all on my own. Color me screwed.

Oh, and the reason they're doing it? Terrorists? Nope! "Eek! Kiddy porn exists! They're using this bunch of tubes! We will now solve the problem by shooting the messenger." So take care, folks, your bunch of tubes could be next.

#215 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 10:29 PM:

Kip: This latest "agreement to fight child porn" serves the big carriers as a cover motivation to do what they've been wanting to do for years, namely kill Usenet because it's not a profit center. Unfortunately that's just a part of the problems Usenet is facing.

One of the really decent Usenet outsourcing services got sold out to its competition a couple months ago, and most of the staff got the knife (including at least one guy who has put in well over a decade as one of the more effective spam fighters on Usenet.) The replacement service from their purchaser sucks. (My ISP was using them, and the drop in posts and rise in spam and propagation delay was palpable.)

There are still some personal Usenet subscription services, at least.

#216 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 10:47 PM:

I don't think it's a coincidence that Time-Warner is one of the companies that wants tiered service for the Internet, so you'd pay more for more bandwidth.
To some extent, I can see it - there are people who download very large files, and I can see that they could be a problem if they're all on at the same time - but these are the large, presumably able-to-afford-major-hardware-upgrade companies, not a local outfit with a few thousand customers. They're the ones who don't like net neutrality, either: captive audiences suit them fine.

#217 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 11:58 PM:

Tracie, #204: Ye ghods, that's hysterical! It helps that I know just enough French to be amused by the subtitles -- reminds me of those old IBM subtitled commercials, one of which was in French.

#218 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 12:53 AM:

Since dinosaurs and sodomy have not yet been mentioned in this thread, may I point the way to -

A Queer Dinosaur, Unusual Friends, DINOOPS!!
Dinoops is the name for unusual group of dinosaurs. They are friends of a queer individual character causing many troubles with awkward movement as tyrannosaur, but not favoring meets. Some events and troubles always happen everywhere Dinoops goes. And......a laugh follows with. A noisy, unorganized and unexpected behavior of Dinoops makes all friends happy eventually. Although sometimes very annoying....

-Barbara (fan of Korean consumer products)

#219 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 06:16 AM:

NelC @ 213... True, there was the SkyDiver, but what I and presumably Neil Willcox were thinking of was something of the size and complexity of existing carriers, except that it could go underwater. Heck, Captain Scarlett's Colorful Band took off from a flying aircraft carrier.

#220 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 06:29 AM:

My problem with ISPs, bandwidth restrictions, and other controls on traffic, is that they lie about what they're doing. They lie about what they're selling. And the rest of the time, they lie.

I'm not stupid. I know something about the way the Internet works. I've an idea of when the bullshit starts to flow. And did I mention they lie?

So when they tell me I can get a faster service for less money (and don't mention the price for the rest of the 12-month contract, after the introductory period), I'm firm in my scepticism.

#221 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 06:30 AM:

Oh, and just so you know; ISPs lie.

#223 ::: Jen B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 08:08 AM:

Before it disappears:

Looks like John McCain's site could use a good comment moderator. (found via Fark)

#224 ::: Jen B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 09:16 AM:

It appears they have realized unfiltered comments on a Political site are maybe not such a good thing. Much of what was there has been saved at the Fark thread. My favorite quote from the ensuing discussion, and something I've been telling my friends for a while: "People keep predicting that the Obama/McCain debates will be like the Kennedy/Nixon debates, where Nixon looked like the old dinosaur while JFK had figured out the power of the new medium of television. But they're wrong. It's happening NOW. Years from now, looking back, the true analogy will be between Kennedy/Nixon on TV vs. Obama/McCain on THE INTERNET, where Obama figured the game out a year ago while the other dinosaurs can't even UNDERSTAND IT, much less respect it and use it to their full advantage." from user shower_in_my_socks

#225 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Jen@224: from user shower_in_my_socks


Er... never mind.

#226 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Jen@224: from user shower_in_my_socks


Er... never mind.

#228 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 09:27 AM:

Jen B. @ 224... user shower_in_my_socks

"Does he always wear boots when he's taking a shower?"
"They don't call him Funtime Freddy for nothing."
(from Are You Being Served?)

#229 ::: Jen B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 09:48 AM:

Greg: The bad thing is that when I see almost any four word sentence that has "In" in it, I automatically append "and everyone's invited!" to it. I hope they are roomy socks...

#230 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 10:05 AM:

I'm sorry to be too open thready, but...what the FRACK??!!?

Where was I for this? Holy crapsicles....How is Fox News still credible for ANYONE?

#231 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Saturday, June 14 is Worldwide Knit in Public Day


#232 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 11:19 AM:

To all the people who suggested cookery books and sites: Wow, thanks! It'll take me a while to scan through all those recommendations, as my project just hit crunch, but I've already surfed/thumbed through a few of them and I'm fairly sure I'll be able to find exactly what I want. The stuff I found on knives just while zipping around has already been educational. When I know what I end up using, I'll be sure to let you guys know.

In thanks, here is a link. It's... the website for an independent movie entitled "Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead." It's got Shakespeare, New York City, theatre people, and vampires. There's a synopsis, but what really caught me was the trailer.

I'm so intrigued. As a friend of mine pointed out, the title is one of those "Oh my god it's so obvious and perfect, how could I not have thought of this?" transformations.

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 11:23 AM:

Fragano @ 196... Belatedly, I take my metaphorical hat off before you, monsieur.

#234 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Serge @ 222 -

That's hilarious - I'm forwarding that on.

Was that Jonathan Pryce as the Master?

#235 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 11:53 AM:

Maybe I'm uninformed, but I don't get the biofuel deathwatch list particle. What am I looking at?

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Steve C @ 234... It is indeed Jonathan Pryce. I've been told that Part Three, which is not YouTubed, has the Doctor go thru regeneration after regeneration until he becomes Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley.

#237 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 12:05 PM:

Speaking of knitting, another response to the Open Source Boob Project, arguably more tasteful than mine.

#238 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 12:24 PM:

Serge #233: Merci.

#239 ::: Jen B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Serge: According to wikipedia, Curse of the Fatal Death has four parts. A friend showed me the episode last year, and the whole thing is definitely worth tracking down.

#240 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Jen B @ 239... There are, not three, but four parts? Oh my goodness. I must find its DVD, if there is one. It'll go nicely, next to the Blackadder Christmas Carol.

#241 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Serge @240: "The Curse of Fatal Death" was released on VHS, but there doesn't seem to be a DVD edition (which would probably be inconveniently region-coded anyway).

eBay currently has one lightly used VHS of "Fatal Death", but beware bidding wars. (I am not involved with either side of the auction.)

#242 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 01:37 PM:

Further down on the link Joel posted in #237, I found:

I have created Viola’s Bookshelf, a new blog dedicated to making available gender swapped versions of copyright available fiction.

I love the internet.

#243 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Julie L @ 241... Thanks. Hopefully it'll be released on DVD. As for the region issue, I've been hinting to my wife that, for my birthday, I'd very much like to get a DVD player recommended here which can be made to play anything from any region. (That'd allow me to finally watch the remaining episodes of The Champions as the first American-released set apparently didn't do well enough for them to do the rest.)

#244 ::: Jen B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Serge: There is always BitTorrent. Which I recommend as someone who BitTorrents things I otherwise cannot legitimately obtain from the original source. One can always then buy from the source if it becomes available again (with, perhaps, written encouragement to do so sent to said source). I did this sort of thing with Neal Stephenson's "The Big U". I couldn't afford it used, it had been out of print forever, and a friend photocopied the entire book for me. As soon as it was back in print, I bought it.

#245 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Openthreaditude: I recorded my first filk last night. It's a setting of William Allingham's "The Fairies" (the one that begins Up the airy mountain/down the rushy glen/we daren't go a-hunting/for fear of little men).

#246 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 02:33 PM:

NelC @213, Serge @219 - The Skydiver suffers from the same problem as all of SHADO's equipment - they've built the bare minimum for the mission for the lowest possible cost, and the top priority is keeping it secret. Presumably that's why they wear string vests on board.

The problem with a submersible aircraft carrier is that (to simplify greatly) an aircraft carrier is all about control of air- and sea-space, and a submarine is all about hiding and never being seen. If your reaction to being attacked is to submerge, then any planes you've launched are left in the lurch, and any signal to them as to where and when to come and land is likely to be a signal to the enemy too.

Nevertheless, thinking about Dave Bell's note @202, I can imagine some sort of special forces submarine with a helicopter hanger appearing in an unrealistic technothriller. Or we could go full-on Dieselpunk - an entire submersible fleet, including aircraft carriers, troopships, destroyers, frigates, supply ships, minesweepers and so on, cruising the world undetected, appearing out of no where to attack then disappear back below the sea.

Since steampunk seems to have reached the mainstream, or at least the restaurant column of the LA Times (as I note here), clearly a rash of dieselpunk stuff can't be far behind.

#247 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 02:35 PM:

#230: "How is Fox News still credible for ANYONE?"

Have you met Anyone recently? He just hasn't been the same since he lost his house . . . keeps blaming it on Clinton for some reason.

#248 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Jen B @ 244... Ah yes, BitTorrent... Someone recently showed me how to use it, as I've missed this season's first 4 or 5 episodes of Doctor Who. Eventually I'll find out why the Titanic was zipping around in space.

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 03:45 PM:

Neil Willcox @ 246... I can imagine some sort of special forces submarine with a helicopter hanger appearing in an unrealistic technothriller

...and so could Gerry Anderson, and he wouldn't let the issue of realism stand in his way.

#250 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 03:48 PM:

For once, I'm glad I live in Boston.

The Hartford, CT bomb squad blows up a chicken .

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Serge @ 249... he wouldn't let the issue of realism stand in his way

After all, this is the man who came up with the idea of a dept store delivering the Xmas toys by way of a rocket that then parachuted its load down to its destination. I won't even go into Thunderbirds's handling of radioactivity disposal.

#252 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Clearly, this was preparation for a biological attack, using a pipe bomb to spread the bird flu. Quick, someone, get a million dollar grant to study ways to neutralize bird flu pipe bombing terrorists! Bonus points if the proposed solution adds a few thousand names to the do-not-fly list, increases domestic surveillance, and justifies invading at least one third-world country with a small army and no nukes.

#253 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Stefan #247: Yeah, Everyone has been talking about that lately. And I heard Someone mention Anyone's problems the other day--poor guy had to sell his SUV, and now his yellow ribbon magnet's stuck to the For Sale sign in front of what used to be his house.

#254 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:03 PM:

albatross @253:

Nobody told me about it.

#255 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:08 PM:

Abi @ 251... That's because you're not just Anyone.

#256 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Whoever doesn't know either.

#257 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:25 PM:

Somebody needs to do Something.

#258 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:35 PM:

Fragano @257:
Somebody needs to do Something.

For certain values of "do", that's illegal in many jurisdictions.

#259 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:36 PM:

And, if nobody told Abi, and assuming that Abi doesn't speak to herself, that means she's not nobody, and that in fact she is somebody.

"I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody."

#260 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Ah, but in order to figure out who should do what -- (YouTube) Who's on First?

#261 ::: Bil Keane ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Somebody needs to do Something!

Not Me!

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Is anybody there?
Nobody is here.
Everybody is elsewhere.

#263 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 04:53 PM:

But one thing's sure. Inspector Clay is dead, murdered, and someone's responsible.

#264 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 05:04 PM:

“Nobody has hurt me,” wailed the Cyclops. “Nobody came into my cave and did this to me.”

#265 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 05:13 PM:

Anyone can see
that Someone (but not me)
must do Something, and fast
or Everyone, at last
will pay for Someone's deeds
as Something, hungry, feeds.

Won't Anyone just try
to make Everyone fly?
No, Someone fears to speak
as Something snaps its beak
and Everyone falls dead
with Something on his head.

Nobody sees the trial,
hears Anyone's denial,
sees Someone lose his head,
for Everyone is dead.
Still Something longs for meat
but No One's left to eat.

#266 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 08:27 PM:

Fux Noose....

Full o' bottle blonde female boobbrains and other loud obnxious yelling mouths. The cosmetically "enhanced" appearance of the pseudogeek male boobbrains, for example, seems intended to make them parageeks--media interpretation of providing an appearance of true(male)nerds.

They're quite appalling ersatz copies....

(As for me labelling that *@#@*@$ who occupied the White House, there are magickal etc. issues involved there, regarding invocation (not wanting to invoke) and respect (lack thereof, on an enormous scale) issues regarding I do not consider the regime in power to be legitimate, I do not regard it as due anything but disrespect and excoriation. I can't think of even five things that have been effected in the past seven and a half years which I consider meritorious--the removal of the dam which had diverted the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates drying up the marshes had merit, and there have been two or MAYBE three other things that I approved of done by *#@^@#$#$ . Other than that, I have been appalled and regard the "initiatives" and appointments and agenda and actions implemented with mostly revulsion, dismay, anger, fury, objection, sometimes even near-disbelief at the level of banality, offensiveness, greed, corruption, hubris, intentional inconsiderateness, ruthlessness, incompetence, cronyism, vituperativeness, bullying, abusiveness, vanity, hypocrisy, sectarian partisanship and promotion, intolerance and bigotry, and dozens of other types of vileness, endemic in everything touched by the Executive Branch of US Government the past seven and a half years.

The short version is that I consider the current regime vile, loathsome, appalling, and an abomination, demonstrated again and again and again, and feel that the 35 articles of impeachment, are only a start of earned charges of criminality, malfeasance, misrespresentation, sacrilege, abomination, hypocrisy, and abuse.

Why haven't even the allegations of cocaine use, given words by the person occupying the office of President of the United States of America, caused an investigation?
Why is it that Newt Gingrich could get Congress to witchhunt Mr Clinton pursuing investigations to first try to find something that could be used as excuse for persecution and impeachment and spend large sums of taxpayer money while Gingrich was busily being an oathbreaker to his wedding vows (I assume that his wedding vows involved exclusivity, or certainly he was very loudmouthed about the "sanctity" of marriage....) with a woman he later married after terminating the marriage he was in; but the Democratic majority of Congress is refusing to allow impeachment articles to even be given a full hearing in Congress, or even the charges investigated without formal impeachment hearings proceeding? The charges are serious and grave ones, and they've been buried.

Talk about elephants in the livingroom, there are HERDS of them....

#267 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 10:31 PM:

At least my "nautical flag initials" would make sense: My vessel is stopped. I am on fire and have dangerous cargo. You should stop your vessel right now.

#268 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 10:48 PM:

Positive achievements of the current misadministration? Well, let's see... the World War Two Memorial finally opened while some of the veterans are still around to see it.

#269 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 11:24 PM:


My initials indicate that I am in distress and need immediate assistance.

#270 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Lin D @148:
Greetings from KF8NH!

abi @164:
...whereas I was watching it.

Linkmeister @165:
Spelling, surely?

Paula Lieberman @266:
Don't get me started on Faux News.

#271 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:17 AM:

Marilee, my 'nautical initials' tell the crew to get aboard, we have fire or dangerous cargo aboard, and we're passing to starboard.

I guess that translates to 'getting out of town before everything goes to hell'.

#272 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:29 AM:

My initials interpreted using the nautical flag code? "Affirmative; I wish to communicate with you; keep clear as I am maneuvering with difficulty." Y'know, that does seem apropos at times.

#273 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 01:17 AM:

PJ@271: we're passing to starboard

Ah, so you're a right winger then, eh???

Hm, my initials are
want a pilot
engines going astern
stop immediately

I wonder if the "pilot" is for seaplanes or helicopters...

#274 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 01:51 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 205

Oh, damn, damn, damn. I know he was sick for quite awhile, but in the back of my mind I was expecting him to get well and start writing again. I loved his work; I still remember in detail some of his stories I read 40 years ago and more. And I'm still amazed at how he predicted the narrative effect of video games in 1961, in "Rogue Moon". We'll not see his like again.

#275 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 02:45 AM:

Greg @ 273: That's the older usage of pilot, viz "a person licensed to direct ships into or out of a harbour or through difficult waters" (and even older still, it meant the same as "helmsman", which might be where the aerial version comes from).

#276 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:03 AM:

Neil Wilcox @ 246

In the mid 1950's Fred Pohl wrote a novel called "Slave Ship" depicting a near-future US that had been completely militarized (universal draft, all college students in ROTC, all manufacturing prioritized to produce war materiel) to fight a war with Vietnam (!), which has occupied most of the Eastern Hemisphere. The navy has been converted completely to submarines, mostly nuclear, including aircraft carriers. The carriers are about the size of the nuclear carrier Enterprise (CVN-65), that is to say, big.

IIRC, the planes launch and retrieve with the carrier submerged, so the carriers get to hide and the planes don't get stranded. Pohl, having done hie homework, was aware that a well-designed streamline hull can allow a sub to travel faster fully-submerged than on the surface.

#277 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:15 AM:

Keep clear of me, I am manouvering with difficulty.

I require a pilot.

I am taking on or discharging explosives.

It's Britfans returning from Balti houses, innit.

#278 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 07:40 AM:

My flagged initials:

I am maneuvering with difficulty; keep clear. My vessel is stopped; making no way. I have a pilot on board.


#279 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 07:44 AM:

Meanwhile, across the pond, a civil liberties fail.

#280 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 08:39 AM:

I'm pretty disgusted with what has happened.

Remember, Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer: he was part of everything Blair did, because he controlled the money, and so he has to be as much a liar or as much a dupe as Blair.

But he wants us to trust him.

It does look as though one reason this all takes time is the search for a nugget of incriminating gold in a huge mass of computer data. Did one proponent of the extension talk about over 30,000 CDs? Do they really have any evidence before the arrest, or are they just fishing?

But he wants us to trust him.

It's even possible that the accumulated law and custom on arrest, and detention, and formal charges, and investigation, needs to be changed in some fundamental way. When you need so much time, what would be wrong with bringing in some judicial supervision of the process? Why don't the Police want an audience?

But he wants us to trust him.

He chooses to fight terrorists by diminishing the checks and balances on the excesses of power, in ways which seem likely to provoke young muslims in Britain, who seem to be the potential terrorist. He seems to be setting up a return to the days of Breathing while Black, fuelling the very threat he claims to be defending us against.

But he wants us to trust him.

Personally, I reckon he's looking a bit tired.

#281 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 09:39 AM:

It makes me sick at heart.

No doubt this is because I'm new at this Britain thing, but how did this seem like a good idea to so many MPs? Yes, I know about the last-ditch offers to get swing votes; I mean about the rest. How could this do anything but harm Brown's already shaky reputation?

Has everyone always been this eager for a police state and I just didn't notice? (Entirely possible. I didn't care about politics till I was 15 -- that'd be 2001.)

#282 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 10:09 AM:

Tlonista #281- yes, lots of people want a police state. They figure that it will enforce their normality and mean they have a better time of it.
What they don't realise is that the gvt is out to enforce the normality of whomever is paying it enough, or whatever diseased idea is floating through peoples heads.

You'll have noticed that they have denied permission for the stop the war coalition to march through London on Sunday against George Bush. So they'll march anyway, there will probably be arrests.

#283 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 11:19 AM:


It's a fairly rare person who strongly opposes police state measures, when they're targeted at folks he doesn't like, and appear very unlikely to be applied to anyone he cares about. This is especially true when he's scared--a depressing number of people were sufficiently scared post 9/11 to back all kinds of un-American, nasty, scary police state measures, up to and including letting the president authorize both torture and the disappearing of US citizens off US soil on the president's say so.

The worst part is, people are really awful at assessing risk, so they often support police state measures to protect themselves from made-up fears. I don't have any proof, but I'm pretty sure we'd have done many times more good by spending 90% of the post 9/11 homeland security budget on boring stuff like low-cost screenings for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, or by spending it funding extra local police coverage in areas with a lot of street crime. (But how is some well-connected person going to get rich quick doing *that* crap?)

#284 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 11:39 AM:

That is correct, Albatross. People here in the UK are not much different from the USA.

#285 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 11:43 AM:

Stick This in your pipes and smoke it you fascist bastards!

Foreign suspects held in Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their detention in US civilian courts, the US Supreme Court has ruled. --BBC online
#286 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 11:56 AM:

I can't find the comment where the "initial flag" (or whatever) things are first mentioned. I'd like to do mine, but I don't know where you're getting them.

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:01 PM:

Xopher, I googled 'signal flags' and took one of the first ones that came up.

#288 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:08 PM:

#286, Xopher -

The concept is coming from the link under the last word of the "Bad Campaign Merchandising" particle.

#289 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:42 PM:

I am going to send a message by semaphore, to be used to address or call shore stations.

Honest, that's how it came out. Seems rather recursive to me.

#290 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:48 PM:

My initials:
Stop instantly.
(no meaning)

From a different site's explanation of the code:
You should stop, I have something important to communicate.
I am disabled, communicate with me.
The way is off my ship. You may feel your way past me. (!)

I kind of like the latter set; it has a sort of "ships that pass in the night" vibe.

#291 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 01:28 PM:

My initials: Yes; on fire, keep clear; pilot on board.

My ML name spelled out:

Stop your intention.
Man overboard.
About to sail.
Pilot on board.
Altering course to starboard.

#292 ::: Jen B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 01:35 PM:

On fire keep clear
Stop instantly
Dangerous cargo

Hmmmm. I have been much more no-nonsense than usual on the phone today. Okay, assertive. All right, downright rude. (But only to the creditors who keep calling in an attempt to hassle someone who hasn't worked here in 5 years: who had a similar name to me. Aargh.)

#293 ::: Jen B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 01:46 PM:

I have been making Doctor Who themed iron-ons for onesies for a new cousin and wish to make one with some cute little line drawing Adipose (current season for those who wish to avoid spoilers). The TARDIS was fairly easy to draw, being composed of straight lines. It was also easy to find a Dalek stencil (I used the one this user decorated her underwear with). However, I can't seem to find a good Adipose stencil, and whenever I try to draw curves things go very wrong. Can anyone point me to a good Adipose stencil or magically whip one up? Bonus points for pointing me to a Cutsie & Simplistic K-9 stencil.

#294 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 01:49 PM:

Yes; diver down, keep clear; engines going astern.

Doesn't make a good sentence, unfortunately.

#295 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 02:15 PM:

My vessal is stopped; diver down, keep well clear; taking on, discharging, or carrying dangerous cargo.

I'm stopped to pick up nuclear weapons from a shipwreck? Cool!

#296 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 02:20 PM:

My son, having seen a show yesterday about the Phoenix landing, came to me just now and showed me an idea he's working on, consisting of launching a small rocket with a camera on it and containing a Lego-guy pilot, into Earth orbit.

By throwing out grenades under it.

Which wouldn't be half so flabbergasting if his name weren't Orion....

#298 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Open thread question: Does anyone else remember a 1-season TV show from the early 80s (IIRC) called "Lojac", or some variation of that? The main character was a werewolf, and his eyes would glow red when he was about to shift. I have hunted thru both Google and IMDB without success, including alternative spellings.

#299 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Lee @ 298... It doesn't ring a bell, and goodness knows that my brain is cluttered with nearly useless crap. Do you remember anything about the actors? Was the premise like a hairy Fugitive? Was it British?

#300 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:09 PM:

I don't remember anything called Lojac, but there was a TV series called Werewolf in 1987.

#301 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:23 PM:

Lee at 298: I remember something like that, but YouTube seems to think the series was just called Werewolf, but I haven't found a clip of the transformation so I may be confusing it with another series..

There was a 1970's series called Kolchack that apparently had a werewolf episode.

#302 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:31 PM:

I thought of Werewolf when Lee first mentionned it, but it lasted more than one season. Chuck Connors was the Bad Wolf in the first season only.

#303 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:43 PM:

"You happen to have a silver bullet handy?"
Holds up her giant Ankh necklace
"Something much better: faith."

Serious electric guitars

"You're not a man who turns into a wolf. You're a wolf masquerading as a man!"


#304 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Clifton @ 297: The "Accordion Guy" was a well-known guy on campus in my later years at university -- a DJ, and major contributor of articles and cartoons to the student newspaper.

Also: When toy design goes terribly, hilariously wrong.

#305 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Story title on the New York Times web page:

"More Top Yahoos Heading for the Exits"

Presumably to write best-selling exposes about their time in the White House.

#306 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Stefan #305: I kinda hope they get more creative, as the market gets filled up. How many books can get published along the lines of "Well, yeah, I took part in a campaign of smears, lies, and media manipulation on the part of the President, but hey, I was young and idealistic. Besides, I'm real sorry now that I didn't get a pardon have had time to think about the evil I've done."?

#307 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 05:11 PM:

Stefan #305:

The article is actually about top Yahoo executives departing, presumably in advance of mongrel microsoft hordes.

#309 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 05:30 PM:

Serge, Steve, Ralph: No, Werewolf definitely is not it. ISTR that the werewolf character was the good guy, and might have been part Native American. And now my hindbrain is suggesting that it was Lujac, or Lu-something-else, but that's not getting me any the further with IMDB or Google.

#310 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Aha, found it! Lucan, apparently a made-for-TV movie that became a series for one season. The main character wasn't a werewolf, but a feral child raised by wolves (literally!); what I may be remembering was that he had some "wolf senses" that were indicated by the red-eyes thing.

It's good to know I'm not completely insane.

#311 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 05:58 PM:

And in other movie-related news, Johnny Depp will be playing Barnabas Collins in a movie adaptation of Dark Shadows, with Tim Burton rumored as the director. That should be choice!

#312 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 06:43 PM:

Concerning signal flags for initials, you can move beyond the simple list of 26 flags. The International Code of Signals is based on two or more letters which can be used with flags or other means of communications. It covers just about anything:

  • AD - I am abandoning my vessel which has suffered a nuclear accident and is a possible source of
    radiation danger.
  • ND - Tsunami (phenomenal wave) is expected. You should take appropriate precautions.
  • OY 1 - Fairway is mined. (great for golfers)
  • SN - You should stop immediately. Do not scuttle. Do not lower boats. Do not use the wireless. If
    you disobey I shall open fire on you.
The accompanying Medical Signal Code has some notable items. Fun for the whole family.

#313 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 06:47 PM:

#305: Oh, I know. But the title is funny out of context.

#314 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 06:59 PM:

My initials in flag code:

Disabled;Engines Going Astern; On Fire, Keep Clear; Stop Instantly.

Most people who know me would probably say that's about right.

#315 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 07:01 PM:

Lee #311

Drool slobber slobber drool....

#316 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 07:34 PM:

Re: the flying dog particle, I'm inclined to think that the cover of Animal Happiness is also worth seeing.

#317 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 08:14 PM:

Huh. My initials actually make a decent imperative.

Engines Going Astern, Stop Instantly, Keep Clear.

#318 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 01:24 AM:

Michael Roberts @296;
Holy crap, that's awesome...
So, the question is, did you do this to him by naming him, or was his name written in the stars?

#319 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 01:57 AM:

I was quite disappointed not to find XXXV QVVX in the signaling code. This, we're reliably informed by Pratchett and Gaiman, means "Have found Lost Continent of Atlantis. High priest has just won quoits contest".
Maybe that's in the section that everyone promises NOT to talk about to non-sailors.

#320 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 07:20 AM:

Ambar @#316: apropos of nothing, are you the Ambar i knew from late-1980's MIT? (Odd name, and I remember she was into horses.)

#321 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:00 AM:

re: The Army gets partisan particle.

The praetorian guard is starting to select the incoming emporer. I wonder what they'll do when Obama wins.

#322 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 10:30 AM:

Claude Muncey @ 312

OY 1 - Fairway is mined. (great for golfers)


Does the number of mines armed depend on the golfer's handicap? And do we want to kill off the good players ("Harrison Bergeron rules") or the bad ones ("George Bush Rules")?

#323 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 10:35 AM:

Anyone who is surprised by the "Army shows its colors" sidelight wasn't paying attention when the Marines showed up in uniform to rally for Marilyn Musgrave.

#324 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 10:45 AM:

Jen B. @ #239: According to wikipedia, Curse of the Fatal Death has four parts.

It was first broadcast in four parts, but the official video release is in three. (If I recall correctly, it was made in three parts, then the first episode was split into two for the first broadcast for scheduling reasons.)

#325 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 12:26 PM:

On rereading old threads, I see I occasionally used a different email address. Here's my other view-all-by thread, in case anyone ever cares.

#326 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 02:16 PM:

In Strokes by John Clute (1988) I found a particularly thought-provoking but puzzling passage:

In Beyond Genre (1972), Paul Hernadi takes on and presents for contemporary readers Ramon Fernandez's 1926 proposal to divide prose fiction into two broad tonalities or aspects. At one pole, the roman concerns itself with "the representation of events as they emerge and develop in time." Its "intuitive," "synthetic," "vital tonality evokes a 'psychogical present (which has nothing to do with the grammatical tense of a text)." This idiom, the idiom of the roman, is clearly instinct with and generates mimesis. At the other pole, the recit concerns itself with "the presentation of past events by a narrator in accordance with the principles of logic and rhetoric." Its "logical" and "analytical" tonality reports a "conceptualized temps," which has nothing to do with grammatical tense either, but which gives off a sense of distanced, disjunct pastness. This idiom, the idiom of the recit, is just as clearly instinct with and generates exemplification.

That made sense to me when I first read it, or I thought it did; I thought of Laurence Sterne, Gene Wolfe and John Crowley as authors whose works are mostly recit, as opposed to most other authors writing roman. But further reading in the same essay ("Scholia, Seasoned with Crabs, Blish Is") showed me that I probably didn't understand it as well as I thought. Because Clute goes on to identify James Blish as a primarily recit author; and I can't figure out what he has in common with the authors I thought of when reading the quoted passage, or the other authors Clute mentions later on. I wrote more about this on my weblog (linked from my name above). Does anyone else have a better idea what he means here? Has anyone read Hernadi or Fernandez?

#327 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:01 PM:

#312 OY-1 fairway is mined.

Mined if I play through?

#328 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:42 PM:

News anchor Tim Russert dead of a heart attack @ 58 years.

#329 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:07 PM:

It's been confirmed that Russert has died of a heart attack in the NBC bureau in Washington.

#330 ::: Mary Aileen, with an old spam alert ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:54 PM:

Old spam. Flagged by abi the first time, ironically.

#331 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:11 PM:

I come home from work and turn on the news, hoping for an update on the flooding, perhaps something on the earthquake.

It's all-Tim Russert, all the time. How ever did I miss that he was the heir to Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, Huntley and Brinkley, and all the rest?

#332 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:18 PM:

Have you seen the tale of Bruce Schneier and the King of the Crabs?

#333 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 10:32 PM:

don, that's very funny!

#334 ::: B.Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 11:12 PM:

Requesting the help of the interweb! A friend was recently trying to remember the name of a short story she read when she was a child about 20 years ago. It featured a boy who was a moth collector. One night a swarm of moths breaks through his window and surrounds him, lifting him up and carrying him across the fields and into a forest. The swarm has moths of all sizes, including huge ones. Eventually, once deep in the forest, he feels a sharp pain and the swarm dissipates, he can see he's in a clearing and there are the remains of other little boys pinned to the trees surrounding the clearing. Looking down he sees he's also pinned to a tree. Creepy!

I have never read this story, but now I'd kind of like to and my google-fu is not turning anything up. Does this ring a bell with any of you?

#335 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:23 AM:
Lindsay Beyerstein: What is the Family?

Jeff Sharlet: It's an international network of evangelical activists in government, military and business. The Family is dedicated to this idea that Christianity has gotten it all wrong for two thousand years by focusing on the poor, the suffering and the weak.

Lindsay Beyerstein: In "The Family," a lot of subjects explicitly state their admiration for Hitler and other authoritarian political figures. How much of that is admiring their style, and how much is admiring their substance?

Jeff Sharlet: I'd argue that there isn't a hell of a lot of difference. I spent a lot of time living with these guys, and I remember at one point asking them, "What's the deal with all this Hitler talk?" And they'd say, "Oh, it's not the ends, it's the means." But to most of us, the means seem pretty bad, too. The means are authoritarianism.

Lindsay Beyerstein: Is [Hillary Clinton] still getting counseling from him?

Jeff Sharlet: This was in 2005, and she refused to say anything about this. When NBC questioned her about this, her only answer was that (she's) not a member and (she) has never given Doug Coe money -- which was a strangely parsed kind of answer.

Scary stuff.

#336 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:32 AM:

B. Loppe: I think that's a Roald Dahl story, but I am not quite sure.

#337 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:35 AM:

Late to the nautical signals game:
Affirmative, Require Medical Assistance, [no meaning]/Preparing to Replenish.
Hmmm, can't quite get a narrative out of that.

#338 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 02:27 AM:

Michael Swanwick reports that Howard Waldrop has been hospitalized, and will undergo bypass surgery on Monday. I wish him luck and a speedy recovery.

This just hasn't been a good week for our comnunity.

#339 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 12:54 PM:

What do y'all know about the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008? Some of the commentary I've read on it is strongly unfavorable -- supposedly it would de facto reinstate the currently obsolete (since 1976, IIRC) requirement to register works in order to have copyright protection, and make it too easy for people to claim they've searched for a work's creator diligently before using it when they really haven't tried very hard. Lawrence Lessig is against it, which considering his general views on copyright suggests it's a bad thing. I read the House version of the bill (apparently there are disparate House and Senate versions that haven't been reconciled yet), and don't see major problems with it, but as a non-lawyer I'm not confident that I've understood it well enough to know whether it's a good or a bad thing.

It seems to be mostly visual artists rather than authors who are mad about it; the bill has a provision for the Copyright Office certifying private databases of pictorial and sculptural works, but not of sonic or textual works, if I understand correctly.

The Copyright office's page on the bill

#340 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:13 PM:

I hope Waldrop will be okay. I saw him for the first time at Boskone, and had a great time talking about the drive between Colorado and Texas with him.

I eventually figured out who he was. We talked about roadside eateries, drive-in movies, fishing and taxidermy (much of the burden of these last two was borne by another friend who was there).

Best of luck to him. I hope to see him again.

#341 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:16 PM:

B. Loppe - I read a story with superficial similarities to that, only it was about a boy whose father was an explorer, and he tried to live up to it by pinning moths. Something happens, but it's not what's described. It was probably in one of those Hitchcock paperbacks. It made a strong impression on me, but after all these years I don't remember enough to be helpful. Sorry.

#342 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Come to think, "big-game hunter" would have been more accurate than "explorer." Slightly different pith helmet.

#343 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Bruce Cohen #338: Howard Waldrop has been hospitalized, and will undergo bypass surgery on Monday.

He's at the same hospital where I received my quadruple bypass operation. They do good work there. I guess my main advice for that situation is "don't skimp on the rehab".

#344 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:54 PM:

Kip W #342: I believe you are taking the pith.

#345 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Fragano @ 344: Perhaps it was simply a knee-jerk reaction?

I'll just pith off now.

#346 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Ginger #345: Not before you pat Ella. I don't think of you as the pithy sort.

#347 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 04:25 PM:

Far better to pith than to be pithed, certainly. (And no, this is not a reference to LBJ and the tent analogy.)

#348 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Somehow these puns have lost their zest.

#349 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 05:22 PM:

They're not very appeeling, are they? Downright seedy in fact. But it all stems from the same thing...I'd as leaf we'd never begun.

#350 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 07:36 PM:

Fragano @ 346: That's because I'm spinelessly unable to resist..and I shall pause a moment to genuflect upon this, before I get a head of myself.

#351 ::: B.Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 09:04 PM:

Clifton, Kip, thanks very much. I am emailing my friend with these details to see if they ring any more bells. Also, that's a few more items to add to my search string.

#352 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 10:12 PM:

A recommendation: local-to-me avant-prog band Sleepytime Gorilla Museum has three fantastic* videos up on their site. All are quite different from each other, and from most things. The live set is very impressive as well.

*In both senses of the word.

#353 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 01:41 AM:

I finished watching Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica a little bit ago.

Apparently, we have to wait until next year to find out more.


So. I'm not in the mood for more heaviness, and I'm too tired to enjoy a Doctor Who so I turn off the TiFaux. I see that an episode of the digitally-enhanced Original Star Trek is showing. Hey, why not?

Only instead the channel was running an infomercial. For some kind of colonic irrigation product. I just checked back and now there's a Wealth Expert telling people they can get rich buying up foreclosed properties and renting them out.

I think Television is telling me to read something.

#354 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 09:24 AM:

Ginger #350: You seem rather kneedy, perhaps a joint approach to the problem would be useful?

#355 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Fragano @ 354: Ah, you're hip to my ways! Atlas someone who understands, and believe me, that comes in handy. I find it rather humerus that even in this digital age we still rely on human connections.

#356 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Ginger #355: I was afraid I might have stuck my foot in it, but who am I to carpal about such matters?

#357 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 02:31 PM:

Fragano @356 -- we know you don't have tunnel vision. Farsighted but not long-winded.

#358 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 02:54 PM:

Fragano @ 356: I toe-tally understand, and there's no need for anyone to be so sternum about it. We rib each other all the time, and that's the tooth.

Someone who complains about another's complaint is only meta-carpal-ing.

#359 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Debbie #357: I might be struck by an oncoming train if I see the light.

#360 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Ginger #358: I worry about such things, it's one of my many phalanges.

#361 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 07:35 PM:

An interesting article on the copyright claimants for that "Footprints in the Sand" poem.

#362 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 08:58 PM:

Much as I hesitate to come within the radius of this punfest, I'd ulna be prolonging the agony of de feet if I stayed out. (Actually I'm lying: I think puns are fibulous.)

#363 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:10 AM:

All those puns... I hope the kids soon go back to skull.

#365 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:56 AM:

I will be out of contact most of the time until the end of the week; my computer is in the shop. Seems that in order to fix the cover latch you have to replace the entire bottom of the case.

Please resume punning.

#366 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:09 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 365... May your electronic brain get its case back soon.

#368 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 01:53 PM:


your website is cited here as a good bookbinding site! (I found that page through craft: magazine's blog.)

#369 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 03:09 PM:

Nancy @386:

Cool. The site is hopelessly out of date with what I've been doing lately, but I built it as I learned the basics, and as I made my own tools.

I'm glad other people find it useful.

#370 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Open thread continuity:

I saw the singer again today; rode behind her for a few blocks. She sang, as usual. Modern music, this time, late 20th Century pop in English.

Not every day can be medieval.

#371 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:46 PM:

I see that Bruce has bottomed out here, next stop, long furry ears and Shakespearian language.

#373 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:56 PM:

I stopped by the main page just now, and saw three new posts with thirteen comments each. It's probably significant somehow; maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. Or maybe I shouldn't buy a lottery ticket.

#374 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Just saw this: special effects wizard Stan Winston has died.

He produced some spectacular movie magic. A real shame to leave at only age 62.

Stan Winston

#375 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Sarah, that would have been even spookier if it happened last Friday, the thirteenth <cue eerie music>

#376 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:46 PM:

Checking the Stan Winston link, I noticed in the sidebar there's a case going on about the 'Myspace suicide' discussed hereabouts late last year.

#377 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Because a lot of people here are either con-goers themselves or know people who are:

This past weekend, there was a start-up media-con in Dallas which called itself FedConUSA. It imploded in fairly spectacular fashion, and there are going to be some legal issues.

There is a fan-run con in Dallas (this fall will be its 5th year) called FenCon, with an N. FenCon is not connected in any way to FedConUSA.

This is particularly important to note because, in addition to the similarity of names and location, both the coordinator of the failed FedCon and one of the Executive Committee of the successful FenCon are named Tim! You perceive the possibility of confusion between the two events. FenCon Tim has already received a few e-mails asking him why the con was being canceled.

FenCon is a terrific regional con; I've attended it every year and had a wonderful time. They don't need the grief of being confused with something that seems to have been run under very questionable circumstances. If you hear any scuttlebutt about this, please help the good guys and make sure people are aware of the difference.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Open Thread.

#378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:22 AM:

"What do people do on Sunday night in Albuquerque?"
- Chris Noth in the latest episode of Criminal Intent

#379 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:08 AM:

abi @370--Not every day can be medieval.

I'm rather fond of the baroque ones, myself.

#380 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:44 AM:

Debbi @ 379... To quote Cat Stevens...

"Morning has baroquen."

#381 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:55 AM:

Just read the "American Nerd" Sidelight, and it certainly made me curious about the book. Particularly, I hope as a "cultural study" it's a bit more comprehensive than the interview implies.

I certainly found the proposal that nerds are "hyperwhite" to be an interesting idea. I wonder what he would make of Nerdcore Hip-hop? The Nerdcore Rising movie also brought up racial issues I'd never thought of...Prince Paul commented on how difficult it would be to be a black nerd in particular; but even then the jump to "being a nerd is like being white but more so" was not explicitly raised. I find it troubling, but also hard to explicitly deny. I mean, thinking of black nerds in popular media, at least, one certainly could come away with that impression as well. Urkel is the sort of canonical example, and he was basically an old white man in a black teen's body. Hackers is one of the few representations I can think of that break that mold, but it was breaking a lot of "these people aren't cool" molds.

There's been gobs of discussion about race issues in fandom, of course, but as fandom is seen by many as a subset of's an interesting wrinkle.

#382 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:53 AM:

More Turner-ings: After revelling in the fully restored My Fair Lady, we decided to stay with the guest host's next choice, The Oscar. Omigod! Android acting, sleazeball story, and 1966 decor that all too accurately presaged the horrors of the Seventies -- plus a screenplay co-written by Harlan Ellison! (If only *he* could have played the title role....)

#383 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:56 AM:

Correction to post: not "title" role, *lead* role.

#384 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Faren 383: He could have played the title role. All he'd need would be gold makeup and enough ADHD meds to hold still for the takes.

#385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:04 PM:

Faren @ 382... Oh goodness. I remember that movie. I much prefer Bill Maher's other programing choice, Where the Boys Are. Heck, it has Paula Prentiss and Frank Gorshin.

#386 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:55 PM:

Serge @ 385: Frank Gorshin? Of television Batman fame? (He was the Riddler, IIRC).

Phew. I just can't imagine him in any other role.

#387 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:56 PM:

#378: Turn right?

#388 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Ginger @ 386... Yes, that very same Frank Gorshin, who, by the way, also was in Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, where he plays the director of the insane asylum.

#389 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:12 PM:

I've known black nerds or at least some somewhat nerdly blacks...


"Who/What/Where/Why/Where is Dwight?"


The fact that most of what's on those two webpages isn't likely to make much sense to most people (except the LJ one does explicity have "nerd" on it...), is a Clue that yes, indeed, there are nerds involved, and Dwight was/is something of an archetypal in some ways nerd (alas, he's fallen on hard times, I was quite shocked to find out that in the years since I'd last seen him, he'd gone blind).

#390 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:14 PM:

Ginger @ 386: Gorshin also played Bele in Classic Trek's "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". It was very weird to see him there after I identified him with the Riddler.

#391 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:16 PM:

Open threadiness:

There's a particularly poorly-chosen ad currently displaying in the "The last thing Iowa needs" Particle; an ad for Iowa fishing licenses showing a wide expanse of water. Oops.

#392 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Regarding "Shizgara:" one doesn't need to understand Russian in order to paste "Шизгара" into a Youtube search box. I liked this enthusiastic, balalaika-laden performance. You might call it Shocking Red.

(Some may prefer a cello.)

#393 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 02:22 PM:

Joel @ 390: Oh, yes, I remember -- it was so unlike him, I could hardly recognize him.

Serge @388: I totally missed him in 12 Monkeys. Now I have to put that one on my Netflix queueueue.

#394 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:18 PM:

Ginger @ 393... Please do put 12 monkeys on your queue. Gorshin is but one reason to watch it again. Not only is Madeleine Stowe in this movie, but it is an excellent time-travel story. (And you get to see Bruce Willis drool abundantly, and Brad Pitt going crazy. And, hey, that Special Victim Unit's Chris Meloni as a cop!)

#395 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:19 PM:

Gorshin was a Las Vegas regular as well. He did impersonations. I remember seeing his name associated with a third-rate casino circa the early 90s.

#397 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Regarding race and nerdiness: oy, what a kettle of fish. A few first thoughts:

1) The anime/manga/manhwa/videogame juggernaut significantly complicates the whole thing by adding a heaping dose of Orientalism to the mix. See: North American nerds reclaiming "otaku". If what's-her-face were paying attention to the current state of geekdom, she'd be analysing nerdiness as hyper-Asianness.

2) Chicken-and-egg: surely perceptions of nerdiness as largely a White enterprise come from the racism endemic to nerdy industries like comics and SF? (No, I'm not calling You Personally racist. I mean that systemic racism in society as a whole is reflected in SF and comics.)

2.5) I met most of my current nerd friends in a university seminar on The Lord of the Rings, you know, that cornerstone of modern fantasy. Looking at it as a nerd: it changed my life. Looking at it as a biracial person: its racial politics make me queasy. Have not yet managed to reconcile the two perspectives.

3) I don't find that nerds-of-colour are rare, but I come from a wildly diverse city.

#398 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 07:15 PM:

Tlönista 397: Lord of the Rings is appallingly racist. This bothered me by about the fourth time I read it (I started reading it when I was 12, and I didn't notice the undercurrent of racism in it). Remember that it was written during WWII, when nasty harsh-tongued furriners from the east were causing no END of trouble, and when the Japanese were the Scary Not Quite Really Human Enemy.

Not an excuse: an explanation. The racism of the time was aggressive and drenching; Tolkien did not successfully resist it, and TLOTR is soaked in it.

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 07:25 PM:

Cyd Charisse passed away today. She was 87. Her heart, I think.

#400 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:36 PM:

A.O.N: About halfway through my bottle of Dr. McGillicuddy's Cherry "schnapps", I noticed it said 'serve chilled", so I tried putting it in the refrigerator. That improved it some, but it wasn't all that cold, so I tried putting it in the fridge.

It froze. Whoops, seems the stuff's only 15% alcohol... schnapps, my apss! That barely qualifies as a cordial!

So, back to the whiskey for tonight... I've been finding some pretty good middle-range whiskeys this year. I'm currently sipping Lismore, a Speyside single malt Scotch.

Virginia Gentleman bourbon is also pretty good, despite its odd labeling: Distilled in Kentucky (there's also a Kentucky Gentleman brand) then "re-distilled" in Virginia.

I'm thinking about trying corn whiskey next -- it seems a couple of "legit" local brands have appeared over the past few years.

#401 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:58 PM:


Oh my .... and he got the speckled stage, too.

#402 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:24 PM:

Department of Unintentionally Humorous Headlines:

Rush to wed as California legalises gay marriage

#403 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:29 PM:

Tlönista @#397: Well, sort of... the Japanese side, at least of "Orientalism" could well be considered "whiter than white".

Personally, I note that the nerd stereotype does have a lot to do with Asperger's and the autistic spectrum in general. Someone already mentioned Steve Urkel (There's an Aspie fantasy for you!) but there are certainly black Aspies in reality. (No, I haven't read "Nerds...My people" yet, I'll get it from the library at some point.)

#404 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:46 PM:

And a random wandering review:

Brandon Sanderson's Well of Ascension kicks ass! The heroes are determined, smart, tricky, and creative... unfortunately for them, so are the villains. (Nobody's plans go quite as intended!) Plus there's an entirely different fight between hidden powers, going on in the background, and building to... the next volume, due in October.

#405 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:50 PM:

Belated correction to #400: My cherry "cordial" froze in the freezer. And now I shall take the hint and go to bed. Zzzz....

#406 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:32 PM:

Marilee @361: Back in, maybe, the early 90s, I used to see a music paper called Catharsis at selected venues in Hampton Roads. I now suspect it wasn't strictly local to the area. Anyway, their cartoonist, Pat McGeehan (sic?) did a "Catharsis Joe" adventure where Catharsis Joe (who looked like the bubblegum comic character Bazooka Joe, including the eye patch) was chatting with Jesus about how their footprints in the sand show them walking together.

But, hey!, says Joe, when I was having the real tough times, there's just one set of footprints! Like when I lost my eye! ("A glass eye costs how much? Oh, never mind, just give me a patch.") Why did you leave me alone, Jesus?

Why, my son, says JC, those were the times when you were too weary to walk, and so I carried you.

Well, persists Joe, how about where there's just one set of prints and a wavy line between them?

That's when you were too heavy to carry, my son, so I used a wheelbarrow.

Joe points again. How about here, where it's just a bunch of big dots in the sand?

Jesus explains: Pogo stick.

#407 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:41 AM:

Paula (#389): Dwight still comes by Walker sometimes for the Friday night SGS boardgaming sessions, though I haven't seen him much of late.

He does have some remaining sight AFAIK, but it's not a whole lot. One advantage of several of the Eurogames is that there's little or no text and/or minimal hidden information, making them easier for him to play (since he can ask "which piece is that?" if they're all open).

#408 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:55 AM:

Is it very wrong of me to treasure having been called a "psychopathic baby killing bitch" by an anti-choice loony toon on Boing Boing, even though both his comment and the comment of mine to which it was responding have both been (justly) deleted?

I do treasure it though. Perhaps I'm going to hell.

#409 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:57 AM:

No, you don't. That second 'both' is an afterimage; it's not really there. Otherwise I would be guilty of redundancy, unnecessary repetition, and redundancy.

#410 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:25 AM:

Xopher @ 409... I would be guilty of redundancy, unnecessary repetition, and redundancy.

Say that again?

#411 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:40 AM:

I'm back early; turns out the computer surgery wasn't as complicated as they thought it would be. It means I'm in time to post part of an email I just got from Peter Beagle's list (I hope Patrick and Teresa won't mind that I'm copying a lot of it in here. It's not posted on any of his sites as far as I could see, and it's time critical for people in the NYC area).


On July 18th & 19th, PETER S. BEAGLE and PHIL SIGUNICK will be performing together in public for the first time in 44 years.

(That's right — more than four decades. Their last gig as a duo was all the way back in 1964, when they opened for Tom Paxton at a club in Berkeley, California.)

These two special shows will take place at the Red Eft Gallery in Wurtsboro, New York, just 75 miles northwest of New York City...

...and there are only 83 seats available for each night.

Tickets are $20, and with so few seats they should go fast. If you want to be there for this rare musical treat, make sure you get your reservation in ASAP by either (1) emailing or (2) calling us at 415-731-2267. And please make sure you tell us which night you prefer!

There will be wine and cheese and what-nots before each show, and a chance to get books signed and hang around with Peter and Phil for a good while afterward.

Fans of Peter's classic travel memoir, I SEE BY MY OUTFIT, will absolutely not want to miss this chance to be there when Phil and Peter pick up their guitars and recapture the magic that helped make their long-ago cross-country journey so extraordinary.

#412 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:10 AM:

Tlönista @397 and Xopher @398:
At least one edition of The Lord of the Rings includes a foreword (or possibly an afterword) where JRRT essentially says "mea culpa" and explains that, as what we would today call an "embedded reporter", he was quite surrounded by jingoism.

#413 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:11 AM:

Okay, here's an open-thready type question.

My 2-year contract with Sprint is expiring soon. I'm contemplating discontinuing their service and getting a pay-as-you-go kind of thing where I just buy topup cards from time to time. (I don't use my Treo 755p as a phone very much, it's mostly a PDA.) Today I had a look in my local drugstore and there seem to be a number of people providing that sort of thing. I'm curious whether people here have had any good or bad experiences with any such phone service providers that they can share with me.

(Feel free to email.)

#414 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:50 AM:

David Goldfarb @ #413, I use Tracfone and have for the past two years. After the initial phone expense it's cheap and easy, with good coverage. Safeway and Office Depot (next door stores in the strip mall I go to regularly) both sell cards in 60 minute, 120 minute or longer values. You also get about a 3-month time frame in which to use your minutes. You can also buy minutes online with a credit card.

They offer specials frequently, if you discover you need more minutes than I do (I got the phone primarily for auto emergencies, which I haven't had since I bought it [knock wood]).

They offer a reasonable variety of phones, although last I looked none included cameras, if you want that kind of bell and whistle. POTS is what they offer, really.

#415 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:48 AM:

geekosaur @412: Huh. That faintly impresses me.

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:39 AM:

A software question...

My wife has finally given in, and is going to switch from WordPerfect to MS Word. Unfortunately, that software doesn't appear to be sold separately, but is part of, for example, package MS Office Home and Student 2007. Since it also contains Excel, that's ok, but... There is always a but with MS. It also contains MS Mail. Assuming that the install has to be for the whole package, will the Outlook that my wife already uses for her email also be affected? (That sounds better than asking if it'll be effed up.)

#417 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:16 AM:

Serge at 416,
at the risk of sounding too evangelical, can I ask why she's switching to Word and not OpenOffice.Org? It's all kinds of compatible, and it's freer than beer. Plus, you don't have to worry about the twitchy extras that come with MS packages.

Otherwise, I had the MS Office suite on my computer before this one, and you could choose not to install certain components; but that was a good 4 years ago, so caveat installor.

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:25 AM:

JimR @ 416... The place that looked at my wife's laptop actually installed OpenOffice. She could use that (and I could use that free beer you mentionned), yes, but can a Word user read an OpenOffice document, and can that be done without its layout being thrown out the.. ah.. Window?

#419 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:13 AM:

Open Office can save in Word format (maybe not the absolute latest version). I've had to do this, and not had any problems.

#420 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:15 AM:

Dave Bell @ 419... Thanks.

#421 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Bumper sticker sighted yesterday:

Librarians for Obama

#422 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:18 AM:

geekosaur@412: a foreword (or possibly an afterword) where JRRT essentially says "mea culpa"

There wouldn't be a copy of that online somewhere, would there? I'd love to read it.

#423 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:24 AM:

Greg London, 422, sez,

geekosaur@412: a foreword (or possibly an afterword) where JRRT essentially says "mea culpa"
There wouldn't be a copy of that online somewhere, would there? I'd love to read it.

Yes, ditto please!

Further on nerds and hyperwhite. I think that conflating nerdiness with whiteness and with race makes my head hurt. Somehow I can't get clarity on this in my head. Somebody help!

"Acting white" is a slur specific to the African-American community for people who act nerdy in order to knuckle under to theMan. Is that a reflection of how 'white' nerds are positioned as betas to Jock-type alphas?

I'm reminded of Paul Graham's awful* essay Lies We Tell Kids, where he comes up with this dubious insight:

there are certain qualities that some groups in America consider "acting white." In fact most of them could as accurately be called "acting Japanese." There's nothing specifically white about such customs. They're common to all cultures with long traditions of living in cities.
I can't decide if he's right, partially right, or just speaking from a position of white male privilege.

*there are some deeply, subtly wrong things in that essay. Which is disappointing, because he's smart, and so I can't just dismiss the whole thing out of hand. I hate having to go back and check someone's work.

#424 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:54 AM:

David Goldfarb (413): I use T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go phone service. I've only had it since March, but I quite like it. I chose T-Mobile because I almost never use the phone (emergencies, and occasionally when traveling). Their minutes are good for 90 days (vs 30 from most other providers), and I only have to spend $10 at a time. If you actually use your phone on a regular basis, you will have other criteria, but those were mine.

#425 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:05 AM:

Serge @418,
I think that unless the formatting gets really wonky, it will be ok. OO.O always has this message about "Unless you save in ODT format, your formatting might not be saved" but I've really only had formatting trouble saving in basic formats like RTF or TXT.
OO.O allows you to save in DOC, and I've never had any weird issues with that--my work PC only has MSWord, so any documents I create at home have to be compatible. Again, your results may vary--but, if you do have trouble, OOO has a very active support community (emphasis on the community) and they usually have a way to deal with conversion issues.

When I made the switch, I found that there was a bit of a learning curve, but I can't imagine it's any steeper than WordPerfect to Word. Basic functions are all intuitive, and more advanced users will find all kinds of support tutorials and FAQ's on the webpage.

Anyway, your wife could give it a try and always move on to Word if it's not up to snuff. Cain't hurt none to try, I reckon.

(I swear, they aren't paying me. It's just a quality software suite, and dammit, they offer a viable, free alternative to MS.)

#426 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:08 AM:

Serge (416): I second the suggestion to use Especially if the alternative is Word 2007* and not one of the earlier versions.

*In which Microsoft decided to completely change all the things hundreds of thousands of users had spent millions of person-hours learning.

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:12 AM:

I have StarOffice 8, which is OpenOffice more-or-less. It's pretty good for a lot of things, although it won't do everything Word does (you can't do find/replace on special characters, for one).
It will, however, open and sort really large files, and it can write PDF files.

#428 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:18 AM:

#339, Jim Henry -

I put what I know (which isn't much) about that Orphan Works Act in a post here.

There was also an opinion by Dave Bell in between the original question and my response.

#429 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:23 AM:

Tloenista @ 397,
See: North American nerds reclaiming "otaku".
I really, really hate that.
I don't know why, but American "Otaku" rub me the wrongest of ways. I think part of it might be that me being a American male in Japan, I almost always get labeled that way by other North Americans (the other common label is far more infuriating--I'll let you figure that one out on your own.)
It might also be that Otaku tend to think they are not only experts on what kind of underwear the Sailor Moon girls wear, but on Japan and Japanese culture in general.
Because they watch cartoons, you see.
(Insert Homeresque groan of disgust here.)

#430 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Serge @418 -- I too use Open Office most of the time. I've had reasonable luck figuring out formating problems etc. with the available online forums. Fora. Forae. Discussion groups.

Up till now MS was pretty pissy about reading other formats -- i.e. files saved with the .odt extension. I understand that's due to change, but to be on the safe side, you should make sure documents are also saved as .doc or .xls (not just "in Word format") if other readers with MS-Office are going to need to read them.

#431 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:23 PM:

P J @ 427... Debbie @ 430... Thanks for the tips.

#432 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:03 PM:

P J Evans @ #427: It's pretty good for a lot of things, although it won't do everything Word does (you can't do find/replace on special characters, for one).

Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "special characters", the version of OpenOffice I have does have that ability. (The instructions are in the help index under "regular expressions".)

#433 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:46 PM:

Open Threadiness: A new online SF magazine (forwarded to me by a good friend): Darwin's Evolutions.

Some of the folks involved are Baen authors, and some of the others hang out at Baen's Bar. I used to hang out there, which is how I know them. I am not affiliated with this magazine, and no one pays me to do anything for this magazine.

I like the story about pet rocks. I used to breed them, so I found it cute. ;-)

#434 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Paul A @ 432... I take it that special characters are things like the umlaut and all those pesky accents that French has.

#435 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Ginger @ 433... pet rocks. I used to breed them

What do you call their offspring?
Kid-ney stones?

#436 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:24 PM:

geekosaur 412: I hadn't heard that! Thank you, it makes me feel much better about the man...though of course the BOOK is still racist, just acknowledged to be so by its author. Still, the healing can begin, and I have you to thank for it. And I, too, would like to read it.

JimR 429: What the heck does 'Otaku' mean? And is the word you're referring to 'gaijin'?

#437 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:27 PM:

I had in mind paragraph marks and tabs. I do a lot of that kind of editing.

(It may be buried in the manual, but they may want to make it a little easier to find.)

#438 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:45 PM:

David Goldfarb @413: I use Virgin Mobile USA. No contract, top up every 90 days, and you can get the phone for less than $30.

Charges are $.25 per minute for the first 10 minutes of the day, $.10 per minute thereafter. Text message $.10 apiece.

The only places I have lost signal was in the tunnels below our Regional Office in Chicago, and in elevators.

#439 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:54 PM:

PJ Evans --

I suspect you're going about it the wrong way, at least the wrong way for OpenOffice.

Because OpenOffice is using an XML file representation, there isn't an actual paragraph mark in the file, as there might be with an application that doesn't have an hierarchical data representation.

So probably there's a better way to do what you're doing using the styles in the context of Open Office.

That said, both tab and end-of-paragraph are easy searches using regular expressions: \t and $ respectively. There's no magic in the paragraph markers the way there is in Word, though.

#440 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:54 PM:

Xopher, #436: As a first approximation, "otaku" = "anime-niac". People with more nuanced knowledge can probably flesh that out a bit.

#441 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:56 PM:

Xopher @326: IIRC, o-taku technically means "honorable house" and was once used as a very respectful second-person pronoun[*]. Several decades ago in Japan, fans of samurai-era movies started to address one another that way in a general vein of speaking forsoothly. From there, its meaning started to spill over into referring to any oversaturated fan of anything, and now tends to have a somewhat sinister connotation of "complete dork who lives in parents' basement, red-eyed and loopy with solvent fumes from painting resin model kits of naked schoolgirls wreathed with tentacles".

Outside Japan, the meaning of "otaku" has been stripped down to "avid fan" (usually of anime/manga), and indeed tends to be borne with pride partly engendered from even knowing the word "otaku" in the first place, though not always its entire history.

[*: at least to the extent that Japanese *has* pronouns; I've seen it argued by some linguists that the words generally labelled as such (e.g., the sundry "first-person pronouns" boku, ore, atashi, etc.) really aren't, since they can be used in ways that aren't strictly pronominal-- if a little old lady says to a small boy, "boku wa ringo daisuki ne?", the meaning is generally *not* "I love apples, right?" but rather "You love apples, right?" because of the age/gender specificity of boku.]

#442 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Kip W @ 406 -

Oh, I like that a lot!

#443 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:04 PM:


It turns out that if you use proper botanical form for describing plants and their habitats wikipedia will accuse you of plagiarism.

I really should stay away from the back stage area there, it's bad for my faith, hope, and charity.

#444 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:07 PM:

That will be very helpful. The first thing is finding out how they're representing them. (I did know about the XML files: it used to be more obvious than it now is).

See, I'm one of those people who will turn spaces into tabs, to create columns in a really big report, where there's no other way to do it (replacing commas wouldn't do it). Wholesale search-and-replace is really useful in doing something like that, if you can figure out how to tell it what you're trying to do.

#445 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:52 PM:

P J Evans --

If I am understanding the task correctly, you want to turn space-separated fields into columnar data?

You might want to take a look at Table->Convert->Text to Table; you have to highlight the text first. It will do tabs or single spaces as separators quite happily.

If you're actually trying to set up multi-column pages, that's relatively easy to do with page styles.

#446 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Serge @ 435: That, or chips. When they go bad, they're riprap. How do I know when young stones go bad? They're on the wrong side of agate.

#447 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:13 PM:

don #423:

I've known a few black nerds (in the sense of people who e-mail you chemistry jokes, read SF, and get the punchline of the average XKCD strip), but they sure seemed much more rare in the CS/math classes, high-tech startup jobs, crypto conferences, etc., than whites and Asians. I wouldn't be surprised if this while pattern of interests and behaviors was just more rare among blacks--that wouldn't seem any weirder than blacks and whites having different patterns of voting, favorite television shows, naming choices for their kids, etc. OTOH, maybe there are vast reservoirs of black nerdiness to which I've simply never been introduced.

#448 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:16 PM:

don #423: I felt much the same way about the essay. Like there were some true things being said, but distorted and tangled up with nonsense in various places. I kept thinking I'd like to see what the author thinks of his own essay in ten years.

#449 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Xopher and Julie L. @441: When I think of self-identified North American otaku I think of white boys wielding katanas they bought from the mall whilst wishing for an Asian girlfriend of their very own and playing lots of Final Fantasy. Though the more accurate term for this slightly stereotypical mindset is "Glorious Nippon!".

Admittedly I know quite a few nerds myself who wouldn't be caught dead watching the American dub.* God help me, sometimes I'm one of them.

*If you know what I mean, you're a nerd.**
**If you prefer the subtitles, you're super nerdy.***
***If you never relax this principle even for high-quality productions like the Studio Ghibli stuff, you're definitely an otaku.

#450 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:14 PM:

More or less related to #449
I saw my first ASUS eee the other day.
It was being used by a young man who was apparently translating a Japanese graphic novel. (Type on computer, read book, type on computer, check electronic dictionary, type on computer, read book ....)

#451 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:20 PM:

Lori #438:

I've got Virgin Mobile USA too (sorry, Charlie Stross) but the pricing is a touch different; mine is 18 cents/minute regardless. (Texts are still ten cents.) I've never had it drop out on me while I was actually using it, but my phone (Snapper) is all too good about chirping when it thinks it's out of range/signal--like every time I go into an elevator. VM use a cheap tier of Sprint service, and it sometimes shows; last month my mother and I got to the lodge at Natural Bridge in eastern Kentucky (mountains and no large towns), and decided to call our respective people. Her regular Sprint phone worked fine; mine refused to find any signal whatsoever.

#452 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:26 PM:

Ginger @ 446... They're on the wrong side of agate

And you ruby't in, every chance you get.

#453 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:10 PM:

albatross, 448,
don #423: I felt much the same way about the essay. Like there were some true things being said, but distorted and tangled up with nonsense in various places. I kept thinking I'd like to see what the author thinks of his own essay in ten years.

Right. I'm glad I'm not alone on that one. Have you read his other stuff? He's concerned about not being wrong about things, about not holding prejudiced beliefs that will be judged harshly by the people of the future. I also wonder what he will think of what he wrote.

OTOH, maybe there are vast reservoirs of black nerdiness to which I've simply never been introduced.
That's a really really interesting thought. Does nerdiness have color? (Or ethnicity?) I'm about as ignorant as one would expect a privileged white male to be on this.

#454 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:18 PM:

Serge @452: Garnet! You tourmaline around.

#455 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:28 PM:

on otaku-ness and nerdiness:

Two other bits that play into the definition: otaku can be used as an adjective; properly speaking, anime nerds are anime otaku, railfans are densha otaku, etc etc. (I think the popular book/manga/movie series Densha Otoko is a pun on that - and is an example of the more recent positive attitude towards otaku.)

The term otaku has a really negative connotation due to a serial child molester murderer, Tsutomu Miyazaki, who was a kind of anime otaku and became seen as representative of the tribe to normal people. Incidentally, he was executed yesterday, though his crimes were committed in 1988-89.

From the above linked Telegraph article:

Police who searched Miyazaki's small flat found 5,763 videos, including violent anime manga that quickly earned him the title the "Otaku murderer". Despite mainly harmless associations with Japanese cartoons and films, the public fear of the "Otaku" cult has never really abated since Miyazaki's crimes
Note that anime videos are ruinously expensive for Japanese fans, and are often used as a yardstick of commitment. Also, Miyazaki is a fairly common family name, so he's no relation to the wonderful fellow who runs Studio Ghibli.

#456 ::: Mary Aileen reports more old dog-spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:28 PM:

More old dog-spam here.

Is anyone cleaning these up? Should I keep reporting them?

#457 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:33 PM:

I forgot to link to the Densha Otoko entry! It's perfect for Making Light, it's got nerds, it's got romance, it's even got message board communities!!!

Here's a summary from a review of one of the manga versions:

The book begins by following the nameless hero as he wanders around Tokyo, mulling over his paralyzing shyness and generally getting taken advantage of. Once that’s established, we see his brief moment of heroism, when he shakes off his inhibitions to stop a drunk from harassing a girl on the train. When the girl sends him a set of Hermes teacups as a thank-you, he dares to dream: maybe he can talk to a girl after all. Unsure what to do—he has no friends or, apparently, family—he posts his story on an online channel for “poison men,” men who have no girlfriends. The anonymous posters offer advice and moral support, and he quickly becomes a phenomenon on the message board, more addictive than any game.
Poison men for the win!!!

#458 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:02 PM:


who wouldn't be caught dead watching the American dub.*

i'm not much of an anime fan, but a lot of the stuff i have watched, i've watched (& preferred) subtitled. cause i figure i'm getting the original director's choice of voice actor, & reading subtitles doesn't bother me. just like i'd rather watch any foreign film subtitled rather than dubbed.

the kind of foundational (my foundations as an anime-appreciator) anime i saw this way (akira, cowboy bebop), were shown me by a boyfriend-at-the-time who also strongly preferred subtitles. & he's not an otaku by any stretch, certainly not in the horrible way you describe such northamericans above. but he does have the trait of all-around snobbism, like i have, where if you're experiencing something new you want to do it in the "most correct" & "authentic" way.

even if that makes us terrible poseurs & orientalists, i guess.

studio ghibli, yeah, that stuff i watched in english. because that's how it came out in theatres, & also because it's so popular & acclaimed, which caused so much of the best english-speaking talent to come on board with the dubbed version (like neil gaiman working on the script!), which meant that i felt i was seeing a work of art in its own right, not a work of art with other voices tacked on.

#459 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:36 PM:

I don't have a cite handy, but I've read the "acting white" phenomenon all derives from one anecdotal report, given in an academic context, and that the rest has followed the way poisonous memes often do.

For what it's worth, the article on steampunk fashion in the NYT which I put a link up to, oh, about fifty thousand comments ago, had a picture of a black guy in some very nifty clothing.

#460 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:46 AM:

Don Delney, #455,
This: ...the public fear of the "Otaku" cult has never really abated since Miyazaki's crimes is utterly ridiculous. Otaku cult? the very definition of Media sensationalism. There is no such thing, and I have neither seen nor heard any kind of public fear of Otaku. They're considered fairly benign, and since Densha Otoko, they've gotten kind of cool--TV personalities here routinely self-label themselves as Otaku, and Akihabara, the Otaku mecca in Tokyo, is certainly not a fearful place (well, apart form the recent stabbing rampage there, but that guy wasn't any kind of Otaku, as far as I know).

Xopher--The other label is not "Gaijin," which is fairly bland in most instances. The one that really gets me going is "yellow fever," as in "Hey, your wife is Japanese, you got a bad case of the yellow fever." which is often linked to the kind of person Tloenista describes in 449. It's a hateful term that too many people repeat without thought.

#461 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:33 AM:

In my previous post, I'd intended to draw parallels between the terms "otaku" and "goth" wrt in-group usage as benign self-description of "interestingly weird people like us" vs. out-group pejorative labelling (esp. by overblown media panic) as dangerous psychopaths, but I forgot to at the time.

(Also cf. the general public perception of D&D in the 1980s; I still remember Tom Hanks as the lunatic RPGer in the tv adaptation of Rona Jaffe's novel "Mazes and Monsters"-- which by coincidence was one of the few books in English that we found in our hotel when visiting Japan a few months ago.)

#462 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:30 AM:

Mary Aileen @456:

I do periodic sweep-ups, going through the Open Threads looking for the word "spam" and chasing it down. It's gardening-type work, quiet and meditative.

Unfortunately, right at the minute I'm under some pressure at work and trying to get three bookbinding projects out the door before I move house in 9 days. This has not given me a lot of gardening time.

I appreciate the effort, and will be going through and sweeping up in due course.

#463 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:21 AM:

miriam beetle @458: My introduction to anime was actually pretty much the same as yours -- except the boyfriend might be considered an otaku, as he and a small circle of friends run a manga and anime review site. Therefore, I am a subtitles-watching snob.

There's a lot to love about anime and manga. And it's perfectly possible to be a huge "otaku" without fetishizing or stereotyping Japan, but unfortunately it really does exist in fandom.

JimR @460: The bf and I joke about him having "yellow fever"...but in the wrong context? Yeah, offensive.

#464 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:38 AM:

JimR and Tlönista: Yeah, two scourges of Asian expat communities are accusations of yellow fever, and on the flipside, vigorous denials of it. It's interesting how they both manage to be equally offensive.

On an Open-Thready note: Commentors who were interested in the Curating conversations (a meditation in the sunlight) thread might find this an interesting development.

#465 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:47 AM:

I thank those who've responded to my question. One point I probably didn't make sufficiently clear: I'm looking for a service I can use with the Treo I already have. Having to buy a new phone (even cheaply) is a dealbreaker.

#466 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:13 AM:

Is anyone cleaning these up? Should I keep reporting them?

I'm cleaning them up.

Yes, please keep reporting them.

#467 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:15 AM:

Thanks, Jim.

#468 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:31 AM:

abi @ 462... I move house in 9 days

Faster than a spamming bullet!
Able to move a house while binding a book!

#469 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:49 AM:

miriam beetle @ 458... My wife got Paprika on NetFlix so we watched it last night. It was subtitled, which I prefer to dubbing too. The only time I don't like subtitles is when the movie is in French because, in spite of French being my native language, I a am drawn to words like a moth to the flame.

#471 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:12 AM:

Mary Dell @ 470... God! It feels so weird to have hope in one's heart.

#472 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Open Thread-a-licious
Apart from the terrifying headline,
RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert, this article has the best. comments. ever.
Conspiracy theories, anti-government rants, insane speculations abound.

Anyway, I'm curious--do any of the more financially astute among us have some ideas about where the next year or two might take us? Is there a possibility of a major crash? Can we expect food shortages and gasoline prices to cause riots?
Or will everything just keep on trucking along?

I am not optimistic, but I am largely ignorant.

#473 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:41 AM:

A Knitted Tardis was mentioned somewhere on one of the comment threads, but I can't find the post now. Need bed soon. Here is what I've found (don't let the BBC near, tho'): TARDIS Knit Plush Pattern Instructions, and Pattern Graph; Knitted Tardis Flickr set; and Instructables page: The Tardis - knitted. I would love someone to bring one along to the annual ABC Knit-In for the Wrap With Love charity (the Big Day is !st August this year), 'cos our ABC is & has been the Dr Who purveyor in Australia since the show's beginning.

#474 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:47 AM:

And, avoiding link-moderation purgatory (now limbo is disallowed), here's the Sixth Annual 702 ABC Sydney Knit In page. Too tired to hunt for the pages showing earlier ones.

#475 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:48 AM:

#473, Epacris -

How sweet of you to dig out all those patterns! I was the one who mentioned it, but really it wasn't the pattern I couldn't find, just a particular blog post about one that suggested it was the "wrong color." I guess they thought it was a phone booth and thus should have been red.

#476 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:51 AM:

abi (462), James (466): Good! Thanks. I just didn't want to be wasting my time and annoying everyone to no purpose.

By the way, I'm pretty sure I reported old spam in March/April that probably came back when ML went kaflooey* in May. It should be in my view-all-by.

*to use the technical term

#477 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Once in a while I glance at my AOL account's bulging spam folder to be sure nothing important got caught there.

Today one of the actual spams caught me eye. They're selling art. It's oddly charming, and even instructional:

"We offer one of pre-eminent product of we are in the form of an skin engraving made of good qualified original cow skin is in the form of puppets are called wayang. Wayang is figure doll in the theatre of drama traditional which very is popular in Indonesia especially Java and Bali islands. Wayang act usually based on story taken away from by epic Ramayana and Mahabharata. This skin engraving is in the form of a wayang figure in story Ramayana. He is Anoman, a white monkey assisting Rama to free his wife, Shinta, from bad giant king clutch so called Rahwana."

#478 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:19 PM:

An otaku is not to be confused with an o-tako (with a macron I can't type over the o) which would be a giant octopus

#479 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Erik 478: Obviously you've never been on a date with one! *rimshot*

#480 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Just came from a meeting about the computer upgrades my department will be getting soon. Quoth systems, "You will crash. Expect to crash between 2-10 times a day."

This is gonna be interesting.

#481 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:18 PM:

don delny @423:

I had read that essay (and several of his others on the same site) a few years ago, and just re-read it. I don't have the knowledge or experience to comment on the "acting white" issue; but as for the rest of it, it seems more true than not, except in a few places where it's derailed by an anti-religious bias. (He seems to side to some degree with the "Brights" who consider raising children in their parents' religion as a form of child abuse.) He fails to distinguish between parents actually lying about things they know the truth about, passing on (in good faith) non-facts that they believe because they trusted the people who told them, and passing on more or less non-verifiable beliefs that Mr. Graham thinks are false.

#482 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Has anyone here linked to these yet? It's a short sequential-art series (the word "comics" seems singularly inappropriate for most of them) about personal/human-interest stories from the Sichuan earthquake. Each entry is self-contained, but there's an text introduction to the series at the bottom of the linked page; there's also another page of more recent material.

#483 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:41 PM:

Erik @478: An otaku is not to be confused with an o-tako (with a macron I can't type over the o) which would be a giant octopus

Xopher @479: Obviously you've never been on a date with one! *rimshot*

Obligatory (and NSFW) link to naughty Hokusai.

#484 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:13 PM:

#482, Julie -

Wow. Thanks for the pointer.

#485 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 477

There is, or was as of a couple of years ago, last time I went looking, a flourishing market in wayang puppets and videos of performances on Ebay. The more traditional puppets are made of leather or cured skin on wood skeletons, some later pieces are made of metal. Aside from tradition, the big issue with the puppets is that they have to stand up to a lot of use (and abuse), what with nightly performances that last for hours. The surface look isn't terribly important, since the audience sees only the shadows of the puppets on a screen, except when the puppeteers come out to take a bow.

If you have a chance to see a live show, take it, it's really fascinating stuff. I think there's a wayang company that started up in the DC area, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were one or two in the Netherlands. Other than that you'll likely have to go to Indonesia.


#486 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:03 PM:

R. M. Koske (480):
I take it the upgrade is happening because your current systems aren't crashing often enough?

#487 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:43 PM:

So... I wish I had time to look into the AP stuff more, but I don't.

AT has been fun... I am now allowed to give IV fluids, and set catheters on army personell. It was much easier than I was afraid it would be (I am all kinds of calm with various amounts of gore... in the heat of the moment; but inflicting pain (or even discomfort) in cold blood is sort of squicky.

But it was easy, and I seem to be have talent for it (though I am a hard stick for the inexperienced... no body fat = rolling veins... I was a pincusion... with lots of actuall muscle getting stabbed).

We also saw a controlled burn, and I ended up writing some haiku.

If you want to see the thoughts I had on haiku and photography... I wrote it up

Some of the non-included efforts.

Yellow beaked magpie
on my roof
calls good morning

Good Morning
says the magpie on my rooftop

Impassively they stand
amidst the burning grass
enduring oaks

Past the ground squirrels
and the rabbits
He goes in search of coffee

#489 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:17 PM:

He's no Vaclav Havel.

#490 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:58 PM:

Some of our putative "allies" on the Democratic side of things have concluded that telecomm immunity and wiretapping at the whim of the President and AG are good for us.

Some of us think otherwise.

#491 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:06 PM:

In response to Joann@451, it seems that Virgin Mobile changes the plans it offers on a fairly frequent basis. I notice the 18c/minute plan (the one we're on as well) is no longer on the main page of plans (though you can find it if you drill down into the site); I'm wondering if they are going to discontinue it soon for new phones, or have already done so. (They seem to honor old plans on existing phones, at least for a while. For instance, when I got the phone they mentioned they were still honoring the plan Lori Coulson describes in #438, but they weren't taking new signups for it.)

If you don't use the phone much, it's worth figuring out your minimum monthly cost as well. The plan I'm on has a "$20 every 90 days" feature, so the minimum monthly cost is about $7 (and the unused minutes roll over, which is nice). If you go with automatic credit card top-up, you can drop the minimum down to $5/month ($15 per 90 days), but we use about $7 worth of minutes anyway in an average month, so we haven't bothered. It's still way better than the usual "$39.99+ plus surcharges/month" contract plan if you're an infrequent cell user.

If you want two phones, they also offered a "20c/10c plan" (10c/minute when talking to a Virgin Mobile phone, 20c when talking to another phone, so in effect you can call your partner's phone and pay 20c/min. minute total instead of 36c/min.). I'm not sure if you can still get that one, but we're tempted to go for it since we've had occasions where it'd be useful for one of us to call the other when we're both mobile. Of course, then you have to double the minimum monthly payment as well.

#492 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:11 PM:

Tomorrow the House is going to bring a FISA bill to the floor that gives full and unconditional retroactive immunity to AT&T et al.

It stops the EFF's lawsuit simply on the president's say-so, and the judge is forbidden from ever describing the evidence that he'll be given of what, exactly, the president's say-so was.

Now I know that the Democratic party is in the minority in the House and Senate, and are at risk of losing many more seats in November, so they have no choice but to vote on this bill with less than 24 hours review. But that's fine, because the telecom lobby and the GOP got to review it, and since they're slightly less than entirely ecstatically happy with it, it must be the product of compromise. And it's not like anyone would ever want to check into these activities starting, say, next year.
Yes, I know, what the president says is legal, is legal.
Yes, I know, it is just a g-d piece of paper, and warrants are hard.

But consider calling your reps tomorrow morning anyways.

#493 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:17 PM:

Dear Hollywood,

After watching this year's Hugo-nominated films, I would like to propose moritoria on the following:

--introductory voiceovers
--generic orchestral music, especially when so loud as to obscure the dialog
--sappy ballads over the closing credits, even (or perhaps especially) when by synth-pop divas from the Eighties whom I otherwise quite enjoy

A Concerned Viewer

#494 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:23 PM:

oh, yes, that stuff they found on Mars? It's ice.

I should be happy. Thanks, House leadership.

#495 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Erik Nelson @478
An otaku is not to be confused with an o-tako (with a macron I can't type over the o) which would be a giant octopus

Nor should it be confused with an o-taco (who sadly is missing her Naruto headband in this image).

#496 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:30 PM:

Kathryn #492:

The blackmail photos behind this bill have got to be amazing. Or is there some other explanation?

Of course, this endless increase in government power, intrusive surveillance, and national security secrecy will end, as soon as there's a Democrat in the white house. How could I ever doubt it?

#497 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:48 PM:

Mary Dell, #470, that's great!

#498 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:07 PM:

Albatross #496

A party at the National Archives, and someone got pictures of them with a live bribe or a dead constitution?

I don't know. I wish I understood. Sure, AT&T has donated some several hundred thousands, and something about how it wouldn't be seemly to take money from convicted companies, so better keep them from the possibility of being convicted.

But, darn. If the EFF's lawsuit had been stomped out 27 months ago...
If the judge hadn't said that the defendants couldn't "seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal"...
If the house & senate Dems hadn't worked to put it off last time...
If Obama hadn't said he's against immunity and lack of accountability...

I wouldn't have had this long-banked ember of hope.

Thus my returning cynicism today is far worse for having been held off for all those months. It is as bad as everything GB has ever asked for in the past, and can we stop it?

No. We. Can't.

#499 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:19 AM:


Flat-out accusation of war crimes by a general officer of the United States military....

In 2004, Taguba released a classified report detailing abuses committed at Abu Ghraib Prison. The "Taguba Report" (executive summary) urged Pentagon officials to follow up on its findings by enforcing adherence to the Geneva Conventions in interrogations.

Taguba retired in January 2007, later alleging that Pentagon officials had ordered him to retire for being "overzealous" in his criticisms of the military....

Preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives
By Major General Antonio Taguba, USA (Ret.)

Maj. General Taguba led the US Army’s official investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and testified before Congress on his findings in May, 2004.

This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture....

...After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account....


Meanwhile, I received a Congresscritter letter with lameole excuses for stomping on any iniative for impeachment....

#500 ::: Kathryn Why Yes I am bitter ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:38 AM:

Paula #499,

But since the white house could argue these actions were

designed to prevent or detect a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation of a terrorist attack, against the United States" and (B) the subject of a written request or directive . . . indicating that the activity was (i) authorized by the President;...

Congress better get moving to give them immunity too, and do it in a way that outlaws any further investigations. I mean, how can the president ask people to do whatever he wants if he can't guarantee he'll protect them from all consequences.

#501 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:57 AM:

Help me, o luminiferous aethereans! Can anyone tell me the relative lengths of the wing bones in a bird of prey? Specifically a peregrine, and the lengths from shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist, and wrist to terminal phalanx. Just rough proportions - are we talking 2:3:1, or what?

I read Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti, and while the plot was forgettable, the premise was intriguing. I find myself drawing up approximations for fabrication of icarii wings that map closely to actual bird wings. Only, yknow, metal and hinged. (And not lighter than air.)

#502 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:13 AM:

Googling "hawk skeleton" and "eagle skeleton" turns up some images, such as .

I expect the proportions would change with the body weight, though. (Not just the wing-to-body proportion, which of course changes even more dramatically, but the proportion within the wings too.) As you approach human weight, all the extrapolations become stupid -- there's a reason hang-gliders don't look like nylon angels.

But I enjoyed the book quite a lot, and not just for the fantasy gimmicks. The plot was in some senses predictable, but well-executed and zingy. "Weak ending" is my only real complaint -- but this is more than made up for by the characters and the quality of the background detail.

#503 ::: Mez, getting Beyond Bitterness sometimes, slowly and with difficulty ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:40 AM:

Kathryn #500, would that “written request or directive” be along the lines of “It is by my order and for the good of the state that the bearer has done what has been done”?

#504 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 02:59 AM:

albatross #496: The blackmail photos behind this bill have got to be amazing. Or is there some other explanation?

Easy: the Democrats aren't what they say they are, and they never have been. We need to stop being fooled.

#505 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 07:05 AM:

Invoking open threadiness: is there a name for this cheque-fraud scam?

It's a two-man con, and can take place online or offline. Our con men, Wednesday and Low Key, have gotten ahold of someone's misplaced chequebook. The mark is someone who's advertised something for sale -- a bike, say. Low Key contacts Mark to purchase the bike and says he'll send him a cheque. After the cheque arrives, Wednesday contacts Mark, saying that his foolish son Low Key made out the cheque for the wrong amount -- maybe he made a typo, or added a zero. Mark, of course, pays Wednesday the difference.

Locality: UK.
Victims: My boss, and apparently another person with an account at the same bank...

#506 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 08:44 AM:

#486 - John Houghton

It sounds crazy, doesn't it? It really is an upgrade, though. We're going from a Mac G5 running an older version of OSX to a Mac Pro running the latest. Leopard is the problem - it apparently doesn't play nicely with our (Windows-based) server system. I've been told more than once that I'll see notable improvements in how well things work, in spite of the crashes. I'll be getting mine this afternoon, so we'll see soon enough.

#492, Kathryn from Sunnyvale -

I called, but my rep is a Republican, so I expect to be ignored.

#507 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 10:07 AM:

*pokes Safari*

Am I reading the internet correctly, that you can't export bookmarks from Safari (1.3.2) without major hoop-jumping?

*wanders off muttering*

#510 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:10 PM:

R. M. Koske

I haven't actually tried it, but there's a File > "Export Bookmarks..." menu option. Doesn't that do what you want?

#511 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:17 PM:

#510, Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers)

Mine doesn't have that menu option - it's an older version of Safari. I think they introduced export in Safari 2.x.

#512 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:35 PM:

What the world needs is a utility that turns your bookmarks into a big html text file so that you can take them out of your menus.

#513 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:53 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom (491): The T-Mobile pay-as-you go plan I mentioned above can be as low as $11 every 90 days, with rollover minutes. Sure beats the $22/month Sprint plan I had before.

#514 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:07 PM:

A followup question on OpenOffice...

How do we insert umlauts and accents on top of letters of the alphabet?

#515 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:12 PM:

Serge, I look for the character map. I think there's another way, but I'm at work and the software is at home ....

#516 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:18 PM:

PJ @ 515... Thanks. Would you mind sending me an email about it if/when you can look?

#517 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:27 PM:

Tlönista @ 505, it sounds like a variant on the Western Union or cashier's check scam (often originating in Nigeria these days) -- buy something online, send a fake cashier's check or a fake moneygram for more than the amount needed and ask the mark to refund you the difference. Works best with cashier's checks, because the bank makes the funds available to you before confirming they're available from the checkwriter, then pulls the funds back out of your account when they discover the check was a fake -- and of course the scammer hits after the check has "cleared" and before you realize it was fake.

The only name I've heard for it is "overpayment scam."

#518 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Erik Nelson @512: What the world needs is a utility that turns your bookmarks into a big html text file so that you can take them out of your menus.

That is exactly why I've preferred Netscape/Firefox to Internet Explorer; the bookmarks are an HTML file.

I have my menus and submenus and sub²menus, but I also have a link to the 'bookmarks.html' file (described as 'Current bookmarks as HTML page'). When I have trouble remembering exactly where I squirreled away some link, I load that page and use Ctrl+F (Find) to search on some phrase I can remember.

#519 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Rob Rusick at #512:
Really? I have Firefox. Where do I find that file?

#520 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:58 PM:

#512, Erik Nelson -

That's what "export" does on every browser I've used. Very handy.

I have this vague idea that the bookmarks for IE are a special-case html file - if you renamed the "favorites" file to "favorites.html" it would open and run fine, but that might be my imagination.

#521 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:08 PM:

*comes back from testing IE favorites*

Nope, I was imagining it. IE favorites is a folder full of internet shortcuts, and renaming it doesn't make it an html file. I think you could do a find on it almost as fast with the right shortcut, but it's a different animal altogether.

#522 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:20 PM:

Erik Nelson @519: The default location (well, for Windows XP which is what I'm using) is:

    C:\Documents and Settings\[your account]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[some gibberish string].default

In that directory you should find 'bookmarks.html'.

I've actually moved my browser and mail data to a different location, and edited the configuration file to point to it (if you type about:config in the address line of the browser, you can read this file and edit it within the browser). I set the entry 'browser.bookmarks.file' to 'C:\Browser\Bookmarks\bookmarkB.html'.

I believe the reason for doing that, was that I had once done a re-install of Netscape, and it overwrote the bookmarks file I had going. I was able to re-establish my bookmarks file from some backups... but by making my bookmark file somewhere else other than the default location, I assured that if I needed to do a re-install, my bookmarks would not get written over (I'd still need to edit the configuration file to point to where they actually were... but that would be a small problem).

If you're using a Mac (or Linux), we'll need to get help from someone else...

#523 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 09:13 PM:

Paula #449: Have you seen Brad Delong's post on this?

It's a good thing we're the Good Guys. Otherwise, abducting thousands of people to subject them to torture, and killing a hundred or so in the process (aka torturing them to death), would amount to crimes against humanity. I don't claim to be a brilliant legal mind, like John Yoo, but I'm pretty sure "I was just following orders" turns out not to absolve you of guilt in cases like this. Of course, as with the government of North Korea, being belligerent and well-armed may protect our leaders from justice. But if, ten years from now, someone spirited Don Rumsfeld off to The Hague in the middle of the night to stand trial, what moral argument would there be against it?

#524 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 09:13 PM:

Our illustrious Democratic candidate for President thinks the FISA bill is supportable. Flawed, but supportable.

I hoped (hah!) for better from him.

#525 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 09:17 PM:

albatross, Senator Bond of Missouri used the "Superior Orders" line (the Nuremberg Defense) just yesterday.

"I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do," Bond said.

#526 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 09:52 PM:

Linkmeister @524,

I figured that by late yesterday, when he was loudly saying nothing. In retrospect I suppose the anti-immunity votes back a few months ago were to help with the primaries.

129 did vote no. I can hope that some of those were in unsafe, well-contested districts = voted on principle when it's hard to vote on principle. All the local reps (except Pelosi) voted no, but none of them are in unsafe districts.

Still, because of the EFF's lawsuit some light was shed on their activities--Klein did give his testimony, etc. Sure, Congress just outlawed windows and flashlights, but for a brief moment the vampires were visible.

#527 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Kathryn, I can only be grateful that both Hawai'i Reps. voted against. I suspect that Inouye will vote for and Akaka against when it gets to the Senate.

Now if there were some brave soul who'd put a "hold" on the bill in the Senate...

Greenwald and friends have an ad running in the WaPo and in Hoyer's district, and expect to have more ads against some of the Blue Dogs soon.

#528 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 11:13 PM:

Nasty stupid Jim Langevin, whom I've always hated and against whom I would vote with all my might if his district extended two streets over from where it does, voted for immunity. The asshole. Patrick Kennedy voted against, which is the least I could ask of him.

#529 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 11:47 PM:

Linkmeister #525:

So, if the government decides that allowing students to pray aloud in schools is against policy, or that private ownership of guns is forbidden, I suppose Bond will also agree that when the government speaks, the citizens must jump to obey. What could be more American than that?

What the f-ck happened to my country? Didn't the bad guys in the movies used to be the ones whose governments did crap like abduct and torture people, wiretap their own citizens, and massively manipulate their own media?

#530 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 11:53 PM:

I don't suppose I can embed this here. Too bad--and very definitely not work safe, especially if you work for John McCain.

#531 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 11:59 PM:

Erik Nelson #519:

Hope I'm not missing the point, but could you not export your bookmarks? In both Firefox & IE, the output file is a html file containing your bookmarks. Then use the import option in your browser to get them into your new browser. I synchronise my bookmarks between home & work PCs (different PCs running different browsers) this way.

Firefox (mine's
Bookmarks->Organise Bookmarks. Then go to File -> Export (will export your bookmarks into a html file). To import, while in the Organise Bookmarks mode, File-> Import (from file)

IE (mine's ver 7):
Go to 'Favorites' -> 'Export Favorites'(export to a file or address). Make the output filename.htm.
To import, click the 'Add to Favorites' button -> 'Import and Export' -> launches the Import/Export Wizard. Click 'Next', 'Import Favorites' 'Import from a file or address'. CLick on the browse button & locate the html file that contains the bookmarks etc...

#532 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:03 AM:

R. M. Koske @507:
Does your Safari have a Bookmarks.plist file? If so and if you can convert it to XML (if it's binary; see plutil) I have a couple of Perl scripts I used to recover a set of old bookmarks after SyncTogether ate them. They're very quick and dirty and I can't promise they'll work with older Safari, but if you have no other option they might help. The end result is a minimal bookmarks.html file.

(hm, ML doesn't like <tt>)

#533 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:13 AM:

albatross @ 523

But if, ten years from now, someone spirited Don Rumsfeld off to The Hague in the middle of the night to stand trial, what moral argument would there be against it?

I for one, won't be inclined to look for one. Although, come to think of it, I might argue that they ought to take Cheney instead.

#534 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:21 AM:

Linkmeister @ 524: The thing that hurts the most is that I don't see what he's getting out of it. Why on earth make this deal? He's spitting in the face of his most dedicated supporters. He just lost so much money, so many volunteer hours...I can't see how it was worth it.

This isn't hope. This isn't change.

#535 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:33 AM:

albatross #523 and Bruce Cohen #533: Given that the SCOTUS Noriega Decision confirmed the extraterritoriality of American law to the extent of legalizing the kidnapping of foreign heads of state to stand trial, I think it can be easily rationalized that any member of the Coalition of the Willing with skilled enough special forces assets could justify carting off American war criminals to stand trial at The Hague on similar grounds, should they see fit to do so. Right?

#536 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 06:43 AM:


I'd assume that Obama thinks this is the best deal the Dems can get in the current situation.

And he IS in a better vantage point to assess this than most people are.

#537 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 08:54 AM:

I am so terribly, terribly bummed out. On looking at the morning cartoon schedule, I see that Johnny Test and World of Quest are not there. Worse, yet more traditional yet modern fightin' cartoons are on. They're still running the new Tom and Jerry and Spider-Man cartoons, which were and are my favorites, but still--what a revoltin' development this is!

#538 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 08:55 AM:

Hmmm... Tonight, the SciFi Channel is showing a movie called A Sound of Thunder. I remember that Pierce Brosnan was going to be in something by that title and that it was going to use the Bradbury story as a springboard for a oops-we-messed-up-History-let's-fix-it plot, then... nothing. This probably sucks, but I guess I'll give it a try. Hope springs eternal.

#539 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:08 AM:

Michael I @ 536, I frankly don't care if he thinks this is the best the Dems could get. He teaches constitutional law. He should know better than anyone that this is not a compromise, it's a capitulation. He should stand up for the effing Constitution. He did before. That was one of the reasons I liked him so much.

I flatly disagree with the people who say that if he took on this fight and it passed anyway, he'd look weak. No, he'd look principled. Not taking a stand against it, because he knows he's going to lose this fight? That makes him look cowardly.

In January, he said, I share your commitment to this cause, and will stand with you in the fights to come. Apparently not. I am REALLY angry.

I'm only this angry because I liked him so much.

#540 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:38 AM:

Caroline @ 539

You're not alone.
I don't want to vote third-party, because I see that as likely to get us McCain (a conclusion worth avoiding). But I'm not going to volunteer or donate money to someone who can't speak out from a position of power when it would actually do some good. Waiting until it's all over and then saying 'oh, gee, this is bad' - f* you, you had your chance.

#541 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Michael I @ 536: "I'd assume that Obama thinks this is the best deal the Dems can get in the current situation."

As strange as it seems, Democrats actually have a majority in the House and the Senate. They don't need to make deals. They don't need to include telecom immunity in any bill. Pass the bill without immunity, and if the Republicans refuse it, they're the ones refusing to pass a crucial bill t' fight tha War on Terrah, not the Democrats. We don't need to compromise on this.

And, what Caroline said: compromising on this isn't good, smart politics. It's cowardice. There are fights worth fighting even when you know you're going to lose, and this is one. If he's going to step away from this, then what precisely will he fight for?

P J Evans @ 540: "I don't want to vote third-party, because I see that as likely to get us McCain (a conclusion worth avoiding). But I'm not going to volunteer or donate money to someone who can't speak out from a position of power when it would actually do some good."

I want someone to start a BlueAmerica fund called "Money I would have donated to Obama if he hadn't chickened out on FISA." Show Obama exactly what he lost by doing this.

One thing I know: every time a progressive politician compromises and progressives throw up their hands and give up, the Republicans win. Obama's let us down. Instead of giving up, let's engage in some corrective action. He invited us to join his movement. Let's show him exactly what that entails.

This video captures a lot of what I'm feeling right now.

#542 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Heresiarch #541:

Yep. If he's not going to be brave enough to oppose stuff like this, why the hell am I giving him my vote? The same applies to the Democrats as a whole. If I want support for a surveillance state, I can get that from the Republicans, too. Hell, I can get that by voting Libertarian or Green, and leaving the final decision of which pro-surveillance party gets elected to voters with stronger stomachs.

As far as I can tell, Obama and the Democrats' only advantage on this issue is that they're probably not quite as crazy as the Republicans. Though who knows? When Obama's in the white house, with a friendly congress but only limited political capital, he's going to have to make some hard decisions. Should we close down Guantanamo and our network of secret prisons/torture chambers[1]? What if the intelligence agencies give Obama and the Democratic leaders in congress another version of the "if you knew what we know" briefing? Why should I believe he's going to take a principled stand on those issues, once it costs him and he has to decide whether that's worth Democrats getting smeared as "soft on terrorism" in the 2010 midterm elections?

This crap probably hasn't changed my vote this fall. It's just used up a big chunk of the hope I had that maybe things were going to get better. And I was always kind of skeptical about that.

[1] I think we've been assured that torture has stopped a couple times now, and that we were closing the secret prisons. But for some reason, I remain skeptical....

#543 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Completely different, non-politics open-thread comment:

My wife and I just bought a house yesterday. This is the first time we've owned a house--before, we've not lived anywhere we were sure we wanted to stay, so we rented, even though we often ended up living in rental places for many years. (The house we're renting now, we've lived in for five years, though for most of that, we couldn't afford the bubble-inflated housing prices.)

It seems strange to put something so happy in line with the dark discussions of politics right now. (But then, we're doing some of that with gay marriage discussions, too.) But then, there have been relatively few real bright spots in politics in the last seven years.

#544 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:00 PM:

albatross @ 543... It seems strange to put something so happy in line with the dark discussions of politics

Actually, when it's dark is usually an excellent time to talk about happy things.


#545 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:15 PM:

albatross 543: Congratulations, and any bright spot helps you through the darkness (though of course, being who I am I have to tell you that sometimes what looks like shadow is really shade). And let me quote you something:

Light is returning,
Even though this is the darkest hour;
No one can hold back the dawn.
Let's keep it burning,
Let's keep the light of hope alive:
Make safe our journey through the storm.
One planet is turning,
Circles on her path around the sun:
Earth Mother is calling her children home.
That's Charlie Murphy.

#546 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:21 PM:

albatross @543:

On Friday we get the keys to our third house*†. A year renting is enough to remind us why we like owning instead.

* In series, not in parallel.
† Technically, the first was an apartment.

#547 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:25 PM:

Abi... My congratulations to House Sutherland too!

#548 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:38 PM:

One thing I know: every time a progressive politician compromises and progressives throw up their hands and give up, the Republicans win. Obama's let us down. Instead of giving up, let's engage in some corrective action. He invited us to join his movement. Let's show him exactly what that entails.

Right on.

I got like this in 2000 -- I was one of the third-party voters who got fed up with some of the anti-progressive letdowns of the Clinton years (and there were some) and decided to send a message. (I voted for the Socialist Party candidate, not Nader, but it doesn't matter -- I supported Nader in terms of campaigning.) I really thought it was a good idea at the time; I thought the Democrats would get the message, that so many people were fed up enough to vote Green, and that when Gore won he'd take that into account.

We all know what happened.

Now I'm seeing the same frustration -- I've been seeing it for a while from people who never supported Obama, and now I'm seeing it from people who did, including myself. Lots of calls to vote third-party to send a message. But I think we've already run this experiment, and it did not yield the desired results. I understand being angry, but I don't understand willingly walking back into 8 more years of Bush because maybe the Democrats will get the message to move left this time. The definition of insanity, etc.

There are two options that I see. Some political genius actually manages to mount up a viable third party and steals sufficient support from the Democrats to take over. I don't think that's bleeding likely, given the electoral system we have, and I especially don't think it's bleeding likely before November. I wish things were different and more open, but they are not.

Or, we remake the Democrats from within, pushing progressive candidates in and the DINOs out. This is the option that seems most likely to succeed, and it's the one I'm going to pursue.

It looks like you (or I) actually could start such a fundraising page. Would be nice if some of the big liberal bloggers would get on board with such a thing -- that's how it'd get enough exposure to be worthwhile.

Also, do campaigns usually answer the phone on the weekends? I've been trying to call Obama's campaign to express my displeasure and can neither get to a person nor leave a message. Should I wait until Monday morning?

(I'm going to call my senators to tell them to vote no, but since my senators are Burr and Dole, I doubt it'll do any good.)

#549 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:41 PM:

And albatross @543, congratulations. Please do talk about happy things. I certainly need to be reminded that happy things are still going on every day.

So tell us about your new house!

#550 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:46 PM:

albatross #543: Congratulations. I hope everything goes smoothly.

#551 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:50 PM:

abi #546: Congratulations! Might one ask if you will be using this sort of paint to touch up the premises?

#552 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:51 PM:

albatross @ 543 and abi @ 546: Sláinte agus Saol Agaibh, and welcome to your new homes!

#553 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:02 PM:

As discussed in previous open threads, I'm switching over to a brand new email address that will actually go to me and be read instead of being so full of spam that it's quarantined. You can find future comments from me at mlblog at (not including this part) Now to go signpost it from the new address and go back to content...

#554 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:07 PM:

I changed to a new email address here to try to dodge spam. You can see my "View all by" for the previous handful of years at this link, and during the big ML collapse of February I found one previous address I'd been using here in '03-04ish, View All at this link.

#555 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:11 PM:

abi: Congrats!

all: Thanks!

It's a townhouse in a very nice neighborhood. One of the big selling points is that you almost can't drive into the parking area, for all the kids with bikes riding around. We're spending much skullsweat trying to figure out how to lay everything out, how much of our current crap we can give away or throw out (because we're crowded in a rented house of about the same size, with slightly more storage space). Today, I have to draw out scale maps of the rooms from the measurements we took yesterday, so we can start trying to arrange scaled furniture pieces and see how best to make the rooms work. And clean a bunch of stuff. And....

Anyway, this is very fun and exciting. Much better than following politics, which involves lots of stuff that's entirely outside my power. (Though a lot of the house stuff is also outside my power.)

#556 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:13 PM:

#532, geekosaur -

Thanks for the offer, but it really wasn't that many, and I've saved the ones I really wanted the hard way already. It was a good excuse to clean them out, I suppose. I appreciate your help all the same. :)

#543, albatross -

Tempering the bad news with the good is a good thing. Congratulations!

#557 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:35 PM:

albatross: congrats! I bought my first house last year, after many years of renting, too. I was amused when my husband started getting possesive about our vegetation ("these are my pine cones!"). But I admit that sometimes I just stand in the driveway looking at the house and think "this is mine." It's a nice feeling.

Good luck with the move!

#558 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:36 PM:

Arright. So it's very hot here in the Bay Area, for Bay Area values of "very hot" which is "kinda warm"... :) But it meant that it was too hot to go to bed until 1:30ish last night, and then when I heard a cat down below my open windows making sad cat noises it was no great triumph over temptation to get up again, and go see if it was the cat that had all the "Missing" posters up about it everywhere for the past few days. Turned out it was my housemate's cat, so I held the door, "Come on in, then, you silly creature..." She hesitated, and then moved slowly forward, and then pawed at the 4" threshold of our doorway and collapsed. She kept falling on her right side and I hastened to the room of my housemate, who doesn't sleep much or well in the years since a bad prescription drug interaction burned her neural pathways.

I ended up driving as my housemate held the cat wrapped up in a towel, its head wedged into her armpit where it was safe. The 24-hour vet in Berkeley said there was an open fracture in the cat's left rear leg. It stands a not insignificant chance of getting infected; the options are to amputate for $2-3,000 or try to pin it together for $3-5,000.

But my housemate is on SSDI because of the brain-burnout thing, apparently making like $10,000 a year. She could barely scrape together $300 and wasn't sure her credit card would accept a charge of $50. She couldn't even pay the $700-some fee to get the cat painkillers and antibiotics, bandage its leg, and keep it for the few hours left in the night; she had to forego X-rays to see if pinning the leg together is even an option. They accepted what she had, because this morning she could talk to her mother in Florida, who also sounds poor to me... Driving back after, she was not really keeping it together, "even if I could have saved... $3-5,000?"

So, I guess the upshot is, 1. get pet health insurance if you can afford it 2. health care costs are screwing up veterinary stuff, not just human stuff 3. do you know if there are charities that might help with this kind of thing? 4. this sucks.

#559 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:50 PM:

Madeline F, your friend might consider CareCredit. They offer no-interest payment plans if she can pay it back relatively quickly, and interest starting at 11.9% for longer-term loans.

The only experience I have with help for vet bills is on an individual level -- with mod approval, people will sometimes ask for help in the Livejournal kittypix community, and others will donate via PayPal. People are very generous in online cat-related communities, in my experience. If you or your friend is involved in one, maybe ask the mods if it would be okay to ask for help?

#560 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Madeline F, that's terrible news. I'm really sorry to hear about that.

I would suggest being up front with the hospital about finances, and suggesting your housemate talk to her regular vet to see if someone can work out a sliding scale fee and a payment schedule. Hopefully you can find a vet who can work with her. (Does anyone know if there any way to work with a veterinary student hospital?)

It may not be comforting, but I think you're doing a good job of fulfilling the primary responsibility, which is trying to minimize the pain the cat is in.

It does suck.

#561 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Madeline @558,

I don't know, but I'm going to ask around (and will write/email if I do hear a proactive solution). I have faint memories of San Francisco having a clinic. Perhaps ask on Pets in Craigslist?

As to the heat--if it's 25F / 15C degrees higher than average (Pacifica should be shrouded in a gloomy fog) it's a heat wave. Same as if people in Alaska called 80 a heat wave, it's a heat wave (or if people call 30 days without rain a 'drought', it's a drought).

#562 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:14 PM:

The Berkeley East Bay Humane Society has a program that'll pay the first $250, and then she'd have to work out a payment program. She would need to come in and talk with them first (w/out the cat) to fill out paperwork.

(San Francisco's SPCA has an interest-free loan program for emergencies, but it's only for low-income SF residents.

#563 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Thanks for the thought, guys, I've sent on the suggestions. It's mostly helpful just to share... I'm not the person affected here at all, but it's a kindof odd situation where I still feel bad.

Also, congrats to albatross and abi, it would be neat to have a house! Someday. Hope your houses are friendly and low-maintenance.

#564 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 03:36 PM:

For unimportant reasons I ended up the recipient of one of those icky "a preacher's wife is saying that Obama is evil, eviiiiil" chain letters.

The letter includes the 15 other recipients' email addresses of the version that got to me, and the 10 people in the previous iteration.

I'm tempted to mail all 25 of them back (from one of my pseudony yahoo accounts), and am thinking about what to say.

There is an online letter from the 'preachers wife' & church saying that they never said this. Could use that, although it isn't enough. Could link to Obama's anti-smear website, but would that help? Would "pastor's wife has important message about Obama" as the (correcting) subject line make them more likely to read it?

Could link to that Bible verse that says that saying someone isn't an xian when they are is seriously bad mojo, but would that help them, or just help me feel snarkier?

#565 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Kathryn @564:

You could email back saying that the email had a computer virus, and all emails from that sender (up the chain) should be deleted unread...

(A tendon in my shoulder is acting up, and even with painkillers it's the sort of delicate agony that makes me crabby and evil.)

#566 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 04:26 PM:


The Dems aren't a centralized ideological command-and-control party like the GOP. They're a coalition party. Maintaining a unified position requires negotiation among the factions.

In some ways I'm surprised they managed to delay the bill as long as they did. And a one-year delay for an administration in the second half of its second term is not entirely a trivial matter.

Not that I'm particularly pleased by the bill that passed. Aside from anything else, given Bush's obsession with telecom immunity, they might have been able to wring more concessions on other matters than they actually seem to have done.

#568 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @551: Apparently, Dutch Boy Paint is owned by that emblem of the global conspiracy, Sherwin Williams.

Years ago I had been told that the old Sherwin Williams Paint logo and slogan ("We cover the earth") came about because the founders were young Communists, and the globe getting enveloped in red paint was an in-joke about the coming revolution. However (as the story went), the joke was on them because they succeeded in the paint business and became rich.

Unfortunately for that story, apparently the logo was originally designed in 1890. The logo inspires some controversy (one thing for certain; it isn't green); some entertaining* discussion of it here and here.

* In the ML manner of threads, drifts into topics such as Aleister Crowley.

#569 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 07:47 PM:

Rob Rusick #568: One could equally consider the dangerously socialist looking logo which dates to two years before Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto.

#570 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 08:09 PM:

As I threatened on the High On Life thread, here's a recommendation of a book I'm enjoying at the moment.

It's called Down The Mysterly River by Bill Willingham.

The blurb from the site I found it on:
As odd a collection of fugitives as there ever was: A wolf who is not a wolf; a badger who is also an ex-army veteran; the brave sheriff of a lost forest realm; and a big, ugly, stinky, yellow monster. Together they're on the run from the dreaded Blue Cutters, who seem bent on their destruction. To escape the Cutters, the four friends will have to flee out of the hills and down the Mysterly River, to reach the one far away place of safety the Cutters aren't allowed to go: the castle of the Wizard Edgar.

I was hooked into this one from about the second page, when the young protagonist realizes that he not only doesn't know where he is or how he got there, he doesn't know what the date is or even the time of year. His reactions reminded me strongly of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (the novel, I mean) - he was levelheaded and thoughtful in an endearing, childish way.

The whole novel has for me the feel of an older YA story, from the era when they didn't actually use that term and kids weren't quite so protected from death and violence. Characters die or are destroyed by the Cutters, who are genuinely terrifying. All four of the main characters (only one of whom is human) have distinct viewpoints and blind spots, and even considering the scary parts, the tone of the novel really reminds me of older childrens' books I've read before.

I can't find any details about buying this novel in hardcopy - it is out of print, according to Amazon. I discovered it through, which is an ad-supported free download site. (Mr. Willingham gets royalties for the downloads.) You can get a PDF here. You do have to register, but I haven't found the required hoop-jumping to be too onerous.

#571 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 08:25 PM:

abi @565:

#572 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:32 PM:

Xopher @565 - thanks for that. It's the time of the longest night here; Winter Solstice. After this it still gets colder, and it takes some while to get lighter, especially if it's cloudy and wet. Some of us need cheering up.

#573 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:48 PM:

albatross @ 543: Congratulations!

@ 542: "Yep. If he's not going to be brave enough to oppose stuff like this, why the hell am I giving him my vote? The same applies to the Democrats as a whole. If I want support for a surveillance state, I can get that from the Republicans, too. Hell, I can get that by voting Libertarian or Green, and leaving the final decision of which pro-surveillance party gets elected to voters with stronger stomachs."

That wasn't really my point. I don't think the only options here are put up with Obama's waffling on crucial issues or giving up. There's a third option: make Obama do what we want from him. Create the Democratic party we want, or create a new party that does what we want--it doesn't matter. There are options that don't involve giving up in disgust. I'm tired of conceding the fight to the Republicans everytime a progressive falls short. I'm angry and I feel betrayed, and I plan to make that anger work for me.

Caroline @ 548: "There are two options that I see. Some political genius actually manages to mount up a viable third party and steals sufficient support from the Democrats to take over. I don't think that's bleeding likely, given the electoral system we have, and I especially don't think it's bleeding likely before November. I wish things were different and more open, but they are not.

"Or, we remake the Democrats from within, pushing progressive candidates in and the DINOs out. This is the option that seems most likely to succeed, and it's the one I'm going to pursue."

I don't see any need to pick one option over the other. Let's do both, and see which one works. Let's fund a party that's more radical than the Democrats, nipping at their left flank, and let's donate money to and ActBlue to take down RINOs and replace them with real progressives.

(Sometimes, when I'm feeling optimistic, I imagine an America where the Republicans have completely collapsed and the Democrats have become the right-wing party, with the Greens or Socialists on their left.)

Michael I @ 566: "The Dems aren't a centralized ideological command-and-control party like the GOP. They're a coalition party. Maintaining a unified position requires negotiation among the factions."

One problem with being a Big Tent party is that it makes it really easy for quislings and double agents to slip in undetected. The point at which maintaining your coalition requires betraying your fundamental principles, you've messed up--what are you maintaining your coalition for, anyway?

#574 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 11:21 PM:

John A. Arkansawyer, #530, one of the commenters says it's okay because he's in a lot of pain. I'm in a lot of pain and I don't use obscenities, much less apply them to relatives.

albatross, #543, congratulations! Fourth person I know who bought a house recently!

Madeline F., #558, oh, that's too bad. I don't know of any charities or I'd be applying myself. I have $10K in vet bills for Giorgio and Shiva on a credit card. Fortunately, it's only 6%APR.

#575 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:29 AM:

Michael I @536 & 566 -

This is a truly awful bill (Glenn Greenwald explains why), and the Democrats had no need to pass this bill at all so there was no need to compromise. Nancy Pelosi knows how to play this game, she played it with Social Security 'reform'.

I haven't seen anything meaningful gained from the purported compromise; the main 'advantage' that I've seen is that this bill will be labeled the exclusive authority for intelligence wiretaps. Just like FISA before it.

This bill contains de facto retroactive immunity, a provision that both Chris Dodd and Barack Obama said that they would filibuster back when they were running for the nomination. It depresses me to think that constitutional government is a fringe left constituency that only needs to be placated during primary season.

Also, Michael I writes in 536: "I'd assume that Obama thinks this is the best deal the Dems can get in the current situation."

For me, this is uncomfortably close to "I'm sure the President gets to see better intelligence than we do, and we should just trust him."

#576 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:10 AM:


Maybe Kerry will filibuster it.... the person in his office who answered the phone said Sen Kerry is against it.

#577 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:17 AM:

#576, the self-referencing comment

I'll believe that when he (or any other senator that talks a good line) actually does something that might stop it.

#578 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:06 AM:

Re: the Particle saying I scored "major points". Well, I got tired of having to go around to a number of different websites to find links to specific articles and what not. I also got tired of explaining history the umpteenth time. I also got tired of rebutting the exact same knuckled-headed excuse for why we had to invade Iraq. So, I wrote up an "everything in one place" article about Iraq. It starts with Iran, Operation Ajax, in 1953, then quickly moves up to the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, then goes into details from there.

It's 11,000 words long, so it is a bit of a read. But I tried to have one thing that would tell the entire narrative around the United States involvement with Iraq that led up to the invasion.

I've been working on it for about a week now. I'm sure it's got issues with it, and typos, and maybe I even foobar some basic historical assessments.

I could use some help from anyone who knows the history of our involvement in that area, or anyone who'd be interested in giving it a read and giving me some feedback.

The first draft is currently posted here


#579 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:10 AM:

P J Evans @ #577, the Senate does have a tradition of allowing secret "holds" on legislation. The Oklahoman Senator (not Inhofe, the other one -- Coburn? Yeah, Coburn, the OB-GYN who once proclaimed his state's schools full of lesbians and hates reproductive choice) has a habit of placing them on bills he doesn't like. So it could be done.

#580 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:21 AM:

albatross #542: It's just used up a big chunk of the hope I had that maybe things were going to get better.

See, it's actually given me a bit of hope that I hadn't had before. The reason I've been vaguely pro-Obama is that he's whipped up a whole bunch of people to care about what's going on, and I have this dare-to-dream hope that that mass of people will continue to pay attention to what's going on and what he does after he takes office (if he does), and when they inevitably don't get the progress they want, they'll be in an unprecedented situation to demand it. And until this latest FISA abomination I've seen no sign that this hope is justified, but now all of a sudden Obama's done something his supporters don't like and they're not accepting it as OK. I like that.

(I'm unrelatedly a bit tipsy right now, so if I'm not making sense, I apologize.)

#581 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:50 AM:

Let me add my congratulations to Abi and Albatrross. Enjoy your nice new homes! I am jealous--apartment life is such a waste.

R.M. Koske, @ 570,
That story looks really interesting.
Unfortunately, wowio only allows US residents to sign up. Alas.
Anyone know how I can trick them into thinking I'm over there?

#582 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 05:16 AM:

ethan @ 580: Yes, I really hope Obama's supporters put enough pressure on him that he, at the very least, will shy away from doing anything like this again. If not--well, he's demonstrated that web 2.0 has myriad political applications, and I'd be perfectly happy to use them against him.

Still, I had hoped that he'd at least be in office before he started disappointing us.

#583 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 06:51 AM:


The expanded authority does expire in four years, so there WILL be at least one more chance to get the balance right.

#584 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 06:53 AM:

heresiarch @ 573:

There's a third option: make Obama do what we want from him. Create the Democratic party we want, or create a new party that does what we want--it doesn't matter.

I've trying to say this to people myself in a slightly different context.

#585 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:41 AM:


Maybe Kerry will filibuster it.... the person in his office who answered the phone said Sen Kerry is against it.

#586 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:58 AM:

#581, JimR -

Oh dear. I think I knew it was US only and forgot. I should have mentioned it.

Lifehacker has a program that might do it. (The headline says windows only, but the comments say it can work in OSX too.) I haven't tried it, obviously.

If/when you get hold of the novel, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

#587 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:17 AM:

I know about holds. They work if the majority leader wants them to work - he's honored some from Republicans and ignored some from Democrats, so putting a hold on a bill is iffy.

I want them to know what they're doing, though. I want them to understand that this is a law which says the 4th amendment doesn't apply if the president doesn't like you.

I expect Obama to understand this: he taught con law, he damned well ought to understand this. That's what has me ticked at him. I don't expect better from McCain; he doesn't have the legal background.

I'm wondering what would happen if they, all of these politicians, started getting dead silence at all their public speaking engagements. No applause, no cheers, no boos, just silence. No phone calls from the pulbic, just written communications (fax and e-mail count as written). And we start flying the Bennington flag or the 'Don't Tread on Me' flag on holidays. Or a skull-and-crossbones flag.

I don't plan to give up on voting; I don't want to vote third party because that's a losing option. I want better elected officials. If we can get there from inside, good. If we have to start a new party - and that's a bad option - then so be it.

#588 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:40 PM:

PJ Evans @ #587, "I expect Obama to understand this: he taught con law, he damned well ought to understand this. That's what has me ticked at him."

Amen. That's why I'm ticked too; he knows better. This smacks of expediency for no apparent reason.

Of course, the reason it was resurrected still puzzles me. It was fought back hard in February, and all they had to do, I think, was extend the existing law a while. Instead, Hoyer and Rockefeller came up with this abomination, and Pelosi (who railed against it on the floor and then voted FOR it) brought it up.

Additionally I'm ticked because the members got a single lousy hour to debate it before a vote. I remember fine words after the Dems took over in 2006 about "no more legislation sent up with no time for Representatives to study it." Didn't happen. It might have made no difference, but more time would have given the citizens more opportunity to say "Hell no!" to unlawful search and seizure.

#589 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Addendum to my own #588: See Glenn Greenwald's post today about strategy for defeating the conservative (Blue Dog) Democrats that Hoyer and Pelosi are pandering to by agreeing with this legislation. Get past the fact-checking he does on the Time Magazine article (hint: it's almost entirely wrong) to the second part of the post.

#590 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:03 PM:

Linkmeister #588:

The pattern here suggests that there was something behind the scenes, encouraging a lot of Democrats to support something that they otherwise opposed. It would be interesting to know what.

The obvious guess is that some kind of very scary briefing is being provided, claiming all kinds of nearly-successful attacks stopped at the last minute. My impression is that this was done for Clipper, many years ago, and that there was pretty good evidence that the scare stories were wildly exaggerated. But it's also possible that this surveillance really has stopped devastating attacks just in time, and we've just never heard about it. (If terrorists were stopped within hours of setting off a nuke in Chigago, I'm not sure we would ever hear of it.)

Other possibilities are out there, of course. Among the ones that seem most likely to me: (These can all combine together....)

a. Lobbyists for the telecom industry have clearly been spending money, talking, making promises and threats, and calling in favors. Perhaps they've just been really effective.

b. Democrats may fear that, should a terrorist attack happen between now and the election, they will lose the election for being "soft on terror."

c. Democrats may believe they have nothing to fear from increased surveillance powers, as barring some incredible catastrophe, they're sure to have the white house and both houses of congress next year.

d. Perhaps the surveillance program that's been in place since 9/11 has successfully collected a lot of blackmail material on powerful people in congress. The white house may not have control of most or all of this.

Option (d) sounds like some sort of paranoid fantasy, but there's a fair bit of precedent for it. For example, see cointelpro , or echelon, and there's a whole lot more where that came from. This is one of the main risks in having powerful domestic surveillance--not just that the party in power will use it to cement themselves in a "permanent majority," but also that the surveillance organization will become politically impossible to challenge, because they've got the dirt on everyone.

The other thing in favor of (d) is that it economically explains why a bunch of powerful people would suddenly change their opinion on this kind of issue. (a) would also be a workable answer (the lobbyists have a lot more money to spread around, have had more time to call in favors and find people with dirt on the right folks, etc.), though.

If (d) is the explanation, we could be in for a very ugly next few years.

#591 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:09 PM:


The basic problem from the standpoint of the Democratic congressional leadership was that:

1) The Dems didn't have enough votes to extend the current law over a presidential veto.

2) Bush was going to veto anything passed without telecom immunity.

3) The leadership apparently believed that if they did not strike some deal very soon then enough Dems would defect to allow the GOP to pass its version of the legislation anyway.

Note that in the last go-round the Democratic congressional leadership offered (expecting the offer to be refused, as indeed it was) an extension of the existing (that is, the so-called "Protect America" law) provisions basically intact. Unless I missed something, this would have essentially included all (plus a bit more) of the objectionable search and seizure provisions in the current bill.

Although it would not, of course, have included telecom immunity.

#592 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:24 PM:

albatross, #590: "The pattern here suggests that there was something behind the scenes, encouraging a lot of Democrats to support something that they otherwise opposed. It would be interesting to know what."

I think it's just that there's been major abuses going on for several years--possibly keyword scanning of every telephone call--, the Democratic Congressional leadership knew, and so has been complicit.

Me, I think it's time I got some e-mail encryption software. Maybe can help.

#593 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Michael I @ 591 -

The Democratic House leadership controls what bills come to a vote, so the only way a GOP version of the legislation would come up is if Hoyer and Pelosi let it.

Let's put it another way - the bill we are talking about is the Republican version, and you can check the roll call to see which Democrats defected to join all but four of the House Republicans.

#594 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 05:06 PM:

I'm old enough to remember COINTELPRO. I'm also old enough to remember J. Edgar Hoover's files. Robert Ludlum made some good money writing novels about the latter. I don't discount it, but OTOH our intelligence agencies didn't exactly come off well in their surveillance activities prior to 9/11, so I'm not sure they're up to the standards previously set.

And yes, Pelosi could simply have said "not going to bring it to the floor." Of course, then they really would have heard the "soft on terrorism" claim. I'm not sure that will still fly with the voters, though. Rove tried that in 2006 and got the Republicans a stinging defeat in both the House and Senate.

#595 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 05:11 PM:

Randolph #592:

Eavesdropping is an issue, and encryption can help with that. I think there are at least two much bigger issues, though:

a. The networks of who talks to whom, and related stuff like times and dates of calls, cellphone-tracked locations, etc., probably offer at least as much information for bad purposes as what's being said. Encryption doesn't help with those, and in general, the authorities don't need warrants to get access to them.

b. Computer security is a much harder problem than encrypting and authenticating communications. We have really strong technology for encrypting and authenticating data, and it's available off the shelf. We have pretty decent technology for anonymizing communications, though the best of it is not really widely used. But we have pretty crappy technology for keeping our computers (on which we're doing all this encryption and mixing of packets/emails/whatever) from being compromised.

Everything I've heard from people who focus on computer and network security is that against a competent, resourceful attacker, even well-secured systems will usually fail. I've heard this about military systems as well as commercial ones. Securing a computer is hard, if the computer has to do anything nontrivial, and especially if you need to use a lot of off-the-shelf software to get it to do what you need.

It's apparent that the US government, and many other governments, have developed tools to attack individuals' computer systems, in order to investigate them. One reference for this is Magic Lantern.

Consider what power you'd have, if every computer running at the New York Times and Washington Post, including reporters' and editors' home machines, was reporting back to you. How useful would that be if you wanted a little lead time to call in favors and spike unfavorable stories, or to pre-empt them, or to accumulate blackmail information on important reporters or editors? What if you just wanted a little extra insight about internal political struggles, to decide which reporters would be especially willing to help you out for some leaked stories that would salvage their career?

Now, I have no idea if anyone's doing that. (And there's no reason to think only the US government would do it, or that there'd be only one entity doing it.) But that kind of surveillance would be much more powerful and devastating, in some sense, than listening in on all kinds of phone calls.

#596 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 05:56 PM:

Does anyone think that, as a Briton (who has only visited the USA once, has little knowledge of how things actually work in the USA, etc etc) I am being unduly cynical in expecting a terrorist attack in the USA in the next few months before the elections?

#597 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 07:17 PM:


There are a lot of us here who think exactly that.

#598 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:22 PM:

P J, could you clarify? I wasn't sure whether you meant many of us expect what guthrie is predicting, or whether you meant that many of us think guthrie is too cynical.

#599 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:46 PM:

(cynicism) Xopher, I also suspect that there will be a major 'terrorist' event in the U.S. before the election. I also suspect if that happens, Mr. Bush will declare "For the sake of the public peace Elections will happen once things settle down.' (for his value of 'settle down.')

I hates them all (the "in" crowd at the White House).
(end cynicism)

#600 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:58 PM:

There's a reason the phrase "October Surprise" entered the US political lexicon, after all.

Side note: Vin Scully often uses the phrase "Marching and Chowder Society" to describe fans of a particular player. I may have just found the origin of the phrase in Rick Perlstein's new book "Nixonland." From page 31, discussing the HUAC meetings in the summer of 1948:

No one who knew of this bright young Richard Nixon's capabilities and ambitions (he had formed a group to unify the freshmen Republicans, the Chowder and Marching Club) expected that upon entering Congress the previous year he would have welcomed a place on the House Un-American Activities Committee. Actually, he lobbied for it. He had ascertained a change in the cultural winds. Once the faith of boobs, Red-hunting was now the state religion. In the Hiss case, Nixon spotted the chance to engineer his investiture as its pope.


#601 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:59 PM:

Xopher: see #599, which is what I also think.

Cynical, me? [/s]

#602 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:08 PM:

P J #601: Wow, did you just put a sarcasm tag on a comment about cynicism? That's really...something.

#603 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:37 PM:

Kristol sez that the regime may bomb Iran prior to the inaugeration if Obama is elected.

Bolton sez Israel will bomb Iran if Obama is elected.

It's official. Faux News is propagandizing to bomb Iran.

Love, C.

#604 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:03 PM:

Constance Ash @ 603: shades of "Remember the Maine?"

#605 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:08 PM:

You guys may remember the girl-swallowing-magnets particle and our discussion of the story in open thread 109. I mentioned that my husband has a similar magnetic toy, and it is quite fun.

He just got a better one. The Neocube toy is absolutely not for little kids. The magnets are *very* powerful, and are the size and shape of BBs or the little silver nonpareils that are sometimes used to decorate cakes. They're so strong that a cluster of four on the desktop will influence and move another cluster of four that are several inches away, just by rotating the cluster flat on the desk and moving the poles back and forth.

They're also really really fun. You can string them into a chain that is strong enough to swing and wrap around an object without breaking. You can induce that string to spiral onto itself and form a tube, then pull on the starting ball and unspiral the chain without breaking it. Because they're spheres, you can't really tell where the poles of the magnets are except by their behavior, and there are some shapes that you can't achieve in the obvious ways. A nine-by-nine cube, for example has to be built up a certain way or the poles will fall in such a way that it won't form into a cube. It took him over three days to figure out how to make a two-by-two cube, and he's still playing and discovering new things to do with them. They're pretty darn cool.

#606 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:18 PM:

Oops, they're not the size of nonpareils, they're the size of dragees.

#607 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 12:28 AM:

Linkmeister @ 588: "Of course, the reason it was resurrected still puzzles me. It was fought back hard in February, and all they had to do, I think, was extend the existing law a while. Instead, Hoyer and Rockefeller came up with this abomination, and Pelosi (who railed against it on the floor and then voted FOR it) brought it up."

I'm especially frustrated by things I don't understand, and that's a big part of why I'm so angry about this. I just don't get it--where is the win in voluntarily baring your throat to a wildly, massively unpopular administration, months before they lose power?

The only convincing theory I've heard is that Obama secretly wants the increased wiretapping powers and thought it beneficial to get them passed now, so he gets all the benefits without having to take the blame. That paints a picture of Obama that's so bad I'd actually rather be confused and frustrated than believe it. We'll see: if it turns out to be true, we're going to have a lot of work to do.

#608 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:32 AM:

abi and albatross

Congratulations on your new houses, and welcome to the ranks of house owners, albatross. Ours have been real pains at times, but we've never regretted it, except maybe right after signing the mortgage, when buyer's remorse sinks in.

#609 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:35 AM:

Heresiarch, Linkmeister #607, 588

One so-far-unexplained thing about Pelosi is that she and her staff were telling people she wouldn't vote for it up to the day before.

When I called her office Thursday, that's what the staffer implied to me*.

Heck, back in February her office even blogged about it.

Back in March, the House FISA vote was 213-197 for a version that didn't have immunity. Only 10 Dems voted against it, and a great many D's "delivered impassioned, defiant speeches in defense of the rule of law. What happened to those 84 who switched? (and has anyone correlated those March speeches with the vote last week?)

The Senate had always been hopeless-over half the D's voting for immunity.

* I'd say "said," but I didn't tape the call.

#610 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:09 AM:

"Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning." -- George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

#611 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:21 AM:

Earl Cooley III @610 -- Damn (etc.)

Another good guy gone.

#612 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:28 AM:

I seem to recall predictions here of a terrorist attack and suspension of elections both in 2004 and 2006. Didn't happen then; I hope and believe it won't happen now.

#613 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 06:08 AM:

#600: Marching and Chowder Society

I thought that was from Barnaby (Elves, Leprechauns, Gnomes, and Little Men's Chowder & Marching Society).

#614 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 07:04 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 599

I'm half (well, maybe about 40% compared to the bombing-of-Iran scenario) expecting the Sith Lords behind all things evil to go for the trifecta: assassinate Obama, frame it as a terrorist act, and use that as an excuse to postpone elections indefinitely, extend domestic surveillance, and legitimize broad presidential powers without any oversight. Basically 9/11 done right from Darth Cheney's point of view.

But my cynicism may be unrealistically skewed by the fact that I've lived long enough to see both the Tonkin Gulf Incident and the Iraq Wars.

And I'm not sure whether to be encouraged or dismayed by the fact that the Firefox spellchecker knows about "Iraq", but not about "Tonkin".

#615 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 07:16 AM:

#610, Earl Cooley III

I'm so glad I didn't have oatmeal in my mouth when I read that. I'd have sucked it into my lungs with my horrified gasp.

Crap. Dammit.

I'm glad the Mark Twain award happened when it did.

#616 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 07:22 AM:

Earl Cooley III @610: I had read that he had been awarded the Mark Twain prize, and was looking forward to seeing the ceremony when it was broadcast.

I suppose they may still do it. We lose out on seeing his take on it.

Steve Wright from when Bob Newhart won the award:
   "I heard that Mark Twain got the Bob Newhart award, and I thought, 'Is he still alive?' "

#617 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 07:36 AM:


The simple explanation is that a substantial portion of the Democratics in Congress (especially those from swing or red districts/states) instinctively feel that "national security" issues are automatic winners for the GOP. This seriously weakens the bargaining leverage of the Democratic leadership in any conflict with Bush on such issues.

There are some signs that this instinctive reaction is in the process of being unlearned, but it's likely to take at least a little more time.

#618 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 08:14 AM:

Part of the problem here is also that a bunch of the Ds (30 to 70 in the house) are from districts that are conservative, or those Ds were formerly Rs. Those are the Blue Dogs, and they frequently vote with the Rs. They're either really liberal Republicans who can't stand that party's right wing, or really conservative Democrats.

#619 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 09:15 AM:

Has anyone here been able to get through to the Obama campaign (866-675-2008, option 6 from the first menu)? I just tried again to call, and again got stuck in an endless loop of "We're sorry no volunteer operators are available to take this call, please leave a message" -- "No messages can be left at this time, please press 0 to transfer to an attendant" -- "We're sorry no volunteer operators are available...." Should I just try sitting on hold for longer and an operator will open up, or have others gotten through quickly?

#620 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Well, I just floated the idea, yet I don't think there will be anything actually carried out by the neo-cons.
Rather, going by my meager knowledge of it all, the neo-cons and their pals operate by PR and covering up the facts or making them up, ignoring the ones they don't like.
Hence, there may be someone in the intelligence agencies trying to draw attention to some nefarious activity, and they are being squelched or ignored.
Remember, they never tell us the truth about what plots have really been stopped or not.

I think their operations are more about setting up the correct structure to take advantage of the opportunities that offer themselves, and since they always ramp up the FUD, all it will take is a jittery Iranian missile operator and they'll have their excuse.

#621 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 09:56 AM:

Earl Cooley III #610: That was the news I woke to this morning. Not the best thing to hear on a Monday.

#622 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:36 AM:

#610 & 621

I dug out my copy of Willie's Time and refreshed my memory of the 'Biff Burns' routine it quotes:
In the sportlight spotlight, the San Francisco Giants traded outfielder Willie Mays to the New York Mets in return for the entire New York Mets team. They also received $500,000 in cash, two eskimos and a kangaroo.

I thnk this is also where partial scores are reported: 5, 9, 17, ...

#623 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:20 AM:

Earl Cooley III #610 et al:

The first words I heard this morning when my alarm went off, just before hitting snooze, were "George Carlin" with one or two other words. Insufficient to give a real idea of what happened, but enough to put in a sense of "Crap, I bet he died." And, of course, that's what I learn on my way into work.


Any pointers towards comics that work in a similar vein of funny, snarky, on-point boundary pushing wrt the "obscene" or "the just not talked-about"? To me, Howard Stern fills the boundary pushing bit, but I find his shtick to be more gratuitous than carefully crafted, and thus nowhere near as funny. We've got Jon Stewart for current events, but he apparently stays relatively "clean". (I don't have cable, so I don't see The Daily Show near as often as I'd like to.) Also Steve Colbert's "The Colbert Report", with similar notes.

Carlin's "The Seven Words You Can't Say On Television" bit has factored into so many things... Dennis Leary has a similar caustic vein, but more as an actor than a standup.

Please, pointers to similarly mind-bending-but-in-a-good-way high-brow-"style" "low-brow" comics! I know they'll probably be NSFW, but I can send links home for later perusal.

On the Telecom Immunity thing, and associated topics:

Any good websites/blogs/etc. out there by people who have done the "pick up the whole family and move elsewhere" successfully? Particularly examples involving young children who's grandparents will be remaining in the U.S. and cannot afford long-distance travel for visits, so being able to return to the U.S. or nearby is a factor. Also sites about those sticking around and why, preferably good discussion about the definition of "nothing" in the often-disparaged "nothing to hide" message, and/or how to counter that message. As far as I can tell, I'm friggin' boring to anyone with power, as are the rest of my family, so coming up with anything other than some necessarily self-damped-to-keep-head-from-exploding fear/uncertainty/doubt/rage at imploding Civil Liberties ideals is hard. I mean, I get it that things are bad, and appear to be getting worse. Trouble is, from where I sit (and I grant that I'm rather fortunate/privileged...) things are tractable, and the energy required to change where I sit thus appears to be unreasonably high, causing the cognitive dissonance to be resolved in favor of "well, it doesn't look like it'll threaten me so I should worry less about that and try to get motivated to fix more immediate concerns, like getting back into shape." I'd rather not consider myself a coward, but justification is messy, and compromise of ideals involves lossage.


#624 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:54 AM:

David, #612: In 2004, the Bush administration actually did float the notion of "temporarily" delaying the election in the event of a "national catastrophe". This produced a firestorm of negative response, and they back-pedaled in a hurry. But the mere fact that they brought it up proves that it's one of the options they've been considering for a while now.

#625 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:58 AM:

It's possible the explanation for the dems and Pelosi's roll over in the House re FISA is contained in one word: lobbyi$t$.

Obama is a corporatist too, as much as Clinton, though perhaps from a different direction. Murdoch's happy with him.

Love, C.

#626 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:59 AM:

However, again, this is the argument in favor of impeachment NOW. There is so much damage the regime is actively inflicting every hour of every day. Lame ducks? They never swam in the pond of legislation via representation in the first place.

Love, C.

#627 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 12:22 PM:

I was quite surprised to see that Ron Paul didn't cast a vote on the new telecom immunity bill. I assume this was a genunine absence, rather than quietly abstaining, since he's voted against much more popular police-state anti-terrorism measures before, but I am curious about the reason.

#628 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 12:27 PM:

cajunfj40 #623: He's not recent, but on the off-chance you're not familiar with Bill Hicks, you should check him out. Guy was a genius.

Sucks about George Carlin.

#629 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Cajun #623:

A reasonable compromise might be to plan out:

a. What would make you decide to relocate your family out of the country? Having a defined point at which you will declare a crisis to yourself might make it less likely that you'll keep noting the gradual increase in water temperature without hopping from the pot.

b. How would you manage that? (Planning stuff like how you'd support yourself, where you'd go, how you'd get resident status, etc.)

c. What supplies, preparation, etc., will you need to make that possible? For example, if everyone in the family doesn't have a valid passport, you're probably not going to go anywhere. If you imagine yourself going to Mexico or Chile or some such place, you might want to work on your español ahead of time.

I'll admit that I haven't done this stuff, so maybe I'm not one to talk. I probably should think this stuff through, but I kind of like where I live and work....

#630 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:01 PM:

I'm especially frustrated by things I don't understand, and that's a big part of why I'm so angry about this. I just don't get it--where is the win in voluntarily baring your throat to a wildly, massively unpopular administration, months before they lose power?

Albatross, #595: good summary of the broader computer security issues. Right now, however, I'm more concerned with eavesdropping. BTW, there does not appear to be any free RFC 2440 software for the Mac's; I'm now researching payware.

Linkmeister, Heresiarch, Paula L., etc: I think that the House and Senate Democratic leadership are in almost as deep as the Bushies and don't want whatever it is to come out during discovery. There need be no overt blackmail; they're almost as guilty as the administration. In terms of what to do...

I think the first priority is to find out just what the administration and Congressional leadership want hidden. I don't think this will be hard; it's probably too big of a secret to keep. Good old investigative reporting, aka humint, will probably do the job.

The second priority...I've been meaning to write an essay entitled "Four judges, or how far has the corruption spread?" pointing out that we wouldn't have four Supreme Court judges who don't uphold habeas corpus without the compliance of the Senate Democrats. When the elected officials of both major parties are corrupt, and there is no hope of forming a substantial third party (and I won't argue this point; I think a sufficient refutation is "that trick never works") what is there to do? Maybe the best thing to do is to get the word out--once we know what the word is!--, and start pressuring pols who might be willing to come clean.

Third, in the long term, electoral reform that would make successful third parties possible would be worthwhile.

#631 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:07 PM:

With no sense of illusion or of fear
the boat goes out onto the quiet bay;
this is the oddest journey of the year,
an expedition that, in just one day,
will take us all along this waterway
to a kind of place i'd known in the far past.
Upon our heads the rain and thunder play;
this is a true adventure at long last

There's plastic tarp in plenty and to spare
to shield us from the rain and from the spray;
it's far too hot right now to think of fear.
On this swift launch we don't long want to stay;
above the water we note the bright ray.
The boatman feels the need to be quite fast.
The sun comes out, we stop and talk and sway;
this is a true adventure at long last.

We've come so far with caution and with care,
what do we do but what we ought and may
choose from our time in the warm sun and air.
Above the shore we see each village lay
in proper place. We've come the rightful way,
the sun on the water now has a pleasant cast.
I'm here to work though, not to laugh and play.
This is a true adventure at long last

Prince as you these few chosen words must weigh
in proper balance; as you think and stare
at this small record, consider it in this way:
this is a true adventure at long last.

#632 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:12 PM:

Jon Meltzer #613:

Seems likely. I was just about to bring up a 1947 cite (Heinlein, Rocket Ship Galileo), but the dating on Barnaby makes it seem highly probable that it was just floating round in the soup by then.

#633 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:30 PM:

It's news like this which makes me think there's more than an election needed. It's going to need a miracle.

"If it's a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it's a point four-five caliber, short-chamber, boxer-primed miracle." --Lt. Chard, in Zulu

#634 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:48 PM:

A librarian friend of mine has determined (no cites at the moment) that the "Marching and Chowder Society" has its origins in or shortly after the American Civil War. I was reacting to the idea that the phrase could be attributed to Richard Nixon; I'd hate to think anything so charming could have been originated by that miserable man.

The NYT review of "Nixonland" was less than enthusiastic; I was a little surprised at some of the language in the review until I checked the byline. It was written by George Will. I'd have thought that the NYT's readers might have been better served had a review of a book assessing the red/blue split in the country and ascribing it to a leading member of the Republican party not been written by one of its noted supporters.

#635 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:05 PM:

I love working with hagfish hides (the classic "eelskin"). It's thin and shiny without being fragile, dyes wonderfully and holds its color, and even smells intriguing. Edges are my favorite parts of hides, and hagfish is pretty much all edge, ruffled and punctuated by the holes the tanner used to stretch it. And it has a charming little wrinkle down the center, perfect for the spines of books.

Hey, if I can't say this in an Open Tread, then whatinthehell is an Open Thread for?

#636 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:25 PM:

Randolph #630:

Fair enough. FWIW, I know a bunch of the guys involved in the commercial PGP product. They know what they're doing, and they care about personal privacy. I've used their software quite a bit before, and will likely get a new copy when I get my new laptop in a few weeks.

#637 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:43 PM:

I've just made our hotel reservation for Worldcon. We're at the Hyatt, #6 on the map. We have a non-smoking room with 2 double beds, arriving August 6th and leaving on the 10th. The room rate is $159/night, plus applicable taxes. Needless to say, we would very much like to find a roomsplit to cut expenses!

Ideally, we'd like to find another couple to split with us; this would bring the cost per couple down to a much more reasonable $350-ish for the con. But even one other person in the room would help. It should be noted that there are very few rooms available at this point -- the Worldcon is, as they note on the website, the smallest of THREE conventions which will be in downtown Denver at around that time, and a lot of people are arriving early or leaving late in order to sightsee. This was actually our second choice of hotel; we'd intended to go for the Sheraton, which is the party hotel, but they are completely booked on a couple of the nights we need to stay.

Anyone who's interested, please drop me a line at the address linked from my name. Thanks!

#638 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:05 PM:

#586、R. M. Koske,
thanks for that link! The program worked a charm--I haven't had a chance to read the novel yet, but it's all nice and warm on my HD.

I'll let you know what I think!

#639 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:48 AM:

I've been mulling over a bit of a moral question, and I was wondering if the fluorospherian multitudes might have some opinions.

I recently encountered a short story in a mainstream"ish" venue. This short story was purported by the author to be a "retelling of a Japanese folk story." This is, however, not exactly true. It was written in in the 19th century as a kabuki play. It has a known author, and a traceable history. It has entered the Japanese consciousness in many, many variations; it has been filmed numerous times, and has been used as the basis for any number of other stories.

I have tried to get more information about the current author's work--but I haven't found any solid bibliographical information, so I can't actually verify if the author is giving credit to the originator or not.
Now, my question is this: Is the author (the current one, who has released the "retelling") doing anything wrong by not telling the full story of the origin? I doubt they are doing anything illegal--the story is very old, and Japanese copyright law dictates a 50 year limit. Also, like I said, this is a story that has entered Japanese society in a very fundamental way, so it does exist in a kind of folk-tale area.

I think, however, that the author is being disingenuous at best. I think it would be like me making a Japanese retelling of "The Raven" and not mentioning Poe, and that seems really improper. Just because a story was written in another language, doesn't make it fair game for claim by another.

What do you reckon?

N.B. I have been intentionally fuzzy on some of the details because I don't want to stir up too much buzz-this is a somewhat prominent author, and I want to avoid anything that smacks of unsubstantiated accusation.

#640 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:52 AM:

JimR #639: Is it possible that the current author is genuinely unaware of the story's original authorship, and actually thinks it is a folk tale?

#641 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 01:12 AM:

Ethan @ #640,
It is not beyond the realm of possibility--but if so, they didn't even try to find out. It took me about 30 seconds to track it down, without any special knowledge, just using the names in the story (which are identical to the original). It's in the English Wikipedia, so it's not that hard.

#642 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 03:00 AM:

Jim R @ #641, how could the author possibly not know if he or she is using the same names as those in the original? That's a coincidence I'd be hard-pressed to buy. It could be that there's a misunderstanding of what kabuki is, I suppose, but still...

#643 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:32 AM:

Regarding the kabuki retelling:

It strikes me as very plausible that this could be an honest error on the part of the author. When something feels like a folk tale, especially in a foreign culture, one could easily not think of checking it. For example, the Kingston Trio recorded "Where have all the flowers gone" and labeled it a folk song, not realizing that it had been written by Pete Seeger just a few years earlier.

"Honest" doesn't mean "completely innocent" in my book -- I think that artists have an obligation to check these things. But it does mean that I think the author might respond well to a non-threatening note. Why not contact him?

#644 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 09:36 AM:

#638, JimR -

I'm glad the program worked!

I finished the novel yesterday, and I'm feeling quite mixed about it. The novel was good, the ending satisfying and logical and right...but Willingham included an afterword that I wish he just *hadn't*, because he expresses political opinions I disagree with strongly.*

It's a weird feeling to really love the novel and be so annoyed with the author. I know it has happened to others here and is nothing new, but it's my first time. I was going to recommend the novel to an online acquaintance as a good one for her ESL students, and make a rec on my LJ, but I've decided not to do those things. It's frustrating because it has a feeling of cutting off my nose to spite my face. Really, I suppose I'm cutting off others' noses to spite Willingham. That feels even more petty.

Read the novel, Jim - you've already downloaded it and Willingham has his royalties. Not reading it at this point would most accomplish nothing and it *is* a good book. And I recommend you not read the afterword until, well, afterward, if at all.

*ROT-13 to keep Willingham's opinions secret so Jim can enjoy the novel - Jvyyvatunz srryf gung gur Obl Fpbhgf bs Nzrevpn ner orvat ohyyvrq ol gur vagbyrenag gb sbepr gurz vapyhqr ubzbfrkhnyf. Ur rapbhentrf gur betnavmngvba gb fgnaq ol gurve pbaivpgvbaf.

#645 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 09:54 AM:

Lee @ 637... We already have our room at the Hyatt Regency. Best wishes with finding a way to ease the financial strain.

#646 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:30 AM:

mcz... I received "The Curse of Fatal Death" yesterday. Thanks!

#647 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 02:57 PM:

So, open-threadiness:

Could the scam-sniffers of Making Light tell me their impressions of I ask because looking through their required reading lists reveals some real doozies (The Teachings of Don Juan, frex), they refer to fees as "an exchange of energies", and the third email I got from the HPS asked me if I had a car. The flake meter hasn't quite pegged, but it edges up with every interaction I have.

#648 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 05:46 PM:

Albatross, #636: PGP looks pretty good, but it costs $150/system (+ about $30/yr if you want upgrades after a year). I can't ask my correspondents to install that!

Why, oh why, can't the FOSS movement pay a bit more attention to usability and publicity, grouse, grouse.

#649 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:12 PM:

Carrie 647: Haven't looked at the link, but seeing 'HPS' and 'fees' in the same sentence makes my knee jerk. "Run away!" it jerks.

#650 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:32 PM:

So a big(ish) thunderstorm just rolled in around these parts, and I swear as it was coming in it looked just like the Nexus from Star Trek: Generations, with the added detail that as the lower layer of white clouds rolled away they revealed an almost perfectly skull-shaped darker cloud beyond them. Oh, and minus Malcolm MacDowell, sadly.

#651 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 03:52 AM:

Jim R, #639, try emailing him. It does seem unlikely he wouldn't know (in fact, I bet I know which play it is), but it's possible. Don't be accusatory.

Carrie S., #647, Xopher is much better at wiccan things than I am, of course, but I skimmed the site and it looks a bit like self-aggrandizing by Annabelle.

If you need something funny, try this YouTube bit I nicked from Pat Cadigan's LJ.

#652 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 07:09 AM:

Marilee @651:

As a former bass clarinetist, I empathise with the cellist in him. As someone rather fond of that piece, I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe.

Thanks for the link!

#653 ::: Martin Sutherland ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 09:00 AM:

Unrelated: I saw this, and thought of Halting State.

#654 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 09:30 AM:

ethan @ 650... What? No Malcolm McDowell? I want my money back!

#655 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 09:33 AM:

(cont'd from #654)

ethan... Did you ever see McDowell as Roarke in the 1990s revial of Fatnasy Island? He was great, especially when he'd say:

"Smile, every one! Smile!"

#656 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 10:22 AM:

Thanks for the comments Marilee, DavidS and Linkmeister. I decided to go ahead and send a short little note. I tried really hard to be neutral and not accusatory, so we'll see.

Like Linkmeister and Marilee said, there is really no way this could be a matter of ignorance...and I am flabbergasted that a professional writer would be so remiss. But maybe the honest mistake lies not in ignorance, but in delivery, as in they just didn't remember to put it in the introduction.

#658 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 11:19 AM:

Serge #655: I never did see that show, which is odd considering my massive crush on Mr. McDowell, and my tendency to start screaming like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert when he comes on screen.

#659 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 11:57 AM:

Open threadiness: Today's Astronomy Pic of the Day is really strange, to the point that if this were April 1... well. But apparently it is real. I'm tempted to call it, Kermit in Space.

#660 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 11:58 AM:

A footnote on Obama and FISA: the FISA immunity clauses are ex-post-facto. Seems to me I recall that ex-post-facto laws are unconstitutional. Maybe Obama does, too, and will recall that after he's elected.


#661 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 12:08 PM:

Sylvia Li @ 659... If that's Kermit, what does that say about Jim Henson?

#662 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Sylvia, #659: It's Great Cthulhu!

#663 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 12:33 PM:

Apparently the legal thinking is that ex post facto is only banned if it makes something illegal after the fact. Making things legal afterward is something they don't mind.

#664 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 01:25 PM:

I'm going to do the same thing Madeline F did above, and change over my email to one that I can actually be reached at, should anyone ever wish to email me. In future I will be commenting with the email address snowmentNOSPAMality at gmail dot com (it is left as an exercise for the reader to remove the appropriate portion).

#665 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 01:28 PM:

This is a new and better email address. My previous comments on Making Light can all be found here.

#666 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 02:00 PM:

re 600: I seem to recollect that the phrase originated in "Pogo".

re 380: Eleanor Farjeon actually.

re 135: That's the problem I've come across trying to get music for Sviridov's hymns: the heirs are fighting, so the stuff isn't making it into (legitimate) print. Apparently within the Russian Music Mafia it is possible to get them, because some recordings are being made, but they are way too dense in texture to work out from recordings (at least by me).

re 406: snork!

re 416 et passim: You are not stuck with MS's crappy mail stuff if you install Office; it only works if you turn it on, and they won't make you turn it on. I use OpenOffice because I'm exceedingly cheap, but it is slow to start up and it does not save RTF correctly. One can find MSOffice at reasonable prices (and apparently legally) on EBay. Avoid Office 2007!

#667 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 02:18 PM:

C Wingate @ 666... Avoid Office 2007!

So I've been told by many. Luckily my wife wound up feeling comfortable enough with OpenOffice to make the switch. The interface is a bit different from what she was used to, but overall she enjoys OO. And we wind up not having to pay Bill Gates. Bwahahahah!!!

(I will not tell you about that issue of the Fantastic Four comic-book where monstrous Ben Grimm sent Gates a photocopy of his own rocky bottom.)

#668 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Sylvia Li (#659) and later comments on that picture: Green Slime in Outer Space!

#669 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Serge@ 667: Hooray OpenOffice! It also lets you quickly and easily export to PDF format. That feature was an absolute lifesaver when I was on Windows. (I haven't used Office 2007; it may let you export to PDF now, but I doubt it.)

#670 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 04:40 PM:

600, 666
Mr O'Malley from Barnaby was a member of the Elves, Gnomes, Leprechauns, and Little Men's Chowder and Marching Society.

The crew in Pogo were the Okeefenokee Glee, Pilau, and Fire Society.

#671 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 05:34 PM:

#657 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Exclusive on Mary Dell's blog! Teresa Nielsen Hayden is taught how to become a quark!

Is she charmed? Is she strange?

#672 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 05:42 PM:

Caroline @ 669... Hooray OpenOffice!

And a loud razzberry sound in the general direction of the Gates.

#673 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Erik Nelson #671: Is she charmed? Is she strange?

It's regrettable that the scientific community saw fit to rename the Truth and Beauty quarks...

#674 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Another bit of open-thread drift: I just found the answer to a problem that's been bothering me for months, and seeing as Word just came up, I thought I'd throw it in here... okay, mainly just because I'm feeling good about it, but also, well, someone else might be having the problem, too.

I do layout for our church's quarterly newsletter. People send me articles for it, and, here's the thing, also photographs. I have the Adobe suite, so if they send me a jpg, or really, just about any standard graphics format, I'm good to go. However, sometimes, what I get is a photo inside a Word document -- and of course it is always past the deadline when it comes in, so asking them to resend is not an option. Copying and pasting occasionally works, but all too often the picture comes out horribly, horribly posterized.

I'm not quite clear how Word manages to display perfectly good pictures and still wreck any copies, but it does.

So here's what I found out: the key is to save the Word document as an HTML file. Not Save for Web, no. Save As... and then pick the .htm file format. Magically, Word then creates a folder with all of the original images, undamaged, in jpg format!

Yay! Happy dance!

(Er. Ahem. Blush. As you were, sorry to interrupt.)

#675 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 07:02 PM:

Word is a PITA.
Open Office does not the last download I did of it, include a mode that doesn't show page edges and margins and such--this is annoying when I am -writing- as opposed to interested in -page layout-.

Word is s PITA... can you tell that it was annoying me today?!

#676 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 07:27 PM:

Eric Nelson @ 671... Earl Cooley III @ 673... Has physics theorized the existence of a quark that has never been found? Maybe Teresa is the key to the Theory of Everything.

#677 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 07:41 PM:

Earl Cooley III

Yes, the questions one would have to ask now are far too personal and impolite.

#678 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 08:00 PM:

Drive-by grumble impelled by the discussion of Word and Office and a year-long search for a word processor compatable with my brain, or what's left of it:

What I really want is a WP program which emulates MacWrite for OS-X. And no, Text Edit ain't it.

#679 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 08:01 PM:

#675, Paula Lieberman -

Have you tried using "web layout"* and then further down the "view" menu also turning off "text boundaries"? The "ruler" is also in that menu, and when I turn that off I've got a pretty plain white box that might work for you. I am looking at OpenOffice version 2.1.

*Is it just me, or is that a rather counter-intuitive name for it?

#680 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 08:04 PM:

#674, Sylvia -

I don't know if I'll ever have a use for that trick (or sadly, if I'll remember it when I need it) but I totally get the joy of finding the trick that makes whatever it is you have to do *work*. I like seeing that moment happen for other people, too, so I'm glad you shared.

#681 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 12:27 AM:

Just came across this report of an old work of SF discovered in two different New Zealand libraries (originally published in two parts). Apparently, it was first published in 1881. University of Nebraska Press has republished it.

The report mentions "ground-breaking" themes such as "interplanetary colonisation by humankind, sexual relations with aliens and the problems of space flight - including space shuttles, spacesuits and air locks", all of which pre-date H.G. Wells.

#682 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 05:51 AM:

Eric Nelson: That was the "Okeefenokee Glee 'n' Perloo Union". It's worth noting that the predecessor to the KGB had a name whose initials were OGPU.

#683 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 08:06 AM:

R.M. @ 679, I've got OpenOffice 2.2 and the same trick works there.

Tangentially to the word-processor conversation, I also wish to recommend Scrivener. I have used it to put together scientific papers, but it's really intended for writers of fiction or screenplays. It works on the "index card outline" principle -- and hooks the appropriate pieces of your draft to the cards, so that when you rearrange the cards, you automatically rearrange your draft. Mac OS X only, unfortunately.

#684 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 08:57 AM:

Haven't looked at the link, but seeing 'HPS' and 'fees' in the same sentence makes my knee jerk. "Run away!" it jerks.

Yeah, alas, that was kind of my reaction. Especially once I checked them out on Witchvox and noted that they claim to be "Eclectic Gardnerians".

And I missed the local ADF chapter's Solstice ritual too. Have to wait till Mabon; I'll be at Pennsic during Lughnasadh.

Xopher is much better at wiccan things than I am, of course, but I skimmed the site and it looks a bit like self-aggrandizing by Annabelle.

Indeed so.

Damn it, why are all the pagans such flakes?!

#685 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 09:55 AM:

Carrie S., et. al.: I actually went and looked at the site, and while I don't disagree with the "flake" and "self-aggrandizing" assessments, I have to say that the fees for the public classes are very modest, and seem in line for covering materials and photocopying and maybe the instructor's gas money.

I really, really don't like the mindset that calls fees for specific initiation-into-the-tradition-type classes an "exchange of energies." Blech. I understand that running an organization takes money, but it doesn't feel seemly, if you know what I mean. It'd be more proper, the way I see it, to offer the initiatory classes entirely free, and make it clear upfront that a full member needs to contribute membership dues that reflect a fair share of the organization's operating costs, and also in that case they ought to be either registered as a non-profit and complying with all the rules about that, or, if that's prohibitively expensive, keeping complete and accurate financial records accessible to all members at the very least.

My gut says that these people aren't outright scammers, and that they're probably very well-intentioned, but they're probably REALLY REALLY flaky and bad at keeping track of money. Just a gut feeling, no direct evidence beyond reading the website.

#686 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Carrie S @ 684...

And their symbolo shows two dinosaurs involved in an activity that's illegal in some states?

#687 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 10:28 AM:

Open-threadedness joke (stolen from Joe Haldeman's board on SFF.NET)

This guy goes to the doctor to get his first prostate exam. The doc puts on
his glove and sticks his fingers in to take a look. After awhile he says,

"Son, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is you don't have
prostate cancer!"

The guy says "So whats the bad news?"

Doc tells him, "You'll have to stop masturbating."

"Why?" the guy asks.

Doc says, "Because it's making me nervous!"

(drum roll)

#688 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:48 AM:

I just noticed the following in

Robert Novak, the legendary conservative columnist who has been tagged as the "Prince of Darkness," focuses his latest column on the subject of "Obamacons," conservatives who support Barack Obama. Two names stand out among those he discusses -- Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who's retiring this year, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Novak says there's no guarantee Hagel will endorse Obama, that the likelier scenario is that he simply won't support John McCain. But Novak does think that Powell will endorse Obama.

#689 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 12:05 PM:

#679 R. M.

Web layout doesn't have any page enumeration information, or page breaks, and I want those.... OO isn't the first word processor I've seen that doesn't allow a page-oriented view that leaves off the margins (there was at least one crappy Amiga word processor that didn't provide a "draft" or "normal" mode as opposed to "page layout mode) but... the earliers WPs I used had modes that showed where page breaks were and didn't have page margins display, including Xerox's word processors that were dedicated, Digital Equipment DECMates (back before the IBM PC word processing market started taking off--it was before page-oriented text processing), Samna, WordPerfect, Word, and I forget what else... oh, ugh, I -would- have to suddenly think of Script on IBM mainframes, wouldn't I...., MacWrite, Word on Macintosh, WordStar (ugh ptui... never liked that program), etc.

#690 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 12:20 PM:

Ah. Okay. I seldom want page breaks unless I'm doing layout, so I didn't think about those. It was worth a try, sorry it wasn't actually helpful.

#691 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 689, what you can do is (leaving it in Print Layout) first go View - Ruler and uncheck it, go View - Text Boundaries and uncheck that, then go View - Zoom - Optimal -- that'll expand the page to fit the window so you don't see its edges, but still let you see page breaks and numbering.

#692 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Open thread heads up: there's a petition being circulated under the subject "Petition to Drill NOW." It means exactly what you think it means, as does the only content (of the form my Yahoo group received, anyway): "Click here to sign."

I clicked on the link to see what it was about, and found I had signed the damned thing and there was no way to rescind the vote.

Yes, yes, I know we never click on links in spam; I made the mistake of seeing this as a message from a person (especially given her angry response to the message that this was inappropriate for the group concerned).

#693 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Secret Lives of Young Girls

The following should be self-explanatory. "Kitchen Sister" is an NPR program. One of the members is on Ned's super mailing list. She asked him for a little help. If you know such a story that you think might be shared with their broadcasting audience you can contact them at the e-mail address below.

Disclaimer: The program isn't carried by our affiliate, so I've not heard it.
Many thanks!

Love, C.

> i'm forwarding this to my wife, who is the authority on the
> secret life of girls in this household. being as to how if i knew anything
> about it, it would by definition no longer be a secret . . . :-D
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Kitchen Sisters"

> Do me a favor, Ned. The next Kitchen Sister series in about the secret
> life of girls around the world. Your net is so wide and deep, if you
> come across a story or somebody that resonates with that, will you give
> a little shout. Your soul and sensibility are so in line with what
> we're looking for.
> Many thanks,
> Davia

#694 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 01:49 PM:

cmk's note about the drilling petition as the tragedy of an irrevocable click and Paula Leiberman and R.M. Koske's conversation about word processing software have an intersection at my fruitless and immobilizing search for a me-friendly WP environment. For instance I rejected "Pages" after the third time I found myself inexplicably stuck in a frame after searching the drop-down menues for a simple word count; somehow, along the line, I'd apparently selected an option which defined my document as a single page. Trying to find something more tolerant of my limited executive memory and damaged hands has made preparing to write torturous.

The consequence of this floundering about is that I've had Spike stuck in a claw-footed tub since last August, smoking cigarettes and reading Coleridge: even a vampire gets pruney after a while.

#695 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Off topic open-threadiness:

Okay, I'll admit it, I want to hear music from this band. Preferably with some sort of goth/vampire overlap.

#696 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 02:20 PM:

#692 cmk

Contact your state's Attorney General and the FBI of being defrauded on the Internet. There is a link at to a page to a page to report Internet crime, and being defrauded that way is fraud.... alos complain to your Congresscritters about fraud and deception.

#697 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 02:23 PM:

albatross @ 695: This Sleepytime Gorilla Museum video is pretty close to your request (homemade instruments, Victoriana, undead).

#698 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 02:37 PM:

My thing-to-type-in of choice is WriteRoom. It has a fullscreen mode, and you can even change the background colour and font to look like the WP you had on your ancient beige-box monochrome-monitor Commodore 64, if you want. Very good for banging out a lot of text that can later be fancified in Pages.

(Fluorescent green fixed-width, or lurid yellow fixed-width? So many choices...)

#699 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 03:23 PM:

I wonder if Multi-Mate still exists. Hmm, no. Windows as WP software killer.

#700 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 03:43 PM:

For those people who want a plain text editor for Windows, the Q10 editor seems worth a look.

I've a vague recollection of trying it, and it didn't suit my style of doing things. Currently I use Open Office.

#701 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Carrie 684: Not all the Pagans are flakes. The ones who try to make money for teaching the Craft (which even the people who take money for doing spells and making charms etc. recoil from) are, because it takes a flake to do that.

Rikibeth 685: In my coven we never had dues. Everyone helped out with supplies from time to time, and it really doesn't take more than that.* If you're trying to run a larger organization...well, I think that's a mistake. And fees should never be charged for teaching the Craft, in my opinion. This is partly to ensure that teaching is done for and with love, of the Craft and the student, and partly as a screening process: if you can only teach for free, you're automatically more selective. Also you can't be placed under economic pressure to teach someone you really know you shouldn't.

I and all my tradition are oathbound not to take money for teaching (or for doing magic), and to bind anyone we teach to that same oath.

I question the wisdom of giving large public classes on the Craft, even for free. The essense of teaching the Craft is, to me, one-to-one or many (teachers) to few (students). Each person is different, and what may be ho-hum routine to one student may be mind-blowing to a dangerous degree to another. I've often said that the Craft can only be taught as a candle teaches another candle to it occurs to me that lighting a room full of candles all at once is risky at best!

*In later years I was fortunate enough to be able to afford to pay for most things myself. I still saw value in material contribution, however, so I assigned people to acquire certain things, making sure that I wasn't asking them for something they couldn't afford. In fact we pretty much made sure the poorer members were subsidized, even for after-circle meals, by the richer ones, and did our best to make sure they never had to notice.

#702 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 03:58 PM:

Any of the lawyers here look at the "Instructive Lawsuit" Particle? IANAL, but it seems to me that that's not so much a lawsuit as a criminal complaint, is that right?

#703 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 04:01 PM:

@671: Is she charmed? Is she strange?

Is she a top? Or a bottom?

@673: It's regrettable that the scientific community saw fit to rename the Truth and Beauty quarks...

Apparently, those after-hours parties in the particle physics lab were, uh ...

#704 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 04:21 PM:

Xopher @701: I just took a look at the website, and my gut is saying "Run away." Some of the reading list choices are, um, questionable at best.

The Cunningham and Starhawk books are sound enough, but some of the others make me shake my head. And I'd have included Farrar's _What Witches Do_ in the introductory class. And the names for the levels of iniation are precious, bless her little heart.

Anyone who is really interested in a reading list, I'm betting Xopher could supply a good one or have a look at the one the Church of All Worlds uses...

#705 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Linkmeister @699

Oh, man. MultiMate. Haven't thought of that in years. I don't think I've ever run across anyone who was familiar with it before (aside from my father, who taught me to use it, of course).

Don't suppose anyone remembers Math Attack, too? (I know one person in Sweden who does. Other than that.... It was my favourite computer game when I was a kid. Yes, I know I'm not normal.)

Paula's issue with always being in layout mode is my one complaint about NeoOffice. It's annoying, but not quite annoying enough to prompt me to go looking for anything better.

#706 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 05:05 PM:

I know someone who uses UltraEdit.

I use Notepad a lot for plain text - but I have a copy of Teco-C for Windows I haven't yet installed. (This is called 'living dangerously'.) I miss its capability for looped edits (do this search-and-replace three times or until you get to the end of the buffer, whichever comes first).

#707 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 05:26 PM:

Found on

According to USA Today, real-life couple director Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan are teaming up to bring Red Sonja back to the big screen.

Neither of them were officially announced before. The only thing that was revealed previously was that Millennium Films had committed to reviving the Robert E. Howard-created property. David N. White was announced as the screenwriter.

Rodriguez added that the Barbarella remake he is set to direct, also with McGowan in the lead, was delayed because of the writers strike and possible actors strike.

#708 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 05:32 PM:

Blast it - that's initiation not iniation...sigh. Fingers are faster than brain today. Is it Friday yet?

#709 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 06:22 PM:

Xopher @ 701, I find myself in violent agreement with you.

And I find your coven's way of handling the subsidizing of less-wealthy members VERY graceful and seemly.

I've never belonged to any pagan group more organized than a student association, and so I found myself trying to draw analogies to SCA baronies and SF convention-running associations.

#710 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Jennifer @ #705, that was the first stand-alone WP program the company I worked for bought when it began buying IBM-PCs at $5k a pop. Later went to Symphony on the theory that "hey, it does spreadsheets and word processing in one suite!"

I was the DP manager, but I had very little sway over what my boss wanted to buy. He started using things like Managing Your Money for personal stuff; didn't go to Quicken until 20 years later.

#711 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 06:49 PM:

Does anyone know if the abiveldt is contagious? In the last 3 day I've broken most of my computing environment at work: my boot disk first started showing errors in non-boot data, then started having trouble booting; then one of the displays started flickering. I tried repairing the disk, that just made it impossible to read it at all. Then the second display went black. I couldn't believe both displays would die at the same time, so I tried a different computer to see if the graphics card was bad or the power was running low. No, it really was two bad displays. So I had to find a replacement display (one old CRT, big clunker). Then I had to erase the disk and reinstall the OS, then restore my files from backup (of course the restore process reported an error; I'm afraid to look at what that was all about). And all this was going on just when I was trying to get out a release that was a day or so late when things started breaking; now it's at least a week late. I'm beginning to have uneasy thoughts about the Big Thumb in the Sky reaching down to get me, accompanied by a booming voice declaiming, "Because you piss me off!"

#712 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 711... I hope Abi's not becoming like George Orr otherwise Life As We Know It is doomed. Doomed!!!

#713 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 07:34 PM:

P J Evans #706: I have a copy of Teco-C for Windows

I used to use TECO to sort flat file databases that were too large to sort using the system sort of our DEC minicomputer, with its lavish quarter-meg of main memory. It had to run overnight, but it was an outstanding workhorse back in the day.

#714 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 07:41 PM:

#707 - Remakes of Red Sonja and Barbarella? Well thanks to the law of averages one of them must be good, right?


(Makes note - Barbarella and Red Sonja double bill for movie night. That will make a great theme night, or at least great blogging material)

Bruce Cohen #711 - I understand that the abiveldt was designed to be contagious, but it failed in testing, so that functionality was turned off.

#715 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 07:48 PM:

Earl @ #713, the IBM S/34 I was running at the job I cited above had 64K of memory, I think. 13.2MB hard drive to start with, too (later doubled that for the small sum of $5K).

#716 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 10:14 PM:

Jeebus, Earl, 256K of RAM?
That really is lavish, for a DEC machine. I think the most I met on a mini was 128K, and it was running RT-11 in foreground-background. (Which, for the younger kids around here, means it had more than enough memory to run Fortran.)

(I just got the new box for my middle computer. The power switch on the old box is going, and since I have to take everything out to get to it anyway .... It's the same kind, but a newer model: meet the new toaster, almost the same as the old toaster.)

#717 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 10:53 PM:

#707 Serge & #714 Neil

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh....

#718 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:02 PM:

Hi everyone--happy news to share--after a looong time hoping and waiting, I am now the mother of a beautiful baby boy! for pictures & story.


#719 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:22 PM:

Somehow the words "click here" got eaten in the link above. Since the last 48 hours have eaten much of my brain, I should expect words to get eaten too, I guess.

#720 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:28 PM:

albatross, #695, as soon as I read that, I sent the link off to a steampunk friend.

Mary Dell, #718, Wow! Congratulations! Prepare to be awake for the next month! I love the next-to-last picture -- his little feet tilting together.

#721 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:28 PM:

albatross #695
Okay, I'll admit it, I want to hear music from this band. Preferably with some sort of goth/vampire overlap.

I suspect that Abney Park is a decent real-life substitute. (Note: excessive use of flash. See wikipedia for plain text description.)

#722 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:44 PM:

Mary Dell @ 718. I just saw the news on your LJ, and had to drop in here to say congratulations again! He's so gorgeous!

#723 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 12:10 AM:

#718: Congratulations!

#716: "The power switch on the old box is going"

Last week I got a new motherboard for a HP unit that I was using as my media server. The old case was nice and roomy and solid and looked like it had everything required for a modern motherboard. Hah! To save complexity HP had connected all the front panel controls to one long plug. The new MB required that the various switches and LEDs have its own cable and plug. Oye! But I had, ready to go to the recycler, a crappy box which I plucked from a dumpster. (It had a nice case fan.) I pulled it apart and extracted the switches and controls. Everything fit perfectly!

Then I found out that what was considered a big power supply in 2000 (250 watts) wasn't enough to get even the naked motherboard up and running.

Back to the clone supply shop . . .

So. Yeah. "Get a new box" is a good idea now and then.

#724 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 01:10 AM:

Holy congratulations, Mary Dell!

#725 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 04:42 AM:

Mary Dell, Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#726 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 08:17 AM:

Mary Dell and family: Congratulations!

#727 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 08:19 AM:

I know there are a few followers of Questionable Content here, so maybe someone could explain the "white belt" reference in the latest cartoon.

#728 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 08:49 AM:

Congratulations, Mary Dell! He's a cutie.

#729 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 09:50 AM:

Eeeee! Congratulations, Mary Dell! Oh my gosh, how adorable is he?

#730 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 09:51 AM:

Mary Dell: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111!!!!!!!!!


Congratulations and good luck.

#731 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Mary Dell @ 718...


#732 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:11 AM:

Mary Dell @718
OMG! W00t! Heartiest congratulations!

Beats my new house all hollow. (We have the keys now. I'm going to spend the next week painting.)

#733 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:27 AM:

abi (732): Houses should be hollow. If they're completely solid, there's no living space inside.

#734 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Stefan @ 723
I might go for replacing the power supply in the old box, since it includes the fan - I think, because the box is the same size, it can be done.
(This is the new box.)

(They changed the shape of the button on the switch sometime in the past few years (from rectangular to round). I was going to put an external switch on it (spade lugs with hoods came to mind for connectors: make it easy the next time it goes bad).)

#735 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:02 AM:

I have added two more faces to the Making Light and Faces gallery: Paula Lieberman, and Gonzo the Great... er... I mean... R.M.Koske.

Make that three more faces, or rather four since Kouredios is with her daughter Cassie.

#736 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:02 AM:

733: abi scorns your infantile devotion to the limits of Earthly physics. Den Abihuis is not only solid all the way through, but fractally involuted in six dimensions, and thus has a total floor area which cannot be expressed in any recognisable system of notation. However, it is impossible for one person to paint it with a finite volume of paint. Fortuntely, there is a convention of interior decorators at the Cantor Hotel down the road...

#737 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:11 AM:

Congratulations to all and sundry on new houses and new babies!

#738 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:20 AM:

ajay @ 736... Abi lives inside a TARDIS?

#739 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:26 AM:

Congratulations Mary Dell!!! "Charles Nelson Jailin" sounds a lot like "Charles Nelson Reilly." I hope he grows up with an evil laugh.


#740 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 12:30 PM:

#736 ajay

And He Built a Crooked House

#741 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 12:51 PM:

If you watch the Discovery Channel, you might especially enjoy today's xkcd strip. On the other hand, it makes me feel optimistic about the Future, and that's disquieting.

#742 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 01:28 PM:

I don't watch the Discovery Channel and I didn't get it. Couldn't figure out the secret message, either. Help?

#743 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Xopher @ 742... xkcd's strip was a spoof/homage to Discovery's ad that shows people from their various shows singing one after the other about the things they like. Kind of hard to explain. Maybe someone put the ad on YouTube.

#744 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 01:49 PM:

#742 & 743, Xopher and Serge -

It looks like (I can't confirm due to a net nanny) that it is - I get lots of likely-looking results from "Discovery ad".

I first saw it online, definitely, and the version I saw was both the longer than what they're currently airing and also my favorite. (Xopher, it has Stephen Hawking in it. Very much worth digging for.)

#745 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:08 PM:

R.M.Koske and Xopher... Here is the ad.

"I love the world"

#746 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Serge & R.M.: Thank you! I have a DVR, and thus don't see many ads...I could tell today's strip was supposed to be set to music, but couldn't match it to anything in my head.

Now, it's freakin' awesome.

#747 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:15 PM:

I've listened to that ad many times, but never actually watched it all the way through. Nice.

#748 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Mary Dell, so much congratulations! What a wonderful adventure you're embarking on with him!

#749 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:26 PM:

And (a bit belated) congratulations to Mary Dell. It's a wonderful thing that tiny people who need love can find big people with love to spare like that.

He's adorable.

#750 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 03:11 PM:

Congratulations, felicitations, and endless sleep-in-odd-moments to Mary Dell!

#751 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 03:27 PM:

Congratulations to Mary Dell!

Serge @ 741 -
If you watch the Discovery Channel, you might especially enjoy today's xkcd strip. On the other hand, it makes me feel optimistic about the Future, and that's disquieting.

Today's XKCD is made out of Win and Righteous... :-)

The Discovery Channel ad is getting quite a few... not quite parodies... more like cheerful homages (the Net finds its own use for things, just like the Street does) - this is probably my favorite.

And the world - for all its messed up, screwy people, bad things, and awful events that can happen - is just awesome. Best World Evar.

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Scott Taylor @ 751... Heheheh.

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 04:04 PM:

Scott Taylor @ 751... An ML version of that would be interesting.

#754 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Onion and AP particles about everything spinning out of control:

Things fall apart
The center cannot hold

#755 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 05:46 PM:

I love the wildfires
Despite the smoky sky,
Love LOLcat Homer
And schadenfreude pie...

#756 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 06:07 PM:

...I love the go-bag kits
and all the poetry
I love the Particles
and arcane geekery...

#757 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 06:27 PM:

...I love to pun
Some say too much
I cook up a ton
Not all of it mulch

#758 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 06:35 PM:

I know it as a campfire song.

"I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills
I love the flowers, I love the daffodils
I love the campfire, when all the lights are low
Boom-de-ada, boom-de-ada, boom-de-ada, boom-de-ada x2"

#759 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Girl Scouts or Camp Fire Girls?

#760 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Hell Fire Grrrls?

#761 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 07:36 PM:

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday, a party I'm hosting (Canada! Fireworks! Relaxaparty!) will also include a mini Making Light Making-Meeting. See the Wildfires thread for detail.

(Sadly, Serge won't be out here until Bastille Day)

#762 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 07:44 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 761... Serge won't be out here until Bastille Day


#763 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 07:53 PM:

Serge #762: Aux armes!

#764 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 08:32 PM:

Fragano @ 763... Quel outrage!

#765 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 09:52 PM:

Oh, the picture of Kouredios and Cassie is perfect!

#766 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:19 PM:

Marilee @ 765... I thought so too. My understanding is that Cassie has grown up a bit since that photo was taken - kids do that a lot, or so I've heard. She's also turning into Atticus Finch's daughter, apparently.

#767 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:25 PM:

Serge #764: Formez vos bataillons!

#768 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:27 PM:

Abney Park @ 33: "Houses should be hollow. If they're completely solid, there's no living space inside."

Well, you should make sure the walls are solid. Otherwise, you just know the wolves'll get into 'em.

#769 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:51 PM:

Caroline @669:
Microsoft has such a plugin available for download, but was forbidden from shipping it with Word by Adobe, who threatened them with an IP lawsuit.

WIth respect to Adobe, this is called shooting oneself in the foot.

#770 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:42 PM:

Mary Dell: congratulations!

All: Boom-de-yada boom-de-yada boom-de-yada boom-de-yada....

#771 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:58 PM:

Fragano @ 767 - are we singing the Marseillaise now?? I wondered when that phase would start.

Mary Dell - Waow, babies are good! They ... completely and entirely change your universe. Enjoy. And hey -- you're a Hoosier?

In re boom-de-yada; the kids turned me onto that commercial a couple of months ago and I was still able to impress my son with the ability to find it on YouTube, slurp it into an MP3 with Audacity, and put it on his MP3 player as soon as he showed it to me. He's nine and coming up fast on using technology, so being able to impress him is likely to be a short-lived phase.

#772 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:59 PM:

Thanks, everyone, for the congratulations and kind wishes. We are having a good time with him, although the first night had a couple of those sleep-deprived moments of wondering why I did this (what my best friend calls "gypsy moments" as in "I wish the gypsies would...").

Xopher, we did wonder if "Charles Nelson" was a bad combo for that very reason, but we wanted a name Jack Aubrey would approve of. One of my brothers said we should wait until Charlie's grown up and then show him video of CNR on Hollywood Squares and tell him, "Son, it's time you knew the truth about where your name *really* came from..."


#773 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 12:47 AM:

Mary Dell @ 772... we wanted a name Jack Aubrey would approve of

I guess it's just as well that I didn't suggest the name 'Serge'.

Again, my best wishes to your family, and I'm happy that this all happened than I expected.

#774 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 12:49 AM:

Argh. Words fell off - or never went in. That'll teach me to spend nearly 2 hours nearly upside down. The sentence should have been:

"...I'm happy that this all happened way faster than I expected..."

#775 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 12:52 AM:

albatross @ 770...

Boom-de-yada boom-de-yada boom-de-yada boom-de-yada....
I love people to be happy.
Boom-de-yada boom-de-yada boom-de-yada boom-de-yada....

#776 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 02:18 AM:

heresiarch @768:
Well, you should make sure the walls are solid. Otherwise, you just know the wolves'll get into 'em.

Sheesh, we had ants in the walls once, and that was a pain and a half. I have no idea how I would cope with wolves in the walls.

#777 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 06:53 AM:

To add to the new baby goodness - my personal contribution to the luminescence is here.

Congratulations, Mary Dell! I share your sleep deprivation!

And thank you, Stefan Jones, for inspiring me with a name I liked as much as Stephen that didn't compete with my nephew, Steven.

#778 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 06:54 AM:

abi @ 776... I have no idea how I would cope with wolves in the walls.

It took me forever to go back to sleep in the middle of the night because of a rather disturbing discovery. I had confined Agatha the cat-genius to the secondary bathroom to prevent her from messing up some work I had done in the kitchen. In the middle of the night, Sue woke me up because she could hear Agatha mewing somewhere inside the bedroom's bathroom.

Agatha had squirmed thru the air duct of the secondary bathroom, but couldn't come out in the bedroom bathroom because its vent was still in place. If she that had made her backtrack or if she had taken a wrong turn, she could have died somewhere inside the walls of the house.

#779 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 07:24 AM:

EClaire @777 -- Yay!! What a cutie, congratulations!

abi @776 -- your light sabre might be good for the wolves, but bad for the walls. Unless you were going to renovate anyway. ("Wolves in the Walls" isn't a bad band name, though.)

#780 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 07:47 AM:

Congratulations, EClaire, what a gorgeous baby!

#781 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 08:17 AM:

Sheesh, we had ants in the walls once...

Well that's just wrong. Wolves can live in walls for the same reason rabbits live in runs and pigs live in pens (unless they're swine living in the swamp). Ants come under a different category. In the same way that chimpanzees climb trees, where there are cacti there are flies and the place to find a mouse is in a house, it's obvious why we find ants in our pants.

Congratulations on babies all round.

#782 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 09:54 AM:

Swan songs...

Nichols & Stone, one of the last US furniture manufacturers, is closing down.... It was the last relatively large furniture maker in Gardner, Massachusetts. A few years ago it also had a facility it bought in North Carolina, apparently it shut that down in 2006. The factory in Gardner was mixed between assembling and finishing of imported goods, and start to finish manufacture. The company was in the process of converting over to assembly and finishing only.

Half a century ago, Gardner, Winchendon, and Athol in north central Massachusetts, were full of furniture manufacturers -- S. Bent, Nichols and Stone, L & Z Kamman, Heywood-Wakefield.... my father was the industrial inspector for the state for an area that ran from Sterling west to Orange and Athol and he'd gotten the job because he had a furniture manufacturing background. There was one factory that took him two days to inspect it was so large.

They're essentially all gone now, though, first conglomerate ownership and buyouts from companies moving everything to Canada or North Carolina, then the lower costs of Carolina production driving most of the companies that hadn't disappeared or been eaten and moved, out of business.... the companies in North Carolina have been going or have gone out of business as US manufacturers, clobbered by imports.

Ironically, the same factors that have caused Nichols and Stone to shutdown, are in the process of making cheap imports a lot less cheap--rocketing fuels costs have caused the price of shipping goods in a container's gone up dramaticaly (not sure if it's doubled yet) from what it was a year ago, and the sinking dollar is starting to make offshore labor be a lot more expensive... the end result being that the attraction and price advantages for importing goods made by low cost labor, with low cost transport, and favorable exchange rates for importing, are rapidly evaporating.

It's far too late, though, for the businesses and employment of the industries that have essentially gone extinct her. Nichols and Stone's equipment is still here, but in the case of the years-gone companies, the equipment's long gone--either moved out or demolished and no longer in existence, the people who knew how to make things and how the manage the operations have been out of the business for years and their knowledge at best rusty if they're even still around and willing to go back into businesses that would have to start from zero with no installed base of anything--no customers, no equipment, no facilities, no experience labor force....

#784 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 10:01 AM:

EClaire @777:

Congratulations! We're getting quite the Making Light baby boom here.

This is good; the only way I know of to increase the quantity of interesting people in the world is to get interesting people to raise children.

So, like, YAY!

#785 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Aquila #758: Boom-de-ada, boom-de-ada, boom-de-ada, boom-de-ada x2

Boom: shaka. Laka, laka; boom....

#786 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Congratulations, EClaire!

#787 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Congratulations, EClaire!

That Discovery Channel ad, XKCD panel, and the video gaming spoof of the ad seemed to me to capture a sense of life that I don't feel as often as I should. We're all living in an SF novel now, one written in the 70s. (One measure of the closeness of a singularity is how far in the past your story would have to be written, to qualify as science fiction.) It's a pity that the SF novel has some dystopian elements, but maybe we're meant to overcome them sometime before the end of the story.

Looking out my window, looking at my bookshelf, looking at my family, things seem bright and beautiful. Looking at the news, at the world, at my nation's politics and economy, things look dark as hell. The contradiction between these visions is hard to resolve, somehow....

#788 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 12:17 PM:

Congratulations EClaire! Love those pics, especially "OM NOM NOM."

#789 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 12:36 PM:

EClaire @#777:

Oh my goodness, he's adorable! So chubbalicious. Hooray for Bloomington babies (mine was born in Indy but we're camping out in the other Bloomington until we're allowed to go back home to Chicago...can't leave the state for a few more days).


#790 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 12:38 PM:

#777: Well, I now have to pass on to you the wisdom given my parents by a beatnik patron of my grandparents' restaurant: "Raise him to be a deathray repairman."

#791 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 12:58 PM:

Congratulations, EClaire!

heresiarch (768): Abney Park @ 33 [sic]: "Houses should be hollow. If they're completely solid, there's no living space inside."

Well, you should make sure the walls are solid. Otherwise, you just know the wolves'll get into 'em.

Which is why I said "completely solid" in my 733, which you quote. (Where did you get that attribution??)

abi (776)/Serge (778): Squirrels in the walls are a pain, too. Noisy little feet they have. But the cats were intrigued. Thank goodness they never figured out how to get in to go after them.

#792 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 01:02 PM:

Michael Roberts #771: In honour of Serge's Francophonity.

#793 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Congratulations Eclaire! Though there will be moments you'll be sure that abi was really saying, "You will live interesting times!", I think you'll find that children are mostly a great joy, and always an important part of the story your life is telling.

#794 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 01:06 PM:

EClaire #777: Congratulations!

#795 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 791

I'm more bothered by the men in the walls.

#796 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 02:05 PM:

Congratulations to all those newly owned by babies!

Mine (well, sort-of-mine - poly families are complicated) is just over a year old now, and I make bold to present the Three Laws of Babies that I evolved shortly after she turned up, for your edification and (more likely) improvement.

i. Don't drop it, put it in the dishwasher, or anything else silly.
ii. Whatever you did to make it stop crying, keep doing it. For as long as it takes.
iii. Do not ignore strange smells. It only makes them worse.

Oh, and the traditional Zeroth Law, which can sadly be controversial. Treat it as an independent human being. It is neither a puppy, some sort of lifestyle accessory, a device for impressing chicks with your caringness, or an inseparable adjunct of its mother.

#797 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Congratulations to Mary Dell and EClaire! Your babies are adorable. Hope you all are getting sleep whenever you can.

#798 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 03:29 PM:

Richard Dawkins has appeared in Doctor Who

#799 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 03:31 PM:

eClaire, congratulations. I'm glad you picked Stefan as a name; we Stephens are jealous of our relative rarity. ;) (Besides, there's less chance of his name being pronounced "steffen," I suspect and hope.)

#800 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Sam #796:

I'd add: Sing and recite poetry to it, and dance with the baby while doing so if you can. This seemed to me to be some of both my kids' favorite interactions when they were small, and both still love music and poetry with a strong beat.

#801 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 05:36 PM:

'Scuse my paranoia, but it seems like it's been an abnormally long time since anyone's commented, on any thread. So consider this a test.

#802 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 05:37 PM:


#803 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Dave Bell @798: I forgot about that.

I need to stay the hell away from LiveJournal until I can watch the ep tonight, lest the urge to read spoilers overpower me. My friendslist has already commenced freaking out.

#804 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 05:51 PM:

...The darkness drops again, but now we know
That two long hours of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a typing finger,
And what rough comment, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards the Open Thread to be posted?

#805 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 05:57 PM:

[in passing--otherwise occupied]

Gnu Privacy Guard (encryption) for Mac, here.

#806 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 06:14 PM:

Sorry, Jen Roth snuck in there and made it look like I was describing her as

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun

On the internet no one knows you're the Apocolypse personified; I didn't intend to imply otherwise.

#807 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 07:14 PM:

Mary Dell and EClaire--
Congratulations and all good wishes.

In those first sleepless weeks, remember that your newborn is on a regular sleep cycle.

It just isn't a 24 hours cycle. 48, iirc, but cannot pull up the lovely graphs I saw on this.

#808 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 08:00 PM:

albatross @ #787: go see "Wall-E". Both those aspects are heavily emphasized in the film.

(Yes, it's fully as good as the other Pixar films.)

#809 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 08:38 PM:

EClaire, #777, RFID on babies is a great idea! I love him in his Wingman outfit. :)

Serge, #778, surely you would have cut a hole in the wall to get her out! It's just drywall! She's not the first cat I've heard of in that situation.

Paula Lieberman, #782, IKEA has a new furniture manufacturing plant in Danville, Virginia where the textile plants are all gone.

#810 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 09:05 PM:

Another thumb up for WALL-E. Fantastic, especially the first act.

I was astounded, by the way, to see that a lot of the text shown on-screen had been rendered in Spanish -- that's attention to detail that nobody but Pixar would think of.

#811 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 09:34 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @#807:

I'm finding that the number of ounces of formula I can stuff into him is roughly equivalent to the number of hours he sleeps afterwards. So I'm getting pretty good at feeding him, lol!

#812 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 10:19 PM:

abi @ 776: "Sheesh, we had ants in the walls once, and that was a pain and a half. I have no idea how I would cope with wolves in the walls."

Some friends of mine were staying in a sort of decaying old cabin with their kids one summer, when in the middle of the night, they heard a sound like rain. But it was coming from inside the house, and soon enough, they felt small droplets hitting them from above. They turned on the lights only to see the walls, the ceiling, the floor all covered in ants. Several screams and a fair bit of inarticulate thrashing later, they were outside, with two mildly traumatized young children. They decided to rent a motel room.

Moral: Nature is weird.

Mary Aileen @ 791: "(Where did you get that attribution??)"

That is an excellent question! Please let me know if you find an answer; I have no idea.

Well, maybe a small idea. "Abney Park" is the name of a band that shadowsong mentioned @ 721, which I had just been reading about. How it ended up where your name ought to be, though, baffles me.

#813 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 10:55 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @807:
48 hours? I guess I know where I get it, then. (When my sleep cycle really goes out of sync, it tends to settle into a 38-hour cycle. No, I have no freaking clue why.)

#814 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 10:57 PM:

SanFranBayrea Fluorospherii, one last reminder:

Tomorrow is the Making Light Medium Fireworks & Canada Day gathering in Pacifica, being held within a summer party my partner and I are holding / throwing.

Starts at 2:30, dinner at 6:30, locally-purchased (and purchasable) fireworks at dusk.

Right now my list has 8 ML'ers rsvp'd* or likely, some with their significants. Most Fluorophiloi will be there mid-afternoon, w/ at least 4 staying through dinner, including Terry K.

If you're not on my LJ friends list, email me for details. Terry has them as well.

rsvp's requested for dinner so we know how much to buy.

#815 ::: Ronit ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 11:11 PM:

Mary Dell & EClaire, congratulations!!!!

However did you each end up with the cutest little person ever?

#816 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Heresiarch @ #812. One time I was prepping for a new tub surround (doing the demo so a friend could install new drywall and the fiberglass surround we'd bought).

We'd had a summer full of occasional large black ants that scared the cats patrolling though our living room and did not get the white courtesy phone call.

As I broke through the failing drywall/tile wall, a cascade of the little f-kers poured out. I shut the door, went to the kitchen and got the ant/wasp spray out from under the kitchen sink, went back to the bathroom and sprayed the hell out of them. The friend got over, opened the door, shut it again and said, 'give me the spray can.'

then we waited an hour or so, I went in and cleaned up the remains, pulled down the rest of the tile with my friend's help, and we got the job done.

#817 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:07 AM:

I have no idea what sleep schedule he's on, I'm on the "stay up most of the night, take a long nap in the afternoon" schedule, but since that's been my schedule for pretty much my whole life, it's working surprisingly well.
OM NOM NOM is my favorite picture of him so far, and may possibly be his first words, since I seem to be saying them a lot. :) I'm hoping the first sentence is "Daddy, I want a puppy," but we have time to work on that.
Best part of living in a science fiction world? Greatgrandmother in Wales had seen a picture of him before dad even left the hospital. I love technology.

#818 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:50 AM:

Eclaire, take advantage of when you can sleep because of baby's inactivity.

One of my partners, Roh, learned the skill of napping when you can from, as far as I can tell, from having her baby and being a single mom.

I envy that trait (I need to be just so to go to sleep, and just so is very picky. I can get somewhat comfortable in a hotel room but it takes lots of extra pillows.

I've witnessed Roh fall asleep in the tire-changing bay of a Walmart, on a metal folding chair, (noise = scream-wham). I love her dearly but I'm so jealous too. And the whimper of a baby will wake her up immediately--it's a conditioned response. We've had the grandbabies over and she's proved that.

#819 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Jen Roth @ 803 -
Dave Bell @798: I forgot about that.

I need to stay the hell away from LiveJournal until I can watch the ep tonight, lest the urge to read spoilers overpower me. My friendslist has already commenced freaking out.

I have just one thing to say (other than hooray for the Giant Video Archive of teh Interwebs) about Doctor Who 4.12


(oh, and Eeep! wait. that's two things. The two things I have to say are Whoa and Eeep. And Holy F*ck. The three things I have to... I'll come in again.)

#820 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:54 AM:

Marilee @ 809... Of course, but first I would have had to find where inside the walls Agatha was. To add to the fun, I think that the vent she went thru is one that runs inside the house's concrete base. Now, that would have been an interesting situation.

I should have known better than to name her after Bill Heterodyne's daughter.

#821 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:57 AM:

EClaire @ 777... Squee!!!

#822 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 01:03 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 814... Have a good celebration. Me, I seem to always schedule my visits to the Bay Area the week before or after I should have gone. (That's why I'll be flying back here on the very day the Castro Theater will be showing some cheesy 1970s movies of Nature turning against us.)

#823 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 01:33 AM:

Blazing hot day in Portland.

I saw a double feature (ahem) of "Wanted," which was great popcorn fun (urban fantasy that's a cross of Matrix and Fight Club), and "Get Smart," which was surprisingly . . . decent? Tolerable? Well, I enjoyed it. Steve Carrel is appealing as a slightly more competent and likeable Maxwell Smart.

And, huh. I just saw a TV advert for a direct to DVD movie featuring two of Get Smart's bit characters, and Hymie the robot (Patrick Warburton) who was introduced in the last scene of the movie.

#824 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 01:34 AM:

Paula Helm Murray #818: I've witnessed Roh fall asleep in the tire-changing bay of a Walmart

I remember an old b&w photograph (Great Depression era? not sure) of someone sleeping peacefully on a big pile of corn cobs. I wish I had that kind of knack.

#825 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:42 AM:

OK, evolution, answer me this one:

Why is it that while one is being burned, one doesn't feel the pain, but then one feels it for HOURS AND HOURS AFTER IT'S TOO LATE to do anything about it?

#826 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 03:11 AM:

Earl #824, Paula #818,

My parents and siblings long had the ability to fall asleep anywhere. We'd get into the vehicle for a trip to the mountains and within minutes my sibs were out. Or everyone on a redeye flight, and again, they're all sleeping soundly.

Me, no. I'm sure that's a big part of why I've never had problems reading in a car--what else was I supposed to do for 2 or 4 or 6 hour trips? And then there was that one 10 hour flight where I was dead tired, and knowing how hard it is to sleep, I bought over-the-counter sleeping meds. Everyone else was sleeping. All it did was make me too groggy to read, but I still couldn't sleep.

Now I just admit to my limitations and take advantage of modern medical advances. Getting a good 8 hours sleep on the plane can make or break the start of a vacation... I'll take "make" for $30.

#827 ::: Evolution ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:32 AM:

Ethan #825:

While you are burning, you have better things to do than being distracted with "ow! ow! ow!" noises. You should concentrate on stopping the burning, instead.

Afterwards, this is your body saying "Bad Ethan! Bad, bad Ethan! Please do not do that again. Ever."

#828 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 07:14 AM:

Animals in the walls: a lady who kept snakes had a python get loose into the walls. The problem was that the snake started caching dead rodents in the walls too; the smell got to be too much.

I heard this story from a friend years back; IIRC, the person who told him was a drywall worker who was describing the oddest job he had worked on.

#829 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 07:33 AM:

Dave Bell @798: Richard Dawkins has appeared in Doctor Who

Well, he is married to Lalla Ward (as PZ Myers has reminded us on a few occasions).

#830 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 09:03 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 828... That sounds like the premise for a SciFi Channel movie.

(Yes, I can make jokes about this now, including the suggestion to my wife that, if our other cat had tried to get into the vent, it'd have looked like the scene for A Bug's Life, when Heimlich the caterpillar tries to distract the bird from eating his friends, only to find that his avenue of escape is a bit too narrow for him.)

#831 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 10:04 AM:

Hey Evolution (827): nice explanation. Now come over here so I can show my appreciation for that trick you taught the fire ants. (You know the one. The one where they climb up onto people and wait till about 150 of them are in position, and THEN they start stinging.)

#832 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Okay, the LOLcat in Cardiff Particle is pritty... err, pretty durn brilliant, that's what that is.


#833 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Evolution @ 827... I bet you can't answer my question.

How did water evolve?

#834 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 11:12 AM:

Evolution #827: You should concentrate on stopping the burning, instead.

Well, I can't stop the burning if I don't realize I'm getting burned, now can I? Hrmph. I'm all, la la la, this boiling water is going into the sink, and the water's like, actually, some of me is going right onto your fingers, and I'm all, la la la, water in the AHH IT'S BEEN GETTING ALL OVER MY FINGERS WHY COULDN'T I FEEL IT UNTIL IT WAS MUCH, MUCH TOO LATE?

After reading Serge's #833, I've developed a theory that water and evolution are in cahoots. I think they're evil.

#835 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 11:14 AM:

ethan @ 834... water and evolution are in cahoots. I think they're evil.

Curses! Boiled again!

#836 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:29 PM:

I must now post on the open thread, where dragons bask in the Light.
And all I ask is a story to tell, a story that comes out right.
And the word's ring and the rhyme's sound and the verse forms matching,
and the yarn's warp and the yarn's weft and the new babes hatching.

I must now post on the open thread, for the call of the groansome pun
is a far call and a dear call, that bids us on to fun.
And all I ask is that glorious crew, and the brave flags flying,
and a grand cry, and high cheer, and the LOL-cats sighing.

I must now post on the open thread, to that literate atmosphere.
To the book thraed, and the song thread, where the word's the final frontier.
And all I ask is a high tale from one who can manage the trick,
and a sharp eye and a kind heart when the world seems sick.

#837 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:54 PM:

This may be old information, but ISTR that the normal human diurnal cycle is 28 to 30 hours, running open loop. It's entrained by the shorter day-night cycle because the chemical clock that runs it is sensitive to light, and gets reset by bright light. That's why lights and melatonin can reduce jet lag. So a new-born baby's cycle isn't entrained, and they run at the full cycle (whose exact length varies from person to person) until they get enough resets to sync them to the beat.

Ob baby-feeding: when our first child was born, Eva and I worked out a schedule where Eva fed him during the day and I took him at night, at first for the 12, 2. and 4 AM feedings, later just for 4 AM as he settled into a schedule. I don't remember much of that, because I developed hte ability to get up, hold and rock the baby, heat up the bottle, and feed him, then put him back to bed, all without waking up. Unless he needed to be changed, then I'd wake up just long enough to do that, rock him back to sleep, and fall back into bed. Human beings are infinitely adaptable.

#838 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 12:55 PM:

ethan @ 825

I'm not a neurophysiologist, but briefly:

During the burn injury, nerve endings (called "nociceptors") responsible for reporting excessive heat are stimulated. The speed with which you feel the burn at the time it occurs is probably to do with the relative number of "slow" (small, unmyelinated) vs. "fast" (myelinated) pain fibres activated by heat in the area being burned.

After the burn has occurred, you have pain due to nerve endings in contact with air when they shouldn't be, and due to damaged nociceptors, and to a great extent, due to stimulation of all sorts of nociceptors (not just the ones which report heat) from a whole load of irritant chemicals released in the area of the burn.

Additionally, there is a phenomenon called hyperalgesia, by which pain causes nociceptors to become more sensitive (more easily stimulated). Hyperalgesia is very important particularly in chronic pain, but also in relation to operations (if you give analgesics before carrying out an operation, not just anaesthetise the patient, you can stop pain signals being sent to the brain and prevent/reduce hyperalgesia developing).

From an evolutionary point of view, it's more important not to overload you with pain initially - you may need to run away - but afterwards it's important to encourage you to (a) not repeat the action; (b) go hide up somewhere and let the tissues heal.

If you want to know more I can suggest some references.

#839 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 01:18 PM:

Been there done ... well, similar if not identical things. (Water is not as bad as anything including fat/oil, becuse it won't stick. There's a reason for dumping boiling oil on the guys storming your castle.) I'd recommend antibiotic ointment and bandages for the first week. You'll know when it's healing, because it will start itching. After that, just be careful, because that's going to be really thin, tender skin for a while.

Ouch, oh yes.

#840 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 01:41 PM:

Ethan, it's too late now, but next time get the affected area into cold or ice-cold water as fast as possible, preferably within seconds. The skin on your hands has heat mass, which is another reason it takes a while to register the pain, and it traps the heat there for a while doing more damage. Get them cooled way back down again ASAP, and you can halt the burn process before it completes.

If you know how to do self-hypnosis, doing a hypnotic block on the pain at once will stop the burn from hurting so much (the pain is there, you just don't experience it the same way.) Doing it immediately will also reduce the severity of the damage, to the point that it can change and accelerate the healing process. This was discovered sometime in the 1800s, and I think has been rediscovered a couple times since, but keeps being forgotten because it doesn't fit the standard consensus narrative about "how things work."

This is probably due to its effect on some of those factors dcb discusses; maybe blocking the pain in the mind stops the brain from triggering the release of some of the inflammation chemicals, but I doubt the mechanism has ever been studied. Too weird; too hard to quantify.

#841 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Ethan, if you don't have an aloe vera plant in your kitchen, you might consider getting one.

IANA double-blind clinical study, but it works very well for me for small first- and second-degree burns including sunburn. My brother-in-law, who used to build satellite earth stations for Ted Turner, discovered it also works on microwave burns. In my experience the gel freshly squeezed from a leaf works well; the commercial products in a bottle, not at all.

#842 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Ethan @834:
Hm. It takes 1/4 - 1/2 second for me to notice, but I assuredly do notice while it's happening.

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @826:
I don't even get groggy. Rather annoying sometimes; pretty much nothing will work to put me to sleep (for example, Ambien only makes me dizzy for a couple seconds, about 15 minutes after I take it).

#843 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @836:

I like that a lot.

#844 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:05 PM:

Geekosaur @842,
Have you tried Trazadone? It's a much older but lesser known sleep med--not in the same family as ambien et al, so less chance of tolerance.

#845 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:05 PM:

abi... Found any intramural lupines yet?

#846 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:09 PM:

Serge @845:
Found any intramural lupines yet?

No, today was floors. There's a very nice parquet floor throughout the downstairs. It desperately needs refinishing, but we don't have time for that right now, so I was putting a temporary preservative on it.

My knees hurt.

On the upside, we needed to know what color of wood the floor was for when we choose furniture later this week. And after seven hours looking at it, I am fairly sure I have the color memorized.

#847 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:19 PM:

abi @ 846... My knees hurt.

Oh, the joy of refinishing floors... Say, did you notice any Borrowers under there?

#848 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:23 PM:

Ethan, sorry about the burns. Re commercial aloe products that work -- I have used a commercial aloe vera gel from my local drugstore (the store brand, we're talking cheap) on bad sunburn to good effect. However, it doesn't have the same effect on deeper burns.

Clifton's advice about cold, cold water has always worked very well for me. Most of my burns, with the exception of sunburn (for which I make no excuses, yes, it was stupid of me to forget my sunscreen, thank you) have been kitchen burns. Last night I grabbed for the handle of a whistling kettle to take it off the burner, totally forgetting that the handle is the same metal as the kettle -- stupid design -- and would burn my hand. Luckily I remembered before my hand completely closed, so no, I did not burn myself this time. But I have before on the same kettle, and no doubt will again.

#849 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:37 PM:

Lila @ #841, "IANA double-blind clinical study"

That really hit my funny bone. If we had a good FDA, I could see them issuing that response to an approval request. "YANA D-BCS. Begone with you and do not return until YA."


#850 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:42 PM:

ethan @ 834... Shouldn't you go to a clinic, especially with your fingers being involved?

#851 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 02:57 PM:

abi @ 843

Thank you. Writing that got me through the worst of the (as reported by the Weather Channel in real-time for my masochistic pleasure) 103°F (39°C) peak temperature in Portland yesterday.


Your knees will thank you if you get a pair of pads for them. They're designed for people who lay floor tile and suchlike, made of rubber or flexible plastic and buckle around the knee joint. I bought a pair when I was ripping out the carpet and the underlyng pad in the downstairs hallway after it was damaged by flooding; if I hadn't used them I would have been sore for several days.

#852 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 03:21 PM:

Bruce @851:
It was the only day of floor work, so I reckoned it would be OK. And it will be.

Tomorrow we start stripping wallpaper.

#853 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 03:27 PM:

Bruce Cohen @836, add me to the list of admirers of your poem!

abi @852, re: stripping wallpaper. You might be able to recruit your kids for that, but they might not stick around for the whole thing (ask me how I know.....)

#854 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Debbie @853:
How do you know?

(The kids will be at the house with me, and probably will do some scoring*, soaking and stripping and then get bored. But Lego Indy is on the games machine in the room that doesn't need stripping, and the little girl across the street is dying to play with her new neighbor. We'll cope.)

* we have a gadget. By tomorrow, we will have two, because I'm not crazy and would like to stay that way.

#855 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 03:45 PM:

abi, since you asked.... we've been renovating for as long as we've lived in this house, 11 years. When we moved in, the kids were 2 and 5.

Gadgets are good, gadgets for everyone, even better. Here's hoping your wallpaper isn't superglued to the walls.

#856 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 03:50 PM:

I think the main ML page needs a more prominent link to whatever the current Open Thread is; one that is placed near the top of the page and is easily visible when the page first renders.

Also, one failing of the Google RSS feed I use is that it only carries the 9 most current thread links, so as time goes by, the Open Thread link falls past the feed's event horizon. Not sure what can be done about that other than custom RSS markup.

#857 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Debbie @855:

IME, home ownership is either perpetual renovation or slow and gentle decay*.

The plan is to strip, prime and paint all three bedrooms during the next few days, and paint woodwork in the evenings after everyone's gone back to the old house.

We're going as fast as we can because the owners of our current house really want back in. We were supposed to have it till late August while they were abroad, but they had to come home early because of a suicide in the family. So now they're crammed in with relatives in the village. We can't do much to help them cope with their loss, but at least we can be flexible about their house.

* obDylan: He who is not busy being born is busy dying; obSF: Nal komerex, khesterex.

#858 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 04:33 PM:

abi @ 857... home ownership is either perpetual renovation or slow and gentle decay

Or one takes a bit of this and a bit of that, like one does with one's body, taking reasonable care of it so that the later year's decay does remain gentle.

#859 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Earl Cooley III @856: That's a good idea that should have been implemented earlier. Unfortunately, we are prevented by the weakly godlike mods from violating causality within their historic light cone.* In the meanwhile, I just go to the list of recent comments on the main page, where someone has usually commented on the open thread.

* The last time someone tried that, Facebook mysteriously went down, and society nearly collapsed.

#860 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Lizzy, fresh aloe vera is a good suggestion. It works for fresh burns for me as well.

However, I don't think of it as much these days, because my wife is allergic to the stuff - not as in doesn't like, but as in DO NOT WANT! Even a slight contact gives her a painful tingling rash within seconds, followed by other miseries and shortness of breath if she doesn't take hefty doses of antihistamines right away. Did you realize they put aloe vera in every goddamn thing nowadays, particularly those lotions and sunscreens labeled as "hypoallergenic"? It is to wince.

I now stay away from the stuff to avoid any risk of getting it on her.

#861 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 04:56 PM:

Clifton Royston @860, they're even putting aloe vera in yogurt. Which, given how it's been touted in cosmetic products all these years, just makes me think "bleah"!

Serge @858, would that we could treat our bodies as houses -- sell 'em off and buy a better one before the really drastic expensive overhauls are due.

#862 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:05 PM:

heresiarch 812: Moral: Nature is weird.

Hmm, from that story I'd draw a moral more like "Reality is scripted by horror movie writers."

Lizzy L 848: I have a technique that will help prevent you from burning yourself in that fashion in the future.

Get rid of that stupid kettle.

Unless it's a gift from someone who sees your kitchen regularly, or an heirloom from someone you miss terribly, replacing it seems like an obvious move. It's not that you're thoughtless; it's that your equipment is unsafe. Replacing it with safer equipment is the way to go.

Of course, you're talking to a guy who deep-fries naked, so take this with a grain of salt (and a hot pad).

#863 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Xopher @ #862, your advice to get rid of the kettle might be too final. An alternative would be to knit a cozy or find an Ace-type bandage with a velcro strip and place that on the handle.

#864 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Yeah, and the cozy will catch fire...not good. Unsafe equipment should be discarded, and preferably disabled to avoid endangering others.

#865 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:25 PM:

*wonders what a deep-fried naked tastes like. Batter, probably, and grease.*

#866 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:27 PM:

I've used potholders to grab kettles with a tendency to overheat hands. It wasn't the handle getting hot so much as the steam drifting past fingers as I poured.

(I saw silicone pan-handle covers in Linens-n-Things this noon. They'd work on handles with a free end, I think. Otherwise I'd be tempted to get one of those flexible silicone trivets and fasten it around the handle.)

#867 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:34 PM:

The Joe Cocker particle is amazing. I hadn't realize there was such an art to mondegreens before. And I have to say, until the very end I was convinced that Cocker was having some kind of seizure during the entire song, and was wondering when he was going to actually fall over. Then he walked, amazingly steadily, off stage.

He was doing all that ON PURPOSE.

The jaw, she drop.

#868 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:46 PM:

Xopher #862: [quoting]Get rid of that stupid kettle.

Unless it's a gift from someone who sees your kitchen regularly, or an heirloom from someone you miss terribly, replacing it seems like an obvious move.

Buy a new one anyway, and put the heirloom/gift out of the way but in prominent view.

#869 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 05:49 PM:

debbie @ 861... would that we could treat our bodies as houses -- sell 'em off and buy a better one before the really drastic expensive overhauls are due

That reminds me of the character of Bato in Ghost in the Shell. He had been extensively enhanced by his employer so that he could do his job. Unfortunately, that meant that, if he quit, he'd have to give all the enhancements back because he couldn't afford to pay for them. Mind you, he'd immediately die without those enhancements.

That being said, I've applied for a Hugh Jackman model, and for a Daniel Craig model, depending on whichever becomes available first.

#870 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 06:39 PM:

Xopher @ 867

He was doing all that ON PURPOSE.

I don't think it was exactly on purpose. A lot of musicians have distinct tics when they play; some of these tics are part of the stereotypes of instrumentalists: jazz pianists chant, blues and rock guitarists make horribly twisted faces, and Joe Cocker twitches whenever he sings.

A few years back I saw a documentary film shot during recording of one of Cocker's albums. The filmmaker wanted to show all of the singers and instrumentalists for at least part of each track, so the viewer could compare it to the final mix*. In every single take Joe Cocker stood or sat on a high stool in a small recording booth, singing and twitching. It was more than a little disturbing to watch, though if the result is the music he produces, I suppose I should just accept it.

* The producer was Don Was, who's a master at mixing, so it was an interesting take on the process.

#871 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 06:43 PM:

Debbie @ 853

Thank you.

#872 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 07:48 PM:

Clifton, thanks for noting that. While Roh isn't at the level of starting to feel short of breath, aloe makes her miserable, itchy and then blotchy with hives.

When she was in the hospital for the infection she was there from a Wednesday to a Monday. After she started feeling better, she wanted to wash up. EVERYTHING the hospital provided her had aloe in it.

She knew I was on my way up there, managed to catch me before I left the house, so I brought her things she could actually use. And washed her hair for her because she was having ... issues with using her left arm.

#873 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 07:50 PM:

The LOLcat in Cardiff particle reminds me that I made a Dr Who related LOLcat at about the time Making Light failed*. So here it is.

* In fact I made it instead of watching TV, as suggested by Clay Shirky

#874 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Xopher at 862; 99% of the time I grab a potholder before I grab for the kettle. Yes, I should replace it with a more sensible design. But it goes against the grain, somehow, for me to get rid of something which works perfectly well as long as I remember to pick it up with a potholder. It's a simple fix, after all. So I don't. Get rid of it, I mean.

#875 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 08:20 PM:

Bruce at 836,

So lovely!

#876 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 09:10 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 836: That is very nice!

Debbie @ 861: "would that we could treat our bodies as houses -- sell 'em off and buy a better one before the really drastic expensive overhauls are due."

Lord, now I'm busy imagining the sub-prime body crisis of 2078.

Xopher @ 862: "Hmm, from that story I'd draw a moral more like "Reality is scripted by horror movie writers.""

No, if it was a horror movie, the ants would have been flesh-eating.

Also, I just finished watching the most recent Torchwood season, so that Alien LOLcat particle was really fun =)

P.S. Torchwood S02E13 spoiler: Jnf vg whfg zr, be jnf gur npgbe jub cynlrq Tenl gur yrnfg-pbaivapvat cflpubgvp iratrnapr-frrxvat lbhatre fvoyvat va gur uvfgbel bs pvarzn? Gur Gbfu/Bjra cneg bs gung rcvfbqr jnf oevyyvnag, ohg rirel gvzr Tenl jnaqrerq nvzyrffyl bagb gur fperra, zl rlrf ebyyrq hc fb sne va zl urnq gung V pbhyqa'g frr, juvpu jnf cebonoyl sbe gur orfg. /enag

P.P.S. Xopher, you can add "enag" to your Guvegrra dictionary.

#877 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 09:31 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @844:
Yep, tried trazodone fairly early on. Made me dizzy for about 15 minutes, that was it. I'm seriously resistant.

Back in 1994 I got severe bronchitis as a result of dieting under a doctor's supervision (don't trust that d**n Body Mass Index thing; it can kill you). I eventually ended up in the ER not so much because of the bronchitis itself but because of a panic attack brought on by the congestion in my lungs. They gave me an injection that was supposed to knock me out within 5 minutes; I remained awake for about 26 hours afterward.

#878 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2008, 11:16 PM:

ethan, #825, if you're not feeling the pain right away, your parietal lobe could be running slow. That's what the neurologist said the EEG showed, anyway, and the phenobarb has made me start feeling things right away. I hope you feel better!

Xopher, #862, eeeek. I don't even cook while wearing my robe! Well, I make popcorn while wearing my robe.

geekosaur, #877, not only can I fall asleep anywhere, but anesthesias last about 10 times longer than they're supposed to.

#879 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:19 AM:

They're expensive, but there are kettle-like machines out there which, close to instantly, provide a cup of hot water. They just heat the water you want.

I'm inclined to doubt that they'll make a good cup of tea. Might be safer for some people, might save energy, but they feel a little bit gimmicky, and too expensive.

#880 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:51 AM:

Lizzy L @ 874 it goes against the grain, somehow, for me to get rid of something which works perfectly well

Well said! Would it be possible to make a padded/insulated cover to sew/velcro onto the handle, so it's always there?

Dave Bell @ 879
An electric kettle with a flat element boils the water pretty fast (in the UK, anyway) and you can put just a mugfull of water into it - I know 'cos that's what I do for my mugs of tea all day. Could someone explain why electric kettles are so uncommon in the USA? Does the lower voltage make them slower?

#881 ::: Alex R ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 07:50 AM:

Today's Newark Star-Ledger contains a front-page article about one of this website's "favorites", Barbara Bauer, and her legal activities. The article didn't say if this website was included among those she is suing....

#882 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 08:17 AM:


The good electric kettles are expensive; I have a Russell Hobbs, apparently made for the US market. It works fine. I have a trivet underneath, because it does drip (lid, mostly, from condensation). Put water in, push down switch, wait for it to pop up - the water's boiling.

There are also the cheap plastic ones - the 'Hot Pot Express' comes to mind - which can also be used for producing steam, because they have a variable temperature control instead of the two settings of 'off' and 'boil'.

#883 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:15 AM:

Electric kettles -

Mine is a cheap plastic one, and the speed for boiling a mug of water is perhaps two minutes. Not substantially faster than the microwave, but somehow it ends up being more convenient. For larger quantities of water, it takes five to seven minutes, which is still satisfyingly quick.

I need to get rid of it as a hazard, though. The spout has an odd design* and if you pour too fast it spills everywhere. Considering that I'm most likely to want to pour it fast when it is very full of boiling water, it's a hazard to my feet (often bare while I'm cooking) and the cat.

Luckily (?) the front two burners on our apartment-supplied stove are unstable and I've stopped using them, so I'm most often pouring and spilling over the back of the stove.

Is it ethical to put something I've deemed unsafe-as-designed into the thrift store, or should I just throw it away?

For my next one I'm definitely planning to get a model which disconnects from a base and thus becomes effectively cordless once the water has boiled.

*The spout looks quite large, but it meets the lid and the lid latches there,** and has cutouts to let it do that. So it isn't as large as it looks. I think the apparent capacity of the spout versus the actual capacity of the spout is where the problem comes in.

**This makes opening the lid while the kettle is full of hot water dangerous as well. Very bad design.

#884 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:48 AM:


I throw stuff like that away, rather than giving it to the Salvation Army. I despise throwing away useful or nice things, but stuff that has some hard-to-recognize flaw is likely to make the eventual buyer or gift recipient of the kettle worse off than he'd have been, had you dropped the bad kettle in the trash.

#885 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Why hyphens are important

In my early-morning, coffee-deprived state, I read this headline from Futurismic's RSS feed,

Donate to Strange Horizons - support quality free genre fiction on the web
and completely missed that there was not a hypen in "quality free" nor a comma between the words. Some coffee-spluttering later, I calmed down and realized that headline was not touting genre fiction with no quality.

Is there a word for phrases that aren't incorrect, but are very like to be read incorrectly?

#886 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:58 AM:

re: all the scalding, yesterday I burned the heck out of my lower lip eating a piece of okra tempura that turned out to be full of insanely hot, somewhat gooey liquid. Now I've got a numb spot.

While I've poo-poohed the hot coffee warnings, I really wish my lunch had come with one. Ouch!

I did try holding my lip in my cup of ice water for a couple of minutes - yes, I know ice is too cold, but it's what I had - not sure if it helped or not.

#887 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:08 AM:

R.M.Koske @ 883... Me, I pour water in a measuring cup, then I microwave the whole thing. The cup itself is never so hot that, when I take it out, I go ARGH!!!! Maybe a faint ow.

#888 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:38 AM:

Sewrge @ 887 - Please be sure to put a toothpick or similar microwave-safe item in the water so that bubbles have a place to form and you don't get explosive boil-over when you touch the cup. (I've seen this happen to a co-worker. Not pretty.)

#889 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:47 AM:

Larry Brennan @ 888... Yes, that is indeed a danger, where microwave ovens are concerned. There have been times where the water surface tension has rather suddenly and explosively broken, but so far always while the cup was still inside the oven.

#890 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Thinking on it, I prefer the kettle over the microwave in part because of how noisy my microwave is. I never realized that before now.

I'm also probably partially influenced by things like my one measuring cup being too small for water for tea + water to warm the pot, and by the fact that it is easier for me to monitor the progress of the boiling in the kettle than in the microwave.

#891 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:55 AM:

Lizzy 874: Hmm. I think I was making an ADHDer kind of decision there. If I had a kettle like that I would burn myself almost every time. Whistling kettles make me hurry to shut them up, and hurrying is very bad for remembering safety protocols. I don't make tea that often, but if I did I would have to get a safety-featured kettle.

I do have an idea for you, though. When you start the kettle, put the pot holder on top of your teacup. That doesn't quite interrupt in the right place, but it will put it where you'll notice, looking ahead only one step, that you can't complete the action of pouring without picking up the pot holder. Might work.

dcb 880: Heating with electric elements is very inefficient in terms of energy usage. It's more efficient than a microwave, but less efficient than a gas flame. There's a reason "cooking with gas" is an expression that means "doing things as quickly as they should be done"!

RM 883: You should not only discard it, but disable it so that it obviously cannot be used. That one sounds like an active hazard (that is, the obvious way to use it is likely to lead to injury).

Bruce 885: Ambiguity. In this case, syntactic ambiguity. There are at least three possible readings for that sentence; in addition to "support quality-free genre fiction," there is "support quality free-genre fiction" (that is, fiction in any genre you want). I suspect the intended meaning is "support free, quality genre fiction." There's a conventional order to adjectives; not following it leads to misreading, because the sequence determines the most likely meaning.

#892 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:25 PM:

dcb @ 880: The lower voltage in North America, or rather the lower circuit rating, is part of it. When we lived in the UK our electric kettle was 2.5 kW, while the biggest we found in Canada was 1.5 kW. And it does seem to take about twice as long. In practice that is the threshold between measuring carefully and waiting while it boils and filling it up and going off to do something else until the water is ready.

But there's a cultural component as well. Coffee is more popular than tea here, and I've known a lot more people with coffee makers than even have old-fashioned kettles for the stove, so I don't think it seems important enough to spend the money and counter space on. And a lot more people have microwaves, which as mentioned can substitute for cup-at-a-time water heating. We're converts of course: the first thing we did after moving back was to go out and buy an electric kettle.

#893 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:40 PM:

dcb@ 880: I don't know why Americans don't use more electric kettles. I grew up with a gas stove; my partner with an electric stove, and neither of us used an electric kettle until recently. I'm a convert as it takes about the same amount of time to boil in the kettle as it does in the microwave, and it's handier. Gas is expensive enough now -- although electricity is not much cheaper -- and it's cooler to use electric. A lot of heat is wasted in the gas stove.

There are some very nice "cordless" kettles now; the base uses induction to heat the plate inside the kettle, and you lift it off to pour. Safe, rapid boiling, easy to clean, no hot handle that requires a potholder (been there, done that!).

ethan, as Clifton said above, use cold water. Use ice to cool the water; ice alone does not transfer heat very well. The key point is to keep the burned area within the cold water for as long as it hurts. My grandmother once made a bad mistake while cooking, which resulted in her hand entering hot grease. She kept her burn in a glass of cold water throughout the night, sleeping with it, and woke to a hand that had no major injury visible. That was a potential 3rd degree burn; I saw it when she'd done it, and I saw her hand the next day. It's not just the coolant effect -- although that is of major importance in keeping the injury from growing -- but also the moisture.

As for delay of pain, I'll just point out that you can practically cut yourself apart and not notice until you see the blood pooling on the floor. Not that I've ever done anything like that.

#894 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:48 PM:

Ginger @ 893... I grew up with a gas stove

(must... NOT... make... joke...)

#895 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Ginger @ 893 - I had an electric kettle for my erstwhile small business. We didn't have a stove and we did have the counter space.

At home, I prefer to use an old fashioned stovetop kettle. In fact, I think a stove looks naked without a kettle on it.

Re my 888 above, sorry about the typo Serge - I blame jet lag. (I got off a plane from Tokyo on Sunday at about 9 AM and am still readjusting.)

#896 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:59 PM:

I have and use an electric kettle, because I drink tea at work, and it is more convenient to turn and push a lever, than it is to walk over to the microwave.

#897 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:02 PM:

Thanks for the burn advice, everyone. I have taken those parts of it that it's not too late to take.

Embarrassingly, I have an aloe plant in my house and it didn't occur to me that I could actually use it.

#898 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:03 PM:

abi @ #865:

Our town's newspaper recently featured a story about a local radio announcer who had promised on air to Walk Naked Down The Main Street for charity.

The accompanying photo showed him fully clothed and holding the leash of a small dog with a nametag saying "Naked".

#899 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:11 PM:

Larry Brennan @ 895... sorry about the typo Serge - I blame jet lag

Jet Lag, the superhero that everybody likes to blame for everything.

#900 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:43 PM:

It feels like abi is haunting me. Yesterday the Tivo spontaneously recorded the CBS Sunday Morning news, and the only item of interest in it was on hand bookbinding. Today I started listening to my newest audiobook for work concentration, Hans Brinker, and realized after it started that it is partly intended as a travel book about Holland. I'm looking forward to the story even more now that I've made the connection.

#901 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Serge @ 894: Didn't I tell you about my younger brother? He was a real propane in the butt, back then.

#902 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:27 PM:

Ginger @ 901... And you were both raised by Ma and Pa Kettle?

#903 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:29 PM:

P J Evans @ 882 The good electric kettles are expensive
In the UK, kettles are cheap - you can pay lots for a "designer" one, but ours have been going for years and cost maybe 15 UK pounds each (I'm guessing - as I said, it's years since we bought them) and you can get one for half that price, easily. You can even get ones that whistle when they boil, if you want.

Ginger @ 893
Cordless kettles are pretty common here in the UK (the one in our bedroom is, for example).

Xopher @ 891
At least electric kettles turn themselves off when they boil - reduced power wastage and no risk of boiling dry (excellent for people with poor memory) or high distractability. I'd be interested to know the actual difference in energy use, given that the stovetop method involves heating the actual kettle, which isn't necessary with an electric kettle

#904 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Serge @ 902: Pot's right!

#905 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:54 PM:

Amygdala on Willis Conover, noted fanzine author and Lovecraft correspondent. Oh, yeah, he also hosted a VOA jazz show which made his name recognizable to several million listeners abroad for about 40 years.

#907 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:04 PM:

I'm sure years of heating water in the kettle at the highest setting on the same stove burner contributed to breaking of said burner. I've been using an electric kettle for about six years, and wouldn't trade. The fact that it turns itself off is definitely a plus.

#908 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:39 PM:

R.M.Koske #900: Today I started listening to my newest audiobook for work concentration

How does this work? Cause I can't concentrate for toffee if there are words cluttering up the landscape. Either I'm broken, or you're concentrating on totally different type stuff than I. Or both ...

#909 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:55 PM:

#908, joann -

We're wired differently, I suppose, and I'm probably also concentrating on something different from what you are.

I'm wired so audio vanishes in the presence of sufficiently interesting text. I have to be careful with my audiobooks or I'll lose the thread of the story by checking my email. Also, I'm doing work that requires an attention to detail without being particularly complicated - proofing prices, skus, and item descriptions on an ad page. They're not inherently interesting, and I'm only working with tiny chunks of text at a time, so the audiobook wins but I can still actually do the work. (Most of the time. A page with toilets or pedestal sinks generally requires that I set the headphones aside.)

Some days I don't need it, but some days I spend more time checking Making Light and Bloglines than I do actually working, and the audiobooks are interesting enough that I can stay on task.

If it makes your word-distraction any easier, it does go both ways. My preference of text over audio means I have trouble talking to a dinner companion if there's a TV with closed captioning behind them in the restaurant, no matter what the TV is actually tuned to. It's embarrassing to be distracted to the point of not finishing your own sentences by golf or professional poker.

#910 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 04:02 PM:

I can haz new Open Thread?

#911 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 04:08 PM:

Has an Open Thread ever expired off the bottom of the ML homepage?

#912 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 06:30 PM:

RM Koske @900:
It feels like abi is haunting me.

Mwahahahaha! Just ghost to show what spirited participation in the community brings...

#913 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 06:37 PM:

"Just ghost to show"? Not ghoul, abi, not ghoul.

#914 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 06:49 PM:

Ethan #913: No it hain't.

#915 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 12:45 AM:

Earl, yes, one has fallen off the bottom of the front page. I had to bookmark it.

I mostly drink iced tea, so unless I'm making an entire pot of hot tea, I just put iced tea in a mug and microwave it.

#916 ::: Joel ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2008, 03:55 PM:

As a nerd of Appalachian derivation, I'm not quite sure what to make of this:

Who’s a Nerd, Anyway?

The article references "The Whiteness of Nerds: Superstandard English and Racial Markedness".

Bollocks, I say. What do ya'll think?

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