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December 15, 2008

Open thread 117
Posted by Teresa at 06:00 PM *

Middle English rock and roll—

Dronken, dronken, dronken,
Dronken, dronken, ydronken;
Dronken is Tabart,
Dronken is Tabart atte wyne,
Hay! …
Ye haveth al ydronken,
Suster, Walter, Peter,
Ye dronke al depe
Ant ichulle eke.
Stondet alle stille,
Stille, stille, stille,
Stondet alle stille,
Stille as any ston.
Trippe a lutel wit thi fot
Ant let thi body go.
Comments on Open thread 117:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:05 PM:

My nominee for "item in the Middle English canon most likely to have been written while drunk."

#2 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:08 PM:

"Dronken, dronken, dronken"

What was your first clue?

(Hah! First posting in an Open Thread. Do I win something cool?)

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:13 PM:

TNH @1:

It does rather remind me of In Taberna Quando Sumus in that regard.

Certainly, it was probably sung by people too inebriated to count the repetitions of "dronken" and "stille".

#4 ::: Gwen ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:21 PM:

Continuing the spoiler discussion from 116:

[Andrew M.:]
But in that case what is the criterion for considering it spoilery? If the authors are happy to let the audience know it in advance, they presumably don't see it as a surprise or the answer to a puzzle. So in what way are we spoiled by knowing it is going to happen? Some works depend on surprise and revelation for their effects; but others don't. I suppose there might be a work whose entire effect turned on a surprise, and yet the author hadn't noticed this; but I can't imagine this happens very often.

I think you're using a rather more limited version of "spoiler" than I'm used to using. You seem to be defining it as something like "a piece of information that the author intends to be a surprise, such that if the reader/viewer has that information before it's revealed in the story they'll have a substantially different reaction to and interaction with the work than the author intended," while the way I'm defining it is more audience-oriented, something like "a non-background piece of information that could be significant to readers/viewers, within reason." So "characters X and Y kiss/confess their feelings of True Love to one another!" would be a spoiler to people watching a show mainly for the romance, even if the part that was Really Important to the actual producers of the show was who killed character Z or how the cast solved a problem or whatever.

It's a common observation in media fandom that we're not all watching the same show (/reading the same book, whatever). One person might be tuning in to Torchwood to watch the Jack and Ianto Show while another's watching the How Can Gwen Screw Up This Time? Show and another's watching the Tosh Is Awesome Show. I'm watching the Everyone/Everyone (Possibly Including Aliens!) Show and the Nifty Gadgets Show, and I even know one person who's watching the Alien-Fighting Show. (She says she wishes they didn't have all the [particularly same-sex] romance.)

Which means that what one person Doesn't Want To Know About before it happens is another person's screentime-waster that they don't care about at all. To use another example, I pretty much don't read non-Snape HP fic; I could care less who's snogging whom in HBP or how the Harry-Hermione-and-Ron love triangle resolved in DH, but there were other plot points in those books which were important to me, and if I cared about spoilers I'd probably have gotten annoyed at anyone who told them to me before I'd had a chance to find them out myself.

And what various portions of the fanbase consider important and what the actual authors of the works consider important are just as different as you'd expect. JK Rowling was writing Harry Potter and the Random Plot Devices, so it made sense to her to be coy about what the Deathly Hallows were; she didn't know people were reading Severus Snape and the Slash Fest of Angst, so "Dumbledore was gay" was such an insignificant plot point to her she didn't even bother writing it in canon. If, in Deathly Hallows, all or some of the Slytherins joined forces with the other houses in the Hogwarts Resistance and/or Battle for Hogwarts, would talking about it in the months after DH's release be spoiling? I'd think so, yes. Rowling...probably wouldn't. I would not be surprised to see something about it in the book-flap description.

To summarize: people watch/read for different things, so different plot points are significant to them, and authors/producers in particular often think they're writing/producing an entirely different story than their audience is in fact consuming, so it's my opinion that any reasonably-significant (i.e., not "Luna mentions Nargles!"-level) plot point that's not background/story-classification information (i.e., "Harry Potter finds out he's a wizard!") should probably be considered a spoiler. Whether it's a spoiler that rates a cut/ROT-13-ing, of course, is an entirely different matter, mostly dependent on the expected audience and the age/popularity of the work.

#5 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Jacque @ 2 ...
(Hah! First posting in an Open Thread. Do I win something cool?)

You'd actually have to be first, wouldn't you...

Knitting question... I'm knitting in the round, and appear to be roundly incapable of knitting anything other than stockingknit, even when I don't alternate between knit/perl. Does this sound like a familiar problem to anybody?

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:27 PM:

xeger, to knit anything other than stockinette when working in rounds, you need to purl some of the rounds. (Garter stitch in the round: knit one round, purl one round; repeat until it's long enough.)

#7 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:28 PM:

My uncle brought a CD to Thanksgiving and played one song, which everyone could tell was a drinking song though no one could tell from where. Mongolian, and we started doing the HEY! parts along with it.
It kind of confused the family who came in late that we were bouncing along to it.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:34 PM:

Per the request of Marilee, I have added albatross to "Making Light and Faces", with a tasteful caption of course.

#9 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:43 PM:

xeger: Okay, okay, first person that wasn't Teresa. Phmph. I'm just delighted to have gotten in on the single-digits.

(Slouches off, sulking theatrically.)

#10 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:49 PM:

#8: Doesn't look like an airship ...

#11 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Jacque #9:

Melancholy Jacque?

#12 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:56 PM:

That first part reminds me of the opening of Rawhide, "Rollin' rollin' rollin'."

#13 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Gwen, #4: One person might be tuning in to Torchwood to watch the Jack and Ianto Show while another's watching the How Can Gwen Screw Up This Time? Show and another's watching the Tosh Is Awesome Show.

I'm watching the "worst paranormal investigators ever" show.

It's hard to believe anybody lets Torchwood investigate anything. You can't trust that bunch to get a cat out of a tree... at the end of the day the cat would be dead, your next-door neighbor would be tied to a chair tasered unconscious, and two random Torchwood agents would be having sex on your couch.

This, is, oddly, why I enjoy the show.

#14 ::: Howard ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Middle French psychedelia:

Fumeux fume par fumee,
Fumeuse speculacion.
Fumeux fume par fumee,
Fumeuse speculacion.
Qu’antre fummet sa pensee
Fumeux fume par fumee.
Quar fumer molt li agree
Tant qu’il ait son entencion.
Fumeux fume par fumee,
Fumeuse speculacion.

-- Solage, c. 1390

#15 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:13 PM:

This is wonderful! I'm trying to read it aloud - which of course I would only ever do after a few glasses of wine - and I can't pick a language. My mind just goes into a tailspin as my accent bounces all over the show.

I sent it to my mother (German but has lived in the US for 40 years) and told her to try.

"The only thing that works for me if I roll my rrrs - otherwise it is indeed difficult to decide if it should be German, Dutch or English - which I guess is Middle English, isn't it?"

#16 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:25 PM:

While there's Middle English in the air, would anyone like to talk about why Chaucer squishes the women in his 'The Legend of Good Women"? Is the whole poem an ironic monument to bad reading (as in, people reading only on a surface level)?

Just got that final paper back and had a discussion with my prof about it. BTW, if anyone thinks that Chaucer is easy, they're not thinking hard enough. :P

#17 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:33 PM:

Re TNH's particle on _Crafting Handmade Shoes_: Folks interested in obtaining a copy don't have to pay the high prices shown at used book resellers; the author will send you a reprint personally for $25 (which includes shipping). See

http://simpleshoemaking.com/

for details. (That said, it would still be cool to have it back in print.)

#18 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:43 PM:

the only line of the drinking song that is not clear to me is
"Ant ichulle eke."

#19 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:55 PM:

Erik #18: I dunno, in my youth, after a night of too much drinking, I'm pretty sure I occasionally made just those sounds. I wouldn't classify them as music exactly, though....

#20 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:55 PM:

joann @11: "Melancholy Jacque?"

Oh dear. *sniff* *sniff* I detect a dreadful pun. Or perhaps an Obscure Reference.

(Hangs head) I must plead ignorance. Pray, enlighten? (Doe eyes)

(Why do I have this feeling I'm setting myself up for more of the same?)

#21 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:57 PM:

...googles...

Oh, GAWD.

*thud*

#22 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:04 PM:

Serge, #8: And the "nobody ever looks like you imagine them" phenomenon is in full force. I had pictured albatross as significantly older, physically smaller, and with glasses.

Open Threadiness: As of today, I have been living in Houston with my partner for 10 years. They've been good years, and I hope for many more to come.

#23 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Around here (Ealdormere) SCA folk are/were fond of

Who's the Fool now

Martin said to his man, fie, man, fie
Martin said to his man, who's the fool, now
Martin said to his man, Fill thou the cup and I the can
Thou hast well drunken man, who's the fool now

I saw the mouse chase the cat, fie, man, fie
I saw the mouse chase the cat, who's the fool now
I saw the mouse chase the cat, Saw the cheese eat the rat
Thou hast well drunken, man, who's the fool now

plus various contemporary reference verses


(One source I found - DigiTrad - claims the song to have been published in 1588 in a compilation called Popular Music of the Olden Time.)

#24 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:09 PM:

I'm watching the Netflix show, so anything you all say about anything on television will be spoilers, but I'll forget it all if/when the time comes that I finally see it.

#25 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:10 PM:

#21

my google found this on the first page of results:

"Buy or sell Cruelty of Depression"

and I read the "of" as an "or" and thought of shorting Depression, as the stock is surely overvalued at the moment. Of course, if Gitmo closes, Cruelty stocks will surely fall through the floor.

#26 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:24 PM:

#16 Avedaggio: Oh, totally. Chaucer's treatment of Medea especially demonstrates that he's playing with inattentive readers. In one breath he mentions that she has to murder her children, and in the next he declares piously And trew to Iasoun was she al her lyf / And ever kepte her chast, as for his wyf. I can't take the combination seriously, anyway.

#18 Erik Nelson: It's "And I shall also" [drink deep, presumably]. Ichulle is the first person pronoun squeezed together with the verb form -- say "I shall" fast and you'll hear it.

I'm hunting for an Anglo-Latin poem I read once about an abbot and a prior getting drunk and vomiting all over their monastery garden, but I can't find it. I'm sorry, because it's a classic worth sharing.

#27 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:26 PM:

Lee: The glasses part, at least, is right, though I only need them for distance.

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:31 PM:

A single maple leaf is hanging on

in dumb defiance of the dying year,

on this calm street the autumn's plain and drear.


This change of seasons is time's greatest con:

from bright and colourful to deadly sere;

a single maple leaf is hanging on.


Age teaches us to reach a rapprochement

with all those forces in their fast career

that push us forward, but one thing is clear:

a single maple leaf is hanging on.

#29 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Jacque #21: Ducdame, ducdame!

#30 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:38 PM:

Allan Beatty @24: This, truly, is the one advantage of having a bad memory. It also makes re-reading much more enjoyable!

#31 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:40 PM:

On spoilers: Did anyone catch the recent House where Greg gives away the end of The Usual Suspects? I boggled at that until I remembered that House is produced by Bryan Singer. (I figure either someone on the show was having a joke at his expense, or he assumes it's been over a decade and nearly everyone who's going to has seen it by now, or already knows.)

Me, I have to object to the idea that if it's been out for a year it's fair game; I can't get to everything I'd like to within a year of publication, and there are secrets worth preserving. I just finished Use of Weapons over the weekend, and if anyone had told me beforehand that, by the way, at the end Zakalwe is erirnyrq gb or gur Punveznxre, I'd've clocked 'em one.

Of course, OTOH, there's also a lot of stuff out there that relies on you knowing how it turns out for much of its impact. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are, eventually, dead; Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. There are interesting games to be played with the path taken towards a known ending. (Not that you couldn't spoil a work like that as well, though it seems to me that the important things to keep unrevealed are not whats but hows.)

#32 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:52 PM:

P J Evans @ 6 ...
xeger, to knit anything other than stockinette when working in rounds, you need to purl some of the rounds. (Garter stitch in the round: knit one round, purl one round; repeat until it's long enough.)

Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case (or there's something strange going on, at any rate):

(1) Knit all rows == stockingknit on the outside
(2) Alternate knit one round, purl one round == stockingknit
(3) Purl all rows == stockingknit on the inside instead of the outside

I'm rather baffled!

#33 ::: lian ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:52 PM:

The highly entertaining TV Tropes wiki calls this phenomenon It Was His Sled -- spoilers or story twists that everyone is assumed to already know. Although The Usual Suspects is listed at... The Usual Suspect Ending. -- seems as if with this House episode, it should be filed under 'Sled'!

#34 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:01 PM:

I actually spoiled someone for the Anakin-is-Vader twist in 1997. She was an exchange student from Romania, and she'd only ever seen A New Hope. As we were going into a movie theatre for the reissue of Empire Strikes Back (I think), I misquoted, "Luke, I am your father" in my best James Earl Jones.

She'd had no idea, and was furious at me... but as an American child of the '80s, I'd totally forgotten that there were people in the world who didn't know Luke Skywalker's ancestry.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:21 PM:

Xeger, I understand 1 and 3, but 2 only makes sense if you're working a Moebius loop (which is weird in its ways).
How many physical edges do you have (ie, is there one edge with a figure-eight shape, or two separate edges)?

#36 ::: Cliff ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:34 PM:

Translation:

Drunk, drunk, drunk,
Drunk, drunk, rolling drunk;
Tabart is drunk
Tabart is drunk at the wine,
Hey!
You have all drunk too much,
Sister, Walter, Peter,
You all drank deep
And so shall I.
All stand still,
Still, still, still,
All stand still,
As still as any stone.
Dance a little with your feet
And let your body go.

ydronken is übergetrunken so I have translated it differently according to context.

The question on the French one though is what they were smoking in 1390. Columbus was in 1492 and Sir Walter Raleigh supposedly brought tobacco
to Europe in the 1580s.

Hmmm. From Wikipedia, "Solage was satirizing a group that called itself the 'Society of Smokers,' which included the nephew of Guillaume de Machaut. Since tobacco was not to be known in Europe for another two centuries, the substance being smoked has been variously speculated to be either hashish or opium."

How to waste an evening translating obscure drinking songs!

#37 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 10:28 PM:

Working from PJ Evans's comment in 35 -- perhaps Xeger has unwittingly violated the First Law of Circular Knitting? That would be the one that goes, "Join, being careful not to twist stitches." Said violation would produce a Möbius loop whether you wanted one or not. I think.

#38 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 10:48 PM:

#37
Yup. You make a Moebius scarf, in a ring, by carefully twisting the cast-on stitches only half a turn so that you join and knit into the bottom of the stitches, until you come back around to the beginning again (thus the figure-eightness of the round).

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 11:05 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 10... I take it that you were expecting this Albatross.

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 11:07 PM:

Lee @ 22... Congratulations!

#41 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:15 AM:

#35 ::: P J Evans @ 35 & Andrew Willett @ 37

I started out with a fairly normal 16" of stockingknit done on two separate, standard needles, and then moved on to circular needles, so I have a cylindrical shape... as formed by joining the two ends of the earlier knit piece, and continuing onwards.

It doesn't -look- like a moebius strip to me, and there's definitely no visible twist in the cylinder shape itself (it's supposed to be a sleeve, and it doesn't confuse the arm or twist through the body of the arm), although it's entirely possible that I did manage to somehow twist the stitches (or stitch into the wrong side?).

If I have managed a moebius strip, all unwitting, I'm fascinated... and haven't the foggiest how to duplicate whatever I've done for the other sleeve (and -really- don't want to unravel that hard won 8"...).

#42 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:55 AM:

xeger, I don't think this mystery can be unraveled* in a text-only medium. I suggest that you hie yourself to your Local Yarn Store and let the good people there have a look at it in situ.

* No, I'm not ashamed of myself at all!

#43 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:58 AM:

Xeger at #41: I once accidentally turned my halfknit sock inside out and continued knitting until I reached the heel. It looked strange. I believe it is stuffed, looped onto a spare pair of circulars, into a corner of a knitting drawer.

(sigh) I've also managed to reverse my knitting direction and knit counterclockwise for several inches before noticing. Some television shows are too exciting for me to knit and watch.

#44 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:02 AM:

When I crochet hats, I often have to rip back one or two tries. One of the earlier steps is "make sure you haven't made a Mobius strip".

When I made the anemone hat, I had to rip back a lot.

#45 ::: Tau Wedel ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:06 AM:

What, no interesting facts about the number 117 yet? Here's one:

In Danish, the number 117 can be used to mean "a whole lot", as in "I have told you 117 times already.". When used in this way, it can also carry connotations of annoyance or irritation, in the sense that the unspecified number is unreasonably large. Curiously, 117 cannot be used in this sense when not embedded in a noun phrase: if someone asks "How many phone calls did we receive today?" and gets the response "117", it means exactly 117 calls, but in the statement "We've received 117 phone calls today.", it means some unspecified large number of calls (with an undertone of "more phone calls than I care to deal with in a day"). I don't know where this usage comes from, nor why it uses 117 instead of some other number.

#46 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:10 AM:

xeger (#41): Possibly some other knitters here can help, but I'm baffled enough that I second Lee (#42) in suggesting you actually show it to experts. My first thought was that when you switched between knit and purl, the purl row was 'hiding' between the two knit rows (visible if you stretched the knitted piece apart), but I presume you checked that.

Incidentally, I consider getting stockinette stitch from only knitting (no purl) on circular needles to be a feature, not a bug; for some reason, I'm much slower when I purl than when I knit.

#47 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:31 AM:

"Doodily ding dong tick tock"

#48 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:39 AM:

Lee @ 42 ...
Ah, (bad) timing is everything :) I'm about to be (all things going well) most of a continent away from my local yarn shop, knitting in hand, to amuse me...

sara_k @ 43 ...
The 'UFO' drawer? :D

Diatryma @ 44 ...
Crochet is straightforward ... knitting, OTOH, is almost always 'featureful'.

debcha @ 46 ...
I also considered getting stockingknit stitch only from knitting on circular needles a feature... up to the point where I tried to make pretty stripes with garter and moss stitch...

All things considered, maybe my next project should be a moebius scarf or hat, which will doubtless succeed in eating my dpls and refusing to twist ;)

#49 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:54 AM:

Lee, #22, look carefully at what's hanging from the V of his shirt. He wore them in, but didn't wear them at the table. And congrats to you and Russ!

#50 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 03:44 AM:

I would love to see Carmina Burana staged the original way with the props and dancers and bells and whistles. "In Taberna" would, of course, feature the baritones getting utterly snockered as they pound their mugs on a table in time to the song. "The pope DRINKS, the bishop DRINKS, the tailor DRINKS, the nun DRINKS, the fisherman DRINKS, the farmer DRINKS, and whoever doesn't make it all the way to the end of this song pays the taaaaa-aaaaab!"

#51 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 05:07 AM:

Unrelated question: What kind of specialist is the better choice for people who strongly suspect that there's something wrong with their brain chemistry- a psychiatrist or a neurologist?

#52 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 06:00 AM:

Jacque@21

*thud*

What, the fact that your comment @20 now comes up as the fifth return when you Google for "Melancholy Jacque"?

#53 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 06:20 AM:

I discovered during the middle of the run of Buffy that I was enjoying the episodes more when I avoided watching the trailers for next week's. Instead of waiting through the teaser thinking, "Hm, I wonder what's going to turn Giles into a demon," I would get to go, "OMG! Giles turned into a demon! What'll happen now?" Much more fun.

Yes, it's true that things which rely only on surprise aren't very good. But there are effects that stem from surprise, and those can be very interesting.

I find that the makers of Doctor Who and its spinoffs are way more spoiler-tolerant than I would like. I can even think of some cases where the episode title is a spoiler...I mean, what's the point of leaving John Lumic's robots offscreen or blurred out in the teaser if you're just going to go and call the episode "Rise of the Cybermen"?

#54 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 08:00 AM:

Does the phrase "Middle English Rock and Roll" make anyone else think of Blackmore's Night?

#56 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 08:58 AM:

in renaissance drinking songs we have:

We be soldiers three
Pardona moy je vous an pree
Lately come forth of the low contry
With never a penny of mony.

Here, good fellow, I'll drink to thee
Pardona moy je vous an pree
To all good fellows wherever they be
With never a penny of mony.

Here, good fellow, I'll sing you a song,
Sing for the brave and sing for the strong,
To all those living and those who are gone,
With never a penny of mony

And he who will not pledge me this
Pardona moy je vous an pree
Payes for the shot what ever it is
With never a penny of mony.

On the shoe books - has anyone contacted the publisher? I can think of several people who should get copies for christmas...

#57 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 09:10 AM:

Oh, yes, xeger, crochet is straightforward and simple. Knitting does weird things to yarn. I'd like to learn to knit, but haven't made the time to get to know the folks at the yarn store or take lessons there. With crocheting, I can do whatever I want and mostly repeat it-- this has resulted in a bit of invertebrate-themed winter wear. Knitting hides all the steps.
Which is a feature, yes.

#58 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 09:32 AM:

Raphael @ 51: Either will probably do you fine. A psychiatrist (as an MD) can direct you to a neurologist for organic diseases, and the neurologist (also an MD) can direct you to a psychiatrist for the non-organic diseases.

#59 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 10:06 AM:

Raphael @51: I second Ginger's advise, although I'd be inclined to first eliminate organic diseases as the cause.

Serge @55: Martians with chain-guns?

#60 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 10:16 AM:

Henry @ #23, Steeleye Span recorded a very similar verse with the title "Well Done Liar" on their album "Bedlam Born".

#61 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 10:47 AM:

After a lot of years of book reviewing (if not quite 117), I think I can usually tiptoe 'round the spoilers, but sometimes the publisher's blurb gives something away -- in which case I might mention it. (Some of the Big Fat Fantasies I've been dealing with lately are so complicated, I may not grasp enough of the whole to spoil it anyway! There's always more to come.)

#62 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 10:50 AM:

I always try and change channel at the end of a show to avoid the spoilers for the following week. It works quite well for catching the local weather on TWC.

#63 ::: ianracey ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 11:09 AM:

David Goldfarb @53:

I had the exact same experience with Star Trek: The Next Generation. I used to watch the next episode trailer religiously, then one week I missed it by accident. I found the experience of watching the episode (the one where Pncgnva Cvpneq vasvygengrf n fuvc bs fzhttyref frnepuvat sbe na napvrag Ihypna negrsnpg) so much more enjoyable that I've sworn off spoilers ever since.

On Doctor Who, though, I look at it a little differently. I think that in situations like that, the production team are trying to make a show both for people who know the old programme, and people who don't. The episode title is for those of us who know what Cybermen are--the production team made the choice that "The Cybermen are back!!!" will be a more exciting viewing experience for that segment of their audience than "I wonder what Lumic is building in his lab" would be. (Some of us of course disagree with that choice, but it is a valid choice.) Keeping the Cybermen out of view and shrouding just what they are in mystery for most of the episode is for the benefit of viewers who don't know what they are, for whom the title "Rise of the Cybermen" has no more significance than "Rise of the Metaltrons" would. The same device was used for "Dalek" the year before.

In fact, while I have on occasion got annoyed with the Who production team for being too free with spoilers,* looking back on it, I think they've actually done a great job of only leaking what turned out to be "second-level" spoilers as a way of keeping the real twists under wraps. So when I got annoyed that there was no surprise in gur Plorezra ergheavat in "Army of Ghosts", the actual twist turned out to be jung'f va gur fcurer. Or when I was really annoyed at how Qniebf naq gur inevbhf ergheavat pbzcnavbaf had been all over the news media in the run-up to "Journey's End", the actual twist turned out to be the episode's cliffhanger.

The week after that cliffhanger aired, and the whole country was caught up speculating what its resolution might be, Russell Davies gave an interview where he talked about the need to keep spoilers secret, and pointed out that all the other dramas freely release spoilers and their ratings are dropping, but Doctor Who's ratings continue to rise. (Personally I don't think they expected quite the reaction they got from that particular cliffhanger, because otherwise I don't think its resolution would have been quite so ... underwhelming.)

*As opposed to Who fans, who I've found so obnoxiously spoiler-happy that I've largely given up on online Who fandom.

#64 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 11:29 AM:

I rip out rows all the time when I knit. Sometimes I rip all of them and start over. It's one of the things that you have to do. ('If you've only knitted it once, you're probably doing it wrong.')

As far as 'how-to' information, I tend to recommend Knitting for Dummies for the basics, and for more advanced stuff Knitting Without Tears (wherein you learn improvisational knitting).

#65 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 11:42 AM:

What's the best way to clean knit goods? I have a 40+ year old afghan (a chessboard composed of granny squares) that seems pretty sturdy, but I don't want to screw it up.

#66 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:06 PM:

Xeger - are you switching direction when you purl a row? Don't do that. All rows are right-side rows in the round. (Front-left to front-right).

The only other thing I can think of is that you're working your purls from the inside of the piece instead of the outside - don't do that either. (But you'd probably have already figured out that you were doing that if that's what it is.)

Alternatively, do it flat and seam it - the whole beauty of working in the round is that you get to knit every row and don't have to worry about stupid purling.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:09 PM:

Stevey-Boy @ 59... Considering what this turns out to be about, we're lucky they didn't use staple guns instead. No matter what, the tripods really looked neat.

#68 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:11 PM:

re: sisuile #56: recorded by Trees as Soldiers Three on their 1970 album On the Shore, featuring the stunning Celia Humphris on vocals.

re: Tim Hall #54: why yes, that's very appropriate, especially considering the costuming, as seen on the Castles and Dreams DVD.

#69 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:12 PM:

Earl @ 65 - what's the afghan made of? (Wool, acrylic, cotton?)

#70 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:23 PM:

The afghan was made by someone who passed away many years ago and, thus, cannot answer that question. Given how many decades ago it was made, I kind of doubt it's acrylic, though. Is there a way to tell by visual inspection the difference between wool and cotton in this context?

#71 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Earl Cooley @70, the test-of-art is to pull a bit of fluff loose and set it alight: wool stinks of burning hair, cotton burns with the smell of scorched sugar. Rayon also burns readily, but smells of wood; various artificial fibers mostly melt, and you have to have a lab thermometer to distinguish them.

(Once again reaching into the "I did a demonstration on this in 4-H" knowledge base).

#72 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:42 PM:

xeger,

It's also possible that your knit/purl garter stitch looks like stockingette. I have to look hard to tell mine apart sometimes. Is the inside of the tube the same as the outside when you do the knit/purl thing?

#73 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Earl Cooley (#70): You might not be able to tell the difference between wool and cotton by visual inspection, but tactile inspection should help. Again, taking it to local experts (ie a yarn shop) might make sense.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try a burn test.

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Nancy C Mittens @ 72... knit/purl garter stitch looks like stockingette

Say that fast.
Fifty times.

#75 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:55 PM:

Whether the afghan is wool or cotton, it should still be washable, right? Handwash, for sure, or gentle wash in the machine, and then air dry. Acrylic knits are machine dryable, if memory serves me.

My mother knits (quite well, having done it for about 50 years) and I have not only the usual sweaters, scarves, and hats, but also nice large (warm) afghans from her.

Years ago she made a nice warm pullover in an Aran style, with some unfortunately placed projections. My partner referred to it as my "nipple sweater", and in revenge, my mother made one for her. In her favorite color.

Good times, good times.

#76 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Earl @ 70 - It could be acrylic if it was made later than the mid-50s, and the closer it gets to the 70s the more likely it is. (In the burn test, acrylic will melt instead of really burning.)

Generally, care of large delicate items requires a bathtub, a lot of white towels, two big white sheets, and a dry, sunny day. Special wool wash is optional, but I like it because then you don't have to rinse. (I like Eucalan, and they carry it at Target now so it's easy to get. DO NOT USE WOOLITE. Its name is a lie.)

Fill the bathtub with lukewarm water and the appropriate amount of wool wash. Gently lay the piece in the tub, making sure it's completely covered. If you're working with wool, make sure not to pour any water over the piece - cotton/acrylic, don't worry. Let it soak for a few minutes, then gently press the suds through the piece - do not agitate, rub, spindle or mutilate. Let it soak awhile longer - 20-30 minutes, depending on how dirty it is, then let the water out of the tub.

(If the piece was really filthy, take it out of the tub and repeat the process. If you didn't use wool wash, take it out and repeat the process a couple of times to rinse, except without adding the soap, obviously.)

Lay the piece out on the towels and press gently but firmly, getting out as much water as you can without wringing, twisting, or rubbing in any way. If your washing machine will do a spin-only cycle, you can put it in and do that (make sure first that it won't spray any water on it at any point, and if you don't trust your machine, skip this step.) For sweaters, you can put them in a pillowcase and swing it vigorously around your head to get more water out, but I don't know that it'd work with an afghan. Once you've gotten as much water as you can out...

Lay out one white sheet somewhere flat in the yard; put the piece on top. Pat it gently into the size and shape it's supposed to be. (Acrylic won't care if you do this or not, but it's vital with wool or cotton.) Put the other sheet on top. Wait until it's dry.

A tip I learned from my brewing friends - you make a hop dryer by setting up box fans flat and putting a filter on top of them. It also works with knits, just use a sheet as the filter. (Again, maybe not so great with an afghan, unless you happen to collect box fans, but it's good for sweaters and socks.)

#77 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Earl #70: Give the decades it could have been made in, it could very likely be acrylic. My grandmother cranked out several acrylic ones in the 60s and 70s. (My acrylic afghan oeuvre dates from the 80s.) However, since you don't know what it is made of, I suggest the traditional bathtub method of hand-washing antique and vintage quilts. Warning: this is time-consuming, and a wet afghan can get very heavy. And it can tie up a bathtub for a couple of days.

You'll need a clean bathtub, a sheet or sheets, some large towels and/or a mattress pad, ordinary laundry detergent, Ivory, or a specialty hand-washing product such as Orvus paste, and several hours, spread over several days. Instructions such as these or these for handwashing antique quilts also work for afghans.

Remember to measure your afghan before you wash it so you can lay it out to dry in the same size and shape it started out. (Drying can take days, BTW). Some people say you can wash/soak your afghan in the washing machine as long as you take it our before it agitates, but this can deform the afghan when you take it out.

Good luck!

I rather like this modern take on the traditional granny square afghan.

#78 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @29: "Go, Lemmings, Go!"?

#79 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:17 PM:

I keep trying to fit that verse into the tune for "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty", and it doesn't -quite- go. Middle Ages rock and roll, however, brings to mind these settings of the Merseburger Zaubersprueche.
Also, out of curiosity, what does a post-preview CGI script have to do with the senate and people of Rome?

#80 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:19 PM:

Gwen@4
I think you're using a rather more limited version of "spoiler" than I'm used to using. You seem to be defining it as something like "a piece of information that the author intends to be a surprise, such that if the reader/viewer has that information before it's revealed in the story they'll have a substantially different reaction to and interaction with the work than the author intended,"

Not quite, I think - my last sentence was meant to show that I don't think author's intention is absolutely paramount in every case. In general, a spoiler is a piece of information which, if revealed in advance, will spoil the effect. But what effect? As you say, people read for different reasons, and there are all sorts of different effects that might be spoiled for someone. So it seems reasonable to me that normally one should go with the intended effect. The cases of 'Rosebud' and Roger Ackroyd are clear cases where the intended effect would be spoiled; so in that case it's unproblematic that the information shouldn't be given away (or if there's a problem it's a different one, arising from how well-known they are). But that makes them an unhelpful analogy for stuff that's given away in trailers.

My worry is this: some people (not you) seem to think that it is always wrong to reveal any plot points in advance, since that is the only way of making sure one does not spoil any effect for anyone. But an author may be creating a work where the desired effect actually turns on something being known in advance, and I don't think it's right to object to her doing this, or to readers/viewers passing on the information she wants us to have.

Take, for instance, works written in the first person. Suppose there is a book beginning 'I, Mary Smith, am now sitting down to record the painful story of my life'. This gives away that Mary Smith will still be alive at the end, since otherwise she couldn't be recording it. There may well be situations in the book where some people's enjoyment would be enhanced by not knowing this; where 'Will Mary survive?' is a potentially gripping question. But it seems wrong to complain because the author has revealed this. (I don't suppose anyone would in precisely this case - if they couldn't bear knowing that Mary survives, they just wouldn't read it. But I've seen complaints in cases which come pretty close to that.)

#81 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Wet wool has a distinctive odor, which has the advatage of not requiring taking it apart.

Handwashing with a gentle detergent should take care of it, in any case (you may need to do it in a tub). The usual suggestion is something like Orvus quilt soap, but your local animal supply store will probably have Orvus WA, which is close enough. (Not Woolite, please.)

#82 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:08 PM:

Andrew M @ 80: This gives away that Mary Smith will still be alive at the end, since otherwise she couldn't be recording it.

She could be dictating...

And of course there's the Doctor Who episode "Army of Ghosts" which begins with Rose Tyler explaining "This is the story of how I died."

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 82... Have you ever seen Sunset Boulevard?

#84 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:39 PM:

Lila, #60: Aha, so that's why it sounded familiar!

Earl, #70: Anyone who's done fiber or textile work can probably tell by touch. I used to think it was weird that my mother could touch a piece of clothing and tell what it was made of, but now I can do the same thing with > 80% accuracy.

And FYI: When Cat @76 talks about "patting it gently into the shape it's supposed to be," the technical term for that is "blocking".

Ginger, #75: I would advise against washing wool in the machine at all due to the risk of accidental felting.

Was your partner's favorite color pink by any chance?

#85 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:40 PM:

I'm reminded here of T.E.D. Klein's story "Black Man with a Horn," whose first-person narrator starts off saying "There's something reassuring about first-person narration, isn't there?" and goes on to tell a story that isn't reassuring at all.

#86 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 02:43 PM:

Serge @ 83: No; my familiarity with movies and musicals is spotty.

#87 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 03:15 PM:

O knitters and crocheters, I am in need . . .

To my utter amazement, my mother has volunteered to crochet a kippa for my daughter for her bat mitzvah next year. (Shock abounds)

I need to give my mom a pattern to use, but haven't the foggiest where to search to find one that's decent (there are zillions on the webz but not being a knitter/crocheter myself, I've no idea how feasible any of them are.

Requirements:
Not too heavy or dd will fidget (are there more openwork/netlike options rather than the frisbee-on-head version?)
No design or just a border--dd's tallit is this one http://www.jewishbazaar.com/shvotim-tzeva-prayer-shawl-gray.htm, so nothing that would clash (knowing my kid, the dress will likely be black)
Easy to work up. Mom has mostly been knitting lately (she makes baby blankets for a local hospital), so her crochet skills are probably a bit rusty.

Help, o glorious ones!

#88 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 03:20 PM:

Lee @ 84: I suppose I'd better stop washing my sweaters in the machine then. Oops.

No, her favorite color is blue, but she loves blue and can't avoid wearing it, so she's forced to wear this sweater when it's cold* out. Well, not forced, really. It's a nice warm woollen sweater, and anyone would like to wear it. But you're right; it should have been pink. My mother is not quite that evil.

*Well, yes, she is cold. Not that anyone could tell, under that sweater, although I haven't really looked lately. Then again, she's been stealing my nice black Aran-ish sweater with a zipper and without the projections. (Is this what it's like to have a sister?) I've been reduced to wearing the sweater vests that Dad used to wear, until they shrank. I suppose Mom washed them once too often.

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 86... Then I should say no more.

Spoilers... It was possible for me to enjoy the movie Kiss Me Deadly knowing in advance what the big whatsit was, but I'd have prefered not being told.

#90 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 03:28 PM:

#87
There's a set of instructions - probably for knitting - in the latest 'Mason-Dixon Knits' book (Outside the Lines). You might also try Knitting Pattern Central (they seem to have all kinds of things, and have a crochet section too) or Knitty (which actually does have some crochet patterns).

#91 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Mary Aileen on thread 116 wonders "why a wooden spoon?"

I pondered this for years, before realizing that when you get told to use a wooden spoon, it's usually in the context of *lots* of repeated stirring. It's so you don't scar up the surface of the pan/bowl with all the gouges or scrapes from a metal spoon.

#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 04:24 PM:

joann, or sometimes because what you're stirring is very hot, and a metal spoon will burn you if you stir whatever-it-is long enough. Example: sugar syrup.

#93 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 04:31 PM:

I see that this afghan cleaning project will take a bit of investment; I don't have any white towels, nor do I have a yard or large open area; a dry, sunny day is also a premium item at this point in time. I'll probably need to consult various familial resources for some of these items. Thanks for the advice, all.

#94 ::: Gwen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 04:36 PM:

Andrew @ 80:
Take, for instance, works written in the first person. Suppose there is a book beginning 'I, Mary Smith, am now sitting down to record the painful story of my life'. This gives away that Mary Smith will still be alive at the end, since otherwise she couldn't be recording it. There may well be situations in the book where some people's enjoyment would be enhanced by not knowing this; where 'Will Mary survive?' is a potentially gripping question. But it seems wrong to complain because the author has revealed this. (I don't suppose anyone would in precisely this case - if they couldn't bear knowing that Mary survives, they just wouldn't read it. But I've seen complaints in cases which come pretty close to that.)

Well, I'd consider that to be background information: the kind of information you need to know to know what sort of story it is at all. For instance, I don't think the identity of Spiderman should count as a spoiler for the first Spiderman movie (shock! The protagonist of an origin-story superhero movie is the title character!), but the identity of the Green Goblin and subsequent conflict would be. "Superhero origin story," "alien-fighting ensemble show," and "fictional autobiography" are all established classifications of stories, so it'd be impractical to consider things like "Mary survives!" and "there are aliens in Torchwood!" spoilers.

But an author may be creating a work where the desired effect actually turns on something being known in advance, and I don't think it's right to object to her doing this, or to readers/viewers passing on the information she wants us to have.

That should probably be considered not a spoiler, then--but wouldn't the author put that information in the work itself early on? (In voiceover narration in a movie, in foreshadowing or a prologue in a book....) Otherwise you'd end up with a work which you can't fully appreciate without having seen the publicity information.

I think the main problem with trailers (not all--some go the other way and "reveal" things about their movies that aren't true, which is annoying) is that studios are so eager to bring in viewers that they'll put information into the trailer to make the movie seem more exciting--and completely ruin any of the dramatic tension the reveal of the information in-movie was supposed to have. I mean, I wasn't alive when the first Star Wars trilogy came out, but I can well imagine trailers including the "I am your father" clip after "Shocking Twists!" if it came out today.

#95 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Apropos of nothing except open-threadiness, I happened to see this article title on my browser: Many in Tiny Town Have Rare Tumor.

Now, obviously, tumors aren't funny...but I have to admit that upon first reading, the only thing that came to mind was this.

I should probably be ashamed of myself...

#96 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 05:25 PM:

Melissa Singer at 87,

If she does thread crochet, there is this:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=11321879

I have purchased it and am planning on making it for a friend.

There's a knitted pattern, very plain looking, here: http://www.joanneseiff.com/Designs.html
which is based on one from Interweave Knits - summer 2002. The designer says the one she is offering is improved.

#97 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 05:35 PM:

Gwen, #94: Also, spoilers are significantly dependent on one's audience. To riff on your example, the identity of the Green Goblin wouldn't be a spoiler anywhere in my circle of friends -- we're all comics-geeky enough to be familiar with the major recurring villains in Spider-Man as well as with his origin story. (In fact, one of the things I liked best about the movie was that they made the robber/Uncle Ben thing significantly more plausible, in a way that wouldn't have been feasible in the 1960s.) But I wouldn't mention details like that in a group of non-comics-geek folks who were going to see the movie for the first time.

#98 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 05:44 PM:

I'm looking for recommendations for a gift. It's a holiday gift, but I won't see the person 'til January so there's no big rush.

I have a friend who is a fan of "adventure/treasure hunt stories." His favorite series of books is Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising books, with his favorite book in the series being the first one with the initial discovery and treasure hunt. Other movies/things he likes in this genre are the Goonies, Spiderwick Chronicles, and National Treasure.

I'm looking for some good crazy/magical/preposterous treasure hunt stories. They can be in any media form... books, movies, TV shows, video games. YA novels would be great, or short, punchy novels for adults - though honestly he seems to prefer the kids stuff.

#99 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 05:57 PM:

Leah @ #98, you might give E. Nesbit's Five Children and It a look. It's like Susan Cooper filtered through Gilbert & Sullivan with a dash of Monty Python.

#100 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 06:04 PM:

joann (91)/Xopher (92): Ah, that makes sense! I was thinking in terms of metal interacting with the ingredients in weird ways (although I cooked it in a metal pan, so that doesn't make much sense). I got so paranoid, I did all the stirring with a wooden spoon, even though wood was only specified for the end bit.

#101 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 06:06 PM:

hedgehog @ 68: recorded by Trees as Soldiers Three on their 1970 album On the Shore, featuring the stunning Celia Humphris on vocals.

With a cheeky verse added at the end:

Charge it again, boy, charge it again
Pardona moy je vous an pree
As long as you have any ink in your pen
With never a penny of mony.

#102 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 06:09 PM:

Gwen@94:

Well, I'd consider that to be background information: the kind of information you need to know to know what sort of story it is at all. For instance, I don't think the identity of Spiderman should count as a spoiler for the first Spiderman movie (shock! The protagonist of an origin-story superhero movie is the title character!), but the identity of the Green Goblin and subsequent conflict would be. "Superhero origin story," "alien-fighting ensemble show," and "fictional autobiography" are all established classifications of stories, so it'd be impractical to consider things like "Mary survives!" and "there are aliens in Torchwood!" spoilers.

Well, it seemed to me (though I don't know the movie in question, so I may be wrong) that the stuff Xopher was accused of 'spoiling' was of that kind - it's an 'aliens destroy earth' movie.

That should probably be considered not a spoiler, then--but wouldn't the author put that information in the work itself early on? (In voiceover narration in a movie, in foreshadowing or a prologue in a book....) Otherwise you'd end up with a work which you can't fully appreciate without having seen the publicity information.

I think Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix fits this description - we had been told in advance that someone was going to die, and she then plays games with us, trying to get us to guess who. I agree this isn't a terribly good way of doing things, though. But on the other hand, I have seen stuff that comes in prologues criticised as a spoiler.

There may not really be a radical difference between us, because I think the position that worries me is a lot more extreme than yours, but I assure you I have seen it expressed.

I mean, I wasn't alive when the first Star Wars trilogy came out, but I can well imagine trailers including the "I am your father" clip after "Shocking Twists!" if it came out today.

Well, of course, if you see the films in internal chornological order, as I believe you are meant to do, that won't come as a surprise anyway. Star Wars is odd.

#103 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 07:01 PM:

Andrew M @ 80: This gives away that Mary Smith will still be alive at the end, since otherwise she couldn't be recording it.

She could be dictating...

"Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't bother to carve 'AAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH", would he? He'd just say it!"

"Maybe he was dictating."

Or she could be an HP Lovecraft protagonist, doomed to finish the story with an immortal line like "Even as I write they are at my door!" or just "The knuckles! The horrible knuckles!"

#104 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 07:42 PM:

Slightly connecting to the aspirin discussion (also started in Wuppertal, as it's now known), unhappy news for fans of Inspector Derrick, who retired aged 75 in 1998 (picture). I don't think it's a spoiler to report his widow said "It's sad but he had an exciting life", which is as good an encomium as I hope to have.

BTW, I can think of a work already mentioned where first-person narration is part of the surprise twist. I won't even ROT-13 it, but there are a few sf works and short stories in other genres where FPN is used that way. (In fact, one such 'surprise' story written as a dialogue utterly ignored, without explanation except for spoiling the surprise, a vitally involved third party, which as a woman I found profoundly revolting. I wish I remembered its name & author so I could criticise it.)

#105 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 07:58 PM:

There's much more of a treasure hunt in the second of the Cooper books. One could always start with the classics like Treasure Island, but that might be cheating. Or a collection of Poe that included "The Gold Bug".

Apparently it's all over the Twitterverse that Apple will not be holding Macworld in SF after the one coming up in early January. I'm surprised I'm not seeing that information elsewhere yet.

#106 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 08:32 PM:

If there's such a thing as Apocalyptic sf, is there such a thing as Diasporic sf?

#107 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 08:35 PM:

Jacque #78: See Mr. W. Shakespeare's As You Like It.

#108 ::: ianracey ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 08:49 PM:

Andrew M @102

if you see the films in internal chornological order, as I believe you are meant to do,

If I might ask, why? It's always seemed better to me to go in the order the author intends (with that presumably being the order of release if there's no other indication). Star Wars would seem a great example; also, in books rather than movies, pretty much any series by VC Andrews.

#110 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 09:37 PM:

One set of books that I strongly recommend reading in publication order, as opposed to internal-chronological order, is the Mageworlds series. In fact, when I am recommending this series (which I do frequently), I warn people that reading the prequel first will seriously spoil the ending of the trilogy.

#111 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 09:58 PM:

joann @ 91: Re: beating fudge with a wooden spoon, my guess is that the usual kinds of metal spoons would be more likely to have edges and corners on their handles which would make them uncomfortable to use for that kind of work. Wooden spoons are easier on the hands.

#112 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 11:35 PM:

Bad news: my dad's tumor isn't operable after all.

Good news: it's not the really bad, common kind of pancreatic cancer.

Bad news: it was caught really late.

Good news: he was better tonight. Still in the hospital, but out of immediate danger.

It's been that kind of rollercoaster. I'm going out there sometime in the next couple of days.

#113 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 11:47 PM:

Lee@110: Speaking as one of the authors, I wouldn't so much say that reading the Mageworlds series in temporal rather than publication order spoils the ending of the trilogy as I'd say that readers who approach the series from that direction are in some ways going to be getting a different story. Since things in actual life as it is lived tend to look differently depending upon where you're standing, I choose to think of this as a feature, rather than a bug.

#114 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:11 AM:

When I was in high school, 117 was the nominal North American AC supply voltage. It's actually 117V RMS - root-mean-square, which is the usual way of converting AC volts to equivalent DC. The Wikipedia article Mains Electricity -- must have been originated by a Brit -- is full of neat factoids. The present standard is 120V +/- 5% - 114 to 126V.

#115 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:28 AM:

Debra, #113: Your description of the effect is better than mine. But I was caught completely off guard by the revelation at the end of By Honor Betrayed, and then when I re-read the trilogy again with that knowledge in mind, I suddenly realized that the whole story was a classical tragedy. That re-envisioning caused me to up my ranking of the books from 4 stars to 5, and remains one of my most memorable literary experiences. I think that my experience, at least, would have been the poorer for having enough clues at the start to anticipate the ending, and I am loath to deny anyone else that possibility if I can avoid doing so.

Xopher: Yikes. Hugs offered.

#116 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:42 AM:

Xopher, I hope things go well.

Now I'm going to defend acrylic afghans. You can machine wash and dry them, and since I mostly make them for cats and babies, this is really important.

#117 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:00 AM:

Xopher: Oh. Best Wishes again.

Thanks, Ginger and Stevey-Boy.

#118 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:40 AM:

Expansion on the Macworld comment upthread -- Apple's just withdrawn from participating after this year, and Jobs won't even be giving the keynote this year.

#119 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 03:51 AM:

Cat Meadors @ 66 ...
Xeger - are you switching direction when you purl a row? Don't do that. All rows are right-side rows in the round. (Front-left to front-right).

Yargh, no! That would do very strange things for the knitting :)

The only other thing I can think of is that you're working your purls from the inside of the piece instead of the outside - don't do that either. (But you'd probably have already figured out that you were doing that if that's what it is.)

Hm... I might actually have been doing that unintentionally -- I've finally figured out a way to knit that doesn't involve dangling one needle in order to move the wool around, but it's very possible (in fact, as I think about it, entirely probable) that I'm doing that, and simply not noticing because my body (finger?) english is different from what it's always been. Hmmmm... Thank you!

Alternatively, do it flat and seam it - the whole beauty of working in the round is that you get to knit every row and don't have to worry about stupid purling.

Heh. Fair 'nuf -- I'm finding knitting in the round more friendly for constrained spaces than knitting flat, thus far ... and worth my absolute puzzlement :)

#120 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:08 AM:

Dan Layman-Kennedy @ 31: "There are interesting games to be played with the path taken towards a known ending. (Not that you couldn't spoil a work like that as well, though it seems to me that the important things to keep unrevealed are not whats but hows.)"

ObSF: See, e.g., the structure of many of Cordwainer Smith's stories.

#121 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:19 AM:

Oh, if you all are dispensing cleaning advice, I sure could use some help!

I have a carpet bought in Morocco which is a thin and firm weave in dark brown with white and red in the patterns. I actually had been using it as a tablecloth, folded over. The man who sold it to me told me it was "Cactus Silk" and I've seen been told that it is natural rayon.

The problem is that someone put a plant on the table and then watered it, making for a terrible round stain going straight through. I tried rubbing at the spot with a cloth soaked in cold water, but it made no difference to the stain and when I edged towards the pattern, the colours began to run.

I tried wiping it with a magic stain remover cloth (aimed at silk ties) which had zero effect.

I'm frightened to take it to the dry cleaners but as it is effectively ruined anyway, I'm thinking about that as an option.

Any bright ideas?

#122 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:05 AM:

Xopher, best wishes once again to you and your family. That good news/bad news rollercoaster isn't nearly as much fun as the sign says.

#123 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:43 AM:

Xopher, hang in there. Kind thoughts to you and your father from here.

#124 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:00 AM:

Tracie @#77: Those aren't granny squares, are they? I thought granny squares were these, which are a lot more holey.

#125 ::: Eimear Ní Mhéalóid ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:55 AM:

I have been meaning for some time to draw the attention of those of a fannish persuasion to what is possibly the only bronze statue of someone wearing a propeller beanie.

(The statue is of Richard Crosbie, pioneering balloonist.)

#126 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:58 AM:

Ian Racey@108:

It's always seemed better to me to go in the order the author intends (with that presumably being the order of release if there's no other indication).

I agree; but in this case I think there is another indication, namely the numbering (with the original Star Wars now being Star Wars 4: A New Hope). (By 'you are meant to' I meant 'you are intended to', not 'you ought to'.) I think it makes more sense to see them in order of release, but Lucas apparently doesn't agree with me.

(This is one of the cases where I would agree author's intention isn't paramount. Though presumably the author's original intention here is different from his current intention; surely he meant 'I am your father' to be a surprise when he first put it in.)

#127 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:27 AM:

#37, #38 -

You can't actually get a moebius by twisting at the cast on by accident, because if you accidentally twist at cast-on, you do a full twist, not a half-twist. (Of this, I'm pretty certain, because I tried it on purpose ages ago.) To get a moebius at cast on, you must cast on, twist halfway, and pick up stitches on the bottom side of the cast-on row, or something like that. Figuring out an easy way to cast on for moebius it is part of why Cat Bordhi's name is so famous among knitters.

#72, Nancy -

*boggles* Would you have any pictures of this phenomenon? I can't imagine it.

#128 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:40 AM:

Nancy C. Mittens @ 72 ...
It's also possible that your knit/purl garter stitch looks like stockingette. I have to look hard to tell mine apart sometimes. Is the inside of the tube the same as the outside when you do the knit/purl thing?

Er, no :D I've very clearly got a stockingknit side (teardrop shaped smooth stitches) and a garter stitch side (more of a horizontally ridged texture). I agree with R.M.Koske though -- I'd like to see this :)

#129 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:07 AM:

Thanks again, everyone.

Marilee 116: Now I'm going to defend acrylic afghans.

There's nothing wrong with the Afghans themselves; I just think they should be taught to grow healthier crops than acrylic, which just supports the Taliban. And you really should capitalize the name of a nationality...

What? Oh.

Never mind. :-)

#130 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:39 AM:

I think the main problem with trailers (not all--some go the other way and "reveal" things about their movies that aren't true, which is annoying) is that studios are so eager to bring in viewers that they'll put information into the trailer to make the movie seem more exciting--and completely ruin any of the dramatic tension the reveal of the information in-movie was supposed to have.

Exhibit A: the trailers for Terminator II: Judgement Day. Every one I saw spoiled a plot point that the first half-hour of the movie is clearly setting up as a surprise. (Gur Neavr-obg vf n tbbq thl; gur jvzcl-ybbxvat thl vf abg bayl n onq thl, ur'f n zber nqinaprq ebobg guna gur Neavr-obg.)

T2 never did explain how the T-1000 managed to time travel, seeing as it is not made of flesh of any sort, but we'll let that go with handwaving about a sheath that burns off during transport or something.

#131 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:22 PM:

Xopher #129: Have you and Serge ever been seen in the same place?

#132 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Leah Miller @98

I would recommend looking at Tamora Pierce's books. I'm a fan of both her worlds: for treasure hunts specifically, the Alanna book with the search for the Dominion Jewel.

Also, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, especially Taran Wanderer.

#133 ::: ianracey ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Andrew M @126

You know, I misread as your original statement as being that you think all movies should be viewed in internal chronological order, which was the source of my confusion. My bad.

IIRC George Lucas does indeed make a comment on the commentary for one of the original trilogy (it might be during Luke and Darth Vader's confrontation at the end of TESB) to the effect that he thinks the six movies should be viewed in the order the episodes are numbered; I had a real WTF moment when I heard that.

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Wow, ianracey. GL really has absolutely no sense at all, does he? He used to be have some sense of what was entertaining, at least.

#135 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:45 PM:

joann @91: Mary Aileen @OT116/945 wonders "why a wooden spoon?"

No earthly clue. My dad always used a metal slotted spoon (Xopher @92: it had a plastic handle). This had the additional advantage in that you can lift up and dribble the cooking fudge and guage how close you are to your target consistency.

Fragano Ledgister @107: Jacque #78: See Mr. W. Shakespeare's As You Like It.

Yes, yes, I know. (through the miracle of Google; wrt da Bard, I Am Only An Egg.) #78 was a vain attempt to riff on "Ducdame, ducdame!" In the immortal words of Emily Latella: "Nevermind."

Apropos of which, d'ya suppose Harriet Culvers's observation @52 constitutes my Fifteen Minutes?

#136 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Jacque (135): Hmmm. I wonder if my plastic slotted spoon would be good for that?

#137 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Well, this discussion seems to be about spoon materials, so let me put in my vote for wooden. My wife doesn't like wooden spoons (some sad associations with child abuse) but they're the bees knees.

But what I really came to an Open Thread to say is this: We may be moving back to Indiana! (Now that I'm a Blue Stater hahahahahahaha!)

The reason is quite simple, actually. The economy has now crashed so very much that we can buy a house in Richmond, where my Mom lives, for $7,900. Yes, you see that number of digits correctly. Yes, I have that much in the bank right now. Yes, I'm paying $1000 a month for rent here in Puerto Rico.

I called my sister (whose office is in Richmond) so she can do a drive-by. She said, "Man, at that price, what must be wrong with it?" And I said, "Who really cares?" At that price it really doesn't matter if it has walls and a roof. (But Google street view assures me that it does.)

It's an ill wind that blows nobody good -- in 2012, I plan to be dedisenfranchised. Actually, in 2010 for that matter. I can't remember if Lugar or Bayh is up for reelection. There's a slight chance of unseating Bayh in favor of an actual Democrat. (There's zero percent chance of unseating Lugar. Even I like Lugar. It would be like unseating God, except worse, because I believe in Lugar's existence. We'll just wait for him to die, then we'll see about getting somebody new in that seat.)

Also: public libraries. I heap scorn on Indiana, but ... there are public libraries. Those of you who live in places where you don't have to question the existence of public libraries? Feel blessed.

#138 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:18 PM:

xeger & R.M. Koske,

I don't have any here at school or on my flikr stream. I will try to knit up an example sometime over the next few days, and post pictures.

#139 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:28 PM:

xeger, the purl side will have horizontal ridges that are right up against each other.
With garter stitch, the ridges are farther apart, and you can see, in the bottom of the valley, the place where the rows meet.

#140 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:11 PM:

Mary Aileen @136:

Jacque (135): Hmmm. I wonder if my plastic slotted spoon would be good for that?

::evil cackle:: Hee hee hee. I wanna be there when you try it. Mwa-haha....

#141 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:00 PM:

I've very clearly got a stockingknit side (teardrop shaped smooth stitches) and a garter stitch side (more of a horizontally ridged texture).

Wait, what?

This should be impossible. The backside of garter stitch is just more garter stitch: horizontal ridges made from alternating purl rows with knit rows. The backside of stockinette knit (all 'v's) is stockinette purl (all bumps). Granted, stockinette purl can look like a series of horizontal ridges, but you sound like you know the difference.

What makes this such an inflexible law of nature is, the backside of a normal knit stitch is always a normal purl stitch. It's right there in the definition of knit and purl: it's all down to what direction the loop is pulled through the loop. From front to back: purl. From back to front: knit. A stitch that from one side looks like a loop pulled from front to back, looks on the other side like a loop pulled from back to front. It's all just interlocking zigzags, knitting.

(For the purposes of this discussion, I am ignoring such irregularities as increases, decreases, and knit/purl-thru-back-loop. Are you by any chance doing things through the back loop?)

Could you take pictures and flickr them or something? I'm fascinated by this conundrum.

#142 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:19 PM:

Xopher

Yeah, that rollercoaster is not amusing at all. I hope the rest of the news from now on is good.

#143 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Jacque (140): That sounds like a 'no'.

I guess I should have bought the slotted wooden spoon while I was at it.

#144 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:58 PM:

Mary Aileen: Hee. Yeah, sorry. Couldn't resist the snarkish. I have no clue how a slotted wooden spoon would work...if you try it, let me know what you think.

Not a critical factor, IME. Spoon should be (a) comfortable and (b) strong. Beyond that, nuance to taste.

#145 ::: ianracey ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Xopher @134

I really am loathe to make comments like "Successful millionaire director/writer/author X doesn't have anything like the understanding of storytelling that I do," and I'm always suspicious of people who do say things like that (I've seen too many posts on Doctor Who fora about what an idiot Russell T Davies is). But with Lucas, I'm at the point where I can't think of any explanation other than that he just doesn't get it. I don't know if this is a decline through age/success/not having anyone to tell him no, or if it's just that he had a run of luck in producing such good quality work early in his career (there is, after all, Harrison Ford's famous assessment of Lucas's dialogue during the filming of A New Hope). But I do think the worst decision made for episodes I-III was when it was decided Lucas would be writing and directing himself rather than farming out those jobs like he did for TESB and ROTJ.

#146 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:23 PM:

It occurred to me to wonder what happened to Lanaia Lee. Guess what? She's still promoting Of Atlantis, recently on the radio.

#147 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:38 PM:

ianracey @ 145: The impression I got from the DVD extras was that in the prequel movies, Lucas made exactly the films he intended to, and by extension, the original Star Wars was better because other constraints prevented him from doing that.

He has a wonderful visual imagination, but his lack of interest in character has been our loss.

#148 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:02 PM:

re Pardonnez moi, je vous en pris the verses I know are:


We be soldiers three
Pardonnez moi, je vous en pris
Lately come forth of the low contry
With never a penny of money

Here, good fellow, I'll drink to thee
Pardonnez moi, je vous en pris
To all good fellows wherever they be
With never a penny of money

Here, good fellow, I'll sing you a song,
Pardonnez moi, je vous en pris
To those who are living, and those who are gone,
With never a penny of money

And he who will not pledge me this
Pardonnez moi, je vous en pris
Payes for the shot! whatever it is
With never a penny of money

Charge it again, boys! charge it again,
Pardonez-oi, je vous en pris,
As long as there is any ink in the pen
With never a penny of money

#149 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:19 PM:

Mary Aileen and Jacque (#143 and #144) - Mary, since I'm assuming that when you say 'plastic spoon,' you mean one designed for cooking (not, say, something disposable), I don't think you can assume that it'd meet with a bad end. They are usually made of plastics with quite high melting temperatures (or else they decompose at even higher temperatures); my favourite spatula is plastic, so it spends a lot of time in hot oil, and it does just fine. So I think that Jacque brought the snark a little unfairly - your spoon isn't necessarily going to melt and give you plastic-and-chocolate marble fudge. I imagine that recommendations for wooden spoons are a holdover from when your alternative was metal, not polymer (as previously mentioned, metal is usually low on comfort and high on thermal conductivity).

So while there is a risk that your plastic spoon would fail, which is not the case for wood or metal, I don't think it's automatically excluded.

#150 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:25 PM:

debcha (149): Yes, I've used this particular plastic (polymer?) spoon for cooking, including hot oil, for a while now. I'll probably stick with wood for the fudge anyway, though.

(it's 'Mary Aileen' not 'Mary' :)

#151 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:38 PM:

re 80: There is in fact a semi-well-known first person narrative in that form in which the narrator is not alive at the end: Gvy Jr Unir Snprf by P. F. Yrjvf.

#152 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:01 PM:

A batch of paper toys to make.

#153 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:40 PM:

C Wingate: I know of a first person motion picture, in which the narrator/cameraman dies at the end. It's foreshadowed, but I suspect there are those who are surprised when he dies.

#154 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ 141 ...
Could you take pictures and flickr them or something? I'm fascinated by this conundrum.

I'll try to take some later tonight -- reading over what I wrote last night, the only thing I'm sure about is the sheer lack of sleep I was suffering from as I wrote.

#155 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 03:32 AM:

For anyone else whose favorite Christmas carol is "In The Bleak Midwinter," here's a really nice version.

#156 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:15 AM:

... or perhaps I'll "enjoy" an evening of stumbling around in a metaphorical maze of dependencies, all alike...

#157 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:17 AM:

Katie tells me that she's received the fourth and last signature page, and that she should file her thesis tomorrow. At which point, she will at long last be done, and (modulo some time for the wheels of University of California bureaucracy to grind) will be a Philosophiae Doctor.

I'm really proud of her.

She tells me that one of her fellow group members filed his a few days ago, and they gave him a lollipop. (With "Ph.D" printed on the wrapper!)

#158 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 06:11 AM:

Post Scriptum to the above: Anyone out there looking to hire a Ph.D in Physics with experience programming in C++?

#159 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 08:51 AM:

#141, Nicole -

That actually parsed for me. I wouldn't probably have called it garter stitch, but I can agree that all-purl looks a lot like a dense, unstretched garter, because in garter the knit stitches frequently vanish between the rows of purl ribs.

#145, ianracey -

I haven't actually heard that famous assessment. Can you link/quote it/give me more info for searching?

#157, David -

I don't know if I've interacted with Katie here, but even if not, she has my congratulations. That's a heck of an accomplishment.

#160 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 10:10 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 158: I don't think that most employers will object strongly to her Ph.D. in physics, as long as her programming skills are up to their needs.

The job market for chemists is very poor these days. I'm not sure if things are any better for physicists.

#161 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 11:45 AM:

debcha @149: I will entirely cop to unfair snarkage. I tend to be firmly ensconced in the middle of the last century, and tend to forget about Scientific Progress.

Mary Aileen @150: If your spoon can survive hot oil, it will doubtless do just fine in hot fudge.

I'm just remembering a couple of spatulas I have that I unthinkingly modified by using in fudge. (Ew.)

(Okay, okay, so I'm not the brightest bulb in the box... ;> )

#162 ::: ianracey ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 12:18 PM:

R.M. Koske @159,

The quote is, "George, you can write this sh*t, but you sure can't say it." I googled for a citation, but all the links I found were for blogs quoting it. So it's possible it's an urban legend; but on the other hand, it's also possible that if I wanted a substantive Star Wars-related result for searches involving "Harrison Ford", "George Lucas", "write" and "sh*t", I should have conducted my search before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull went into general release.

#163 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 12:56 PM:

#162 - ianracey -

I like the quote, but I like your summation of the problem finding it even more. *grins*

Many thanks.

#164 ::: Suzanne F. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 01:18 PM:

Leah @98

I'd recommend M.T. Anderson's Game of Sunken Places, which is at once a plucky boys' adventure novel, a fantasy, and a dark, clever puzzle.

#165 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 02:28 PM:

Another YA treasure hunt sort of novel is The Westing Game.

#166 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 02:53 PM:

Treasure hunts of that ilk: _The House with a Clock in its Walls_ (Bellairs), if you don't mind some creepy mixed with funny.

_Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy From Mars_ (Pinkwater).

(I am pleased to see _Over Sea, Under Stone_ get some love; too often it's dismissed as a minor prequel to the series. It's not the same thing as _The Dark Is Rising_, and I'll even admit it's not as creative or powerful a piece of work. But it's a great treasure hunt that has just enough teaser for the more mythic books that follow it.)

#167 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 02:56 PM:

I'd also recommend Diana Wynne Jones's Dalemark Quartet. Well, I'd recommend anything she ever wrote, but those particularly for this purpose.

#168 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 03:23 PM:

Ralph Giles @147: The impression I got from the DVD extras was that in the prequel movies, Lucas made exactly the films he intended to, and by extension, the original Star Wars was better because other constraints prevented him from doing that.

There's a stupendously-researched SW fan(?) site here that delves into that issue from many different angles, though I'm not sure how much may've been taken offline because of recent print publication.

ianracey @162: "George, you can write this sh*t, but you sure can't say it."

Wrong verb; iirc the quote was originally cited in Dale Pollock's book Skywalking, originally printed in 1984. Google Books' version is a 1999 "updated" reprint which I haven't read, but it doesn't seem to've bumped up the original's non-prominence of Joseph Campbell as an influence, compared to Carlos Casteneda.

#169 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:32 PM:

re 168: There's also the revisitation problem: it's very difficult to go back to something you did years back and continue consistently with what was done before.

#170 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Mary Aileen (#150): Yes, I've used this particular plastic (polymer?) spoon for cooking...

Materials science geekery: 'Polymers' are the raw materials, defined by their chemical structure (eg polyethylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, polystyrene etc). 'Plastics' are the end product, which will likely include additives such as pigments, fillers, and plasticizers. So I'd probably describe your spoon as 'plastic.' To be fair, that might be because I get annoyed by items in high-design catalogs being described as 'polymer' instead of plastic, which just seems really pretentious.

Jacque (#161): The soft rubbery spatulas (spatulae?) melt if you give them a hard look - were those the kind you destroyed in your fudge? I love the new silicone rubber utensils you can get now.

#171 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Damn. Majel Barrett Roddenberry died Thursday in Bel-Air, CA, of leukemia. She was 76.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ap/20081219/ten-obit-majel-roddenberry-5e343d7.html

#172 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:57 PM:

#171: Oh my! Another of the Trek originals gone.

She was a guest at I-Con a decade or so back; my cousin was her driver. He had a high opinion of her. Nice to the fans and not affected.

#173 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 06:01 PM:

I just came here to see if the news of Majel Rodenberry's death had reached the Fluorosphere. I know nothing of her as a person, but I know that Lwaxana Troi was and is an empowering figure for big noisy women like me.

#174 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 09:11 PM:

Majel Barrett Roddenberry was a class act, as well as a classy actor. Here's to her memory, long may it shine!

#175 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 01:30 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 157

I got one of those PhD lollipops too! The office staff in the filing office did a wonderful job of making a routine bureaucratic procedure feel special and celebratory.

#176 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 01:34 AM:

Presidential Science Adviser John Marburger, replying to charges that Bush is anti-science:

"There are stupid and foolish things that have been perpetrated by employees of the federal government in the executive branch, but it doesn't mean that the president is anti-science," he said. "The president is getting blamed for every little thing that happens that people don't like in the administration."

Anyone have a shoe I can borrow? One with taps?

#177 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 01:36 AM:

My new album, Ticker, is available for free download. Except for the occasional recorder, crumhorn, and bass guitar, it's done entirely with the audio programming language SuperCollider. The result is a bit like Mike Oldfield crossed with Venetian Snares. But only a bit.

Antiquarians may be interested to note that shiny five-inch discs are also available.

#178 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 04:21 AM:

Those like David Goldfarb celebrating various events, might be interested to know one can order custom messages on M & Ms – One or two messages, each of up to 2 lines of 9 characters, or even just a simple “PhD” – on your choice of one or two of 17 standard colours, or one of several standard blends of up to 5 colours.

The new high-temperature-resistant silicone cooking implements & baking pan-things (& hot-thing holders) are Totally Excellent!! But there are times when I find both metal[lic] & wood[en] implements best for what I'm doing.

It's not good to hear of Majel Barret Roddenbury's leaving us. I worked my way through a friend's set of DS9 this year, having never seen more than one or two episodes before. It was nice to hear her occasionally as a familiar computer voice.

Tim (#177)! Conga-Rats & Good Luck! *wanders elseweb to chekkitout*

#179 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 09:32 AM:

Two weeks ago, on the 4th December, I was in a car crash. All safety features worked as advertised, but I have assorted fractures, includng three vertabrae. no permanent damage. I was briefly unconscious, after the impact, and am very grateful for Jim's medical posts as an assurance.

no reliable email cantact.

give Nissan Micra S906DCT word-fame

#180 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 09:35 AM:

Dave, YIKES! Congratulations on having survived mostly intact, and my best wishes for a rapid continued recovery.

#181 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 09:53 AM:

Dave Bell @ 179... Best wishes for your recovery.

#182 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 11:15 AM:

Dave Bell #179: Best wishes for your recovery.

#183 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Dave Bell: Oh, sorry to hear about the accident but glad you're on the mend.

#184 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Thanks for the good wishes.

Right now I am discovering just how paranoid this outfit is about just what is "suitable"

#185 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 12:51 PM:

re #179, Dave Bell.

HE AINT DEAD.

So, for recovery, are you watching episodes of
Bones or listening to Traffic off the road?

#186 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Joel responds to David Goldfarb: "I don't think that most employers will object strongly to her Ph.D. in physics, as long as her programming skills are up to their needs."

Seriously, I recommend taking a crash course in some other language besides C++. It's bad enough she's got a Ph.D. in physics... if they find out she's a C++ programmer, too, then at best they'll put her to work on some crawling horror of code that originated as a prototype in 1992 and it's been a serial killer ever since.

#187 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 05:05 PM:

Julie L. @ 168: Thanks for the pointer on the Star Wars stuff. There's a 'nature of the beast' essay in the same vein. Looks like an interesting book.

#188 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Dave Bell @#179: Yowch! Best luck for a full and speedy recovery!

#189 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Well, my wife and I made it to the Bay Area yesterday I might not be around to post this if we had not decided to stop in Arizona's Kingman on Wednesday instead of California's Bakersfield. Three hours of sleep before a long drive isn't a good idea when combined with a snow storm. On the bright side, besides our not dying, the hotel had TCM and we got to watch "Valley of the Kings".

By the way, remember that, tomorrow evening, a few people will be making light by the Bay:
http://serge-lj.livejournal.com/174820.html

#190 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 06:54 PM:

I'm out here in Culver City CA at my brother's house. I should see my dad tomorrow.

Steve 171: Damn indeed. Another good one lost.

Tim 177: You go! I'll give it a listen when I'm not borrowing someone else's computer.

Mez 178: My friend Sharon tried to get ones that said "Eat 'til you choke" for our Thanksgiving that she hosted. They wouldn't do it, for obvious liability reasons.

Dave 179: Thank gods you're going to recover completely! Best wishes for it to be speedy and relatively painless.

#191 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 07:13 PM:

Xopher: Have you means of transport? We are so close as to make the effort to meet someplace almost imperative.

#192 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 07:22 PM:

Now what is P.D.Q. Bach doing next to the Girl Genius?
(“Playing his Engine.”)

#193 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 07:24 PM:

Terry @ #191, you're there? I worked at Beverly Hills Country Club¹ on Motor Ave. for a year or so all told.

¹ Not really in Beverly Hills at all. In Culver City, but nobody had ever registered the name in California, which astonished and delighted us.

#194 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 07:35 PM:

Linkmeister: No, I am in Pasadena. Given the usual distance between Xopher, and those of us who live in LA, he's practically in my living room.

#195 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 08:12 PM:

j h woodyatt @ 186: Smart companies hire developers who can pick up new skills at need. Possession of a Ph.D. in physics is a good sign that she's bright enough to do this. Both my first two employers hired me to work in languages I didn't yet know. When I entered the job market I had a degree in mathematics and knew some C. I learned C++ in my first job, then (with far less effort) Java in my second.

#196 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 12:41 AM:

Dave Bell: Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!

and re: safety features working as advertised, that's why we got our current car (Ford Freestyle) after our last got totaled (in a low-speed accident with a hit-n-runner; the bumper took out the radiator and after that, there wasn't much to salvage.) Two months after we bought it we were rear-ended by a truck 50% greater than our weight and I was in the back seat... unscathed.

I really appreciate safety features and will take your recce under consideration should we buy a second car. Models that save lives are always a Good Thing™.

#197 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 01:32 AM:

Heather Rose Jones@175: So did you eat the lollipop?

#198 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 01:36 AM:

Dave Bell, #179, gracious, Dave! I'm glad you're still here, and I assume, getting better!

#199 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 04:56 AM:

My net access over the next month or two is liable to be erratic, so if i vanish for a while, DON'T PANIC

I shall be entangled with the care services provded by the British NHS system, which has variable frnge features. such as internet access.

I am getting good care, here in ward 11 at Scunthorpe General, and my elderly parents are being well-supported by our horrific socalist market-distorting system.

At the moment I am out of bed, strapped up in a back support. One leg is in plaster. It is, with luck, just a matter of time.

I suppose air-bags are under the patronage of Santa Barbara. The 4th wasn't so bad a day to have a car crash, I suppose.

#200 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 05:31 AM:

Dave @199:

I'm glad you're getting good care. I have kind of secret, shabby fondness for the NHS, and it makes me happy that they're treating you well.

About one comment there:
My net access over the next month or two is liable to be erratic, so if i vanish for a while, DON'T PANIC

Peoples, if you care about us here enough to consider us part of your life, mention it to folks you know in RL. Mention it so that if you win the lottery and dash off to some paradise without internet*, someone remembers to stop by here and post something in a comment thread.

I was in an online community with someone who killed himself†. His ex-wife saw that he had been online with us just before he died, figured out that we mattered to him, registered an account, and told us about it‡. Otherwise, we would never have known - he just would have vanished. Others did; I sometimes wonder how many of them died as opposed to just drifting away?

-----
* this is my standard replacement for "get hit by a bus"; I've been using it since I was an auditor checking fallback procedures.
† on September 10, 2001. We were already in shock before the planes hit the towers.
‡ I like to think that the support we gave her repaid her kindness. She later married someone she met among us.

#201 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 06:49 AM:

In the weirdly warped spoiler department, there's the case where someone writes two versions of the same story, leading me to yell at the author when I read the second version without realizing that it was different, "That's not how the story goes!"

#202 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 08:09 AM:

#201, abi -

I woman I was slightly acquainted with in the SCA recently resurfaced in my life, and her explanation as to why she'd stopped participating in the last three years was that she really, truly got hit by a bus.* I've been trying to purge the phrase from my vocabulary since. I think I'll use your substitution. Thanks!

*It wasn't as horrible as it could have been, but she is/was an extremely accomplished dancer and is only just now returning to it.

#203 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 10:23 AM:

C. Wingate, #201: I'm amused that I knew exactly which two stories you meant even before I checked the links.

#204 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 10:46 AM:

abi (200)/R.M. Koske (202): My boss used to say, "I could get hit by a bus!" all the time. One rather tense meeting it got on my nerves, so I whacked him (gently) on the arm and said, "There, now you've been hit by a Buss*. Stop saying that!"** Now he starts to say it, glances at me, and visibly changes his mind. (I tell him he could use 'truck' instead, but he doesn't.)

*same pronunciation
**no, I shouldn't have done it; yes, I regretted it afterwards; no, he wasn't angry; yes, everyone else present thought it was hilarious

#205 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Keith Richards is 65 today. Still going strong.

Have I ever mentioned that I love The Rolling Stones?

#206 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 12:19 PM:

abi @ 200 ...
Otherwise, we would never have known - he just would have vanished. Others did; I sometimes wonder how many of them died as opposed to just drifting away?

I continue to wonder about the fate of some of the folk that vanished during the diaspora of the dot-com crash, and am often reminded of The Diamond Necklace.

#207 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 12:19 PM:

Tatterbots...

p1. My recommendation isn't motivated from hope that she'll get a job; it's from hope that she'll get a good job, i.e. one that doesn't involve maintaining any of the code that I've ever originated.

p2. Thanks for spelling my family name correctly. This is a rare thing.

#208 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 12:42 PM:

It's bad enough she's got a Ph.D. in physics... if they find out she's a C++ programmer, too, then at best they'll put her to work on some crawling horror of code that originated as a prototype in 1992 and it's been a serial killer ever since.

With a B.S. in physics and a single semester of C++ under my belt, I was hired to force FORTRAN to do things it was never meant to do. I think it went all right, considering.

I'm pinning most of my hopes on employers knowing that because I'll have a Ph.D, I can learn things and learn them well. Sometimes this seems like pretty weak sauce when I realize how much I don't know, especially in the field I'd like to get into. Then again, realizing how much you don't know is a well-known effect of working on a Ph.D. So.

#209 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 01:01 PM:

xeger #206: I continue to wonder about the fate of some of the folk that vanished during the diaspora of the dot-com crash

Early retirement, obscured by the sad euphemism of "pro bono computer consultant", a mouldering resume decapitated in a futile attempt to stave off age discrimination ("Yeah, it would ooze a lot, heads do. But I could live with that.") Ramen noodle dreams filled with memories of dancing, sizzling dot-com steaks. Unread books, carefully doled out to last as long as possible (that clever plan dashed to bits by days-long reading binges). An internet connection clung to like a life raft from a sinking ship.

It's odd, but "vanished" is right. I can't think of any of my former colleagues who maintain a discernible internet footprint these days. "Many fall, but one remains."

#210 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 01:34 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 197

Yes, I believe I did eat the PhD lollipop ... after displaying it proudly on my workdesk for a few days. I did the final filing process on an extended lunchbreak from my first post-grad school job, so it was an oddly surreal experience, partaking more of the flavor of "stop by the bank, pick up stamps at the post office, drop off the recycling, and file the dissertation." That's why having the filing office staff make a fuss over me was such a delightful surprise.

#211 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 01:40 PM:

The first peer-group funeral I went to was for a college friend who was hit by a bus. In an odd way, I think that strengthens my affection for the expression when used as a serious caution (as opposed to a joke). Because people do get hit by buses and vanish from our lives. The concreteness of the reference makes me more likely to take the caution seriously (in those times when I'm not working on being completely in denial about mortality, that is).

#212 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Quotation help: some time ago, I remember here, I read a quote that was roughly, "To have a dog is to know that you will cry," that I remember as being Kipling or someone Kiplinglike. I cannot find it, and I've wanted it a few times since. A very cursory Google didn't turn it up, and anything more in-depth is not good for me right now (we have hit the 'you will cry' part of having a family dog) but does anyone know who said it, and what it actually is?

#213 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 02:09 PM:

Diatryma - Is it this one? That's certainly Kipling. My sympathies to you and your family.

#214 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 02:21 PM:

Dave @199: good to hear that you are making progress, even if you're going to be in the clutches of Scunthorpe General for a while.

#215 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 03:13 PM:

Diatryma @212: I'd point to the same source as Sam Kelly, and extend my sincere condolences on your loss.

#216 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 05:26 PM:

Diatryma @212:

My sympathies for your loss.

#217 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 05:30 PM:

My condolences, Diatryma.

#218 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Diatryma, I'm so sorry. (I wish I could find the cartoon someone did of the dog slipping through the doggie door in the Pearly Gates, which comforted me after the loss of my dachshund Phoebe.)

#219 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Dave Bell

Good to hear you've survived your accident. Get well soon and stay in touch as best you can.

I just hate finding out indirectly and much later when old friends and acquaintances have died. About three years ago, quite by accident, I came across a website containing a eulogy to someone who had died almost a year before, less than a month after I'd last seen him. We weren't close, but we'd worked together about 15 years before, when he'd done some work for the lab I was in as part of a cooperative agreement with his PhD adviser. Not too long after that he made a name for himself in the field, and so we'd see each other once or twice a year at conferences, and sit and talk for awhile, or have lunch in between sessions. But to find out that when I saw him last he'd just had a round of chemo, and no one there noticed!

#220 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Do others also see Santa Krosp driving a team of pygmy mammoth on/in a Girl Genius Christmas wallpaper? Also check what has & hasn't changed in the paleofuturistic vision of 'Santa in 2007'.

Online amusing typos: Ending an article about police shooting someone, "A critical indecent investigation team is now investigating".

#221 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Weather note: the bad snowstorm finally arrived today (the 2 or 3 earlier in the week weren't much of a problem), and, as we've got plenty of food, and the heat isn't dependent on outside power, we're just holing up in the house and playing training games with the dogs. If the power goes out (common in storms here) we'll break out the flashlights and tell ghost stories.

Right now I'm upstairs, looking out past the deck at a swirling cloud of snow with Brahms Symphony #2 on the stereo; the more energetic passages suit the snow quite well. We've had about 4 inches so far today, with at least another 2 predicted*, so tonight we're going to eat downstairs with a pseudolog burning in the fireplace and the dogs curled up with us. I will raise a glass of wine to all of you out there, hoping your winter celebrations will be as warm and cosy.

* Might be more; the predictions are for the valley floor, and we're at about 500 feet, which usually translates to more snow.

#222 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 07:12 PM:

On living with, loving & losing a dog – and much more besides – Walking With Zeke, by Chris Clarke. There can be comfort & help in healing thru' art such as this.

Dave Bell, keep as well as possible; heal & return. Scunthorpe has some little internet-related notoriety. Do the hospitalers know?

#223 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 07:15 PM:

I'm looking at the same crappy weather that Bruce is.

REally, this is extraordinary, at least for Portland. I'm not terribly concerned about electricity or heat, but if need be I have a fireplace and some logs and lots of scrap paper. I charged batteries yesterday.

The apartment managers haven't bothered shoveling the walks. Every few hours I use a stiff broom to clear the fluff off of the stairs and walk to my car.

#224 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 08:03 PM:

I know at least one person who was hit by a bus; I tend to use "tea cart" in place of bus, and also "devoured by bears" (or weasels) or "eaten by eels".

Have encountered at least one person with non-NorAm origins who considered the bears a real risk, which was mildly surreal. No one seems to have issues with the eels.

Lots of snow in Toronto; many fewer grumpy birds at the feeder today (it being clear and cold) than yesterday (snow and wind, but less cold). Doubt we'll lose power, but lots of charged lights and gas heat if we do.

As far as programming languages go, well, the one I'm nearly good at is XSL, which doesn't make lists. I suppose XSL would have to be druidism, because it's inextricably concerned with trees and turning one thing into another.

#225 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 08:11 PM:

Diatryma, my sympathies. We hit that same wall two months ago with our 16-year-old pointer.

Yesterday an ornament fell off the tree and we both waited for the dog to start barking at it.

#226 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 09:32 PM:

Bruce @ 219:

I suspect your friend was trying to have people not notice that he'd just had chemo.

#227 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 10:07 PM:

Thanks, everyone. Jazzdog was a good old dog, and a good dog to grow up with.

Iowa is now... well, today wasn't so bad for me; fairly warm, snow coming down. Tonight could get down to negative eight (um, negative twenty-plus for sensible Celsius users) with winds of thirty-five miles per hour. I chiseled my car out before heading to a party tonight, and that took about half an hour. I still haven't found my windshield wipers. I'll dig them out with the Christmas Hatchet tomorrow.

#228 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 11:20 PM:

And old reading by the late Carl Sagan, accompanied by a funny but appropriate selection of film clips:

Pale Blue Dot

#229 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 11:44 PM:

Earl, #209, I have a neighbor who was in on AOL early and retired and doesn't work anymore. He seems to stay in his condo most of the time, except for the nine months or so when he'd lost some weight and dated a lot.

Diatryma, #212, I'm so sorry to hear that. We make them part of our family knowing they'll probably die before we do, but when the time comes, the loss isn't any less.

Graydon, #224, when I had some UKan fans staying with me a good while back and mentioned that someone had seen a black bear about five miles away, they were very nervous.

#230 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 11:51 PM:

I found this interesting. The "Things You can't Say When Drunk" Particle includes the following:

Officers are also issuing general safety advice which includes: Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Stick to busy well-lit streets and avoid deserted parks and dark alleys – even if it means taking the longer way home. Walk down the middle of the street if it is deserted. Think about what you would do if you felt threatened. Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them. If a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk in the other direction – you can turn much faster than a car. Consider carrying a personal safety alarm.

All of those are things which are constantly told to women as "how to avoid rape"; it's odd but also heartening to hear that sort of advice being given in a non-gendered context.

#231 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 01:11 AM:

abi's #200 reminded me of back in the 1990's, when I was one of the members in a GEnie online screenwriting workshop, and one of the other members, Arnold Federbush, suddenly stopped contributing. Queries were posted online with no response, and no one was able to contact him offline.

Then, after a couple of months, I received the latest issue of DAILY VARIETY... and found Arnold's obituary in the back pages. (He'd never quite managed to sell any of his fiction screenplays, but had done some well-regarded documentary work earlier in life.)

He'd had cancer, apparently for a long period, but hadn't mentioned it to anyone in the workshop.

Some of the workshoppers felt a bit hurt by that, because they'd been left out of the loop by someone they considered a friend.

On the other hand, I suspect Arnold just didn't want to seem like he was looking for sympathy or pity. So he kept his personal problems to himself.

(Looking back, I think he did make a "goodbye", in a way, because one of the last things he put online was his long-time pet project, a semi-autobiographical screenplay about a young Jewish man's relationship with his Korean-American girlfriend, and the culture clash involved. A pretty damn good screenplay, too, with a number of laugh-out-loud moments.)

I'm of mixed mind whether I'd do the same in a similar situation. (I'm of an age where I tend to find myself expecting a Friggin' Serious shoe to drop, healthwise, one of these days or years, rather than just the standard aches, pains and discombobulations advancing age has made a far too regular part of current days.)

(I wish Arnold was still around. He was one of the best, most perceptive critics in that workshop, with a very "toughlove" attitude that, if it sometimes left an ego badly bruised, was also almost invariably right.)

(If Arnold Federbush's name seems familiar to some of the readers here on ML, it's likely because he had several science-fiction novels published in the 1970's.)

#232 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 09:21 AM:

I hope you won't mind indulging my curiosity, since All Knowledge is Contained in Making Light:

Ikea in Atlanta closed early on Tuesday December 9th this year, and it is making me really curious. Is there a holiday that day? Would a chain like Ikea close a US store early to observe Anna's day*, the only holiday I can find for that date in Sweden? Or perhaps there was something more mundane going on in the area or with the store?

Suggestions on how to Google for the answer are also welcome. I'm going out there today, and I may ask an employee or two, but I'm not sure I'll get a good answer.

*Per wikipedia**, "Recognizes everyone named Anna, and marks the day to start the preparation process of the lutefisk to be consumed on Christmas Eve. "

**Yes, I know. But for this, I figure it is safe.

#233 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 11:22 AM:

Caroline@208 writes: "With a B.S. in physics and a single semester of C++ under my belt, I was hired to force FORTRAN to do things it was never meant to do."

I feared as much would happen, and see? It's already begun.

May I humbly suggest that a self-directed course in Haskell would probably go a long way toward helping the physicist to remain in the service of Science and not to become tragically enthralled to some eldritch and terrible chimera of bad engineering and American management theory?

#234 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 11:25 AM:

Caroline@208 writes: "With a B.S. in physics and a single semester of C++ under my belt, I was hired to force FORTRAN to do things it was never meant to do."

I feared as much would happen, and see? It's already begun.

May I humbly suggest that a self-directed course in Haskell would probably go a long way toward helping the physicist to remain in the service of Science and not to become tragically enthralled to some eldritch and terrible chimera of bad engineering and American management theory?

#235 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 12:28 PM:

Marilee@229: ...when I had some UKan fans staying with me a good while back and mentioned that someone had seen a black bear about five miles away, they were very nervous.

I'm reminded of the time our elder daughter went on a trip to England with a troop of northern New Hampshire Girl Scouts. Part of the trip involved participation in some kind of joint Girl Scouts/Girl Guides camping event in the Forest of Dean, where our visiting Scouts were shocked (in a real violation-of-food-taboos kind of way) to see that the local Guides had no issues with taking food into their tents.

"Butbutbut you never take food into your tent! If you do, you're going to attract bears!"

Pause. Wide eyes on the Girl Guides.

"You mean you camp where there are bears?"

#236 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 01:01 PM:

No particular order:

Debra Doyle @235, I've awakened after sleeping in a pickup canopy with no door to find cougar prints (one set, in motion) on the hood of the truck, so I'd laugh at the Guides except for my Puget Sound native inability to walk barefoot in rattlesnake country.

Bruce and Stefan, I awakened to an inch of ice on top of the total of fourteen inches of snow on the ground: four inches that fell Wednesday and the ten or so that fell all day yesterday. I do have electric heat, and also a driveway known as "the family curse:" narrow, long, steep, dropping off on the west into the well excavation, with three right-angle turns. All of that pales in comparison to the misery of being told by people from elsewhere that people around here are weanies about the weather, especially when the manager of the theater my son works at just moved here from Wisconsin or somewhere and thinks the state patrol is trying to ruin Christmas week boxoffice by telling people to stay off the roads.

The birds are skating on the ground under the feeder, and having to choose their perching twigs very carefully indeed.

Diatryma, I mourn your loss with you. Dogs are given us to teach us loyalty and to turn around three times before we lie down, (Thurber, I think) but they also teach us, over and again, that love leads inevitably to bereavement, and that the former, in the long run, is what lasts.

#237 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Reporting from outside of Portland, Oregon (also home of Bruce and Stefan), I accumulated about 10 inches of snow yesterday. It's really lovely, and for the moment I am home safe and snug. Alas, I'm stressed about Monday travel because I'm supposed to be flying out that evening. I do have chains for one of my cars, but due to an unfortunate series of events, that car got a flat on Friday night and I couldn't get the tire repaired. So it's got a spare on, but you can't put chains on the mini-spare, and my chains won't fit my other car....arrgh. It'll all work out, but I find myself very irritated.

#238 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 02:06 PM:

R.M. Koske @ 232: My guess is that they shut down early for an employee holiday gathering, allowing everyone to attend rather than having some stuck at work while the rest got to party.

#239 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 04:30 PM:

I was reading the discussion of the 100 greatest WB cartoons over at Boing Boing which reminded me of a question I've had for awhile. My local independent station was signed up with a package of LT and MM's which had some large gaps in it so there are a bunch I've never seen--and based on Ted Turner's reaction when he saw Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips I doubt I'll ever see them now. (As an amateur animation historian I'm lucky I got the laserdisc with BBNTN before it was pulled---on the other hand if I never see the one with the quail doing a psuedo-Benchley again it will be fine with me.) Anyway, if we leave out Tiny Toon Adventures (They had the Myna Bird successfully eaten by a werewolf, which caused my mind to close with a sharp snapping sound), was there ever a cartoon that established who was faster, Speedy Gonzales or the Road Runner? I've wondered about this for quite awhile, and figured that I'd get a more accurate answer here...

#240 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 04:52 PM:

#238, Carol -

You guessed correctly. I did manage to find an employee who knew the answer (well, given what the answer *was*, that's to be expected, I suppose) and it was indeed for a holiday party. That hadn't occurred to me because I've never worked anywhere that did anything like that, and never expected a company the size of Ikea to do such a thing. It was a nice surprise.

#241 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Adding to #237: It is truly godawful out. Right now the noontime sleet layer is being covered with fresh fluffy snow.

I think I'll go brush off the steps. The less stuff to become ice the better.

I think I'll be taking the train to the airport on Tuesday evening.

#242 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 08:07 PM:

Debra @235: As I discovered last night, there are much bigger things than bears to worry about in the Forest of Dean.

All: Warm and dry thoughts are winging your way. Just when I'd finished clearing the driveway, Boston got more snow, which then turned to rain, and then the temperature headed south of the freezing mark, making for a just delightful experience getting home and chiseling our tenant's car out, I've no doubt. I don't mind snow, but I really could do without ice.

#243 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 10:01 PM:

Terry, I don't have independent transportation. I don't know which days will be good days in advance, so it's hard to arrange anything. It would be great to see you, though, so I'll keep it in mind.

Diatryma, I'm sorry for your loss.

My dad is doing better. He went home from the hospital today. After he recovers some more strength &c., they'll start talking about chemo. The tumor turns out not to be pancreatic cancer per se, but a high-grade sarcoma that started in the tissue surrounding the pancreas (or somewhere nearby). Good news is it isn't pancreatic cancer; bad news is that it's a very rare cancer that no one seems to know much about.

But he's doing better! We're in YAY mode right now.

#244 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 10:59 PM:

Xopher,

I'm glad to hear your dad's cancer isn't pancreatic. Every message you've posted in this thread has reminded me of something my friend Ron Echeverri reprinted without attribution a few months ago. (He couldn't find attribution. Maybe someone here knows where it came from.)

Surgery has three rules.
1. Eat when you can
2. Sleep when you can
3. Don't fuck with the pancreas
I'm not kidding. Google it: these are established rules. You don't fuck with the pancreas because it's a poorly-encapsulated organ that, when inflamed, can't hold a stitch worth a good God damn, is a slurry of cells and enzymes that are trying to digest everything they can inside the body, is intimately involved with the superior mesenteric artery and vein, the celiac plexus, overlies the aorta, has a ductal system that must remain intact, is prone to form high-output fistulas, can trigger fatal systemic inflammation and —and— is so anatomically crucial that removal of the head of the pancreas can only be accomplished if you also remove part of the duodenum, gallbladder, part of the biliary tract and half the stomach.

Surgerizing the pancreas is like trying to remodel a house full of gasoline. And the house is made of Jell-O. And sits on top of a kindergarten. And it's on fire. And filled with bees. Don't fuck with the pancreas.
So, it sounds like maybe your dad doesn't need his pancreas surgerized. I'm looking for the good news here.


#245 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 11:33 PM:

The particle "Things you can't say when you're drunk" messes up one of the phrases.

"Sorry, but you're not really my is" should read "Sorry, but you’re not really my type."

The thing I really don't understand is "no kebab for me." I'd love a nice kebab right now.

#246 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 11:52 PM:

You must feel like you're on a roller coaster, Xopher. Hang on tight!

#247 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Xopher: I don't have independant transport either, at the moment.

I also don't seem to have any form of functioning email tonight, so I can't give you my phone number.

#248 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 12:42 AM:

Xopher - your dad doing better is YAY indeed. May you all enjoy the time together, however long it may be for.

#249 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 12:47 AM:

As you know, Jim #245: the kebab, in its extremely greasy, with-fries, from-a-suspicious-late-night-outlet-or-god-help-you-a-van form, traditionally holds the place in English culture of the inadvisable food consumed in the wee hours when the principle demand of one's alcohol-ruined mortal coil is for trans fats. I do miss it; the deep-fried spicy pork skewer and odeng soup just isn't the same somehow.

#250 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 01:39 AM:

When I was in Scotland with the Territorials I was taught (as were the Canadians) of the mystical "kebab compass".

When stonkered one bought a kebab, and ate it as one walked. This would, we were assured, work to get one home.

After a night of several pints, and a couple of whiskies, I left, stumbled into a kebab shop; got the last one for the night (it turned out to be a huge slab of na'an, with spiced lamb, onions, etc. on it), and began to went my way back to Cameron Barracks (which were not fixed to solidly in my mind's eye), had someone try to filch a bit; had someone else fondle my hat (asking if it was Australian) and discovered, as I was just running out of kebab, I was back in familiar territory.

#251 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 01:45 AM:

Plus, having the garlic mayo means you'll feel better the next day. Trust me.

#252 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 01:48 AM:

Also, Terry Karney's post highlights my provincialness: I ought to have said British culture, not English. I'm having enough trouble explaining the difference to others (the UK/Britain/England/Ireland web of relations apparently being quite blurred together) that I ought to be wary about forgetting it myself.

#253 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 04:40 AM:

Brief update; moved to ward 10. much confusion, keyboard shift seems dead, otherwise doing well. we bells are tough

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 08:37 AM:

Dave Bell @ 253... Glad to hear the bells are improving.

#255 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 08:54 AM:

Dear Serge @ 254 ...
The -last- mental image I needed was Dave Bell's hospital bed doing a bell-ringer imitation, and bobbing up and down to hackneyed pseudo-carols...

#256 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 09:21 AM:

xeger @ 255... Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings!

#257 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 09:26 AM:

Ah hah!!! Had I been paying only a smidge more attention, have already pre-ordered Regenesis ... as is, I see a trip to my local shop coming up shortly...

#258 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 10:28 AM:

In August 1914 the Army told my grandfather he was unfit for military service. So he went back the next day, dodged the medical, and joined-up anyway.

His Military Medal was gazetted in early 1919--you can find Charlie Bell of the Lincolnshire Regiment on The London Gazette website.

I do my best, but it's a hard act to follow.

#259 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Xopher, if you can get a bus into downtown LA, there's a farmers market (with hot and cold food stands too) in front of the Central Library, every Wednesday.

(I actually have Wednesday off this week, but there's a display of maps at the library I want to see. Need to check their hours.)

#260 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Xopher -

Glad to hear your dad's doing better, and hope you're enjoying the grey and rainy weather that passes for winter around her.

In case you haven't been acquainted with LAs myriad and obscure public transit options, here are a couple of resources:

Big Blue Bus

This is a Culver City/Santa Monica bus system. I haven't used it, but it looks like it covers some routes that the patchwork of the MTA doesn't.

Speaking of which:

MTA


This website is actually pretty helpful, and includes advice on point-to-point transport as well as general route maps. If you can get to Union Station ("downtown" LA) you can take the Gold Line (light rail) to Pasadena. The MTA also runs buses all around Pasadena.

#261 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 01:43 PM:

http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2008/3320

The suspicious, disturbing death of election rigger Michael Connell
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
December 20, 2008

Michael Connell, the crucial techno-lynch pin in the theft of the 2004 election, and much more, is dead at the age of 45. His unnatural, suspicious death raises serious questions about the corruption of the American electoral process that now may never be answered.

He was a prime suspect in all those disappeared e-mails, along with vote-flipping the vote in 2004 in Ohio, and much, much more--he seems to have been a virulent religious fanatic, on the Rove team out of religious anti-abortion zealotry..., He was supposed to testify this morning.... Reputedly he had been threatened by Karl Rove regarding revealing information....

#262 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Thanks for the sympathy, everyone.

I'm glad to hear about your father, Xopher. Nonpancreatic cancer still bites, but it's better than pancreatic.

I drove home in ill-advised weather, some of it two-lane, and kept thinking, "If I freeze to death, I'm going to have to write a note first saying I'm sorry Making Light you may mock me now." But my car stayed on the road, I called 911 for a flipped pickup even though I felt like I'd get in trouble*, and my side of the road wasn't the one covered in drifts, so yay.


*mental shorthand, I'm not sure for what

#263 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Paula Lieberman @261: If this were scripted, it would turn out that the plane crash and his 'death' was a cover to throw off his pursuers and ensure his full cooperation, to be followed by a new identity in the Witness Protection Program. Alas.

#264 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Tuesday I leave hospital and move to De Lacy House in Winterton for a form of convalescent care. Availability of Net access is unknown to me, as yet.

I am not dead yet

#265 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 07:07 PM:

Dave Bell @179:
Best wishes for a speedy & full recovery.
And sympathies too to Diatryma & Xopher. I'm still trying to catch up* on all sorts of stuff.

*Speaking of which and apropos Open Thread, it turns out that 2008 will be a Leap Second year.

#266 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Today's NY Times science section (OK, mock me for reading it!) has an article about Obama's energy adviser Dr. Steven Chu that was interesting for several reasons. First, he has a lab in my old homeplace Emeryville CA -- I lived there 17 years, but left before the lab was established in '05. And one of the things the place is investigating, despite underfunding for the topic, is artificial photosynthesis. In the Capra movie I watched last week, "You Can't Take it With You"*, Jimmy Stewart had plans to do research into "what makes the grass green" until his mega-mogul dad talked him out of it. That could have led to photosynthesis studies, eventually.

*For those who haven't seen it, an entertaining flick. Jean Arthur lives in a motley household where her father and another guy build fireworks, with the help of a pet raven, and everyone can break out dancing.

#267 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2008, 11:27 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher, #239: My local independent station was signed up with a package of LT and MM's which had some large gaps in it so there are a bunch I've never seen--and based on Ted Turner's reaction when he saw Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips I doubt I'll ever see them now.

A lot of Warner Brothers cartoons have been released on DVD in the six-part Looney Tunes Golden Collection series, including many that WB can't or won't show on TV for various reasons--wartime themes, character designs so old they're now off-model, general datedness, and in some cases mild but still unpleasant racism. The DVDs started warning viewers about the latter with volume three.

was there ever a cartoon that established who was faster, Speedy Gonzales or the Road Runner?

During Warner Brothers animation's declining years the studio released a short called "The Wild Chase" in which Speedy raced the Road Runner while Sylvester and the Coyote tried to catch them. We never find out who's faster. In places the short recycled animation from older Road Runner cartoons; the rest is dispiritingly bad. It's on volume four of the Golden Collection DVDs. I recommend watching it with Paul Dini's commentary--he eventually gets bored and starts imagining the dialogue between Sylvester and the Coyote, and it's funnier than anything in the actual cartoon.

#268 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 01:48 AM:

Xopher

Yay! I'm rooting for more good news.

Dave Bell

Keep us informed as best you can; it's always nice to hear good news of someone convalescing, rather than bad news of someone going the other way.

#269 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 10:23 AM:

In a NYT review of My Vocabulary Made Me Do This, a collection of poetry by Bay Area poet Jack Spicer, the reviewer notes that he "roomed in the same Berkeley boarding house with a young Philip K. Dick" back in the 1940s.

Spicer was remembered in the Bay Area at least long enough for me to have heard of him a few years after he died, and the snippets of poetry in the review are interesting. I wonder if he and young PKD interacted in any way.

#270 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 11:33 AM:

SeanH - 249 -
As you know, Jim #245: the kebab, in its extremely greasy, with-fries, from-a-suspicious-late-night-outlet-or-god-help-you-a-van form, traditionally holds the place in English culture of the inadvisable food consumed in the wee hours when the principle demand of one's alcohol-ruined mortal coil is for trans fats.

Here in Rochester, we call that a Garbage Plate, or "street meat" (the van form). Less useful for the purposes of compassing - but for a large portion of the year, you don't want to be wandering around downtown randomly anyways, because by the time you figure out where you're going, you're a frozen corpsicle...

(There are various places you can get kebabs in Rochester, but nothing like a British kebab shop. There might be a couple of street meat vendors that sell kebabs - I'm not sure, to be honest).

#271 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 03:58 PM:

SeanH @249 and Scott @270: Around here, that would be the taco wagon, aka "roach coach". You don't see anything but Tex-Mex being sold from a mobile vehicle in this part of the country. They're very popular as lunch sources around construction sites, or in areas with lots of small retail businesses.

#272 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 04:19 PM:

#271
One of my aunts sold breakfast tacos from her vehicle for a couple of years, to make ends meet. (Ingredients I recall: sausage, eggs, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes.) She'd get up early, make a batch, and take them to a few construction sites in an insulated chest. (Some of the crews wouldn't eat anyone else's, and even chased off some other vendors.)

#273 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Lee #271:

Here in Austin is a large construction zone (not one individual site, but dozens) involving six builders. On some weekdays, it's an absolute cacophony of competing roach coach horns, as they cruise the streets, not only at lunch, but at morning and afternoon coffee breaks. (Possibly early supper as well.) I've also seen there a chap with an ice cream cart, hauling cold or frozen snacks along the alleyways. I can't find the picture I took to get what the cart said, but it was definitely Hispanic-targeted.

#274 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 05:04 PM:

Hawai'i has lunch wagons. The staple is a plate lunch (meat, two scoops rice, scoop macaroni salad, possibly greens as a sop to healthy eating).

#275 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 06:20 PM:

Linkmeister @ 274:

Also kimchee, or at least they offered it when I lived there in '76 and '77. I learned to enjoy it then, but now, I don't think I could tolerate it.

#276 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 06:33 PM:

glinda, the key word is "offered." It's not an automatic item on the plate at most sites. From my point of view, that's good; I have never acquired a taste for kimchee (or poi, or taro, or lomi lomi salmon, or. . .)

#277 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 06:48 PM:

The taco trucks around here actually sell some of the best Mexican food. Better than the cheese-drenched stuff you get at chain restaurants for sure, and cheaper by far.

#278 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 09:14 PM:

Oh, we have lunch wagons as well, although they are primarily found at worksites, rather than on the city streets (the city won't license them for food service inside city boundaries, other than at construction sites - only the small trailer versions can be licensed as street vendors).

Most of the lunch wagons around here aren't that big - they're usually based on a pickup truck frame, with food in a cab on the back - some of them have a grill on one side, others appear to just carry pre-made stuff, kept warm (or cold) in insulated containers, and dispensed by the driver. Unlike the larger ones (or the trailers), the cook/driver usually works outside the cab - the side panels lift up to provide a little protection from the rain, but winters have got to be pretty miserable. (One exception to the "usually smaller" schtick - Nick Tahous has a roach coach built on an towed RV frame that is monstrous - it's almost a rolling Tahous, only no seating).

#279 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 09:26 PM:

Oh, and I would love to see Hawai'ian style lunch trucks around here - especially, say, an ex-pat Philadelphian doing up proper cheesesteaks...

(There is one place in the city that does up proper cheesesteaks, Philly-style, to a level where a friend of mine (from there), doesn't complain about them. It is, of course, on the other side of the city from me...).

#280 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2008, 09:51 PM:

When I was machining we set our breaks by the truck. When we moved they couldn't get to us at the same time, so breafast moved 20 minutes later.

Lunch was still at the same time. I guess we were good business.

#281 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2008, 01:22 AM:

In DC, for years there's been just fake half-smokes and hot dogs, so DC has been changing some of the rules to bring other cuisines in to street carts. Washpost article. Here in Manassas, I see the Hispanics coming home with their lunch trucks.

#283 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2008, 09:01 PM:

Consulting the MLES (Making Light Expert System):

I have noticed an increasingly common use of 'self-depreciating'* which I always thought should self-deprecating', as in ' self-deprecating humour'. Which should it be?

*There's a joke about the credit crunch in here somewhere.

#284 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2008, 09:03 PM:

...which I always thought should be 'self-deprecating'...

#285 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Soon Lee, self-deprecating is correct. I think people are thinking of "appreciate" and saying to themselves "the converse should be depreciate."

#286 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 02:35 AM:

There are a lot of immobile trailers in Portland that dispense lunches of various derivations. There's one parking lot on 10th Avenue, I think, that rents out space to a few of them; they're all lined up in a row next to the sidewalk. One's Mexican, another's Thai, and a couple are strange fusion mixtures. I wonder that they can hold up against the competition; two blocks away is a block of restaurants most of which feature a cheap buffet lunch, one Indian (very good), one Persian (also very good), one Lebanese (extremely good), and a pretty good tacqueria around the corner.

#287 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 02:40 AM:

Linkmeister, #285: And so it is, if you're talking about "appreciate" in the financial sense rather than the courteous. People are being tripped up here by the word having more than one common usage.

#288 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 04:40 AM:

This is not connected to anything that came before, as nearly as I know. :)

When one spells out a word with diactrical marks, how should one refer to them? I mean things like "u with a circumflex" or "o with an umlaut". Is there a standard for such things?

#289 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 09:16 AM:

I've always either pronounced them like that, or u-circumflex, e-acute, and so on. Or gone on to the end and then 'there's an acute on the the second e'. On the other hand, I've at least as often heard them referred to by description or nickname - "you know, that little pointy thing" or "those dots". Referring to the cedilla as a Sinclair may have been a purely local habit.

In Welsh, the circumflex is referred to as to bach (little roof) - a very common mistake amongst Welsh learners is to call it ty bach, which translates as "little house", and means "toilet". In a similar vein, "I" and "i" are usually spelled out as "ee-dot", to avoid confusion with the English "E". Analogous to "i grec" in French I suppose.

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 09:43 AM:

Drat. I wanted to go see "Milk" today. Instead, I've been volunteered to go see "Valkyrie" with my father-in-law while the girls go on their own cinematic explorations.

#291 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Those who dislike Eric Schwartz's song Me 'n' Jenny and the Lovely Marilu will probably also fail to appreciate John Hall's parody of it.

#292 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 10:28 AM:

R.I.P. Eartha Kitt. With "Santa Baby" still playing on the radio. :-(

#293 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 11:42 AM:

Lila @ 292 -
R.I.P. Eartha Kitt. With "Santa Baby" still playing on the radio. :-(

yeah.

:-( :-( :-(

#294 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Holiday binding notes:

I received a Dover copy of Manly* Banister's The Craft of Bookbinding for Christmas. The text† actually suggests Dover as a good source of books for rebinding. Further, the back cover copy proclaims,

A DOVER EDITION DESIGNED FOR YEARS OF USE!

We have made every effort to make this the best book possible. Our paper is opaque, with minimal show-through; it will not discolor or become brittle with age. Pages are bound in signatures, in the method traditionally used for the best books, and will not drop out. Books open flat for easy reference. The binding will not crack or split. This is a permanent book.

Except...this book is perfect‡ bound! There are no signatures. It does not lay flat. There's no point in rebinding it.

Oops. At least the paper is reasonable.

My partner received an actual sewn book: Mark Ronan's Symmetry and the Monster, from Oxford University Press. Six signatures with actual thread at the bottom. Of course, it's printed on almost-newsprint which was bound cross-grain.

sigh.

--
* The photography doesn't do the author's name justice.
† Dated 1975 and not originally published by Dover, who picked it up in 1993.
‡ See Abi's excellent overview for examples of common binding types.

#295 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 02:49 PM:

And for Christmas, the Foglios show us the pure essence of comedy yet again....

#296 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Ralph @294:

The Craft of Bookbinding was one of my first binding books; more than any other, it got me into craft and fine binding.

My copy is also perfect bound, which is vexing.

Trivia point: Unless there were two Manly Miles Banisters born in 1914, our guy was also a minor speculative fiction writer in the 1940's, 50's and 60's.

#297 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 04:12 PM:

abi @ 296: Binding, fiction, and lycanthropy. Neat!

It does seem like a good book. I've never really read anything; almost all I know is from classes, but I recognize a lot of the forms. Some things are jarring, like the offhand comment about most commercial books not being rebindable because the margins are so small one can't trim it much after resewing. Taking classes from a conservator trained half a century later, one of the first things I learned is that anything old enough to rebind is old enough to respect as an historical object, along with much grumbling at the damage done by 19th century binders casually taking 5 mm off some centuries-old book, sometimes several times through the years.

#298 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 04:59 PM:

Manly Bannister: I also recognize that name from a book I had once called The Practical Encyclopedia of Crafts, as creator of many of the works of art therein shown.

#299 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2008, 10:41 PM:

This Open Thread is kinda old, but here's a link to what I did on my Christmas vacation: The Great Guánica Accidental Off-Trail Trek of 2008. I'm still healing, but it was a great hike.

#300 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 06:07 AM:

Michael, #299, what a story! I'm glad the damage is minor, considering the possibilities.

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 08:45 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 299... Glad you made it back.

#302 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 08:49 AM:

David Harmon @ 295.... I especially liked the following exchange ealier this week,

"Ah - you dance divinely... Such a pity my dear brother can't take a turn."
"Oh, he doesn't dance?"
"The poor fellow has two right feet."
"Don't you mean two left feet?"
"Oh, no... After the accident, we had to use what we had."

#303 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 10:23 AM:

The damage doesn't feel so minor, today, Marilee. I itch!!! (My hate for urushiol burns with the heat of a thousand suns. Especially stealth urushiol from plants that shouldn't even have it. Mangoes are a great example of that.)

But yeah, it coulda been worse. In the end, we had a nice little adventure that compressed all the stress and fear of a major trip into four hours' time. It's a great way to bleed off the wanderlust until we have some more stability and money.

#304 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 02:52 PM:

Michael, have you ever been to the Na Pali coast on Kauai? It also has knife-edged features.

And I'm glad you got out in time; when we lived at Roosevelt Roads my family wasn't as adventurous as yours.

#305 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 04:23 PM:

Linkmeister - yeah, it looks a little like that, except on a scale of centimeters instead of hectometers. Those rocks look smooth at the human scale, at least in the (beautiful) pictures.

As to adventurosity -- we're not actually as adventurous as all that. But since we decided, after a disastrous series of decisions between 2002 and about 2006, to stay put in one place in the world until we're solvent, we've been sort of chafing. We haven't left the island in a year now and it's like coiling a spring. Combine that with the fact that staying put really has begun to make us solvent, and it's damned hard not to pack up and fly.

I'm miserable today, but dermatitis heals. A good story like this one is food for the soul, though. It's what life is. This last year has been very ... mundane.

#306 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 06:39 PM:

Except for the whole "living in the tropics" aspect, of course.

#307 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 09:02 PM:

Samuel Huntington has died. He died on Xmas Eve, but the announcement was only made today.

#308 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2008, 10:14 PM:

Runty little hamster may make Guinness World Records for the smallest hamster.

#309 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2008, 12:39 AM:

Michael Roberts, Linkmeister, et al. Mr. Banister also comments that leather bound books should lot be taken to tropical climes, for it greatly shortens their span. Can it be true?

They laughed at me. Said a library couldn't be built on the atoll. But I showed them. I showed them! I was triumphant. My temple to knowledge was a wonder of the world! Until the hurricane came. Now it's gone. My dream is broken and the sea, the sea is taking it back.

#310 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2008, 01:15 AM:

Leather was not a luxury in the tropics--leather furniture was shipped from factories in Massachusetts to South Vietnam during a certain "police action" decades ago, because the leather was the only fabric that would stand up to the climate and abuse.

(Source--the factory owner talking to my father--the shipment was in a warehouse there waiting to be delivered to based, and the factory got blown up.... meaning the factory then received a replacement order....)

Perhaps the glue used was breaking down in the leather-bound books, but it shouldn't have been the leather.

#311 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2008, 01:27 AM:

I would have thought the problem with leather in the tropics was mildew. Perhaps the furniture was treated to resist it in a way not known earlier.

#312 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2008, 01:28 AM:

#303 Michael

From the WWII official government issue songbook my father had, which I should have swiped when I had the chance...

"Wrap both your elbows up around your neck
And scratch, scratch scratch
Don't stop a second if you do by heck
Your troubles start to hatch
What's the use of all those sulfa salves
They never were worth much,
So wrap both your elbows up around your neck
And scratch, scratch, scratch!"

#313 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2008, 03:52 AM:

The block in Portland with all the food carts that Bruce Cohen mentioned at #286 was featured in the final episode of this year's "Amazing Race". The poor teams got a clue that they were to go to the "Alder street pod" (maybe it was "Alder cart pod"), and the strangers on the sidewalk that they asked all managed to think of this clump of food carts and give them directions. The teams had to find the Russian food cart to get their next clue. They then stood on the sidewalk yelling "does anyone know what 'the magic is in the hole means?'" This was instantly recognized as Voodoo Donuts, of course.

I think it is the biggest clump of food carts in Portland (though I've never heard it called a pod). There are at least a dozen carts arranged on all 4 sides of a surface parking lot. The Sugar Cube has excellent deserts -- it was written up in The Oregonian recently. I think the coffee and tea cart was voted best chai in Portland. There are the usual burritos, bento boxes, falafel sandwiches, salad rolls, etc. The Whole Bowl rice-and-beans+ is both tasty and healthy.

The Western Culinary Institute is across the street, so between classes there's usually a large clump of young people in chef's jackets and black and white checked pants slouched against the wall smoking cigarettes -- a sort of culinary gang ambiance that amuses me.

#314 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2008, 12:39 PM:

I'm in grouchy crone mode today; people are being very stupid and I don't want to talk to any more of them.

Item 1: the few driveways and private road access points which have been cleared were done so under the misapprehension that making mounds of snow across the intersecting sidewalks is a simply grand plan. This is bad enough where there's safe ways to go around, but in Lakewood yesterday people were being forced to walk in the street after leaving buses on a busy 35mph arterial.

Item 2: at my house, a certain young man (who has personally witnessed the ice that stays on our driveway long after it has thawed elsewhere starting with the time in kindergarten when he slid all the way down on his back) tried to drive the F-250 up the hill and fetched up in the briar patch.

Item 3: Forget the WASL or SAT. When I am God-Queen of Everything nobody gets out of high-school without being able to demonstrate proficiency with a shovel, hammer, screw-driver, crescent wrench and possibly a power drill, and a clear ability to identify circumstances where immediate muscular effort is vastly superior to waiting for the government to take action (see sidewalks and driveways, above).

#315 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2008, 01:38 PM:

janetl @ 313

a sort of culinary gang ambiance that amuses me.

"Warrrriiiiors ... come out and coo-oook!"

#317 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 10:08 AM:

JESR @ 314... I for one welcome our God-Queen of Everything.

#318 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 10:54 AM:

janetl @ 313: a sort of culinary gang ambiance that amuses me

Chef Side Story?

When you're a Chef,
You're a Chef all the way
From the first dish you wash
To your final soufflé ...

Right. "Food fight!"

#319 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 11:30 AM:

JESR @ 314

Item 1A: This city seems to think it's OK to have streets that don't have any sidewalk, AND to plow those streets so the bike lines and verges are completely covered with snow, forcing pedestrians, and especially pedestrians with dogs on leash, to walk in the road. This is especially nasty where the roads curve and turn a lot, and commuters come around the curves at speed.

#320 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 12:21 PM:

Invoking open-threadedness ... has anyone else noticed the the Acura ad this season that features an assortment of little kids joyfully playing with their new toys, and the very last kid in the red cape and goggles? Cute.

#321 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Speaking of open threadiness: anyone know where I can get a feather wig? I want something with black feathers, in the feather equivalent of a pixie cut.

I could make one of my own I guess, but it'd be a pain in the neck sewing all those feathers down and I wouldn't do as good a job as someone who does it all the time.

#322 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 02:49 PM:

Bruce @319, we Suburban Americans are victims of a theory of land development prevalent from the end of WW2 on which held that windy streets with no sidewalks and lots of confusing courts, drives, and cul-de-sacs (culs des sac?) would make drivers go more slowly and keep the streets safe for children. Not so much, but we're stuck with the physical expression of the intellectual error. This is often compounded by the Kemper Freeman Doctrine, which states that pedestrians and transit usesr are, on the whole, people without sufficient income to afford the houses and retail products the People Like Us deserve, and need, therefore, to be discouraged at all turns.

Snow just makes the resulting inhumane landscape more unforgiving.

I wish I could find a study I read a few years ago about emergency response times in subdivisions of different designs; I know that a particular old single-entrance loop subdivision near me has a sort of dead-zone in the middle where houses burn down because trucks cannot get in quickly enough to save them.

#323 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 04:16 PM:

JESR @ 322... Ah, the days of yore, when I lived in the countryside, on what was the busiest road of said countryside.... Going to the matinee movies during winters meant, for this then 10-year-old, a 1.5 walk with cars zooming extremely right by. I'm amazed that my parents let me do it. Of course, if they had not, I'd have been prevented from admiring such works of Cinéma as Italy's Zorro vs Maciste.

#324 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 04:17 PM:

re 322: There was a definite shift in suburban thinking around 1967 which made driving/plowing much more hostile. Older subdivisions are much more connected and therefore are easy to run a plow around. The penalty for this, such as it is, is that they are also easier to drive through; so newer stuff tends to have low connectivity and lots of dead ends. (My neighborhood is old and dead-end-y, but in its case the excuse is that there's precious little land to begin with.)

Fast forward another decade, and keeping people from driving through starts to become an obsession. The root cause is that builders would throw a development up around older existing roads, the latter providing the connectivity to allow the wagons to get to market; but once the developers get through with them, they are now residential streets. Thus began the battles between the people trying to get around and the people trying to keep the traffic away from their driveways. It didn't help that as a rule those roads were never ever improved, even though the traffic on them was going to rise anyway because of the residents. So now we have all these through roads covered with speed bumps and other "traffic-calming" devices, to try to keep the commuters more annoyed than they would be stuck in traffic on the "main" roads. There's a particularly obnoxious example I traverse every day because there's a middle school off a side street connecting to one of these roads, so that the kids have to go over a couple of speed bumps in a bus no matter which way they come from. (My kids could walk except that the two neighborhoods don't connect (to keep people from driving through, of course).) The fire departments hate all this.

#325 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 04:23 PM:

I'm having a cranky post-Christmas, so I'd like to point out to the Darwin fish particle that it's not the shape of the emblem on your car that is the problem, but rather that there's an emblem the car besides the one the manufacturer put there.

#326 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 08:21 PM:

JESR @ 322

All true, but I don't live in the suburbs; I'm quite comfortably (by about 3 miles) inside the city limits of Portland. None of the older subdivisions on the west side of the city, most of which were incorporated 60 or 70 years ago, have sidewalks. I think it was a gift to the developers so they wouldn't have to spend extra money, and so the roads didn't have to be as wide, especially here in the hills.

#327 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 08:50 PM:

C. Wingate @325:

Why does the manufacturer get a pass? Surely, if your vehicle is going to have an emblem, the choice should be yours, not the manufacturer's. (I recognize that some people want their car to proclaim the maker; others want their cars to proclaim Darwin, sushi, or their favorite sports team.)

#328 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 09:06 PM:

Vicki @ 327: The car's maker or the owner's Maker.

#329 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 10:06 PM:

Serge @323: Going to the matinee movies during winters meant, for this then 10-year-old, a 1.5 walk with cars zooming extremely right by. I'm amazed that my parents let me do it.

I was bicycling today along a busy street through the center of the city, and thought of Hemmingway running with the bulls. What, he could do that maybe once a year at best? (10-year-old Serge out-machos Hemmingway).

#330 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 11:07 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 329...

Hey! Hey! Hey, hey, hey!
Macho, macho man (macho man)
I've got to be, a macho man
Macho, macho man
I've got to be a macho! Ow....

#331 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 11:33 PM:

Popping in from visiting family to ask a quick question:

When I'm at home, on my own computer, I can click on any of the comments in the left hand column, and only the link to that comment will change color. It will also land me on that comment in the comment thread, and again, only the link to that comment will change color. I can see what I've read, and where I am in any given thread, by finding the most recent comment with a different colored link.

Whenever I come to Making Light on a different computer, be it a public one at the libary, my computer at work, or one at a friend's or relative's house, this doesn't work. As soon as I click on a comment in the left margin, all the links to comments in that thread, both in the left margin and in the thread, change color, and continue to change into the future. I.e., when I come back tomorrow, all subsequent links to comments in this thread will have changed color.

Why is this? What am I doing wrong? How can I fix this?

Or am I the only one?

#332 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 11:42 PM:

Juli: I don't know. That's how my machine works (and when I get to the end of a thread and hit the permalink, it records the same way; which is how I keep track of how far I've been in a thread).

#333 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Carrie S, #321, I'm finding either feather wigs or pixie cut wigs. Here's a wig you could probably cut down.

#334 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 01:57 AM:

C. Wingate, #325: Could you unpack that a bit more, please? I don't understand what it is that you're seeing as a problem. I thought the point of the Darwin-fish particle was to be amused at the extent to which they've proliferated.

#335 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 02:27 AM:

Juli: It's a mystery to me, because I never have any idea where I am in a thread just by looking, I have to try to remember the number, or keep scanning back until I hit a familiar message.

On another, unrelated note, why o why do I pile up books under and next to my bed? Why don't I remember how much I hate rummaging under the dusty bed to to get them and put them away. I must have dug out a hundred books and herded them back to their shelves.

#336 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 03:47 AM:

By the prancing of feet on my roof, it -could- be a dozen-or-so reindeer, rather than an equally implausible number of procyon lotor.

Then again, given the weather, I'm wondering if they've mutated, and developed suckers on their paws, to keep them on the roof in the first place...

#337 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 04:01 AM:

I'm having a difficult time imagining a punishment severe enough to redress injustices spawned by people who file frivolous patent violation lawsuits.

#338 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 04:23 AM:

Juli Thompson @ 331:

"When I'm at home, on my own computer, I can click on any of the comments in the left hand column, and only the link to that comment will change color. It will also land me on that comment in the comment thread, and again, only the link to that comment will change color. I can see what I've read, and where I am in any given thread, by finding the most recent comment with a different colored link."

That's exactly what I see when visiting ML via my laptop, which runs Windows Vista (Home Premium edition).

"Whenever I come to Making Light on a different computer, be it a public one at the libary, my computer at work, or one at a friend's or relative's house, this doesn't work. As soon as I click on a comment in the left margin, all the links to comments in that thread, both in the left margin and in the thread, change color, and continue to change into the future. I.e., when I come back tomorrow, all subsequent links to comments in this thread will have changed color."

Which is what I see on my home desktop system, which runs Windows XP.

My suspicion is that the difference is an artifact of the way each version of the Windows OS (or its included version of IE) handles this type of page view (at least, with the default settings). I also expect that several of the folks here know considerably more about the details than I do . . . and far more than either of us would be likely to learn by consulting any of the MS help functions, in any of the applications involved.

#339 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 05:53 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 318... I thought those were lyrics from West Side Entrée.

#340 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 06:28 AM:

In case you're interested, tonight Turner Classic Movies is showing 1958's From the Earth to the Moon. It is extremely freely adapted from Jules Verne's novel, but it's interesting in a cheesy kind of way. It has Joseph Cotten as the inventor whom General Grant begs to destroy all knowledge of his atomic explosive. Instead he decides to use it to propel a rocket to the Moon, where he plans to more safely test the whole thing.

#341 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 08:32 AM:

Serge @ 340 -

I remember that one. It also used the music -- well, the "electronic tonalities" -- from Forbidden Planet.

#342 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 08:49 AM:

Marilee: I hadn't thought of cutting it down, that's definitely an idea.

What mystifies me is that none of the costume shops in my area carry feather wigs.

#343 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 08:58 AM:

Steve C @ 340... You noticed that too, eh? That makes for a rather disjointed viewing experience, but we do get George Sanders saying:

"What have I wrought?"

That being said, and in spite of the dismal SFX, it was more entertaining than 2008's TV remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth. Rather symptomatic is a scene in the latter where Rick Schroeder, playing the James Mason role, sees dinosaurs for the first time ever, and they're flying ones at that. His only reaction is to casually observe that some people have proposed that birds descended from dinosaurs. Too bad Gertrude the duck wasn't among the cast of that version, which should have been titled Boring to the Center of the Earth.

#344 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 10:04 AM:

339: No, it's the culinary remake of "Guys and Dolls", in which Sky Masterson plays seven-card stud for a fortune in properly aged beef.
Yes, it's high steaks poker.

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 10:22 AM:

ajay @ 344... Coming soon, Guys and Rolls?

#346 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Serge @ 345: Not to be mistaken for Guy and the Valley of the Dolls?

#347 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 11:08 AM:

re 334: What I'm saying is that there is something ironic/perverse/annoying about responding to a plethora of smug/annoying/snide fish stickers with even more of the same thing, just from some imagined other side. But then, I am born out of some ultra-WASP strain where the only bumper stickers that ever appeared on my parent's cars were college parking lot tags and "No To Marriott Proposal". If children should be seen and not heard, cars should be seen and not read.

#348 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 11:14 AM:

re 337: How about suing their lawyers for barratry?

#349 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 11:14 AM:

Juli Thompson (331): Theory: the other computers are have Internet Explorer, and at home you're using some other browser. All the versions of IE I've seen have that undesirable behavior.

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 01:06 PM:

Ginger @ 346... Maybe it's just me, but Guy and the Valley of the Dolls sounds like a set piece from Russ Meyer - the Musical.

#351 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Terry, Leroy and flowery tops, thanks for replying.

Mary Aileen, I think you are on the right track! Thanks.

#352 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Another datum on comment link colours —
Work machine: Windows 2000-based, Internet Explorer (with finely-honed IT defence staff & programs), all links to a visited thread change;
Home machine: Old PowerPC Apple Mac running OS X 10.4.x using either Safari or Firefox, colour changes only on clicked comments in visited thread.

Like others, I click on the last comment I read in a thread so I can start from there next time.

#354 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 08:41 PM:

Bill Higgins -- Beam Jockey #353: I wonder what Sam Vimes would make of that.

I note, by the bye, that Sir Ian McKellen has been made a Companion of Honour.

#355 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 09:56 PM:

Bill Higgins @#353: I liked the crack: "...there's been at least four people promoted as 'new Terry Pratchetts' so for all I know I may not even still be me."

That wouldn't be a Sam Vimes line, but I can easily see some of the Discworlders being concerned about that... never mind the Alzheimer's, being used as an eponym calls for an "AIN'T DEAD YET" sign right there!

#356 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2008, 10:17 PM:

Something besides the title keeping PTerry (PSirTerry? SirPTerry?) & such warm these nights – Ecco Pratchgan!
Which includes the motto “I Aten't Dead”. (Knitting is involved: Flickr pictures.)

#357 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 12:12 AM:

Tonight's episode of Leverage makes me think there's an SF person working on that show. At some point, the computer genius of Timothy Hutton's team of crimefighters has been hiding in a van for hours as part of a stakeout and he gripes that the only internet connection he could get is so bad that it took him 2 hours to download the latest episode of Doctor Who.

#358 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 12:32 AM:

C. Wingate #348: re 337: How about suing their lawyers for barratry?

I would prefer that all patent attorneys be immediately disbarred subject to recertification by the EFF: if said attorneys cannot demonstrate that they can adequately emulate the presence of a conscience (sufficient to allow them to make the informed choice to resign when told to defend a frivolous patent), then their disbarment would be permanent.

Given sufficient attoseconds of omnipotence, fixing the problem of patent trolls would make it on to my "to do" list.

#359 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 12:49 AM:

Serge @ #357:

That would be John Rogers, proprietor of Kung Fu Monkey.

#360 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 01:03 AM:

JBWoodford @ 359... Thanks for the link. Heheheh.

#361 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 03:55 AM:

I like the current top of the sidelights: "Who started it? - The Astroland shrine".

#362 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 05:25 AM:

A while ago there was a discussion about humor, and I gave some of my personal thoughts and theories about it. I've just posted quite a long thing about them to my LJ. Just a pointer in case anyone is interested.

#363 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 08:38 AM:

I just made a call to Georgia Power with a question about my bill, and the first thing I got was a recorded voice. The system they have is the sophisticated kind, where she says, "If you have questions about billing, say 'billing'," and then responds to what you say.

The reason I am mentioning it is because she has a southern accent. Not a heavy one, not an intrusive one, but a very very slight one. At first she sounds completely neutral and professional, and then one or two of her syllables ping my "accent" meter. It's nearly subliminal, and to my southern ear it makes her sound warm and friendly, which makes me think it must have been done on purpose. For some reason, I find the whole thing, including the notion that it is on purpose,* utterly delightful.

*Which is a bit odd. Normally I'd feel manipulated. I suspect I don't because they did such a good job of it.

#364 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 08:50 AM:

RM Koske:

Could they just have chosen the person to do the original voice recordings based on her having a pleasant accent?

#365 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 09:51 AM:

Remember that today marks the beginning of the SciFi Channel's traditional Twilight Zone marathon of the New Year. I am quite happy to see that today's schedule includes one of the show's sweetest episodes, One for the Angels.

Lewis J. Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: Pitchman. Formerly a fixture of the summer, formerly a rather minor component to a hot July. But throughout his life, a man beloved by the children, and therefore a most important man. Couldn't happen, you say? Probably not in most places, but it did happen in the Twilight Zone.
#366 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 09:53 AM:

#364, albatross -

Oh, certainly. But it seems to me that it is a very specific and uncommon level of accent, and if they did that, they might have had to be looking for one like it. Pleasant and neutrally professional is (I would expect) easy to find and common. Pleasant with a heavier accent is probably also common here. But this bare tinge of southerness is so subtle and perfect I feel like it has to be a deliberate choice on someone's part. Perhaps the actress chose it for the tryout and they picked her, but I just can't imagine she doesn't have control over how much accent she uses.

It may very well be that I speak to folks who do the same all the time and I don't notice because I expect an accent (unlike on an automated system) or maybe the people for whom this is a natural level of accent "turn it up" when I'm around because they can hear *my* accent. But I don't register speaking to people with an accent that subtle normally. Combine that with it being Georgia Power, whose tagline is "A Southern Company," and it just looks deliberate to me.

#367 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 09:57 AM:

R.M. Koske, #363: My guess is that, since they are in Georgia, they wanted someone who would sound professional without sounding completely alien to their customer base.

#368 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 10:02 AM:

#353, #354: I expect a Discworld mention of yesterday's other Anhk-Morpork honoree, Robert of the Vegetation ...

#369 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 11:00 AM:

Just for a minor update, my dad was sniping at my mother continually when I left, which means pretty much back to his usual self. He was also sitting up and eating, though not as much as usual, and walking back and forth with no help. I didn't notice any remaining yellow in his eyes or skin.

It turned out that the mechanical effects of the tumor were causing his immediate decline; they just had to stent some ducts ("Why is it always DUCTS?!"), and he began to recover immediately. What he lacks right now is hope. We're trying to convince him that the data don't justify his level of pessimism, which is the only argument that carries any weight with him.

#370 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 11:11 AM:

Question for the writers here. I'm exploring the possibility of writing a non-fiction compendium of tips, hints, and hacks for amateur astronomers. I'd like to solicit these from amateur observers, and offer them the glory of acknowledgement (if they wish) but no other compensation.

Would I need to develop any kind of release form for the contributors, or would a simple paragraph in the reply to the contribution be sufficient?

After I get enough contributions to develop a proposal, I'd query a few publishers of general astronomy books (like Sky Publishing Corp or Willman-Bell) to see if the idea would fly.

Thoughts? Thanks!

#371 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 11:23 AM:

Xopher: needs more duct tape?

Please forgive me if I sound too flippant; I'm trying for "mild clowning to relieve stress."

#372 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Rikibeth, if I weren't in the same mode, I wouldn't have quoted Galaxy Quest.

#373 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 11:47 AM:

Vicki (327), "the manufacturers get a pass" for putting emblems on cars because they should be allowed to sign their work. If somebody really does not want the Chrysler name or corporate symbol on their car, I think it's really problematic for that person to be buying a Chrysler in the first place.

Problematic things *happen* of course. Back in the 1970s, I heard stories of autoworkers who bought Japanese cars because they were cheaper, and removed or concealed the makers' marks so their co-workers would not give them a hard time for being disloyal to the company. A "hard time" could be on the order of vandalizing the car or arranging for the person to be first in line for the next of many rounds of layoffs, so the incentives were pretty pressing.

I think the main problem with little aftermarket metal emblems happens with a situation like putting something that looks like a Chrysler emblem on a Toyota. (A couple of the emblems at the particle looked like the Chrysler star, from a distance.) I suspect that's the sort of thing comment 324 referred to. I don't think it's a problem with stickers, or aftermarket metal emblems that look nothing like any car emblems.

#374 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 12:42 PM:

Emblems and such:

There's the OEM situation--Original Equipment Manufacturer, a term which can mean different almost contradictory things. There's the OEM which actually manufactures the product, there's the OEM who distributes suchs products, there's the term "OEM" used as an adjective to designated products made by usually completely unknown to the general public manufacturers (or if known, not known for making "relabeled" products)....

Anyway, Factory A manufactures products, Companies B, C, and D have contracts from Factory A's corporate owner AA which state that AA will provide Company B with X number of products labelled with Company B's brand names, Company C with Y number of products labelled with Company C brand names, and Company D with Z number of products labelled with Company D labels. The products may all have come off the same production line, and have mostly cosmetic differences, be sold through different channels, and have vastly different pricing.

And if the plant is in China, there there maybe be additional production of the same product line, often with the labels from the customers (Companies B, C, and/or D) applied, above and beyond the production commissioned by and delivered to Companies B, C, and D.... or, there is a fourth set of labels applied, with names very similiar to those of Companies B, C, and D.... "counterfeit" or "fake" goods in the sense that they got produced without the direction and permission of the brand name owners, in the same factory as the "legitimate" merchandise, but otherwise identical or nearly identical....

Then there are situations such as with the "Macintosh Toaster" -- long ago a company I can't think of the name of (NewTek--the name emerged from the neural net), came out with a product called "the Video Toaster" (the name started out as a joke, because the company let it be known that it was working on something that it expected would have a major effect making "desktop video" production affordable and available to home computer users. It used the term "video toaster" as a joke about what it was developing. Ultimately that became the official name of the product.

Anyway, the Video Toaster consisted of an Amiga 2000 personal computer with a couple dedicated boards from NewTek packaged up inside the computer and software that allowed the Video Toaster to do live video titling and superimposition of computer graphics ontop of a video signal--something that at the time was revolutionary for capability and price and compactness. The Video Toaster features also included advanced for the time graphics software including a paint program.

The Macintosh community in particular at the time was very jealous, and wanted the features and functionality to work on their Macintoshes. The Video Toaster, however, depended upon the Amiga system features and functionality and capability, and the Mac OS was not something that was usable as a host. The Mac community though also tended to be rabid about wanting Mac-only "solutions" and the idea of using some other type of computer offended, even incensed, the more voluble members.

What NewTek did, then was to offer a "Mac Video Toaster" which consisted of a Video Toaster box and a cable--the Video Toaster was a relabeled Amiga computer with the Video Toaster board inside, and the name plate reading Mac Video Toaster. It cost quite a more than buying an Amiga, the Video Toaster add-on product, and a cable to connect to a Macintosh... but it preserved the appearance of Macintosh purity....

#375 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 12:44 PM:

On the other hand, seeing a car with a Borg Institute of Technology or What Would Xena/Buffy/Batman Do? window strip always makes my day. As did once seeing a beat-up MGB in Glasgow with a very old Omnia Extares with geoduc Evergreen bumper sticker.

#376 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 01:22 PM:

Serge @357, the mention of Who set my offspring cackling with glee. That show is, in general, a gleeful experience, not least because the people they pull their cons on are all so very in need of a good smiting.

#377 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 01:48 PM:

JESR @ 376... That show is, in general, a gleeful experience

It definitely is. With Leverage having many episodes left, and Fringe about to resume, and The Closer and Burn Notice about to begin their new seasons, I'd say I'm quite happy with what TV has to offer right now. There are also Galactica's final episodes, but I'm not sure where it'll go now that it got you-know-where.

#378 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Serge, let us not forget "Life," for those who like it (and I do) and "Dollhouse" about to start (fingers crossed six ways from Sunday that it has reached some sort of homeostasis of mutually self-cancelling curses). And, for those of us who are Hugh Dillon fans, or Enrico Colantoni fans, or Amy Jo Johnson fans, or get the whole comic-book aesthetic (not to mention the "psychological counselling at gunpoint" thing) of "Flashpoint," it's about to start again, too. Opposite "Dollhouse," which is one of the cursesI hope are mutually self-cancelling.

Oh: and "Chuck" will be opposite "House," so I may now be able to avoid the weekly slog through gross CGI, bad manners and worse medical ethics, since those are two of my husband's choices.

#379 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 02:53 PM:

JESR @ 378... Life is still on? I thought so for some time and found it had been moved from Friday to Wednesday, but I heard it's on its way out.

#380 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 04:18 PM:

Life's been picked up for the rest of the season and will be back in February. There was a lot of Not Getting It involved at Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide, and both of those publications/ websites have been assuming its early death for a season and a half now. Yet, as far as I can tell, it lives. At least until the end of s2. Beyond that, I make no guess. The TV industry, on the whole, is failing to cope with changes in mere reality.

#381 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Do anyone know of a list (however incomplete) of SFF writers who started off as fans? Or, a better set of google-y words to look for such information? I am having no luck at all.

(Hoping that the open thread encompasses such requests.)

#382 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 04:36 PM:

JESR @ 380... I'm glad to hear. By the way, I don't understand why the show felt it necessary to replace Cruz's boss with someone even more nuts than he is. Maybe that's TV's attempt at realism. (Yes, I have a high opinion of my own boss - can you tell?)

#383 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Not to mention my new hot-favorite show, NUMB3RS -- and Eureka, which would be up there with it if we had cable. We're still working our way thru season 2 of the former on DVD, and waiting for season 3 of the latter to become available.

#384 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 04:58 PM:

JESR, #378:...for those of us who are Hugh Dillon fans...

If you are a Hugh Dillon fan, and you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend Hard Core Logo. It's a mockumentary along the lines of This is Spinal Tap, but it's punk instead of metal, and its humour (and ending) is considerably bleaker. As a bonus, it co-stars Callum Keith Rennie, probably best known in these parts as a Cylon.

#385 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 05:05 PM:

Lee #383:

Isn't there supposed to be a second half to Eureka 3? Or am I fantasizing?

(Count me in as a Leverage fan. If you combine Travis McGee, Mission Impossible, and maybe some Modesty Blaise ... I originally went there for Timothy Hutton. I stayed just because.)

#386 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 05:14 PM:

joann (385): I certainly hope so. I'm very fond of Eureka.

#387 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 05:31 PM:

joann @ #385 -- "If you combine Travis McGee, Mission Impossible, and maybe some Modesty Blaise"

Oh, now that's intriguing. I'll have to go look at our cable listings.

#388 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Please change my question at #381: Do anyone know to 'Does anyone know...' (And tell me why don't these things seem half as obvious on preview?)

Lee #383, if you're loving Numb3rs, you might enjoy the vid Math Prof Rock Star

And re #384, I second debcha's rec of Hard Core Logo, but I underline (twice!) her warning. Definitely Bleak! Not to be watched alone while feeling miserable and sad. It's not that sort of weepy.

#389 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 06:23 PM:

debcha, Hard Core Logo came home with my daughter, but we've decided to finish the DVD of "Twitch City" which she gave me for Christmas first; I've been hanging out in the Canadian Six Degrees fandom for so long that I'm aproximately 99.9% spoiled for that film and would rather wait until Christmas is well and truly over. The Hugh Flu is epidemic in due South fandom, which I slid into via the Fourteen Valentines challenge back in early 2007.

I even went so far as to watch the amazingly bad "Murder on Her Mind" which, after several title-changes and recuts, ended up on Lifetime, simply for the Hugh Dillon Callum Keith Rennie casting (as the bad guy and the supportive husband, respectively). I have not, however, gone so far as to take the opportunity to watch "Ginger Snaps Back."

The way people move between media fandoms online fascinates me, even as I am immersed in it. I started out in BtVS and moved to Stargate Atlantis when several members of my flist started writing there; my interest in due South and C6D sprouted from the largely SGA Fourteen Valentines. I read and rec in The Sentinel, too, although I can't remember right now how that came about. (Probably from reading Eliade's archive, though).

#390 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 06:28 PM:

Serge @382, I don't know why there was a cast change with the boss; I missed the end of the first season of Life. Donal Logue's character is, beyond a doubt,seriously nuts; what I like best about the show is how very nuts everyone is.

I wish they'd picked up the pilot before Claudia Black got pregnant and moved bact to Australia, though; she was originally cast as Charlie's wife (there's an unaired pilot with her), and would have had a much larger part in the story as originally written. Would have been interesting to see if she and Damien Lewis could have both stayed on-accent, though.

#391 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Paula Liberman:

As the purchasing agent for the 3rd largest Amiga dealer in the USA (and a major exporter of Amiga hardware and software for the rest of the world) I have to chime in here: the "Video Toaster" cover name had a bunch of tie-ins: the original story that they were developing a co2 laser system to etch logos onto toast for hotels, a follow-up that they were developing a jelly-jet printer for color, and my favorite, the offsite storefront where they did the development work in secrecy: it had an appropriately haz-mat name and in the front window you could see a coatrack with bright yellow haz-mat suits, one of which had a tear in it a foot long with a nearby sign that said "(1) Days Since Last Accident" so they wouldn't get salespeople. NewTek also had the coolest hold music on the planet (God knows I put in hours listening to it) that rotated every week or so, including the full orchestral version of the Johnny Quest theme.

The Macintosh community in particular at the time was very jealous, and wanted the features and functionality to work on their Macintoshes. The Video Toaster, however, depended upon the Amiga system features and functionality and capability, and the Mac OS was not something that was usable as a host.

Ever been threatened with a punch in the mouth because you told someone at a trade show that the Video Toaster you were exhibiting wouldn't plug into a Macintosh II because it didn't have the Amiga Video slot? I have...

#392 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 09:21 PM:

sherrold @ #388, thanks for the video link! I don't watch NUMB3RS regularly but I dip into it every now and then to get my Charlie fix...since I'm still jonesing for Blair Sandburg. *waves sheepishly at JESR*

#393 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 09:31 PM:

Life, oh yes, it's still on, and still doing it. On the other hand, My Own Worst Enemy has been cancelled, just as it was starting to really take off.

But there are other things to celebrate: True Blood, a potential antidote for the "Twilight" that's sweeping through the 'tweens and low 'teens*. And the new season of The Chooser is about to start up. And HBO has stated that In Treatment is coming back, but for some reason they're not promoting it at all.

* Sounds like last week's weather report.

#394 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 10:15 PM:

Lila, the thing is, since only one season of The Sentinel is out on dvd, I mostly know the series from fan fiction. It's one reason I'd never write in that fandom. Not that I'm actually finishing anything in the fandoms I do feel familiar enough with to write in.

#395 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 11:16 PM:

R.M. Koske, #363, I have to call that type of answering machine every now and then and they never understand me. Of course, that might be because I'm saying "Human. I want a human."

#396 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2008, 11:39 PM:

Marilee @ 395: I had one of those robotic machines call me*, and when it refused to understand my request for a human, I hung up on it.

*Thank you, Kaiser, for that little experiment.

#397 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 01:48 AM:

JESR @ 390... Claudia Black in Life? I'd have loved to see that.

#398 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 02:35 AM:

sherrold, #388: Oh, YEAH. *fans self*

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 08:28 AM:

joann @ 385... As far as I know, there is no 2nd half of Eureka's 3rd season in the works. I saw nothing on SciFi's site trumpeting it, nothing obvious anyway. I expect there will be a 4th season though. My favorite line from the 3rd season?

"So. An invisible killer drone."

"Yeah. Keeps getting better."

#400 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 08:42 AM:

I got a laugh out of catching an ad for Clint Eastwood's Gran Torrino yesterday. I mean, there you have his front lawn upon which stand a few young and unproductive members of society, and Clint, pointing a shotgun, tells them "Get off my lawn"

#401 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 10:01 AM:

JESR, you can take comfort that "Cypher" from Season One is about as good as they get. The only one I can think of that comes close is "The Sentinel, by Blair Sandburg" (series finale).

If they can put "Vampire Assassin" on DVD, surely they could spit out Sentinel Seasons 2 and 3.

#402 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 01:45 PM:

JESR (#389): I came by my Hugh Dillon fandom linearly - I was a fan of his punk band The Headstones (people in the audience would throw lit cigarettes at the band, which Dillon would - mostly - catch and smoke), and then Hard Core Logo. Having been out of Canada for some years, I was a little surprised to discover how much his acting star had risen.

Incidentally, if you haven't heard, word on the street is that Bruce MacDonald is making not just one, but three sequels.

#403 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Serge @397, it would have been kind of perfect, wouldn't it?

#404 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 02:30 PM:

debcha, most of the Headstones career matched up with what I was warned would be a period when I'd lose track of pop culture: I had my offspring in 1986 and 1988, and for a long stretch of the next ten years I had no money, no transportation, next to no TV reception, and a husband who was working obscene hours trying to make a living in the Community College system.

I'm hearing a whole lot of rumors about the HCL sequel/s; Daniel MacIvor especially drops random fat hints in his blog. How Dillon and Rennie are going to fit the production into their current schedules is going to be a challenge. Hugh has the lead in two current series- Durham County shoots in Montreal and Flashpoint in Toronto- and CKR is shooting a Battlestar Gallactica movie (or miniseries) and a weird cop show in Vancouver.

#405 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 05:11 PM:

In other news, I'm feeling a little grumpy at the universe for two different reasons. As You Know, Bob, there's a viral marketing campaign being done for the puppet animated movie version of Coraline. Part of it involves 50 different boxes that have been sent to 50 different weblogs to drum up interest in the film. They've been nicely "aged" with stickers and appropriate surface treatment done, and each one has been packed with goodies like original production art, puppet body parts, and so on: the folks at ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive have been keeping track and have photos of most of the 22 that have surfaced. Superpunch has some good shots also. If you look over the list of recipients the common factor seems to involve animation or Neil Gaiman, but at least three of the boxes have been sent to blogs involving knitting. While I know that Making Light isn't ALL about knitting and is probably disqualified for a box, it does make word four in the description--I think that Laika could at least have sent Our Hostess a nice note...

The thing that really annoys me is in one of the posts from a box recipient--we'll skip who. He was sent two arms from one of the characters so he dissected one.

That's right. He dissected it.

One of my degrees is in History. To put it mildly, I have a thing about primary source material. Hacking up one of the parts of the puppets used for shooting is as close to it as you get in puppet animation. And yes, I know they probably made several dozen of each. I still don't like it. (I was also upset at a side mention in Neil Gaiman's Journal some years ago about when he stayed in Jim Henson's old place in London and saw rotting masks from The Dark Crystal setting in display cases, but that's time on thin latex when the house has been closed for years, not an active dissection, so I was less cranky at the time.)

Anyway the website is sensational, the trailers look good, and if you can avoid the occasional thought of Will Vinton (Lakia was created after Phil Knight took over Vinton's studio and forced him out: I've seen one discussion of a semi-yard sale on the grounds after Vinton left which gave me the impression that some of the Noid and California Grapes puppets up with a sales tag on a table) it should be a Good Thing.

#406 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2009, 05:44 PM:

JESR @ 403... Indeed. Like a modern Superman movie that'd star Gregory Peck and Katharine Hepburn as they were in their glory days.

#407 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 12:45 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 405

That's right. He dissected it.

Yuck. There's a sense in which puppets are alive: the puppeteer imbues the puppet with a part of her mind when working the puppet. If you've ever watched a puppeteer take up her Aspect, you know what I mean. And, as much of a materialist as I am, that sight has left me feeling very uneasy about treating a puppet badly.

Lakia was created after Phil Knight took over Vinton's studio and forced him out:

I've been a fan of Vinton and his friends since they started showing their early stuff, like "Closed Monday", here in Portland. What information I could get about what was happening within the studio made me wonder if Knight just wanted the studio because his son was interested in animation, and he could get the kid a job if he owned it. Even if that isn't true, the whole operation of removing Vinton was really slimy. I'll admit that Will Vinton was not a good businessman, but ripping the studio off and not giving him a penny (in fact, making sure he didn't get out with anything by suing him for over a million dollars) was just disgusting.

I was working at Nike when that happened, in the same building where Phil Knight had his office. I used to see Phil on the stairs going to and from lunch; I don't think I've ever seen someone looking so uniformly morose all the time. Maybe he finally saw the extent of his karmic debt; I'd like to think so, anyway.

#408 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 01:40 AM:

Serge, I am sitting here contemplating the levels of WOW present in that idea.

#409 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 05:15 AM:

Ginger, #396, the only recorded calls I get from Kaiser are about my blood pressure. The problem is that they assume that I'm probably not checking it and not taking my pills. I listened and answered most of the way through once and since then have just hung up. I've had hypertension since I had the first renal failure (almost everybody gets hypertension when their kidneys don't work) and it's gradually getting better. I'm down to 30mg lisinopril daily and I started with three BP meds and a diuretic. I take my BP twice a day. Why have they, all of a sudden, decided I need to be interrogated about my blood pressure? I keep meaning to call Customer Service and tell them to cut it out.

#410 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 11:22 AM:

Serge @ 406

With Cary Grant as Perry White and Raymond Massey as the Voice of Jor-El.

#411 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 11:29 AM:

Which reminds me. I watched an episode of Smallville last night, for the first time in 2 or 3 years (the sat dish got knocked out by the tree that fell in the driveway, and we only get onair channels, and Eva's out of town. I needed something to watch while I cuddled with the dogs). Lana Lang and Lex Luthor both written out of the script (on vacation in the Phantom Zone, from what I could gather), and Jimmy Olsen marrying Chloe? About six new continuing characters, none of them in high school or college? What's up with that?

#412 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 01:14 PM:

Open threadiness: Has anyone seen Juan Cole's list of ten big pieces of massively-underreported good news from the Arab and Muslim world? The article is definitely worth reading, IMO; I hadn't known about most of these.

#413 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 410... Cary Grant as Perry White

Perry to Lois:
"Howe does a girl like you get to be a girl like you?"

#414 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 01:28 PM:

JESR @ 408... The closest I ever came to that was in Alex Ross's painted comic-book Kingdom Come, where he had older Bruce Wayne modeled after Peck. In Marvels, he had the original Human Torch modeled after Ron Ely. (And Susan Storm obviously was Donna reed.)

#415 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Sherrold @ 381:

Going by the previously published statements of many well-known SF/F writers, and the personal histories of several whom I have known, I would estimate that a substantial majority were fans (by at least some definitions) before they began selling professionally. This is a pattern that goes back at least to the 1930s (an era of teenage fans like Isaac Asimov, Fred Pohl, and Ray Bradbury), and seems to have continued ever since.

#416 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 02:25 PM:

My local NPR station just said that a noted Science Fiction writer who was born in Russia and came to the US with his family when he was three "is celebrating his birthday today." I knew immediatly who they meant. I think the good doctor would dissapprove of the sloppy writing or lack of fact checking, although the assumption of celebration would, perhaps, amuse him.

#417 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 06:04 PM:

JESR@416

Or maybe someone has discovered how to resurrect people...

:-)

#418 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 06:22 PM:

Or someone could be giving him an Irish wake...though I think he might be looking somewhat the worse for wear at this point.

#419 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 06:57 PM:

JESR @ 416... I guess this explains why he was also called the Good Doctor.

#420 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 08:16 PM:

Has there ever been a more pretentious piece of lyric-writing than Jim Morrison's The End?

I'm listening to the eponymous Doors album for the first time in 30 years (well, technically I'm not; this is the 40th-anniversary remix with three bonus tracks); I'm becoming convinced that the genius in that band was Ray Manzarek.

#421 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 08:32 PM:

Has anyone posted the news that there's a new Roger Zelazny crime novel being published in February?

#422 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 09:47 PM:

Leroy @ 415

Ack. I just reread my post. What I meant to say was...

Does anyone know of a list (however incomplete) of professional SFF writers who started off as fan writers?

And it's taken me three tries now. Communication is hard.

Lila @ 392
(The vid used to end with a little clip comparing Blair and Charlie, but my collaborator didn't think it was funny. I think they were separated at birth.)

#423 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 10:17 PM:

Bruce @407, wait, you're squicked buy a guy taking apart a puppet's arm, but not by the fact that the movie's PR department sent him just a couple of detached arms in the first place?

#424 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 11:07 PM:

Hmmm, he probably shouldn't look at the Furby Autopsy or Furby Gurdy websites either, then.

#425 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2009, 11:58 PM:

Earl at #424 (and Avram, a little)

Furby dissection sites aren't the same; what Bruce is objecting to is the destruction of primary source material, i.e. the puppet. Furbies aren't historically significant.

I myself wonder about whether anyone's tracking provenance. Not a whole lot - but I'm not a movie buff.

#426 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 12:20 AM:

I'm not bothered by extra car emblems/bumper stickers/whatnot, it's something to read at a red light.

But I do wonder about those vehicles with identifiable information stickers - sports, scouting, academics - with the kid's name and the league or school name, even church stickers, sometimes all on the same car. I've seen stickers that represent the family on the cars, too - little silhouettes that tell you gender and relative age. Hello, stalker helper!

(and Happy New Year, Making Lightians)

#427 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 02:07 AM:

Margaret Organ-Kean @ 425...
Furby dissection sites aren't the same; what Bruce is objecting to is the destruction of primary source material, i.e. the puppet. Furbies aren't historically significant.

From what I've read about the boxes, it seems to me as though the folk that sent them out would find dissecting one of the arms somehow apropos to the spirt of creative discovery.

#428 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 08:04 AM:

Margaret Organ-Kean #425: Furbies aren't historically significant.

Umm, I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

#429 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 11:39 AM:

For that matter, if the puppet's dissection was properly documented and recorded, that seems to me a proper examination, or even transformation, of that "primary source material", rather than destruction.

#430 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Avram @ 423

I could try to cover that with bluster about how it goes without saying that I'm squicked by PR departments, but really, I was so bugged by the idea of the dissection that I didn't even think of that. Call me superstitious, it's just that I really do think of puppets as being at least conditionally alive. Oh, not Chucky though. He's just a block of wood.

Margaret Organ-Kean @ 425
Furbies may or may not be historically significant, they're just not living things. I hope. Would you want to live in a world where Furby Liberation was a real and present danger?

#431 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 02:45 PM:

The BBC has just announced the new Doctor Who.

I saw the news and stared at my computer for a moment. Then I heard crickets and a tumbleweed rolled through my living room.

(But what the heck... for all I know he may turn out really, really well.)

#432 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 03:05 PM:

Linkmeister @420, one of my dearest friends insists that LA Woman is a comedy album. Jim Morrison was capable of acts of enormous bombastic meaninglessness, indeed.

We caught a Doors special on one of our local PBS stations sometime before Christmas, where Grace Slick told a story of Manzarik taking the stage and doing the whole show by himself, including vocals, so I expect you're right.

About destruction /transformation/documentation of primary materials: I was taught that every archaeological excavation was an act of destruction, and that care must be taken to preserve either part of the site, or samples of every bit of it, including pit fill and colluvium, so that later researchers could go back to your samples and documents and reexamine them in light of new knowledge. Of course I live amidst utter destruction of every surface where I might excavate, where only actual human bones sticking out of the ground in such number that the site engineer can't bag them and take them to the dump will stop the heavy equipment, and the oldest standing structures of built culture are frequently used for firefighting practice (and the last Nisqually longhouse was probably blown up as an artillary target), so I may be too cynical to discuss muppet arms.

I was also taught to restore artifacts carefully, but to leave the mends obvious so as not to destroy actual wear patterns or counterfit perfect condition; that once led to an interesting conversation with an antique dealer in the seed bead aisle of Shipwreck.

Wesley, my daughter's reaction was "Who?"

I would like to point out, for I appreciate these small meaningless symetries, that the young man is Matt Smith XI on imdb.

#433 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 03:30 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @430: Would you want to live in a world where Furby Liberation was a real and present danger?

It may start as a liberation movement, but where would it lead? (cue 'Terminator' theme music)

#434 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 04:55 PM:

Why am I thinking of Doctor Bob, a quack who has gone to the dogs?

#435 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 04:55 PM:

Presumably the film company has kept a sufficiency of the puppets; expecting J. Random Blogger to be custodians for posterity seems a little... unwise.

#436 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 05:08 PM:

JESr @ #432, "where Grace Slick told a story"

Oh, I wish I'd seen that. When she quit Airplane, she dropped out of public view entirely.

#437 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Is York House Press a legitimate publisher? They've apparently picked up Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived, a Holocaust memoir that was revealed to be a literary hoax and dropped by Penguin Berkley in late December. The York House Web site is not particularly informative.

#438 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2009, 06:51 PM:

Wesley, #431:

Matt Smith does come across as a little young and emo in that interview. On the other hand, both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant were brilliant, so I'm willing to give the production team (even absent Russell T. Davies) the benefit of the doubt until I see Smith in the role.

#439 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 12:14 AM:

The after-market attachments to cars that puzzle me the most are the "In Loving Memory" rear window stickers, showing the message, a name, and usually some dates.

Some friend or family member died, so you publicize the event on your vehicle? Whatver happened to tombstones?

The message I get from too many of those stickers, expecially when they're on a brand-new vehicle, is "My brother died. So I bought a truck!"

#440 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 12:54 AM:

Wesley, #431, he was in the two Philip Pullman mysteries that BBC had and PBS showed. The stories were not that good, but he was a good actor.

#441 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 01:31 AM:

Earl @ 428

Oh, yes, Furbies in general are historically interesting. But not a Furby in particular. The puppet is interesting in the particular, as a unique item.

The Christmas Furbies first came out, my husband and I took one of the local puddle jumpers to see my folks. The stewardess very carefully made sure that we turned off all our electronic gear - and left the Furby on!

I was bemused by her assumption that serious electronics didn't come covered in plush.

#442 ::: Laurel ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 02:34 AM:

Bruce@439, my partner and I have speculated that those "in remembrance" decorations on cars are the modern equivalent of mourning jewelry. Many people today don't wear jewelry at all in a daily setting, but certainly use their cars as the flashy status symbol equivalent. So it seems quite appropriate to me, if one is going in for a public announcement of one's mourning status or a daily reminder.

#443 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 02:54 AM:

#391 Bruce

The Macheads around here were less impolite in their fervor and dedication and religiosity, although many of them were zealots and noxiously evangelizing nonetheless.

(Regarding Commodore and feelings towards Commodore: on the Deathbed Vigil or whatever the title of it was video done by Dave Haynie about the end of Commodore, which video had quite a number of people who had been Commodore employees in it, Jerry Crosson [spelling] who's an SF fan, was about the only one commenting about Commodore's management and such, whose words were relatively mild and could be quoted accurately without getting fined by the FCC if aired on commercial non-cable TV in the USA. Someone's later joke about Commodore was that if Commodore were selling sushi, it would market it as "dead fish."

I do remember was it Siggraph in Boston, the company that eventually changed its name to Elastic Reality had an Amiga and had covered over the name of the computer in its booth. Perry Kivolowitz, was it, was furious at Commodore and deliberately wanted the nameplate not showing.... ironically while his company was involved in the Amiga universe, he was an, er, colorful character. Once it went off to PC land (and Mac land, too? I don't remember if it did Mac stuff too, or not), the colorfulness disappeared and there was no longer any apparently hint that I heard of, of, call it whackiness, on the part of the management....

#444 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 03:06 AM:

#420 Linkmeister

Skimming through various books about Morrison over time, it seems to me that he was a talented and narcissistic jerk....one who didn't even have the sense to have (or keep, perhaps) a reliable "trip sitter," and who was the sort of Sensitive New Age Jerk whose sensitivity seemed to go mostly in one direction. That is, his treatment of others seemed echoed in the comment that Jennifer Aniston made about her ex all these decades later, "He lacks a sensitivity chip" as regards treatment of other people.

#445 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 10:38 AM:

Paula Lieberman, I've long divided the thin-skinned into the sensitive and the touchy: sensitive people perceive other's emotional responses as readily as their own, while touchy people mostly think their personal emotions are the real ones. It's the difference between "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." and "How dare you cry because I ran into you with my car, you're ruining my day!"


#446 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 10:59 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 439: I've never seen one of those. (They may not be common around Ottawa, or it might just be that since I'm usually on foot or on a bike, it's not the kind of detail that I pay a lot of attention to.) My immediate reaction to the image is that either the dear departed is stashed in the trunk, or that that vehicle is what did him/her in.

#447 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 01:31 PM:

Paula @ #444, I may be generalizing too much, but it seems to me that the People-magazine part of the rock press back then was highly impressed that Morrison claimed he was influenced by Rimbaud, a French poet. Not some garden-variety American poet, but an honest-to-goodness furriner.

They made interesting music, but the lyrics weren't as magnificent as we thought they were.

There's an interesting story in the booklet of this CD (the 40th anniversary release): apparently all the previous albums up to this one were flat; the tape they used was running a bit slow. By the time they went back to the masters for this recording (2006) they had gotten a letter from a professor in Utah who concluded that the original 45 of "Light My Fire" was at the proper speed, but the album cuts were just a hair off. They checked, and he was right.

#448 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 05:05 PM:

Linkmeister @ 447

it seems to me that the People-magazine part of the rock press back then was highly impressed that Morrison claimed he was influenced by Rimbaud, a French poet

I got that impression too. And I thought I heard "and *gasp*, Rimbaud was a decadent homosexual, as well!" echoing through the press' comments. But I notice that none of them seemed to remember that Rimbaud eventually stopped writing and became a dealer in coffee and weapons in Ethiopia. I guess that wasn't as romantic as being shot by a homosexual lover in Paris.

#449 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 08:47 PM:

While looking for physical descriptions of jewel cases I ran across a blog that's new to me and found that the blogger had posted Chapter One of a fictional murder mystery entitled Murder in the Hundred-Acre Wood.

That was in November of 2007. There has been no Chapter Two through today's postings. That's unsatisfying.

#450 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 11:32 PM:

Joel, #446, I've seen them in NoVA, and had much the same reaction as Bruce.

#451 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 11:37 PM:

In the category of really neat toys: Plastic Logic E-Book. If I can get hold of one of these when they come out this year (widespread release is due out next year) I will hug it and squeeze it and call it George. I'll test it up, down, and sideways and shout the results from the rooftops. Unfortunately the only pricing that I've heard is "Competitive with the Kindle." I hope they're right: it sounds as if it has all the features I want in an E-Book reader...

#452 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 12:24 AM:

Marilee, Joel, Bruce, re the "In Loving Memory of" decals or whatever they are on vehicles: they are ubiquitous out here in Hawai'i. I'll bet I see three a day, and I don't drive very far.

There's a comedian who drives a truck with an enclosed bed and parks it halfway up my hill. He or she uses white something (Nail polish? Paint? Something removable.) to paint messages on the back of the window of the enclosure. Right now it reads "Where's my bailout?"

#453 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 01:53 AM:

BoingBoing's got an article on the top 500 worst passwords. You might want to change yours if it's on that list.

Unsurprisingly, many of them are rude words, but some are amusing, e.g. "8675309", "ncc1701", "trustno1" & "thx1138" to list a few

#454 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 07:13 AM:

Linkmeister #452: she uses white something (Nail polish? Paint? Something removable.) to paint messages

Corflu, perhaps?

My idea of an "in loving memory of" car would be to buy the car that killed the loved one(s), have it processed by a baling car crusher, put the sticker on the resulting cube and display it as a memorial.

#455 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 09:46 AM:

Soon Lee, #453: Well, I'm pleased to see that I appear to have more imagination than a lot of people; at least I chose fairly obscure SF from which to draw my passwords! OTOH, some of those sequences looked like perfectly acceptable random combinations -- I mean, zxcvbnm? What am I missing here, that enough people would use that to get it into the top 500?

And yes, I'd advise anyone who's using any of those to change it immediately. Now that the list is on BoingBoing, some phisher is bound to make a dictionary-attack script out of it.

#456 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 09:55 AM:

Regarding zxcvbnm: I would guess that you don't look at your keyboard as you type?

#457 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 11:39 AM:

Linkmeister @#449: Time to get your eyeglass prescription checked! :-) It looks to me like he posted that in November of 2008, after rescuing it from his personal archives.

DavidS @#456: Or perhaps he's using a Dvorak keyboard?

#458 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 11:47 AM:

#420: I'm becoming convinced that the genius in [The Doors] was Ray Manzarek.

He wasn't alone. Robbie Krieger wrote all the hit singles.

#459 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 12:40 PM:

I was once asked to sign a paper saying, among other things, that if I didn't agree not to use passwords that were the names of fantasy characters, the company would be in violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley act.

#460 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 12:46 PM:

David Harmon @ #457, Ouch, you're right. Well, good. The more recently published the more likely Chapter Two is to be in the hopper. Who could have killed Owl?

I have no income to offset eyeglasses expense. I'll have to squint better. ;)

#461 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 12:57 PM:

re the Amtrak particle: me and my big mouth

#462 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:01 PM:

O Mighty Fluorosphere, come to my aid!

My nephew¹ was down from West Point² this past weekend, and at one point (sorry) I was teasing him by using the adjective 'Westpunctual' to describe the West Point way of doing things (which, like all institutions with long-standing traditions, is sometimes really smart, sometimes mindbogglingly stupid, sometimes just odd). That got an occasional eyeroll from him, but it isn't really good enough.

What I want is some sort of Latinate or Greek-derived adjective that means "of or pertaining to a western point" to use to tease him some more. I know that 'boreal' means "northern" (as in L 'aurora borealis'), but I'm uncertain of any other directions, and want to make sure this one stands up to rigorous examination (he's taking Chinese, not Latin, but I'm sure he knows someone who is); OTOH, keep in mind I'm using this to tease him, not in an academic paper or anything.

Of course, the more syllables it has, the sillier it will be when I tell him that the proper adjective for "of or pertaining to West Point" is X...to a limit of what I can remember. But then to actually use it a lot might be cumbersome.

Can anyone help? It has to be the sort of thing that a classically-educated English speaker endowed with pedantic whimsy might have employed at Oxford in, say, 1885, but need not, of course, be something they actually did use.

___
¹His mother is part of my family-by-choice, so he's my nephew even though he's not biologically related to me.
²And DAMN does he look spiff in that uniform; he has bright blue eyes, which the blued gray brings out dramatically.

#463 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Xopher #462:

Should probably involve "occidental". Got enough syllables for you?

#464 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Linkmeister at #447:

There's an interesting story in the booklet of this CD (the 40th anniversary release): apparently all the previous albums up to this one were flat; the tape they used was running a bit slow. By the time they went back to the masters for this recording (2006) they had gotten a letter from a professor in Utah who concluded that the original 45 of "Light My Fire" was at the proper speed, but the album cuts were just a hair off. They checked, and he was right.

That is indeed interesting. But "contradicting you, just to be polite," wouldn't a slow master tape sound sharp on proper playback? Do you mean "a bit fast," or do I misunderstand what you're saying?

#465 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:21 PM:

Xopher, something with occidental might do the trick.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occidental

#466 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:25 PM:

Bill, if it was running at the proper speed during the recording, but slow during the transfer, it would be flat.

#467 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Occidentipuntal?

#468 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:45 PM:

Westpointilleux?

#469 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Xopher, #462: That description pretty much sums up 'Cantabrigian' (which I admit to using at every opportunity).

Serge, #468: Shouldn't that be 'Ouestpointilleux'?

#470 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 02:58 PM:

DavidS, #456: *sheepish* Apparently not the bottom row, at least! And that also catches a couple of the others that were puzzling me.

#471 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 03:03 PM:

debcha @ 469... Oui, oui.

#472 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 03:17 PM:

Bill @ #464, from the booklet:

When the album was mixed at Elektra studios in New York, either the 4-track layback recorder was running slow or the stereo 2-track was running fast. In those days we recorded and mixed on Ampex & Scully tape recorders. The tension system was such that when a full reel of tape was on the left side of the recorder, known as the supply side, it would run at something approximating accurate speed. When the situation was reversed, where the large load was on the take-up side, the recorder would slow down because of the mechanical braking system, and this could cause the mix to progressively run slower. So, things could go flat or sharp depending on what part of the tape the mix came from.

Makes sense to me, particularly since I still own an old Teac reel-to-reel which I used to use a lot 30 years ago; I remember speed fluctuations when I used the auto-reverse function on the thing.

#473 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Bah. "either the 4-track playback recorder . . ."

#474 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 03:50 PM:

Thank you, joann, Steve, abi!

Occidentipunctual is pretty good. Did Romans actually use words related to 'occidental' whenever they referred to the direction west?

Linkmeister 473: Yes, a layback recorder would be a blokflöte that can be played from a reclining position.

#475 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Michael Roberts @303: ...In the end, we had a nice little adventure that compressed all the stress and fear of a major trip into four hours' time. It's a great way to bleed off the wanderlust until we have some more stability and money.

"Noting cures camping fever quite like camping." —my mom

#476 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Xopher @ 474: Did Romans actually use words related to 'occidental' whenever they referred to the direction west?

If they did, I'm sure it was purely by occident.

#477 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 04:35 PM:

C. Wingate @#461: Yeah, but as noted at the Particle link, this looks like straight-up police stupidity in any case. Has AMTRAK's publicity department weighed in on the incident?

Also, I'd just like to repost the single besy crack from that thread, ajay @#79:

The US is a nation at war. No - a Nation at War. It is vital to maintain the strength of the National Soul. Photographs of important bits of the nation (sorry, the Nation) steal important bits of the National Soul. Therefore, ban photographs to prevent attacks by foreign witch doctors.

#478 ::: B.Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 04:36 PM:

But how else could they orient themselves?

#479 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 04:37 PM:

Xopher @ #474, you sent me to Google, which sent me to a dictionary:

flute Synonyms
flute

n.

pipe, piccolo, whistle, woodwind, wind instrument, fife, tube, panpipe, recorder, fipple flute, Blokflöte (German), flageolet, transverse flute, direct flute, flûte-à-bec (French), German flute; see also musical instrument.

fipple? That may be today's new favorite word! ;)

#480 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 04:40 PM:

The Connemara Gaeltacht west of Galway is a coastal strip of land where the Irish language clung on longer than anywhere nearby. Connemara Irish is recognized as one of the three dialects of surviving Irish, along with Munster and Ulster Irish.

In the Connemara Gaeltacht, the main road runs East-West, and the houses were all built facing south towards the sea. This was so much the norm, and the area so cut-off from other Irish speaking areas, that the local term for the front door is "doras theas", and for back door, "doras thuaidh", meaning South door and North door.

"I didn't see your father come in."

"He came in by the North door".

#481 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 04:46 PM:

Niall @480:

That reminds me of the Dutch word for "countryside": platteland.

The language is so tied to the geography that the idea that the countryside could have hills, or the house a back door on another side, is inexpressible.

Neat.

#482 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 05:09 PM:

B.Loppe @ 478... I guess the thread had to en-compass puns. I'm not to blame this time.

#483 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 05:20 PM:

Serge @482:
I'm not to blame this time.

I'm sure you'll add your own t-West to the proceedings; it's the East you can do.

No, really, I'm not needling you.

#484 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 05:24 PM:

Linkmeister @452: "In Loving Memory of" decals:

ObRef: Frozen Dead Guy Days, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_Dead_Guy_Day

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 05:30 PM:

Abi @ 483... At least I haven't been accused of committing a cardinal sin.

#486 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 05:31 PM:

Xopher @462: Not strickly Latinate, but how about "Occidental Periodicity"?

#487 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 05:49 PM:

There is a book called "The False Flat: Why Dutch Design is so Good" or something like that.

#488 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 07:05 PM:

debcha 469: That description pretty much sums up 'Cantabrigian' (which I admit to using at every opportunity).

I see no sense in denying that you are a classically-educated English speaker endowed with pedantic whimsy. Not that you did; I mean I can well believe it.

(There but for the lack of a classical education go I. Dammit.)

#489 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 07:20 PM:

I'm not classically-educated either, Xopher (quite the converse, really) and I sadly recognize that I score much higher on 'pedantic' than on 'whimsy.'

This discussion reminds me of Glenn Seaborg et alii, making new elements at UC Berkeley's cyclotron in the early 1950s. The took flak for naming elements 'californium' and 'berkelium' - "what's next, 'universitium' and 'ofium'?"

#490 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 07:31 PM:

#489: "ofium"
Positive ions get parsed as nouns,
negative ions get parsed as past participles (e.g. "sodium chloride") and some positive ions are parsed as adjectives, (e.g. mercuric, mercurous)
What would the valence of a preposition be?

#491 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 07:46 PM:

abi #481: There's a novel of Cees Noteboom's (wonderful surname, that) with the English title In the Dutch Mountains (the original Dutch title is the far more prosaic In Nederland).

#492 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 433 writes: "It may start as a liberation movement, but where would it lead?"

I can answer that. Behold: FURBY MILITARY ACADEMIES: The Sovereign Republic Of Mapulto.

p.s. Yes, you can blame the Drieux for me finding that.

#493 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 09:32 PM:

j h woodyatt @ #492, Jeepers! The FTX I went through for the US Navy wasn't nearly as harrowing as that the poor little Furby suffered!

#494 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 11:09 PM:

sherrold: can you be even more precise -- what type of fannish writing? e.g.

  • faanish: many of the original giants, e.g. Pohl, Kornbluth, and most of the other Futurians (but not Asimov IIRC); Bob Tucker;
  • sercon: Jack Chalker at least;
  • ]slash[: IIRC Barbara Hambly (who even sold one of them, Ishmael);
  • other: Jo Walton did filksongs (IIRC there was a collection published when she was Minicon FGoH (2001?)), Barrayaran Shakespeare, and I don't know what else, in the years leading up to and/or shortly after her first pro sales

The Particle on Kidd's house brings to mind James White's "The Exorcists of IF". (If you Google this, \don't/ pick the only hit -- it appears to be some "helpful" malware. If you're feeling flush, order The White Papers from NESFA; otherwise, one of the NHs might know where it's online.) Which in turn reminds me that I completely missed

  • the other side of the pond: James White and Bob Shaw kept on writing faanishly long after they were selling -- BoSh's "Serious Science Talks" are especially worth reading;
  • related genres -- Lee Hoffman sold a little SF some years after folding Quandry but was an award-winning Western writer.

These are just the people I'm relatively sure of; e.g., the White piece mentions Ken Bulmer, but it's not clear he wrote fannishly.

#495 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 11:49 PM:

open-threadiness:

This piece struck me as having some really important things to say about the economic stimulus package everyone seems sure is the Thing To Do right now. I'm not sure he's right, but the last couple years have blown the hell out of my confidence in the status-quo among the financial and economic elites. This was linked from Naked Capitalism, one of the two sites (the other is Felix Salmon's site) that seem to me to be doing a really great job covering what's going on in the financial world for non-finance-people like me.

#496 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:25 AM:

Soon Lee, #453, when I made edresses for the board members of the little charity I'm with, I made them make much better passwords. I had some argument, and had to edit and enforce one, but I figure it's good policy.

Identify book time. A friend's dentist wants the name of a book where a dentist travels through space helping aliens with their teeth. He insists it isn't by James White.

#497 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 01:18 AM:

Marilee writes:

A friend's dentist wants the name of a book where a dentist travels through space helping aliens with their teeth. He insists it isn't by James White.

Prostho Plus, by Piers Anthony. Unless there are two space-dentist books.

#498 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 01:21 AM:

re: Marilee, #496

Identify book time. A friend's dentist wants the name of a book where a dentist travels through space helping aliens with their teeth. He insists it isn't by James White.

It's Prostho Plus, by Piers Anthony. Not so heavy-handed as to be unamusing.

#499 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 03:05 AM:

Xopher@462: "occidens" is from a verb meaning "cut down", ruin, or "fall", and here refers to the setting of the sun. Lewis and Short give several examples of it used as "west".

If you'd like some Greek, I suggest "Hesperiakrios". (I think Greek is more musical than Latin.)

CHip@494: Jo's Minicon chapbook was entitled "Muses and Lurkers", and it was mostly poetry rather than filk. Really the only filk in it is "The Lurkers Support Me in Email" (which of course has a deserved immortality).

#500 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 03:05 AM:

Any chance we could give the punning a west? East making me disoriented, all that russian around in different directions.

Re:passwords
They have to be easy for me to remember but not easily guessable by others, preferrably including numbers & letters to be less susceptible to dictionary attacks. There appear to be more Van Halen (ou812) than Yes (90125) fans.

#501 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 07:20 AM:

albatross @ 495

I think there are a lot of interesting points in that analysis, but I'm not sure I buy all his conclusions. For one thing, I think his arguments depend too heavily on foreign investors and financial managers being "rational actors", and not enough on the effect of politics and ideology outside the US.

Paul Krugman responds to that article.

#502 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 09:09 AM:

Soon Lee #500: You're right, those puns will boreal of us to tears in no time.

#503 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 10:39 AM:

albatross @495, Bruce Cohen @501, one of the things I'm more worried about at the moment is that they might both be partly right- that the world's economy at the moment might be the equivalent of a patient in a very critical state for whom the best, and perhaps only, chance to get through is a treatment that is pretty dangerous itself.

And now Krugman worries that the doctors might risk the patient's life by being way too cautious with the treatment.

#504 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:22 AM:

462 et al: it's perhaps worth noting that while 'borealis' was often used to mean just 'northern', its basic meaning was 'of the north wind'. The straightforward word for 'northern' was 'septentrionalis'. Likewise with south; 'meridionialis' relates to the direction, 'australis' to the wind. Presumably the wind words were used a lot because they were shorter.

#505 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:29 AM:

albatross @495: re: economy.

So, has anyone done an in-depth study of economics based on ecological and/or thermodynamic principles?

#506 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:43 AM:

David 499: I don't know enough about Greek to know if 'Hesperiakrios' is an adjective, or if it means "of or pertaining to a western point" or just "western." Could you clarify? If I refer to "hesperacrian rules" (deriving a more English-looking word from the Greek source) does that mean the rules of West Point?

Andrew 504: Wow. Cool. So 'Aurora Borealis' actually means "Dawn of the North Wind"? That's even cooler!

Do you know the basic word for west? I completely forgot that I know the name of the West Wind, which is Zephyrus (I've stood in the west of a circle and asked that one to "blow Love to us"¹ many, many times). Did they use that wind name similarly? (And also I learned that the name of the South Wind was Notus...any idea where that might have come from?)

___
¹In case you're curious, the other ones are:
(N) Boreas—Strength
(E) Eurus—Mind (Wombat version: "Eurus! Dude! Blow our minds, man.")
(S) Notus—Will

#507 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:47 AM:

Tch. Many previews, many edits, touchups over and over, and I still missed the fact that I should have derived the English word as 'hesperiacrian'. The fact that it's probably wrong anyway does not console me, oddly enough.

#508 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:57 AM:

Headline from this morning's Oregonian:

Child will undergo third eye surgery

No mention of possible spiritual side-effects.

#509 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:00 PM:

Can I come here and freak out about the Live Journal news before I go to the hard work of backing up four years of posts?


#510 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:06 PM:

I learned that the name of the South Wind was Notus...any idea where that might have come from?

ANCIENT GREEK: In the North, the home of Boreas, you will find our cousins, the warlike Macedonians. In the West, where Zephyrus dwells, our allies of Syracuse. In the East, whence blows the wind Eurus, the great Greek cities of Halicarnassus, Priene and Ephesus.

SLIGHTLY LESS ANCIENT GREEK: So, who's in the South?

ANCIENT GREEK: Dunno. Not us.

#511 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:09 PM:

ajay! Your agonizer please!

#512 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:14 PM:

#509, JESR -

Yeek!

I found a program a kerfuffle or two ago* that seems to do LJ backups pretty painlessly. Let me check that it really is doing what it is supposed to be and what the name of it is, and I'll post back here tonight, if you're interested. (And if you *are* interested and I don't post back, please nag me at my email. I get distracted and lose things sometimes.)

It's a mark of how seldom I post to mine and how few people I really interact with personally that I'm less worried about where I'll go and more worried about whether my various fandoms will scatter to places that are less RSS-friendly. I track nearly all of my fannish life through bloglines now, but it is based in LJ.

*The second or third time I thought I was annoyed enough to abandon LJ and then didn't. Also known as "last summer, sometime."

#513 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:17 PM:

*finishes agonizing ajay*

Thus always to people who think of really great puns before I do.

#514 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:25 PM:

R.M.Koske @512, thtanks, but my flist is full of people who know about backup, as is this post at Fandom Lounge on Journalfen. I've just been dilatory in backing things up, which is remarkably stupid of me since my live journal contains the only remaining copy of a ton of stuff otherwise entirely lost or sitting on the hard drive of an ancient iMac with a dead power supply.

Of course the other problem is that I have five years worth of fic recommendations on the S3 message board which run about 50%-90% LJ links (I try to add links to non-LJ archives as soon as they are available), and I have no idea at all how that would be fixable, if at all.

#515 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:51 PM:

xopher@506; west is occidentalis, east orientalis. I've never seen zephyralis.

It's clear, by the way, that some of these wind names are Greek in origin; this is especially obvious with Zephyrus, since neither z nor y is native to Latin. The north and south winds had alternative names, Aquilo and Auster, which do look like native Latin to me; I don't know of alternative names for the east and west winds.

#516 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 12:59 PM:

#514, JESR -

Heh, I got my backup program from recs from my flist. Glad to know that's covered. The trouble fixing the recs and links...ugh. Good luck.

I wonder if online fandom is going to make a deliberate effort to decentralize? I know many people maintain journals in multiple non-LJ places just on the basis of some of the troubles there in the past.

It will be interesting, to say the least.

#517 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 01:02 PM:

RM Koske @ 512... Would you mind writing to me about backups? I'd hate losing my LJ writing.

#518 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 01:09 PM:

#517, Serge -

Soitenly. Like I said, I have to confirm that it is doing something useful (it was SO quick and easy, I'm not sure I trust it) and find out the name of the darn thing, so it won't be until tonight, and JESR may have better info, but I'll share what I know.

#519 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 01:14 PM:

RM Koske @518, that's the thing about LJ which I think people who don't use the site don't understand: the friends list is an infinitely useful thing, where you can ask a question about pretty much anything on earth and someone will either know the answer or at least have a link to a reference where the answer will be found.

It's not a "social networking" or "blogging" site, though, at least not in the strictest of terms. It's always functioned as a story circle for me, like the online equivalent of sitting in a circle of lawn chairs under the big oak tree at my cousin-up-the-hill's house on the 4th of July and telling linked stories about Stupid Ways We've Almost Died or Devious and Determined Dogs I've Owned. Sometimes the stories are about What I Think Happened to Angelus in 1867 but right now, on my friends list, we're sharing The Day My Mother Died and Surviving a Loved One's Suicide stories.

#520 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 01:16 PM:

RM Koske @ 518... My many thanks!

#521 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 01:37 PM:

Serge, I'll get a list of links made soon. I'm reading several threads on my flist right now, and will extract info and post it in a short while (being that I am now awake enough to take on my first major chore for the day, which is giving myself a haircut) but there seems to be different courses for PC and Mac.


#522 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 02:17 PM:

JESR @509, that's, err, a bit as if there was suddenly a report that, say, telephones or vacuum cleaners might be abolished tomorrow. I haven't posted anything to LJ aside from a few comments, but I've lurked on all kinds of Livejournals for years, so the tone of the article was almost as much of a shock to me as the content- talking about LJ as if it was something very strange and pretty shady.

Why is it that newspaper articles on things about which I know more than the average person so often seem stranger or dumber to me than newspaper articles on things about which I don't know more than the average person?

#523 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 02:40 PM:

And on an entirely different topic of Making Light:

http://www.freakingnews.com/Light-Bulb-Pictures---1655.asp

#524 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 03:02 PM:

In re "West", I recently realized (after digging heavily into the Horatio Hornblower novels) that the island known in English as "Ushant" probably had some other French name that was more meaningful. It turns out that yes, in its native tongue the island is Ouessant, obvious derived from "ouest", or in English, West. I assume that Ouessant would be roughly something like "Westerly" or "in the West".

#525 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 03:55 PM:

Ajay, #510:

FTW.

#526 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 04:10 PM:

Raphael @522, yes, the cluelessness about what LiveJournal is & has been was not just a shock, but worrying. If that's what people think of it, losing it wouldn't seem to matter much to them, e.g., 'AvisLagit', who'd cheerfully burn the Library of Congress if hir business meetings were awkward there.

Losing my connection to Bellatrys or Jo Walton, say, would be pretty devastating – the world would lose great work too – and what on earth would happen to Lioness' livelihood? Mine is a mirror of my main blog, so it'd be sad, but minor, to lose the 3 or 4 comments ever made.

#527 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 04:23 PM:

There is such a nice community that has gathered on my LJ flist -- it won't be easy to re-instate it. Also it was so easy to meet new people who aren't part of the same old same old, and who often were from other parts of the world. The privacy filters are also a marvelous feature.

I have no idea where I'd go if LJ tanks.

I have another blog, and it's fine -- and I often cross post between the two -- and I've backed up the LJ 'memories.' But the dynamic of that other blog is very different.

Love, C.

#528 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 04:52 PM:

Raphael @522- I guess my reaction to it is predicated upon my experience of having various AOL forums in which I'd been an active participant and found RL friends shot out from under me by reorganizations, changes in moderation, and, finally, a complete shut-down of that side of their business. I don't trust the people who own the servers and design the software to behave as if the humans who use their product have any interest in the matter.

Sorry for the lack of linking; I've gotten sidetracked into various 3D activities and am now at the latest time to go check pregnant cows. I was hoping it would stop raining first, but the best I've gotten is that Western Washington specialty, floating cold wet. I'll make a run at it whan I come back in.

#529 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 06:07 PM:

Re: LiveJournal, this is one of the bigger reasons I don't trust social networking sites, or webmail and other web applications.

Even if the founders see the importance of the site, they can be bought out at any time, and the new owners come with no guarantee of competence, let alone dedication to their users.

#530 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 06:27 PM:

Given the importance of LJ to fandom (and vice versa) and given that I see various people are busily backing their stuff up with the presumed intention of moving operations elsewhere if required, the one thing that hasn't been addressed is where they would do so, and how we find would them when they did. I'm not suggesting that anyone host a new site or anything like that, but it *would* be good to have a centralized place to go to see where individual people might have moved to--sort of a clearinghouse? Would it be out of line to suggest a thread here dedicated to that, should it become necessary? People should be able to post under their LJ names so as to continue confidentiality, if required.

#531 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 06:29 PM:

Live Journal back-up sites:

Windows although possibly also OS-X (This list thanks to Liz Marcs)

LJ Archive, searchable database http://sourceforge.net/projects/ljarchive/

LJ's own "Export Journal" http://www.livejournal.com/export.bml

LJ Sec allows you to load your journal to any clone, like GJ or JF or IJ http://www.mp3vcr.com/ljsec/

OS-X, Linux

Antennapedia's Journal Migration Tool http://antennapedia.livejournal.com/266462.html

There's also something called "LJ Book" which has been down all day, and which also produces a PDF of one's journal. I have a particular opinion about PDF format, closely resembling my particular opinion about having blazing bamboo under my fingernails, and have therefore not included it.

I managed to choose the point of the day when floating cold wet was replaced by windblown curtains of sleet to go out and check my cows. Also, what is it with my brother-in-law that he refuses to feed the cattle in the lee of the hill? (She wanders off, ranting about people who make things harder than they need to be, dammit).

#532 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Constance @527, yes. Exactly that.

Thus far it all seems somewhat 'Death of LJ predicted. Film at 11.' so I'm not planning on flouncing off to one of the clones or any of the myriad lesser webloggy-things.

I have taken a backup, mind.

#533 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 06:36 PM:

Regarding LJ backups, I can't speak about anything except linux, but I've found two good ones.

LogJam is available through Adept in Ubuntu and may be packaged with other distros. It accomidates multiple accounts and you can back up your journal (but not comments) via Journal -> Synchronise offline copy and I liked the easy browsing via Journal -> Load offline copy. It's mainly for posting and has a simple and clean gui interface.

But as that didn't collect comments, I ended up using a python script: ljdump. I listed my multiple accounts in the setup script, ran it in a shell and it collected everything. This requires python to be installed, but will run on any computer that runs python.

Having lived through the dissolution of GEnie, I think the thing that disturbed me the most was that I hadn't thought about backing up my ljs before this.

#534 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 06:58 PM:

Re Lj. For those who want to do back-up of their journal, Lj book is the one I use. It converts your LJ (with or without images; at any privacy level you like, handy when printing it out for one's kids, or parents) to a .pdf.

The only drawback is that most people tend to not think of it until something like this comes up, and then the site is hammered and it can take a while to get a node. But a few uses of the back button and you are in like Flynn.

Xopher: If you want to be russianate, you can go with zapadnie poonktish

#535 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 07:14 PM:

joann #530:

There's an interesting problem in stuff like Facebook, Myspace, and LJ, where the value of the service is built around the community that's grown there. Because the physical instance of that community is owned by someone, perhaps someone who has little regard for the community that lives there, and quite possibly someone who doesn't even know it exists. It's pretty common to see that kind of service sold to someone who either runs it into the ground out of ignorance, or who buys it with the intention of quickly raising money from it at the cost of ultimately wrecking it.

This seems like a job for a mutual association or foundation or something, though I'm sure that's just trading one set of bad possible outcomes for another.

#536 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 08:06 PM:

My two cents on backing up LJ, as promised -

The backup program that I couldn't remember was LJ Archive, linked in #531. It will snag all text and links, but it does not snag images. It is VERY quick on my (rather sparse) five year catalog - I can't see any time elapsing between start and finish.

It does grab comments, though I don't have any where it goes more than three or four to a thread, so capture of intense conversations should be confirmed before you trust it.

You can have it export as HTML ("HTML Journal Writer." Other choices are "MIDI writer" and "XML writer.") in one large file, by year, by month, or by entry.

The HTML includes all links and the images will appear if you have an internet connection because it fetches the images from where ever LJ has them stored. To catch all the images *too*, I plan to save as HTML, open it in my browser, then do a "save as webpage, complete" which will give me a folder full of images for each html document.

For a frequently-updated journal, that would be Way Too Much Trouble, but for mine it will work out fine.

#537 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 08:27 PM:

I'm not sure this was as clear as I would have liked:

You can have it export as HTML...in one large file, by year, by month, or by entry.

You can have it export in one large file, or by year, by month, or by entry. There are four choices in that list.

#538 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 08:31 PM:

New topic for here:

Has any of you noticed commercial advertising appearing on the sides of school buses?

I just noticed it for the first time yesterday, on a Paradise Valley District school bus. Checking their website, apparently they've been doing this for several years, and yesterday was just the first time I was in the right place at the right time to see one of the ads.

I find this disturbing and *wrong*. Yes, it apparently generates some extra income for the school district. But I think that says that they're not getting enough money from traditional (legislative) sources, rather than that soliciting advertising is a right and proper way to go.

#539 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 08:52 PM:

Xopher @513: "Thus always to people who think of really great puns before I do."

In that case, ignore my post at 476; it's no good anyway.

Off to back up my LJ because even without any implosion, it's still a good idea to back up regularly.

#540 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Bruce Arthur @ 538

But I think that says that they're not getting enough money from traditional (legislative) sources,

That ship sailed here in the Western US 30 years ago, beginning with Proposition 13 in California in 1978. I'm not sure that it can be turned around now; it seems to be runnning on the average citizen's unwillingness to pay for the education of anyone else's kids. Or their own, for that matter.

I'm not happy about some of the things school districts have to do just to have an operating budget, let alone fix anything that's broken, but you have to give them credit for trying to keep the schools open somehow.

#541 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 09:30 PM:

Constance@527:

What have you used for backing up your LJ "memories?" I'm thinking I might just do text files of them all, in the next, um... I've got free time on Friday, but I'm sure I'll be crashed from doing things too many days in a row. *wry* And over 100 posts flagged as such in the 7 1/2 years I've been on LJ...

(I've just made a .txt file of all my user info - interests, friends, communities, RSS feeds; I have no idea how I'd re-find many of the friends, but a list of names is a place to start, y'know?)

#542 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 09:41 PM:

RM Koske @ 536... So, saving in HTML would allow me to save photos? That's good, because I'd hate having the "making light and faces" gallery disappear.

#543 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Re: Backups of LiveJournal.

LJ's own backup option only allows extracting one month's worth of entries per go, and sans comments.

LJ Archive works well for me, also downloads comments and is open source.

Haven't tried other options.

#544 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 10:20 PM:

*agonizes Ginger*

#545 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:05 PM:

O Encyclopedia Fluorospherica, I need advice.

I downloaded LJ Archive and ran it against my journal, and merely looking at the first few entries is enough to demonstrate that it didn't get all of them -- not even all the public ones. And yet the number of entries it says are in my archive and the number on my userinfo page are the same. There doesn't seem to be anything in the way of a user manual. Meep?

#546 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:25 PM:

Lee, you should be able to get technical support from the LJArchive Sourceforge community.

#547 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2009, 11:32 PM:

Bill, #498 and hedgehog, #499, thanks! I emailed it to her.

#548 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 05:34 AM:

Xopher@506: "hesperos" is west, "akra" means point (as in cape or headland), and "-ios" is an adjectivizing suffix. I see nothing wrong with "hesperiacrian". It's a little silly, but then that was the idea.

#549 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 08:40 AM:

Little Brother hits Montgomery County, MD:

More Speed Cam Follies

A local group which claims to be disrupting the new "speed cam" laws is at it again, while the a prominent member of the state bar association says he's troubled that a local attorney is representing the group that calls itself "Liberty Underground."

(from the Montgomery Sentinel website)

#550 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 08:49 AM:

#542, Serge -

I managed to save my photos by using LJ archive to save it in HTML, then opening the saved HTML file and doing a "save as webpage, complete" from within my browser. I don't have any kind of gallery in LJ, and I have no idea if LJ Archive will work well for that. Test it extensively, by which I mean save it, then make sure you know where the photos are saved at. It shows the photos even if it doesn't save them as long as it has access to the original cache of the webpage. (Apparently. I disconnected my internet connection and managed to break some picture links, but not others, and I could not find anywhere it had saved any picture links, which made me highly paranoid.)

I'm a bit doubtful that LJ Archive will work well for the gallery, because the gallery contains thumbnail links to larger versions of the images, yes? (It is blocked at work, dammit, so I don't remember to go there when you add new folks.) I wouldn't expect my technique (outlined above) to collect the large images, only the small thumbnails. LJ Archive might have a gallery function that will do the job nicely, but I can't recall because I didn't need it.

#551 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 09:22 AM:

RM Koske @ 550... Thanks. Regarding the galleries, I'm planning to also save each full-size photo manually. That should be interesting, considering how many of them there are. But I got to do what I got to do.

#552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 09:23 AM:

Singer-songwriter-musician S.J. Tucker, aka Skinny White Chick, is being hospitalized and could use some financial support. You can help by going to her site or here.

#553 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 10:15 AM:

Bruce Cohen @540 Bruce Arthur @ 538

But I think that says that they're not getting enough money from traditional (legislative) sources,

That ship sailed here in the Western US 30 years ago, beginning with Proposition 13 in California in 1978. I'm not sure that it can be turned around now; it seems to be runnning on the average citizen's unwillingness to pay for the education of anyone else's kids. Or their own, for that matter.

I'm not happy about some of the things school districts have to do just to have an operating budget, let alone fix anything that's broken, but you have to give them credit for trying to keep the schools open somehow.

Seems to be one example of local and state governments in the US being unwilling or politically unable to raise enough tax money to keep their operations going, with predictable results for the state of basic infrastructure. Damn, I can't stand anti-tax populism. At any given time, it is one of the things that might theoretically end up destroying civilisation.

#554 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 11:02 AM:

Raphael #553:

Are school budgets actually going down relative to inflation? My impression is that they've gone up in most places.

Similarly, have total tax receipts in most states and counties and cities gone down over time? It looks to me like what happens in municipal budgets, at least where I have lived, is a cycle like this:

a. Good economic times come, retail sales go up (boosting sales tax revenue) and real-estate prices go up (boosting property tax revenue).

b. The local and state governments see this extra revenue, and (perhaps after putting a bit into some kind of rainy-day fund) find ways to spend their newfound wealth. They build new roads and public buildings, they give employees a raise, they build some monuments to the governor/mayor/county supervisor, they hire new staff, they start new programs. All of those require some ongoing maintenance costs, especially the big capital expenses which they finance with bonds which were issued on the assumption of high future tax revenues. Most of them have constituencies that will fight to keep them.

c. Bad economic times come. Retail sales fall, and so sales tax revenues go down. People lose their jobs, and so income tax revenue falls. Property values fall, and so do revenues from property taxes. At the same time, more people are on Medicaid or other kinds of public assistance, and so more money is flowing out.

d. This unforseeable event[1] causes a budget crisis. The county and state and city governments discuss in dire terms how they're going to have to lay off employees, cut popular programs, etc.

e. The local governments go on a hunt for revenue, looking for ways to raise fees, fines, and taxes to cover their shortfall. All kinds of really dumb stuff is done in crisis mode to raise the revenue, and the bad stuff (like using a lottery to take from the stupid and uneducated to keep my taxes low raise money for education, or like privatizing some state assets to reward wealthy friends by selling them valuable stuff at fire-sale prices raise some quick money), will never go away.

Observing a few iterations of this cycle has left me pretty skeptical that the main problem with local governments' budgets is that the Mean Ole Voters won't agree to be taxed more. There's lots of reasonable debate about how much should be being spent by local governments on various stuff, and that's reasonable. (And like total taxation, it's reasonable that it be ultimately decided by elections.) But I wish there were more debate on preventing the extra spending that doesn't make sense. It's *way* easier to get people to oppose a rise in taxes than a rise in spending, even though the two are linked one-to-one in the long run.

[1] Which happened ten years ago, and will reliably happen some time in the next fifteen years after the current crisis.

#555 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 12:11 PM:

albatross @554, I don't know nearly as much about local and state politics in the USA as you do, so I guess if you say that's what the facts of the matter are, it's probably right.

I posted what I posted because 1) I had hear a lot about state and local governments in the US being almost bankrupt a lot of the time; 2) I had heard reports- partly first hand, partly from blogs and media- that in parts of the USA, a lot of physical infrastructure is in a state that would be more fitting for Eastern Europe than for Western Europe, which sounds absurd and ridiculous to me, so apparently those state and local governments that are always almost bankrupt didn't get there because they spend so much money; 3) I had gotten the impression from the whole debate about earmarks that to some extent, the people who run state and local governments in the US are using federal earmarks as a way to outsource tax collecting to the federal government- running their stuff to a good deal on earmark money, keeping their local and state taxes lower than they would have to be without that earmark money, and getting reelected on platforms of railing against the evil tax collectors in Washington- and 4) I had the impression that what Bruce and Bruce were talking about is related to points 1) and 2).

#556 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 12:34 PM:

C. Wingate, #549, a recent piece about our own local speed cameras:

From the Phoenix New Times website:

Renegade Santas Block Photo Enforcement Cameras

#557 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 12:37 PM:

albatross @ 554

Are school budgets actually going down relative to inflation?

Here in Oregon they are, and have been for at least 15 years. Worse still, we have no guaranteed level of funding for schools at all*, so if the economy tanks after the budget is approved, and the feeding frenzy starts among state agencies to get what they think they need to keep going, there's no automatic prioritization for things like education, public safety, or public health versus some politician's desire to build a new building or bridge to name after him or herself.

By the way, I agree that the proximate cause of all this is anti-tax sentiment, exacerbated by the "I don't get immediate benefit from it so I shouldn't have to pay for it" mentality, but I think the original cause was the Republican drive to shift Federal tax money that used to be returned to the states back to Federal spending. The result was a substantial reduction of state income at a time when the zeitgeist was strongly against "new" taxes, so replacing that revenue became highly problematic.

I won't speak for other states (but I'm looking at you, California, I was there to vote against Prop 13); in Oregon this has resulted in the near destruction of a once-fine educational system.

* Even though the last 2 or 3 anti-tax initiatives were voted in on the promise (not actually written into the initiative) that there would be guarantees for education.

#558 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Addition to last post: the Oregon Constitution requires a balanced budget, such that it is unconstitutional to establish a rainy day fund. Try keeping any kind of system going through economic bubbles with that.

#559 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 02:08 PM:

I'm not going to disagree with albatross point-by-point, but I will say that decades of close observation of state and local government spending and K-12 education has pretty much shown me that money is almost never spent improving anything; good economic times are spent playing catch-up, at best.

Public employees are so far down the spending list that in the twenty-three years my husband has worked for public intitutions, he's gotten a COLA in fewer than one third of them. Last year he got a big raise, because his salary as a sysadmin had fallen below 50% of the private industry equivalent position; the raise was enough to put him at about 70%. of industry average. Raises negotiated for this biennium have been taken off the table in the first round of cuts needed to present a balanced budget to the legislature.

In the school district where I live, any comparison of spending to inflation without taking population increase into account gives a completely false appearance of increase. At some points of the construction cycle, as many as a third of classrooms are in portable structures.

Neither teacher nor public employee salaries (including benefits and pensions) have been good enough, locally, to compete against private industry in good times, so that specialist positions often remain unfilled. You end up with the truly dedicated 10%, perhaps another 20% who could easily get employment other places but don't want to move, and the rest are a grab-bag of the inexperienced, the imperfectly trained, time-servers, and people who are barely poking along doing the bare minimum.


#560 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 03:06 PM:

I just read on the San Francisco Chronicle's site that Stacey's Bookstore will cease to be in March. This sucks.

#561 ::: Bernard Yeh sees an odd spambot named Gabrielle in multiple old threads ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 03:25 PM:

A spambot named Gabrielle (consistent(!) email: noarbot@hotmail.com) is posting a bunch of odd non-sequitors in old threads, at a rate that is not humanly possible. Interestingly, the posts don't appear to have any commercial spam linkage.

So is this some attempt to create an acceptable persona in order to bypass spam filters later? If so, the bot writers need to slow down the rate of posting...

#562 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 03:40 PM:

This is weird: I could swear that an hour ago or so, I saw some short discussions about Gabrielle among some Making Light Elders that I can't find anymore. Was I hallucinating? Did I just get transferred to a parallel universe?

#563 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 03:46 PM:

I disagree that Gabrielle is necessarily a bot. The postings are each relevant to the thread in question, and brief enough that they could easily be typed and submitted in the time span.

In the bell curve of internet posters, these comments are not the wittiest or the most complex, but I am leery of declaring anyone a bot because they're not writing exclusively in sonnets.

Were it an ongoing problem, or were there a payload anywhere in the messages, I'd react differently. But I am minded to tolerate Gabrielle.

Judge not, they say; I think in this case I will stay my hand. Another moderator may, of course, make another call.

#564 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Raphael @562:
here

You can test whether you're in an alternate universe by checking whether Serge, like Spock, has a beard.

Hey! Wait a minute! We have a problem here.

#565 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Abi @ 564... Your agonizer, please.

#566 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 04:07 PM:

abi, after looking back over the full history, I think you're right and I was mistaken. At a wild guess, Gabrielle's experience and philosophy of posting has perhaps been shaped by Facebook, Wired comment threads and Youtube rather than more nuanced environments.

P.S. Happy 2009, everyone!

#567 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 04:37 PM:

Open-Threaded Afternoon Wisdom*: For years now I have utilized a little-known but powerful natural law that I have named "Tansey's Law of Applied Serendipity"; this states, "if you are looking for one object, labeled 'A', then the best method of finding 'A' is to look for another object, 'B'. In the course of looking for 'B', you will invariably find 'A'." This was once again supported by my just-concluded search for a tonometer; I found the camera that had been missing for a week. I still needed the tonometer, though, and in looking for it, I discovered the even lesser-known corollary, which I now publish in full: "Always look in drawers labeled 'miscellaneous'." This is especially true if those are surrounded by specifically-labeled drawers full of equipment. In any case, the tonometer was successfully located using the corollary, and I can now rest from my travails**.

*Not related to wisdom teeth.
**Not the same as my travels, which will resume shortly.

#568 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 04:54 PM:

albatross #554: You also have to consider that voters will frequently pick insane expenditures over necessary ones. I recall a set of referenda, seventeen years ago in the Hudson Valley, in which every vote for a school library bond lost, and every vote for a school stadium bond won. The only conclusion I could reach was that the voters of Orange, Ulster and Dutchess counties believed that the purpose of education was to prepare people for careers in athletics.

#569 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 04:57 PM:

Ginger #567: Your travels, you say? Are you planning to, say, "range southward to Georgia and Missouri"?

#570 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 05:06 PM:

#567 - Ginger -

Hee! My favorite ever example of that particular law is knitting-related. I dropped a stitch marker - a pink plastic ring about a quarter inch in diameter - and couldn't find it. I dug in my bag and replaced it with a similar ring, this one in blue. About half an hour later, I dropped the blue one, and when I looked for it, I immediately found the pink one. Months later, the blue one is still MIA.

#571 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 05:15 PM:

Ginger @ 567...

My law: when my wife has misplaced something, I look for it under other things, such as manuscript pages or laundry. If she says she didn't take the misplaced object to a certain room, that's where I should begin looking for things under things.

#572 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 05:22 PM:

As with many of these strictly empirical rules, the important thing is not to think out loud before applying the rule. At the weekend I poured a mug of coffee and was then distracted. I presumably put it down somewhere, but I couldn't find it.

I should have just poured another, for then the first would certainly have shown up at once, but instead I said to myself: "If I pour another, the first must surely appear directly!", and so, when I did pour another, the Rule didn't apply, and I never did find the first mug.

Hopefully the lady of the house will find it before it evolves into a new super-villain and destroys the peace of Galway City.

#573 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 05:39 PM:

Niall McAuley @572, I think that's one of the strangest cases of a misplaced object I've ever heard.

#574 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 05:48 PM:

Just wait, the Lady of the house is rather old and might not find it in time, so expect to read about Galway being terrorized by Frappuccino, the Cold Caffeine Killer any day now.

"Oh save us, Earl Grey!" Featuring Kopi Luwak!

#575 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 05:56 PM:

(*flashes knife at Serge in lieu of handing over an agonizer*)

They say, you know, that there is a really weird alternate universe out there, one where an African American whose father wasn't even American won the election in 2008. You can tell if you're in that universe when Patrick turns up with a beard.

I'm not sure I believe it.

#576 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Anytime my husband loses something, I advise him to look under the driver's seat in both cars. Great source for spare quarters, too.

#577 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 06:35 PM:

You have all just reminded me that another day has passed without my cell phone magically appearing right in front of my face.

#578 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 06:39 PM:

The other morning I was panicking because I couldn't find the dog's leash. As I was somewhat pressed for time, I improvised one out of a broken purse strap I had yet to throw away. When I got home, I removed my coat and found I had draped the leash over my shoulders when I put the collar on the dog. Doy!

#579 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 06:53 PM:

JESR #577:

Call your cell number. If the missing phone is nearby, you will know it and can track it down.

#580 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 06:55 PM:

Years ago, when one still wore suit and tie when standing around in trade show booths, I had a shirt that needed cuff links.

The only cuff links I had were passed down to me from my father's uncle, who worked at RCA. They were gold, with an enamel schematic symbol on them. Geek classy. Heirloom level stuff.

After the work day was over, I headed back to my hotel and "loosened up," taking off my tie and unbuttoning my cuffs. When I got to my room I discovered to my horror that one of the cufflinks was not in its slot.

I went back to the lobby and started looking around. Checked in with security to see if anyone had turned the link in.

Not too long afterwards I found it, in the cuff of a pants leg.

I bought a cheap pair of links after that.

#581 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:00 PM:

It seems (at least so far as I am concerned) that Lj is down. Since I was unable to back it up yesterday (the traffic being to great) I am half worried.

I am more concerned because I have actual conversations going on, and would like to continue them.

#582 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:04 PM:

John Hawkes-Reed @ 532: Roll film.

#583 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:07 PM:

Terry Karney @ 581:

The message I get is the following:

LiveJournal.com is currently unavailable due to emergency maintenance. Don't worry, this has nothing to do with our recent company layoffs! It's a technical problem, not a lack-of-personnel problem.

Thank you for your patience.

#584 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:07 PM:

Terry -

about LJ being down - when I just tried to load my page I got this message:

"LiveJournal.com is currently unavailable due to emergency maintenance. Don't worry, this has nothing to do with our recent company layoffs! It's a technical problem, not a lack-of-personnel problem.

Thank you for your patience. "

#585 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:09 PM:

As the saying goes, "Two minds with..."

#586 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Ah... emergency maintenance, and they realise people might be worried by the timing.

Sigh, but at least I still have the time to back up.

#587 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:19 PM:

It appears that livejournal is back up. At least it has been the last couple of minutes.

#588 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:19 PM:

I have spent a fair amount of time looking for something that was in my hand. And I wasn't even drunk.

#589 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:40 PM:

Xopher @ 588: Sometimes using an agonizer knocks out the x-ray vision for a while. What can you do?

#590 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 07:43 PM:

Certainly, I have spent many a minute looking for things that I know for a fact were in my pocket, on my belt, round my neck!

I have never, ever lost my wedding ring, except for the time...

I was just back at work after my honeymoon. On my first day, I saw a notice: "Found: A gold wedding band". Ha ha, says I, what a chump, what a flat to lose his... uh-oh

And 16 years later, that is still the one and only time I lost my ring, before I was used to it as a body part.

#591 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 08:10 PM:

Niall McAuley @ 572... before it evolves into a new super-villain and destroys the peace of Galway City

A new super-villain?
How many are there already in Ireland?

#592 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 08:31 PM:

joann @579 that was, in fact, the first thing I tried. However, either it was turned off- a habit I picked up long ago, when cell phones were bigger and batteries less robust- or the battery had gone dead. It was lost within three feet of where I sit at this moment; I charged it and put it aside and had not left the house for more than a week when I went to find it to go shopping at Pike Place with my family.

The things should not be so small, dark and slippery.

#593 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 08:36 PM:

Xopher @588; I once lost a pocket dictionary between my left and right hands, while my mother and sister were watching me. This has traumatized me from that day forward; there are some superpowers that just are not worth having.

#594 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 08:44 PM:

Thanks to everyone who shard what I'd found out. What I was getting, for about 30 minutes, was blank screens.

It was strange, and not quite worrisome.

I am now back to arguing about Gaza, and the down time might be better for me, had it continued.

#595 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 10:04 PM:

Fragano @ 569: Even worse: the home-ward commute, in the rain. Around here, this is not to be taken lightly. Yesterday's rainy evening ordeal turned a normally-20 minute drive into 45 minutes of incredibly stupid drivers, congested traffic, and frustration. (Tonight's commute was much easier for some odd reason.)

RM @ 570: Your personal serendipity may be running low, and you may have to rely on someone else for finding the blue marker. This occasionally happens to me, and I make my partner go find whatever I'm looking for, because I'm all out of luck or magnetism or whichever it is that powers the serendipity.

Serge @ 571: Ah, yes, the counter-serendipity of the spouse. I have to find her things, too. She once took off her watch in the bathroom, and couldn't find it. I had serendipitously noticed it just before she asked me. Truly, the power of serendipity is not to be trifled with.

Niall @ 572: Case in point. By speaking aloud, you invoke the "Watched Pot Never Boils" rule, and negate the serendipity. Now that some time has elapsed, you may be able to find the coffee mug by looking for something else. May I recommend you look for my mother's brown knit vest? It's been missing for more than 30 years, and it would be very welcome indeed.

#596 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 11:06 PM:

OK, two things.

One: Yesterday, as we (yours truly, John, and Lenore) were walking home from choir practice, we noticed it was really icy—everywhere but the sidewalks. Ice-covered cars, ice-covered trees, everything, but not the sidewalks. Lenore speculated that this was because the concrete was rough; I speculated that it was because salting them fit to preserve a herd of elephants had its effect.

They stopped at a restaurant they eat at and I don't, so I said good night and walked on down the street. Passed a vacant lot, and the sidewalk in front of it was very icy indeed. Nearly fell twice. So I called Lenore on her cell to say "if you keep going down that street, be really careful, because it's really icy just there. You might want to cross the street, in fact."

When they got home, Lenore told me that John, when told of this, said "And having been warned by Christopher in a phone call, they returned home by another road."

This would not be as funny on any day other than January 6.

Two: For everyone who is a mom, or who ever had one, this is wonderful stuff.

#597 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 11:48 PM:

#563 abi
I am leery of declaring anyone a bot because they're not writing exclusively in sonnets.

I was in virtual ROFLMAO mode at that, and was actually howling with laughter.

#598 ::: Sajia Kabir ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 11:52 PM:

Now I want to go around telling everyone that Making Light thought I was a spambot until I posted a sestina on Open Thread C.

#599 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 12:38 AM:

Xopher @ 596... coughgagsplutter!!!

#600 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 12:45 AM:

RM Koske @ 550... I managed to archive my whole LJ, thanks to your tips. Everything is there, although the embedded YouTube links were lost in the process. Responses to my post are there too, lthough without icons. Oh well. LJArchive did save a folder of photos that I had used inside posts, but not the others. It looks like I will indeed have to manually save the full-size pictures, of which there are many. Same with my icons.

#601 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 12:51 AM:

xopher @ 596, It would be worth the extra $25/month to get broadband for Mom so she could see that. Oh my.

Did you notice the standing ovation?

#602 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 12:55 AM:

Crossposted from the Deep Thought thread where I inadvertently put it:

Open-threadiness: If one is a) a mystery/crime fiction fan and b) has available funds for con-going, then LeftCoastCrime2009 out here on the Big Island looks like fun. March 7-12.

#603 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 02:21 AM:

More Open Thread-iness:

Does anyone know if Ken MacLeod's new novel, Night Sessions, has a US publisher or release date?

(this kind of seems like the right place to ask)

#604 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 03:04 AM:

Linkmeister, #602: I'd love to do another mystery-con. Unfortunately, in order to afford one, I have to go as a dealer, which means I have to drive. Kinda hard to get to you by car. :-)

#605 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 07:22 AM:

albatross, #554, when I was in high school in Virginia Beach, the school ran on four shifts. We couldn't have new schools because there were so many retired people in VAB who weren't willing to pay taxes for things that didn't affect them.

#606 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 08:16 AM:

Further open-threadiness... Over at Susan de Guardiola's site, there is a thread where it was suggested, regarding hexawinged angels, that it may have been a biblical euphemism that one of their pairs of wings was used to hide their 'feet'. That's what happens when a mother and her daughter disagree about whether or not a certain kind of Christmas cookie was supposed to be an angel or a girl, and whether they should bake more, what with cookie heads threatening to fall off.

#607 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 08:31 AM:

#600, Serge -

I'm glad I was able to help a little. Good luck with all your photo-saving, and thanks for the reminder that I need to back up my icons (all three of them, heh.)

#608 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 08:45 AM:

You can test whether you're in an alternate universe by checking whether Serge, like Spock, has a beard.

It's a tricky one, isn't it? He must have a beard if he's an evil alternate; but if he's an alternate, he should be differently bearded from the original version. I suspect that in an alternative universe, Serge would have a false beard.

Worn on top of his real beard.

#609 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 09:03 AM:

ajay @ 608... in an alternative universe, Serge would have a false beard. Worn on top of his real beard.

You remind me that I should look into acquiring a "Soggy Bottoms Boys" beard. Then you'll wonder if I'm from the Evil Universe, or maybe from ZZ Top.

#610 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 09:11 AM:

RM Koske @ 607... I need to back up my icons (all three of them, heh.)

As for myself, I have way more than 3 of them. True, I haven't used the 'Jason King' icon in quite some time, but it may still come in handy.

#612 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 09:34 AM:

"Jim, I think I liked him with a beard better. Gave him character. Of course, almost any change would be a distinct improvement."

#613 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 09:53 AM:

Does anybody remember Arthur Adams's comic-book of the 1990s, MonkeyMan and O'Brien? There was one story where MonkeyMan - actually a BIG gorilla trapped in our Reality from a Reality where his kind attained great intelligence - and O'Brien cross over to yet another Reality. There they run into MonkeyMan's evil counterpart, thus treating us to the sight of a gorilla with a Spock goatee.

#614 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 10:46 AM:

Niall McAuley @ 590, one of my friends lost his wedding band immediately before going on his honeymoon.

Another of my friends opined that this was a bad portent. I said that all it portended was that he was going to be absent-minded throughout their marriage, and his wife knew that when she married him.

#615 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 11:44 AM:

In the Stargate: SG-1 episode "Point of view", the team cross into an alternate reality and meet main bad guy Apophis again. Naturally, the alternate Universe version has a beard.

#616 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 12:03 PM:

Anyone know where I can find clip art of the phrase "Oooh la la" (with or without hypens, I am not picky) in a format that my mother would describe as "funky and cute"?

I have somehow been roped into helping her make labels for her flea market venture...

#618 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Niall McAuly @615: Ah, Wright and Cooper, no cliche left unchurned.

I will not fulminate here over the end of SGA. I'll just say, as I do at every opportunity, that those guys are great at casting their main characters and setting up their initial universe, but after that, things get self-parodying fast.

#619 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Carrie @ 616 -

http://www.casinotravelnews.com/Las_Vegas/Las_Vegas_Entertainment_/Paris_ooh_la_la.jpg

#620 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 01:19 PM:

Marilee, #605: That's always struck me as a very short-sighted attitude. Where did they think their store clerks, postal workers, hairdressers, doctors, and undertakers came from? And I'll bet the same people who consistently voted against school taxes also complained bitterly about "how incompetent workers are these days". More infrastructure decay...

#621 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 01:20 PM:

JESR, I have to say, I did enjoy the deliberate parody that I called CSI:Atlantis.

#622 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 01:28 PM:

I haven't watched SGA, I lost interest in Stargate after the 8th series. But I have those first 8 years on DVD.

#623 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 01:37 PM:

I'd be tempted to get SG-1 on DVD, but for two things: 1) Space. I just don't have the shelvage for 10 seasons (UK:series) of DVDs. 2) I haven't yet developed a hack for my DVD player that detects the Replicator sound effect and automatically skips to the next episode.

#624 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 01:47 PM:

Steve C: Thanks so much, that's great!

#625 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 01:57 PM:

More Open Threaded funny:

Jonathan Coulton demonstrates slapstick, in five seconds.

#626 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 02:31 PM:

Xopher, so very much of CSI: Atlantis focussed on Joe Flannigan's best camera angles that it was enjoyable as eye-candy alone. I may well rewatch it with the sound off.

#627 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Lee @ #604, some of us have been lobbying for a bridge between here and SF for years. And it wouldn't be a Bridge to Nowhere, either!

#628 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 03:26 PM:

Linkmeister @ 627... A bridge between Hawaii and the Bay Area? This sounds like something from the imagination of Gerry Anderson, which means that, within minutes of the bridge's opening, a giant atomic-powered airplane would probably crash into it, sending the mono-rail's passengers deep below the sea, and they'd be watching water seep in faster and faster while they wait for the arrival of International Rescue.

#629 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Serge @ #628, assuming that didn't happen, I'd like to have the battery-recharging station concession on the bridge. This also assumes that electric vehicles will replace gasoline-powered ones by the time the bridge is completed.

Hey, Barack! You want infrastructure projects? There's an infrastructure project!

#630 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 03:39 PM:

It'd be a heck of a pontoon bridge. Floating high level sections?

#631 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Linkmeister @#627: Coming back from an outing to catch up here, I initially parsed "a bridge between here and SF" as a bridge between Making Light and Science Fiction, and thought "waitasec, there isn't one already?"

More seriously re #629, if you did put a charging station on such a bridge, it could be fed by tidal and wave power, which is pretty cool beans....

#632 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 05:23 PM:

David, that was my initial parse too.

#633 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 05:34 PM:

Grins. Xopher, David, next time I'll abbreviate San Francisco as SFO; will that help?

#634 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 05:53 PM:

David Harmon @631, given the current storm track, a wave generation station on such a bridge could power most of the world.

#635 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 09:04 PM:

I think I prefer a tunnel. Trying to drive on a bridge in typhoon weather doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Hang the tunnel 50 or 100 feet below the surface and you'd never notice the storms. And you could still have the charging concession.

Better still, run a maglev train through the tunnel at 250 mph and you could get from Hawaii to California in 9.5 hours, which is a little less than twice what it takes by plane.

#636 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 09:12 PM:

Xopher @596, et seq, Possibly the original version, “Mumsense” by Anita Renfroe. She's done “Dadsense” since. (“The Mom Song” title is shared by *shudders* That Which Should Not Be Named — Careless Clicking Costs Lives)

#637 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 09:34 PM:

Bruce @ #635, Forget trains under water; we're having enough trouble getting mass transit built above-ground out here on Oahu. Squabbles over "whether" seemed to be done after a ballot measure in November showed 60+% in favor, but that hasn't stopped the opponents. Even so, "which route should it take" has now become the issue of greatest import. From Kapolei out west, past the airport and into Waikiki seems the most logical, but logic isn't the measure a lot of people are using.

#638 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 11:42 PM:

Reply to Fimbul Winter Thread, as it's long inactive:
#91 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 06:05 PM:

Daniel Boone @82, the thing about insulated Carhardts is that it takes a very long time to break them in so that they bend easily at the knee and hip. I finally decided that it was less miserable to be cold in jeans over sweatpants over tights than exhausted to a degree unanticipated by mortal woman from charging around in pants that didn't bend while climbing up and down hills.

Bend them where you've figured they need to bend (without body inside) and whack firmly with a hammer. I have a pair of insulated Carhardt overalls customized this way that work fine.

#639 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2009, 11:44 PM:

"Coveralls". It'd work with insulated bib overalls, too, though.

#640 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 01:01 AM:

Linkmeister @ 637

Mass transit routing != logic. When they built the Westside light rail here in Portland, the two most logical routes were up the hill to the Zoo, then over the top following the freeway and then down into darkest Beaverton, OR, forget the Zoo and go south and around the hill past where I live now and out to Beaverton. So the transit board insisted that there be a station at the Zoo (OK, makes sense, there'll be a lot of traffic there), but the rich people who live at the top of the hill didn't want a train station that let the hoipolloi into their neighborhood.

So they compromised. They drilled a 5 km hole through the hil and put the Zoo station about 80 meters below ground (making it the deepest transit station in North America). Of course this was the most expensive approach, but I guess it wasn't expensive enough. For the east (city) end of the tunnel, where there were a lot of houses, they decided to use a boring machine to reduce noise. The machine did not work correctly at first, so they spent something like $100 million extra, and went a year over schedule. Way to make everybody happy!

#641 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:14 AM:

Bruce @ #640, ouch. I should forward that to our planners.

I forgot to say that the U of Hawaii-Manoa on Oahu has about 50,000 students; only ~4,000 live on campus. Is there a plan to put Manoa on the initial route? Certainly not. Both it and Waikiki are "Planned extensions." See map.

#642 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 04:04 AM:

The knitting conundrum that popped up here in the comments - I can't tell if it's been resolved (600+ comments!), but during my long bus commute* I remembered that when I first started using circular needles, I got mixed up with how to hold the needles. If the cord is against your body and the tips of the needles pointing away, you are knitting inside out, which would give you knit on the inside, purl on the outside. With the tips pointed towards you and the cord away from you, the knit should wind up on the outside.

If that's already been brought up, my apologies for the redundancy.

#643 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 07:43 AM:

Earl Cooley III #93: afghan cleaning project [...] I'll probably need to consult various familial resources

Over the holidays, I did some fact-checking about the family afghans, and found out that they are acrylic; the consensus was bemusement that I was being at all finicky about cleaning mine, as they'd been using the simple delicate cycle washing machine setting for cleaning them all this time without incident or degradation. Drying in the regular dryer, too.

#644 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 08:59 AM:

xkcd about Windows 7

To quote philosopher Han Solo, I've got a bad feeling about this.

#645 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 09:04 AM:

Serge #644: Why? Microsloshed gets things right, eventually.

#646 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 09:25 AM:

Linkmeister @#633: Grins. Xopher, David, next time I'll abbreviate San Francisco as SFO; will that help?

Not as much as spelling out your own location! (With or without apostrophes ;-) )

JESR @#634: Modulo transmission costs, not to mention catching that much energy! On the other hand, really large-scale extraction of tide/wave/wind energy might make for a useful form of weather control. ("Never mind that hurricane, the powernet ate it.")

#647 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 09:29 AM:

Fragano @ 645... Do they? My understanding is that they've given up on Vista.

#648 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 10:09 AM:

Serge #647: That would be getting it right.

#649 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Serge@647 and Fragano@648: Actually, the next version, Windows7 is just a tightened up Vista.

Vista was Windows 6.0, and Windows Se7en[1] is Windows 6.1. (Win 2000 was 5.0, and WinXP is 5.1.)

I've downloaded the beta[2], and it looks like Vista when installing it under VMWare on my MacBook, although I can't say more, because it sucked up all of the available RAM, and I had to abort the install.

dave

[1] 'cause comparing MS releases to crazed serial killers seems about right.

[2] *cough* well, it's tomorrow over here in China. *cough*

#650 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 10:49 AM:

odaiwai @ 649... comparing MS releases to crazed serial killers

If the group I'm with kept releasing half-baked stuff like MS does, our users would be storming the place with torches and pitchforks.

#651 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 11:15 AM:

Serge #650: Not machineguns?

#652 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 11:35 AM:

re 640: I suspect that it's not so simple. Looking at the topo, they didn't have a hell of a lot of options for heading west to begin with. Following highway routes over the hills usually won't work for rails, because trucks (the real limiting factor) can take much steeper grades. 5% is incredibly steep for rail, though transit can manage that in stretches; highways go up into the teens. Also, there's hardly any room left in the valley that the interstate follows. The rail line does swing south a bit further at this point that might necessary, and it does seem to be giving the neighborhood NE of the zoo a rather wide berth. But assuming they wanted to dodge the reservoirs, they weren't going to go a lot further north than they ended up going. And as a rule cutting across neighborhoods is something tunnelers want to avoid. Besides the risk of taking down someone's building, there are noxious property acquisition issues.

NIMBY stories about transit construction are common, and a lot of them are true, and a lot of them aren't. There's a persistent tale that the reason DC's Metro doesn't serve Georgetown is because of NIMBYism. The real reasons are that (a) it's a particularly painful place to put a station due to the terrain, and (b) back when they were doing the route planning, G'town was still a pretty sleepy mostly residential community, gentrified or not. There was one early (1963) thought towards a G'town station, but it involved a joint highway/transit bridge that the engineers didn't like. By the time it became clear that it would be really nice to have a station there, the line was already built. By way of contrast, the original Balto. line to Glen Burnie was killed specifically by resident fears about exporting urban crime to their neighborhoods-- nonsensical, but by that time they needed excuses to cut down on how much they were going to build anyway. Our latest NIMBY problem in DC revolves around the proposed purple line, which as it heads west out of Silver Spring would follow the old Georgetown Branch. The problem is that this has been rails-to-trailed, so now it is the Sacred Preserve of the walking/biking/jogging set, and never mind that until 1985 there was a coal train heading down those tracks at regular intervals. Meanwhile UMCP, for some stupid reason, doesn't want the line near it, even though it desperately needs transit service (the Metro stop is a mile away because that's where the B&O RoW is).

And as soon as you start tunneling, it's nearly a lead-pipe cinch that you'll go over budget. I think the original Balto. light rail line might have come in on budget (and without federal funds!), but they took some significant shortcuts which had to be rectified later; and they didn't dig an inch. The subway, OTOH, ended up with a sixth of the planned system: partly because of NIMBYs, but mostly because they couldn't begin to afford to build it.

#653 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 11:40 AM:

Is it still possible to get XP? 'Cause we've been pondering a new system, and based on my limited experience with Vista I would prefer not Vista.

#654 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 11:43 AM:

#653
Yes.
I bought XP Pro last summer through mwave.com.
Other places will probably sell it, or install it, if you ask them for a downgrade from Vista to SP.

#655 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 11:44 AM:

odaiwai @ 649

a tightened up Vista

Vista already has so much "security" that the user interface puckers. How much tighter does it need to be?

it sucked up all of the available RAM, and I had to abort the install.

Yep, Fast and bulbous, like a tin teardrop. Tight, also.

'cause comparing MS releases to crazed serial killers seems about right.

Gives a whole new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death".

#656 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 12:02 PM:

Linkmeister (627), although I've never been to either Hawaii or San Francisco, I'm fascinated by the idea of a bridge between them. (Perhaps "because" would be better than "although," in that sentence.) Thinking of very long bridges reminds me of conversations I used to have (more precisely, monologues I used to listen to), when I worked with a metallurgist whose expertise was more limited than he believed it to be.

This was the 1990s, and conflict in the former Yugoslavia was getting some attention in the news. The metallurgist could look at a headline on a folded newspaper and talk on the subject for 10 minutes without stopping to draw breath. It was compelling, but in a sick sort of way, because he did not use this power for good. His argument was generally that Those People deserved what they got, because they were Muslim. He had worked with them, he knew they couldn't do anything right except kill each other, they had brought him in to consult on building a bridge between Serbia and Jordan. *blink* It was a wonderful job, a splendid bridge, Those People could not have done it without him.

I went off in search of some colleagues, (and perhaps a sledgehammer, in case it might be needed for more forceful interruption), so we could come back and ask the metallurgist to tell us more about this remarkable bridge between Serbia and Jordan. Was that really where it was? It sounded much too long to build?

Yes, of course, he insisted, it was in Serbia. He had been there many times to consult. They brought him in because it was much too long for the incompetent locals to build on their own--it had been the longest bridge in the world for a while, though there were longer ones built since. So he knew better than to believe Those People in Serbia weren't all bad, or weren't all alike. He'd been there. He probably meant Syria. It doesn't change the fanatic bigotry, though I'm sure it made the bridge easier to build.

#657 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 12:04 PM:

C Wingate @ 652

they didn't have a hell of a lot of options for heading west to begin with

True, which is why the route that went south for about 3 or 4 miles and then west* made more sense. It goes through much more commercial area before it hits the Beaverton Transit Center, which is about where the two routes converge, so it connects with more shopping closer to the city. It connects to more bus lines with shorter routes, and thus could get a lot more passengers going into the city from the near westside residential areas. The real tradeoff was between all those advantages and the zoo, and the zoo won. The thinking was that the East side line ran through the Convention/Hotal district, and would eventually (and since has) connect to the airport, so the zoo would attract tourist riders. But that seems like a bad trade for hundreds or thousands of daily commuters and a lot of additional construction cost.

Oh, there is one more advantage: the zoo route is shorter because there are only two stations between the city and Beaverton, and it's all on restricted right of way, so no street intersections or pedestrian crossings to slow things down. Probably saves 15 to 20 minutes from the average end-to-end time.

* following Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway once it got up the much shallower grade at Bertha

#658 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 12:13 PM:

Oops, make that "for hundreds or thousands of daily commuters and a lot less construction cost"

#659 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 12:22 PM:

BC(STM)@655:

I believe it's "tightened up" as in it works a lot better and isn't a complete resource hog. Allegedly, the security prompts are more controlled and less obnoxious. This is all from reports/reviews, and not from experience.

My personal experience of Vista is that it would hibernate well, and then forget what screen and GPU it was using when it woke up. As my windows box is generally woken up from hibernation to play games on, this was not very good. XP, on the other hand, seems to handle this quite well.

(I normally use Linux and OS X at home, with Windows for games, so my windows box is almost exclusively for gaming. For work, I run some Transport Planning apps which are Windows only.)

Window Se7en did suck up all the RAM on my MacBook, but I've only got 3Gigs on here, and I had a whole bunch of other stuff opened as well, so that's not really a fair test. I'll give it a fair go on the windows box (which also has 3Gigs, but doesn't have to share it with OS X) and which has a decent graphics card too.

C. Wingate @ 653: Do you actually need Windows? For most general computing, OS X or Ubuntu (or other Linux) will probably be fine. And may be better unless you need to run Apps which are only there for Windows.

#660 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 12:54 PM:

David @ #646, Sorry! My location is Oahu (but you figured that out from context), two miles north of Pearl Harbor.

Adrian @ #656, Wow. We have our share of loonies, and some of them are undoubtedly as weak geographically as that guy, but still. Our anti-rail crowd is mostly agin' it for cost reasons, which is fair enough. I've never seen a major public works project which came in on budget for both time and dollars (I'm sure some can be cited; I've just never been around one).

#661 ::: martyn44 ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 01:06 PM:

Linkmeister @ #660 Perhaps that is something to do with the actual construction being done by private companies, the managers of which see public authorities as ever open wallets.

#662 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Bruce Cohen writes in #635

I think I prefer a tunnel. Trying to drive on a bridge in typhoon weather doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Hang the tunnel 50 or 100 feet below the surface and you'd never notice the storms. And you could still have the charging concession.

"Hang the tunnel?" From what? From something that does notice the storms...

I think your tunnel needs to go into the seabed, or you're asking for extra trouble. Probably into bedrock.

Better still, run a maglev train through the tunnel at 250 mph and you could get from Hawaii to California in 9.5 hours, which is a little less than twice what it takes by plane.

Pump the tunnel down to vaccum and go 1000 miles per hour, as suggested by Robert Goddard.

Or go all the way, to the freshman physics fantasy of drilling straight-line tunnels along a chord between two points on the Earth's surface. Keeping friction to a minimum, you can get anywhere in 42 minutes.

#663 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 01:53 PM:

#640: You have to admit, the Washington Park (zoo) station is COOL. It's like a stop on some futurrhoidic magna-train system.

There are core samples and a geological timeline and other goodies on the platform.

#664 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:03 PM:

Some days I feel as if I should put a disclaimer on all my posts: "If there's some terribly obvious solution that a person with the sense God gave cabbages would have thought of, please pay me the respect of assuming that I've tried it already."

#665 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:09 PM:

Stefan @ #663, I went to look and found Public Art on the Tri-Met Blue Line. The info about that station is not descriptive enough for my liking, and more than one photo would be nice. Nonetheless, it does sound interesting.

* A basalt circle the diameter of the tunnel reveals facts about mining
* The magnitude of time is expressed in the Core Sample Timeline
* Circular stools mimic the core samples
* Light boxes shimmer with fossil-like images
* Some elevator door images are animated when the doors open

#666 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:10 PM:

David Harmon @646, actually, it was the storm-cancelling effects of energy extraction which I was mostly thinking of; I had two nights this week when it was raining too hard to sleep, and for the last 48 hours it's been pretty much impossible to get out of Western Washington by land routes.

Blame Larry Niven, who posits (in the story called, I think, "Elephant," collected in Flatlander) a future time when heat-transfer systems are used to stop an ice age.

#667 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:14 PM:

re 657: Ah, I see-- there's even some old unoccupied rail grade through part of it. I think they might have had to tunnel a bit to get around the corner where 10 peels off, and coming in from the east into Beaverton it looks to me that they would have had RoW issues, but oh well.

re 658: Joining Serbia and Jordan was a minor engineering challenge compared to moving Sri Lanka to the equator. At the time, I was singing with a bunch of 2nd-gen Serbians; conversations were, shall we say, judicious.


#668 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:17 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 662

Keeping friction to a minimum, you can get anywhere in 42 minutes.

Well, true, if you can find something that's strong enough at mantle temperatures to keep the bore open. Kind of like the problem with wormholes: even if you could pump one up to macroscopic size you still need something with negative mass and positive pressure to make it traversible and hold it open.

#669 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Having spent a substantial part of the past fifteen years banging my head against transportation issues, let me say that there are two things that tend to get forgotten in discussion of transit planning; one, which has been mentioned above, is right-of-way acquisition, and the other is actual construction time.

The first of these is complicated by a general misunderstanding of the right of eminent domain: the government can make you sell your land to them for valid public purposes, but they have to pay you the price for which that land is officially valued (which people who bitch about property tax revaluations need to stop and consider). Every parcel is a separate transaction and the number of transactions for any project therefore acts as a time and cost multiplier; for that reason, most project planners try to avoid routes which involve a whole lot of small parcels (unless, of course, it's the Seattle Monorail project, which, in retrospect, looks like a particularly evil land speculation scam).

The time-of-construction thing gets really stupid really frequently. This morning a Times columnist speaking on the weekly KUOW public affairs wrap-up said something like "they like to brag about having almost gotten light rail out to the airport but I want it done now." which: under construction, being built as fast as possible. Sure, travelling back in time and getting the funding passed earlier would be nice but this is how long it takes.

#670 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 02:49 PM:

JESR @ #669, Um, yeah. 25 years of construction for our Interstate H-3 (which is actually Intrastate, but never mind).

#671 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 03:14 PM:

659: It has to run WoW, and potentially other MS-only game software. Plus I'm not keen on having to run a heterogeneous local network.

666: The problem with storm dissipation is having to have somewhere to put all the energy. Acto several sources US electricity consumption is about 1/3 power output of a typical hurricane, so we could power part of the whole world, I suppose. But I don't want to be anywhere near the kind of sparks that thing would draw when some idiot drops a wrench into it.

#672 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 03:41 PM:

re 661: Well, here's the thinking: "If I bid what it will really cost, factoring large, safe values for inflation, possible problems, etc., the price is going to set off hyperventilation, and I won't get the contract. So I'm going to try to figure out the biggest number I can get away with that the plausible competitors won't underbid (remembering that they're all thinking the same way) and which will get me so far in the door on the work that when the overruns start, they won't cancel the whole thing or look for someone else to take over." That's especially true if you were looking at transit systems in the '60s-'70s: no government would have accepted a realistic inflation-based cost. There's a blurred line in this between cynicism and abuse, of course.

#673 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 03:46 PM:

C. Wingate @ #672, then how do you explain "cost-plus" contracts? Unless they really are nothing more than sanctioned graft, of course.

#674 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 04:22 PM:

I usually prefer to walk or take public transit. The problems of the last few weeks, amusing as they are, suggest that private car ownership may be more trouble than it's worth. You see, my car was destroyed in a 3-car collision, when all 3 vehicles were parked. (At first I said my car "got run over by a snowplow," but that does not capture the flavor of the event.) I figured it out when I saw the police report, learning more slapstick details when the snowplow driver saw me in the parking lot and apologized.

A local friend (who very conveniently has a used car he is considering selling) expressed astonishment at my story. "What happened? Was the snowplow possessed by some kind of otherworldly force?" Well, yeah. The same force that moves the stars and planets in their orbits, as it happens. The parking lot is on a hill, with cars parked perpendicular to the slope. The morning of the accident, the lot was covered with ice, with light rain falling on top of it. The snowplow driver parked the snowplow, and stepped out to talk to his son (who drives another snowplow), and discuss who would go where. He sat down suddenly and unexpectedly on the ice, and watched his snowplow slide sideways down the hill. Hijinks ensued.

#675 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 05:48 PM:

Last time I was in the National Zoo station, one of the escalators was broken and my group had something like 10 strollers and 12 adults. Fun times really.


#676 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 06:24 PM:

P J Evans @ 654:

if you ask them for a downgrade from Vista to SP.

YM "upgrade"?

Yesterday I did a brain transplant on a friend's nice shiny new laptop; started out with Vista, ended with XP. Toshiba called the XP disk "Recovery Media", and their wipe/reinstall was the smoothest thing I've seen in software installations. Several options, one of which was to restore it to out-of-the-box condition...

Meanwhile, I'm having... arguments... with Dell over missing communications drivers on another laptop, after malware necessitated an OS reinstall. Some [expletive deleted] at Dell seems to have decided that reinstalling all the drivers wasn't necessary, and I'm having a difficult time [cue understatement alert] finding the correct ones on their website. I won't even mention the useless tech support.

*growls at Dell*

#677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 06:29 PM:

Glinda @ 676... Easy as Dell?

#678 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2009, 06:41 PM:

Dell communications drivers (such as the modem driver) are sometimes hidden in the Dell Chipset or System Software package. My email is on my website. Feel free to contact me with the model number, OS version and peripheral drivers you're missing, and I'll see if I can find them for you. (I've been through this with Dell for years in various IT support situations.)

#679 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 01:00 AM:

The polygamists in Bountiful, BC have been arrested; and charged with Polygamy.

Secret World of Polygamy

#680 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 01:14 AM:

Aha! Years ago I was told that the genus Nothofagus, very important for the history of tectonics, biogeography, and such meant 'false beech' (Fagus is beeches, Fagaceae the oak family). The common name is Southern Beech, though, and now Xopher (#506) says "the name of the South Wind was Notus". I find this considerably more persuasive as a meaning for the name, if only because it gets away from the old self-deprecating "everything here is worse than The Old Home Country" so pervasive in earlier times.

#681 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 01:47 AM:

Earl, #643, when you put acrylic afghans in the dryer, be sure to use a fabric softener sheet thingie. Otherwise, the entire room will be electrified when it comes out. All my acrylic stuff is cat blankies and afghans, so I don't use the fabric sheets on other things.

Adrian, #674, yikes. I'm glad nobody was hurt!

#682 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 09:47 AM:

glinda, the people who put the computers together call it a downgrade. Otherwise, I agree with you. (The new ones at work, installed in the last couple of weeks, were, well, regraded from Vista to XP.)

#683 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 09:58 AM:

PJ Evans @ 682... Until a few months ago, people buying computers were given a choice between Vista and XP. Most must have chosen XP because MicroShaft made only Vista available. That's one reason why I've been reluctant to get my wife a laptop that'd be worse for her to deal with than what she currently has. Are you saying that I could take a new laptop to computer repair places and have them reinstall XP? That'd be wonderful.

#684 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 10:02 AM:

General political open-threadiness: Idiots. Idiots, idiots, idiots.

My dear Durbin, once you establish the precedent that the Senate can refuse to seat a new Senator if his state's Secretary of State refuses to sign his certificate, what do you think will happen the next time a Democrat wins a state in which the Secretary of State is a Republican?

#685 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 10:10 AM:

re 673: "Cost-plus" is how you get any bids at all in situations where nobody can come up with a good estimate. Since we're heading in the direction of Halliburton, one of those situations is "we need janitors, but we have no idea exactly how many at any given time." Forty-plus years ago, there wouldn't even have been any such contracts. The whole $100 laundry thing actually goes back to the Abrams Doctrine, in fact. The army was to be set up so that a substantial force could be brought to bear quickly, but doing anything of any length required bringing up the reserves. OK, so this meant putting most of the support units into the reserves too, in order to maximize the readily available forces. Well. The neocon non-military is not too keen on the Abrams Doctrine, because part of the point of it is, after all, to rein in their slap-down ability; you can do Grenada, but anything that looks even vaguely like an occupation is going to need really strong political support, because the reserves are going to get tied up over the long term. So the solution is to farm out more of the support stuff to "civilian" contractors, and this has another "beneficial" side effect: it hides the cost of occupation away from the serviceman budget, so it can be played with more easily.

One can argue whether one should replace the logistics and support units with mercenaries anyway, but it's definitely in the realm of cost-plus-- or at least fee-for-service, though I suspect that they didn't go that route because they didn't want to have to go through procurement for every last thing that came up.

#686 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 10:11 AM:

Adrian @#674: Sounds like a most worldly force to me! My sympathies....

#687 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 10:14 AM:

Serge:
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/Skusearch.hmx?scriteria=AA15070
right now

#688 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 10:19 AM:

PJ Evans @ 687... Thanks!

#689 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 10:35 AM:

Raphael @#684: Not disagreeing with the "idiot's" part, but is the state SoS's signature needed for elected senators? I thought it was part of the appointment process?

I still think the best comment to date is from Field Negro's sidebar: "Blago, how the hell did you get a race card?"

#690 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 11:15 AM:

Open Threadiness -- since I haven't seen this mentioned outside the San Fran. Chron's website, I'll pass along the word of "Creature Feature" host Bob Wilkin's death. Sad news for former and current Bay Areans.

#691 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 11:19 AM:

There are different types of "cost plus" contracts -- cost plus fixed fee, cost plus incentive award fee, cost plus percentage cost.... that last is the one that motivates "padding"... the others, the contractor gets a specific -amount=- of profit. Fixed fee means that no matter how much the contractor spends, the contractor is only going to make the fixed fee profit [federal contracts, pre the exiting fascist slime, had tons of Contract Auditors who would show up and dig into every corporate record relating to the work performance, looking for "irregularities" and reviewing timecards of employees asking employees "what work did you do on these hours marked as charged to this contract?" I have personal knowledge of that, having been interviewed twice when I was at GTE, by government auditors....).

Incentive awards, get paid only if the contractor meets the incentive conditions, such as delivering something earlier, or to specific criteria involving e.g. tighter specifications, or higher resolution, or faster performance... sort of the things where sports players get extra money if the team makes the playoffs, or if the player breaks some record, or gets X number of touchdowns, or does more than Y amount of charitable appearance work....

There's a type of contract called "Fixed Price Level of Effort" which the contractor provides labor and such up to the fixed price level... usually used for services, to limit the spending and constrain the effort.

Meanwhile, the past eight years of hell threw out all the rules as regards decency, "legality" and all that other stuff about fair play, honesty, openess, democracy.... they got illegally pandering to fascists in Authority, and stayed in the same way, blocking any and all effective investigation and sanction. (See Dennis Kucinich and Henry Waxman and the people who tried to get the SEC to investigate Madoff and terminate his Ponzi schemes etc. etc. get ignored almost completely the past eight years and Seymour Hersh breaking stories that very occasionally got anything effecting in Washington....).

Please don't confuse what the intentions were in federal contracting, with the tragic realities with fascists having been in control of the US Federal Government the past decade and more (fascist Congress that was in place before the Schmuck invaded, and the judges appointed fascists...).... the rules and regulations and laws were -abrogated-. Focusing on the contract language and not the how and why, when especially the words are being ignored ANYWAY, is ignoring the -real- problems instead of focusing on the collateral damage.... deal with the problems and the collateral damage will STOP.

The current economic situation is mostly collateral damage.... effects of the side-effects of the deliberate policies of the fascists to eradicate regulation and review and to do "investigations" that the conclusions were in place before any review started... such as investigating Madoff, the fix obviously was in place to say he and his actions were all clean, such as the sick joke of investigaton of the Abu Ghraib affair and the lack of attention to all the OTHER similar atrocities, which seem to have been systematic results of a global policy decreed by the uppermost levels of the US Executive Branch, and with the US Congressional fascists colluding to stamp out any effectual review....

The past eight years have seen the Constitution, Bill of Rights, US public, and much of the rest of the world raped by misadministrative activities and polices and values of the Schmuck and his associates, and their fawning associates controlling mass media and various corporate interests... and the brainwashed jackasses who even today in the general public, don't see what the fuss is.... all those Palin promoters, for example. I gag in the local supermarket at the eleven promotional tradepaperbacks on the bookshelves with her repulsion image on the cover. The fact that they are sitting there unsold (a few sold, but there are 11 left) is a minor cause for celebrating, that they are sitting there unsold. The fact they they got published, and distributed, and some sold, is a cause for great dismay and regarding the publisher as Evil, however...

Hmm, the fact that her daughter's future mother-in-law has been arrested as a drug pusher, doesn't seem to have any influence on the Palin pestilent promoters.... More of the hypocrisy of the ilk of the outgoing scum regarding lock up all the drug users except for his younger self....

#692 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 11:34 AM:

Paula @#691: The fact they they got published, and distributed, and some sold, is a cause for great dismay and regarding the publisher as Evil, however...

While I agree with most of your prior comments, I suspect our hosts could tell you that all sorts of crap gets onto the shelves, for not-especially-evil reasons.

#693 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 11:37 AM:

David Harmon @ 689, aren't elections usually certified by the state SecState?

#694 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 12:16 PM:

A followup to my post #552... There is another way you can help the Skinny White Chick defray her medical expenses. Does anthology Ravens in the Library, with stories by Gaiman, de Lint and others sound interesting? It will not be released in stores, and won't be downloadable! It'll be available only as long as those expenses remain unresolved. After that, it will disappear.

#695 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 12:19 PM:

Raphael @#693: Good point, I'd managed to forget the Florida 2000 debacle.

#696 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 12:50 PM:

Raphael #684: what do you think will happen the next time a Democrat wins a state in which the Secretary of State is a Republican?

That depends on who has enough votes. If a Rethuglican SoS refuses to do his duty, the Democrats could seat the winning candidate anyway. If the Supremes strike that action down (voting on party lines, of course), then we have a nice, juicy Constitutional crisis. There's always the option to impeach the Supreme Court justices who vote incorrectly, of course, but that tends to take a while.

#697 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 02:47 PM:

From the "No, news anchor, that's not quite accurate" category:

Last night one of ours described Clint Eastwood's character in his new film "Gran Torino" as a "retired bigot."

I didn't think that was a profession; an avocation, perhaps.

#698 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 03:37 PM:

Linkmeister @ 697

I think he meant that the character had just bought a new set of Goodyears for his car.

#699 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Bruce, you're far too charitable. Those two (a husband and wife team) are not the brightest stars in our news firmament. So of course they were recently assigned to do both the 5:00pm and 6:00pm news on that channel. They're good together, at least in the channel's management's eyes.

Don't get me started on the number of spelling errors we see in the chyron graphics on all news programs. Somehow literacy and familiarity with names in the news evidently aren't requirements for the people operating that equipment.

#700 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 07:53 PM:

I just went to the Montreal worldcon's site, and noticed the following in the bio of GoH Elisabeth Vonarburg:

Born to life in 1947 (France), to reading in 1952 (myths, fairy tales, comics, adventure), to writing in 1958 (poetry), and to science-fiction in 1964 (at last!). Likes reading, music, movies, cats, skiing, good food and bad puns.

To think I've known her for nearly 30 years and never realized that she liked puns. Considering that it's been 4 years since we last met, we'll have some catching up to do.

#701 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2009, 09:02 PM:

re 691: Steady there.... only ten more days....

#702 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 01:27 AM:

re 691, 701: Nine days!
I just fixed my flag holder, and rigged a spotlight, so the flag will be flying the night of the 20th while we're setting off fireworks.

#703 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 02:55 AM:

Janetl @702:

I went out and got a flagpole for our holder over Christmas vacation, and coerced my mother into getting me an American flag (lovely one, too), so I can fly it on the 20th.

This should baffle and confuse my neighbors, who (a) don't follow American politics, and (b) have it firmly fixed in their heads that we are English.

Maybe I'll put a picture of Obama in the window to clarify the matter for them.

#704 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 08:17 AM:

Maybe I'll take January 20 off. Not only is that when the country has officially recovered its sanity, but it's also the 20th anniversary of my having moved to the country.

#705 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 01:56 PM:

Wingate@52: I take your point, but IIRC your raw figures are off by ~2; I remember signs warning when the grade on I-70 west of Denver reached 7% (i.e., not -"teens on highways"-), and 12-15% posted on the steepest road I've ever been on (in the slanty parts of Yorkshire). A spur off the Oslo-Bergen line claims to be the steepest traction railway at ~5%, but I suspect self-propelled lines (i.e., streetcars) can handle grades somewhat better than a locomotive with deadweight.

I'm curious about the statement that Georgetown was unfeasible due to topography, given the deep bore that keep the line from being aboveground at Rock Creek Canyon (cf following comments about the National Zoo stop). I might believe that the area was just too densely built-up with ancient houses on pilings that couldn't stand the disturbance. (cf churchs on both sides of Copley Square in Boston -- the 1970's damages to Trinity from founding the Hancock tower, and last month's cracked Old South facade because somebody insisted on digging the ]handicapped[ entrance on that side of the side street instead of next to a much newer building.)

#706 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 01:58 PM:

uh, that should be Wingate@\6/52....

#707 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 02:32 PM:

There are highways with grades exceeding 10 percent, but they're frequently marked on maps - you don't want to meet one without warning.
The steepest blocks in SFO are 30% or more! (The famous ones there are 20-25%. Why they got cable cars - it was too steep for anything else to work.)

#708 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 02:36 PM:

I need to check to see if my flag display place is secure; all we have are coffin-sized flags, and after computing the size and strength of a proper flagpole for that size canvas flag, we hang ours lengthwise and draped. We've saved half the New Year's firework stash for the 20th; that wasn't hard as the blower-up-in-chief had to work until 10:30, and it was pouring rain besides.

Once we suspended it full-lenght from an oak branch but the wind picked up and blew the whole contraption down.

#709 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 02:52 PM:

PJ Evans @ 707... The steepest blocks in SFO are 30% or more!

That reminds me of something that the late Herb Caen once wrote about his beloved San Francisco, that it was a great city for walking because, when you were tired, you could rest by leaning against the street.

#710 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 03:11 PM:

PJ @ #707, Serge @ #709, I give you Bill Cosby's 1960s standup routine: Driving in San Francisco.

YouTube, 4 or 5 minutes.

#711 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 04:16 PM:

If I were of a mind to piss off my neighbors (who deeply deserve it), and thought they would understand, I'd have a furled flag in the holder from now to the Inauguration (taking down each night, and replacing it in the morning; which, perforce they don't do. Love that Republican patriotism and "respect" for the flag).

Tues. morning I'd place it out, furled, and as soon as Obama was done taking the oath, I'd go out and release it.

#712 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 07:38 PM:

Terry # @711: Good point about respect for the flag. When I got my flag up and the spotlight angle adjusted, I admired the bold colors -- and thought my house looked a bit like Burger King. I have no idea if this is true, but years ago a friend told me that Burger King started flying enormous flags as a way around limits on the size of corporate signs. I always assumed this was true, since if you're going down the highway and see a flag, there usually is a burger nearby.
I'm not by nature one to venerate the flag. In high school, I refused to recite the pledge of allegiance, saying I'd start when the phrase "liberty and justice for all" was true. (ah, youth). I have, over the years, been amused by the flag fans who fly it after dark unilluminated, leave it out in the rain, and so on. I found the faded, ragged flags on cars after 9-11 particularly ironic.
I don't remember exactly when I embraced the flag, but I think it was when George Bush the 1st wrapped himself in it during his campaign. The conservatives had managed to make it their own, and that pissed me off. I was pleased to see Clinton & Gore grab it back with both hands in their branding. I now fly it on Flag Day, July 4th, and when the spirit moves me. My neighborhood runs more to rainbow flags and Tibetan prayer flags, so it stands out. I also carry one in protest marches. On the way to a large anti-war protest some years ago, a lady looking for the much smaller counter-protest (pro-war?), asked me for directions to it. She assumed that my stars & stripes must mean I was a conservative. ;^)

#713 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 07:41 PM:

1/20: Gotta buy a flag.

I saved some fireworks for the occasion.

I might bring a bunch of cakes or brownies to work. To heck with the feelings of conservatives.

#714 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 07:51 PM:

Stefan @ #713: I'm going to bring something simple to work. I'm making something kinda complicated for the party I'm going to Tuesday night. Dense chocolate cake (the sort that works as a bundt without any icing) baked as two 9" layers. Coat with ganache, piping a dam around the edge of the layer that will be on the bottom. Combine defrosted raspberries with Instant Sure Jell, pile on top of the bottom layer. (Sets up fast, and tastes like fresh raspberries.) Assemble, and frost with cream cheese frosting -- because chocolate is just that much better with a contrast.
Ahh. It's so good, and no single step is technically difficult, but it's more time that I'm usually willing to spend. But for this inauguration, no baking is too much trouble!

#715 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 07:57 PM:

It's frustrating that the inauguration is in January. It will most likely be too cold and/or wet to celebrate outside in much of the US. I really, really would like this celebration to be visible from space.
If you believe in a meddling higher power, you might have hope for unseasonable weather on the 20th, because it didn't rain on the speech in Denver, and the temperature was balmy in Grant park in November....

#716 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Me, I'm baking up a big ol' Schadenfreude Pie. And I have a flag around here somewhere....

#717 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 08:11 PM:

janetl #712:

In my experience, "big flag" usually means car dealer nearby. The burgers ye have with ye always.

#718 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 08:57 PM:

#710
Grew up with that one: 'Look, Maude, we caught another one!' [/snickering]

#719 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 09:10 PM:

P J @ #718, I've got three or four of his albums on vinyl. He was a dynamite standup comic long before he became (sequentially) Robert Culp's sidekick, a sitcom guy, and a scold.

#720 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 09:46 PM:

#709 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 02:52 PM:
The steepest blocks in SFO ... great city for walking because, when you were tired, you could rest by leaning against the street.

"May the road rise up to meet you"

#721 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 09:57 PM:

P.J. Shortly after I got my license (in Tenn. Four days later I drove back to LA). A friend needed a ride to the airport. I told her, had she no ride, I'd take her.

She didn't get a ride, so I took her... to SFO. I got to stay at her place (in the Marina) while she was gone.

Happened she got a call threatening to cut off some service, and I went to pay the bill for her.

Manual transmission. I was feeling less than happy (I'd been licensed for about a month) and decided I was tired of going up this street, so I made a right... and plotzed. That street when straight down, more than the one I left had been going straight up.

janetl: I am glad to know you fly your flag on my birthday (me, the army, and the flag all share a birthday).

To celebrate Obama's inauguration I'll be going to Canada. :)

Which is true, and not. There is someone in Ottawa who would like photography lessons. There are people in Ottawa who would like to see me. So airfare, and lodging are covered, and lessons will be given.

I get a month of winter in Canada.

#722 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 10:10 PM:

re 705: Interstate grade is limited to 6% (with exceptions), but non-interstates violate this routinely. IIRC parts of US 40 heading west from Cumberland are over 10% (and pretty scary). In town grade "limits" are violated routinely.

Max normal rail grade is in the 2% range, and I'm pretty sure that for the most part Metro trackage stays in those limits. With anti-wheel-slip and electric traction you can do somewhat better than that; I'm finding limits for heavy rail in the vicinity of 4% and light rail of 7%, with buses going to 10% or a bit more. The UWV people mover, which is a rubber tire system, has a peak 10% grade.

I am not privy to the details of exactly what the difficulties engendered with a Georgetown station were, but I can make two guesses. First, Georgetown sits just on the west side of the fall line. M Street (the main commercial drag) runs on a ledge about 60 feet up; most of the university is 150 feet up. This is OK going east, at least under M Street; going west, one simply runs out of land. And that leads to the other issue: it wasn't the only project they had to worry about. The planned interstate system envisioned a highway coming down from the northwest, hooking up with I-266 on the west end of Georgetown. Never heard of that road? It would have been a section of I-66 which was to cross the Potomac on the notorious, deeply hated, and never built Three Sisters Bridge. I imagine that this is the bridge that the engineers were talking about, but it wasn't halted for the first time until 1970 and not finally killed until midway through the decade, by which point that part of the metro was finished.

#723 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 10:27 PM:

Obama will be taking the oath of office at noon Washington DC time, which is morning on the West Coast. (I didn't realize until today that the time of the oath-taking is essentially mandated in the 20th Amendment; Presidential terms end and begin at noon, January 20th.) I'll be at a friend's house; we plan to drink sparkling cider in lieu of Champagne, and we should eat something celebratory -- but what? Bacon and eggs, too prosaic. Napoleons and cream puffs are not good breakfast fare. I'm thinking apple strudel, if I can find some really good strudel. Any ideas out there?

#724 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 10:36 PM:

Taking advantage of open-threadiness, I would appreciate some advice on digital cameras. I had one (a Sony, I believe) that got whacked. (Literally. My 3-yo nephew was involved. It was my fault for not being careful where I put it.)

I am very not technologically inclined. I am also fairly clueless about the nuts and bolts of photography. I am the kind of person who leaves a camera where a 3-yo can reach it.

I'm not looking for a top-quality camera that will take amazing artistic pictures. I'm looking for a camera small enough to carry around in my purse or pocket, and tough enough to survive being carried in my purse or pocket. I want to be able to take quick snapshots, mostly involving children or dogs.

I don't want to spend a lot of money. I'm planning on checking the local pawn shops once I get some ideas about what I'm looking for.

Does anyone have any pointers or suggestions?

#725 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 10:36 PM:

BTW, in the "thank heaven they never built this" department, here is a map of how the DC interstates were supposed to go. The I-66 route to the TR bridge was built, and the I-95 bit in VA was built, and the route that goes east towards the Anacostia was built, and the underground portion across the capitol was built, but the rest of it succumbed to "not through my back yard" and environmental opposition.

#726 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 10:41 PM:

Terry @ 721 -- Please be advised that Ottawa is now a bit more than a month into a transit strike. Lots of people are upset, traffic is a mess (especially downtown), and both sides are being completely stubborn. Because a couple of the bus routes cross into Quebec (only to drop people off, but still...), the issue is federal, not provincial, and of course our Parliament is currently in recess because of the inter-party shenanigans from late last year. And, yes, winter, which around here tends to mean a fair bit of snow and other stormy unpleasantness, with their own contributions to difficulty in getting around.

In short, this isn't exactly the best time for a visit. But if you're interested in trying to get together, drop me a line. (Alas, I don't own a car, so can't help with getting around.)

#727 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 11:05 PM:

#724
Try Consumer Reports; they've had digital camera reviews in the last year, and those should show up in the annual buying guide also.

#728 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 11:24 PM:

Open Thready liquor mini-reviews:

My latest batch of liquor purchases consisted of three new-to-me varieties. As usual, I was experimenting, and this round didn't work out too well:

Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum: I found this drinkable, but not nearly as enjoyable as a real Jamaican rum I've tried before -- basically, it tastes like a mass-market version. Even so, by comparison, it's going to run out sooner than either of the others. (7 ounce bottle)

99 Apples: (99 proof apple schnapps) Last time I bought liquor, it included the same brand's "99 Oranges", and I remarked that it did taste like oranges... with too much peel left in. Similarly, the 99 Apples tastes of apples... with orange peel. Not too bad "frozen", but still, meh. (I only found 750ml bottles.)

"Shine On" Georgia Moon Corn Whisky (80 proof): Lately there's been a surge of local (VA) interest in "legal moonshine", so I figured I'd try some. Unfortunately, this one's a stinker -- it has both the off-taste of corn syrup, and a vaguely sticky texture to boot. If anyone knows a better brand, I'm willing to take suggestions, but this (200ml) bottle is likely to gather dust in my cabinet.

#729 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 11:27 PM:

Joel: I am well aware of the transit strike. The timing is what it is. If I waited until all the stars were alighned, I never leave the house. :)

Juli Thompson: I'd look for a "compact" which allows for raw shooting, and is new enough that 2Gb isn't the upper limit for storage media.

#730 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 11:42 PM:

To clarify: I'm not asking for where you think I can find good strudel; rather, what would appeal to your palates as a breakfast to eat while watching an historic event of this magnitude.

#731 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2009, 11:58 PM:

Juli @724, I've found models in the Canon Powershot Annn range (eg, A30 – A590) except the A300, which had deep problems (A310 seemed to fix them) to be very good for their price.

#732 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 12:46 AM:

Juli, echoing Epacris, I've got a Canon Powershot SD600 (free as a replacement for a Powershot SD110 which had a memory chip failure that was spread among a bunch of digital camera manufacturers). I like it a lot. Pay little attention to the megapixels unless you plan to shoot 8x10 pictures or larger. Do pay attention to the zoom length: get 3x or greater if you can. I found that made a big difference from the 2x the SD110 I originally had.

Canon's Digital Elph series has some cameras under $200 and is sturdy and reasonably attractive.

#733 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 12:49 AM:

Mez@680: Sorry to disappoint you, but it's from nothus, meaning "false" or "counterfeit". (It refers literally to a bastard child.)

Faren@690: Thanks for that -- I hadn't heard. I was a big fan of Bob Wilkins when I was little.

#734 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 12:59 AM:

David Harmon @ #728: If you want to use it up, spiced rum makes for a nice Bundt cake. Alas, I'm not aware of any baking use for moonshine.

Juli Thompson @ #724: I'm very happy with my (now old) Nikon Coolpix S2. I recently bought something fancier so I can mess with aperture and all that. The Coolpix is one of those little "cigarette pack" cameras. Small enough to put in your pocket. Point and click. I never had any trouble loading photos to Windows or Mac. As is normal in a small camera, the flash is near the lens, so you'll have red eye in photos. It's got that 'flash a little bit first so the pupils contract' thing, which works with people but not pets.

#735 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 01:00 AM:

Ah, David Goldfarb at 733, you have explained nothospecies to me! I knew there was something wrong with it, but this is interesting.

My taxonomy professor last semester was adamant that the binomial species name was properly a Latin name; I insisted that no, it is the scientific name. Her example during the lecture was Bryobrittonia somethingorother. That, dear professor, is Greek.

#736 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 01:08 AM:

The brown bear's scientific name is "ursus arctos", which is bear in Latin followed by bear in Greek.

For that matter, Latin "nothus" is a loan word: Greek νόθος.

#737 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 01:12 AM:

Oops. Fingers faster than brain. Also, for almost too much information to use in selecting a digital camera. try www.imaging-resource.com. Good to check out what you've found in the pawn shops.

#738 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 02:25 AM:

JESR, #389:

I even went so far as to watch the amazingly bad "Murder on Her Mind" which, after several title-changes and recuts, ended up on Lifetime, simply for the Hugh Dillon Callum Keith Rennie casting (as the bad guy and the supportive husband, respectively).

On the topic of Due South fandom and Canadian actors, I just finishing watching Wilby Wonderful, an indie Canadian movie written and directed by Daniel McIvor and starring both Callum Keith Rennie and Paul Gross (as well as Sandra Oh). I recommend it - the writing and performances elevated it above similar movies.

#739 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 02:47 AM:

My advice on cameras:

1) Ignore Megapixels. Anything above 6 really doesn't matter. (unless it does, and you probably need to know about noise, diffraction, and circles of confusion before it does. And you should be getting paid). Anything above 10 is just going to waste space on computers/cards.

2) A lot of them are pretty similar, and amazingly good compared to what was on the market a few years ago. Your best bet is to make a quick scan in your price range, and then learn whatever you get well. This will make more of a difference than the last 2% of some spec somewhere.

3) My main criteria is that the camera shouldn't get in my way. It should be fast, light, and have enough knobs to get what I need done and no more. Also, if you're planning on getting the shot, the camera you have with you is far better than the one that's at home.

My wife has a Canon A570IS. It's nice enough, a little slower than I'd like, a little noisier than I'd like. It's survived 1.5 years in her purse and it still going strong.

I'd got a canon 40d slr, which is a little more complicated than I'd like (but I'm still on the learning curve). But, it's everything that I could want in for responsiveness. When I say take the picture, it takes the picture. It can turn on in the time it takes to get from in my hand to at my eye. But, it's also that much bigger, so it gets left at home more.

#740 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 08:40 AM:

Lizzy L: Sour cream coffee cake, made with almond extract in the batter, sliced almonds instead of streusel on top, and a ribbon of frangipane in the middle where you'd normally have a cinnamon-sugar-pecan layer.

#741 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 08:46 AM:

I've been very happy with the Canon IXUS/Elph line - I'm now on my third (fourth?) digital one (S300, S500, SD1100?), and they're a fine combination of highly portable and readily futzable (I like being able to mess with some of the exposure settings, and having the option of an optical viewfinder, for those #&(#@ technology days).

If you'd like an idea of what I've gotten out of the cameras (as a non-pro, not-really-serious-amateur), I've posted some shots on my flickr.

#742 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 09:55 AM:

xeger @ 741... Speakign of cameras, it occurs to me that there's no photo of you in the gallery "making light and faces". Hint, hint.

#743 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 10:31 AM:

When I did my calculation it was 4pm (1600) in Sydney (Daylight Saving), supposedly midnight (0000)-ish in New York. Assuming NY time = Washington's, then noon on 20th Jan in Washington should be … <grits teeth, squints> (I have trouble with these time things) … is four in the morning! on the 21st. Buggerit. That's why we get so many red-eyed coffee-suckers during televised US tennis competitions, Olympics, &c.

I shall set the alarm (alarums may be necessary), raise a glass of red wine & eat some blueberries & cream in celebration. There may be a live radio or TV broadcast for enthusiasts having all-night parties. Checking that it's 2:30am or so in Sydney now, and apparently 10:30am-ish in the Eastern United States, it looks right.

Diatryma, working out scientific names is great fun, tho' David Goldfarb's new was disappointing. The Australian Magpie is Gymnorhina tibicen , or bare-nosed flute-player (from tibia, the double end-blown flute, which gave me a twitch in the shins). Tibicen is also used for cicadas. You can hear their warbling, fluting song (with commentary) in the Cheeky Magpies clip or other ones.

Time for beddy-byes; had my cool shower to make bed bearable.

#744 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 11:02 AM:

Re#722--Entirely irrelevant to this discussion, but perhaps of interest to those interested in railroads, the Saluda Grade on the W Line of the (now*) Norfolk Southern, in western North Carolina, was supposed to average around 4.7%, which is supposed to be one of the steepest, if not the steepest grade, on a Class I railroad in the US. In the steam era, they used a helper locotmotive to get trains uphill, and this was also one of the first places to employ a special spur line for runaway trains that ended in a sandpile, for a (slightly) safer stop, for the downhill trips. Amazingly, despite the accidents they did have, they never had a passenger death on the line as far as anyone knows. The Norfolk Southern closed that stretch down at the end of 2001.
Western North Carolina also had a couple of other seriously steep grades: Red Marble Mountain, which is listed with an average of 4.4%, and Balsam Mountain had an average of 4.0%.

The old Clinchfield Railroad dealt with its mountain problem by means of the Loops, which are so well-designed they haven't needed much in the way of improvements to handle modern trains but building 18 tunnels in 13 miles couldn't have been cheap, to say nothing of the switchbacks (or zig-zags, if you prefer).

*Originally it was the Southern Railroad.

#745 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 11:18 AM:

I can't think of any breakfast food appropriate for watching anything, really, but my desirable breakfast foods mostly involve knife and fork. I would suggest something in a mug or wineglass that can be held up for celebratory toasts, be it coffee, hot chocolate, or alcohol.

A brown bear being Ursus arctos makes sense to me. You look at a brown bear and think, "Wow, that is really a bear. Very bearly. Definition of 'bear'."

#746 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 11:19 AM:

#744
There's a loop on the railroad going through Tehachapi Pass. They built it for the same reason: to keep the grade reasonable for the trains. It's not nearly that steep, only 2.2%, but it's short enough that trains can cross over themselves going around it. (Only freight trains through there, AFAIK.)

#747 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 11:33 AM:

Terry @ 729: If I waited until all the stars were alighned, I never leave the house.

Better than hanging around in R'lyeh dreaming, I suppose.

My original comment about the strike, "Lots of people are upset" -- please amend to "Lots of people are being hurt". Businesses are having problems, people are being laid off, people are having trouble getting around for shopping and appointments, home care workers aren't able to provide care, etc. Our idiot mayor and council didn't make any contingency plans against the (strong) possibility of losing the strike vote they forced for last Friday (and which they did lose, resoundingly), and have no plans to meet again until this Wednesday. (Emergency session, hello? This isn't an emergency? Well, not for the mayor, who lives a 5-minute walk from his workplace, and can call for a driver if even that walk is too much trouble.)

#748 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 11:43 AM:

Lizzy L @ 723: The answer is always Bacon. Probably in a sandwich for this occasion. I personally like the triple-layer BLT with an over hard egg (double-yolker a bonus) in the third layer.

#749 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 12:03 PM:

Stevey-Boy @ 748... The answer is always Bacon

As in "Who co-starred in Tremors with Fred Ward"? As in the frat boy who gets paddled in Animal House?

#750 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 12:28 PM:

Juli Thompson @ #724: My camera needs are exactly the same as yours. I picked up an entry-level Kodak Easyshare C813 zoom for about $100 before I took my vacation in November. You can see some of the pictures I've taken with it here, although some in that photostream are taken by my roommate with her older, lesser-pixeled camera (and way better eye).

There's not terribly much internal memory, so I got a 2g memory card. The only things I don't like about the camera are 1.) it eats through batteries and 2.) the "easyshare" concept is BS - I could not post pics from internet cafes due to their lack of card readers and the fact that Kodak makes you download some kind of software if you're thinking of hooking the camera up to a computer via USB cable. It's not a problem from home, as I can just pop out the memory card and put it in my home computer.

#751 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 12:53 PM:

Mary Robinette Kowal has discovered photographic evidence of Emma Peel's encounter with the Daleks.

#752 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 01:13 PM:

debcha @ 738, you forgot Ellen Page; I've sold that movie to many people my kids' age as "an Ellen Page movie with Sandra Oh" even though in fact it's a love letter from Daniel MacIvor to his favorite Canadian (or almost Canadian: Maury Chaykin is a wonderfully sleezy small town mayor) actors, and the desperation of Sandra Oh and James Allodi's characters give it what structure it has.

Speaking of Sandra Oh and Callum Keith Rennie: Double Happiness. Speaking of James Allodi and Paul Gross: Men with Brooms.

Also needing more attention: "Twitch City" an utterly daft situation comedy with Don McKellar and Daniel MacIvor, Molly Parker, Mark McKenny and Callum Keith Rennie. On price, the biggest bargain ever; last I looked the full two-season series is $14.95 US on Amazon.

Also, according to the good folks at the Live Journal community called c6d_weekly, ION TV has picked up "Durham County," another Hugh Dillon cop show only not much like "Flashpoint" at all.

(I feel as if my message board personality has taken charge here, oh dear. I'm a TV person, dammit: my favorite Christmas present, except of course for my new camera, was a Mr. Peepers DVD).

#753 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 01:34 PM:

More on cameras: I've been shooting with a Kodak Easyshare since the Olympus Stylus 300 I bought first died of a known design fault; this is a portfolio of the best I can squeeze out of that camera. The autofocus is unforgiving when you're trying to take photos of full-screen pattern, or in low contrast light, and the reciprocity failure in low light conditions is ferocious. Also, for me, it is too lightweight to hold stable, so I ended up shooting on a tripod as a default. And if you're downloading to iPhoto, for instance, it is ridiculously slow.

That said, it was much more satisfying to use than the Olympus, which cost more than twice as much; it is especially satisfying when you're looking at color value across the scale (I'm finding that my new Nikon leans blue; I suspect that it's a Nikon thing in general, as my sister's point-and-shoot did the same). And the thing is tough, given the amount of jolting around it got, it's still functioning perfectly two years on. Best of all, it takes AA batteries so you don't find yourself in Goldendale at 6pm with no car charger and no replacement battery.

#754 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 01:47 PM:

Tehachapi hasn't seen a passenger train since a day or so after Amtrak (the last Chief was late). I think the only place you can ride a train over a true spiral loop is on the Georgetown Loop Railroad in Colorado, though there are a bunch of places you can ride around horseshoe curves (including THE Horseshoe Curve, which you can see on the Pennsylvanian if you ride it on Saturday (or weekdays during the summer)).* True switchbacks are incredibly rare in the US; one place said there were only five left, and two of the three I know of are on tourist roads. The only mainline example is in Hagan, Virginia, and still sees traffic. The Clinchfield loops are not true switchbacks, but "simply" an incredibly snaky bit of trackage.

One of the cute things about Tehachapi is the way it literally circles the hill.

*Further checking has revealed that the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is running trains around the Hiwassee Loop, a particularly mad piece of engineering which circles a hill in Tennessee 1 3/4 times.

#755 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Lizzy L #730:

I'd pick classic champagne brunch foods, notably Salmon Eggs Benedict, if your sauce skills are up to it. Very festive, goes with champers or substitute bubbly. If you have to go with Stevey-Boy's edict about bacon, make regular Eggs Benedict, which involves Canadian bacon.

And then something that involves blueberries, raspberries and cream, for a patriotic finish.

Help! I'm giving myself ideas ...!

#756 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 02:22 PM:

C. WIngate @754--Do you mean it's mad in the Girl Genius sense, or did you have something else in mind? Because I suspect that the answer to "Why on earth did they do that?" at Hiwassee has to do with the cost and difficulties of tunneling in karst topography (very leaky stuff, limestone, and at times more like petrified Swiss cheese) as opposed to just laying the damn track at the easiest grade they could manage in the circumstances, even if it did end up looking like something from an amusement park as a result (which is probably why quite a few sections of track in this part of the world could inspire amusement park rides).

One of claims locals make about the Clinchfield Loops is that members of the train crew could hop off the caboose, pick apples from the orchards on the slopes, and hop back on the caboose on the next loop. Similarly, at Saluda, crew would hop off at the foot of the hill, make a lunch run into town, and climb back on with the food as the train labored up the slope.

#757 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 05:23 PM:

re 756: Oh, it's just the peculiarity of it, looking at the map: the way the line from Farner goes off, 90 degrees in the "wrong" direction, just so it can go out and circle this hill before it continues on its way to Apalachia. I imagine this was constructed on a "keep grading costs to nothing basis" (pretty typical for early lines in the east) so even doing much in the way of cuts was ruled out.

#758 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Serge@749

No, as in what gets taped to cats...

#759 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 06:30 PM:

Michael I @ 758... Bacon taped to a cat? I don't what Kyra Sedgwick, his wife, would think of that.

#760 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 08:21 PM:

Lenny @ 678:

Thank you; I've just sent an email. (Would've sent it sooner, spent the weekend doing a fibro flare, oh joy.)

#761 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 08:27 PM:

I'm happy to say that my kitchen is just a smidge more radioactive[0] now!

[0] Not that particular one, but very close... and quite lovely under UV!

#762 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Lizzy L: the most festive breakfast when I was small was lamb chops with fresh biscuits, preferably with homemade applesauce on them. (I don't know whether the orchard my father put in survived the bifurcation of our 4 acres, but the apple trees used to make wonderful sauce and pies.)

#763 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Juli: at the risk of waxing prolix.

There are a number of Coolpix cameras, from the credit card sort, to compacts, which take filter and supplemental lenses and off-camera strobes.

Pixel count is a gimmick. All things being equal, all things aren't equal. If trying to compare pixels, make sure you are comparing like to like. An Elph has a much smaller sensor area than my D2H, which means it's pixels are smaller too.

In theory cameras with the same sized sensor will have better responses with more pixels, because they can resolve color with more gradation, but the mosaic/demosaic math matters at least as much as pixel count.

What I'd recommend, actually, is to be allowed to take some test shots. Choose a memory format. and buy a chip.

Go to a reputable camera shop, and ask them to let you shoot some test images.

Take shots of people (because skin tones really matter), some close up (because how well the lens resolves will be more apparent), and then play around with the various features.

Go for optical zoom. If it has "digital zoom" ignore it. All that's doing is cropping in camera. You can do that better, and with more flexibility in software.

If at all possible (as my bias begins to show) get a camera which has a viewfinder. Those LCD screens have a delay (which is annoying, to me, at best, and nauseating at worst), and the act of excluding the rest of the world removes distractions, which makes it easier to compose well.

re nerdycellist's comment on cardreaders, if your computer doesn't have one built in, a PCMCIA adapter is handy. More elaboration would be a post on workflow. I already have one of those posted here, so if you are interested in that aspect of things, that's the place to go.

Though now I think it's time to write something on choosing a camera.

JESR: Yes, Nikon has a slight blue tinge. The story is they (as with Fuji) balance to get good highlights on black hair.

#764 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 09:18 PM:

Terry, I shouldn't be surprised, as I've gone through the Fujichrome thing more than once (taking wedding pictures, no less). I suspect it's another learning curve.

I had the ultimate frustrating experience today; one of the local coyotes was right up at the fence in broad daylight, again- except it was the kind of broad zero-contrast (cloudy 3pm) daylight that makes autofocus very confused: so, no coyote photo, again, for the fifth time of chasing. I suspect that the trickster gods are working together.

#765 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 09:32 PM:

JESR: One of the things a decent digital will let you do is play with Hue, so you can dial the color correction in to make the highlight tones/cast more as you want it to look; in camera, and save time in the salvage the final product stage.

Me, my preferred software does all that (and a bit more besides) before I see the file (though I can defeat that, with the click of the mouse; without having to search out some menu, or learn some keyboard set), so I don't mess with it.

My father, however, has done various bits of tinkering to get films he likes as in camera emulations.

With RAW he can defeat that too. That's why I am so fond of RAW.

#766 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 09:46 PM:

Thank you to everyone who wrote with suggestions about cameras. I am taking notes, and will do some research at the local camera shop.

I especially enjoyed the picture pages. It's always interesting to me to see what kinds of pictures other people take, and what they do with them.

#767 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2009, 10:29 PM:

Juli: Pretty much everything useful I could say about cameras has already been covered by others already, but when you settle on what features you want you could do worse than to check out DPReview. Under their buying guide they have options to search for cameras by features and to compare different models side-by-side. Their in-depth reviews are really in depth - probably too much so for a novice - but each ends in a handy one page summary of pros and cons and why you might or might not want to purchase it.

I'm not looking for a top-quality camera that will take amazing artistic pictures.
Even the best and most expensive camera won't do that. It's a function of the photographer.

#768 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 12:56 AM:

I'm definitely with Terry on viewfinders. For one thing, using one is how I learned to take pictures and it feels more comfortable. I feel like I have more control over what's in the shot and what's not. Trying to frame a picture in an LCD held out in front of me just doesn't work in my case.

#769 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 02:16 AM:

JESR, #752: I'm a TV person, dammit...

Thanks for the suggestions (and I second Twitch City). I'm so not a TV person - I figure I see an order of magnitude more live music shows than movies in theatres, don't have cable, and only watched Wilby Wonderful because I am on my annual snowboarding trip in Utah with friends and we were vegging out in the living room of our house rental after dinner.

#770 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 02:42 AM:

"Alas, I'm not aware of any baking use for moonshine."

Firing the marine oven.

#771 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 08:59 AM:

My small contribution to camera shopping -

My experience and (apparently) JESR's experience in #764 argues that the ability to turn autofocus off is more valuable than you might think.

Turning it off on the fly to catch a coyote is potentially advanced mojo and I couldn't do it even assuming I thought of it at the right moment, but it is an excellent example of why you'd want to. Other situations include photos at a parade or a concert that permits such things - autofocus will persistently capture clear, sharp images of the heads and raised hands of the crowd in front of you, even if most of the field is the actual object of interest. Manual focus lets you set the focus during a dull moment and be relatively sure that you'll catch the interesting shots later.

#772 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 12:36 PM:

Paul Duncanson @767

You're right. It's not the camera. It's the photographer.

Witness the vogue for taking fantastic photos with the Holga--a $20 plastic camera manufactured in China as a child's toy.

There are some galleries here

#773 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 01:58 PM:

What I have heard about viewfinders* is that they vary. Some of them may not match up with what the camera sees. It wouldn't matter for me much-- most of my pictures so far have been of the cat sitting still-- but it can make a difference.


*I got a digital camera for Christmas after years of looking on my own but not knowing whether to go for expensive and good or cheap and cheap. Camera people I asked told me to go for expensive and good; my own instincts were that I was never going to use it and if I planned to throw money away on a toy I may as well not throw too much away. But I did read a lot of reviews.

#774 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Pardon me while I vent -- I'm still fuming over Bush's so-called press conference, i.e. "We rescued 30,000 from rooftops, that was a fast Federal response."

Bullshit, sir. The time to have gotten everyone away from the Gulf Coast was before Katrina made landfall. It's a lot less expensive to put folks in anything with wheels and get them outta Dodge, than to send a fleet of helicopters.

Besides the 30,000 were at the Superdome NOT on rooftops...

The weekend before Katrina hit, Greyhound and Trailways offered buses and got no response. And how many school buses were damaged and destroyed as they sat in their lots around the City of New Orleans?

#775 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 04:02 PM:

I have stuff to say about digital cameras that no one has said yet! I recommend the Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Digital Elph. Typed out the name after pulling it out of my pocket, where it's survived being dripped on by plum juice, and years now of being carried around everywhere.

Why is it more awesome than any other digital camera? It takes a wider photo. I forget the term, but there's some built-in thing with cameras that determines how wide a cone they see, and the 800 sees a wide enough cone that you can photograph buildings without standing in the street getting hit by cars. All the time I photograph the insides of rooms, or largish stuff I'm planning to sell on eBay, or groups of friends arm-in-arm. There are places where you just can't back up far enough to get the whole photo with a typical camera.

There's another in the series of Digital Elphs that also has the wide cone, that was replacing the 800 a few years ago when I bought it, but I don't remember the specific number. Take care as the numbers don't seem particularly representative of the age/features of the camera.

The 800 also has a viewfinder so old baffled people can take photos of you, and it's flat enough that you can set it on its end so you can walk away and take a photo of yourself, and it turns on quite fast so you can usually photograph things you're driving past, and its battery keeps juice for months, and it has an easy-to-access way of changing exposure time which makes it easier to photograph sunsets right.

Going back in time to another topic, I also took my American flag to protests of the Iraq war, in San Francisco. At one point a transgender woman came up and asked if she could have it so she could burn it while declaiming poetry. I bemusedly wished her better luck elsewhere...

#776 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Madeline F @#755: ...where it's survived being dripped on by plum juice...

Ah, you tried for a snapshot of the "Smulp" thread? ;-)

#777 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2009, 07:14 PM:

Our task is not to watch but just to win
pure gold each time without a single flaw
leaving the fools to weep into the straw.

Those who were warm had no need to come in
or so they thought until they spied the claw;
our task is not to watch but just to win

against the odds, and to keep whole the skin
of all we cherish from freeze to the thaw
not out of duty, nor because of law;
our task is not to watch but just to win.

#778 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 12:28 AM:

re Viewfinders: With the exception of the a few pro-level cameras (such as the Nikon F3 and D2H) there aren't a cassete/digital cameras which have a WYSIWYG viewfinder.

This is, by and large, fine. The SLRs have a slight cropping which makes it easier to avoid clipping elbows and fingers out of the frame.

Non-SLR camera suffer from parallax errors, but only when working at very short ranges.

Auto-focus is a feature, and a bug. If I were designing a camera it would always be a button, or lever, to engage/defeat it. Things like white balance, image quality/format, autofocus, sensor speed, should never be buried in menus.

Madeline F: That's angle of view, or field of view. A wider angle lens will have a wider angle of view. There are trade offs, but if the camera works for you, it's a good camera.

#779 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 01:09 AM:

Thanks for the continuing camera advice. I'm absorbing it all and taking notes.

Fragano, I am so impressed that you can write villanelles. I was impressed with the first one, and that you can continue to do it, on such a variety of topics, just boggles my mind.

#780 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 08:10 AM:

Juli Thompson #779: Thanks. I blush. Except that wasn't a villanelle, but a Chaucerian roundel, a rather easier form to play with.

#781 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Politics in the Tennessee Statehouse just got a lot more entertaining, thanks to some clever maneuvering behind the scenes. (The link is to my LJ, which has links to several Real News sources, one with an excellent picture of Rep. Jason Mumpower gesturing like Moses, just before his house of cards collapsed.)

It became noisy enough in the chamber that the state troopers on duty at the capitol entered the chamber to see if they needed to break up a riot.

Things should become even more interesting as the session continues. Maybe we could sell tickets.

#782 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 10:37 AM:

I know zilch about cameras, but just came across this item in Science Daily that might be of interest -- info on potential improvements.

#783 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 10:56 AM:

My camera is a -- *checks flickr* -- Canon PowerShot SD1000, and I'm very happy with it. I keep it on manual so I can change exposure and such quickly, though disabling autofocus takes a tad longer. Like Madeleine @775, I like how it's flat on all sides so it's easy, for example, to rest it on a railing for a slow night shot, or a table for a close-up food porn shot.

It just takes good pictures.

Sure wish I could focus manually, though.

#784 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 11:44 AM:

I think with some of the cameras, one can hold the shutter button halfway down to set focus on one thing, and then move to another and depress the shutter* to take the picture with the focus setting from the object you first set focus on.


* "You're a lousy shutter!"

#785 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 12:46 PM:

Steve C @ 784... "You're a lousy shutter!"

Is that an objective opinion?

#786 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 01:14 PM:

Serge@786

Focus, people, focus!

#787 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 01:19 PM:

At least no one here seems emulsionally attached to older photographic technologies . . .

#788 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 01:29 PM:

Will you fstop it with the puns? I'm taking a very negative view of them. We just slide right into pun wars, which develop and enlarge panoramically, with sometimes only the filmiest connection to the subject. It really lens an air of triviality to our diskussions. It's tripe, odd and annoying.

#790 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 01:39 PM:

Cameraden, can we not live together in harmony? Aw, sheet -- I see I'm too late; the reflex puns have already begun. It is something of a contact sport, I realize, although some may tire of the Hassel(and the)blad.

#791 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 01:52 PM:

oh, this is rapidly sliding out of control.

#792 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Patrick McGoohan has died.
He was 80 years old.

May he rest in peace.

#793 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 02:00 PM:

Serge #792: That is sad news.

#794 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 03:58 PM:

Fragano @ 793... I see that Stefan Jones @ 780 had mentionned it first. That being said, it is indeed sad news. I think I was a fan of his going back to Danger Man's original incarnation.

#795 ::: Harriet has a word re: Whisperado tonite ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 04:26 PM:

I note that the Whisperado-notice at the top of the ML homepage says they are playing tonight, Wednesda January 14, at Kenny's Castaways, "Time TBA". And clearly, what with Grand Jury and all, PNH has had no time to update that notice.

This is just a word to anyone who might be interested to say that the website calendar for Kenny's Castaways shows today's schedule as

>Wednesday 1/14

>Whisperado Presents an Evening of Music >Featuring~

>7pm Laura Vecchione
>8pm Whisperado
>9pm Todd Giudice
>10pm Survival Suit

So, though I have no sekrit insider knowledge (nor yet confirmation from PNH), I thought it might be a Point of Interest in these here parts.

#796 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 04:44 PM:

AHHH! They're dropping like flies!

Ricardo "KHAAAAAAANNNNN!" Mantalbon, dead at 88:

http://www.local12.com/content/breaking_news/story/Ricardo-Montalban-Dead-at-88/aO4T11P1i0CTd5v8nov0jg.cspx

Early funerals plans call for him being buried in a coffin lined with fine corinthian leather.

#797 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 05:11 PM:

Linkmeister, #660: Houston has a very good record of road projects that come in on time and on budget, or even under one or both. This is because we have a judge who was a civil engineer before he took the bench, and who makes it his business to oversee such projects; he knows how to read a contract, what's realistic to expect, and when the contractor is bullshitting.

Adrian, #674: Ouch! Yeah, that sounds like a "you either laugh or you cry" situation; I'm glad you're able to see the funny in it.

Terry, #711: Do it anyhow. Your neighbors may not get it, but I'll bet other people who pass by will.

I had an interesting experience over the weekend. GAFilk was sharing the hotel with a regional Alpha Phi Alpha (black fraternity) alumni convention, and Saturday morning I was on the elevator with a military man -- something fairly high up from the amount of fruit salad on the uniform, but I can't read rank badges. We were making elevator small-talk, and he said, "It's a great day to be an American." As we exited into the lobby, I responded, "It'll be a better day to be an American on the 20th,"... and he stopped, turned and took my hand, and said, "God bless you for saying that." It gave me an odd feeling, sort of sad and proud at the same time.

janetl, #712: Yes, those faded, ragged flags on giant SUVs and monster pickups are the worst. As a friend of mine says, "Explain to me again how flying half a flag is supposed to be patriotic?" I've been tempted to print out business-card-sized copies of the relevant part of the Flag Code to put on their windshields, but so far have been too lazy to do so.

Juli, #724: The Fujifilm Finepix Z20fd is what I've been using -- I got it as an early Yulegift a few months ago. I've been delighted with it; it's small and light enough to fit into an evening bag, and it makes me look like a better photographer than I am. It's your basic PHD camera, with a good zoom, and a large viewscreen on the back to help you frame the picture properly -- no holding it up to your eye, which is hard when you wear glasses. It does movies too, though I haven't tested that out yet. And you can get one for as little as $99, according to Google. Plug the USB cable into your computer, and it treats it like a removable hard drive. You can see the kind of pictures I've been getting with it on my Flickr stream. The only caveat is that you'll need to establish a way to carry it such that the slide cover (which is the on/off mechanism) can't get pushed open by accident, and make a habit of putting it away in that orientation.

#798 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 05:23 PM:

Stefan Jones #796: That's Montalbán, Stefan. (Me, turning to a colleague waiting at a small airport in Nicaragua, "De plane, boss, de plane!")

#799 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 05:32 PM:

Fragano @ 798... "De plane, boss, de plane!"

Aren't you a bit tall to be Hervé Villechaize? Or maybe you're referring to the 1990s version.

#800 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Lee: Fruit Salad is a measure of three things. Time in service (some come from just that, some comes from having more time to do things of note, some are for going to schools), being really exeptional (rare, but it happens), and doing things which get noticed (this can be kissing up, or a generous commander; when it isn't being truly exceptional).

If I put every award for which a ribbon (as opposed to only my medals) onto my chest, I think (because I've never done it) I am four rows high, by four ribbons wide. I suspect it's actually five, but there is no way it reaches to six.

Add the appurtanences for those I've earned more than one of (numerals, stars, oak leaves, and palms) and the total number of awards on my chest is about 30. That's not too bad for 16 years. About average, actually, though I do think I earned most of them (some are "warm body" awards; e.g. my Drill Attendance Ribbon, two of which were awarded for attended all required drills in years I did not attended any. They are legitimate, nonetheless) some (my four awards of the Good Conduct medal, and my 4 awards of the Armed Forces Reserve Component Commendation Medal) are for not screwing up in the time frame of the award.

All in all, I probably deserve more than I was given. That's the way it goes. Some people work hard to get them, some just work hard.

#801 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 05:44 PM:

I was out working on my focus skills today (Nikon D60, for the record) and I thought Terry Karney would be nostalgic for these words: clear air to The Mountain, and mortar fire (since 7am this morning, the latter).

#802 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 05:45 PM:

Regarding that article... ow!

The simplifications are painful, and some of them are flat out wrong (the implication of forced perspective distortions being corrected by "multiple panes of glass" being the one which made me jump back here to comment. I will now go and see what they have to say about the actual tech in question)

OK... not much there, there. Until they address the issue of pixel receptors, the filtering lenses, etc. which go into making a sensor suitable for catching an image, it's all pipe dreams.

When they are at a point they can start talking about that, then it might make a difference, but the things being discussed (like force perspective) are not the result of the flatness of the image plane, but simple facts of optics. The panel would have to be really deep to correct for being close, and then be shallow to not have different problems when dealing with longer focal lengths.

The related article (about "folded" lenses) also points out some limits to the utility of those. I think the latter are more likely to work out (esp. for things like cell phone cameras, and smaller digitals) than the former.

#803 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 06:08 PM:

Wow - Khan is gone. That brings to six the number of Star Trek II stars who are no longer with us. The others are

Merritt Butrick
Bibi Besch
Paul Winfield
Deforest Kelley
James Doohan

And seven if you count Kirstie Alley's career.

#804 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 06:13 PM:

JESR: Oddly (as I know, pretty much, just where you are) you are right.

When I was fresh back to Ft. Lewis (from Iraq) and billeted in barracks from WW2 (ah, for the life of an officer, or senior NCO back then... NOT), I was awakened one mornig by the sound of rifle fire.

I roused my weary self enough to say, "M-16, outbound, half a mile; at which point, with a sense of serenity hard to explain, I drifted back to sleep.

I envy you the view.

#805 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 06:15 PM:

Steve C @803:

Without arguing too far into who was a star of Star Trek and who was not, I'd like to add one name to that list:

Mark Lenard

#806 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 06:20 PM:

More:
Jane Wyatt
Celia Lovsky

#807 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 06:22 PM:

I think we're only talking about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, am I correct? There's a long list of people who were in the various TV shows and are now dead, most prominently Majel Barrett Roddenberry, but she wasn't in TWOK.

#808 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Xopher @807:

You're right; it's late and I didn't read carefully enough.

#809 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 06:25 PM:

Abi, PJ, you're of course right -- they were Star Trek alumni. I was just looking at that one movie.

#811 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 10:10 PM:

Abi @ 805...

"We are creatures of duty, Captain... Just one more duty to perform."

#812 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 11:16 PM:

A few months ago, I asked in these parts for laptop recommendations. I think Dell was described as the best of the bunch, or rather not the worst of the bunch. Would you recommend against Acer, even one refurbished by a reliable repair place?

#813 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2009, 11:53 PM:

Dell's not bad, but they're best treated as disposable -- my experiences with their idea of tech support are probably best summarized as "frustrating".

#814 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 12:02 AM:

xeger @ 813... Oh, I've never used the tech-support of our laptop's maker. I usually take it to that repair place I mentionned earlier. They're good, and they're a short drive away. I guess the nice thing about Dell's machines is that they're not too expensive. What brand would you recommend in the $1000 range?

#815 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 01:37 AM:

Serge @ #814, I've got an email from HP in my inbox right now which is trying to get me to buy an HP Pavilion laptop barebones for $679. 2Gb memory, 160Gb hard drive, etc. Upgradeable to whatever you like from there.

#816 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 01:47 AM:

Limkmeister @ 815... Thanks for the link.

#817 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 01:49 AM:

re: Lee, #797:

It's your basic PHD camera.

Useful for doctoring the images, then?

#818 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:12 AM:

Serge @816, TigerDirect has a similar deal for about a hundred bucks less than that. That's the company that bought out CompUsa; they've expanded their online offerings considerably since then. Anything cheaper than that, and then you're getting into netbook territory, which is a whole nother animal.

#819 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 07:47 AM:

#814: Thinkpad. For $1000 you could get a very nice used one on eBay.

#820 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 08:47 AM:

hedgehog @ 817... To a varying degree.

#821 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 08:51 AM:

Earl @ 818... I was wondering what had happened to CompUSA and why all the stores I had come across were closed. Thanks for the tip.

Jon @ 819... ThinkPad is what my employer provides me, and I like it, but it's a good thing I'm not paying for it because I've gone thru 3 of them in a litle more than 6 years.

#822 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 09:10 AM:

My HP Pavillion done me wrong, heating up so much that it (a) burned my arm while I was doing data munching after the Gooey Kablooey*, and (b) burned up its own hard drive.

Found an ethical way to get rid of it and bought a used Mac. Would not buy one of them again, but maybe I just got a lemon.

-----
* I ended up doing most of the hours of processing with a folded towel under my left forearm to bring the heat to tolerable levels.

#823 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 09:42 AM:

Abi @ 822... You too? That's what my wife currently uses and, goodness, does it let out a lot of heat. I thought it was just hers that did that. As for burning your arms... First, your legs in Spain, now this?

#824 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 09:49 AM:

818, 821: MicroCenter also bought some of CompUSA's inventory (store branded cards, drives, jewel cases, etc).

In its last year of existence the local CompUSA was trying to transform itself into a "home entertainment" dealer. Didn't work.

#825 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 10:09 AM:

If the OS is not an issue, I would recommend a Macbook for the $1000 range. I've found my Mac extremely reliable -- considerably more so than the Dell and HP laptops I've used in the past -- and Apple's customer service to be considerably better than Dell's or HP's. (I've also found the Mac OS to be free of most of the little annoyances of using Windows. YMMV.)

If the OS is an issue, and you need primarily to run Windows, I would go with a Thinkpad. I had one of those for several years and it never broke down on me. After four years, the battery in the first needed replacing -- it would no longer charge. The second only died because I dropped it and borked the hard drive. Thinkpads seem like high-quality, reliable machines in my experience.

I had a dreadful experience with an HP. The hard drive started intermittently failing within a month, and customer service flatly refused to replace it until the third time I sent it back (they kept wiping it and reinstalling Windows). I finally had to get a bit rude on the phone and argue with them for about an hour, demanding that they replace the laptop, before they conceded to mail a new hard drive that I could install myself. If I were you I would avoid HP.

#826 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 10:11 AM:

Ha, I totally failed to read the part about your bad luck with Thinkpads. Er, disregard that portion then. It is possible they have become much less reliable since my use of them.

#827 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 10:16 AM:

I have heard that's what's happened, Caroline; Thinkpads used to use good parts, and now they don't so much. A friend of a friend who works at ITS has said that Dell uses cheap parts.

Regardless of actual performance, I just like the keyboard mouse-joystick thing better than trackpads.

#828 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 10:42 AM:

Terry Karney (#802). As I said, I know zilch about cameras. Sorry for wasting your time.

#829 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 11:16 AM:

Caroline @ 826... Don't worry. Besides, it may have been only two ThinkPads I've gone thru, not three. :-) As for the OS, we'll stick with Windows because she could use my work laptop if hers had to be repaired. I was quite happy a few days ago when PJ Evans and others said here that the dreaded Vista could be replaced by XP.

#830 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Terry Karney @804, there's yesterday's Mountain at my LJ; still not messing about with color balance or anything at all except framing, focus, and image density. Getting a baseline, so to speak. I wish I'd been able to shoot a few hundred images a day since I got the camera, but unfortunately neither the weather or the corresident humans have allowed that indulgence.

#831 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 12:20 PM:

Folks, not sure if anyone linked to this comic yet, but it seems to hit several of the "Making Light" buttons.

http://lovecraftismissing.com/

Not very computer savvy, so no direct hyperlink.

#832 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 01:21 PM:

The T20 series of Thinkpad had some kind of capacitance problem. After about three years of heavy use mine started needing more and more time between boots; when I had to wait up to a week before it would boot again I finally replaced it with a better model (salvaging all usable parts, such as the HD, memory and OS). That was two years ago and I've had no problems since.

I still have the old computer. The last time I tried turning it on, it did boot. I suspect that someone who knew a bit about engineering could find and replace the flaky capacitor.

#833 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 832... suspect that someone who knew a bit about engineering could find and replace the flaky capacitor.

Call Christopher Lloyd.

#834 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 02:05 PM:

Jim Macdonald type question here:

I stubbed my pinky toe yesterday. Hard. So hard that it is purple on the inside. Wearing a shoe that is not wide enough to let the foot spread hurts. (Duh!) I can flex it and curl it, though it hurts when I do that. It aches mildly when I am sitting still.

I iced it right away, and am trying to keep it elevated.

Could it be broken? How do I tell?

#835 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 02:23 PM:

Nancy C, it could be broken. (My mother did the same thing, and it was only when it kept hurting that she realized it wasn't just a stubbed toe. The doctor said the most that could be done would be taping it.)

#836 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Minor open-threadedness competition. Combine two Star Trek episode titles and describe the plot.

"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched The Man Trap"

The Salt Vampires in hollow asteroids should be avoided no matter how alluring.

#837 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 03:14 PM:

Steve C @836:

"The Trouble with Miri"

An enormous quantity of pre-adolescent feral children take over a space station, wreaking havoc. However, the disease they carry, which only infects humans, proves that one of the station administrators is a Klingon in disguise.

...and...

"Devil in the Action"

NO FIZZBIN I

#838 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 03:18 PM:

LOL, Abi.

#839 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Serge #799: Yes, I am a more than bit tall for the role, but I was filled with Victoria beer, and it was hot, and I was tired bored, and a plane was landing.

#840 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:00 PM:

US Air prop plane down in the Hudson River.

They're blaming geese.

Lots of boats, no rafts. I hope everyone got out.

#841 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:10 PM:

Maybe not a prop plane, and later photos show at least one slide/raft and dozens of people standing on the wings.

150 on board.

Fingers crossed.

#842 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:23 PM:

And just yesterday I was reading an article that noted there haven't been any fatal airliner crashes in the US for seven years. Hopefully it'll still be true at the end of the day.

#843 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Nancy @ 834: It's very likely to be a broken toe. The way to know is to palpate it gently and see if you can identify the source or location of the pain. Barring expertise in palpation, you can radiograph it. In either case, the treatment is going to be the same things you are already doing. The last time I broke a toe and had the Dreaded Purple Digit, it took a few days of ibuprofen plus wearing comfortable shoes and resting my foot appropriately before it was no longer pulsating regularly. I have no idea how long it actually took to heal, as I stopped paying attention once it didn't actively hurt.

Star Trek:

"Who Mourns for I, Mudd?", in which the Enterprise is held captive by an alien who claims to be a king, and his army of androids.

#844 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:29 PM:

msnbc: "Passengers say it appears everyone got off plane."

#845 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:30 PM:

The Beeb says the plane is still afloat in the Hudson River. Apparently, people are exiting the plane over the wings and being rescued.

#846 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:33 PM:

"Let That Be You Last Muddfield"

#847 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:38 PM:

"Mirror, Tribble"

They're not cute and fuzzy in the alternate universe. And they wear goatees.

#848 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:39 PM:

US Airways A320 jet ate a flock of geese -- witness says pilots brought jet onto the Hudson like they were landing on a runway.

First vessel to reach jet was a ferry from New Jersey.

#849 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:41 PM:

Update: All passengers and crew are safe and on their way to area hospitals.

#850 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:46 PM:

Accordind to the NY Times apparently there were no casualties. I hope this turns out to be true.

AFAIK, this is the first water landing of a modern jet with survivors. Heretofore, I had thought of the rafts and lifevests as a means of reassuring passengers. Now I see them as real safety devices.

#851 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Ginger and PJ,

I made a doctor's appointment for tomorrow morning. There are some good things about Student Health; I have unlimited visits!

I am almost hyperventilating with the thought that this is really broken. I am fending this off with the thought, "How interesting! I've never broken a bone before!" (Surely a broken bone should hurt more than this!)

Thank you both for sharing your expertise!

#852 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 04:59 PM:

AFAIK, this is the first water landing of a modern jet with survivors. Heretofore, I had thought of the rafts and lifevests as a means of reassuring passengers. Now I see them as real safety devices.

There's been water landings with survivors before, but nothing where everyone made it off.

#853 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:03 PM:

"The Ultimate Computer and The Omega Glory"

#854 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Nancy @ 851: A broken toe doesn't really hurt much, once the swelling goes down and you don't touch it. In fact, most broken bones don't hurt much as long as you don't disturb them. A complicated open fracture is a different story, but a simple impact-type closed fracture does not have any reason to hurt beyond the initial inflammation and swelling.

This is not to say you won't hurt at all; each patient is different, too, in their responses to bone pain. I suspect you're through the most painful part and will just need some time to rest the toe.

Here, have some Star Trek silliness: "Metamorphobsession", in which Captain Kirk becomes obsessed with killing Zefrem Cochrane.

#855 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:11 PM:

"Miri X", or "you really don't want to do that around these kids".

#856 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:12 PM:

"The Corbomite Way to Eden"

Ron Howard's little brother leads a group of space bohemians and the crew to a planet where they all get wasted on tranya. Spock strums his instrument.

#857 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:29 PM:

"The Devil in the Turnabout Intruder"
Kirk gets really horny.

#858 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:33 PM:

"Spock's Seed"

The one that drove the slash fans wild.

#859 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:36 PM:

Nancy C Mittens... I hope that your toe recovers soon. A few years ago, I slammed my car's door on the tip of my pinky. To say that it hurt would be an understatement. Still I waited a couple of days, to see if the pain would stop, but it did not so thought that maybe I did have a fractured bone. I went to the clinic. They took an x-ray and found no fracture, partial or otherwise. The doc took a needle and punctured my nail with it. It turns out that the pain was being caused by a buildup of liquid under my nail. Eventually the pain went away. So did my nail. But it grew back.

#860 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:36 PM:

"Miri, Miri"

_This_ Captain's Woman, uh, ...

#861 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:37 PM:

"Requiem for Spock's Brain"

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet where a near-immortal man wants to remove the science officer's brain and implant it his android wife. Kirk gets really horny. (Thanks, Serge)

#862 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Jon #847:

Oh, God, how I want to see the xkcd comic for that....

#863 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:53 PM:

"This Side of Amok Time"

Strange plants have begun growing around the ritual grounds on the planet Vulcan. However, their true nature is not noticed until Spock's kun-ut-kal-if-fee, when they suddenly spray everyone with pollen.

Many of the subsequent scenes filmed did not make it into the episode, but ended up on the top-secret Yowza Reel*. All I will say is that no one's weapon breaks at the wrong time, and Kirk finds himself needing no tri-ox compound injections from McCoy.

And, for the first time, none of the command crew make any jokes on the bridge in the last scene. Indeed, they seem to avoid eye contact entirely and be very interested in going somewhere else as soon as possible.

-----
* companion to the much better known Blooper Reel

#864 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:55 PM:

Nancy, I've broken toes twice, ten years apart (the same way, too: playing basketball on a concrete court, barefoot. I don't learn from all my mistakes). Tape and OTC pain medicine were prescribed and eventually successful. Pain dissipated; in fact, the several gout attacks I've had in a toe were more painful than the toe for a longer period of time.

#865 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 05:57 PM:

"than the broken toes"

#866 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Nancy C Mittens, good that you got yourself an appointment, and I'm glad that you can. With possibly broken stuff, I think getting a doctor or at least someone very high in the non-doctor medical professions hierarchy to look at it is generally safer than not doing that.

tavella @852, are you sure? I think I remember some news report back in the nineties where a passenger plane had to land in some ocean somewhere and everything went exactly the way it should, with no one dying, but I'm not sure if that was a modern jet.

All New Yorkers here- reading "Ney York" next to "plane crashed" was already a bit of a shock for me, and I guess it must have been a good deal worse for you. Good Wishes and everything!

#867 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 06:45 PM:

Serge @ 859 ...
Eventually the pain went away. So did my nail. But it grew back.

That sounds like what happened after I dropped/rolled a barrel of bootheels on my toe...

#868 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 06:51 PM:

xeger @ 867... Ouch. A couple of years ago, while landscaping my backyard,I pinched one finger between two bricks. There was a dark spot at the base of the nail, but that was it. No pain. Later, I noticed that a new nail growing under the old one, which I eventually was able to peel off.

#869 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 07:57 PM:

Re unintended water landings of aeroplanes. One of my heroes, Arland Williams, was made manifest in what sounds like a very similar accident, on the Potomac almost exactly 27 years ago. Thank goodness all seem to have survived this one.

albatross (#862), I originally read that as a reference to #861, "Requiem for Spock's Brain". Heh. Lots of fun mental images; I'm avoiding my drink.

#870 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 08:02 PM:

George W. Bush is giving a farewell speech to the nation.

Good riddance. Make the bluebird of disgrace lodge in your anus.

#871 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 08:16 PM:

Mez (869): I was in Washington the day of that crash. The plane didn't get enough height because of ice on its wings and hit a bridge during takeoff. No chance for a (semi)controlled landing in that case, and a lot less warning for rescuers to get there.

A Metro train derailed that same afternoon. It was a very bad day for DC.

#872 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 08:58 PM:

Apropos of nothing... as of tomorrow morning, I'm off to Connecticut for the best sort of connections... my maternal-side clan is gathering over the weekend, for our belated-Hanukkah gathering.

And I just started printing my own cards, with pictures from Cute Overload, along with my usual little drawings....

#873 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 09:21 PM:

Stepping away from Star Trek silliness, but a reminder of how good it could be.

"Live long and prosper, Spock."
"I shall do neither, for I have killed my captain and my friend."

"I have a responsibility to this ship. To that man on the bridge. I am what I am, Leila. And if there are self made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else's."

#874 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 09:30 PM:

Mez, Mary Aileen, That event (the crash into the Potomac) was the one which precipated ordinary citizens being identified at Presidential SOTU addresses. Reagan honored Lenny Skutnik in the 1982 speech, and it's been done ever since.

#875 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 10:04 PM:

#874:

Lenny Skutnik: Hero and Bad Example.

In '89 at my EMT class, they told us "don't become a victim yourself", and showed us the video where he jumped into the icy Potomac to illustrate the point.

Had I been at the Air Florida crash, I might have done the same thing. Nowadays, maybe not.

#876 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 10:11 PM:

Nancy, I myself was having a toe x-rayed this afternoon to see if it was broken.

Short answer, no. Hurt like hell yesterday, hurt a lot this morning, but by the time I saw the doctor and got the x-ray this afternoon, it was getting noticeably better. (Up & down movement, not too bad. Side to side, still ouch!)

This of course happened when I had a treadmill test scheduled for tomorrow. That should be interesting. (I'll be taking extra-strength Tylenol and an anti-inflammatory in the morning before I head off to the Scottsdale Mayo Clinic for the test.)

#877 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 11:08 PM:

Lori 848: First vessel to reach jet was a ferry from New Jersey.

From Hoboken, to be specific. Where I live and work. My office is right on the water, too. I was in a meeting, but I'm told you could watch the tail of the plane slowly float down the Hudson right past our windows.

I'm REALLY glad I didn't see the actual crash. I'd've had a 9/11 flashback and been shipped to the burbling academy pronto.

Larry 850: Heretofore, I had thought of the rafts and lifevests as a means of reassuring passengers. Now I see them as real safety devices.

Well, in 36°F water (which is what we had in the Hudson today), the vests are only a safety device for about 10 minutes, after which they're more of an aid to rescuers; after 10 more, more of a corpse retrieval device.

Rafts would be more helpful, but I haven't heard they deployed in this case. The ferry passengers assisted with the rescue, tossing people lifejackets from the ferryboat. And you can't really be on the Hudson Estuary without being pretty close to NYC or NJ's "Gold Coast," or arguably both. People got to them REALLY quickly. And from descriptions, the pilot is the real hero of this. He brought a disabled plane in smoothly enough that only one person had broken bones.

#878 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 11:32 PM:

Mez, I think all of us near DC thought of that crash when we heard the news of today's ditching.

#879 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2009, 11:42 PM:

Mez (869): I remember that day. My neighbor was stuck on the bridge a minute or so before the plane hit. I was in elementary school, and the bus home took about 3 hours because of the snow.

To this day, I avoid flying into or out of National in the winter. I'll do Dulles. They have loooong runways and lots of space at that airport.

#880 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 05:14 AM:

"And the Children Shall Lead the Way to Eden": A group of mind-controlling refugee children compete with a group of space hippies to see who gets to hijack the ship. Very notable for the scene with Melvin Belli and Scott Hornier playing "Dueling Banjos".

(Alternatively, "And the Tribbles Shall Lead". In fact, you can make almost any TOS episode funny by substituting "Tribbles" for the main noun of the title: "Balance of Tribbles", "Who Mourns for a Tribble?", "The Amok Tribble", "The Tribble on the Edge of Forever".)

#881 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 06:35 AM:

"Tribble Intruder"

A tribble swaps personalities with Kirk. Hijinks ensue.

#882 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 07:31 AM:

I'm awed by what that pilot did. Somewhere in what I read yesterday was a mention that the Airbus has a "ditching in water" control setting that prepares the plane by depressurizing the cabin.

I too remember the awful 1982 Air Florida crash. There were only 5 survivors rescued from the water after the 737 crashed into the bridge and fell into the icy Potomac. It broke apart and all but the tail section sank immediately. The NTSB report said the cause was clearly pilot error.

I wonder how you get an airliner out of the Hudson River.

#883 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 08:25 AM:

At least one article mentions that the airplane is currently tied up at dock.

#884 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 08:31 AM:

"The Naked Deadly Years"

A microorganism causes Kirk, Spock, and McCoy to age rapidly and unleashes their inhibitions. They apply for retirement credits and join AARPFleet.

#885 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Speaking of Trek, I broke down and went to see The Day The Earth Stood Still(AKA The Day The Lead Actor's Face Stood Still) on IMAX, and the new Trek movie was in the previews, and it's gonna be awesome in IMAX.

#886 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 08:59 AM:

Serge @812: My work computer on my previous job was an Acer laptop, and held up pretty well for me the two years I used it, but I think I wasn't as hard on mine as some of my cow-orkers were (physically or otherwise). But we had more problems with the equivalent Dells we tried out for a while. My limited-view, not-especially-tech-geek assessment of Acers is "perfectly serviceable."

#887 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 09:31 AM:

My own choice for "virtuoso flying in an emergency" is the crew of a JAL 747 in 1985. Shortly after takeoff a large part of the tail assembly blew off, and all hydraulics lost fluid, so they were completely without use of control surfaces. They kept that plane in the air for half an hour trying to make it to an emergency landing, and finally couldn't hold altitude and ran into a ridge near Mt Fuji. With a little bit more luck they might have made it.

#888 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 09:31 AM:

Dan Layman-Kennedy @ 886... So, Acer is not a brand to run away from with as much dread and horror as if I had heard the Republican Party say "Trust us, this'll make things better"? Thanks for the tip.

#889 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 10:05 AM:

abi @ 863: I am so glad I have an office to myself, or I would have made a fool of myself in public. That -- I will never again think of "Amok Time" without remembering this.

Mez, Mary Aileen, Marilee: I've driven across the 14th Street Bridge a number of times in the past 12 years, and I always think of Air Florida, and Arland Williams.

Neil @ 881: How can you tell if a Tribble switches personalities with Kirk?

This is addictive.

"Empath of Troyius": Captain Kirk hosts a spoiled princess, an empath, who must stop a war by torturing Kirk, Spock and Bones until she learns how to love. If she cannot love, then she cannot save her doomed planet. However, being a spoiled princess, she doesn't believe she needs any teaching and refuses to open her mind to Kirk. Only after watching the incredibly slashy scene between Spock and McCoy does she relent, and war is ultimately averted. Kirk spends most of this episode with his shirt off, in one of his more buff periods.

#890 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 10:28 AM:

Ginger @889 How can you tell if a Tribble switches personalities with Kirk?

Kirk-Tribble will tear his fur revealing his manly chest tribbly interior and will generally be less cute than a normal Tribble.

Of course we probably also need The Trouble with Intruders in which a race of Klingon-hating women infiltrate the ship, eat all the grain and reproduce to fill the entire hold, leading to a scene where Kirk opens an overhead locker and a never-ending stream of women fall onto him whilst Spock explains what the hell has been going on in that episode.

#891 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 10:45 AM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @887:

I'm partial to Air Transat 236 as well, where they managed 19 minutes' glide in an Airbus A330 before landing in the Azores (at 200 knots) with no loss of life. When they lost all engine power (due to a fuel leak), the main hydraulic controls were gone as well, which makes the landing even more impressive.

#892 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:03 AM:

Neil Wilcox@890

Actually, the way you tell is that Kirk-Tribble rapidly eats his way through the Enterprise's food stores and splits into lots and lots of Kirk-Tribbles, each one insisting that he's the REAL Captain.

However, eventually most of them get poisoned.

#893 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:07 AM:

I join in the relief and amazement that all got off yesterday's plane with minimal damage.

It was also interesting to see how news media were able to find their own connections, even out West. Phoenix TV stations were all over it because it was a Mesa Airlines jet, and the San Francisco Chron was delighted that the heroic pilot was a near-local guy, from Danville!

PS: Abi, the NY Times has an item about happy ice skaters in southern Holland, where the canals hadn't frozen for years. How are things where you are?

#894 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:32 AM:

"The Turnabout Intruder on the Edge of Forever"

Kirk switches bodies with a beautiful woman before falling thru the Guardian of Forever and winds up bleeping himself.

#895 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:41 AM:

"A Piece of the Archons" -- A landing party finds that the planetary inhabitants are behaving strangely, and eventually discover that a previous starship's crew had had their minds absorbed into a giant computer which controlled the people. Unfortunately, this included a cultural specialist who had a personal obsession with one particular bit of ancient Earth history. As a result, every day at 6 p.m., all of the local inhabitants suddenly take on roles: "Lawgivers" fighting it out with Chicago mobsters. The computer is destroyed by telling it about concrete galoshes.

#896 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:46 AM:

Faren @893:
the NY Times has an item about happy ice skaters in southern Holland, where the canals hadn't frozen for years. How are things where you are?

It's not just the south. The entire country went ice-mad when the hard freeze started just after New Year's. The thaw hit on Monday, and sanity has just recently begun to return.

We were certainly susceptible. Our village is laced with canals, which connect some areas better than the roads. When the canal behind our house froze over enough, we bought two-bladed strap-on skates for the 4 year old and started teaching her. (The 7 year old declined: "I'm hibernating.")

I bought skates myself last Friday, and used them every day until the thaw. I've never owned ice skates, just rented them at rinks. I expect that these will last me for years of intermittent use. The Hub intended to get some too, but everywhere that sells ice skates was mobbed. "Maybe next freeze," he said. "Whenever that is."

It's an amazing thing to me, as a native Californian and transplanted Scot, to be able to pop out my back gate, cross the road, and sit on the crunchy grass to change into skates. I could go anywhere in our quarter of the village once the ice under footbridges was hard enough. (It never froze under the road bridges). I recall thinking, as I was skating along at one point, "How have I ended up here? It seems improbably wonderful."

Pretty much everyone in my office was out on the ice as well. People took days off to go skating on the Ijselmeer (which was skatable well away from the shore).

I considered blogging about it, but I couldn't find a way to do it that wasn't just gushing.

#897 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:47 AM:

"Spectre of Plato's Stepchildren"

After the Enterprise trespasses on an alien world, the entire bridge crew is transported to Tombstone, Greece, where the psychokinetic Earps amuse themselves by forcing the crew to dance, sing, and shoot revolvers. Kirk doesn't really mind after he and Uhura lock lips.

#898 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:49 AM:

Abi @ 896... What would be wrong with your gushing about it?

#899 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:49 AM:

The Xray reads "not broken." I don't know whether I'm relieved or disappointed.

#900 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:52 AM:

Nancy, it's all for the best. Those teeny little casts are almost impossible to sign.

#901 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 12:13 PM:

The Tribble in the Dark: a mining colony keeps finding people dead with smiles on their faces, and high levels of [TECH] in their blood, indicating that they died in sheer bliss. McCoy discovers that they've been bombarded with "cuteons," an attack also used by kittens on Earth. Spock begins reciting a list of creatures from other planets who also employ this prey-disabling mechanism.

They capture one of the creatures, a silicon-based furball that's not only cute, it learns to speak by listening to the crew. Everyone is completely smitten with it, even after it eats a couple of redshirts. Finally, however, when it won't shut up, a sleep-deprived crewman (Ensign Smith) phasers it out of existence.

The spell broken, the crew considers what to do. Uhura finally says what everyone else is thinking: "Nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." They do.

TAG: Spock finally finishes reciting his list. Kirk remarks "Glad you're done, Spock. I was about to send for Ensign Smith." Everyone laughs. Spock raises an eyebrow.

#902 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 12:14 PM:

Nancy C Mittens @ 899... I don't know whether I'm relieved or disappointed

Is that what they call toeing the line?

#903 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Serge @ 902 -

Oh, noes - not digital puns. We've got to nail this in the bud.

#904 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 12:53 PM:

OK, so I expect a new open thread soon, but I can at least bring some better news.

My fractured vertabrae are steadily healing. So is my leg. Ribs and the rest are fine.

The big news is that I am, at last, back home, with a decent computer and full control, rather than a five-year-old browser-thing being net-nannied to death.

Now, what was that thread about sex robots?


#905 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 12:58 PM:

Dave Bell @ 904... Glad to hear you're recovering.

#906 ::: Serial Storyteller ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 12:59 PM:

So...this was the only place I could think to add this little tidbit: apparently the universe REALLY IS a giant hologram.

I'm really not sure how I feel about being a three dimensional representation of something projected from beyond the bounds of the universe.

If "God" is proven to be literally all around us; and we essentially exist "in the machine" at a universal level; does that mean the most accurate literary depiction of really is "machina ex deus"?

#907 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Steve C @ 903... We've got to nail this in the bud

That's a rather tarsus warning.

#908 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 01:14 PM:

Re: Dutch skating.

Here in Leiden the smaller canals froze last weekend, but not the Rijn/Rhein/Rhine or the Singel. Not having skates (or skating experience) I just watched.

I did wonder how people determine that the ice is thick enough to skate on, especially the people who were skating within a few metres of open water.

#909 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Thomas @908:

I did wonder how people determine that the ice is thick enough to skate on, especially the people who were skating within a few metres of open water.

I have no idea. I skated where other people were skating. Last Friday, before the really hard freeze on the weekend, I did turn back from certain canals when I heard cracking sounds as I ventured onto them.

But our little shallow canals aren't a danger to life and limb - one can scramble out fairly quickly, and there are houses and helpful people all around.

I do hear that the emergency rooms were overwhelmed with broken limbs combined with the tail end of that horrible stomach flu that's been going around.

#910 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 01:32 PM:

My hometown's biggest park has a creek, and every winter it freezes. They clear the ice and let people skate until it thaws, then it's done for the year. There's a warming house for parents, too. Since it's only good for a week or two, we came home from school, bundled up, and drove to the park to skate until well after dark. It's how I learned to find Orion, Taurus, and the Pleiades.

Every so often, it turns out that the ice is weaker than the park district thought. They find out when the ice-clearing-off machine falls through.

#911 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 01:53 PM:

Am I the only one who thought of this?

Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates is a novel by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865. The novel takes place in the Netherlands, and is a very colorful fictional portrait of early 19-century Dutch life, as well as an inspirational tale of youthful honor.

A very colorful fictional portrait of early 19-century Dutch life? As in, she made stuff up?

#912 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 02:29 PM:

#911: The ice sharks are a dead give-away.

#913 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 02:30 PM:

Serge, she made up the story. Probably not 19th-Century Dutch life. Awkward wording, I agree, but doesn't actually unambiguously mean the wrong thing.

#914 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 02:47 PM:

Xopher @ 913... I was wondering. After all, they say it's a novel so of course it's likely to be fictional.

Stefan Jones @ 913... Coming soon on the SciFi Channel, Hans Brinker against the Ice Sharks... Why not? They showed something called Sharks in Venice not long ago and I presume it's not a sequel to Visconti's Death in Venice.

#915 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 03:05 PM:

Ah, memories of life in Detroit. The golf course down the street from us didn't mind if the kids came in and skated on the frozen water hazards; it's not like anyone was out there trying to play golf, after all!

Then there was the year we had the ice storm. The entire golf course was covered in a skate-worthy layer of ice; for once, there was no competition for space between the hockey players and the pleasure skaters. Some people brought sleds -- you could get an amazing length of run even from the little bitty hills, because the ice gave much less friction on the runners than snow would have. There were even a couple of people with iceboats! Normally you only saw those out on the lake.

I'm sure it was a pain in the ass for the grownups, but I was only 8 or 9, and it remains one of my best childhood memories.

#916 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 03:27 PM:

Meh. That would be Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, methinks.

Still, opportunity for a pastiche. Death by Shark in Venice: Aschenbach's passion for Tadzio keeps him in Venice long after the shark attacks have gotten out of hand, and he, Tadzio, and all the creepy redheaded men are all eaten.

#917 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 04:51 PM:

#894: Script by David Gerrold.

#918 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 917... Of course, the two Kirks being together causes Reality to rip apart as they spin around each other because they both want to be on top.

#919 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 05:59 PM:

Novel of Death in Venice by T. Mann; screenplay and direction of movie of DiV by L. Visconti. Sharks by San Jose. Ta!

#920 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 08:50 PM:

D Potter @ #919, "Sharks by San Jose" ha! I expected Serge to counter with Canadiens by Montreal, but he's probably moved on to Open Thread 118.

#921 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2009, 11:54 PM:

Janet K, #882, it's tied up at a dock and they're bringing in a giant crane. Some of the local governmental entities are out using side-scanners trying to find the engines.

Dave, #904, Yaaay, I'm sure your folks are glad you're home, too!

Iceskating -- our city has a block that is a pavilion in most months (fairs, music, dancing, sitting around, etc.) but is an ice rink in the winter and lots of people are skating every time I go by. DC residents have been warned that none of the icy bits in DC are strong enough to walk on.

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