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June 2, 2009

Open thread 125
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:21 PM *

In April of 1971, excavators on the Putgraaf in Heerlen (a city in Limburg, the southernmost province of the Netherlands) uncovered some second century (AD) Roman pottery ovens. One of them had exploded, and among the remaining stones were found the shards of a pot with the following inscription:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. Lucius made this jar for Amaka. I dedicate it to the good god of Ferenio, my birthplace. Lucius, called Meticius, made this in his business.

The only explanation I’ve seen of the (nearly) complete alphabet is that it had some sort of magical significance.

The Latin in the rest of the inscription is quirky. The writer uses II in place of a long E (fiicit, Fiiriinius and Miiticius rather than fecit, Ferenius and Meticius) and K for C (diko for dico). I suspect that this is phonetic spelling, and that the local pronunciation differed greatly from that of Rome.

This is all we have of a man’s life: Lucius Meticius Ferenius. His date of birth is reckoned to be about 125 AD, but I can find no reasonable basis for that guess. Roman Feresne is modern Dilsen in Belgium, about 22 miles to the northeast of where the pot was found. If he was born there, he clearly moved to Coriovallum (now Heerlen) and set up a pottery business. We don’t know who Amanka was.

When the city of Heerlen struck a coin to celebrate its second jubilee, they chose Lucius Ferenius to be on it. The reverse has a picture of the jar, with the label “kruuksjke”. That’s a Limburg dialect word for vase or pot (the Dutch is kruikje), which is somehow appropriate for someone with such idiomatic spelling.

In the end, the message of Lucius is this: Remember me. I lived.

  1. Wikipedia article on Lucius Ferenius
  2. Heerlen Rijkheyt, a local history website (Dutch)
  3. Latijn van Lucius (PDF, Dutch)
Comments on Open thread 125:
#1 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:33 PM:

That’s a Limburg dialect word for vase or pot (the Dutch is kruikje)

Hence the word "crock"? (What a way to start a new thread ...)

#2 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:39 PM:

Whew. That old thread was getting big.

#3 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:47 PM:

Oh look! An open thread!

This is just to say

I have made
cherry Jello with fruit in
for Whitsun

in honor of
our host and
her heritage

The story is
a salad, not
a dessert.

#4 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:48 PM:

That message looks very much like a standard cross-stitch sampler message. So to me the inclusion of the whole alphabet could easily have been a passing of a test to indicate that he was now a journeyman able to inscribe the alphabet for other jobs. No magical explanation necessary.

#5 ::: Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:55 PM:

At Maeshowe in the Orkneys there's a Stone Age tomb that was vandalized by Vikings in the 800s. They left graffiti on the walls, most of which is outstanding stuff like "Sigurd Carved These Runes", "Inga is the Most Beautiful Woman" and (my favorite) "The Person who Carved These Runes is the Best Carver of Runes in the Whole of the Western Ocean."

#6 ::: turtle ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:56 PM:

Remember me. I lived.

This is why I carve my name into the sidewalk every time I pass a square of wet cement. I want the archaeologists of 3000 AD to find it.

#7 ::: Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:57 PM:


In Irish "cruiskín" is a little jug -- as in Myles NaGopaleen's Cruiskeen Lawn.

#8 ::: bd Ctg ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Ntt shgr tht's drn-ttn' gd str, gd yrn, tl tld b n dt fll f fnd nd sry, sgnfctn' y mm.


Posted from

#9 ::: Raphael sees rather inappropriate stuff ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 05:11 PM:

At No 8, from a first-time poster. Ok, probably not necessary to draw any attention to a freshly-opened open thread, but just in case.

#10 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 05:23 PM:

#8 is spam, pure and simple.

#11 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 05:25 PM:

It's spam.

#12 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 05:26 PM:

Ibod Catooga seems to be a regular driveby commenter on the internet, usually with rude or scatalogical comments.

And here I am with the management console open. Despite the idea that he, too, is probably saying Remember me, I think we'll only remember some of him.

#13 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 05:29 PM:

Teresa's OTP Particle was missing one, so I added it. (Országos Takarékos Pénztár, a bank - once the bank - in Hungary.)

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 06:17 PM:

Tim Burton may have produced a film that he sees fit to release on my birthday, a film about the end of life as we know it, but, as I get closer and closer to my 54th year on this Earth, I was reminded on Saturday that my body isn't planning to betray me any time soon. It had been 3 years since my last eye-exam, and the doctor said that my sight has changed so little that I don't need new glasses.

#15 ::: oldfeminist ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Tom Whitmore @4:
That message looks very much like a standard cross-stitch sampler message. So to me the inclusion of the whole alphabet could easily have been a passing of a test to indicate that he was now a journeyman able to inscribe the alphabet for other jobs. No magical explanation necessary.

Don't be silly. A *man* wrote it. It must be very, very significant, and nothing like the semi-literate jabber of women biding their time between housecleaning, cooking and having babies.

#16 ::: Elizabeth Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 06:33 PM:

Back when I was studying the Etruscans, I remember hearing that writing the alphabet on things was pretty common. I'd heard that people just thought it was neat, much as Westerners are often fascinated by foreign writing systems. I could, however, buy that it might have magical significance.

The Etruscan alphabet, by the way, is fun, since almost all the letters are simply the Latin alphabet backwards, read right to left.

#17 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 06:36 PM:

#16: Ah, so they were a backward people.

#18 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 07:00 PM:

You know, that inscription almost sounds as if it's something a child who is first learning to write would do. Write the whole alphabet, and then some simple sentences. Maybe they were making a gift for someone, to show their prowess writing?

#19 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 07:03 PM:

To follow-up on a food-related, earlier topic:

The story about the bakery in Colebrook, NH makes The New York Times. Remember, Jim beat the Times! Congrats to the bakery co-owner who finally got her visa straightened out (and to Jim and his friends who won't lose an interesting local business).

#20 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Like Ozymandias but smaller. Nothing beside remains.

#21 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 07:52 PM:

I had dinner at the Sailor's Thai canteen in Sydney (Australia) last night. I have no idea what they put in the sauce of their chicken and cashew nut stir fry, apart from a really good chilli jam, but it was fantastic.

While I think getting their exact recipe might be a task too far for the commenters of this site (you guys know a lot, but unless there's a lurker here who works in their kitchen...), I was wondering what secret ingredients posters here use to make stir fries extra tasty?

More generally, what are your favourite food blogs? I really like the The Pioneer Woman Cooks

And is there much Thai food in America? in Sydney at least, there are cheap thai restaurants everywhere.

#22 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Turtle @6

This is why I carve my name into the sidewalk every time I pass a square of wet cement. I want the archaeologists of 3000 AD to find it.

Builders get really annoyed when people do this.

They'd rather you bury something personal in it instead, like they do.

#23 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:23 PM:

Jules, yeah.

Back in 1974 my parents built a huge house out in the countryside, their dream home.

My childhood-to-teenage pet, a budgie, passed away during the construction. I wrapped her in a pretty piece of fabric and gave her to my dad, asking him to bury her at the farm because we were leaving the house we had lived in.

Much later, and with mom no where near us, he told me that they were laying the base for the marble fireplace in the study on the second floor. He had the mason make a small space and buried her in that base. When all was said and done she had a crypt of some very expensive Italian marble.

But then she was a much beloved pet, and despite his pshaws, he liked her too because she was so personable.

She still lives in my heart.

#24 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:25 PM:

Kate #21: And is there much Thai food in America?

It's getting more visible, but still far less common than Chinese food, which is in America "cheap and everywhere". For example, here in Charlottesville, Virginia (university town, but not so big), I've seen a few Thai places here and there -- but there's a Chinese restaurant of some sort (mostly buffets) on every other corner Downtown, and pretty much every named shopping mall in the vicinity. I suspect some Thai cooks may be hiding behind the facade of "Asian Fusion" restaurants, which are also becoming more popular.

Unfortunately, I came here from New York City -- its Chinatowns (two of them, plus Little Korea) have thoroughly spoiled me as far as Asian food. ;-) Few places down here can compare.

#25 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:29 PM:

Maybe it was his version of 'Lorem Ipsum'.

Or maybe it was a font sample. ;^)

#26 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:42 PM:

Jules @ 22: A box with a singing frog, ferinstance?

All: To my considerable surprise and dismay, my job was made redundant today. If anyone knows of open positions in the Ottawa area, I'd appreciate contacts -- I'd consider moving if the Right Job came up, but I'm pretty well settled here. My main skills involve organometallic/inorganic chemistry (computational and lab) and other chem stuff (but not, alas, medicinal, biochem, or much analytical), software development in C, and technical/explanatory writing. I also build lots of kinds of stuff.

#27 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:44 PM:

Lots more Thai on the west coast, especially in cities.
There's one restaurant in the basement of a building in the jewelry district of Los Angeles. I think its real name is 'Rama', but where I work, it's called 'Bling'. The food is pretty good, and what I've had isn't especially spice-hot. (On the west side of Hill, south of 6th: past the alley, through the outside door, through the door to the right inside and down the stairs, then to the right, all the way to the back and the forced left turn, and it's on the right, in front of you.)

#28 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:46 PM:

I recently read for the first time The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and I enjoyed the ending enough to do some googling to try to find out how it had been recieved when first published.

The wikipedia page for this book had a quote from a review in the Observer, on May 30, 1926. Part of it said:

"It is unfortunate that in two important points – the nature of the solution and the use of the telephone – Miss Christie has been anticipated by another recent novel: the truth is that this particular field is getting so well ploughed that it is hard to find a virgin patch anywhere."

Does anybody know which novel the Observer was referring to?

David #24 I would love to spend some time in New York, the food would be amazing. We do pretty ok for Asian food in Sydney, because we're pretty close, and we have a lot of Asian immigrants and folk descended from Asian immigrants. Thai and Indian are the most common I think, but Chinese is pretty easy to fin, as is Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese good. Out of the takeaway restuarants near my house, more than half are some kind of Asian cuisine.

#29 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 08:48 PM:

I screwed up the link in the above post. If you remove the .com from the end, you'll find the correct wiki page.

#30 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 09:00 PM:

turtle @6:

This is why I carve my name into the sidewalk every time I pass a square of wet cement. I want the archaeologists of 3000 AD to find it.

This is why some pissed-off contractor's employee has to babysit the new concrete until it hardens enough.

Me, I keep wanting to make a little decorative bronze plaque to embed in the concrete. This would require the participation of the concrete workers.

There were lots of jokes during the depression about Works Project Administration workers (In rural Maine: don't shoot it unless it moves, it might be a WPA worker). But there are really rugged concrete sidewalks in the Boston area that survive, complete with little bronze plaque. The plaques are disappearing due to the addition of ramps at pedestrian crossings, though.

#31 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 09:05 PM:

The DC area has lots of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, to go along with the hundreds of cheap Chinese places and sushi.

#32 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 09:11 PM:

Kate, 21: As a current resident of New York, I can say that Thai food is seen sometimes in the outer boroughs as well as in Manhattan, but it's not so common as for there to be cheap hole-in-the-wall takeout places they way there is for Chinese food.

David Harmon, 24: How long ago did you move? We're up to three Chinatowns (Sunset Park in Brooklyn, in addition to Flushing and the Lower Manhattan original).

#33 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 09:46 PM:

Chris @#32: Only a couple of years ago, but I was pretty close to Flushing Main Street, so that was where I went for my "dumpling fixes" etc. I might well have missed the new developments in Brooklyn.

#34 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 10:10 PM:

Erik Nelson #20: Like Ozymandias but smaller. Nothing beside remains.

This is just to say

I have recycled
the statues
that were cluttering
your city

and which
you were probably
for posterity

Forgive me
king of kings

#35 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 10:14 PM:

I've seen kits to make lettered stepping stones for the garden. If I am ever in charge of a sidewalk, I'll get one of those. I like the Iowa Literary Walk thing downtown-- lots of bronze plaques with art and words on them, nasty in ice but otherwise good-- and seeing animal and plant prints in concrete.

When we moved out of the first house I remember, Dad fixed the sidewalk. There was a square that had been cut in half and filled in with gravel, my rock garden, and he made it into a whole square. Then we put our hands in it and I think he wrote something. I wasn't very old at that point, and I was upset that I lost my rock garden.
I was not a child who embraced change, even change bearing handprints.

#36 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 10:25 PM:

Kate, #28: Does anybody know which novel the Observer was referring to?

This can't be it, because there's no telephone (although, if my memory is better than that reviewer's, it was actually a dictaphone), but Ackroyd's big twist is anticipated by (ROT13) Gur Fubbgvat Cnegl, juvpu vf, bs nyy guvatf, n qrgrpgvir abiry ol Nagba Purxbi, and quite a good one. I took a look at the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition and apparently the first English translation was published in 1926...

The dictaphone has probably been used similarly in any number of mysteries. Arthur Conan Doyle used one in a non-homicidal context in a non-Holmes story called "The Japanned Box," and I recently saw a modern equivalent in an episode of Jonathan Creek.

#37 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 10:36 PM:

kate @ 21:

I don't know about it being extra-tasty, but I keep a bottle of mirin (Japanese sweetened rice wine) on hand to add a couple of glugs if more liquid is needed (sometimes in addition to a glug of teriyaki sauce or glaze). I'm currently doing stir-frys practically every day with a plethora of home-grown vegetables and Asian greens, with the latter being new to me and many turning out to be rather nippy members of the mustard family, and I like the way a bit of sweetness balances this.

#38 ::: Elizabeth Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 11:08 PM:

Yeah, come to the West Coast for Thai food. In my town on Puget Sound, there's a good chance Thai restaurants outnumber Chinese. Indian's getting big, too.

#39 ::: Rob Yurkowski ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 11:24 PM:

Surprisingly, in mid-central Canada, the Vietnamese and Thai restaurants outnumber the cheap Chinese ones, and they're usually quite decent. The downside is that few of them actually serve authentic Thai food. The really high-class establishments all serve Japanese cuisine.

What's more surprising is that those sorts of restaurants outnumber the pizza joints up here.

#40 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 11:37 PM:

Thanks Wesley, I'll have to check that out. I love his short stories, but I didn't expect he would have written something like that.

#41 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 11:45 PM:

Wesley # 36- Rot13

Gurer vf n qvpgncubar (juvpu jnf n terng gjvfg V nterr), ohg gurer'f nyfb n gryrcubar pnyy, znqr fubegyl nsgre gur zheqre, gb Qe Furccneq, checbegrqyl ol gur ohgyre, ohg npghnyyl sebz n genva fgngvba. Vg gheaf bhg Qe Furccneq nfxrq n fnvybe gb pnyy uvz, gb guebj gur cbyvpr bss gur fprag.

#42 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:01 AM:

joann, #1: Actually, it immediately made me think of Officer Krupke from West Side Story.

Serge, #14: Be grateful for your good genetic structure. *grumble*

Kate, #21: I can think of half a dozen Thai restaurants in Houston offhand. I haven't eaten at all of them, but the ones I've tried have been pretty good.

At a tangent from this... I may have mentioned this before, but there's a Chinese buffet down in the Little India section of Houston that never fails to make me smile as I drive past. Its name is "Halal Wok".

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:19 AM:

Lee @ 42...Be grateful for your good genetic structure

Oh, I am, I very much am. My mom had both hip joints replaced a few yars ago and she recovered quickly, in spite of her being in her seventies. Meanwhile, my wife, who had one knee replaced last November is going to have the whole blasted thing reopened in late September because it still hurts and they can't figure out what's wrong.

#44 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:48 AM:

Already late to the party, but I find the almost complete alphabet in the inscription curious.

It's missing the letter "I" (unless it's like the no-"L" joke), but it includes "K", which was supposed to only be used for words of Greek origin. Since it includes "K", it's odd that it's missing "Y" and "Z". Otherwise, the inscription looks like a sampler and dedication all in one.

Serge @ 43:

Knees are weird and tricky beasts. I hope they can do something for her.

#45 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:54 AM:

My mom got a new knee a few years ago and says if she'd known it was going to help that much she would have done it way earlier.

I look forward to whole-skeleton replacement; after moving the entire household down three flights of stairs, I considered replacing my knees on the spot. With whittled wooden ones, if necessary. They're still giving me the occasional twinge, three weeks later. (When I opened the Truck 'o' Stuff after it finally arrived here, and realized I had to take all that stuff back out, it was somewhat daunting.)

Although I bought new shoes. Most of the pain was actually due to really ill-fitting shoes, turns out. I learned that in the 80's; why do we have to repeat these lessons so often?

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:13 AM:

KeithS @ 44... I hope so too.

#47 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:41 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 34: Nice!

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:54 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 45... if she'd known it was going to help that much she would have done it way earlier

That's what many people told my wife last year. I guess she got a lemon. She had arthroscopy a few weeks ago, hoping that'd do the trick, but it didn't.

As for total skeleton replacement.. Can I get the model with the adamantium claws? (When Joss Whedon was writing X-men, Wolverine's greater weight became a running gag, with his beer-guzzling being the usual explanation.)

#49 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:13 AM:

Re Roger Ackroyd -- In terms of the nature of the solution and the unreliable narrator, one should at least mention Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone.

#50 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:23 AM:

The skyscraped/mallified/big-box part of Anchorage, a quintessential soulless modern city, has one charming touch: some of the streets and (IIRC) sidewalks contain beach shells. Supposed to improve traction.

#51 ::: John D. Berry ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 03:11 AM:

That is a completely appropriate message. Ave, Luci Fiiriini!

#52 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 03:31 AM:

David Harmon @24:
As long as "Asian Fusion" is not "we've just added some sweet chilli sauce to it", but a genuine attempt at blending different culinary traditions, I could probably live with it*.

Lee @42:
Re:"Halal Wok".
In Malaysia, there are places that serve halal Chinese food. Gives the Muslim majority peace of mind, that that they are not accidentally violating dietary laws.

*I'm a culinary traditionalist at heart, where traditional = have had more than a century of history.

#53 ::: Becky ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 03:35 AM:

Kate @21:

Fish sauce! It adds a bit of tang to stir-fries that are hot and spicy. And we start our stir-fries with a base of ginger, garlic, scallions, and thai chilis. It's hard to go wrong from there.

#54 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:04 AM:

John H @25

Hello mah baby, hello mah honey, hello mah ragtime gal...

#55 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:08 AM:

15- a bit uncalled for, I think.

50: The skyscraped/mallified/big-box part of Anchorage, a quintessential soulless modern city, has one charming touch: some of the streets and (IIRC) sidewalks contain beach shells.

The 16th century Arctic explorer Martin Frobisher made three voyages to northern Canada, giving his name to Frobisher Bay; he failed to find the North West Passage but brought back 1400 tonnes of what he thought was orogenous rock. Extensive study revealed that it was, in fact, fool's gold, and it was used to make walls and roads in Kent. There's still some left, in a wall behind Dartford railway station.

Which is another way of saying: go and see the North-West Passage exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, if you're in the area.

#56 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 07:44 AM:

Here in the Triangle area, NC, Thai food is reasonably popular, but tends to be sold at slightly nicer, more expensive restaurants than Chinese. The restaurants are also often combination Japanese/Thai.

Vietnamese food can be found at a couple of inexpensive, excellent little places. It is nowhere near as ubiquitous as Chinese, but it doesn't seem to have the middle-class cachet of Thai food, in terms of the price and style of the restaurants.

Korean is right out.

I have been trying to decide what food I most want to eat when I am over the flu. I think Vietnamese will win.

I have the real true flu. Had samples taken to detect whether it is H1N1 or not. Either way it has been awful and I would never like to repeat it. At present I am down to sinusitis, sore throat, and exhaustion. On Saturday Keith had to call the friendly neighborhood EMTs, because I was so dizzy from high fever and dehydration that I could not sit up, much less stand. It took the ER nurse what felt like eons to place an IV; the EMT could not do it at all, I assume because of dehydration making my veins invisible. I do not recommend this experience.

I have no idea where I was exposed, but it must have been through very casual contact, like shopping at the same supermarket. I have seen no one else who has been sick or knows anyone who has. Very strange.

#57 ::: Zora ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 08:07 AM:

My name is preserved in the front of a few Gutenberg ebooks prepared by Distributed Proofreaders. That should last a few hundred years, or until computers completely replace humans in digitizing projects. Longer? who knows.

#58 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 08:13 AM:

We've got a number of Thai places in Pittsburgh, plus the one restaurant in Oakland that provides pretty much any kind of southeast Asian you like.

I tend to prefer Thai curry to Indian curry, myself. I like the coconut milk.

#59 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 08:35 AM:

When my dad had one of his eyes fixed-- detached retina number four, which couldn't be repaired without taking care of the cataracts first-- it was absolutely textbook ad-for-the-doctor perfect. He immediately signed up for the next eye, which didn't go quite as well, but hey, he can drive again and he doesn't have to do any of the weird things he used to, like, um, binoculars to read the signs.
This is the man who drove a six-week family vacation across the country with double vision. Didn't mention it until later. That was detached retina number one.

Baby Sister got all the bad genes in the family. Had her tonsils pulled after one strep throat too many, lactose intolerant, knee that doesn't have anything officially wrong with it but hurts all the time and has atrophied muscle, migraines, wisdom teeth extraction made her look like a hamster with tennis balls in her mouth. I am glad to have dodged these many small bullets, though I'd take one or two if I could.

#60 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 08:48 AM:

59: four detached retinas? Your father is Zaphod Beeblebrox?

("Yeah, and two strep throats, eight wisdom teeth and three cases of carpal tunnel syndrome...")

#61 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 08:59 AM:

Dad's eyes are weird. I think it's been three detached retinas in one eye and one in the other. No reason, no family history of retinas going walkies, nothing. He does treat them more seriously now than in the past.

#62 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:01 AM:

Caroline #56:

I guess it wasn't one of the common strains circulating? I think the test for those is done in 30-45 minutes, but if your strain is influenza and is not one of the known/expected strains, they have to send it to CDC. (Is that right?) I know when I took my son to the ER for an asthma attack[0], they tested him for influenza and said the test came back negative[1].

Have you ever eaten at Neo-China[2]? That was our favorite Chinese place, back when we lived in Durham. I miss that area, even though the economy for people doing my kind of work was a disaster.

[0] I had serious asthma as a kid, and still have it (but not so bad) now, so this was all fairly familiar to me. Ahh, the situation didn't look *too* scary, since they didn't rush him in immediately and give him an epinephrine shot. But it was serious, because they did do the low-staff version of inhalation therapy (fast-acting albuterol + water + oxygen, set up so you spend five minutes or so breathing the mixture) and put him on five days of prednisone.

[1] ISTM that the test is too slow to be one where they mix the sample with antibodies and see if the antibodies find any antigen (as with the quick strep test), and it wouldn't make sense for them to be looking for antibodies to influenza (you wouldn't have many for the first week or so of infection, IIRC). Anyone know how the test works?

[2] There's one in Durham and one in Cary, and the two are somewhat different, but both amazingly good. Sunday after-church Dim Sum...Mmmmmmmm!

#63 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:08 AM:

Turner Classic Movies just ran the coming attraction for Roman Holidays:

The gayest spree a girl ever had!
#64 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:11 AM:

Just a comment on the sideline about "The fact that I'm completely wrong....": I loved steve s's phrasing for that: rebunking.

The pattern is:

Bunk: Proctor and Gamble's logo is satanic.

Debunk: Nope, that's complete nonsense, and here's why.

Rebunk: Well, but they're the kind of evil bastards who would have a satanic logo. And the fact that it sounds plausible is proof that they're evil.

Plausibility of some evil claim tells you something about your belief system, but nothing at all about outside reality. Plenty of people are absolutely convinced that the US government is in league with the space aliens who are abducting people for a little interspecies sexual harassment. Others are sure that Obama is planning to grab all their guns and turn the US into a socialist country. Finding that they find some false stories plausible w.r.t. the US government, the space aliens, or Obama gives them no new information about whether or not any of those beliefs are true.

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:21 AM:

Found yesterday in, regarding Manuel Miranda, former aide to Bill Frist, and his opposition to the nomination of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court:

"She has a temper," Miranda said this afternoon after a Heritage Foundation event. "She has an attitude. She could come across as hubristic in the hearings, as arrogant. And so she could Bork herself."
#66 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:33 AM:

In downtown Ottawa you can't go more than a block or two without seeing a Thai restaurant. And, I read somewhere that we apparently have the most shawarma places, per capita, in Canada. Go figure.

Joel @26, I'm sorry to hear that. I'll keep my eyes peeled for Ottawa-based jobs.

#67 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:40 AM:

albatross @ 62: They didn't do the sample until I returned to urgent care with new symptoms a day later. (I am not sure why the ER didn't do it; things seemed pretty chaotic there.) Apparently it isn't recommended to do the rapid flu test when the patient is no longer running a fever, or so claimed the doctor. By that time I wasn't running a fever anymore, so they sent it off. They told me that if it didn't come back in 3 days, it could take up to 2 weeks. If I had been feeling less like death at the time, I would have pressed for technical details.

Here's a page that goes through various types of flu tests. From the information they gave me combined with information on that page, it looks like they are doing some kind of viral culture to determine exactly what strain I have. The others can tell you if it is an influenza virus, and if it is influenza A or B, but don't tell you the precise strain. I guess if a rapid culture doesn't work, they will have to do a slower culture -- hence the "either 3 days or 2 weeks" statement.

I mean, if it is H1N1, I aten't dead. It was pretty severe, but then I haven't actually had flu since I was a child, so I can't really compare. And the respiratory symptoms have not been all that severe. Knock wood. (It's been unpredictable so far; I'm afraid it will decide to tour my lungs next.)

I have eaten at Neo-China! It's my favorite place to get Chinese.

Was Pho 9N9 in existence when you lived in Durham? It hides in a dead-looking strip mall over in RTP and serves great, cheap Vietnamese food. My real favorite Vietnamese place is the Dalat, though, over by NC State.

#68 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:53 AM:

Lee, 42: If Halal Wok is in Little India, I wonder if it's an Indian Chinese restaurant, which serves Chinese food interpreted through an Indian culinary filter. I've eaten at one of these in NYC, and the food was quite good, familiar and yet different at the same time.

#69 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:57 AM:

Becky @ 53:

After Thai chilis it's hard to go wronger, yes (for those of us who don't do Hot.) Ginger, garlic, and scallions are fine, and thanks for the suggestion of fish sauce, which I'll try Real Soon Now. Oyster sauce and maybe black bean sauce are also possibilities -- not at the same time, probably, and not so much of anything that one can do more than just barely identify its presence, I suppose. I'm not a particularly adventurous cook, so my problem with stir-fry is that it tends to become same old same old on a twice-a-day basis.
(Well... that and the fact that with an abundance of the main ingredients (including lettuces that are starting to bolt & become a tad bitter) I always stupidly end up with at least twice as much as I can eat.)

#70 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:19 AM:

Paula @ 23-- You reminded me of what we did when I was 9 and my little cockatiel died. We had a big vegetable garden in my parents' back yard, and we buried Diamond, with his favorite bell toy, where the tomatoes grew. We joked that the next summer we'd find tomatoes with yellow crests and orange cheek spots on them.

Re Thai restaurants-- One recently opened right next to Nicole's favorite coffee and wifi destination. The sign, though, had been up for months, right above the tantalizing (and after a few months, very frustrating) "Opening Soon!" sign. Now that it's open, we have to find time to go there!

#71 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:23 AM:

If you have yet to hear this morning: We've lost David Eddings

#72 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:29 AM:

Zora@57 writes "My name is preserved in the front of a few Gutenberg ebooks prepared by Distributed Proofreaders. That should last a few hundred years, or until computers completely replace humans in digitizing projects. Longer? who knows."

I hope so, and expressed a similar sentiment in a memorial post for a prolific Gutenberg volunteer who died recently.

Which I suppose one can contrast with Woody Allen's famous line: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying."

#73 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:00 AM:

Serge @ 65:

"She has an attitude. She could come across as hubristic in the hearings, as arrogant. And so she could Bork herself."

Ah, the Swedish Chef gambit.

#74 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:04 AM:

KeithS@44: K was a primitive part of the Latin alphabet (which is why it comes in its historic position, unlike Y and Z, which were tacked on at the end). However, because it was, by classical times, sounded exactly the same as C and Q, it had largely dropped out of use, at least in the form of writing commonly used for literary works (except, sometimes, in the word 'Kalendae' and derivatives) - elsewhere, though, people might have followed different rules.

Certainly I is missing - which suggests that, if this is indeed a test, the maker failed it.

#75 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:19 AM:

David Eddings was one of the pillars of my youthful library. I go back to the Belgariad every few years - it's pure comfort food. Sorry to hear of his passing.

#76 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:23 AM:

Don Fitch @ 69:

Let me warn about fish sauce: It smells awful. If you open the bottle and sniff it, you'll go "Ugh, jeez, this is gross, this smells like feet, I am not eating this." But you put a tablespoon in with a Thai curry or a stir-fry, and somehow it gets totally transmogrified and tastes good. Savory, salty, and a little tangy, not like feet in any way. It is weird but true -- one of those things where sniffing it is not a guide to how it will taste in the dish.

#77 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:35 AM:

Lots of Thai food here in Riverside on the west coast. Lots of nice sushi places. But just try to find a good Greek restaurant... there must be one somewhere short of downtown LA, but I haven't been able to find it. Sob. Sob.

#78 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:35 AM:

Chris Quinones @ 68:

Indian Chinese? Eating food filtered through a different culture's lens is always interesting. I don't think I have one of those nearby, although there is a Thai place that I've been meaning to check out.

Andrew M @ 74:

Ah, thank you. I took classical Latin, so if that was mentioned about "K", I'd forgotten it entirely. I've forgotten most of it entirely, actually, but that's different.

#79 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:46 AM:

Serge @ 43: For what it's worth . . . my aunt had two knee replacements, one a year after the other. The first went perfectly, no problem; the second--much like your wife's situation--hurt and hurt and hurt, until the doctors opened it up again. Turned out the appliance (I love that word) hadn't been properly sterile when they put it in, and she'd developed an infection. They cleaned it out, and everything was fine from then on.

May the problem with your wife's new knee be something as simple, fixable, and infuriating.

#80 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:12 PM:

Caroline@76 -- and you would know how feet taste ... how?

Eddings had a nice first series (the Belgariad) but I draw the line when the characters start complaining that the second series is exactly the same as the first, as happened in the Malloreon. Pity to lose him anyway.

#81 ::: Lauren Uroff ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:14 PM:

Tony @77. Try Burger Continental in Pasadena, on Lake near California. It has an American name, but the place is pure Mediterranean at heart. On Sundays, watch out for the belly-dancers.

It's an old-fashioned restaurant, where the waiters flirt with everyone, the tables spill onto the sidewalk on weekends, and the air conditioning consists of everyone talking really loudly. It's a gas!

#82 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:19 PM:

Caroline @ 67:
Regarding the Flu Tests, it was explained to me by someone at the CDC that they tested locally for Influenza A. If it's A, depending on the facilities available, they culture it, and then they can identify the strain. If it's an identifiable strain, then it isn't H1N1. That test is done locally in large hospitals, but may be sent away to the CDC if they can't run the tests. If it isn't any identifiable strain, the CDC confirms H1N1, or they find a new strain (which is much scarier, since flu can recombine when there are multiple infections in the same host.)

This may be why there is a couple of days vs. 2 weeks difference. If it's identifiable, it's pretty quick. The H1N1 test may take longer, but I think the CDC was identifying the virus in a much shorter time frame than 2 weeks. Of course, they may have slowed down with the higher volume of cases recently.

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:22 PM:

Mary Frances @ 79...I think infection has been ruled out. Maybe there's too much cement in one place, or maybe not enough. Someone I know had problems too and it turned out they had put in the wrong knee-prosthesis size. Oops.

#84 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Possibly useful piece of information: I and J were not distinguished in Latin. The same is true of U and V; note that U is also missing.

(looks again) But wait, he has neither I nor J. U and V were considered the same letter, but the omission of I/J (especially since he uses I quite extensively in the rest of the inscription) would still appear to be an error.

Maybe he carved the alphabet later, to show he knew all the letters, and figured he had already adequately displayed his proficiency with I?

#85 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:44 PM:

Good God! It's 51 degrees! The whole point of leaving Puerto Rico for this godforsaken continent in June instead of March was specifically to avoid this travesty you all call weather.

(One shudders to think how I'm going to adapt in November -- but the point was to postpone that horrible moment as long as possible, not confront it while still reeling from the move.)

#86 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 12:54 PM:

Eddings was a writer whose books my wife loves. At least the first few series, the Belgariad, etc, and she's re-read them a number of times. The more recent works (The Elder Gods, etc) she dipped into, but didn't feel moved to continue.

Myself, I tried the first book of the Belgariad, and bounced out after about fifty pages. Not because it was a bad or boring story, but because the use of "However" and Meanwhile" was so frequent that it started knocking me out of the reading experience whenever I ran into its use again.

Where the hell was the copyeditor on that book?

I was also dismayed when I browsed thru The Riven Codex and found Eddings' checklist for story elements needed to generate a best-selling fantasy. Quite depressing.

#87 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:01 PM:

Chris, #68: Wow, that sounds like a food style I'd love to try! The article says that it might be available in Houston; time for some local research.

I should point out that the area I describe as Little India here is the import/wholesalers' district, and actually has very mixed cultural influences. Yes, there's a lot of Indian -- it's where most of the sari shops are, and the biggest Indian groceries -- but also quite a bit of Middle Eastern and Chinese. I have a standing offer of a tour to any friends who visit, because there's a lot of Really Neat Stuff available there, much cheaper than you're likely to find it in other cities.

#88 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:04 PM:

The guy who has killed more than 4000 people overall is accusing President Obama of sowing "revenge and hatred." Now that's what I call chutzpah!

#89 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:20 PM:

The Asian foodie situation in my immediate neighborhood is kind of grim.

There's a Sushi & Hot Pot place across the street, but neither of those is amenable to Take Out. Next to that there's a corporate-chain noodle restaurant that's actually pretty decent, but it's still a corporate-chain noodle restaurant.

Down the street a ways: Panda Express. Puh-leeze. Also a nice Pho place, but again not take-out friendly.

A couple of miles away east and west and south, somewhat intimidating sit-down Thai and Chinese restaurants. They do take-out, but they're kind of far away.

What I'd LOVE to have nearby are one of the storefront Chinese takeout places that you could find everywhere in New York and the Bay Area. They were often dismal, depressing looking places, but the food was good and cheap and most often you'd get take-out anyway, yah?

#90 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Serge, back when I was doing PT for my ankle, one of the other patients had had to have her knee replacement redone, as it was ever so slightly out of position--either because it wasn't put in quite straight, or because it moved just a tiny bit during healing--apparently, even a very small variation from the proper position can be horribly painful.

Hope whatever it is gets sorted this time.

#91 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:31 PM:

PJ Evans @27, if you want spice-hot Thai in the LA area, the place to go is Jitlada in Hollywood; about a year ago, without any fuss, they introduced a very authentic and very, very spicy menu of Southern Thai specialties (which, last time I was there, was unobtrusively tucked away on the back page of an otherwise-standard menu.) The soft-shell crab with sator beans was the spiciest thing I've eaten, and that includes some pretty authentic Sichuan food. This was heat that scoffs at rice and laughs off Thai iced tea -- the dish of raw veggies on ice they brought out did a surprisingly good job, however.

Kate @21:

Since my stir-fries are mostly vegetarian, I find what I really need is an umami boost. Either a mushroom sauce (filling the niche of oyster sauce) or a hot bean paste, depending on whim and what else is going in.

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:42 PM:

fidelio @ 90... Maybe that is 'all' it is. Luckily things aren't so painful that it has to be dtaken care of now otherwise her summer would be shot, thanks to the recovery and the therapy after the surgery.

#93 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Kate: There is a fair quantity of Thai food to be had, in my necks of the woods (which is to say, in LA, and the parts of the West Coast I know: SLO, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco Bay, Seattle/Tacoma)

#94 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:04 PM:

Serge @ 83 and 92: In any case, "ouch." Good wishes for her complete recovery.

#95 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:08 PM:

For certain types of authentic, the Sunamaluang Cafe in Burbank (assuming it's still there, I've not been a few years) is great. Somtow Sucharitkul compared it to a really good roadside restaurant in Bangkok.

There are some dishes on the menu which I've not had (the pig's uterus soup, which I'm told has some of the most "interesting" textures a friend had ever eaten. I've also skipped the pork offal soup).

Spicing ranges from mild to popskull.

Sherman Way, a bit west of the 5, south side of the street; mid-block.

#96 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:15 PM:

Oakland doesn't have very many Thai restaurants, but we have a few Thai-Lao places. (I've seen the difference between Thai food and Lao food described as "Lao food is like Thai food, but less sweet, and a lot funkier from the dried crab.") Our favorite is a hole-in-the-wall on International Boulevard called Green Papaya Deli. I've started keeping an annotated version of their menu, since their original version had nothing but the names of the dishes.

#97 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:21 PM:

#78 ::: KeithS

Chris Quinones @ 68:
Indian Chinese? Eating food filtered through a different culture's lens is always interesting.

My mind was boggling, sitting here literally slack-jawed. I'd misread it as "Indian Cheese".

#98 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:26 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 89:

Are you on the West Side? I can point you to a couple of places, though they won't be real close, by the sound of it.

#99 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 02:44 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 97:

Indian cheese. Yum.

#100 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Serge @ #65, The source of that quote is ethically challenged at best and holds peculiar opinions about race.

#101 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:17 PM:

Speaking of Thai and other restaurants, I've lived in deepest Oklahoma for eight years now and just finally ventured into the Asian District of downtown Oklahoma City. Pho restaurants every few feet, it seems, and a fantasticly huge Oriental supermarket with what looked like coast-worthy fresh fish out the wazoo. Interesting history on wikipedia and their own website

#102 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Serge @ #65: She has a temper," Miranda said this afternoon after a Heritage Foundation event. "She has an attitude...

In other words, she's just a little Latin spitfire. [disengage stereotype]

#103 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:23 PM:

Caroline@67 -- "Aten't dead?" Nice slipping it in, there, Granny. (A reward for careful reading - thanks!)

#104 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:26 PM:

Lauren Uroff @ 81:

Yummm. Burger Continental!

I don't know that I'd call it Greek food, though. It's kinda a confusiingly wonderful fusion of American (great burgers -- really!) and all sorts of Mediteranean with some Middle-East thrown in.

Tony Zbaraschuk @ 77:

If I haven't turned you away, check out their menu by Googling their name. It's a Pasadena standby -- and I go for the wonderful lamb.

#105 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Tracie @102:
a little Latin spitfire

And suddenly I find myself thinking about Romans making Spitfires, à la Archimedes and his death ray.

#106 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Just got back from a work team lunch. A very Mexican taco & enchilada place in downtown Hillsboro.

Man, that rocked. This was the real deal. Plus, telenovelas on HDTV.

#98: Orenco Station area.

There ARE good Chinese take-out places in Hillsboro and Beaverton. (Mostly the latter.) But they are not in the neighborhood.

#107 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:40 PM:

abi @ 105... Archimedes and his death ray

The Mysthbusters tested that one and, if I remember correctly, the only way it'd have worked is if the Roman fleet had decided to cooperate and not move at all.

#108 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:47 PM:

Serge @107:

I'm not wildly convinced that a Roman Spitfire would fly, either.

#109 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:51 PM:

abi @105

That explains why the Romans kept invading the Celtic lands. They had to control the source of Merlins.

#110 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:00 PM:

Get well, Caroline!

#111 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:00 PM:

also Africa -> Camels

Lightning right-hand turns, and all that.

#112 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:02 PM:

Lightning right-hand turns, and all that.

Could someone let me in on the reference?

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:05 PM:

Dave Bell @ 109... They had to control the source of Merlins that they could swallow all lands?

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:09 PM:

abi @ 108... I'm not wildly convinced that a Roman Spitfire would fly

That sounds like a challenge to the abovementionned Mysthbusters who have tested various airborne devices such as planes made of concrete, ancient Chinese chairs with solid rockets under the seat, and, my favorite, whether or not a liquid-fuel missile could have been built using Civil War technology. (Doctor Miguelito Lovelès would have loved that one.)

#115 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:10 PM:

rams@103 re Carolyn@67 - darn, I'm getting slow.

#116 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:21 PM:

The Sopwith Camel was a fighter plane which was famous for turning right. Left, not so much. Easier to make three right turns.

See also: ack ack, Algy, Baron, Biggles, Bristol, cabbage crate, Circus, Ginger, Great War, gyroscopic forces, Hun, Richthofen, torque, Von etc.

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:27 PM:

Niall McAuley @ 116... What's that about Ginger and the Circus?

#118 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:27 PM:

Michael@115 -- I can't be having with that. It's not like she referenced hedgehog impenetrability. Still, thanks -- if you haven't got respect, you haven't got anything.

#119 ::: jere7my ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:36 PM:

AndrewM @74 wrote, Certainly I is missing - which suggests that, if this is indeed a test, the maker failed it.

It's a reference to an old Latin team-building proverb: "There's no 'I' in 'ABCDEFGHKLMNOPQRSTVX'."

#120 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Fuck me! Hardback copies of "Biggles of the Camel Squadron" are worth a hundred pounds!

Not mine, though, even if I still had it. "Clean and tight" would be, well, "incorrect" is only the start of it, after I read it a million times under my blankets.

As for dust-jackets, I hates them. They're like those bras for cars, or plastic mats over your carpets: keep everything nice for the next owner when you're DEAD! HA HA HA HAAAA!

No. Hardbacks, no dust-jackets. These books are mine to be read, not some creepy collector's. Mind you, Folio editions with slip-cases, those I like.

If only they had a Biggles collection...

#121 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:47 PM:

Serge@114 -- "Mysthbusters"...

As opposed to Mystbusters, who test the practicality of giant rotating buildings with elevators which can only be unlocked by matching up constellation symbols from twelve clockwork boxes scattered around the island?

#122 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:52 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 121... Curthes! Mythtyped again!

#123 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 06:05 PM:

A whine: when is Jo Walton's "Half a Crown" going to be issued in MMP format?

#124 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 06:14 PM:

It's because I've been rereading all the witches books while in bed.

#125 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 07:05 PM:

Paging all Beatles enthusiasts, appreciators of quality animation, video-game types, and assorted lifeforms:

The cinematic intro for The Beatles: RockBand has been posted, and it's two minutes forty seconds of mindbending gorgeous awesomeness. Go see.

#126 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 07:46 PM:

Bits of that Beatles animation are good, I like the blue elephant which is not a walrus, but why stick to the same little subset of songs? Most of the people buying stuff these days are younger than me, and don't remember the Beatles when they were #1 in the charts.

So why don't Beatles boosters use "Happy Birthday", or "I'm Only Sleeping", or "Drive my Car", or "Doctor Robert", or "Girl"? No, just the usual suspects.

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 07:55 PM:

The other day, I heard on the radio that Lennon got his inspiration for "Good Morning" from a Corn Flakes commercial. As for those animals we hear at the end, apparently each animal is followed by one it could eat. I'll have to pay more attention next time.

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:04 PM:

Some here might be interested in this cool music toy. I've been making Reichian (Steve, not Wilhelm) soundscapes with it. WARNING: it's addictive.

#129 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:21 PM:

Xopher @ 128:

I'm going to be playing with that all night. Thanks, I think.

#130 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:26 PM:

Misery loves company KeithS! Not that it's exactly misery...and I did warn you.

I want one implemented in hardware with fist-sized buttons, so I can perform with it live.

#131 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:34 PM:

Xopher @ 130:

I only wish there were a way to save your nice examples to inflict on share with others.

The rules for it are pretty simple, so making a clone in software shouldn't be too hard. I don't have the hardware to make a physical device to hand, though. Sorry.

#132 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:35 PM:

(And I just now notice that it has copy/paste facilities, therefore making my wish already granted. Oops.)

#133 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:44 PM:

Definite fun. Sharing it.

#134 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:52 PM:

Dammit, Xopher, I have a deadline to meet.

#135 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:54 PM:

Here's a busy little tune:

#136 ::: Mo ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:57 PM:

Amazing proofreading job.

#137 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:01 PM:

If I didn't have this deadline, I'd write a little script that would permute the matrix on a chord like my little tune there, and paste it repeatedly. Then, the tune played would mutate on each pass through, but always stay in that chord. The cycle would thus be eliminated; you'd end up with an endlessly changing busy little song.

But that's only what I'd do if I didn't have this deadline and dammit, Muse, I can hear you knocking on the damn door but I need the money cause poppa has a house to renovate.

#138 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:02 PM:

Tony Zbaraschuk: Greek? The Great Greek in Studio City comes to mind. I am blanking on others, though I know of many (though not all in LA, Panos Kelftika in Seattle is ASTOUNDING, and Epsilon in Monterey is great, though different [Peter, the owner, is an eastern Greek (he refers to himself as, Byzantine) and the food has more turkish elements]).

Burger Continental isn't where I'd go for Greek, but the food is very good.

Carol Kimball: Why slack-jawed? There are several indian cheeses. (paneer is the one most commonly encountered).

Re Sopwith Camels: All the rotary engined planes were much tighter in turns to the right (the entire motor spun). For other reasons the Camel was more famous for this. Mostly it was that it was very nimble, because of how it was marginally stable. It had less than wonderful stall characteristics, which made it very tricky at low speed/altitudes.

#139 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:29 PM:

Perhaps the potter left I out of his alphabet because he considered it to be the same letter as E.

#140 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:37 PM:

Maybe he was chugging along, did the E by mistake, and said "D'oh, well, I can always leave I out instead."

#141 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:39 PM:


Using Lvcivs's alphabet, here is his inscription in ROT-20(assuming he considers I to be equivalent to E):


#142 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Mmm. Greek.

Ethnic food that isn't comida criolla is something I've missed for the last year or two. I like comida criolla -- it's good. But Greek, I've missed. I don't think Richmond has a Greek restaurant. But honestly? Midwest is an ethnic food I've been catching up on. Terry, I've had sunny-side up eggs and hashbrowns at least five times since Tennessee, and loved them every time.

Now I'm on a bagel kick. Mm. I've missed bagels. I actually had a good recipe for bagels somewhere, but they're a lot of work. Really designed for somebody making them for a lot of people at once.

#143 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:40 PM:

oops I mean ROT-10

#144 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:45 PM:

Two of the standards of the original Biggles short stories are that a Camel can execute a lightning-quick right turn, and that a new chap can kill himself in a Camel before he learns just how twitchy it can be.

Damned nuisance. I say, wasn't that your cousin?

#145 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:59 PM:

New Hampshire is number 6!!!!!

#146 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Kate: Thai is quite common in Boston -- in addition to the good places, I can point locally to a restaurant a couple of decades old in the local strip mall. But Boston is a coastal city, and heavily internationalized by a huge student population; I wouldn't expect to find Thai food easily in a random city. (Some cities are more random than others; in Madison last week I found there were \two/ Himalayan restaurants in a short stretch of State St., which runs half a mile from the capitol to the public university.) There's also a lot of pho (Vietnamese), in both joints and nice places; Indian has been around so long it's almost ho-hum. But my guess is that any ring around Boston that included even the near suburbs would have as many Chinese restaurants as the other three combined.

#147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:17 PM:

Ginger @ 145... I'll refrain from making the obvious Village joke and will instead utter a big "YAY!"

#148 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 11:54 PM:

Serge @ 147 ...
"I am not a number... I am a free... mason!"

#149 ::: anaea ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 12:16 AM:

A friend just pointed me to the following which strikes me as something y'all will like:

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 12:40 AM:

xeger @ 148...

"I wouldn't know a Free Mason from a cheap brick layer."
- yours truly when asking someone else about the supposed Masonic subtext of Mozart's Magic Flute.

#151 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 12:41 AM:

Kate, #21, I live in a commuter city (I used to be able to say rural city) near DC and we're currently about 2:1 Chinese:Thai. However, the Chinese are mostly frequented for lunch buffets and the Thai for dinner.

Joel Polowin, #26, I'm so sorry. I'm not likely to hear of jobs up there, but I hope you find something soon.

Diatryma, #35, uneven sidewalks are very dangerous for disabled people.

Re: skeletal replacement, Dean Kamen's firm, Deka, has made a new artificial arm that grasps.

And re: the online glasses particle, I have four pairs of glasses from Zenni Optical and have been very pleased with them and their price.

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 01:35 AM:

Argh... Gilgamesh has been shot. Then he pulled a muscle when he tossed across the room the oversized exoskeleton of a teacher who became mad after having Agatha for a student. Agatha shows up and isn't happy that Zola is in the process of pampering Gilgamesh. How is this going to turn out? What's next? Well what else but a break from the main plot so that the Foglio Family can serve us Part Three of "Revenge of the Weasel Queen"?

#153 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 01:37 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 108:

Oops, even farther west than I thought. Well, if you don't mind a bit of a drive, there's a really terrific dim sum and Chinese sea food place called China Town at Murray Blvd and Cornell Road, just across the street from the Nike Encampment. It's in a shabby-looking strip mall like place, that has clearly benefited from Time Lord technology; it can't possibly be that big inside without dimension warping. And they do takeout, but if you're going that far, I'd suggest sitting down and ordering off the dim sum carts.

#154 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:12 AM:

During a heat wave such as that currently affecting Seattle, it seems appropriate to recall that the scope of opportunities for us to "Keep Cool with Coolidge" is most properly measured in degrees Calvin.

#155 ::: joXn ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:29 AM:

Xopher@130 all we really need is for that applet to have a finite automaton rule associated with it. Or to be able to specify which rule. Turing-complete music!

#156 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:32 AM:

Hello again everyone...I'm back after driving the entire length of the Desert Southwest (and, almost equally difficult, getting broadband service from AT&T going). I did actually have net access most nights, but didn't have the time available to catch up on ML. Which of course means staying up too late *now* to do that thing. Lots of boxes still to unpack.

Saw the Caverns of Sonora, which were amazing. Had a big laugh on the last day of driving as we came into Houston from I-10 to the Farm to Market (FM) road 1093...and were directed by the GPS unit to exit on "Federation of Micronesia 1093".

#157 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 08:22 AM:

European Parliament elections today in the UK. I shall head off to vote soon.

But it is all a bit confusing. You see, I've been reading up on the politics of the 1920s and 1930s, and all the wild and wacky stuff which appeared in the aftermath of The Great War. Britain is confusing enough, with the old Liberal/Conservative divide being disrupted by the Labour Party. There are also various brands of Fascist, not all of them as insane as the National Socialists in Germany.
And then there's a Depression.

Well, here we are, 2009, 70 years later, and I've been inundated with election propaganda which doesn't feel so different.

Except the modern Mosleyites seem to be limiting their incompetence to the Formula One Grand Prix motor-racing.

But we have the fascists and the isoloationist and the totalitarians, and that's just the [insert political party's name here]. Seriously, we have the political heirs of the British Union of Fascists, via the National Front, who managed to put a Spitfire on one of their leaflets which was in the markings of a Polish squadron of the RAF.

Repeat, please.

I think I might be turning into an anarchist. Maybe I shouldn't have read any Kropotkin, and merely complained about the illicit aquisition of infusions of the leaves of camellia sinensis.

(Go on, you lot can work out that one for youselves.)

Anyway, how many PATRIOT acts do you have? This country seems to have Terrorism Acts the way New Yorker's have cockroaches. Does it matter which gang you vote for?

#158 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:40 AM:

Dave Bell #109: Strange, then, that the Romans didn't make it to the Antilles, where they would have found Hurricanes.

#159 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:45 AM:

Regarding I being seen as the same as E: it's possible. Pre-revolutionary Russian had two letters which sounded the same - I, looking like a Roman I, and back-to-front-N, which derives from Greek Eta, which would normally be represented in English as an E. Modern Russian has amalgamated the two, and uses back-to-front-N all the time.

#160 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:45 AM:

Ginger #145: The world is changing for the better, one state (or district) at a time. In a few years, there will be a large set of gay couples married under state law, and a bunch of case law in those states dealing with their marriages, divorces, deaths, inheritance, custody issues, etc. And it will be, IMO, politically impossible to reverse that. The Palin/Gingrich[1] administration may try, but it will have to push against all that inertia, all those millions of gay couples and neighbors/friends/relatives of those gay couples, all their kids who've grown up and now can vote, etc.

[1] Aka, the reason millions of Americans get passports for their whole families and convert some of their cash to gold in 2015, as the election outcome becomes clear.

#161 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:46 AM:

Dave Bell @ 157... If British politics are a repeat of the 1920s, who is the modern Spode?

#162 ::: Sus ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:57 AM:

Heh. I've just re-read Good Omens and the immediate expectation I had of the translation was something like ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. Lucius made this jar for Amaka. Buggre all this for a Larke. I amme sick to mye Hart of potterye...

#163 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 10:21 AM:

joXn @ 155:

You're trying to make me take on yet another project, aren't you. It's not going to happen. It's not!

Hmm... If I put a generalized game of life on that grid and... No!

#164 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 10:37 AM:

Serge @162

Innocent Look

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Dave Bell @ 164... So, one Spode made plates, while the other made pleats (for ladies's apparel and for his own brown shirts)?

#166 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 01:01 PM:

Musicoid thingys: there is also the classic Triadex Muse, which is simulated hereat:

#167 ::: joXn ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Erik @ 166: Amusingly, it is a Windows95 app that "might work under NT". It works fine under Win7, although I'm not able to check if the MIDI output is functional.

Microsoft gets a bad reputation but I wonder if there are any Mac or Linux binaries from 1997 that will run unmodified on a current version of those OSes.

#168 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Marilee et al, after breaking the rather expensive frames of my progressive focus glasses (managed to drop them out of my lap and step on them in one smooth motion) I got them replaced at the optometrist and then ordered a cheap backup pair from, after looking through a number of site reviews at that "Cheap glasses" website. I am keeping them in the car so I'm never stuck driving home without glasses if I should break them again. For $40 I got single-focus expensive photochromic gray lenses and a frame style very like my expensive ones (gray, not gold, and a bit heavier). (In other words, not the simplest or cheapest of either lenses or frame. I think I could have gotten the simplest prescription glasses for $30 or less.) I've worn them enough to know that they're quite acceptable for me.

I am planning to try them out soon for computer/reading glasses also; the progressive focus is a nice idea but really doesn't work out for me for close-up and I end up just taking them off to read or work at the computer. Cheap glasses make it seem a lot more reasonable to try out some closer focus glasses and see if they work out for me.

#169 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 01:49 PM:

joXn @ 167 ...
Microsoft gets a bad reputation but I wonder if there are any Mac or Linux binaries from 1997 that will run unmodified on a current version of those OSes.

A better question might be "Should the OS be designed around supporting the limitations of previous generations of operating systems ad nauseum" :P

(and the answer to that question is "yes, depending on the binary, and in some cases, the availability of an emulator").

#170 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:04 PM:

Black shorts, serge.

#171 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:04 PM:

Serge @152 - But you must remember, this is a world ruled by mad science!

Avedaggio @70 - Re Thai restaurants-- One recently opened right next to Nicole's favorite coffee and wifi destination. The sign, though, had been up for months, right above the tantalizing (and after a few months, very frustrating) "Opening Soon!" sign. Now that it's open, we have to find time to go there!

I have gone once. It's good. The decor is very very nice. I love the milk-carton-shaped chopstick holders on the tables. I have discovered that while there's a lot in Thai cuisine I don't like, I can't go far wrong with Pad Thai and Pad See You (or See Ew; pick your favorite transliteration).

(They have not been open that long, but they have already revised their menu. I noticed last time I came out of used-ta-been Joe's.

Boulder also has TWO Korean restaurants that I love to death. Korea House, hiding on 28th behind the Bookworm and the Sew/Vac place, where I order the Kimchi Chi Gae and it takes me like, an hour to get through all its Hot! Spicy! Goodness!; and our favorite Go-playing & Tea-sipping place, Healing Tea (nee Cup Of Peace), where I love me some chicken bibimbob.

Avedaggio, worldnamer may have mentioned that I am coming back to Boulder with oodles of Go material on my hard drive? The Go club in New Orleans is exceedingly happy to see new members. And loathe to see them leave town again.

#172 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:07 PM:

Will ya'll cross your fingers for me and think good thoughts? Am sending an appeal in to my health insurance.

I am currently doing battle to try to get insurance coverage of a med -- preferably Provigil, but I'm open to other options. Insurance isn't willing to cover any of the options. Short version of the problem is that I have idiopathic hypersomnia, which is similar to, but not quite the same as, narcolepsy. Difference is no cataplexy, and my sleep cycles are apparently normal, but I seem to have many of the other symptoms.

I can't drive, safely cook (I've started a kitchen fire), cross the street, or generally function without medication. And as you can imagine, my job performance sucks without medication -- I've been in the same department since 1996, and used to joke I could do my job asleep, but it turns out, after testing this theory, that this is not actually true. (Google "microsleep" ... much is explained. Not much is solved, but much is explained.)


Insurance won't cover the meds. They're all prior approval and it's an off label use. They're approved for narcolepsy, and hypersomnia isn't listed. Though I have a large stack of medical research papers and pages printed from medical books referencing Provigil as a successful and/or suggested treatment. It's just not FDA approved.

Yet I clearly need to be treated, before I become road kill in a crosswalk or burn my house down.

This is me, beating my head against the wall. This is also why I've been largely absent from many of my usual haunts online, and why various projects online have been neglected lately ...

#173 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:09 PM:

#138 ::: Terry Karney

Carol Kimball: Why slack-jawed? There are several indian cheeses. (paneer is the one most commonly encountered).

Yeah, I've even had paneer more than once. I should have made clear that I was enjoying some Stilton at the time, and my head was riffing on various pungent blues in various curry blends.

ML commenters make such lightning-fast leaps that I forget you're not telepathic.

#174 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:10 PM:

The thread started with a reference to Limburg, after all!

#175 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:15 PM:

#153: That Dim Sum place isn't too far from work, and groups of cow-orkers lunch there now and then.

#176 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:49 PM:

Cygnet @172,

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Have you been to the forums at Dr Bob? If not, I'd recommend it as the medicine forum/website with the best discussions of psychiatry / brain function / situations like yours. The participants are informed and helpful. A quick search shows discussions of provigil+hypersomnia, and I'd assume the people with that could give advice on any insurance fights they fought.

#177 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Dave Bell, Serge:

Wottinhell is an amateur dictator?

#178 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:05 PM:

joXn @ 167:

For all their faults, I'm impressed with the technical achievement of Microsoft retaining so much backward compatibility with Windows. Their marketing and lot of their other stuff, not so much. I've been reading The Old New Thing for a while, and it's amazing some of the things that software developers do that Microsoft has to continue to support.

The Mac and Linux attitude is basically that they'll keep changing stuff, because the new stuff is, of course, better (new is always better, right?), and the programmers will have to race to fix their software. And if the company that made your software ten years ago isn't around any more, oh well.

That said, modern Linux systems are capable of running ancient versions of Netscape Navigator, provided they have the right libraries installed.

Cygnet @ 172:

Best wishes for having your insurance company see the light. I hope you can get what you need.

#179 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:10 PM:


...President Obama nominates Republican Robert McDowell for another term [on the Federal Communications Commission] while he awaits Senate confirmation hearings on Julius Genachowski to serve as FCC chairman and Mignon L. Clyburn to fill the seat of the departing Jonathan Adelstein.

President Obama's FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is slowly—very slowly—taking shape. Obama June 2 nominated Republican Robert McDowell to serve another term on the FCC, leaving the normally five-person independent regulatory agency that is at the nexus of most Internet-related issues still shorthanded....

And purge every single military officer who did NOT object to the actions the past decade plus of the evangelizers such as Lt Gen Boykin, and the "leadership" at the Air Force Academy, the Pentagon, the US Military Academy, etc., who were forcefeeding evangelizing Christianity through the US military....

#180 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:15 PM:

#160 albatross

Back before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Afghanistan had women who were university professors, judges, MDs... as opposed to the situaton today where girls under the age of TEN get sold into marriages, and Taliban resurgent blows up schools that have any female students.

Yeah, right, sure, "It can't happen here." Tell that to the women in Iraq, that the same things has happened to discourtesy of the USA particularly....

#181 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Cygnet @ 172

I went through a similar exercise a few months ago with an insurance company that insisted that an approved surgical procedure was "experimental". My advice is to find a lawyer who's experienced in dealing with health insurance issues. If having the lawyer do all the work is a financial burden (it cost me a lot to go through 2 appeals), you can at least get some advice and have them write a letter to the insurance company, so they know you mean business. My lawyer was also able to connect me with a marketing person at the company that made the prosthesis installed by the procedure, who gave me a stack of medical literature and clinical study papers.

#182 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Good Luck, Good Luck, Good Luck, Cygnet!

Thanks, Niall McAuley @116 &144.

#183 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 180

And if Afghanistan smacks too much of the third world to be a convincing example*, consider the case of Iran, which was before the Revolution, and to a large extent still is, an advanced, cosmopolitan nation. There was a period after the overthrow of Reza Pahlavi when women wearing "indecent" attire on the street were in danger of beating or even rape by vigilantes. AFICT those days are long gone, but Iran is an example that shows that reactionary treatment of women can occur in even tolerant societies when religious zealots attain power.

* I don't say that's true, but a lot of people in the US are convinced of it.

#184 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 03:46 PM:

Xopher @ 128
I have it going in three different tabs right now, with overlapping music. I love this. I now have something to do today.

#185 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:07 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @72- Impressive man.

The book review you link too is an ...interesting read, though.

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:16 PM:

Nicole J Leboeuf-Little @ 171... this is a world ruled by mad science!

Indeed. They even have robots who design attires for the up-and-coming mad("They laughed at me!")mad scientists. Unfortunately for the robot, and fortunately for fashion, everybody ignores their designs.

#187 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:17 PM:

Bruce @177

Not during working hours.

(He was a lingerie designer.)

#188 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Dave Bell @ 170... Bruce Cohen @ 177... No self-respecting dictators should wear shorts. Or tights. As for the dictators who hate themselves...

#189 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Carry S. @ #58: I think I know that restaurant! It's really hard to get to (or seemed that way to me) with inadequate parking and as I recall it doesn't really even look like a restaurant. The food is great, though. I went a couple of times with my brother and his family while I lived near Pittsburgh, and we always ordered off the Korean menu. Mmm, bulgogi.

My brother and SIL adopted a boy from Korea as their third son (he's adorable and brilliant, just like my other two nephews). My SIL's cooking is heavily Korean now and it's excellent. I even like kim chi in small doses. :) I've moved back to Tennessee now and miss the Korean food--needless to say, it's hard to come by here. I really ought to get a good Korean cookbook and try some of the recipes.

Now I'm starving.

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:21 PM:

Cygnet @ 172... My best wishes.

#191 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Cygnet @ 172 -- You say that your insurance won't cover it. How many rounds have you gone? Is your insurance employer-provided, and if so, have you got your HR department to bang on the insurance company some?

You have my total sympathy; situations like this suck beyond belief. But it's my experience that sometimes supposedly ironclad policies retreat when they encounter certain kinds of pushback. Apologies in advance if you've already explored all those options.

#192 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:50 PM:

Via Pharyngula, a cartoon: MythTickle.

#193 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 04:55 PM:

David Goldfarb @156:
Congratulations on the move!

I look forward to hearing from you as you get your feet back under you. Having done a major move a couple of years ago, I certainly found the ML community gave me some much-needed social continuity in a new situation. I hope we can do the same for you.

#194 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:05 PM:

Dave Bell @157:

Turns out that if you're an EU citizen you can choose whether to vote in the European Parliament elections in your country of citizenship or your country of residence. Since we've pretty well entirely pulled up roots from the UK, we both transferred our votes to the Netherlands.

Last night, the "kieskompas" site that I referred to at the time of the water board elections was crashing intermittently, but both of us managed to extract enough information to know how we wanted to vote in the election. (Our initial position was, "not the party of Geert Wilders," but we got more sophisticated from there.)

We went for GroenLinks (English Wiki article). They had a few important characteristics: they're pro-European integration, they are against sacrificing civil rights for security, and (of course) they're pro-environment. It's a redistributionist party, which wouldn't fly in the US, but makes sense within this society.

#196 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:08 PM:

What does everyone here do when they begin to feel completely overwhelmed, near to mental paralysis, by events and/or circumstances in their life? Quite frankly, I'm about there. Oh, I know that "this too shall pass", at least intellectually, but that doesn't make the present any easier to deal with, nor lessen the stress. Not to mention that I'm more than a little concerned with what manner of things may occur between now and said passing.

If this were an LJ entry, I'd have tagged it "money, the economy, work, worry, help".

#197 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:09 PM:

Cygnet @172:

I'm afraid I can't offer much more than tea (Dave Bell brought it into the thread, so I reckon I can hand it round) and sympathy. I think that both Bruce and PNH, who have experience, are right. Push back, and keep pushing.

And keep us posted.

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Dave Bell @ 195... I rest my case, regarding the dictates of dictatorial and sartorial splendor.

#199 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Summer Storms @196:
What does everyone here do when they begin to feel completely overwhelmed, near to mental paralysis, by events and/or circumstances in their life?

That was much of my February, for no good reason.

What I do is to run a bath hot enough to turn me lobster-red and take a book in with me (usually Georgette Heyer, but YMMV). Then I go to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep, and reassure myself that I'll be more able to face things in the morning. I've learned over the years that I do have more courage the morning after a night's sleep than I do at the end of the day.

Then, on a sunny non-working morning after a good night's sleep, I sit down with the beverage of my choice and look at things methodically and rationally. I name my fears, or write them down. I discuss them with my better half, because we tend to peak and trough off-synch with one another. That's the time to make contingency plans, investigate options, and evaluate circumstances.

I don't know if the particulars there really help. But the key thing is that you will be more optimistic, braver and more calm if you're warm enough and well rested.

Good luck. It's tough times.

#200 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Dave Bell @157, Abi @194:

Belgium votes on Sunday (voting is mandatory here). The thought of electing the current choices to office is quite upsetting. I remember how flabbergasted I was to learn that there was no such thing as a federal party here, only regional ones - and we can only vote for parties in our region. (An Economist article discussing the north-south divide seems to have ignored this little detail.)

Kieskompas (known here as EU Profiler tells me that I'm closest ideologically to GroenLinks and a Slovenian party, and that the Belgian Green party is actually much (i.e. edge-of-chart) further to the left than my own leanings.

One moment in the run-up to the elections stands clearly in my mind, though. As I left the supermarket one day, two women asked me if I would mind signing a petition to allow the far-right National Front party to run. I almost asked them if they'd boot me out of the country once they took over*, but politely declined instead.

*I am often mistaken for Chinese.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:52 PM:

Summer Storms @ 196...

What do I do, in situations like that? I come to ML and I read and I post, and I get joy out of that. Also, I focus on things over which I have some control and, even if they are small things, they alleviate the despair.

I hope things improve soon for you.

#202 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Summer Storms @ #196:

Thought is good. Thinking long and hard about your problems is good.

Worry is bad. I very much agree with abi that things look better after a warm night's sleep, and a corollary is that things feel much worse at 3 am, when you're lying awake in bed worrying, and trying not to disturb the other half. My own recipe is no news shows or other depressing fare before bed, stick to mind candy (like Stargate, in my case) and a few glasses of something Champagnoise.

No, it's not a permanent solution, but your problems will seem a lot less permanent if you get a peaceful nights sleep.

#203 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:15 PM:


That sounds heavenly. Unfortunately, only a small portion of it is really feasible for me. I'd need a larger bathtub, a partner who doesn't get even more stressed than I do when discussing stressful things (and then I wind up having to handle both his stress and my own), and the ability to sleep well when stressed...

I've already done the naming of my fears (legion, but centering mainly on simply not being able to get by financially for the current month), the evaluation of circumstances (not good), and the investigation of options (few if any). I can't even come up with a contingency plan I can be sure will work. In short, I'm worried.

It isn't as though there aren't any bright spots at all: I had a good job interview on Monday, and it looks like I have a good chance at being hired, but I won't know for sure until at least tomorrow and possibly not until sometime next week, nor do I have any idea how many hours per week I'm going to get and how much I'll make. It's a restaurant job, because that is virtually all that is available here at present. My husband actually is employed in the same industry, across the street from the place where I interviewed, and his job is good, if underpaid, and - we fervently hope - will remain stable throughout this current recession. I'd love a good full time office support position again, but there are very few advertised here of late, and probably several hundred applicants for each one that is, especially in light of so many other businesses closing or downsizing in Northeast Ohio.

So it's back to waiting tables I go. Okay, I can deal with that. But what worries me is being able to eke out the next three to five weeks between now and when I begin to hit my stride in terms of earnings. I've just looked at my bills, and my bank account, and there's a gap I'm not at all comfortable with.

That's the short term.

The long term is that I had really, really, wanted to be on a reasonable career path by now. I'm nearly 45, I've done general office work for years, along with some occasional retail or restaurant work, and none of this is what I want to do long-term. But given the current economy, and the fallout of some spectacularly bad decisions made in my earlier years - some solely my own doing, others made for me by family members or other loved ones who misguidedly thought they were doing the right thing but weren't - I don't even have an opportunity at the moment to begin making a change in the direction I'd like to go. And, of course, looking back at my own decisions, both long-ago and recent, I am beginning to feel that almost every one of them has been wrong. That whenever I am faced with a choice, I ought to choose the opposite of the one that feels right to me, because going with what feels right has so often in the past turned out to be wrong in the long run. Of course, the decision to begin going in the opposite direction from what I usually do might well be wrong in itself, so...

The result of all this is that I'm feeling very, very stuck. Trapped. As though the situation in which I currently find myself, or one similar to it, is likely to keep repeating itself throughout my future, because I can't get a handle on changing my life enough to make a difference.

#204 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:20 PM:

That has happened a lot to me over the last three years. Sometimes I forgive myself and allow myself to be paralyzed.

At night I go to bed in the dark. I say to myself "Breathe in" and I do. I say "Breathe out" and I do. Any time my mind goes to worry, I steer it back to breathing.

I take control of little things I *can* control.

I try not to talk myself out of out-of-the-box ideas. I make good bread; maybe people will buy my bread; I can make it at home at night with my kids; it may not make enough to pay the mortgage but it could pay for food or gas.

I play mindless reaction games on the internet.


#205 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:29 PM:

Actually some of that sounds very familiar. I thought last year I had myself together and then three school districts went into hiring freezes. I was offered a job for this Fall as an actual teacher but I haven't gotten the paperwork yet and I have to make it until school starts.

I've started calling my creditors - car, mortgage, electricity. I tell them I think things are going to get better but right now things are terrible. So far they have all been understanding. I'm probably the only one who judges myself a failure or if they do then they keep it themselves and treat me politely.


#206 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:32 PM:

When my mind races over to the bucket of useless frets, I try to focus it on planning* the Great SF Novel Featuring My One Brilliant Idea**.

My mind doesn't seem to care about that, though, so I distract it by thinking about sex instead.

* not writing it, obviously, or I'd be a world famous novelist by now.

** not telling, don't ask. Said too much already.

#207 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:48 PM:

Sara, et al:

The main bills owing are the ones that are hardest to get leeway on. Rent and utilities. We don't have a car payment, thanks be to all divinities.

I do a few things that *ought* to be worth some money, such as sewing and making beaded jewelry, but I worry about being able to sell enough of that sort of thing in the time frame in which I need to do it, which of course paralyzes my thinking all over again... ack.

I'd like to talk to the Complaint Department about this incarnation. It seems to be defective, and is not what I ordered in any case.

#208 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 07:22 PM:

Summer Storms @ 207:

When I'm in a position like yours (and I don't think anyone on Earth gets to the fine age you have achieved without at least a few crises!), I do just what you've done here: I reach out to borrow a little hope from other people, knowing that if I can hold on to at least a little hope, things will sort themselves out.


Then I open myself to possibilities I would never have planned for myself. You say you like sewing and bead-making. Fine. If you can't sleep at night because you're worried about paying for utilities, use some while you can to do some sewing or bead-making. While you're focused on something you enjoy, you may find the serenity to think through your options with a fresh viewpoint. At the very least, you'll have something to wear at a job interview or some beads to sell or... maybe you'll just have a little more courage to see what the future holds.

Because if you have the courage to transform molten glass into a thing of beauty, you must have a lot of possibilities in you that will turn into something truly wonderful.

#209 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 07:26 PM:

Do you have a copy of your paperwork with that order for this lifetime, Summer (@207)? Without the paperwork, we can't process your complaint.

#210 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 07:30 PM:


Actually, I don't make the beads, I just make jewelry from them. And I do have to sleep sometime, else I'm useless during the day for anything that needs to be done around here. So far I'm still managing to sleep a bit... but I'm worried all my waking hours.


I know it's here somewhere. *dives into an enormous file cabinet and begins digging through papers*

#211 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 07:36 PM:

Dave Bell @ 195

Eulalie's! (i.e. Black Shorts!)

Deep sigh of pleasure.

#212 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 07:40 PM:

Summer Storms @ 210:

Even better! Start making something outrageous during waking hours. Try something different using free daylight.

Do something so crazy and irrational that it puts your worries to shame and makes you want to laugh and cry and helps you hold on to hope just a little longer.

#213 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 07:59 PM:

Ways I make the worrying stop*:
Make something concrete. Pillow slip, if I'm sewing, cross-stitch thing if I'm not saturated because it takes so long, thing made out of yarn if what I want is a big thing made out of yarn. Something that takes up enough brain that I can't worry, but not so much I can't do it when I've been worrying.
Books. Lately, lots of romance. I blame the Smart Bitches and Nora Roberts. Nothing that gets me really revved up-- I didn't read the Bujold rereads on because just thinking about them made me too emotional/excited/feelingthings-- but nothing bad, either. Books that are flawed in ways I can think about while I'm reading them, to some extent, or in fact any book that I can read and also be thinking about as a background process.

You will notice that two of these three activities take care of front-of-brain and back-of-brain, or maybe front-and-middle-of-brain. The internet, not so much. I can spend hours on the internet and feel only wasted at the end. My coping strategies are all about distraction and making it impossible for me to keep running the same circles.

*These are not long-term good coping strategies for me right now.. I am dealing with this lately. It's suboptimal to read a book a day in the week leading up to one's thesis defense, after all.

#214 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 08:07 PM:

Diatryma @213:

*Cracks whip* -- Get back to work on that thesis defense. I'm waiting to hear about what you've sewn as soon as you've got that degree!

#215 ::: ppint. ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:38 PM:

#1, #7: and "cruse" in (admittedly archaic) english: vide tom o' bedlam; i believe it's there a bowl, probably made of wood; but it seems it may also be used for cup, bottle or jug. and though "crucible" is listed as being derived from the latin, "crux"...

#216 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:45 PM:

Soon Lee @ 52 said:
As long as "Asian Fusion" is not "we've just added some sweet chilli sauce to it", but a genuine attempt at blending different culinary traditions, I could probably live with it*.

Here in Chicago (and not counting high-end, $40+-per-person-for-dinner sorts of restaurants), 'Asian Fusion' usually means, "We're Owned By Koreans, and we serve Chinese cliches, maki rolls, and some Thai stuff."

Also Soon Lee @ 52:
Re:"Halal Wok".
In Malaysia, there are places that serve halal Chinese food. Gives the Muslim majority peace of mind, that that they are not accidentally violating dietary laws.

On Devon Street* here in Chicago, there's a not inconsiderable number of Chinese joints with signs in the window proclaiming "Kosher and Halal" in multiple languages. So the observant Muslims AND the local Hasidic community can both order take-out with a clear conscience.

* Pronounced duh-VONN, not DEVV-uhn like the place in Britain. NB.

#217 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 10:23 PM:

LLA, defense was yesterday, DifEq final is tomorrow, and today looks like a three-book day.

There's a reason I'm not getting a PhD right now. This isn't it, but it's connected.

Still building up courage to actually cut things. At last week's Breakfast, though, one woman was wearing her skirt from the same pattern and had advice, mostly on which pieces to cut along a fold, and another had brought three cut-out-to-be-sewn-there ones.
This skirt, this fabric.

#218 ::: PhilPalmer ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 10:30 PM:

I don't suppose there is any archaeological indication as to whether Lucius succeeded in taking Amaka out with his infernal exploding oven?

#219 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 10:33 PM:

Andrew M: The new orthography of post revolutionary Russia was several things. There were some uses which were pointless (the hard sign behind several prepositions, which are only ever hard, the hard/soft short "ee", etc.).

The combination of those two signs was one of taking a pair of close phonemes, and deciding they were the same. Ukrainian still has the "i" letter, and rarely uses the "reversed N".

There was a moderate amount of social engineering in the change.

#220 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 10:37 PM:

Cygnet @172: You mentioned that your sleep cycles seem normal, but have you been specifically screened for sleep apnea? I was completely hammered by a similar hypersomnia issue several years ago-- sleeping 12+ hours/day, unable to stay awake more than a few hours at a time and barely functional even then. CPAP has been downright miraculous for me, even though I still have to take Provigil every morning.

#221 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 11:24 PM:

PNH @ 191 -- I'm on round three, I think. It got rejected at mail order after they asked for a diagnosis code, and then the prior approval was denied. I'm at the "reconsideration" level of fighting this.

And yeah. I know most of the tactics. The prescription benefits manager in question? Is my employer.

That I'm an employee adds a certain extra flavor of fury to the whole thing. You are right about "certain kinds of pushback working" (though not for the reasons people generally think) but I honestly have no idea if it will work in this case or not. No clue.

The fact that I am an employee doesn't help me get it approved. There's tens of thousands of us -- and I'm just a peon. However, I do have the advantage of understanding the process in fairly good detail.

Julie -- no sleep apnea, at all. Nada. There's no reason for this that they can identify.

#223 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:08 AM:

Diatryma @ 217:

Congratulations on surviving your thesis defense (I hear this is the hardest part of the path to a PhD)!

Good luck tomorrow. If you're strong enough to master differential calculus at the graduate school level (I wasn't), making the skirt should be a breeze. And may I say, I wish I had a bottom half that could survive such a cute, sassy skirt? Those Amy Butler prints are lovely. They remind me of a number of William Morris' prints, as they've been interpreted by Liberty -- very cool and pretty; both modern and timeless.

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:26 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 222... Oh goodnes, yes. By the way, pbafvqrevat gung gur jubyr nssnve gheaf bhg gb or n qernz gur xvq vf univat, jung qbrf vg fnl nobhg gur yvgyr thl gung uvf zbz'f pbhagrecneg trgf qerffrq va frkl bhgsvgf?

#226 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:27 AM:

David, #156: Yay, you're here! And just in time for ApolloCon, too (June 26-28) -- that'll help you connect with like-minded people fairly quickly.

Bruce, #183: Unfortunately, to many of the people who most need to understand this, Iran won't serve as a valid example either. "It won't happen here" because we're a Christian country, and only Muslims do that. Or because all Muslim countries are third-world, and therefore not comparable to us in any way. (You'd be amazed how many supposedly-educated Americans automatically classify any non-white-majority nation as "third world", especially those in the Middle East.) The neon-bright similarities between Christianist and Islamist extremism are invisible to them.

Summer Storms, #156: Being there, doing that; I was venting about some of it to a friend just this evening. His advice was this: The worse things look, the more important it is to take some time to care for yourself, because doing that will revitalize your ability to take care of all the other stuff. Otherwise the constant drag just sucks all the energy out of you, to the point where you can't muster enough to take care of what has to be done.

And @203: Okay, now I have a concrete suggestion to offer. See if there is anything resembling public-health-based counseling in your area. If there is, it's likely to charge on an income-based sliding scale, and after reading what you wrote here, I believe that having a professionally-trained Reality Check might do you a lot of good, especially WRT to the bit about not trusting your own judgment any more.

Also, you're far from the only one to be not where you'd planned to be at this stage in your life, and I think you have to allow that some of the reason for that is that everybody in our social/income class has had their lives deliberately and thoroughly sabotaged by top-level policy decisions over which we had no control during the past 30 years. The American Dream has been turned from a realistic goal for a lot of the population into a carrot-on-a-stick with which to manipulate votes but never have to follow thru. IOW, it's NOT all your fault, or your family's either, though both of those things may have exacerbated the damage.

#227 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:55 AM:

Summer Storms,

All the previous advice is very good, and it does help when it feels like you've just gone down the wrong road and screwed yourself completely. One thing that's hard, but very important: keep a daily routine, especially your sleep schedule. As a veteran of several depressions brought on by feeling boxed in by my own choices and the world's disdain for them, I can tell you that getting into sleeping longer than usual or at odd times can easily lead to physical distress to add to the mental and emotional.

#228 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:56 AM:


Actually, if I want to get counseling (and the though has been in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks) I do have coverage for that via the benefits package from D's employer. He doesn't get paid a lot, but the benefits for both of us are decent. I may well avail myself of that once I get things sorted enough that I know I can make and keep an appointment (read: once I know what my own schedule is looking like, and have also had time to look through the coverage to see who I am able to go and see.) Because I definitely do need to get some grounding on whether or not I can or should trust my own inner compass anymore, or whether it has come completely unstuck.

#229 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:21 AM:

Summer Storms @ 228:

If I may be so bold as to be bold on your behalf, I think Lee is right. Put yourself first enough to make the appointment, if you have the ability to do so. You can always cancel it, but having a medical professional give you the advice of saying that it's okay to freak out when your life is out of control can be remarkably freeing.

And talking to someone face-to-face can give you confidence that they're not just shining you on (which I don't think is happening -- there's a reason the '30s were called The Great "Depression" -- and that I wish newspapers weren't calling this just a "recession").

#230 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:33 AM:

Lee @ 226:

You're probably right. Certainly that's the sort of parochial view I see all too often here in the US, even from some educated people who ought to know better.

Damn it, there are cultures that have survived wars, changes in technology, and even complete religious conversions, as major centers of civilization for far longer than the "American" culture, or even Western Europe as a whole. Persians built an empire that spanned most of the known world, and developed advanced ethical and moral systems more than 2,500 years ago, and much of that culture remains in Iran. China did something similar a little less than 2,000 years ago, and, again, much of that remains. Western Europe was a howling wilderness for several centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the culture we've inherited in the West inherits from Rome more in name than in fact. Ironically, much of our knowledge of the intellect of Rome and Greece was preserved by Islamic scholars when copyists in European monasteries were recycling (or burning) scrolls containing that knowledge.


Sorry, it just gets to me occasionally.

#231 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 03:00 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 230... Western Europe was a howling wilderness for several centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire

Thanks to the likes of Attila the Hun...

#232 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 06:45 AM:

Summer Storms:

Minor accomplishments help a lot, I find. I'm a clutterer so when I'm really down, doing the dishes, putting away laundry or clearing the desk make me feel better right away. Georgette-Heyer-and-hot-bath* helps immensely when I'm just feeling under the weather, but when I get to the icky-panic stage, I get a crushing sense of guilt for being frivolous and wasting time and not taking problems seriously and *gasp* enjoying myself, even though I know I shouldn't. In that case, I need to do something that feels useful but not fun, like ironing or pulling weeds.

Anything that breaks down something huge and insurmountable to small, manageable pieces helps.

I also echo Bruce Cohen (STM)'s advice to keep a daily routine and stick to it. The thing that really dragged me out of a bout of depression and rebuilt confidence was showing up every day at my sister's shop to help her with small tasks like arranging the displays in the shop window and sorting the merchandise. It did more for me than any SSRI ever did.

*glad to know I'm not the only one! Bought a batch of old Pan editions like the ones I grew up with off eBay, and have been relishing them for the past week.

#233 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 08:32 AM:

I do a few things that *ought* to be worth some money, such as sewing and making beaded jewelry, but I worry about being able to sell enough of that sort of thing

Do you know about Etsy? A place to sell stuff like that to a wider audience than you'd get at the local consignment shop.

#234 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 08:39 AM:

Summer Storms: one tiny concrete suggestion from me.

If I were you, and if your new employer's dress code allows it, I would wear my own bead-creations to work every day. This will put your work in front of a lot of people who might want to buy one ("Where'd you get your necklace?" "I made it."), without costing you any extra time or money.

Good luck. As has been said above, a hell of a lot of us aren't where we wanted to be right now, so at the very least there are plenty of people in a position to sympathize.

#235 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:00 AM:

Conmiserations, Summer Storms and sarah k.

Niall McAuley @202, Thought is good. Thinking long and hard about your problems is good.

Worry is bad.

Generally right, but what if thinking very, very hard about your problems leads you to the logical conclusion that you don't really have any options?

#236 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:23 AM:

There are always options, Raphael. Sometimes there aren't any good options, but there are always options. And some of those options will be better (under appropriate definitions of better) than others.

#237 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:35 AM:

Paula #180:

Fair enough. "Politically impossible" means something like "it would take huge and disruptive political changes for this to be done," not "this cannot happen." And it's fair to note that, had you asked me 15 years ago, I'd have said both widespread gay marriage and a black president were politically impossible, just as a sensible person 50 years ago would have said that about ending legally-sanctioned racial discrimination.

I am awed by the scale of social change this stuff represents. Obama's mother and father would have been taking a serious risk of violence by appearing together as a couple in many parts of the US, when they were together. (In many states where they would have risked arrest or mob violence, their son won the majority of the votes.) At the same time, most of the country was not safe for an openly gay couple to show affection in public. Now, several states recognize gay marriages, it's a divisive issue in many more, and openly gay public figures are commonplace. This was moonbat stuff even 20 years ago, now it's in the center of the debate.

At the same time, GM is in bankruptcy, AT&T and IBM are shadows of their former selves, and companies that didn't exist or were obscure small companies of no great importance 30 years ago, like Microsoft and Cisco and Google and Intel, are world-defining powerhouses. The exponential curve of social and political and economic and techological change continues upward, and the horizon of possible predictions grows shorter each year. Imagine a science fiction story written 50 years ago like

Joe sat at the cafe with Fred, in the middle of one of their endless marital spats. Joe busied himself downloading music onto his handheld computer/phone/camera/music player, not meeting his angry husband's eyes.

"Goddamnit Joe," Fred said in a low voice, "How could you have put half our goddamn retirement into the stock of a shitty company like GM? And the rest into bank stocks? Jesus, are you nuts? Now that our house is worth half what we paid for it, what are we going to do when it's time for you to retire in a few years?"

The waiter, a rather cute black college kid about 20 years old, came to take their order. Joe smiled despite himself at the huge button of the president on the kid's lapel--he and the president could almost have been brothers...if the kid had been about six inches taller, and a bit better looking. Joe ordered something absently for both of them, leaving Fred to his muttering about financial disaster.

After a long time, Joe pulled up the latest images from the moons of Saturn on his handheld computer, and showed them to Fred. Space-geekiness won out over middle-aged worry about retirement for the moment, and they spent the next half hour in companionable silence, looking at the breathtaking pictures and eating their lunch, letting the tension between them fade a bit. Somehow, though, Joe knew the topic would come up again soon. He just didn't know what to do about it.

Written 50 years ago, this would be radical left-wing speculation, right? As would a straight description of, say, an office party where I work. The research, management, and support staff a wild mix of different races and sexes? Female mathematicians and engineers and scientists doing lots of the research and work? Half the staff East or South Asian or Latin American, and a good fraction of the US-born staff black? C'Mon--that crap will never happen, that's like something out of science fiction.

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:43 AM:

Remember last week when Abi asked if we were in the process of making things. I just spent all of Sunday, and the evenings of Monday thru Wednesday, on such an act of making, from which the only bodily damage I incured was a pinched fingertip and the loss of some flesh off one knuckle.

"The Stairs My Destination"

#239 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:43 AM:

Summer Storms: recently faced a similar situation, but of less magnitude from the sounds of it. First thing I do is cut my caffeine intake down to a cup a day at most, or entirely eliminate it if that doesn't help. If I'm still paralysed by panic, I renew my prescription for beta blockers - they work wonders at keeping my heartrate down and stopping me grinding my teeth to a paste. My problems, though, are very much tied up with this disorder...

#240 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:53 AM:

Self-nitpick: Before wandering off into a tangent about the amazing speed of change, I was intending to agree with Paula and Bruce. My sense is that if politics and society continues in more-or-less its current form, the progress toward gay marriage will probably not be reversed, because the size of the constituency for it grows each year, and because the size of people freaked out by the thought of it goes down as more people know a gay couple or two. But much that was unthinkable has happened in the last 50 years, and more will. It's too damned easy to assume that the stuff you've grown up with is unchangeable, and that's a form of blindness. Let things go south far enough, and God knows what will happen in US politics.

#241 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:59 AM:

On beads -- I have not had much luck selling high end beadwork. I sell a lot of child-sized bracelets for a couple of bucks each, a price which about covers the cost of the materials.(My pay is the grin on the kid's face.) And a lot of earrings for $1 with a profit margin of about $.75, made with plastic beads and surgical steel french wires ... but the more expensive stuff just isn't moving.

I've tried everything, including showing up at a farmer's market with trays of beads and custom making the necklaces on the spot to the buyer's specifications.

Most buyers underestimate the cost of materials or the labor involved. I may have $20 wholesale in materials in a necklace and the buyer only wants to pay $5 for the whole necklace -- I've quizzed a few people and there seems to be a perception that beads cost pennies each when we're talking about things like natural turquoise and amethyst, crystal, and hand blown glass. And they're not willing to pay a price that would cover my wholesale cost, much less my labor.

#242 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:04 AM:

Summer Storms:

Call your utility companies -- often they will work out a budget plan with you, and some have programs to help pay the bills.

As for rent -- can you get your landlord to let you pay it bi-weekly?

If you are a member of an organized religion, talk to your pastor/priest/rabbi, they can be a major link to assistance. If not, try meditation classes. If there is a Buddhist center* in your area many of them teach basic meditation practice at no cost to the student.

I went through a very bad patch in the months after 9/11/2001. The meditation course at KTC pulled me out of it. (My sister later told me she was about ready to take me to a psychiatrist -- I hadn't even realized that I was depressed.)

And this old Pagan will put you on her prayer list...

*No Buddhist center? Try getting Pema Chodron's book or audiobook "Start Where You Are."

#243 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:42 AM:

Summer Storms, the advice offered here is far better than anything I could give, so instead I present you: Jensen Ackles dancing to "Eye of the Tiger". It never fails to cheer me up.

#244 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 11:26 AM:

Sorry to be so negative earlier re: the beadwork. (Am actually awake now ... *sigh* ... maybe I should just go awol from the internet completely.)

Summer, do try selling your beadwork AT work. Every little bit helps. If you already have beads, you can make up some necklaces, offer to make other designs -- and don't forget that if a premade necklace doesn't sell, you can always dismantle it and you'll only be out the cost of the bead wire. You can make something else that might sell with the same components.

I just spent last weekend breaking down a whole bunch of jewelry that hadn't sold all winter at the swap meets. This satisfied a primal urge to destroy something (my mood is pretty ... pissed off ... at the moment) and I then sorted out all the beads, figured out what I had, and made some other things in different styles. The creative work following the destruction helped my mood immensely. Maybe they'll sell better ...

#245 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 11:38 AM:

I find I'm in the same boat as Summer Storms. If things don't change within the next month, I'll be broke and homeless. I've got signed up with an employment agency, but I haven't received a call to work yet.

#246 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 11:51 AM:

albatross @ 237, 241:

Another factor in changes like the acceptance of gays is a paraphrase of the Max Planck aphorism: "Culture advances one funeral at a time." The objectors die off, and their children don't understand what the parents were complaining about.

Some other factors:

* Since the inheritance of culture is like a giant game of "telephone", things change along the way in manners wondrous to behold, and completely unexpected.

* The great debates of one generation are often not resolved by the next; they're forgotten in favor of new and different great debates.

#247 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 12:07 PM:

Cygnet, #241: You're running up against the Wal-Mart problem here, and part of the reason is that you're in the wrong kind of events. People who go to farmers' markets and church bazaars are looking for bargains, not quality. And these are the same people who will look at a piece of jewelry with real stones and sterling silver and say, "I could get something just like that at Wal-Mart for half the price."

You have a couple of options here. First option: if you want to continue doing low-end markets, you need to focus on low-end materials but charge just a bit more for them. If $1 covers your cost of materials for a kiddie bracelet, sell it for $2 -- that's still a low enough price point that it's not likely to generate sales resistance, but it's a fairer deal for you.

Second option: investigate higher-level selling venues. Check out your local art-supply store and see if there's a publication that lists arts and crafts events in your area, or any kind of artists' association -- or a local bead society that you could join. Check out local shows and see if the people selling bead jewelry are charging the sort of prices you need to charge, and then apply to the ones where they are. And I second the idea of an online store, Etsy or otherwise.

#248 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 12:52 PM:

My impression is that Etsy will get you customers who take you seriously, while people watching you make the jewelry won't. It's easy, you're sitting right there doing it, I could do that, it's just a hobby for her, it doesn't matter a bit, why pay for it?

The advantage of the farmer's market is that you can take commissions right then-- but don't make them right then. You have to make it look as hard as it is.

#249 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Carrie, 233: Yes, I know about Etsy, and have been in the process of setting up something there.

Meanwhile, it occurs to me that I can link to a photo of one representative sample of my work, should anyone here be interested: A jewelry set I call "Peacock Dream" for the colors involved.

Raphael, 235: And I'm afraid that's where my thinking has, indeed, led me. Remaining where we are for the moment in terms of residence is crucial; we haven't another place to go. But if we are short the money for this round of rent, that may not be feasible, and so I worry.

SeanH, 239: I generally only have one cup of coffee most days anyway. Less than that and I have problems with focus (suspicion of a touch of adult ADD), more and I run the risk of insomnia. Alas, I have no prescriptions of any sort that might alleviate the stress reactions - my only ongoing prescription drug is Allegra for my allergies, taken only on those occasions when I am sneezing my head off from mold or pollen.

Cygnet, 241: And that worries me, too. Though in reading on, I agree with what Lee @247 and Diatryma @ 248 have said.

Lori Coulson, 242: I've already set up such programs with the utilities. The problem is that, this month, I lack the funds to completely pay the plan amounts this month. I really, really wish that one of the job interviews I had last month had worked out. Living in the Rust Belt is annoying enough when job-seeking; doing so in the midst of a depression/recession is moreso by several orders of magnitude.

Bi-weekly rent? Hmmm... I can ask. No guarantees, but perhaps. And I am not a member of a local church - I'm a Unitarian/eclectic Pagan, though I don't attend the nearest UU church (from which we actually did recieve some help several years ago when both D and I were laid off; can't really go to that well again, by their own rules). The UU congregation for which I have the most affinity is in a suburb way on the other side of town, and I hardly ever get there.

Wyman Cooke, 245: Yep, I feel you. I'm signed up with at least seven different employment agencies at the moment. Not a one of them has any assignments available, save one who keeps offering to send me on a call-center gig a 45-minute drive distant for a wage just over the cost of gas and wear on our 15 year-old car, and requiring schedule availability me anytime between 8 AM and 10:30 PM, thus effectively leaving D and my dad with no vehicle available to them should an emergency arise during the evening while I was working. I said no repeatedly, then when I wavered and consulted D, he told me in no uncertain terms that "no" was indeed the correct answer, by his lights. (By contrast, the restaurant job I just interviewed for is downtown, just a short bus ride from home. We live within spitting distance of the Cleveland business district; you really would think these agencies could find me something there.)

ETA: while typing this, I did receive a phone call from one of my agencies regarding a possible opening in a nearby suburb, part-time. It pays less than I need and far less than I have been accustomed to making, though in these times, that really can't be allowed to matter (and boy, do employers around here seem to know it!). I'm following up, but I have no idea how soon they will actually start someone.

#250 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:25 PM:

And you can tell where I was interrupted. "requiring schedule availability me anytime" should not have that "me" in there.

#251 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:39 PM:

(Eeep. Looks like I'd make in one month at that part-time job roughly what I used to make in just over a week on my last full-time job. Well, it's something, anyway. But there really do need to be some full-time admin assistant jobs in Cleveland soon.)

#252 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:54 PM:

Serge at #238:

The Stairs, My Destination sits on my bookshelf next to my copy of The Room Has A Hard Mattress.

#253 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Summer Storms: Have you considered a position with the Federal Government?


The Defense Department and possibly the VA have listings in your area.

#254 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:05 PM:

I'm actually planning on trying Etsy in the near future.

I've tried both really upscale and low end markets, for what it's worth, and overall, done about the same. When I factor in the cost of a space, I come out ahead at the low end markets. There's a "farmer's market" near me that is basically a giant yard sale on the local rural convenience store's parking lot and my best days have often been there -- and it only costs $4 a weekend.

Plus at the upscale markets it seems as if there's always drama. I'm not sure why.

#255 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:12 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 252... Next to Clifford Simak's Settee?

#257 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:26 PM:

Bruce@246 writes: "The great debates of one generation are often not resolved by the next; they're forgotten in favor of new and different great debates."

Which reminds me, how *did* we finally settle that burning controversy over whether it was moral to marry your deceased wife's sister?

#258 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:27 PM:


High Population Density Triggers Cultural Explosions

ScienceDaily (June 5, 2009) — Increasing population density, rather than boosts in human brain power, appears to have catalysed the emergence of modern human behaviour, according to a new study by UCL (University College London) scientists published in the journal Science.

High population density leads to greater exchange of ideas and skills and prevents the loss of new innovations. It is this skill maintenance, combined with a greater probability of useful innovations, that led to modern human behaviour appearing at different times in different parts of the world.

#259 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:42 PM:

Dave Bell @ 256...

"Molasses tomorrow will bring forth cognac."

(Oh, and I didn't realize that comedian Bourvil was in The Longest Day.)

#261 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 03:10 PM:

@Leva Cygnet, #254: If I have to guess, it's a combination of people who are a bit nervous shopping at places that do not have the familiar grocery-chain ambience; people who are there to fulfill a lifestyle fantasy while buying, selling, or spectating, who get upset when something disturbs their daydream; and relative newbies who have a lot riding financially on their sales while not being used to the crowding and the need for everybody to just get along. Plus a sprinkling of people who do not understand that the people in the booths are not minimum wage slaves who have to stand there and take it or get the boss all down their necks.

"Downscale" farmers' markets tend to attract more people who go to garage sales to look for baby clothes. They feel less out of place. Also the sellers tend to have sunk less money into packaging and displaying their product.

#262 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 04:19 PM:

I second (third? fourth?) the Etsy recommendation. Like someone upthread said, you get more serious customers, who understand handmade goods are special. The only thing I would suggest further, is to try and find an unusual spin on your products, or try to fill a niche that still has some elbow-room in it.

Etsy has a high Quirk Factor (Sock monkey robot! Hell yes, I want a sock monkey robot!) So maybe try to exploit that expectation with personal twist to your pieces?

#263 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 06:16 PM:

The following appeared in an article about the winner of the $232 million Powerball jackpot:

Neal Wanless, 23, said he intends to buy himself more room to roam and repay the kindness other townspeople have shown his family.
"I want to thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity and blessing me with this great fortune. I will not squander it," he promised, wearing a big black cowboy hat and a huge grin.
(emphasis added) If you look at the picture, though (hey, cute guy!) he's clearly wearing a shirt. I bet he's wearing pants as well. Darn them for getting my hopes up!

#264 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 07:08 PM:

Xopher @ 263...

"Hello, handsome, is that a ten-gallon hat or are you just enjoying the show?"

#265 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 07:25 PM:

If I won a jackpot like that, I most certainly would squander it. My favorite charities would suffer a ruthless tsunami of my terrifying benevolence....

#266 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 07:42 PM:

Earl...all would love you, and despair?

#267 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 08:25 PM:

Dear diary,

Today, the brush over the hill from my apartment caught fire. The fire department got it under control, and it should pretty much be out by now.

Also, Up is a wonderful film.

#268 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 09:08 PM:

The street in front of the Great American Music Hall in SF exploded this morning, possibly due to awesomeness overload from last night's Amy X. Neuburg and the Cello ChiXtet show.

#269 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:14 PM:

X@263 - HAHAHA, I read it like that, too. That's hilarious!

So hey, I got my office set up in the carriage house today -- and nothing caught fire or exploded! So really, that was kind of a boring update, and I apologize to you all. But getting set up there allowed me to spend some quality time mopping the ceilings.

I've never actually had to mop ceilings before. This little apartment, while charming, is breaking new ground in my experience of dirt.

#270 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:21 PM:

Can the all-knowing denizens of the fluorosphere point me to a list of supplies and instructions for electrochemical etching, please?

I need to etch steel, but don't want to pay for an Etch-O-matic AND the stencil maker, just to find out I could have done it better at home with a bottle of vinegar and the static I built up from scuffing my socks on the carpet. Well, VISA doesn't want to pay for it, and I work for VISA.

It has to be a really clean mark, and fairly intricate, in a small amount of space.

#271 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:31 PM:

Summer Storms -

Have you been checking your local Craigslist for office work? I see that a lot of the listings there are part-time, but not all. Might be worth a shot.

I feel your pain very much; I got laid off in February and have been looking ever since. (My issue right now is that I'm neither an expert specialist nor entry-level, which are more fertile fields at present here in the Baltimore area.) I'm okay for the moment with unemployment, but sooner or later time will run out on that, and I'm trying not to feel too stressed about it. (And I'm in a better situation than many, simply because I have the kind of family connections that mean I'll never be homeless, but having to move away from the home we've made and love would still suck. A lot.)

#272 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:47 PM:

J Austin @ 270 ...
the steampunk workshop has several links for electrochemical etching on site and off...

#273 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:50 PM:

Summer Storms: I don't know if it would work for you, but if you're talking about a one-time stopgap measure, have you considered throwing a rent party?

Maybe a small cover charge for a marathon viewing of a dvd set, or an in-house audience participation Rocky Horror, or a best macaroni-and-cheese contest could end with a prize of a beaded piece that you've already made?

I think lots of people would like to help, but we don't want to ask, or offer, for fear of insult. Something like a rent party helps make it easier for everyone.

Also fourthing or fifthing Etsy - I'm not any kind of a power seller, but it bought the groceries this month. (Next month, who knows?)

Good luck!

#274 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:58 PM:

Sharon, you know, that might be the ticket. I'd have to wait two weeks, because the majority of my whole crew of people who'd be invited will be busy with an SCA event next weekend (as many of them are this weekend. But if I can get enough leeway to get from now until then, I can probably pull that off, or at least try. It wouldn't garner me a lot - maybe fifty or sixty dollars, since I can't fit more than about a dozen people into this place to begin with, but it might help a little.

It's something to think about, anyway.

#275 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 10:58 PM:

Xeger, you are absolutely my hero. You'll have to give me your address, so I can send you a prize. As in, you have to.

#276 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 11:00 PM:

And as far as anyone offering to help, I'd never be insulted by that. Especially not when I'm making my problems public. (I'm reasonably sure most of my local friends know that, but I could be wrong.)

#277 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 11:38 PM:

xeger @ 272... The Byronic Woman? Oh goodness.

#278 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 11:48 PM:

[GROUSE] How is it that I've managed to break more things smashingly (crockery, glass, windows) in the past few weeks than I've broken in the rest of my life?!!!! This isn't the sort of smashingly good time I'd like to be having! It's loud, messy, annoying to clean up after, and annoying to fix!!! [/GROUSE]

Right :) That's much better now... or something ;)

#279 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 11:52 PM:

#277 ::: Serge @ 277 ...
xeger @ 272... The Byronic Woman? Oh goodness.

It's absolutely something to Babbage on about...

#280 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:03 AM:

xeger @ 279... It's absolutely something to Babbage on about...

Not even cog-ently?

#281 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:10 AM:

Serge @ 280 ...
Well... it's hard to make a Difference...

#282 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:38 AM:

If you do throw a rent party, try to get these guys to come. Rent parties is how they got started in music.

#283 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:39 AM:

xeger @ 281... "Make a Difference, join the Vise Squad."

#284 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:46 AM:

Serge @ 283 ... "Get a grip on yourself, man!"

#285 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 01:16 AM:

xeger @ 284... Some would say THAT's definitely a case for the aforementionned Vise Squad.

#286 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 01:30 AM:

#237 albatross

The US military leadership is full of Christian Dominionists who have no respect and no tolerance for freedom of religons and various other original US basic legal values. The scandals at the Air Force Academy regarding cashiering of a female Protestant chaplain who complained about religious zealot/bigot evangelizing chaplains and the leaders of the Air Force Academy promoting the proselytizing and discriminating based on religion and mistreating those objectinng to the situation, and of the abuse of female cadets (the Southern Baptist statements of belief make it very clear that female cadets at military academies aspiring to be military officers who are anythign other then administrative support and nurses and such, are Unnatural Beings" and are living erroneous offensive lives....) the husband and men in general are the lords and master, the wife and women in general are submissive and bound to male leadership and follwing the directions of the husband. There should be a loving relationship... but the place of women in that mindset is submissive and subordinate and not leading that includes being in charge of/commanding men.

And those appointed to leadership roles by the 2001-2008 junta and by the Republithug Congress even before then, got promoted in what seems to be a lot of cases on the basis of ideology/credo/religions and social bigotry

It fostered the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere--there was at least one Afghan who allowed the US forces to "detain" in in good faith on HIS part that the error would be swiftly corrected--that he was not a terrorist and the USA would send him home none the worse for wear--who died being tortured by apparently a contractor of the CIA's who among other things was using techniques like waterboarding. There were rumors of at leats one mass murder of prisoners in Afghanistan, trucked to a site and machine-gunned.

There have been multiple rapes, and multiple murders, of women in the US military by male military members, and coverups done claiming that it was anything except pre-meditated rape and/or murder--and blame the victim policies were fully in place and on-going.

The state of the US military when I was an active duty officer, was a far different mindset--the Air Force Academy was NOT a de facto sectarian institution promoting evangelical Christianity and marginalizing/evangelizing those identified as failing to be sufficiently zealous as complying with evangelical Christian attitudes and values and faith. The Air Force Academy was MUCH more solicitous of the well-being of female cadets (who were new on the campus.... the Southern Male Chauvinist Protective Association Network was very much still in the military, but the US Congress was not in a tolerant mood regarding it--Congress had mandated opening the military academies to women, and was watchingwatching -- as opposed to the infestation of rightwing misogynist freedom-hating Republithugs which occurred later, and then that surpassing collection of human excrement that was in power 2001-2008 in the Executive Branch of US Government, as regards compliance with the basic ideals, values, and WORDS of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights....

James Dobson did NOT have free run of the US Executive Branch and his minions inserted deeply into the operations of the Air Force Academy, and the US Air Force Academy did NOT support and facilitate cadets being indoctrinated by religious bigots.... (there are military retirees who seem to have special perks for that sort of thing, I didn';t save the link of one such that I found--the fellow is an ardent proselytizer and intolerant bigot, and his house ought to be declared OFFLIMITS rather than his essentially hatemongering provocateur self be person grat at the Academy, and instead of him supported by senior Academy officials and policy....

The US Judicial Branch was not packed with the apparatchiks by Bush I and his vile offspring with the vile offspring's nominees picked on the basis of in large part Christian Dominionship values and dogma, and rubberstamped by a sectarian partisan bigot-promoting legislators. (Good RIDDANCE to such skuz as Rick Santorum, alas that the riddance hadn't occurred years earlier).

Clinton barely got an judicial nominee confirmed his last several years in office, and there were lots of empty judiciary seats--filled instead by the vile offspring [Purim celebration involves drowning on the name of a certain figure in noise with the children brandishing mechanical noisemakers with great glee, and the figure's sons are a challenge to the officiating person to recite, because the tradition is that all ten names must be recited in one breath--their not being WORTH more than on breath, collectively... vile offspring metaphorically raped the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, and took actions which caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and the displacement of millions] with the Christian Dominionist influence.... and there aren;t term limits on federal judge, and many of them were/are YOUNG....

#287 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 01:45 AM:

xeger... Back to steampunk... I watched Captain Nemo and the Underwater City last night. I like the movie in spite of itself. It had the germ of a good idea, but the storytelling was a bit deficient. Also, just because Nemo is a scientific genius who found a way to extract gold particles out of sea water, does he have to use it everywhere in his aquatic utopia? I have some doubts about the floatability of a submarine that's gold-plated. One other thing: when one of the people you rescued from a shipwreck tells you he reallyreallyreally is agoraphobic, do pay attention before the rescuee tries to punch a hole in the city's dome.

#288 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 02:14 AM:

Serge@287: That sounds like fun--is it one of SciFi channel'

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 06:51 AM:

J Austin @ 288... Actually, no. It's a big-screen MGM production from 1969 starring Robert Ryan as Captain Nemo. You can read about it here. (And yes, I meant claustrophobia, not agoraphobia, in that earlier comment. My brain must have slipped a cog.)

#291 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Political hypcrisy:

Senator Sessions of Alabama's speech today, condemning Pres. Obama's comments about the experience and personal views of judge influencing their judicial decisions, versus Sessions' assertion of the value of "impartial views," is so utterly hypocritical and obnoxious.... Sessions had no such objections to the likes of Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, and Alito, who never let such impartial values such as freedom of religion and speech and equal treatment under the law prevent them from limiting medical procedures and freedom of action and redress allowed in the USA, based solely on the credo of their religion's directives about such things as "human life" and placing the value of "naturally fertilized" blastulas and non-viable fetuses as having absolute priority for occupying women's bodies regardless of threats and danger to the women in pregnancy, upon their personal views regarding corporations versus live physical citizens (favoring corporations), and having no mercy seasoning justice for cases such as pernicious long-term gross gender discrimination in pay and benefits underpaying women and denying benefites to them, where the women didn't have the proof available until very late of the
systematic lawbreaking--Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, and Roberts never had their pay and promotion and benefits shortchanged because they were women, their experience was all of white Christian males--social majority-given every benefit and advantage and networking boost culminating to their placement by people that included a surfeit of narrow-minded misogynistic corporatist religiously intolerant white male anti-diversity bigots on the Supreme Court, at ages generally far younger than reasonable for giving someone a life appointment to the Supreme Court.

Said the hypocrite from Alabama, "If a judge is allowed to inject his personal views.... does he not have a right to inject...." He didn't object to Alito and Scalia and Roberts and Kennedy inflicting Papal ukases where it suited Scalia and Robert and Kennedy as legal interpretation of the Law in the USA despite the Bill of Rights specifically banning state religion and imposition of rule of specific religion on the citizenry. He didn't object to Alito and Scalia and Roberts' favoring of corporations over live people, and their disdain for the quality of life of women generally, regarding unequal pay and promotion opportunity and legal redress. He didn't object to Alito and Scalia and Roberts however idiosyncratically, placing their religion's precepts above the words in the US Constitution, and Alito specifically saying that he does so and doesn't care what the words of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights say... even though the most recent several includng the current Pope condemn the death penalty, and he supports it.

Sessions is a massive offensive, Constitution and Bill of Rights-spiting noxious hypocrite, and so are Anton Scalia, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, andto a somewhat but only somewhat less degree, Judge Kennedy.

And what bothers me about the current nominee, include
1) her decision that the US Government be allowed to ban US funding UN health care programs on the basis purely of discriminatory sectarian-based criteria of objection to inclusion of birth control and medical procedures based again on
2) the plurality if not majority of the US population is non-Dominionist Protestant Christian. A majority already of members of the Supreme Court are Roman Catholics. The new nominee I think is another Catholic, and the Catholics already on the bench, have shown unambiguously that when it comes to subjects such as family planning and rights of homosexuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the views of their religion is what they impose on the entire USA. I fear that the new nominee would do the same or be strongly influenced to do so. I want a judge that will stay OUT of people's bodies and bedrooms and let "salvation" be individuals' free choices as to methods and even whether the individual believes in it and seeks it. I want a judge who will work for the COMMON wealth and well-being, and not play games regarding imposing their sectarian parochialism on others, not allow the few who bilk the many to continue bilking and keep the proceeds of their bilkings, not promote the agenda of Privilege over the well-being of the many.... I want a judge who will not impose their religious beliefs concerning salvation or lack thereof, sexual relations among consenting adults, control over one's own life including reproduction, and proselytizing as regards others not wanting it not being harassed by it, etc., upon others. (Timothy LaHaye and others regard it as their bound duty to Witness at anyone who is not of their specific faith, up to and including the Dalai Lama! I remain thankful to the current Pope and his predecessor, for saying explicitly that Roman Catholics should refrain from evangelizing Jews....)

Basically, I want judges who respect other people's rights to self-determination and lifestyles and religions and creed etc., and judge based on plurality and diversity and maximizing "win-win." Alito and Scalia and Roberts and Thomas and Kennedy seems to be almost Manichean as regards looking at society as a zero-sum game in which the winner, generally whitish Christian corporate male privilege, takes all and whatever scraps get left magnanimously behind get divided amongst those without the taste or gumption to be male Christians....

"We the People of the United States of America" have been perniciously insulted and marginalized by Clarence Thomas, Anton Scalia, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito, particularly the women of the United States of America. The four of them, plus usually Justice Kennedy also, have shoved aside the spirit and word of the Constitution and Bill of Rights regarding freedom of religon, freedom from government instrusion into personal life and liberty and from searches without warrants, and regarding emancipation of women as citizens with full rights no different than those of white males....

I don't fear that the nominee will suppress the rights of women, but I am concerned regarding imposition of the teachings of specific religions as US law.

#292 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 11:42 AM:

About that most recent sidelight: 4B and 7A are definitely Foucault.

In 7A, he misspelled a word on his shirt, so apply s/or/uc/ for better results.

#293 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 11:59 AM:

Because I lived with my grandparents for a few years, I watched a lot of old movies (on top of an unreasoning fondness for truly bad movies--Ator the Fighting Eagle, anyone?)

I started in again with Errol Flynn's "Captain Blood" a couple weeks ago;)

Oh, speaking of classics of both good and bad, did you know Rutger Hauer has written a book?

#294 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:40 PM:

Just an aside of thanks to James D -- I had occasion yesterday to convince a 90 year old woman (a friend's mother) that it was entirely appropriate for her to go to the emergency room with a serious (3x6") patch of skin pulled away from her shin. She didn't go until after a 12-hour plane trip from Florida to Seattle. She'd wrapped two Ace bandages on it, over a piece of tissue, and she thought that would be good enough. She let me take the Ace bandage off to clean it, and my immediate response on seeing it was "This is a job for professionals."

The emergency room folks were moderately busy, and it took an hour and a half for her to get seen; I was able to keep her and her daughter relatively calm throughout the whole thing. The nurse who prepped her thanked her for making his evening. She couldn't figure out why -- I pointed out that they don't see that many cases of relatively calm people with a problem that's worth them looking at, who can actually pay attention to what they say and treat them as professionals rather than miracle-workers.

James, your articles help me keep a grip on what's important, what's critical, and how to react to both of those. Getting this seen was important (she's going to get an appt with the Wound Clinic as soon as they open on Monday) and not immediately life-threatening (so I could explain to her quietly about the triage procedures and why it was taking them so long to see her on a Friday evening starting around 10 PM). Favorite relevant comment of the evening, from the Doctor: "That's adipose tissue -- see the shiny fat come out when I squeeze it a little?" Mother: "There's nothing wrong with that, is there?" Doctor: "Well, it's really not supposed to be visible. There should be skin over it. Other than that, no, there's nothing wrong."

The nurse had an amazing Gustav Klimt tattoo of the Tree of Life on his upper right arm. He commented to Mother that she was a very tough woman. He was right.

Anyway, James, thanks for helping me keep perspective and feel Really Good about calling in the professionals when I'm out of my depth.

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:49 PM:

J Austin @ 293... Was Ator the one with Miles O'Keefe? Just curious. I remember watching it, but not what was in it beyond its being really cheesy. This reminds me that I've never seen Krull since its original 1983 release. (I was tempted to use another cruder word, but found the strength to refrainf rom doing so.) Errol Flynn's Captain Blood definitely is many steps above those films in terms of quality.

As for Rutger's bio... I remember seeing that in bookstores last year. What is it like?

#296 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Seerge @ 287:

Agoraphobia is fear of open spaces. Galaxy editor Horace L. Gold suffered with it for more than a decade. What you were looking for is claustrophobia, or fear of closed spaces.

#297 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 01:51 PM:

I would like to see a SCOTUS judge brave enough to break the back of immunity to prosecution for surveillance scofflaws and torture apologists. Legislation, judicial decisions and executive orders that keep them out of jail is unconstitutional.

#298 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 02:03 PM:


Oh yes, Captain Blood was so good--the part at the end where she's melodramatically pleading with the new Governor to spare her father was hilarious.

Yes, that was Mile O'Keefe, and I wanna say Jack Palance, but it's been awhile. I loved Krull so much as a kid--the little hint of a past romance between the spider-widow and the old man always made me sad.

Re the Rutger Hauer book: I have no idea. I found it last night looking for something else. There was a time when I watched everything he was in, just because he was in it---but, er, some of that stuff was real crap. I'm tempted, just because I bet he really has seen all sorts of things.

#299 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 02:50 PM:

J Austin: I can say Rutger Hauer's a pretty nice guy. Aware of the moderate amount of fame he has, not self-conscious about it; he seemed pretty graceful in the encounters I've had with him.

A pleasant sense of humor and, what seemed to be a generous personality. If the writing's any good it's probably worth the time to read it.

#300 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Summer Storms:

One more suggestion for such moods, if you can manage it: exercise. "If you can manage it" because there can be problems with initiation energy, even if you already have/know a kind of exercise you find tolerable if not actively pleasant. But I find weight-lifting helps my moods. So do long walks outside. (Cardio at the gym doesn't, though I put up with some because it's supposed to be good for me and works as warm-up for the lifting.)

But those are my specific exercises. Swim. Go dancing. Find a friend whose garden you can dig in. Etc. And yes, it's a slow process: at first, you may be telling yourself "at least it's good for my heart" or "well, they'll enjoy the tomatoes, I hope."

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 05:45 PM:

J Austin... Terry Karney... Rutger Hauer does seem like a nice guy. I had glanced at his bio's photo section and was amused by one of him in a dance class with his buddy Jeroen Krabbe. And that photo of him as a kid looking very protective of his little sister was very cute.

#302 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 06:05 PM:

Serge: I committed what may have been a minor crime with him once (statutory, non-malicious).

That's part of my estimation of his sense of humor.

#303 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Terry Karney @ 302... Dare we ask for details?

#304 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 06:33 PM:

Todat is also Henry Allingham's birthday.

#305 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 06:33 PM:

Todat is also Henry Allingham's birthday.

#306 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 06:42 PM:

One of my favorite quotes from the movie "Blind Fury", which starred Rutger Hauer, is "Unreasonable men make life so difficult".

#307 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 06:48 PM:

Terry Karney@299 & 302:

I'll probably buy it because, like Kirk Douglas, Hauer was one of the actors I always watched, no matter what the movie was. He seems like one of those guys that did a lot of movies just because he felt like it (how else do you explain Split Second? Saw that in the theater...)

And, I'd like to second the shameless fishing for more details. I always love small tales of marginally criminal activity--it reminds me of all my mom's stories from overseas.

#308 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 07:02 PM:


Back in my youth I was a studio projectionist. He was screening something he'd been in (the one with all the water). After the screening it was discovered one of the people (his publicist, agent, something) had been parked in.

The parker had not left his/her office in the window (as per lot policy). I tried to find them, but failed.

At this point the option was to have the car towed (not optimal... they were almost certainly a post-production client).

The car was unlocked, so he and I opened the door, shoved the car far enough back to clear the way for the person parked in, and returned the car to it's place.

At which point we smiled at each other... pushed the door lock and closed it up.

Which left a locked car, with an empty space in front of it.

It was an eye-opening job. I was involved in things I'd never have expected (distibutors would ask me if I'd seen any good films lately), saw movies I'd never have seen otherwise, passed the time of day with some famous people (not always to their credit) and found out some of those I liked on screen were at least as nice in person.

And some were asshats, of the first water (the television reviewer who spent most of one screening on the phone to his mechanic, and skipped out of one reel altogether [I offered to pause it for him, but he said no] fell even further in my estimation than his review of Return of the Jedi had done).

It was one of the best jobs, for all the stress, I've ever had.

#309 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 07:19 PM:

Terry Karney @ 308... That's not so bad. I thought you were going to reveal something that'd belong in Real Genius.

One of my former cubicle neighbors had, in an earlier job, been working for a company that provided transportation for film crews. One film he got involved with was Walk the Line. He had nothing but good things to say about Joaquin Poenix. Some of the other actors, not so much.

#310 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 07:47 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 306... I should put Blind Fury on our NetFlix queue if it's available. I liked it when it came out but somehow never watched it again.

One of Rutger's lesser films, of which I forgot the title, had Donald Pleasance as an evil egg collector. Kathleen Turner was in it too, I think.

#311 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Ha. We didn't get any first-run films (more like 30-year-old ones) when I briefly was a projectionist for an outdoor theater on Kwajalein. I got really tired of the BxW version of Hamlet we had three nights in a row.

#312 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 08:45 PM:

Serge @290: It's a big-screen MGM production from 1969 starring Robert Ryan as Captain Nemo.

I thought you might have been talking about this silly movie which starred Jose Ferrer as Captain Nemo. Reading about it, it sounds like a bit of fun. Watching it when I did (5 in the morning, exhausted but not ready to sleep after coming down from some late night work) it seemed fascinatingly inane.

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 08:57 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 312... I saw that one. I remember that José Ferrer's Nemo comes out of suspended animation in the 20th Century and gets in trouble with Mel Ferrer. I think Mel's crew included some robots. Oh, and the whole forgotten mess was cooked up by Irwin Allen.

#314 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 09:20 PM:

Serge @310, Rutger Hauer + Donald Pleasence + Kathleen Turner + eggs = A Breed Apart

#315 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 09:27 PM:

Serge @313: One of the robots kept intoning "Aliens must die". As there were no beings from outer space in this movie (that couldn't have been too over the top for an Irwin Allen submarine movie), I assumed it meant outsiders of any stripe.

As a card-carrying alien myself, I took note of the phrase.

#316 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 10:24 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 315... Great. Literally wingnut robots.

(By the way, were I as thorough as I pride myself of being, I would have watched that miniseries again as research for that stempunk-movie panel, but there are limits to even my dedication.)

#317 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 10:30 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 314... That was made in 1984? That was long ago, but even though I've fogotten most of it, I retain a vague feeling of weirdness in the behavior of most of the characters, and not just because of the grand omelette that Pleasance makes for himself at the end.

#318 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 01:10 AM:

'84? That was Kathleen Turner in her post-Romancing the Stone, post-Body Heat career, too.

#319 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 03:10 AM:

Serge @ 238: Project nicely done! And take that from a bona fide landscape contractor.

Xopher @ 263: And did you notice who his neighbor was?

#320 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 09:05 AM:

Wanted to comment on this yesterday when I heard of it, but didn't get around- looks like Abi's host country has an odd lucky streak in batting-and-fielding sports this year; after their surprise upset in "honkball" earlier this year (which was briefly mentioned here), they're now continuing in the other main batting-and-fielding sport. What's going on?

#321 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 11:18 AM:

The ruling that the Supreme Court nominee made in favor of the fascist theocracy blocking any US Government funding contribution to medical care in Africa/UN/international aid programs that provided ANY funding to ANY clininc performing ANY abortion for ANY reason, and any birth control methods that might prevent a fertilized egg cell from implanting, is not one that inspires approval in me....

Pres. Obama vacated that particular edict of the Schmuck, but the Supreme Court nominee's championing of the edict, I find, again, disturbing.

#322 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 11:54 AM:


What ruling was this?

And without knowing the details of the case or having read the opinion, I strongly suspect this is a case of saying "The President has the power to make rules governing the behavior and spending of government agencies, as long as such executive orders don't violate the law or constitution." It just happens that in this case the order was one most liberals find repugnant.

Saying that an opinion upholding the right of a president to issue an executive order is the same as "championing" every single aspect of that order is the same (il)logic the right used to spin Kerry's no votes on omnibus defense budgets into "Kerry opposed the F-15 and wants our armed forces to go into battle with spit balls."

#323 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 12:13 PM:

One of my favourite Rutger Hauer moments.

#324 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 12:35 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ 319... Thanks!

#325 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 01:07 PM:

re Cricket: I particularly liked this passage: Once again, Twenty20 had shown its capacity to produce the most incredible upsets. But this wasn't about the gap being narrowed, this victory was all about the superior skill level of Netherlands on the night. The intent with which they went about the chase was thrilling in its freedom and confidence.

Paula: If I have a major complaint with Sotomayor it's that she is overly techical in her reading of the law; sometimes at variance with, what seems to me, the intent (which is a comment some of her clerks have made). I suspect the case to which you are referring is a case of both, the precedent (executive orders are legal; though I think the power to them overbroad), and the specifics.

There are lots of principles, with which I agree; to the defend them to the death level, which lead to specifics I loathe (e.g. Skokie).

So, absent more context to her specific beliefs; and evidence she (as Scalia seems to do) bends the law to make it fit those beliefs, I am not sure it's a valid critique.

#326 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 01:49 PM:

Does anybody know where I can buy a ninja's head piece? Or one of those full-head cowls with one wide hole for the eyes? No I'm not planning to go into crime-committing or into crime-fighting. It's more mundane than that although I'm not sure how mundane a con's masquerade really is.

#327 ::: Jack Siolo ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Obscure language question:
Have you heard the usage of the word "taddy" in place of "thank you"? I've been hearing it from people over the age of 80, but I can't find any written instances of it.

#328 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Serge - for what it's worth, the traditional ninja's head-piece was actually two pieces - one covers the head and hair like a cowl, the other is a separate piece of black cloth which wraps across the lower face and ties at the back or side, but can be pulled down or taken off separately. Maybe that will give you some ideas about how to make whatever costume you're trying to do.

#329 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 02:01 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 328... Thanks. I was also thinking of getting a stocking cap, and to cover most of my face with a scarf, Shadow-style.

#330 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 02:05 PM:

@NinjaSerge - If you sew or can persuade someone else to do so, you can find a variety of costume patterns from the major pattern manufacturers (Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls) at your local fabric retailer (Jo-Ann Fabrics is the only one in my area other than EvilMart, but I hear tell other places still have independent fabric shops.) A hood isn't difficult to sew (usually two pieces with a seam over the crown of the head) and adding a lower-face covering scarf piece is fairly straightforward.

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Thena @ 330... That's an idea. I could ask the lady who made my Time Traveller's outfit using existing patterns. (As for the TARDIS in the background, Mary Dell contributed that.)

#332 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Jack Siolo@327 -- sounds like a variant on the UK "Ta" for thank you (as in "Ta very much then", which I've seen in print a few times, more satirical than not -- combine "ta" with "veddy", and "taddy" would be a pretty easy leap to make). Not common IME, though.

#333 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 03:31 PM:

ARGH. I thought I'd look up who my representative in Congress is: turns out it's Mike Pence. Ugh. I have to admit, it's nice (nominally) to have representation in Congress again, but ... he really doesn't represent me. (My senators, of course, are Evan Bayh and Dick Lugar. I rather like Lugar, from a personal standpoint, although I found him weak-spined when his mental inferior was in the White House.)

I sent him a nice email about health care, to wit:

Having just moved to Richmond, I thought I would examine who is representing me to Congress now. Having looked at your position on health care reform, I'm really hard put to see why you consider that reform.

Do you truly believe that the free market is equipped to deal with my own case? My son has kidney disease. What free market insurer would ever give him insurance? What is their motivation? You might as well advocate a free-market foreign policy; there are simply things that society MUST handle together, or fall separately. Health care is one of those things.

If the free market is your true and considered opinion, then I congratulate you for your incredible luck in never having suffered medical hardship. What's your secret?

I urge you to consider true health care reform. America needs it. Indiana damn well needs it. My family needs it. It would be nice if you could represent me on this issue.

Har. Like that'll have any effect. But you never know.

#334 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Tom #294--

Thanks. We do what we can. Sounds like a pretty good avulsion. May I ask about the mechanism of injury? And you did very well indeed. You would want something like that seen to before secondary infection could set in.

The immediate first aid (pressure dressing) was appropriate. With a laceration, once you've gone beyond about a six-hour window it isn't going to be sutured in any case.

With any kind of luck, given a specialized wound clinic, the course of recovery should be unremarkable. Preventing infection and promoting proper healing will probably be tedious, but no worse than that.

#335 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 04:54 PM:

Niall McAuley @323:

Good. But I think my favourite Rutger Hauer moment has more style. :)

#336 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 05:26 PM:

What's with the sudden de-linkification of about half the posters' names, probably just those that give email addrs instead of websites?

#337 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 05:26 PM:

Rob Rusick #315: That sounds like the robot was salvaged from another movie. Are there any movies where an identical robot was chanting that? :-)

#338 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 05:44 PM:

joann @336, apparently a part of the reorganisation of the Making Light software. The "view all by" pages look different, too. Perhaps whoever is doing the reorganizing wants to make the email addresses less visible?

#339 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 05:45 PM:

joann @336, Hmmm, it might have started when we got the "most recent 20 comments" change to the "view all by" link.

#340 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 05:53 PM:


I just went to Montpelier, and one of the items in the shop was tea bricks. Inspired by the discussion of same hereabouts, I bought one, and have just enjoyed my first cup of tea from the brick. Oh yeah, the place was cool too -- it's a reconstruction (and archaeological site) in progress, aiming for restoring the main building to its 1820s incarnation. They also have exhibits scattered through the house on the archaeology work itself. The grounds have several hands-on workshops (especially woodworking), demo areas, and (fenced-off) digs. Apparently, the building was originally sold by the widow Dolly Madison (after she was bankrupted by her dissolute son) and eventually came into the hands of the DuPont family, who willed it to the National Trust. The DuPonts have their own exhibit space at the Visitor's Center (unfortunately closed today), and a named garden.

Hmm... I tried to google up some links for the brick tea discussion, but for the first three results I tried, the link comes up with "no comment found for specified comment ID". The links I got from Google are actually not to specific comments -- they're to the commentlist-oneauthor pages, but clearly nonfunctional. Admins? The bad links look like this:

#341 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 05:56 PM:

Hah -- my PS at 340 is presumably linked to joann #336. And My name's de-linkified, too!

#342 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 06:21 PM:

The site-level stuff will be explained by Patrick in very short order.

As to David Harmon's specific query, I did a Google search for "brick tea" on the site and found the link to the thread in question. Ajay did indeed comment on the matter, here.

#343 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 06:23 PM:

I'm late coming to the discussion of the missing e-mail links, but am I the only one who came back from being away for the weekend to find about thirty spam e-mails in the account I pretty much save for commenting here (I use the account for other things, but they're non-web stuff, so the spam -- I hope -- could only have come people data mining the info from here?)?

#344 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 06:40 PM:

LLA @343:

Was it all some sort of "welcome" message from either World Wide Web or Apache something or other? I got fifteen in the space of an hour last night, and then woke up to another twelve this morning.

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 06:49 PM:

LLa... J Austin... You too? It seems to have finally stopped, thankfully.

#346 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 06:54 PM:

Serge: I'm glad it wasn't just me. Which sounds terrible upon preview, but there it is;)

I really don't comment anywhere else except one other forum, but that's tied to my business email, so I don't know if it has anything to do with ML or not. The other new thing is a Gmail account (again tied to my jewelry site) and Google Analytics.

#347 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 06:54 PM:

LLA and J Austin: Yup. I received a similar number of those messages last night / this morning, shrugged, and deleted them. These struck me as further indication that the "do what I mean" instruction components of current software packages [1] are still a wee bit short of perfection . . .

[1] Any type of software, used for any purpose, by anyone.

#348 ::: Jack Siolo ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Tom Whitmore, 332,
If I can get more information from the people using the term, I'll post it here.

#349 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 07:00 PM:


In the European Elections, the British electoral region I vote in has just elected an MEP from the British National Party.

One of my representatives in the European Parliament is a fucking racist fascist.

#350 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 07:03 PM:

I got a bunch of those Apache spams in the email I use here, too. Yahoo's spam filter is good enough that I hadn't seen them until I investigated, though.

This is the email address that's on my website, too, so it's always collecting a lot of spam. (If you have occasion to write to me there, make sure the subject is something that's obviously from a real human being. For this address, if I don't recognize the sender's name and the subject line is generic, I don't even open it.)

#351 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 07:14 PM:

I didn't really look at them -- I pretty much just deleted them.

All that data mining must be heck on Making Light's servers!

#352 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 07:37 PM:

James D @334 (and why am I thinking of Tom Disch?) -- the wound happened when she sat on one end of a bench that had two supports near the middle, and the bench tipped over, dropping her onto a concrete doorstop (this is her description -- I can't imagine what the doorstop must have looked like). Yeah, we were at the point where panicking wouldn't do any good; and preventing secondary problems wasn't really going to wait until Monday when her regular doc has office hours. Her skin is dry and fragile enough that they probably couldn't have sutured it well anyway (glue might have worked). And she's on Plavix, so there are blood-clotting issues (that's a blood-thinner, for those of you who don't know).

Making this all more interesting was the fact that it was the first time I'd gotten to meet her, and there was some concern over how she'd react to my long hair and rather low-key approach to life. She seems to have decided to like me.

#353 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 07:48 PM:

J Austin @ 346... Yes, it IS terrible of you to have thought that, but I forgive you. Heheheh...

#354 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 07:52 PM:

Well, today is technology experiments day. I recently updated my copy of MacSpeech Dictate to the current version (and hope to finish a review of it and the Revolabs xTag microphone for an online magazine) as well as downloading and installing Chromium for the Mac. Since the cautionary notes for Chromium for the Mac at the Google download site are as warm and cuddly as a Miranda warning, I downloaded the version here, which is a more recent build than Google currently has up. I figure I'll use it primarily for Making Light tabs until the official release version of Chromium comes out, since I'm tired of Firefox going down in flames and taking all my tabs with it. With luck, Chromium will have a recover tabs process that's a little bit more robust than the one that Firefox uses. (It could hardly be worse.)

As far as MacSpeech Dictate goes, the improvements in this version are impressive. The manual has tripled in size and seems much better thought out, although considering the way the program occasionally takes the bit in its teeth and deletes everything back to the beginning of the document I would've put the command "undo last action" in much bigger letters on the front page of the manual. I have done the majority of this post without training any new words, although I'm going to start doing that very soon--we'll see how that works out.

Tom Whitmore: So what's not to like? Outside of your habit of finding books that I desperately need to own and can't afford right at that moment, you've always seemed to be a prince of a guy to me.

That reminds me: sometime in the late 70s or the early 80s, Analog Magazine ran a short story about a college student who went out on a beer run and ended up in a time war involving Neanderthals. I remember hearing that it was expanded into a novel, but when I asked Tom about it some years later he wasn't familiar with it. Does this ring a bell with anybody?

#355 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 07:56 PM:

My favorite non-SF TV series of the summer are coming back this week. Tomorrow, TNT starts a new season of cop show The Closer. On Thursday it's Burn Notice, and it looks like it's back in top form, what with Fiona, the crazy girlfriend of the forcibly-retired-from-the-spy-business hero, acting as a cocktail waitress. Of course, being Fiona, her cocktails follow Comrade Molotov's recipe.

I'd be doing a happy dance, but such activity isn't recommended when you have in your lap a laptop that weighs as much as a small cinder block.


#356 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 08:24 PM:

Dave Bell @ 349:

My sympathies. I wonder about how the BNP still has a voice, and then I remember my sister's loser boyfriend talking about how all the immigrants are taking their jobs... My sister is an American living and working in England, but that doesn't seem to have occurred to him.


I got a bunch of those. All of them wound up in my spam box, but, wow, how obnoxious. Since anti-spamming laws don't seem to be working for one reason or another, how about kneecapping the people who respond to spam?

#357 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 08:33 PM:

Bruce@230: the idea that Europe was a howling wilderness for centuries after the fall of Rome is \also/ an approach taught more in the U.S.; the French, for instance, refer to the entire period 500-1500 as "Middle Ages" (rather than "Dark" + "Middle" -- and wasn't that a surprise to a 6th-grader on his first trip across the pond...). There's also the question of who did what with the Greek teachings you report being retrieved from Islamist cultures; it's arguable that our idea of democracy comes as much from the just-growed-and-worked Nordic and/or Germanic ~tribal cultures as from the Greeks, but my scanty knowledge of ~Middle-East history suggests the idea took longer to catch on there.

Bruce@246" "Culture advances one funeral at a time." Or sometimes even more abruptly; I talked at Wiscon to a young woman (mid 20s?) who said nobody her age considers it remarkable. Her view may be biased; she's an almost-PhD at the U-Wisconsin Madison campus, which is still on the left side of the spectrum, but IMO <grumble>if the same fraction of people her age voted as of the AARP crowd, Prop 8 (et al?) would never have passed.</grumble>

Dave@256: & "Macquereau aime la friture"?

John@257: Easy -- Strephon dealt with it before the bill on competitive examinations abolished the House of Peers.

Paula@291: I was also surprised to hear that Sotomayor would be the 6th Catholic in the upcoming SCOTUS -- but not that a Catholic would have views acceptable to Obama and detestable to the Repubs. See above discussion about the loud-voiced officials vs actual beliefs of those who still profess some sort of monotheism in the U.S., and be more careful about your wide brush.

Earl@297: No, first it takes enough money/energy/time to get a case plausible enough that four SCOTUS judges will vote for certiorari when the lower courts rule against. It's one thing for Townsend to say "Think of what good a single ethical lawyer at your company could do"; SCOTUS is harder to get to.

Storms, following Vicki@300: exercise was discovered some time ago to produce "endogenous morphine-like substances", aka endorphins -- aka a legal high. May be hard to start if you don't already have the habit (as I did before my last long spell of unemployment), but may well be worth it even if all you start with is a walk around the block.

Terry@308: unlocked was lucky. In college I did by-the-hour support for visiting productions in the mainstage; this once required picking up a sports car parked (with the wheel cranked hard over) in the clearance zone for the theater driveway and carrying it out of the way so an oversize trailer could get to the dock. (The full trailer of set meant that we had enough bodies on hand to pull it off.)

I also had a bunch of spam this weekend, but (a) they seemed a bit different from the above descriptions (~"someone has sent you a greeting!") and (b) my address here is lightly disguised against harvesters (which leads to the ominous possibility that somebody is building extra processing capacity into harvesters; unfortunately my try at another level of disguise did not pass ML's filter for a legal address).

#358 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 08:45 PM:

I received 42 of those between 19:54 yesterday and 07:00 today. Nearly all were from servers in Russia and Ukraine. But I've received three more in the past hour. (All times CDT.) Thanks to Gmail's spam filter, I hadn't noticed until I read the posts above.

#359 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 08:52 PM:

I got a bunch of those too - not a lot, but several. (Sent them off to the spam filter.)

#360 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 08:56 PM:

Ah! So that's where that spamburst came from. "Take two Bayesian filters and call me in the morning."

#361 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 09:12 PM:

LMB MacAlister 318: Oh GODS, no I hadn't!!! Thank you. That's just about perfect.

#362 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Today's most amusing spam e-mail was offering me a choice for ships for sale, out of Shanghai. (They were all freighters or tankers, so not suitable for conventions.)

#363 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 09:23 PM:

CHip #357: No, first it takes enough money/energy/time to get a case plausible enough that four SCOTUS judges will vote for certiorari when the lower courts rule against. It's one thing for Townsend to say "Think of what good a single ethical lawyer at your company could do"; SCOTUS is harder to get to.

My favorite simplistic solution would be to bring a test case before the consideration of SCOTUS, then impeach all of the justices who voted incorrectly, for the crime of violating their oaths to defend the Constitution. Fill the vacancies thus created (with young progressive justices), then repeat as necessary, until they damned well get it right.

#364 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 09:43 PM:

I don't thintk the apache spam is ML related, since my Lj is the link people get when the scrape here, and I've gotten the email at other accounts.

#365 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @354: That reminds me: sometime in the late 70s or the early 80s, Analog Magazine ran a short story about a college student who went out on a beer run and ended up in a time war involving Neanderthals. I remember hearing that it was expanded into a novel, but when I asked Tom about it some years later he wasn't familiar with it. Does this ring a bell with anybody?

I vaguely recalled the stories, and with a little Googling I was able to find "Beer Run" by Michael McCollum, first printed in the July 1979 issue of Analog (I also see the story listed under Duncan McElroy, which I believe may have been a pen name the story was first printed under — or was it visa versa?). There was a later story titled "A Greater Infinity", and this also appears to have been the title for a book published by Del Rey in 1982.

I thought of those stories frequently while the series "Sliders" ran on TV.

There was another couple of stories in Analog roughly around the same time, where pressing a series of glyphs along a spiral path leading to the top of a plateau activated a 'star gate' on the plateau's surface.

Think that was the seed for the movie "Stargate"?

#366 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 10:47 PM:

Serge @326: You were looking for a ninja headpiece; if you're looking for a fast-and-dirty version, there's a video that shows how to make one from a teeshirt, without destroying the shirt in question.

#367 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 11:09 PM:

Cally Soukup @ 366... That's perfect! Thanks!

#368 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 01:20 AM:

The cookbook is not ready to buy. What it is ready for is for someone else to take a gander at it and make sure it looks all right.

Also, my graphic-design skills are kind of—what's the word?—crap, so if someone feels moved to make a cover for it, I'd be open to suggestions. Email me if you want a copy of the PDF rather than staring at Lulu's preview thingy.

Also, if someone could tell me what should go on the copyright page, as I just stitched together a bunch of recipes and made them presentable, I'd be obliged.

#369 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 01:52 AM:

Xopher @ 361: Yer we'come. Some things just shouldn't be passed over.

#370 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:10 AM:

There is a conspiracy afoot! The clocks in this hotel room are all off by an hour ... and not in the better direction, either!

#371 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:58 AM:

1) I've just gone and looked in the spambin for the gmail address I use here and found around forty "You received a new greeting!! ", mostly from "User Apache", but a few from "World Wide Web Owner".

2) I voted on Thursday. I always vote; I spent my teenage years in Australia, where it's compulsory. Besides, if you don't vote, you shouldn't complain if someone you disapprove of gets in.

I normally vote *for* someone. I think this is the first time I have ever gone out to vote specifically *against* someone. Unfortunately, not enough people felt the same way, so I too now have an openly fascist Euro-MP. I find this... disappointing, in light of the coincidence with the anniversary of D-Day. Not least because I know how a certain Austrian got into power in the first place -- by being democratically elected.

#372 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 04:11 AM:

Re: apache spam, I got those too and believe they harvested that address from ML, because I don't use it as is elsewhere in the wild wild web.

KeithS @368: so that's why you were railing at volume conversions! It looks very nice indeed. (I just spotted a layout error in an ingredients list on page 144.)

#373 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 05:08 AM:

KeithS -- super! I hope to be able to take a closer look at it later today, and if I catch anything I'll let you know.

Don't know what you're considering as far as format, but may I put in a word for spiral binding?

#374 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 08:29 AM:

Question here for the ML hive-mind:

What do I do about friends or acquaintances who support or at least act as apologists for the neo-Nazi BNP? Do I try to talk reason into them, or do I simply cut them out of my life?

Sadly this is not a hypothetical question.

#375 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 10:28 AM:

Tim Hall @374 -- for friends I'd try to talk reason with them (it helps to start by asking them why they support such a party (and listen for the answer, not just talking points so you can convince them otherwise). For acquaintances, withdraw unless you really want to get into a conversation where they'll try to convert you.

It's really hard to change someone's mind unless one starts with understanding how s/he got there in the first place. And most "getting there" is not rational. Think about how you've actually changed your mind, and work from that understanding.

#376 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 10:34 AM:

Pendrift @ 372:

I'll get it when I get home this evening. Thanks. (Page 144 by the Lulu preview, or page 144 by the number on the page?)

Debbie @ 373:

Spiral binding is the plan. I want it to be able to lie flat.

Tim Hall @ 374:

Sorry to hear that. I suppose it depends on how much you think they really buy into the BNP's ideas. If they're just hanging around the fringes, it's probably worth trying to reason with them and point out that, no, the immigrants are not taking all the jobs, and why is immigration so bad anyway? Or addressing whatever other ideas they may have picked up. People hear soundbites and think they're reasonable. If you have facts intrude on that, they may stop listening to the BNP altogether.

If you think they're in it deep and reasoning won't work, it's probably best to sever ties with them. If there's something in particular that the BNP would like to do to you since you're not a pure Aryan skinhead nutter, you might work that into your reason for parting ways. Something like, "I'm sorry, I can't remain friends with someone who supports killing me/putting people like me into concentration camps/kicking me out of the country, because I'm not the right race/I'm not the right religion/I didn't have the right parents."

#377 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 11:56 AM:

I don't come here as often as I used to. Primarily, people who pay me money to do things want me to do them, not find me sitting on Teresa and Patrick's e-patio, sipping Teresa's Scurvy Cure. (Denver holds many dear memories, including having my head blown off by SC!)
However, the occasional bit comes to my attention, and I must share. If you have not yet found this, do go visit.

#378 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 01:06 PM:

Tim Hall @ 374:

I live in a conservative, even for this state, part of North Texas, and have a number of friends with whom there's a tacit agreement (bi-lateral) not to discuss politics. I've been amused to see their reactions in the past two years as they've found out that having what they were influenced to so fervently wish for, a strong conservative Republican majority in all parts of their state and federal governments, didn't work out well at all, and that all those theories they'd bought into turned out to be self-serving hogwash. They know I'm an unapologetic liberal, and we prefer not to argue. But it was beyond painful for me to see friends who are also contemporaries and who were raised on the horror and outrage of our waging of war in Viet Nam support Viet Nam II in the Middle East. Denial is a powerful force, and acts not just to preserve the ego, but also to reinforce laziness and "justified" fear on the part of the status quo. And some people simply refuse to acknowledge the darker side of certain selfish or pathological people around them.

I still miss a couple of previously close friends with whom I felt forced to cut ties. In both cases, we had shared liberal principles and talked about our ideas freely, but I got tired of their criticism and smug superiority as they became enamored of and began to quote such asshats as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, and I couldn't see how such demagogues could inspire interest, much less respect, in people I thought much better of. In those cases, the discomfort of the altered relationship overcame the comfort of the familiarity we once had, and which I felt had become lost.

#379 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 01:24 PM:

LMB MacAlister #378, KeithS #376, Tom Whitmore #375

Thanks for the advice

Said individual is definitely at the level of an casual acquaintance rather than a friend. He responded to a strongly worded online comment of mine that said those who voted BNP insulted the memory of the dead of D-day by posting a boilerplate anti-immigrant rant in response.

He's vehemently denying that he's a BNP supporter or apologist, but he's defriended me on a certain well-known social networking site.

I don't think he's a hardcore nazi skinhead. If he was I would never have had anything to do with him in the first place. But I've found out something about him I would really not have known.

#380 ::: pedanticpeasant ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 02:09 PM:

In other news, apparently J.D. Salinger is a huge Terminator fan. Who knew?

(OK, so it's a story from The Onion, but still ...)

#381 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 02:48 PM:

KeithS, #368: That's looking good, as far as I checked -- I haven't the time to go thru the whole thing page-by-page at the moment. Are you just doing top-posted recipes? And can I arrange for delivery of my copy at Fiestacon?

LMB MacAlister, #378: Just out of curiosity, have any of your conservative Texas friends actually changed any of their political opinions after having seen things Not Work in such a spectacular fashion?

And off on a tangent... you more-or-less disappeared from ML shortly after our failed attempt to meet up at a Dallas con. Would you be interested in trying again at this year's FenCon?

Tim, #379: I've made that sort of unpleasant discovery about a few people I've known, too. Fortunately (from my POV), the worst such instance was finding a forum comment while link-surfing, and it was someone I hadn't seen in several years and am unlikely ever to see again. (Said person has such an uncommon name as to be effectively unique -- I'm sure it was the same person I knew.) So you definitely have my sympathies.

#382 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Lee @ 381:

I've tried to pluck the recipes that I could out of all the posts and comment threads that I could find (while leaving out the ones that are obviously straight from someone else's cookbook with no added commentary). I have invariably missed many, but it would be difficult to add more right now. There will be more recipes posted. There's always room for sequels.

If all goes well, I hope to have it ready by the end of next week, so I'll try to have one for you at Fiestacon.

I hope that our kind hosts don't mind me using the title Making Food. Actually, I hope that our kind hosts don't mind me putting this together in the first place....

If someone like abi would like to look over my list of American/British English food names and suggest things that I've missed, I'd appreciate it. I was largely going by memory and a couple web pages. I am not going to go into the biscuit/cookie issue because that would take an entire essay to answer.

#383 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:25 PM:


If you really want to hear about it, what my lousy childhood was like and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, I'll begin with the time I was chased out of my house by a crazy robot from the future, before they sent me here to think about things for a while.


So I was walking down the street that day, and each time I came to a crosswalk, I know it sounds crazy, but I would pray to the ghost of my kid brother to get me safely across, and then, like, thanking him whenever I did. I really was. And then I looked up, and it wasn't my kid brother, it was this crazy robot on a motorcycle who was stopping traffic for me so I wouldn't get hit. He really was.

#384 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:27 PM:

KeithS @ 382... I'll try to have one for you at Fiestacon...

Hopefully our paths will cross at FiestaCon, with or without recipes.
("With you, it's probably one for disaster.")

#385 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:27 PM:

KeithS: Very nifty! On a quick browse of the ToC, I noticed my Feta and Bitter Greens recipe ended up in salads - it's a pasta sauce and so should be under entrees IMHO or perhaps sauces, but not salads. I also noticed that you missed the Honey-glazed Onions recipe I've posted here; I can forward that to you. Wouldn't want to miss that.

#386 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Dave Bell @ 349

Sympathies. I've managed to avoid that - one UKIP, but no BNP (being grateful for small mercies). Actually it surprises (and pleases) me that London did -not- elect any BNP candidates. Saddens me that the North West - where I originate - (and Yorkshire/Humber) did.

I'm pleased I managed to sort out and send off my postal vote (since I was awy from home the day of the elections).

#387 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Oh, hang on... I see that you mentioned skipping those which came directly from a cookbook, and it's true that recipe comes essentially unmodified from The Mystic Seaport Cookbook. Ah well.

#388 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:45 PM:

KeithS, looks great! Do you want corrections to minor typos? I noticed one in one of my recipes, but would have to go back and find it again.

Got a cover yet?

#389 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 03:57 PM:

Serge @ 384:

I'd hardly call meeting up a recipe for disaster. I hope to see you there.

Clifton Royston @ 385 and 387:

I'll fix where it's located when I get home tonight. Sticking it in the ingredients section with the other sauces should work? (I had nowhere in particular to stick Teresa's instructions for marmalade, and I didn't want to create a section just for it, so it wound up there too.)

I'm sure I've included recipes that are essentially straight from other cookbooks because they weren't flagged, but I'm not too worried about it. Recipes are part folk process and part owned by whoever made them, which is why I'm a little leery of including ones that are obviously from another cookbook. If you feel like you've made enough changes or added enough commentary, I can probably squeeze it in somewhere.

This is also why I want to know what to put on the copyright page, or if I should just give up on that entirely. I mean, the recipes aren't mine, I'm just giving them a paper home.

Janet Croft @ 388:

Yes, typo corrections are welcome. Any and all corrections are welcome. I have normalized some spelling but not all, so the people who write with an excess of 'u's keep theirs and people who write with a deficiency of them don't. So long as it is a valid spelling, it stays.

(Aside: since email addresses aren't shown here any more, mine is kesutt at gmail dot com, in case you want to send them to me directly or ask for a PDF or what have you.)

I don't have a cover yet. If nothing else came up, I was just going to use the title page again and have a blank back cover, probably on beige stock.

#390 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 05:33 PM:

Was just looking at the cookbook...hadn't realised we'd had a recipe for sugarcake posted! Will have to try that; my aunt keeps promising me hers, but never sending it, and I can't quite bring myself to order it from Dewey's. Mostly because I don't ever want it quite badly enough to pay shipping.

Anyone know how much "a cake of yeast" is? Grams preferred, but teaspoons/tablespoons fine, too. (Must. Not. Bake. Before. The move.)

Perhaps before the next book I'll post my pomegranate-raspberry sorbet recipe. (For that matter, perhaps before there's a next book I'll have gotten around to figuring out a pomegranate ice cream recipe....)

#391 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Who are these guys Everything2 that Abi is posting articles on?

If you read the site long enough, your're tripping without drugs.

(Not my intent to belittle Abi's article; just saying that if you keep on reading everything in the site you are sucked into a weird frame of mind/lack thereof.)

#392 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Jennifer Barber @ 390:

If you have some other cookbooks lying around they might be able to help. Alternatively, this webpage seems pretty comprehensive.

And pomegranate-raspberry sorbet? Oh, wow. That sounds delicious.

#393 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 05:50 PM:

Unfortunately, pretty much the only cookbook I have is Alton Brown's baking book, and while I love it to pieces, I don't think it's got anything about cake yeast. I'll check out that link, though!

And yeah, the pomegranate-raspberry sorbet turned out pretty well, I have to admit. Perhaps when I'm putting off packing for my upcoming move tonight I'll see if I can find the details, and post it here.

#394 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 06:06 PM:

Rather than wake up (and subvert) the "Bright Eyes" thread again, I'll put this here: A "literal video" for Meatloaf's "I'll Do Anything For Love". Not quite as hyper as the "Total Eclipse" video, but pretty funny.

#395 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 06:07 PM:

Erik @391:
E2 was once a contender in the niche that Wikipedia now owns. I bumped into it when Slashdot was linking to it for definitions.

Even by the time I left, about five years ago, it was more of a relatively quirky online writing community. It has a steep learning curve to join, and, as you say, much of it seems to be from a strange frame of reference. For a while, a year or two back, it looked like it would wither away completely, but I think they're making it easier to join.

It's basically a walled garden on the web, which makes it both a safe space for its members and a bit of a clannish enclave for outsiders. For a time, it was a real community to me, and I still bump into usernames I recognize from my time there.

I left for a number of reasons (including the fact that they banned my mom...long story there). For a long time afterward, I foreswore online communities, because the intensity of E2 really backfired on me.

I guess that resolution didn't stick, did it?

#396 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 06:27 PM:

dcb, Dave and Tim:

For what it's worth, it could be worse.

Estimated population of the UK: 60,943,912 (July 08)

Estimated number of registered voters: 51,000,000 (My extrapolation based on 2001 and 2007 numbers)

Turnout for this election: 34% or 17,340,000

BNP vote: 6% or 1,040,400 knuckle-dragging, arse-licking, rhymes-with-National-Fronts: 1,040,400, or 1.7% of total population.

#397 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 06:55 PM:

Jennifer Barber @390

According to a cake of yeast is .6 of an ounce of compressed fresh yeast; or about 17 grams. Which is equal to 1½ to 2 tsp. instant yeast or 2 to 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast.

#398 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 07:57 PM:

KeithS #368:

Looks yummy -- but one group of recipes I looked for (but couldn't find) was the "coffee-mug cakes" (microwaved) that went around at one point. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find them by search, either.

#399 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 08:20 PM:

David Harmon @ 398:

Marilee linked to the chocolate one here and geekosaur linked to a honey cake here.

#400 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 08:51 PM:

Pendrift @ 372: Fixed.

Clifton Royston @ 385: Moved to entrées section.

Janet Croft @ 388: Replaced "them remove" with "then remove" in your broiled zucchini recipe.

#401 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 09:08 PM:

KeithS @#399: Ah, they weren't included because they weren't "ours". Thanks!

#402 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 09:53 PM:

Abi, I read quite a bit of Everything2 a few years ago (like, um, seven? Was freshman year that long ago? Goodness) and it was definitely a thing. Very easy to spend a lot of time clicking and reading.

#403 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 10:12 PM:

Earl@363: Yep, that's simplistic, all right; won't happen even if the courts do their duty and acknowledge that Franken won Minnesota, considering the number of centrist Democrats in the Senate (and, IIRC, the requirement for a 2/3 majority to impeach judges, not just Presidents).

LMBMcA@378: But it was beyond painful for me to see friends who are also contemporaries and who were raised on the horror and outrage of our waging of war in Viet Nam support Viet Nam II in the Middle East.

I don't run into that much, being in the only state that didn't pick Nixon over McGovern; but for the occasions, I recall a Clemenceau quote to the effect that the young conservative has no heart and the old liberal no brains. Too many people get more and more fearful of losing a future that they have less and less left of.

#404 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 10:21 PM:

#357 CHip

I didn't say that I expected Sotomayor to side with Alito and Scalia etc. generally. There are several issues:
1) Church versus state--long ago when I was a college student, the Representative for the part of Massachusetts I was from was one Fr Robert Drinan, SJ. His voting record and statements regarding family planning and abortion seemed to have been the stimuli which caused the Pope at the time to order Roman Catholic priests out of holding elected political office. (Rep Drinan said that while he personally was opposed to abortion, he was not going to impose his personal belief on a secular pluralistic society which included people who had different religious beliefs on the topic. That's very much a paraphrase affected by time and memory, but he did come out strongly in statements of supporting individual choice as a national social policy, as opposed to dictating the views of his religion onto those not of that religion and that religion's rules.)

There apparently is no track record for Sotomayor regarding reproductive rights issues other than squelching the lawsuit against the Schmuck's gag order=type actions about abortion and refusing to funding any healthcare internationally that was associated in any way, shape, or form, with providing abortion serives.

Being female is not a guarantee of behavior--Sarah Palin reproduced, de facto meaning Palin i a she.

My concerns about adding another Catholic to the Supreme Court as in the nature of distortion from the same sort of thing as e.g. trying to calculate an orbit when all the data acquisition is not spread around the orbit, but all taken from the same five-minute window with the same sensor. It creates an inherent biasing of the data of limited the data acquisition to that narrow sampling area.

Alito and Scala and Roberts have amplied demonstrated their disdain for the individual members of We the People and put their ideological partisanship ahead of the letter and spirit of the Constution and Bill of fights -- repeatedly.

Sotomayor's public housing project-to-Federal Court Judge story is an Inspiration Story--but I am not the most appreciate sort around for Inspirational Stories--for one thing, it remindes of Christian fiction, which I mostly find lacking in my views of literary merit--it's aimed at a very different audience than I am from, and contains encodings that are a combination of allegorical references and style which even if I am aware of provide no positive contribution to the story for me, and of promotion of a mindset/outlook on the universe that is alien and not pleasant for me.

I value diversity, and decreasing the diversity on the Supreme Court as regards creed, particularly given the demagogues appointed by Republican, disturbs me.

I'd feel the same way about the prospect of having a majority on the Court of Baptists, Southern Baptist, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Buddists, Episcopalians, or Pastafarians, etc.

#405 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 10:59 PM:

I really don't like the way judicial candidates are usually coy about their positions; it seems disingenuous to me. I want a damned checklist, and I want them to choose their answers to my (progressive) satisfaction before they're allowed to be confirmed. I don't want a confirmation mistake that will haunt us for decades.

#406 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2009, 11:12 PM:

I really hate the fact that Roberts is named Roberts.

#407 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 12:13 AM:

I saw something tonight that completely boggled my mind. In an empty lot, someone was selling various banners and flags - U.S., state, local universities. One was a confederate flag, but to the side of it (part of the same fabric) was the Obama "hope" campaign picture. It was a very strange juxtaposition. I can't imagine what the message is supposed to be.

#408 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 12:14 AM:

Earl Cooley III @363, can you give us a list of 67 senators who'd vote for impeachment of the judges in that scenario?

#409 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 02:10 AM:

Clifton @ #403: "Clemenceau quote to the effect that the young conservative has no heart and the old liberal no brains."

Someday I'm gonna list all the pols I've seen that attributed to. Bismarck, Disraeli, Churchill. . .

Ha. Someone's already done that. Jeepers, somebody thought William Casey said it! Casey? Reagan's CIA Director?


#410 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 02:36 AM:

I first heard it attributed to a frenchman (De Gaulle, I believe) as, "My son is 20, if he were not a comminist I should disown him. If he is still one at 40, I shall do it then."

#411 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 03:03 AM:

The way I heard it was "anyone not a Liberal at 20 has no heart; anyone not a Tory at 40 has no brains."

#412 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 03:48 AM:

Raphael #408: can you give us a list of 67 senators who'd vote for impeachment of the judges in that scenario?

Nope, but if they didn't vote to impeach the judges in that scenario, they would be guilty of the same crime, and subject to impeachment themselves. All I would really need is the vote of one senator and one congressman, with all the other accused legislators ineligible to vote for themselves. Or, if all of the senators defy my will, then I'd just need one governor to appoint a single senator to vote unanimous impeachments at my direction. I'm not sure what the procedure is to replace unruly Congressmen unwilling to pass articles of impeachment, though. However, at that point, I'm acting as a benevolent despot and the impeachments, justified as they are, would essentially be show trials. "Have a nice day, citizen."

#413 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 08:27 AM:

J Austin:@344 "Was it all some sort of "welcome" message from either World Wide Web or Apache something or other? I got fifteen in the space of an hour last night, and then woke up to another twelve this morning."

I just got another one a few minutes ago. Only the third that was delivered to my mailbox, but our spam catcher caught 66 of them for me! Mostly ij the early hours of the 7th June, but there have bee 11 of them since then.

#414 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 08:43 AM:

"My concerns about adding another Catholic to the Supreme Court as in the nature of distortion from the same sort of thing as e.g. trying to calculate an orbit when all the data acquisition is not spread around the orbit, but all taken from the same five-minute window with the same sensor. It creates an inherent biasing of the data..."

I *know* its a cheap shot, but if someone said that about Jews in US courts or government - or in the British government where they have been hugely statistically overrepresented for decades - we would all rightly leap on them from a great height.

Is the Supreme Court even supposed to be representative of the American people? I thought that was what the House of Representatives was for. Or am I falling for the etymological fallacy?

Not that I have been counting, but I strongly suspect that Episcopalians and Presbyterians have been vastly over-represented in the Supreme Court in the past, as well as in the Presidency, and probably in all other branches of the USA government. Why isn't that even worse than Roman Catholics?

Anyway, is it that unrepresentative? If you live in a country where nearly 90% of the population are associated with one Christian denomination or another (and nearly half of them actually got to church more than once a year), is it that unlikely that a random sample of nine would have a majority of members willing to be described as Roman Catholics, members of by far the largest religious body in the United States?

No-one ever asks these questions over here in the UK - well, not in the south of England anyway. But then only about one in twenty of us goes to church.

#415 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 09:53 AM:

414: Ken, as you no doubt know, the issue is not that people in the US are terrified of another Papist Plot, but that they rely on the Supreme Court to continue to ensure their brtn rights, and if a majority of justices belong to an organisation that enjoins its members to believe that brtn is illegal, that does rather cause concern. If there were a large and vocal let's-ban-bacon political movement in the UK, then I imagine that the number of Jews in the cabinet might become an issue.

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:02 AM:

Off the current topic of Cathodics on the Supreme Court...

I was amused last week when I saw the name of the scriptwriter for Disney's 1973 movie The Island at the Top of the World.

John Whedon.

Joss's grandpapa.

#417 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:03 AM:

Off the current topic of Cathodics on the Supreme Court...

I was amused last week when I saw the name of the scriptwriter for Disney's 1973 movie The Island at the Top of the World.

John Whedon.

Joss's grandpapa.

#418 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:24 AM:

Ajay@115: Anti-Catholicism in America has been around for considerably longer than the brtn wars. Historically, it was associated with nativism of the Know-Nothing variety, something that makes it an unfortunate issue to raise in Sotomayor's case.

#419 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:26 AM:

Rainflame @407 -- the message is, "I'll sell anything that sells, and don't expect me to believe in what I'm selling."

#420 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:27 AM:

Ack! typo! That should have been Ajay@415.

(Why do I never see these things when I look at the preview, but only when I look at the post? It's an injustice, is what it is.)

#421 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Serge #416/417 Cathodics? I thought they'd gone to flat screens.

#422 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:55 AM:

Off the current topic of Cathodics on the Supreme Court

Being anti-Cathodic = positive discrimination.

#423 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 12:13 PM:

Wikipedia bans loony religious group from editing.

Self-serving edits were "threatening Wikipedia's reputation for neutrality". I'm not sure whether to consider this a step forward, or beyond irony.

#424 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Serge @416: Interesting about John Whedon. I'd noticed Joss Whedon's name in the opening credits of the first Toy Story movie (back when Pixar was working for Disney). I mentioned it to a friend who was a big Joss Whedon fan, and he said that Whedon had a reputation as a good script doctor. Interesting to hear that there had been a family connection with Disney.

#425 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 12:34 PM:

ajay @ 422:

Being anti-Cathodic = positive discrimination.

subsumed under the rubric of "Anodic". Since this also means "no node", such a group is necessarily anti-internet. rules!

#426 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Re that quote discussed by CHip @403, Linkmeister @409, and Terry Karney @410, I find it particularly funny when it's attributed to Winston Churchill, and "Liberal" is used as a stand-in for "leftist", and 40 is used as the older age.

Looks like some typical quote for the kind of people who usually belonged to the most annoying kind of campus cafe fringe types, then, after a long time, suddenly discovered that lot of things connected with that are rather silly (Oh really?), and then started to tell everyone who could be bothered that anyone who disagrees with their new right wing selves obviously must share the sillyness of their old selves. My favorite subset consists of the people who used to support the Soviet Union, then switched to supporting Donald Rumsfeld, and now, after they've *twice* seen grand-scale attempts to completely remodel the World that were supported by them fail, still feel the need to lecture me about why my politics are completely wrong.

(Then again, I am still relatively young, so sometimes I wonder wether the folks who claim I'm just naive and unexperienced might have a point, and wether more life experience might really turn me into some kind of Reagan fan. Then, I read stuff like the second half of this comment (No. 99), and I think, no, not likely to happen.)

#427 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 01:16 PM:

Off the current topic of Cathodics on the Supreme Court...

In front of an Anglican church a few blocks from my home is a metal utility box labelled "Cathodic Protection Rectifier". Every time I see it, I'm tempted to commit minor vandalism and scrape the loop off the 'd'.

#428 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Raphael #426:

Following Serge's interest in Cathodics, I feel obliged to point out that "wether" means, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "A male sheep, a ram; esp. a castrated ram." I've used the word to mean a castrated billy-goat as well.

#429 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Just testing my (vab) with the new functionality. Nothing to see.

#430 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Checking again with the old e-mail address. Functionality is fine so far. Feel free to delete these

#431 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 02:49 PM:

Raphael @ 425:

sometimes I wonder wether the folks who claim I'm just naive and unexperienced might have a point, and wether more life experience might really turn me into some kind of Reagan fan.

Not necessarily. IMnsHO people who repeat that aphorism about youth and liberalism versus old age and conservatism are people who have no real opinions or philosophy of their own, but take whatever is considered appropriate by their peer-group. Or their philosophy is "I'm for whatever I want right now", and as they get older their wants drift from fixing the world to profiting from it. The latter group are the ones who set the peer-group standards for the former.

There are a lot of counter-examples to the aphorism, from Supreme Court Justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes to activists like Eugene V. Debs. I consider myself a counter-example. I was a firebrand progressive in high school and college, a member of SDS. My first peace march was at the age of 13, and I was standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when Martin Luther King spoke about having a dream. But I haven't converted into any sort of conservative, Reagonoid or otherwise. I still believe in progressive political change for this country and the world in general; I believe that the US has shifted drastically to the right in my lifetime making the economic and social class inequities even greater than they were; and I still believe that this country has serious racial, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and ethnic intolerance problems that must be addressed.

#432 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 03:13 PM:

Raphael @ 426: just for balance, when I was 18 I was a Liberal[1].

I am now 39 and can occasionally be heard muttering about how the New Democratic Party (of which I am now a member) is becoming dangerously conservative in some ways.

If the present curve holds and my health does as well, by the time I am 100 I shall be writing long, crabby letters to the editor deploring the right-wing tendencies of the IWW.

( I admit, the world veering ferociously to the right in the same period has probably made my curve look even steeper than it actually is.)

So you will not necessarily get more conservative with age, no.

[1] A member of the Liberal Party of Canada, not any of those other funny meanings of Liberal. In Canadian terms, I was a gently left-leaning centrist.

#433 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 03:16 PM:

Or their philosophy is "I'm for whatever I want right now", and as they get older their wants drift from fixing the world to profiting from it. The latter group are the ones who set the peer-group standards for the former.

Yes. When my brother quoted that to me last year (from a client of his) I told him it sounded to me like nothing more than a version of "I'm all right, Jack." (Which I then had to explain to him.)

While we're accumulating anecdata, I've shifted to the left in my old age, if anything.

#434 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 03:26 PM:

I've always heard it as "Anyone who isn't a liberal at 20 has no heart, and almost no one over 40 has one, so they're all conservatives." :-)

Seriously, all these assholes think I have no brain? (No, I know that none of these guys ever actually said it.)

As for Cathodics...there are, actually, gay men with a fetish for Roman Catholic men.* (See why I think Furryism is a tame kind of fetish?) Guess what they like to say they want? Hint: Fill in the blank in "I have a craving for some _________." One of them once explained to me why he thinks RC men are different, and what he likes about them, but even the explanation was kind of creepy.
*As distinct from gay RC men who only date inside their religion, which is quite a different thing.

#435 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Rob Rusck @ 424... You might be right. I remember reading an interview with Joss Whedon where he talked about Toy Story. Apparently the original script was in big trouble, and he apparently rescued the whole affair. As for the idea of his being a doctor, of scripts if not of the human flesh, that sounds as disquieting as Gene Wilder as the Modern Prometheus.

#436 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Joel @ #427, someone in Decatur already did exactly that. I have a photo of it on my cell phone.

Fragano @ #428, yes, that's why I flinch every time I see my husband's Bellwether brand cycling shorts.

#437 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 04:08 PM:

I think (and I have some supporting writings to point to in this regard), I have drifted a little left.

Which means I am now a flaming "liberal" where once I was slightly left of center (when taken in the round). But hey, I'm just 42, so perhaps my epiphany is yet to come.

#438 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Bruce, #431: Hear, hear! You speak for me as well, although I wasn't as politically active as you in my younger days. But I still believe that the nation as a whole will be better off when no one is homeless, or hungry, or functionally illiterate, or unable to receive basic medical care -- and I believe that the government has responsibilities toward those it governs, not just the other way around. I get very sick of hearing arguments that boil down to, "Oh, it's okay, the leak isn't on OUR end of the lifeboat!"

#439 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 05:50 PM:

I'm certain that on a number of matters I've gone leftward over the 20 years or so of my adulthood. By stereotype, someone like me -- (nominal) Catholic, business school graduate, baseball fan and lover of traditional culture (Austen, Beethoven, Catullus, Dürer, I can come up with the rest of the alphabet given enough time) -- I should love conservatism, but among each of these interest groups, the stupid is just so thick.

I'm also overeducated (in the NYC specialized public high school sense) and that trumps all else, I guess!

#440 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 06:07 PM:

Fragano @428: ewe would mention that, wouldn't ewe?

#441 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 07:41 PM:

Lila #436: You, too, spent a chunk of your life on a farm?

#442 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Chris Quinones @ #439, While liberal in nearly everything else, I'm conservative when it comes to baseball. The designated hitter should be sent back to the oblivion from whence it came, the All-Star Game should not be used to determine home-field for the World Series, and corporate naming rights to stadia should be outlawed.

#443 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 07:48 PM:

At 54, I think I'm just as liberal as I was when I was 13. I'm just not as mobile.

I saw a bumper sticker today with:

[hammer & sickle]BAMA

#444 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 07:51 PM:

Hey, I'm going to DC! My partner's schedule and my desire to see one of the current Big Exhibits have meshed favorably, and I'm going to be visiting with a friend in DC while he's at Otakon in Baltimore.

This will be the weekend of July 17-19. If anybody would like to have a FTF meeting while I'm in the area, drop me an e-mail at the mailto attached to my name (that doesn't work any more) stardreamer AT mindspring DOT com, and I'll add you to the "Okay, how are people's schedules going to coordinate?" e-mail that I'm getting ready to send out.

#445 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 08:01 PM:

Fragano: no, but I grew up in a rural area and I read a lot.

#446 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 08:18 PM:

[Hammer-and-sickle]BAMA sounds cool enough that I want one, too! I think everybody should have one! But then I've always been a fan of Soviet chic.

#447 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Nice things:

The boy (7) started reading A Wrinkle In Time last night. This morning we had a hard time gently prying him out of the book so we could get him to take his vitamins, get his things, and get off to summer school. He read Coraline in one day a few weeks back while visiting his cousin, who insisted he must read it at once. Soon he will be One of Us!

The girl (23) moved into a new apartment two weeks ago with her boyfriend. She sounds incredibly happy; I think this guy is a winner. Her job is going well; she can work at home a lot, and the operations group wants to take her out of support work and start training her as a junior system administrator, so she's mulling over if she wants to ask for that move. And in the new apartment she can have a cat, so they went out and got a little black fluffball from the Humane Society.

And the other girl (19) passed her community college classes this spring and finally passed her drivers license test last week. More significant, she seems to finally feel integrated into the family; she does little things like volunteer to do the dishes or vacuum, or play with the boy. She's reading for pleasure, too. (It's the Twilight books, so meh, but it's reading.)

#448 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 08:43 PM:

Terry @ 437: stick with me, darlin', I can fix you RIGHT[1] up.

Michael Roberts: For a very very long beat I was parsing that as a complaint about Birmingham swinging to the Left.

[1] By which I mean left, of course.

#449 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 08:45 PM:

Linkmeister, 439: From the land of "Hitler, Stalin, Walter O'Malley," I concur. Do you disapprove of interleague play like I do as well?

Furthermore, I don't expect you to have an opinion on the Mets' uniforms, but Dodger blue and Giant orange will always be the right combination to me. Black is for funerals.

#450 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 09:11 PM:

Chris Quinones: I am all for Walter O'Malley and Dodger Blue. I have to make certain, however, my sister only wear Volunteer Orange, that color from SF is anathema.

As for Interleague Play, as with Astroturf and the Designated Hitter, it's an abomination in the sight of God and all right thinking men.

#451 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 09:15 PM:

I won't do Dodger Blue, having been raised on Giants Orange, but I'll go along with the view on interleague play, etc. Also they've made the assorted playoffs way too long, and if they want to have football-style playoffs, they need to shorten the season. (154 games would be a good start.)

Why did they have to break something that actually worked?

#452 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 09:24 PM:

P J @ #451, "Why did they have to break something that actually worked?"

Oh, c'mon. Greed.

I forgot interleague play on my list of horribles.

We moved to LA in 1959, just as the Dodgers won their first World Series there. I grew up on Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett on KFI while living in San Pedro and Westwood. Fortunately for me, FSN Prime Ticket shows the majority of Dodgers games out here, and Vin is still broadcasting all of them west of the Rockies.

#453 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 09:44 PM:

Terry @450 - I initially read that as "Designated Hitler," which sounds like a really good seed idea for a Goats storyline.

In re One of Us, I'm nearly finished with _Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell_, which I've dithered about buying for over a year now. And it's absolutely charming. Truly excellent.

#454 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 09:46 PM:

I just noticed this is a cubical Open Thread. And it's a long time until the next one.

#455 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 10:06 PM:

Lee @438: I get very sick of hearing arguments that boil down to, "Oh, it's okay, the leak isn't on OUR end of the lifeboat!"

And insisting all that is needed to drain the lifeboat is to drill a few more holes.

#456 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 10:12 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 455:

Is that what's known as trickle-drown economics?

#457 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:04 AM:

Clifton @ 447:

Good on your kids, sounds like they're going to be really good people. As for "Twilight", well, Harry Potter turned out to be a pretty effective gateway drug, so who knows?

#458 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:13 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 453:

Yeah, I read it the same way. Adjacent posts can have odd effects on each other.

KeithS @ 456:

It's proof that a rising tide does not raise all boats; all the ones with conservatives in them have holes.

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:50 AM:

I'm surprised it took this long, but Foglio finally stooped down to dressing Agatha as a Bunny. I also like Krosp's tummy clock.

#460 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 03:12 AM:

To revert back to baseball talk for a brief moment, with their win tonight the Dodgers became the 3rd team in history to win 10,000 games. That's the good news. The bad news is the team with the most wins is -- the hated Giants (mostly due to their successes when they were still the NY Giants).

Where are the Yankees? 8th, with 9,506 wins. That's pretty impressive considering the American League wasn't established until 1901. They do have the best winning percentage, though, at .567 (Giants 2nd, Dodgers 3rd).

#461 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 04:41 AM:

The correct Churchill aphorism comes from 1906, when he was standing as a Liberal candidate, having recently switched from the Conservatives. His opponent tried to embarrass him by circulating a list of all the rude things he'd said (as a Conservative) about Liberals, and he replied "When I was a Conservative I said a lot of very stupid things. And I became a Liberal so that I would not have to go on saying very stupid things."

Pass that one on to your local wingnut...

#462 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 05:05 AM:

Marilee @ 443: "I saw a bumper sticker today with: [hammer & sickle]BAMA"

I'd be willing to wager that that person put the bumpersticker on their car in the same spirit that I would put a "BUllSHit" sticker on mine.

I still want it, though.

Michael Roberts @ 446: "But then I've always been a fan of Soviet chic."

Have you seen this shirt? Yeah, not to brag or anything, but *buffs fingernails* I own it.

Re: young liberal/old conservative - this just seems backwards to me. The older you get, the more life drives home how much you need other people: you're relying on social services like SS, Medicare and Medicaid more and more. A young 'un with delusions of immortality and invulnerability seems far more likely to be a conservative. I'm guessing the young liberal/old conservative meme is driven by the march of liberalization--there are a lot of political stances that were liberal in the 1950s and are moderately conservative now.

#463 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 08:52 AM:

Serge, I wondered how long it would take for you to post about Girl Genius. It was less than ten seconds between me reading the third panel and me emailing a friend of mine because HE HAS A CLOCK IN HIS TUMMY.
I have no idea why this sentence makes me giggle so much. My expression mirrored Zeetha's, though with blonder hair and not so much fang.

#464 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 09:27 AM:

Linkmeister, 460: True, the NY Giants were very good in the first third or so of the 20th century, when the Dodgers (and Robins and Superbas) were very bad indeed, including a few years when Casey Stengel managed them before he was a genius.

And I would not have expected the third team to win 10K games to be the Cubs! But of course we forget they won their league back in 1876. It's all been downhill from there...

#465 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 11:07 AM:

Diatryma @ 463... My expression mirrored Zeetha's, though with blonder hair and not so much fang.

I certainly hope not.

#466 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 12:16 PM:

Heresiarch @ 422:

Communist Party tee:
WANT! How did my Party cell leader not tell me about that?

#467 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 12:34 PM:

So, I'm not what you'd call an early adopter of anything, except maybe the newest titles from my favorite authors, and I just realized that I never got my government coupoon for the Digital TV Converter Thingie -- I ordered one back in November or December, and they said it would be mailed on February 12 or some such date, and then I heard that the program had run out of money and then They extended the deadline until June 12 and I stopped watching the mailbox and just...forgot about it.

This morning I woke up and said, "Ouch! June 12 is Friday!" and checked with the proper website, which told me that my original coupon had expired and been invalidated, but that coupons were still available and I could re-apply -- Click Here.

So, they're supposed to be mailing my converter-box coupon on June 16 "by First Class Mail". On past performance I won't even notice for the week or so between the Conversion Deadline and the time I've received the coupon and managed to redeem it and install the box -- for one thing, I'll be at 4th Street Fantasy Con for several of those days -- but I want to be ready for the next Major World Event that needs to be watched in real time.

AKICIML: What do I do with the coupon when I get it? i.e., anybody have horror stories about which stores to NOT try to use it in, or which brands of converter work the best? Because of the deadline extension, I guess no one would have actual experience of them yet, unless you live in a part of the country where the TV stations went ahead and converted on the original schedule.

(Also, anyone else like me who doesn't have cable because I'd rather buy books with the same money, and watches as little TV as I do, may also be surprised to realize that The Time Has Come :-)

#468 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 12:53 PM:

Hey, Harriet -- see you at Fourth Street! No converter story from me because I don't own a TV.

#469 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 12:59 PM:

Digital TV has been available right alongside the analog stuff since long before the original 'deadline', so I've been using my converter box since I first ordered the coupon yonks ago.

Go to Target, not Best Buy or anywhere else that would rather sell you a digital-ready TV (the prices are better). As far as I can tell, there's basically no reason to choose any of the availables over any other; they don't let you try out the menu interface, and that's really the only thing that's different.

You may VERY well need a new antenna, though, especially if (like me) you don't have a roof-mounted one right now. They sell 'digital antennas' which aren't any such thing, but are certainly more powerful/directed than standard rabbit ears (which is what you need). Also, with a very few exceptions*, all the new digital channels are up in UHF, so you won't be using VHF at all any more.

One objection I have is that somewhat-broken-up digital TV is utterly unwatchable; far greater amounts of interference with the old kind was painful, but still followable through the snow and hiss. Digital signal, however, breaks into squares at about 95%, and at 90% or so the audio track totally drops out, so, yes, well.

Get the box, set your rabbit ears for best UHF reception, and tell it to scan. See how many channels you get. If it's few, or if they come in blotchy/badly when they do come in, you might need to upgrade your antenna.

And if you live in a mountain valley, you're SOL anyhow, just get cable: the technology they decided on for the standard is utterly useless if you don't have good clear close line-of-sight from the transmitter ...

* CBS Channel 2 in Chicago is one.

#470 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Bruce, #458: I like to point out that there's one huge problem with the "rising tide lifts all boats" analogy: it assumes that all the boats are floating freely. But boats that are moored... well, they get swamped. That's what people on fixed incomes, or on disability, have to deal with.

ajay, #461: That's priceless!

heresiarch, #462: That would seem to be logical, but it doesn't appear to work that way. What I see is that many young people have an idealistic passion for social justice, which translates into liberal views. As they age, some (though not all) of them hit either "tax shock", rugged-individualist Libertarianism, or both, and turn into the "I've got mine, Jack, fuck you" variety of conservative, and others get religion and turn into the neocon variety.

#471 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:31 PM:

I saw a weird t-shirt at the gym this morning. It displayed a fighter plane with the following caption:

"Don't worry, America. Israel is right behind you."

Maybe I'm overanalyzing, but I can't figure out which country it's making fun of.

#472 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:39 PM:

Lee @ 470:

Not to mention the people running around the harbor, gleefully chucking rocks through the bottoms of the moored boats.

In my misspent youth I did have a brief bout of infatuation with libertarian ideas. Then I moved back to the US, got a job, had to deal with the real world, went to university, looked around me, and realized how stupid I had been after seeing just how much good government can do.

These days I'm more inclined to think that the liberal (US meaning of the word?) at 20, conservative at 40 thing gets passed around because it's fun to say even if it isn't true. However it sticks and can as an excuse for the powerful (and typically older) to run roughshod over the rest of us because "that's just human nature"; an aphorism said by someone famous says so, so it must be true.

Serge @ 471:

You assume it's meant to make fun of someone. I can imagine that shirt being very earnest indeed.

#473 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:51 PM:

Just a quick knitterly drive-by: Knitty's summer issue has a trilobite hat.

#474 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 01:52 PM:

re 470: It's more complex than that, because a lot of young people are idealists of the "theory which solves everything" variety, which tends to place some of them as Marxists and some as Libertarians, et cetera. A lot of them are still rebelling against their parents.* Thirty years of living later, a large proportion get shaken loose and assume more "compromised" positions as a result of having to deal with their real problems instead of someone else's theoretical ones. Others get entrenched and play out the scripts of their youth to the end of their days, often becoming embittered about how the refusal of the world to adopt their theory.

The "youth liberal/old conservative" notion is part of the progressivist meme, but by the time I reached college it wasn't really true among the people I knew.

*Not that everyone gets over that.

#476 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:08 PM:

ajay 461: ...he replied "When I was a Conservative I said a lot of very stupid things. And I became a Liberal so that I would not have to go on saying very stupid things."

Am I the only one who thought that second sentence was going to be "But when I became a Liberal, I put aside childish things"?

#477 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:13 PM:

Bruce @ 458, Lee @ 470, are you aware of the webcomic Cat and Girl?

#478 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:29 PM:

TexAnne @ 473:

Darn it, I don't have enough time to learn knitting too.

#479 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:30 PM:

Breaking News:

Two shot at Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

#480 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:38 PM:

One of the two was a security guard, and one the initial shooter.

#481 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:48 PM:

Clifton @ 477:

Yep, that's another "corner case" for the boat analogy (now why did I stop reading "Cat and Girl"? Oh, right, comic overload when I was trying not to miss any "Girl Genius" and waiting for "Buck Godot". Time for a policy change.). Another one is when the "tide" is actually a tsunami or a bore tide (feels like that right about now).

#482 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:50 PM:

I ordered a FCC discount card and bought a converter box last year out of sheer curiosity. I have cable, but if Comcast pisses me off sufficiently I'll be prepared to go broadcast.

I bought the box at Best Buy. It was in an aisle analogous to the one in supermarkets where motor oil, fireplace logs, and adult diapers are kept; low traffic, low glamour. There were maybe three models on sale. I picked up the basic model; it had a really bland brand name like "Premiere" or "Plexia".

It was pretty painless to set up and scan. My power-amplified indoor antenna picked up about 20 digital channels. At first. Later, it found fewer. For all I know certain flocks of birds need to be aloft and certain cars parked on the west hills for maximum reception to occur.

The digital TV experience via the box was neat without being distracting or slick. You get information on what's on (EIT).

However, I prefer dealing with TV via my DVR.

#483 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:50 PM:

More info -- shooter was 89 year old white supremacist and Holocaust denier.

Museum has been evacuated, swept by Park Police SWAT team, and the building has been closed for the day.

Apparently the guy walked into the building and shot the guard, who returned fire. I'm also hearing that other security guards fired on shooter.

Both shooter and guard are in the hospital in "critical" condition. Hope the shooter survives to be tried...

#484 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 03:08 PM:

"Good news, everyone!"

Futurama is coming back!


#485 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 03:18 PM:


The dictionary entry for "dumbphuq" should be illustrated with a picture of that guy.

Needless to say, the white supremacist groups will be stumbling over each other in their haste to deny he was one of theirs, claim that all the trigger-happy revolution talk on their websites was just guys joking around, and suggest that Obama or maybe Nancy Pelosi put the guy up to it to give the government an excuse for a crackdown.

Remind me to double my contribution to the SPLC this fall.

#486 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 03:20 PM:

Lori, #483: Now, would this qualify as terrorism, or should it just be considered another example of the general lawless tendencies of wingnuts?

#487 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Lee, AFAIC this is terrorism. I'm wondering if I should call my Senators and Rep and ask what they intend to do about this...

I have this sick feeling that these incidents are going to escalate. (Ghods above, I hope I'm wrong.)

#488 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 03:29 PM:

KeithS @#478: I knit, and for very reasonable fees, too. :)

#489 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 03:43 PM:

KeithS @ 400, that was the one I spotted. Thanks!

While we're on recipes, I came up with a new one last night. I wanted something high-potassium, to help with leg cramps I've been having, but low-carb; hence the avocado and black soybeans. Still could be tinkered with a bit, but yummy and good for hot days because hey, no heating up anything.

Smoked Salmon Salad (for one)

1-2 oz smoked salmon (lox)
2-3 T canned black soybeans, drained
1/2 small avocado, diced
about 2 cups torn romaine or mixed greens

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons lime juice (maybe a little less?)
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Arrange or toss the salad ingredients as preferred. Shake up the dressing ingredients together and pour over. If you like a little more crunch to your salad, add some salted peanuts.

(Dressing's based on one from the Tassajara Recipe Book, but they used orange juice and I think the avocado needed something with a bit more tang.)

#490 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 04:33 PM:

Lee and Lori @ 486, 487 -- there are different (reasonable) definitions of terrorism which would place this within or without the definition. In particular, who was he trying to terrify? Was he serving the ends of an organization, or working alone? It's not as if there's only one completely cut and dried definition of terrorism out there, particularly after the Bush years of trying to use it to refer to "whatever we don't like that other people are doing".

#491 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 487:

Whether you call this act terrorism or not, I'm afraid that it's just the second in a long line of violent acts subsequent to President Obama's election (I've said this before here). I would rather be wrong about this.

@ 483:

I hope the guard survives. I don't give a damn about the shooter; he's already done his damage, and he won't be terribly useful as a martyr because everyone who wants one will be madly backing away from him in public. What they do in their own private rituals is irrelevant to the rest of us.

Stefan Jones:

I don't get a choice: it's either cable or satellite for me, because I'm right beneath one the transmitters. I have a direct line of sight to that one, which is great for multipathing and overriding any other signal around. And if I point the antenna at that tower, I get about 1/2 of another channel. If I point it anywhere else, I get crappy signals on all of them.

Cable won't work because I refuse to deal with Comcast after the last time I had cable and suffered their support, and especially because of the fact that they've hijacked DNS on their internet connections. That's the act of a company dead set on building a monopoly. So I've got a sat dish.

#492 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 05:12 PM:

Some better news: RI Senate legalizes marijuana store (for medical users). Sanity, one step at a time.

#493 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 05:20 PM:

The comment about steampunk reminded me of seeing various of the works nominated for Best Dramatic Presention Hugoes.... Sigh.

Hellboy II has scenes with giant gears and cogs, which don't make any sense as to why the giant gears and cogs and such should exist--not even the level of sense of anime.... other than perhaps the intent was at least partially spoof that requires too much external referential knowledge to be any sort of worthwhile spoof (that is, if one MUST know what's being referred to, the spoof fails as anything other than gloss [in the commentary sense] minus any context that makes the gloss at all meaningful.

Watching a few minutes of the Lost episode provided me with no admiration, watching the Battlestar Galactica episode left me with feelings of, "This provided a payoff to those who were devotees of the series perhaps. It's not even going below No Award on my Hugo ballot--it lacked merit to bother listing it at all, for me!' And I've seen ten year olds with more maturity that most of the characters showed who were supposed to be mature adults in responsible positions.

Iron Man -- B- / C+ Parts of it were amusing, and it was encouraging to see "things don't necessarily work as intended the first time!" It was interesting to see how the film industry brought so much of the tradition of the comic book in, regarding the evolution of the Iron Man armor, and what story changes got made.

Seeing what I think was an anti-aircraft battery called ground-to-ground munitions however annoyed me majorly.... The scenes of Iron Man flying around provided some thrills, but alas the rest of the film didn't have anywhere near that degree of Sensawonder.

#494 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 05:26 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 493... I wouldn't call HellBoy II steampunk. It takes more than cogs and flywheels and levers and toot-toot steam to make something into steampunk. For me anyway.

Now, if I could just find a large-size JPG of Captain Nemo loking out the porthole of Disney's Nautilus...

#495 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 05:34 PM:

(NOTE: I'm deliberately not mentioning the jackass's name. I don't want any search trolls ending up here.)

Right-wing racist nut job shooter was not a lonely silent nut; he was apparently a vocal and widely published hero of the right-wing racist nut job movement.

So there's no way that the right-wing racist nut jobs can dismiss him or disown him as a marginal crazy who misunderstood things.

#496 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 05:56 PM:

It's definitely terrorism. What point could there be else? Pointless attack, symbolic target, and even willingness to die in the process (not a universal feature of terrorist acts, but too common recently).

The only odd note is that he was shooting at a guard. I don't know the layout, but I'd've expected him to shoot at the museum patrons. Maybe he couldn't get the gun in that far? Maybe he thought he was going to movie-shoot (you know, where the "hero" always hits and the "bad guys" always miss) the guards and thus get into the museum and start killing schoolkids?

At any rate, in the absense of another motive, preponderance of the evidence (at least the evidence I've seen, and it's early days yet) would tend to give a verdict of terrorism.

So I'll start calling him a terrorist¹ scumbag² and change if I hear different.
¹which it seems likely he is
²which he is incontrovertibly

#497 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 06:03 PM:

TPM has a profile of this guy. He spent 6 1/2 years in jail in the 1980s for walking into the Fed bldg in DC with a shotgun and claiming he'd planted a bomb.

#498 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 06:12 PM:

Terrorist label confirmed.

#499 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 06:17 PM:

David Harmon @492 -- what happens when federal marshals come into those stores to enforce the federal tax laws on marijuana? Seriously -- the Feds have gotten involved in previous situations when marijuana was legalized within a state or city.

Xopher @496: I call it "the work of a whackjob scumbag" rather than "terrorism" because I think terrorism per se requires more than one person. And while this fellow had hangers-on and such, this action appears to have been self-initiated. You, of course, may pay the word to mean whatever you wish.

#500 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Tom Whitmore: Terrorism is (as with the various degrees of murder) an intent crime. One person can commit it.

If the aim is to terrorise a group into changing behavior, it's terrorism.

I'm not sure this is that. I am pretty sure it's a bias crime.

#501 ::: anaea ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 06:40 PM:

Serge @ 494

Courtesy of colossal workplace boredom, I give you a large jpg of Captain Nemo looking out the porthole of the Nautilus. Not the Disney version, alas, but boredom at work doesn't mean there's no work to do.

#502 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 06:40 PM:

Xopher, #496: Why do you consider the willingness of a terrorist to die in the process "too common"? A terrorist who commits one act and gets away is likely to commit another, cf. Wichita. A terrorist who dies in the process of committing his atrocity is never going to do it again, nor is he going to recruit others to his cause (though people may try to do so in his name). IMO, if you can't prevent the terrorist action in the first place, the next-best outcome is for the terrorist to die along with his victims.

Terry, #500: That's my thinking too. This was definitely a hate crime, but I'm not sure it can be characterized as terrorism per se. And I'm also with Bruce @491 -- the wingnuts, and perhaps more importantly the wingnut pundits, not to mention the last Administration, have spent 30 years sowing the meme of, "If you're One Of Us, the law does not apply to you." I think the harvest is starting to come in.

#503 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 07:03 PM:

Stefan Jones @495, given that he's apparently an actual nazi, or at least not too far from that, those who are as far out on the fringe as him will probably openly celebrate him, while those who have "only" Limbaugh levels of racist nuttyness will probably claim that he's a Liberal.

#504 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 07:28 PM:

#414 Ken

I *know* its a cheap shot, but if someone said that about Jews in US courts or government - or in the British government where they have been hugely statistically overrepresented for decades - we would all rightly leap on them from a great height.

Did you miss my comment that I would feel the SAME WAY about a majority of the Supreme Court justices being from any particular branch of ANY religion, INCLUDING Pastafarian?!!

Is the Supreme Court even supposed to be representative of the American people? I thought that was what the House of Representatives was for. Or am I falling for the etymological fallacy?

The USA is NOT supposed to be a religious theocracy--something that Alito and Scalia disbelieve. Again, they have made it VERY clear that where their religious zealotry is in conflict with US basic law, they are "activist judges" who metaphorically crap on US law and impose their religiosity....

Not that I have been counting, but I strongly suspect that Episcopalians and Presbyterians have been vastly over-represented in the Supreme Court in the past, as well as in the Presidency, and probably in all other branches of the USA government. Why isn't that even worse than Roman Catholics?

I wrote "majority." Has there been a time in US history when any of the particular Protestant branches has had a majority of the Supreme Court justices be from one specific branch of Protestantism? I did not write "plurality."

Anyway, is it that unrepresentative?

Yes, it is. The majority of the people in the USA who are member of an organized religion are Christians, and the plurality denomination of Christianity in the USA is Roman Catholicism. There are more Protestants in the USA than Roman Catholics, but there are LOTS of different Protestant denominations... Episcopalians, Lutherans, Baptists, Southern Baptists, United Church of Christ, Congregationalists, some Unitarian Univeralists, Presbytarians, etc. There are also various flavors of Orthodox Christians, with the Orthodox denominations less numerous in membership than Protestants.

If you live in a country where nearly 90% of the population are associated with one Christian denomination or another (and nearly half of them actually got to church more than once a year), is it that unlikely that a random sample of nine would have a majority of members willing to be described as Roman Catholics, members of by far the largest religious body in the United States?

No, the majority of the Christians in the USA are Protestants, but since there are lots of different denominations, the largest single Christian denomination in the USA is Roman Catholicism.

No-one ever asks these questions over here in the UK - well, not in the south of England anyway. But then only about one in twenty of us goes to church.

England has a State Church. The USA explicit bans that in the Bill of Rights.

It's only been a century and a half or so since the UK allowed non-Christians to serve in Parliament.... some of the original delegates to the convocation which produced the Declaration of Independence which document declared the colonies rebelling againt Britain and declaring independence, were non-Christian.

#415 ajay

414: Ken, as you no doubt know, the issue is not that people in the US are terrified of another Papist Plot, but that they rely on the Supreme Court to continue to ensure their brtn rights, and if a majority of justices belong to an organisation that enjoins its members to believe that brtn is illegal, that does rather cause concern. If there were a large and vocal let's-ban-bacon political movement in the UK, then I imagine that the number of Jews in the cabinet might become an issue.

It's stronger than that--"illegal" doesn't carry the denotation of "criminal" and especially not "criminal homicide/sin." The official position of the Roman Catholic Church is the brtn is murder. The official positions of various other Christian denominations and of various other religions, are not necessarily the same.

That's where the issue of church versus state applies, how do legislators or judges follow their consciences about morality and rectitude and law, and legislate/rule on issues of "law" where their religion's teachings and laws, differ from the teachings and laws of people of other religions, who are citizens of the same locality/region/country?

In extremis, historically, prominent Roman Catholics have been excommunicated and even the counties they were the leaders of, excommunicated, in situations where the breach between the religion's laws/rules/directives, and the actions/words of the secular leader(s), went critical--it happened to England at least once I think, in a dispute of King versus Church.

Roman Catholic legislators regularly get excoriated by priests and bishops and archbishops for not complying with the teachings of the denomination regarding homosexuality and reproductive issues, when legislation and judicial decisions on those tops are current.

When the lawsuit regarding equal protection and same gender marriage hit the Massachusetts Supreme Court, there was a virulent radio ad campaign against legalization of same gender marriage in effect, and there was a lot of push by Roman Catholic clergy condemning it, and trying to pressure parishoners and Roman Catholic legislators to first prevent, and the petition via ballot to overturn, the ruling legalizing same gender marriage. There has also been pressure regarding reproductive issues.

The issue isn't whether Roman Catholic have social allowance/right to practice their religion, the issue is whether they have the moral right to impose their religion's laws on others who are not of that religion...

And the same goes for everyone else--theocracies have the habit of imposition of their laws on everyone in the theocracy generally. Don't go looking for pork or alcoholic in Saudi Arabia.... Pork and shellfish are available in Israel, but the haredim continually lobby for banning them, and buses don't run from Friday sundown until the stars come out time on Saturday--but then, it was only a few years ago that the Blue Laws banning most retail stores, and sales of alcohol, went out of effect in most of the USA, which prohibited most commerce on Sunday, because it's the Christian day of rest....

#505 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 07:30 PM:

Lee, I disagree for several reasons, the most important of which is purely practical: while it's possible for a single person acting alone to commit terrorism, it's more frequent for an organized group to be behind it. And the mastermind is rarely the person who dies (they value their own lives, you see...just not those of the dumb schlubs they get to fly the plane/wear the vest etc.).

If the actual bomber or shooter or whatever is captured alive, he might be persuaded (after treatment for brainwashing) to cooperate, perhaps capture the mastermind, and thus prevent more terrorist attacks, including ones they wouldn't have been involved in...and that, of course, is why the masterminds like them to die in the process.

Now, for a white supremacist shithead* like this guy, that's not so relevant. He probably acted alone, and was the mastermind and perp all in one. But I think it's still better for him to live, and spend the remainder of his days in prison, than for him to die and thus acquire martyr potential.
*Redundancy used here for emphasis

#506 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 07:35 PM:

Oh, and also if fewer people were willing to die, there would be fewer terrorist acts overall, because the worst attacks can only be carried out by suicide.

Hmm. I have 9/11 in mind, and that certainly couldn't have been done any other way, but the OKC bombing (clearly up there among the worst) didn't require suicide. I wonder if I'm wrong?

#507 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 07:36 PM:

Xopher@505: especially since he's not likely to have too many days left, at 89.

And I wonder where he falls on the "three strikes" scale (we know if he's convicted that he's at at least two).

#508 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 07:37 PM:

Do you think they'll send Shithead to Gitmo?

Because you can't have dangerous terrorists incarcerated on the continental U.S. where his followers might try to free him.

#509 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 08:08 PM:

I'm going to call it a terrorist act. And I'm going to comment that the typical terrorist in the USA is a right-wing white male. And, beyond that, I'll say that terrorist acts have been on-going in the USA. This is only the latest to hit the national news.

#510 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 08:11 PM:

Oh, and this is now a murder. The guard has died.

#511 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 08:14 PM:

And now, for a completely Open Thread-y shift of topic, the incredibly simple pomegranate/raspberry sorbet:

1 l pomegranate juice
1 c (US)* red raspberry preserves, preferably seedless
1 c sugar
juice of 1 lime
pinch of salt

Heat preserves, sugar, lime juice, and salt in roughly 1 cup of pomegranate juice until preserves and sugar are dissolved. (Do not allow to boil.) Mix in remaining pomegranate juice, then chill thoroughly. Churn once the mixture is cold, then freeze.

Very tart, as you'd expect. In my experience it remains nicely scoopable, too.

* Yes, I'm switching units. Presumably 4 c of the pomegranate juice would work just fine, since that's the amount of liquid used in the recipe I adapted this from, but the cheap Turkish pomegranate juice I was using comes in 1 liter boxes, and I just use the whole thing rather than dirty a measuring cup.

#512 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 08:44 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 504: "England has a State Church. The USA explicit bans that in the Bill of Rights."

Er . . . not entirely. The precise wording of Amendment I begins: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" which does have that effect at the Federal level. Thus, the U.S. national government is strictly forbidden, at the Constitutional level, from either supporting or opposing any particular religion.

The secondary effect of that wording, however, is to prevent Congress (i.e., the Federal level of government) from interfering in any way with whatever -- if anything -- an individual U.S. state might choose to do regarding "an establishment of religion". In an era where state-recognized "established churches" were the norm, or at least widespread and unremarkable, this wording was also an assurance that the Feds would have to keep their noses out of whatever an individual state might choose to do about such a religious entity.

Particularly when read in context with the Tenth Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."), the first clause of the First Amendment makes it quite explicit that the individual states are each free to do whatever (if anything) them may want to do about "an establishment of religion" at the state level, so long as the state's action does not violate other provisions of either the national Constitution, or that state's own Constitution.

During the intervening centuries, the center of gravity of public opinion on this topic has certainly shifted, and generally in a direction that I personally happen to sympathize with. (Even if an individual state is not explicitly forbidden from supporting [or opposing] a particular "establishment of religion", that doesn't mean that the state's doing so is likely to be a good idea.) However, such a change in opinion about what individual states should do about a particular issue does not, by itself, change what the national Constitution says they can do, should they choose to.

#513 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 08:49 PM:

Leroy, I've heard that argument before, and IANAL, but I don't think the caselaw supports your position. I'll leave it to those of our commentariat who are lawyers to refute you, though.

#514 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 09:02 PM:

Leroy F. Berven @ 512:

You may be correct about the historical background of the text of the 1st Amendment, but I don't think you're legally correct about its affect now.

Ample case law exists today applying the Establishment Clause to the States, via the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to prevent State laws from having any legal effect.

#515 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 09:07 PM:

I see Xopher beat me to the point -- and IMNAL either.

#516 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 09:31 PM:

Ken@414: You're correct about Episcopalians; the same NPR story that noted Sotomayor as Catholic #6 said that it would be the first time in history there were no E on SCOTUS, despite their now being <1% of the population. But even 5 of 9 C would be uncommon as a matter of chance when they're ~1/4 of the population, although my Pascal-fu has decayed too far to work out exactly how uncommon it would be.

All: fascinating response on my alleged-Clemenceau; drove me to the full-size Bartlett's, which does has 3 others from him but not this, and nothing like it in the index.

#517 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 09:38 PM:

Anaea @ 501... Thanks for the link. By the way, did you ever see 1958's The Fabulous World of Jules Verne? It reproduced the look of those old Jules Verne illustrations, mixed in with live-action. Interesting.

#518 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 09:47 PM:

I've heard that, when the digital TV changeover occurs, some of digital channels will change frequencies, in some cases moving from UHF to VHF. (Digital channel numbers are virtual, and can map to different frequencies in different places.) If you have a digital TV tuner, you might need to rescan after the transition to make sure you've established the new frequencies on your set.

In our area, our regular rooftop antenna seems to pull in all the local digital channels fine, except for the PBS station (which is annoying becuase it's the single channel we watch the most). They say they'll boost their signal after the changeover, though. (Currently they're broadcasting their analog channel on full power, and their digital channels on low power.) We went from about 8 analog channels to well over 20 digital ones, though, because of all the multi-stream broadcasts. The new channels included weather, sports, kids, religious, shopping, and Spanish-language channels.

We bought the Insignia converter box at Best Buy, with a government coupon. it's one of the ones that has analog pass-through, allowing us to continue to watch the PBS station. If you're not getting your coupon till next week, pass-through is not an issue, unless there's a local low-power station you watch regularly. (Those get to stay on analog for a while longer, and some will not be switching to digital on Friday.)

There does seem to be some noticeable reported differences in picture and signal quality (and in the ease of use of the program guide) between different kinds of converter boxes. We looked at Consumer Reports to identify boxes that seemed to perform well; their review of converter boxes, last updated in March, appears to be readable online by subscribers and non-subscribers alike.

#519 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 10:41 PM:

re 504: If you believe Wikipedia, the first Marshall court had 4 out of 6 Episcopalians. As recently as the first Burger court there were 4 out of 9 Episcopalians. The upcoming court will almost certainly be the first court without an Episcopalian. Surveying the listings, it appears that way over half were either Episcopalian or Presbyterian. The most underrepresented groups are the Methodists and Baptists.

#520 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 11:07 PM:

Let's see if I can get to this without any coding:

Take a nine-digit string in base four. What are the chances of getting +exactly+ five zeros (or threes, if you want to get all trinitarian about it) in any order?

I get (9 choose 5) times (1/4 to the fifth) times (3/4 to the fourth). The first term is the ordering; the second is the five zeros; the third is the four non-zeros.

Mister bc says that works out to just under one in twenty-five:

f(9) / ( f(5) * f(4) )
(.25 ^ 5) * (.75 ^ 4)
.0003089904 * 126

It's been a long time since I worked one of those problems, but I'm pretty sure I have it right.

#521 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 11:29 PM:

TNH's Particle about is a truly glorious timesink. I find it a bit troubling that "Disemvoweling," which is listed as one of the "favorite words" on the site is still missing a definition or an attribution to TNH yet.

I know a bit about the story, but don't feel I'm qualified to give a proper attribution. Would someone who is please correct this hideous error?


#522 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 11:49 PM:

Harriet Culver @467: [..] anybody have horror stories about which stores to NOT try to use it in, or which brands of converter work the best?

No horror story. Bought one with a coupon at WalMart (Magnavox; cost $10 with the coupon). Mysteriously lost one of the channels it originally picked up; after some head scratching, it occurred to me to re-scan for the channels (in some setup menu), and that brought the lost channel back.

I'm not watching a lot of television nowdays, but I'm pleased that the little I do watch no longer suffers ghosts, and I am able to get the widescreen aspect ratio on my old TV (with letterboxing).

When I used to have cable, I noticed that the local stations often had ghosting — a cable tech explained that this was from the over-the-air signal bleeding into the cable signal. I wonder if the switch to digital has cleared up this problem.

You don't have to wait for the coupon; the cost of the box without one will probably be about the same as one month's worth of cable.

#523 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 11:50 PM:

I am, in general, not opposed to calling it a terrorist act. I am not sure it meets the legal requirement.

Leroy F. Bervin: The secondary effect of that wording, however, is to prevent Congress (i.e., the Federal level of government) from interfering in any way with whatever -- if anything -- an individual U.S. state might choose to do regarding "an establishment of religion".

Yes, and most decidely no. This was a defensible argument prior to the 14th amendment. After that, no.

Xopher: re terrorism, suicide, and numbers. No, suicide is not needed for the numbers of That Tuesday, just trust me on that.

#524 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 12:04 AM:

Stefan Jones, #482, I talked to Comcast a few months ago about a rumor I heard and they confirmed that in the summer they're moving all their channels to require the digital tuner box that they use for the HD channels. The guy said they would supply people with one box free and you'd have to pay (monthly) for the other boxes for other TVs. My DVD/VCRs have digital tuners and I have only one TV, so I'll be okay. (I have a splitter on the cable and I can have all three get different channels at the same time.)

#525 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 12:37 AM:

#524: It's good your stuff has digital tuners, but be prepared to do your own mapping.

My Comcast are went "all digital except the basic Cable channels (2-31)" a few months ago.My digital TV can still receive the now-digital channels 32-71, but they're not ON channels 32-71. They're scattered all over. For example:

MSNBC: logical channel 128, actual channel 66_19.

SciFi: logical channel 59, actual channel 63_6.

Comedy Central: logical channel 60, actual channel 66_16

The supplied STBs and DTAs do the mapping, but your VCR will be limited to the one channel they output, manually tuned, if you connect it to one directly.

You can connect your TV / VCR to the cable direction and do a digital channel scan and manually identify the channels, but this is tedious.

Much better is to put your zip code into this website:

It shows a grid of all of the local broadcast and cable channels. With some work you can turn that into a channel map. (I exported the underlying XML into a spreadsheet, removed the extraneous columns, and formatted it into two columns to create a two-page channel map to keep by my remotes.)

Bonus! If you connect your TV directly to the cable, sans STB or DTA, you'll likely get the HD versions of the local channels for FREE. In my area that's ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, and two independent stations. Comcast's STBs screen these out.

#526 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 12:52 AM:

Chris @439 -- Wait, you're not Jewish?

#527 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 12:52 AM:

I like the way Comcast's new logo has a copyright symbol incorporated right into it. Talk about thumbing your nose at the Internet crowd.

#528 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 01:03 AM:

Does anyone else find it a bit annoying that a lot of great and good blogs and websites give links to really-far-out-there fringe sites without warning or safety measures in posts about the guy's background at the moment?

Stefan Jones @508, Do you think they'll send Shithead to Gitmo? [...] Because you can't have dangerous terrorists incarcerated on the continental U.S. where his followers might try to free him.

Problem is, I can see the wingnuts actually using him as an argument against closing Gitmo, given that he had already completed a prison sentence for an act of terrorism in the US. (Don't think that they'll downplay him or try to draw attention away from him. Those who are as far on the fringe as him are already celebrating him, and the others will probably try their best to spin him as some kind of honorary Arab. I can even imagine them claiming that the President's actions somehow encouraged him or something. That kind of talk is not below them, and they'll gladly ignore his birther beliefs and Freep posts.)

#529 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 01:09 AM:

Stefan Jones: Some of them are already saying it's "The Left's" fault for his going off the rails.

#530 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 01:17 AM:

Myself @528, as Terry Karney notes @529, they've already started.

(BTW, completely unrelated, one of the spams I saw the last time I cleared out the spam folder claimed to be from someone named, IIRC, "Perry Kearney". Either an odd coincidence, or some spam software can do weird things with the information it has about the places it got its target addresses from now.)

#531 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 01:58 AM:

Terry Karney @ 523:

As the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment provides, "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

This wording is quite broad, and it is easy to see how most variations of a state-level "establishment of religion", when used by the state to act against a particular religious group or belief, could be construed as "abridging the privileges or immunities" of its members who are citizens, and/or running afoul of the "equal protection" clause. [1] However, an "establishment of religion" acting strictly for one group or belief, in a manner which does not violate the language of the Fourteenth Amendment (or any other relevant provision of the national Constitution, or of the applicable state Constitution [2]) is a lot easier to construct.

So, yes, the Fourteenth Amendment substantially limited what individual states could in practice do, in one direction. The other direction, not so much.

[1] Doing this in a manner that does not actually violate the "privileges or immunities" and/or "due process" clauses would be difficult, but probably not impossible. [3] Why anyone might think the effort worthwhile, I don't know.
[2] Where a state-level version of the First Amendment has a happy home, in many states. (A status with which I do not disagree.)
[3] Do not underestimate the appeal of clever lawyering as a recreational sport.

#532 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 02:06 AM:

LLA @ #521, worse, it doesn't have Pastafarian defined!

All Flying Spaghetti Monster devotees should be appalled.

#533 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 03:56 AM:

I've been doing a bit of reading around the Spanish Civil War.

Spain honours the International Brigade veterans

Jarama Valley (Woodie Guthrie)

#534 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 06:51 AM:

Chip @ 516, John A Arkansawyer @ 520:

No Pascal-fu necessary: calculates the probability as something remarkably similar (although not identical) to John's answer. Presumably a rounding error.

Possibly more relevantly, the probability of 5 or more (or, rather, 1 - probability of 4 or less, which the above site will calculate) is 0.051. One random selection of candidates in 20 will have this many catholics. And this ignores, of course, any education bias: are catholics, on average, better off and therefore more likely to be educated to the degree required to become a judge?

#535 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 10:18 AM:

Leroy F. Beven: Don't underestimate the effect: even with Scalia, Alito, and Roberts on the court, of 150 years of caselaw on the subject.

The SC's consistent intetpretation of the 14th amendment is that it imposes the bill of rights (and a lot of other constiutional protections) on the states.

I don't uderestimate the tricks of wily lawyers, but most of the arguments have been tried, and found wanting.

I'd be very interested to see how one could constuct a statute which favors one religion and fails to put any other at any disadvantage.

More to the point (though the arguments of "strict scrutiny" would almost certainly come into play), all it has to do to cause legal challege is affect one person.

This court isn't so willing to hear such cases, but that doesn't mean such cases won't be heard, and the District Courts are both more willing to hear them, and more bound by precedent. So, no I don't think states have the right to use the 10th amendment to circumvent the 14th.

#536 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 10:31 AM:

Ugh. The armies of darkness may not be very powerful, but they sure are nasty.

If it's all the same to you guys, I'd rather avoid another round of terrorism-induced insanity, during which we all decide that we must throw away the bill of rights, the rule of law, independent journalism and the concept of loyal opposition for the (unlimited) duration of a new War on Terror.

The murderer needs to stand trial and presumably will end up in prison for whatever remains of his life. If he had co-conspirators, they need to face the same treatment. That needs to involve actual non-coerced evidence, an independent judiciary, appeals, and all the rest. The same process that should apply to alleged Al Qaida types acting within the US.

We've had two scary right wing terrorist acts recently (depending on fine details of the definition), and that's a really bad thing, but in perspective, you're several times more at risk from lightning strikes or choking to death on your food than from these extremely rare dangerous wingnuts. (Also, it's worth noting that here, the defenses worked. The nutjob didn't get inside the museum and shoot a bunch of people--he couldn't get past the metal detector and got into a firefight with the guards at the entrance. By any objective measure, his attack was a failure--he could have had a better body count by nodding off on the Beltway.)

Using this as a pretext for government control of political speech, or for widespread domestic surveillance, is on the path to destroying the US as a decent country to live in. The previous administration took us way too far down that road. I'm really hoping Obama is strong enough not to take us the rest of the way down that road in the midst of a media-fueled panic.

That said, I would be unsurprised to see more such acts, both from a copycat effect and because the perceived impact of the next attack gets higher when there have been a few recent attacks and the media is in revenue-generation-through-panic mode. And I would be unsurprised to see all sorts of awful, stupid, evil policies put into place to address the tiny threat posed by these nutjobs, at the cost of granting lots of scary new powers to government that will never be given back.

#537 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 10:47 AM:

John #520:

That's the binomial distribution. (Basically, given n identical independent events, each with probability p of success, what's the probability that x successes will occur?)

In Excel, you can get the answer with the formula

=binomdist(9,5,0.1,False) which gives about 0.00083.

In OpenOffice's spreadsheet, it's almost the same (unsurprisingly):


The formula for n trials, x successes, p = probability of each success is

C(n,x) p**x (1-p)**(n-x)

where C(n,x) is the combinations formula

n!/((n-x)! x!)

Intuitively, the p**x is the probability of getting x successes, the (1-p)**(n-x) is the probability of getting n-x failures, and C(n,x) accounts for all the different ways you could move those successes and failures around.

#538 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 12:34 PM:

Terry 523: I only meant for that specific plan, i.e. using planes as missiles. Really can't do that without someone(s) to be on the plane flying it; really can't bail out in time to make sure it strikes as planned. Just crashing it, sure. Ditto causing that degree of death without suicide, though I think it's harder.

But yeah, I'm backing off that position. Still, suicide bombings.

#539 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 12:51 PM:

albatross @536, I think you might be responding to things didn't say here. In another thread, you've just complained about people reading other people's statements mainly in order to find "gotcha" moments. I think you might have done that with some of the posts here. As far as I can see, noone here is seriously suggesting that there should be another round of security panic.

#540 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 02:17 PM:

I did hear about the binomial distribution, once or twice, while taking my bachelor's degree in math. I think it was in the grad level theory of statistics course, or maybe combinatorics. In any event, it's worth noting the bionomial distribution is here an approximation (and a damned good one) for sampling without replacement from a very large population with that three-to-one distribution ratio.

I like doing calculations simple enough to do by hand by hand (for values of "by hand" that include semi-manual *nix tools). Just call me a fossil.

#541 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 04:21 PM:

Raphael #539:

Fair enough. Sorry about that, I know ML isn't a hotbed of people just waiting for a justification to impose a nightmare state upon their enemies.

For whatever it's worth, watching my country slide into insanity after 9/11 was one of the most awful things I can remember in my life. At one level, that's kind of silly--after all, it wasn't personal, it wasn't really directed at me--nothing like losing my job or having my best friend die or my wife having a miscarriage. But somehow, it made a deep and awful impression on me. And I suspect I'm just oversensitive to the first signs or steps that feel even remotely like going back to that slide into national madness.

But that's explanation, not excuse. I'm sorry for assuming the worst of people who didn't deserve it.

#542 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 04:38 PM:

Well, I don't know about your binomial security distribution panics, but I taught myself how to remove a double-hung window today. The next trick being to put the new one in, of course.

#543 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 04:45 PM:

albatross @541, I didn't see this post, but man, I agree with you. That sense of trying to stop the car from going over a cliff, with bare Flintstone-style feet, and failing -- I lost my business over it, in retrospect.

For what it's worth, I don't think America is going to do that in response to the threat from white terrorists. They're just good ol' boys, never meant any harm, after all. Just people like us, driven to extremes by their sense of outrage and injustice -- not even close to, you know, Muslim terrorists, who are evil, soulless threats who hate us for our freedoms and are more dangerous even than Nazis, who were at least white.

Ugh. It's so good to be home.

(Actually, though, it is good to be home, as long as I focus on windows.)

#544 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Xopher @538 (sorry for the triple post; I should really read the thread before I start) - I've always thought that the motivation for suicide bombings is less the ease of getting the bomb in than the blaze of glory. Kind of the Captain Ahab thing: if his chest had been a cannon, he would have fired his heart upon the whale.

#545 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Michael Roberts@543

as long as I focus on windows

XP or Vista?

#546 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 05:48 PM:

#542: House blog is very entertaining. That's going to be an amazing place, but I'm glad its you and not me fixing it up!

Is the carriage house (you should get a sign calling it Cabot Lodge) big enough your whole family?

#547 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 06:20 PM:

They're losing it. They're simply losing it. albatross, you're completely right that's it's very important not to lose calm, but this has the potential to get very, very bad.

#548 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 06:41 PM:

Stefan Jones, #525, as I said, I have a splitter on the cable. I have a TV and two DVD/VCRs and the DVD/VCRs have digital tuners. The DVD/VCRs have been showing digital channels for months, except the pass-through analogs like TV Land. The TV has been showing analog. Comcast will make all cable input digital this summer and that's why there will have to be a digital tuner for every piece of equipment.

Xopher, #538, we have perfectly good drones to kill that many people, if we really want to crash them on purpose.

#549 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 07:20 PM:

Lexica @ 96 (The Thai-food thread, as opposed to threads in Thai food that are usually rice vermicelli or something...) - One of the canonical places to get Thai food in Berkeley is the Thai Buddhist Temple (1911 Russell, near Ashby&Adeline) which has a brunch on Sunday mornings ~10-1. It's outside on picnic tables in the back, and a really worthwhile experience even if you don't make it a regular thing. Expect to pay ~$5-10 depending on what you get. For a more normal restaurant, I'll usually go to Cha Am on Shattuck near Cedar.

SylvieG @ 66, you said Ottawa probably had "the most shawarma places, per capita, in Canada". The one time I've gone to another country just for the food, and the one time I've driven _south_ to get to Canada, was going to Windsor Ontario from Detroit where I'd been on a business trip. Lots of Middle Eastern restaurants; I think the one I ended up at was Iraqi. (US Passport troll: "What was the purpose of your trip to Canada?" Me: "Dinner!", apparently not an answer the troll had encountered before, but I figured it would cause less confusion than "Falafel!".)

#550 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Michael 544: I've always thought that the motivation for suicide bombings is less the ease of getting the bomb in than the blaze of glory.

Motive of Suicide Bomber: Blaze of Glory, Martyrdom, 73 virgins or apricots or whatever
Motive of Terrorist Mastermind: Getting the bomb in easy
Tool used by TM to dupe SB: Blaze of Glory, Martyrdom, 73 virgins or apricots or whatever

#551 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Michael I - the old double-hung windows are actually Windows 3.1, if you can imagine it. I had considered just swapping them out for a very low-E-value Linux system, but Pella's vinyl Vista inserts are upwards-compatible (God knows how they've managed to do that for so long). I really don't want to get into rewriting all the scripting just to get moved into the carriage house. Going with closed-source windows was a cop-out, but easy.

I chickened out with a strict version upgrade on the water heater, too. Bit rot had zapped the old one - it just froze up and refused to run - and of course the previous owner hadn't taken any backups.

Stefan, "big enough" is a relative term. If absolutely necessary, yeah, it is big enough -- it's about 800 square feet -- but it's a front room and a bedroom, plus kitchen and bath, and we have two kids.

The advantages: except for plumbing and cleanliness, it's basically in move-in condition, and the furnace works. And over the next few weeks it's going to have all new windows. I call it my "spare house", as it's my fallback in case the big house proves difficult to manage by fall.

The upstairs in the big house is in pretty decent condition and we can certainly sleep there during the summer. The drawback to the big house is that the furnaces there haven't been turned on since 2003, and a lot of the ductwork has simply been removed. Ideally, I want to install radiant under-the-floor heat, but that will require taking up floor. That's doable, but not trivial, so ... it's good to have a spare house.

Also, the upstairs plumbing in the big house is shot, badly, and I'm going to have to go with Plan B (which is to replumb entirely, going through a different route). So the big house has issues. And those issues may expand beyond the warm weather. Replacing the windows in the carriage house is easy and a cautious plan.

#552 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 07:59 PM:

#551: And if the big house is easily fixed, you can rent out the carriage house sooner than later and get cash flow for continued renovation.

#553 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 08:11 PM:

I've done the landlord thing. It requires personal skills that I don't possess. I'm not likely to rent the carriage house outside the family, unless I find some Earlham School of Religion student or something. Them I'd trust.

The suggestion of a breezeway tying the carriage house and big house together into one even more preposterously large structure has been bandied about. We'll see about that.

#554 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 08:40 PM:

xeger @ 272: Thanks for the pointer to the electochemical etching instructions. As it happens, that turns out to be an elegant solution to a problem that I've been up against for several weeks, with a deadline coming up quickly. I needed some buttons or other decorations, with a silver maple leaf motif on a brown background, for a craft project. My first improvised attempt worked out better than I could have hoped -- I was expecting to have to paint in the background after doing the etching, but it seems that I got lucky with my starting materials.

#555 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 09:05 PM:

Brown and silver with maple leaves? Where have I met that one before?
Oh, yeah, the little guy with the mouth ....

#556 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 09:10 PM:

Avram, 526: I have a confession, sweetie: I bought retail today.

And here I thought the sweet savor of shiksa was part of my appeal! Ah well, garnischt helfen.

#557 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 09:22 PM:

Raphael, #547: I really hate to sound callous, but... let 'em. The further off the deep end they go, the more they marginalize themselves, and the further away they push the rest of the country from having any sympathy for them whatsoever. And sooner or later, it's not going to be possible for anyone except them to call it anything but terrorism.

What someone ought to be doing in Kansas right now is setting up a petition for a referendum on a complete ban, just like they had in South Dakota. Let it come to a vote, and let it go down just as hard as it did there -- because the country is NOT with them, no matter how much they try to delude themselves.

#558 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 11:33 PM:

When they've got a sympathetic administration in power, the hard right consolidates. When their allies are out of power, they break things. It's an effective strategy for a large minority with no hope of gaining full power through democratic means. Saying they've "lost it" is like saying George W. Bush's problem is that he's stupid. In both cases, it's misunderestimation.

(Coining that word may be W's greatest contribution to humanity. It's a very useful concept.)

#559 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2009, 11:57 PM:

Lee, 557: That's kind of close to "it has to get worse before it gets better." I worry that someone who didn't know you well might think you were brushing off murder.

#560 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:14 AM:

Anne, Lee, Raphael, Albatross: these people have had eight years to organize and arm themselves, since the Bush administration didn't enforce the law against right-wing terrorists. Firearms have been flying off the shelves every since Obama was elected. WtF are we going to do about a domestic terrorist movement?

#561 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:25 AM:

Sara Robinson with scary analysis.

#562 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 01:04 AM:

Raphael@547: They're losing it because they perceive (accurately, I think) that they have already lost. This is not an organized network of right-wing terrorists; these are the disorganized and dysfunctional adherents of an ideology that the past year has seen not merely defeated but resoundingly discredited -- and the dethronement of that ideology (from which they derived whatever tenuous identity and sense of purpose they might have possessed) is, quite literally, driving them violently nuts.

This doesn't mean they aren't dangerous. Quite the opposite. Because they are loners and eccentrics and similar socially dysfunctional types, they are hard to track and hard to predict -- like tornadoes, where we can describe with a fair degree of accuracy the sort of weather that can produce a tornado, but at least so far we can't predict which specific storm cloud out of a whole bunch of them is going to turn into an F-5 twister.

#563 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 01:13 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 554: "I needed some buttons or other decorations, with a silver maple leaf motif on a brown background, for a craft project."

A maple leaf with three peaks behind it?

#564 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:43 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 553: The spare house to retreat to during the messier renovations will be a huge help to your sanity (or at least it would be for me).
Once the main house is done, the spare will be lovely for guests. My aunt and uncle have a tiny apartment above the garage, and it's so civilized to visit without being in each other's pockets before breakfast.

#565 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:16 AM:

janetl @ 564 by “the messier renovations” Do you mean additions & changes to the original catalogue, or updating versions of the related software?

#566 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:43 AM:

Debra, #562: I hope you're right. But...why do you say they're not an organized network? They're crazy, and there are lots of internal conflicts, but that's not uncommon among violent fringe movements.

#567 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:48 AM:

Lord, and now Krugman on the conservative media and the violent crazies.

#568 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 09:30 AM:

Randolph @ 567... What else do we expect from an America-hating fan of Doctor Who?

When I read the following...

Jon Voight, the actor, told the audience at a Republican fund-raiser this week that the president is a “false prophet” and that “we and we alone are the right frame of mind to free this nation from this Obama oppression

...I found myself thinking it'll be easy to smirk, next time I watch the miniseries The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, at the sight of Voight as the evil business man who stole the goose that lays golden eggs.

#569 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 09:38 AM:

TexAnne, #559: Not "it has to get worse," but "it's going to get worse" -- and I don't see how we can stop it, short of actually turning into the kind of totalitarian regime that they're already claiming we are. And no, I'm definitely not brushing off murder; but can you think of any way to get the wingnut media (not to mention significant parts of the MSM) to quit stirring the pot that doesn't come down to suppression of freedom of speech? I can't.

The only thing that's going to change this trend is for them to go so far that their own followers will be unable to swallow it, and turn against them. And the further and faster they go, the more likely that is to happen; the more slowly they crank up the violence level, the more likely the "frog in a pot" effect becomes. The ideal would be a string of widely-publicized unsuccessful attempts, which would have a double-whammy effect -- it would put a damper on all but the most hopeless lunatics, while simultaneously continuing to discredit the RWDT* movement as a whole.

* Right-Wing Domestic Terrorist. I think we could use an acronym for this.

#570 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 09:42 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 554... electochemical etching instructions

...provided by the Electoral Collage?

#571 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:11 AM:

Serge #570: Naw, their pamphlets are just cut-and-paste jobs.

#572 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:25 AM:

Lee #569: Not "it has to get worse," but "it's going to get worse" -- and I don't see how we can stop it, short of actually turning into the kind of totalitarian regime that they're already claiming we are.

I doubt that would stop it, either. Even if some group of them won, and instituted a Christian Dominionist Theocracy, a healthy number of that fringe would promptly declare the leaders to be heretics (that is, "not my church").

#573 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:35 AM:

Randolph@566: But...why do you say they're not an organized network?

Because I have fairly stringent standards for organization. For me, speaking of an organized network implies a recognized chain of command and specific stated goals, going beyond simply a shared taste in talk shows and reading materials and a shared set of personal hatreds and dislikes; and it implies that the members of the network plan their operations together and support each other directly before and during the act of carrying them out, as well as afterward.

This does not mean that I do not think these individuals are dangerous. In fact, they are if anything more dangerous than members of an actual organization, because they cannot be identified in advance with any degree of accuracy higher than "one scary unpleasant person very similar to many other scary unpleasant people, most of whom will not move from scary unpleasantness to violent action", and because their actions, once they do become violent, are irrational and hence difficult to predict.

#574 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:07 AM:

An organization is easier to see and easier to counter. It's like a great white shark vs piranhas.

One of my family's greatly simplified stories is that Mom marched on Washington because Oprah told her to.

#575 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:26 AM:

Randolph @566--I agree with Doyle. While there are definitely groups with one name or another, and they are often in touch with each other (and the internet is a great deal of help to them), there is not a singly organized network there to coordinate and direct, and nothing like a chain of command. For one thing, this allows some of the noisy ones to say, when someone takes action, that their hands are clean; they never told anyone to do anything. For another, many of these people disdain the thought of such a structure; they've realized what many other revolutionary groups cottoned on to over the years: isolated cells are a good security tool. Take a look at the Phineas Priesthood for an example. Rather than a formal organization, or grouping of organizations, a lot of this is people who know people who agree with them about some things, and who might be willing to help out a bit if needed--whether that help was in housing someone for a while, no questions, "loaning" money or equipment, discussing technical details, in (you understand) a purely hypothetical manner because surely no one would ever put that information to actual use, Agent Smith.

Go back and take a look at the white supremacists who did so much to make the 1964 Civil Rights Act passable and signable into law--many, if not most, of them operated in small groups that operated locally without direct organization and backing from a larger group like a national political party. While a group like the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan managed to have a large membership for a brief period, and even to absorb smaller groups, mostof these groups consistently have trouble sticking together--between outside pressures and internal divisions, it's hard to keep a larger group going.

We have some immense advantages that were not present in the 1960s--while the internet allows for easy contact and spread of ideas between groups, websites and such are easily monitored, and can provide material to justify asking for a warrant for wiretaps and e-mail monitoring. Also, J. Edgar Hoover no longer runs the FBI, and recent events mean that this administration will find it quite easy to ratchet up pressure on law enforcement to pay attention and keep an eye on who's up to what. Of course, people who operate along the lines of the Phineas Priests are hard to stop before they act, because the way they operate is designed to make it easy for them to avoid monitoring and infiltration.

#576 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:41 AM:

heresiarch @ 563: Just so, but the scale I'm working at is small enough that with the relative crudity of my equipment, I couldn't include the peaks and have the maple leaf still clearly identifiable. Perhaps if I had a better means of creating a mask from an image... but I note that even the original etching instructions gave results that were a bit ragged.

#577 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:43 AM:

fidelio, #575: IMO the best description of the current RWDT movement is a "disorganized network". There's the sort of networking that lets each group be an inspiration to the next one, but the groups themselves are autonomous.

#578 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:47 AM:

Open thread question:

The 8 year old is asking about Dungeons & Dragons. We have rulebooks (2nd Edition DM Guide & Player's Manual; 4th Edition Player's Manual, assorted Monster Manuals), and I did run games back in high school.

But what I remember is how much bogging work it was to construct a dungeon. Doing that as a way to get back into the games seems even more tiresome.

So I went to Amazon, hoping I could find pre-made dungeons, but there aren't any.

What the heck happened? Where could I just, you know, go buy a dungeon? Any ideas?

#579 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:03 PM:

abi @ 578: I may have the wrong end of the stick, but if you're looking for pre-written adventures/dungeon crawls, you could try the Wizards site here: they have a lot of free ones up.

If the end of the stick I should have taken involves models, walls, and terrain, I'm out of Clue. The semi-low-tech maps on paper seen at Penny Arcade looks good though.

#580 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:12 PM:

Mike @579:

That's perfect! Thanks!

#581 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:14 PM:

Just came across a story on CNN that has me totally weirded out -- there is a serial killer in the Miami area and he's killing cats.

One victim was dumped in the front yard of a policeman's home during the day...

#582 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:19 PM:

Abi @ 578

The 8 year old is asking about Dungeons & Dragons. We have rulebooks (2nd Edition DM Guide & Player's Manual; 4th Edition Player's Manual, assorted Monster Manuals), and I did run games back in high school.

But what I remember is how much bogging work it was to construct a dungeon. Doing that as a way to get back into the games seems even more tiresome.

So I went to Amazon, hoping I could find pre-made dungeons, but there aren't any.

What the heck happened? Where could I just, you know, go buy a dungeon? Any ideas?

You can still get a lot of the old TSR modules on ebay, etc. - and Wizards of the Coast has a number of them online (I can bring up the URLs when I get home).

3rd edition, with the OGL and D20 license, resulted in a huge amount of material - including adventures - being generated, but WOTC has had a sea-change of opinion in recent years, and the current licensing scheme is... bad, to the point of being akin to the various "we'll make you famous if you pay us a lot of money" publishing houses bad.

WOTC is producing adventure books for 4th edition, although far fewer than they used to, and Amazon's search engine is making it hard to find them.

I will say that 4th edition makes it a lot easier to set up dungeons - they have dungeon tiles that make room set up easy, and the 4th edition monster manuals have a lot of advice built into them about how to set up encounters with those monsters.

(I'm a huge fan of the dungeon tiles - they are high quality cardstock, double-sided, and most are designed to be multi-use).

#583 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:28 PM:

Debra, Lee: these are scary scenarios, and there's no way to know that they'll come to pass. On the other hand, Robinson says, "Lone wolves join packs." If they overrreach, probably the packs will bust back to lone wolves. But if not, I don't think the Federal government will act in time. Washington is deadlocked and Obama isn't likely to move unless there is consensus. A lot of the people recruited into these groups are vets--they understand chain of command. Now, some of this organization will fall apart under the stress of real action. But some will hold up, and I think leaders will emerge. Two other factors concern me: some Congressional conservatives, especially some Senators, may run interference for the terrorists, and the fundamentalists in the officer corp may even provide aid, perhaps even access to weapons which these groups otherwise would never have.

As I said, these are scary scenarios, and there's no way to know that they'll come to pass. Take them as concerns rather than alerts of immediate risks. But it is past time to start thinking about this.

#584 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:31 PM:

abi @ 580... Does your son know that there are, not one, but two D&D movies out there? I only saw the 2nd one, and it's not a classic of Cinéma, but, heck, the little guy might feel differently. (One of my young nephews graduated from comic-books to "Transformers" to "Star Wars" and is now apparently into "Star Trek".)

#585 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:34 PM:

fidelio @ 575:
the white supremacists who did so much to make the 1964 Civil Rights Act passable and signable into law

This is the silver lining of the sh*tstorm cloud we're diving into just now: at some point the large majority of USians are going to be well and truly po'ed at the homicidal crazies who delight in killing civilians and children, and will back almost any political agenda that seems to counter their demands. Is the violence in the interim justified by this? Not no, but hell no. But at least we'll see an end to it at some point, and a general attitude that the bozos who give verbal support to the crazies ought to shut up and go away.

Also, J. Edgar Hoover no longer runs the FBI, and recent events mean that this administration will find it quite easy to ratchet up pressure on law enforcement to pay attention and keep an eye on who's up to what

And this will make a big difference. There were cases in the '60s of individual agents going after the Klansmen who committed particularly heinous acts, even though they were discouraged by Hoover and his claque in DC. They're the only reason we know who killed Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, for instance. But having an FBI executive level that's willing to put agents into the organizations that support these crazies, with some chance of spotting the people who help them, we may be able to catch a few of them before the act, or at least deny them some of the support they might otherwise have.

I don't think we're facing a civil war; I doubt the nutbars who are at the front of the violence have the patience to participate in a slow escalation. But we may see one or more incidents at the level of Oklahoma City, and that possibility really saddens me.

#586 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:40 PM:

Randolph @ 583
. A lot of the people recruited into these groups are vets--they understand chain of command.

Luckily, many of them have difficulty participating in chains of command, especially on the taking orders side (I've met some). But there are a few who can, it's true. We just have to hope that they can't get together in a way that multiplies their individual effectiveness enough to substantially increase the number and effectiveness of their attacks.

#587 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:45 PM:

Re 583: I expect they'll go after soft targets, like museums, churches, theaters, outdoor festivals, arenas and the malls.

Whenever possible stay out of crowds. When in crowds, pay attention to what is going on around you.

#588 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:54 PM:

Rndlolph: the fundamentalists in the officer corp may even provide aid, perhaps even access to weapons which these groups otherwise would never have.

If it gets to that point, we are looking at some sort of massive breakdown.

The first, doable, sort of, the second, not so much.

In the first place, thing like M-16s and 9mm pistols are easier to get over the counter (a small modification, or a slght bit of access to/contract with a machine shop, and your AR-15 is a full-auto, a little more work and it's selective fire).

Even at that level, getting the weapons out of the armory, even for an evening, is a rare trick. There are procedures. For my commander to issue out weapons required either me, or the other armorer, because we had access to the keys.

The greater worry, at that level, is a national guard/reservist full-timer who has affiliation. They can, pretty much, remove some rifles/pistols for a couple of weeks (barring the random accountability inspection) without anyone really knowing.

For anything else... not so much. Using a SAW (or an M-240: the modern vehicle mounted .30 cal) will get you noticed. Getting it back will also.

More to the point, feeding the former is tricky. You need mil-spec ammo,and links. The latter are easy to come by, the former not so much. And those are more carefully accounted for than the rifles.

Grenades are filchable, but it requires conspiracy, since the accounting methods are manifold. I can't see doing it without less than three people, and a fair bit of prior planning (I seem to recall a supply sergeant getting himself caught for trying to pull that off with a handful of them... it's tricky). Once one of them was used, all hell is likely to break loose in the attempt to track them down.

For all the hoopla about the Army being taken over by fundies, I didn't see it. It might happen, but the effects will be more visible before this sort of thing is likely to stabilise at a level they could be giving more than random, and isolated, support to such a group.

Easier to make the weapons, than to acquire them that way.

#589 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 12:58 PM:

For something different, a use-mention catch:

n f th wrds n ths phrs s nt disemvowelled. Wht s t?

#590 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Bruce, #585: That's what I was trying to say, but you've expressed it better.

Lori, #587: Pay attention, yes. Let the threat of the RWDT movement change the way I live my life? Not just no, but HELL NO. I didn't do that after 9/11, and I refuse to do it now.

#591 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 01:31 PM:

re: #589

n f th wrds n ths phrs s nt disemvowelled. Wht s t?

Ha! not. But I suspect the non-existent comma disambiguates ...

#592 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 01:35 PM:

Lee -- I'll still be going to the all the crowded summer events I usually attend, the Irish Festival, 4th of July, and so on. I'm not about to let the RWDT dictate what I do.

Just asking folks to "be mindful."

What really makes me mad is that sacred places are now targets. (And that makes me wonder, is the Catholic Church the only one that has to re-sanctify a church if someone has been killed there or do other religions have to do something similar in those circumstances?)

#593 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 01:48 PM:

hedgehog @591:

Nope. "disemvowelled"

#594 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:20 PM:

re: #593, abi:

hedgehog @591:

Nope. "disemvowelled"

That's the other alternative. Nevertheless, one of the words in that phrase is "not", disemvowelled. Hence my suspicion about the comma on the stair.

#595 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:21 PM:


Since I'm sitting here next to a Dungeon Master, I read your question to him. He said:
"if she just wants dungeons with monsters to fit into a campaign:

if she wants full fledged longer adventures with full stories and poster maps, etc:

Level 1 to 3 "

Sorry about the URLS...

#596 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:23 PM:

It would be nice if there was a disemvowel feature in Leetkey.

#597 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:24 PM:

He gave me a couple more:

Level 4 to 6

Level 7-9

and there are 6 more that take you all the way to 30th level

#598 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Apparently, it's like Ginsu knives...

"there's also insider memberships:

for a not-too-expensive fee (5$/month) you can get access to dungeon and dragon monthly magazines - dungeon has "mini-modules" (that are more detailed then the stuff in Dungeon Delve but shorter then the stuff in the full fledged modules) plus you get some other cool stuff."

...and I have discovered that it may not be entirely safe to ask a DM about ways to teach a child about Dungeons and Dragons. His eyes lit up.

A lot.

#599 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Lee @557, don't worry about sounding callous; as far as electoral politics is concerned, I completely agree with you. What shakes and stirs me is the way this has moved beyond electoral politics. But the debate here is already about that.

The murders themselves are bad enough, but not worse or deserving of more attention than the increase in racist violence, including murders, after the election. What hit me like a bucket of ice water to the face was someone in that guy's position in the political landscape, directly after these recent events, holding a press conference in the National Press Club directly in Washington, DC, and saying the things he said.

Related, I don't always agree with Brad Hicks, and I only occassionally check out his LJ, so I didn't see this before.

#600 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 02:59 PM:

abi, if you have a mix of material from different editions, and experience with the older editions, you should take a look at the retro-clone movement. These are people who've taken the partial opening of D&D intellectual property with 3rd edition to re-create retro versions of previous editions.

For your basic adventures, Goodman Games has produced a wide variety of "kill people and take their stuff" old-school adventures for various editions of D&D.

There are a myriad of twisty little free games out there, but I'll run into a URL limit if I start a list. One that I haven't played but that looks fun and kid-friendly is Inspectres (Ghostbusters: the roleplaying game meets some reality TV conventions).

#601 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 03:16 PM:

Cool beans: Kid hit by meteorite

I say cool beans because he's fine, and this is (IIRC) only the second recorded instance of such a thing.

#602 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 03:32 PM:

I found this beautifully unsettling collection of unphotographs via the comment thread of a photography article on BoingBoing. It reminded me of why I generally dislike taking pictures - the fear of missing something significant while I'm fumbling with the camera.

#603 ::: martyn ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 03:42 PM:

#504 Paula Leiberman - England has a state church.

No it doesn't. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has an Established Church. England doesn't. Unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, England does not have an elected legislative assembly to even debate the matter.

Misnaming England for Great Britain is a good way of pissing off the Scots and the Welsh and half the Ulstermen, which may be fun but is really rather insulting all the same.

#604 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 03:48 PM:

I don't know what the current games market is like for D&D-type games. But don't rule out the sci-fi end of SF gaming.

Trouble is, all the good games I can think of are out of print.

I get the feeling that here in the UK it piggy-backs on the miniatures wargaming hobby, the toy soldiers.

#605 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 03:55 PM:

Martyn, it is called the Church of England, and it is not the State Church in Scotland (where a different denomination has that role) or Wales or NI (which don't have established churches at all).

#606 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Martyn @603,

The use of England, in this case, is correct. Wales and Scotland are different, where the Established Church is concerned. Wales has no established church, and Scotland has a different established church.

This doesn't stop a Welsh Druid being Archbishop of Canterbury.

#607 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:09 PM:

Dave Bell @ 606... A Welsh droid being Archbishop of Canterbury?
("Not droid. Druid.")
Too bad, because I thought that sounded like a cool episode of Dotor Who.

#608 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:12 PM:

re 606: It might not, but since he isn't....

#609 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Those aren't the druids you're looking for.

#610 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:35 PM:

If it's good enough for droids, floating naked through the voids, drinking strange fermented Floyds*, then it's good enough for me?
*This is the Welsh bit, you see. Why they're vampire droids, I don't know.

#611 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:40 PM:

(holding up ancient ring-shaped object)

"Look sir, druids!"

#612 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:57 PM:

No, no! ALMOST ring-shaped* object! That's perfect!
*I.e., penannular.

#613 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 04:59 PM:

There is now a "Dungeon Fantasy" series of adventures for Steve Jackson's GURPS system. Hack and grab dungeon delving fun.

#615 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 05:56 PM:

O gods. I was so happy when Obama was elected. Then he announced he would protect torturers and hide American crimes, and made it clear without quite saying so that he wouldn't go after the ringleaders either.

Though he was opposed to gay marriage at least in name, he did say the DOMA was unjust and stripped rights from people. Turns out he was just fooling us queers to get our votes. He's crossed into scumbag territory with this latest action. Highlights include attacking the idea that gay marriage is in any way comparable to interracial marriage, and comparing it to incest and child-rape. Not to mention trying to undermine Lawrence.

Fucking scumbag. I sure hope I have someone to vote for in the primary in 2012. I'll vote for him against any Republican, but...ick. I'll have to vomit afterwards.

I literally feel sick after looking at that and realizing how completely he's just thrown the gay community under a bus. Fucking shithead.

#616 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 06:03 PM:

Once upon a time, a droid named Lloyd...

#617 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 06:21 PM:

Ok, my phrasing @599 was pretty bad; by "The murders themselves are bad enough, but not worse or deserving of more attention than the increase in racist violence, including murders, after the election.", I didn't mean that the either the recent murders or the racist violence after the election are unimportant, just that after those racist murders over the winter, the recent murders didn't really take things to a completely unprecedented level. Of course, every hate-inspired murder is one too many.

#618 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 06:24 PM:

The Mystery of Edwin Droid?

#619 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 06:31 PM:

That's likely to make things interesting come Parade day in two weeks, Xopher. Thanks for the headsup.

#620 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 06:51 PM:

Abi @578, I remember making up dungeons as the fun part. I ignored many a school lesson filling up sheets of graph paper with rooms and corridors. It got more interesting when I discovered my father's sheets of unusual grid papers (logarithmic grids, polar coordinate grids).

Nowadays, I imagine you can hunt around for stuff online. You might start with Five-room dungeons, the results of a contest to create small dungeons according to certain rules. PDF format, and free.

I just found a site called Free Dungeons that seems to be mostly Tunnels & Trolls oriented, but it may be possible to translate stuff over.

Here's a list of 83 Free D&D Adventures, which includes links to some official WotC stuff.

Except for the Five-Room Dungeons, I haven't downloaded any of this stuff myself.

#621 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 08:23 PM:

Terry @ 588: When I was interviewing for a some time back, the recruiter mentioned while we were chatting that her husband was both a reserve office and a member of the local militia group.

Multiply that by some number and you get my current nightmare. In one reckoning it comes out to roughly 27%.

#622 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 09:59 PM:

Pendrift @ 602:

I try my hand at photography from time to time, but many of those unphotographs are more compelling.

Xopher @ 615:

Something seems really odd about that brief. Obama recently declared June LGBT Pride Month this year and made all the right noises. His campaign promises, if I recall correctly, included treating gays like, you know, people.

And then this comes out of his adminstration. If he knows about it, then that means he's giving it his approval. If he doesn't, then something is deeply wrong somewhere. Either way, I am less than impressed.

#623 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:02 PM:

Jules@534: I would be surprised to hear that Catholics as a group are better-off than average economically; my guess would be that they average fewer generations here (than Protestants), which IIRC has \some/ correlation to economic level. I could see an argument that Catholic almost-free education averages more rigorous than standard public education; possibly college education would be more in reach based on grades earning scholarships -- but that's an utter guess. (I also wonder how well that kind of rigorous training would do in a think-on-your-feet law school class, but I don't know how much class participation actually counts in the grade.) I also wonder whether it is as true now as when Scalito were school-age; the Boston archdiocese is steadily closing schools as well as churches, and I get the impression that other regions are in a similar situation given the insufficient-but-massive damages to those molested by priests.

It's been a long week and this computer is losing altitude faster than Carl Fredricksen's house at the end of Up. Anyone have some hard data?

#624 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:20 PM:

Lee @ #381:

Sorry about the late response; when threads get lots of activity, I tend to look at them last, as I rarely have time at the end of the day to catch up on a couple of hundred posts, much less respond as I'd like to.

Various friends and acquaintances have changed their opinions, and even their outlooks, while others have barely even stopped being Bushniks. What's been interesting is comparing the individual tipping points. My very good ex-liberal friend from the 90's who started reading Coulter and listening to Rush during the Clinton years now even watches, and quotes, sxitheads like Hannity, and talks ugly about people like Ann Richards, who he strongly supported during her term and attempt at reelection for Texas governor. However, there have been a number who moved away from Bush (first) and the Neo-Cons (somewhat later) because of the economic debacle; fewer because of the mess in Iraq. But there were earlier defections. One of the most died-in-the-wool conservatives I knew became disgusted beyond measure at the way Bush et al handled Hurricane Katrina. By the time the nation (and its short attention span) moved on from that, she hated GWB, and that hasn't changed. And she's from Fort Worth, not Louisiana. The Iraq mess changed some people's minds--at different times for different people.

Denial is a strong influence, no matter whether it's a loved one's addiction, a family history of cholesterol problems, the existence of a pre-cancerous condition, or constant lies nad plotting from a trusted political figure. Sometimes I learn more from the words and actions of people who were so-called Reagan Dems and/or who became Georgie Dems. They talk about what a good man he is/was, but then they begin to talk about individual instances when they realize they were lied to. Some blame Chaney or Rumsfield. A few racists blame Colin Powell or even Connddoollleeezzza. But I can see the cracks forming in their armor, just as I used to see them in family members of the addicts I had in my counseling case load. I've done some research, and have seen that FDR's support increased two and four years after he was first elected. I suspect there'll be the same swell in '10 and even '12 for Obama and the Democrats, as people's denial structures break down. It's not easy to admit you've been lied to for years and gleefully accepted whatever the SOB had to say.

In regard to my seeming disappearance, yeah, things got really interesting for me about the time we were supposed to meet. Cthulhu didn't reach out for me, but my heart tried to make me leave the planet. I seem to be healthier now, and the FenCon seems like a good opportunity. I can be reached at gras sbura tgma ildo tcom. (Wow! My addy's evenly divisible by 4!)

#625 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:50 PM:

#624 LMB MacAlister:

Are you imputing there there is a growing league of Recovering Bushaphiliacs?

#626 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:54 PM:

Terry Karney, #588: I think you're right & if the terrorists want weapons they'll get them from other sources. On the other hand, for radical-right Christian penetration of the military, see. It just isn't the military you joined, anymore.

#627 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 10:54 PM:

Re: "Genuine Edwardian steampunk device" particle:

They say that device is a "Teasmade." When I visited England with my family in 1986, all the B&Bs supplied a device called a Teasmade in the room -- an electric kettle that automatically pumped the properly heated water into a ceramic teapot. I don't remember any alarm clock functions on them, but I may not have been looking -- I just remember being entirely delighted by the device, since it made MUCH better tea than any attempts to brew tea in a coffeemaker.

If I had the counter space, I'd want one.

#628 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:00 PM:

Avram, 620: It got more interesting when I discovered my father's sheets of unusual grid papers...

Did you know you're a huge geek and I love you?

#629 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:08 PM:

I found a chapter heading in O Jerusalem (Laurie R King) that seems appropriate:

'When ambitious men overcome a dynasty and seize power, they inevitably adopt most of the ways of their predecessors.'
-- The Muqaddimah of ibn Khaldun

#630 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:49 PM:

KeithS 622: Yeah, that appears to be a pattern with him. He says all the right things, but the actual behavior of his administration doesn't measure up.

OTOH a Mormon holdover from the utter scum that occupied DOJ before Obama wrote the brief.

OTOH what the hell was BO thinking, leaving Bushistas in DOJ?

OTOH, fingers.

#631 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:12 AM:


It is still not ready to buy, but I have incorporated corrections, Janet Croft's smoked salmon salad, and Jennifer Barber's pomegranate/raspberry sorbet. It also has a simple cover. Lulu preview.

#632 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:26 AM:

A friend of mine has a problem: she needs a recording of Luigi Nono's "Al gran sole carico d'amore".

Apparently she needs it, "yesterday".

Anyone have one, or know of a source?

#633 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:40 AM:

A technical recommendation...

I want to install Alfred Bolliger's PrintKey 2000 v5.10 software onto my personal laptop. There appear to be many places from where I could download it, but are there specific sites you'd recommend as safe?

#634 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:05 AM:

OK, I get to brag now. Some loser on another site was defending a couple of shock jocks who did something clearly over the line even by what passes for standards among shock jocks, on the grounds that they "openly say they will offend people." I replied

So fucking what? There's this weird idea in society now that if you say you're going to be offensive, that somehow means no one is allowed to take offense at what you say. Related: calling yourself "politically incorrect" means that anyone who calls you on your offensive, inflammatory statements is some kind of Nazi.
Well, both of those are bullshit, people who promote them are assholes, and people who believe this asshole bullshit are fucking morons. And if you don't like hearing that, just call me "politically incorrect" and stop being offended.

#635 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:06 AM:

Another Particle comment: I sent the Wordnik folks a congratulatory haiku, and got a nice note back. I'd said I came from Making Light, and she commented that that meant they were attracting a better class of readers.

#636 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:08 AM:

Terry Karney, #632: It's in Worldcat. Is your friend perhaps in a city where there is a university with a good music library? time this weekend...

#637 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:16 AM:

Terry @ 632: Amazon has it, if cost is no object.

#638 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:27 AM:

Avram @ 620

I haven't built a dungeon in more than 30 years, and when I did, I used standard quad pads. However, not too long ago I got interested again in adventure games / interactive fiction, found a large repository of games in z-machine format on the web, and also found a z-machine interpreter that ran on my iPod. Several of the games were very 3-dimensional in layout, and drawing multiple levels on ordinary graph or quad paper was not satisfactory. On a trip to one of the chain office supply stores for photo print paper and ink, I found pads of 30° isometric-ruled paper, which works very well for drawing multiple levels on a single sheet and showing the inter-level connections clearly. I imagine it would work nicely for sections of dungeons with high inter-level connectivity.

#639 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:39 AM:

KeithS, #631; ,ObCookbook:

Not to be a fun spoiler, but do you have the necessary permissions? For example, Mike Ford's Mammoth and Shrimp Salad?

Forgive me if this has already been addressed and I missed it.

#640 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 02:05 AM:

Alabama AG considering felony charge for talk-show host who faked an election press release.

The phony release, which was posted on the radio station's website and included the official state seal, was classic right-wing election fraud; it stated that "due to expected congestion at the polling places," Republicans should go to vote on Tuesday (the day of the election) and Democrats on Wednesday. The Democratic candidate lost the election.

IMO this should be cause for the election results to be voided, and the election re-held -- with the money to do so coming out of the scumbag's hide.

Scumbag, of course, is running all the standard excuses -- it was "just a prank" and "anyone who'd be fooled by that shouldn't be voting anyhow". Scumbag's official punishment by the station? He's being suspended for a whole week.

#641 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 04:18 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #638: On a trip to one of the chain office supply stores for photo print paper and ink, I found pads of 30° isometric-ruled paper, which works very well for drawing multiple levels on a single sheet and showing the inter-level connections clearly.

Print free graph paper

#642 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 06:49 AM:

Right now, the Irish Guards are trooping their colour on Horse Guards.

by Rudyard Kipling

We're not so old in the Army list,
But we're not so young at our trade,
For we had the honour at Fontenoy,
Of meeting the Guards' Brigade.
'Twas Lally, Dillon, Buckley, Clare,
And Lee that led us then,
And after a hundred and seventy years,
We're fighting for France again.

Old Days! The wild geese are flighting
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's bound to be fighting,
And when there's no fighting, it's Ireland no more
Ireland no more!

The fashion's all for khaki now,
But once through France we went
Full-dressed in scarlet Army cloth,
The English-left at Ghent.
They're fighting on our side to-day
But, before they changed their clothes,
The half of Europe knew our fame,
As all of Ireland knows!

Old Days! The wild geese are flying
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's memory undying,
And when we forget, it is Ireland no more
Ireland no more!

From Barry Wood to Gouzeaucourt,
From Boyne to Pilkem Ridge,
The ancient days come back no more
Than water under the bridge.
But the bridge it stands and the water runs
As red as yesterday,
And the Irish move to the sound of the guns
Like salmon to the sea.

Old Days! The wild geese are ranging,
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish their hearts are unchanging,
And when they are changed, it is Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

We're not so old in the Army list but,
But we're not so new in the ring.
For we carried our packs with Marshal Saxe
When Louis was our King.
But Douglas Haig's our marshal now,
And we're King George's men
After One hundred and seventy years
We're fighting for France again.

Ah, France! And did we stand by you
Then life was made splendid with gifts, and rewards?
Ah, France! And will we deny you
In the hour of your agony, Mother of Swords?
Old Days! The wild geese are flighting,
Head to the storm as they faced it before,
For where there are Irish, there's loving and fighting,
And when we stop either, It's Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

#643 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 07:38 AM:

The next escalation isn't an armed attack on a crowd by a lone nut. We've already had that in Knoxville. It's mob violence. I predict we'll see small-scale right-wing rioting within a year.

Lori @ 592: Scroll down this page to see what the Knoxville Unitarian Universalists did to rededicate theirs.

#645 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:31 AM:

Bruce Cohen, #638: However, not too long ago I got interested again in adventure games / interactive fiction, found a large repository of games in z-machine format on the web, and also found a z-machine interpreter that ran on my iPod.

Also, just for anyone who hasn't heard... it's very easy these days to make your own.

#646 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:52 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 638 -
Several of the games were very 3-dimensional in layout, and drawing multiple levels on ordinary graph or quad paper was not satisfactory. On a trip to one of the chain office supply stores for photo print paper and ink, I found pads of 30° isometric-ruled paper, which works very well for drawing multiple levels on a single sheet and showing the inter-level connections clearly. I imagine it would work nicely for sections of dungeons with high inter-level connectivity.

This is, in fact, exactly the process TSR used for some of their more complex modules - the first one I recall seeing it used in was Ravenloft (back when it was a singular module about a pretty blatant Dracula homage, rather than an entire mist-shrouded plane of evil dudes and dudettes). They also suggested this technique in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, around the same time - the example was a natural cave system, with all sorts of chutes and elevation changes.

It's a very useful process, but can be time consuming, especially when you're trying to visualize in your head not only what you want things to look like when drawn out on a battle mat (for figures), but also trying to keep things straight on the paper in terms of not overlapping too badly.

(I usually used 10/inch or millimeter quadrille paper for dungeons, the dual-grid kind, with the darker blue markings every inch or centimeter).

#647 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:59 AM:

The second round of right-wing national mobilizations has been scheduled for July 4th.

The rest of us sit on our thumbs and think about maybe disagreeing with Obama. Or maybe not. After all, we elected him and everything is different. So now, can't we just sit back and watch the parade?

#648 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 09:07 AM:

I just bought a rice cooker, but I seem to have gotten the PHD version -- no timer, just one button.

Put in rice and water press the (only) button, and it cooks until no more steam is being produced (my interpretation). It also has a vegetable steamer to perch on top. 10 cups capacity as per the box.

Gripe: They offer a "magic" cup to match the "cup" markings on the tub (that is, put in N "cups" of rice, and add water to the appropriate line) but these are not measured in any normal unit. Happily the tub also has liter markings, and 5 "cups" is just under a liter.

This was $30 at K-mart.

Abi #578: You also might want to investigate simpler RPGs such as Risus. This site of RPGs for kids also looked interesting.

#649 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 09:29 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 647... I don't see that as sitting on my thumbs, but rather as enjoying the day fully for the first time in 8 years. And I'll be with some fellow fluorospherians. So, like frakking hell if I'm going to again let the wingnuts define and determine and influence my actions and my thoughts.

#650 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 09:35 AM:

Serge @ 649: If there's some event on July 4th I'm not fully aware of, well, it's not any event I was referring to. I'm going to be at a family reunion that day myself.

What I am saying is that the "Obama as FDR" idea only works with a big crowd on the left pushing Obama toward us (yes, a trainwreck of an image. I know).

Instead, the left, not on any specific day but on all of them generally, is doing approximately jack shit, while the right wing is throwing organized hissy fits.

People wonder why Obama is so chicken. I don't there's anything hard to understand about it. The only people willing to make him pay a price are on the right.

#651 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:25 AM:

Rikibeth @ 627 ...
They say that device is a "Teasmade." When I visited England with my family in 1986, all the B&Bs supplied a device called a Teasmade in the room -- an electric kettle that automatically pumped the properly heated water into a ceramic teapot. I don't remember any alarm clock functions on them, but I may not have been looking -- I just remember being entirely delighted by the device, since it made MUCH better tea than any attempts to brew tea in a coffeemaker.

I have one, which is awaiting the replacement of some of the age-offended wiring.

#652 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:37 AM:

As a single organized group, no, because 'the left' as an organized group does not exist: it's several groups, all of which are pushing, pulling, and screaming (but not necessarily about the same things or in the same directions).

Why do you think that 'public option' is still in the health care proposal? It isn't because Congress and the insurance companies like it; it's because they get yelled at every time they try to drop it. (There are a lot of people pushing for 'single payer' still.)

(Way too many of Obama's friends and advisers seem to be 'centrists', people who used to be Republicans, but changed parties rather than lose their minds.)

#653 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:41 AM:

James D. Macdonald @ 639: Not to be a fun spoiler, but do you have the necessary permissions?

I am abashed. I let my enthusiasm run away with me without doing the research for what would be necessary for a project like this, and for that I unreservedly apologize. I've pulled it from Lulu for now.

What do I need to do to do this properly?

#654 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:41 AM:

James D. Macdonald @ 639: Not to be a fun spoiler, but do you have the necessary permissions?

I am abashed. I let my enthusiasm run away with me without doing the research for what would be necessary for a project like this, and for that I unreservedly apologize. I've pulled it from Lulu for now.

What do I need to do to do this properly?

#655 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:45 AM:

Heavens, KeithS! You're beside yourself ;)

#656 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:49 AM:

xeger @ 655:

It either means I'm twice as apologetic, or that I need to replace the button on my mouse.

#657 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:00 AM:

David Harmon @ #648: I was curious about how rice cookers worked, so I figure you might be as well. You were close; as long as the water is boiling, the rice is at a constant temperature. Once the water boils off or is absorbed (and steam is no longer produced, as a side effect), the temperature rises and the termostat inside tells the cooker to shut off.

The three rice cookers I've had have also had the non-standard cup size. You might want to figure out how large your rice cup is in real (or Imperial) units, in case you lose it.

#658 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:26 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 650... We're doing Jacques Merde just because we go for quieter public events than the kind enjoyed by the wingnuts? Again, I am NOT going to let them define what I should do. No, I'm not happy with some of the things that Obama has done nor with some of the things he hasn't done, and I doubt I'm alone in feeling that way. But he's trying to improve things. And he's damned better than the alternative would have been and we can expect that they wouldn't have cared one bit of poop what we think of them. Anyway. This is all I wanted to say nor shall I elaborate further. (Got that steampunk presentation to hammer into shape.)

#659 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:36 AM:

Perhaps someone else can speak for me, since I don't seem to be doing so good myself:

Skip ahead to 6:30 if you're short on time: You think they're so dumb, you think they're so funny

#660 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:21 PM:

John Arkansawyer, Serge, et. al.:

Part of the problem is that the national media are still pretty much the tools of the right wing robber barons who own and/or run the corporations. Remember all the media coverage on the marches and public demonstrations against the Iraq War in 2003? You don't? They happened, believe me. I was at a few, that somehow weren't really news.

The same thing is happening today. Code Pink is still doing its thing because they see Afghanistan as just another Iraq, but few Americans even know they exist, let alone hold frequent demonstrations. "Single Payer Medical Plan" is almost never mentioned in the MSM, although there are a lot of people who support it. Usw.

It's the media obscuration of the issues and the real state of US opinion that needs to be dealt with; the wing-nuts are a distraction, perhaps an intentional one.

#661 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:27 PM:

I think I'm getting over my gut reaction to learning that the electoral district I live in elected a fascist to the European Parliament. Though it's had an effect on some of the stuff I've been writing.

So has this YouTube playlist

Only thing is, somewhere along the line. the (very fictional) Scout Company of the XVth Brigade acquired bagpipes. And I gave in to temptation, kicked history in the balls, and had them leave camp singing March of Cambreath.

This alternate history is very alternate. And maybe I wasn't thinking when I picked an Hispanic called Alberto Gonzales as the Company Commander: they march as the Light Infantry pace, and somebody probably has called him "Speedy".

Sometimes your established characters surprise you.

Apparently, the British Army had to restart one exercise during WW2. The Invaders were completely bogged down by the Home Guard and the Auxiliary Units. The "proper" army insisted on the restart so they could have a go.

#662 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:44 PM:

FungiFromYuggoth @ 657 ...
The three rice cookers I've had have also had the non-standard cup size. You might want to figure out how large your rice cup is in real (or Imperial) units, in case you lose it.

Actually that doesn't matter as long as you keep the proportions the same.

#663 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:51 PM:

Serge, if I've given you the impression I was somehow singling you out, I'm sorry. I didn't have any such intention, and if I managed to do so unintentionally, I wrote carelessly and I apologize.

Bruce @ 660: The insufficiency of the national media is precisely why I say a counter to the Tea Party demonstrations is what's needed: A national day of action in your own home town. No marches on Washington, no flying in speakers, none of that. Just organizing using the tools we have at hand and a small set of unifying slogans. I'm thinking:

Tax wealth, not work.
Preserve social spending.
Equal rights for all.

Maybe one more, maybe one less.

I don't have an iconic day handy for late summer/early fall, other than Labor Day.

One thing, though: The wingnuts are not a distraction. They are a threat.

#664 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:01 PM:

Dave Bell @ 661: I think I'm getting over my gut reaction to learning that the electoral district I live in elected a fascist to the European Parliament.

Good luck. I don't think that I'll ever entirely get over the fact that America re-elected* George W. Bush.

*Yes, even after allowing for some voting fraud.

#665 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:10 PM:

Another thing the media won't do for you: connect the dots on the wave of right-wing violence this year. That is, each incident is treated as though it were entirely isolated -- and dropped like a hot potato as soon as possible, especially if a fake terrorist threat involving non-white, non-Christianist terrorists can be found.

#666 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:20 PM:

John @663

This Land Is Your Land

#667 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:29 PM:


My impulse is to go with AD&D because I did once understand it quite well. I strongly suspect that it will all come back. I think I'll look at the free dungeons Mike McHugh linked to.

Our printer does graph paper, Imperial or metric, and ruled paper, wide or college, at the push of a button. No computer required. It's handy.

#668 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 02:09 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 663... No need to apologize, and I never even thought you were singling me out.

#669 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 02:12 PM:

Our local SF club had its once-a-year "Outburst" tournament. Our team won - with a wide margin, I hasten to say. I was amused that the other team had a hard time coming up with the names of magazines unless they (the magazines, not the players) were still alive.

#670 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 02:44 PM:

I'm teaching summer school. This means I'm grading papers. It follows as night follows day that I come across, ahem, fascinating things.

Let me introduce you to the student with the time machine: "The issue I have is the same one we are facing now, in the year 2734 how are we going to make sure that rules and regulations are being enforced in the court system."

#671 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 02:50 PM:

Abi @ 667

My impulse is to go with AD&D because I did once understand it quite well. I strongly suspect that it will all come back. I think I'll look at the free dungeons Mike McHugh linked to.

It is very possible to pick up most of the original D&D books (in used, and sometimes - but not always - somewhat shabby, condition) fairly cheaply - I've been looking at various sources*, after having found some in a local used book store, just to run a classic dungeoncrawling type adventure of the nostalgic kind.

Our printer does graph paper, Imperial or metric, and ruled paper, wide or college, at the push of a button. No computer required. It's handy.

That's a reasonably awesome piece of functionality, if a little weird for a printer manufacturer to include in the printer "BIOS".

*My rule on acquisitions has been that I will not spend more on re-buying any D&D book than I spent buying the book in the first place, rounded to the nearest $5 mark - which means in most cases my limit is about $15. I've seen several DMGs and what-not that meet my criteria, and I've already got enough modules I've picked up cheaply to keep folks running for a year or so. I figure I've got a little wiggle room - I found a near-mint copy of Deities&Demigods - the first printing with the Elric and Cthulhu mythos included - for $7 - collectors routinely pay $30 on up for that edition, and usually not in as good condition.

#672 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 03:54 PM:

janetl @664, then again, Bush got a lot more than 10 percent of the vote, so he might be more difficult to slowly get over than Dave's local fascist.

#673 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 04:20 PM:

Abi @ 667: Your choice... personally, I switched to GURPS after I got tired of tweaking the rules. The poison rules were especially noxious, with the "save or die" factor wreaking havoc on parties. (I replaced them with slow,persistent damage, plus two kinds of "non-lethal" poisons.)

#674 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Well, it's only five years, and there's not much he can do on his own. It's not like the Bushistas.

#675 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 04:26 PM:

Me @#673: Thinking back on that system, I think these days I'd ditch the special "poison damage" and extend my "nonlethal" system to have all poisons hit the characteristics -- Dex (paralysis), Int (sleep), or Con (death). "Damage" ranges were by hit dice plus "special characteristics" (as used with experience values).

#676 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 04:54 PM:

David Harmon at 649, what you bought sounds just like my rice cooker. Brand name Rival --it works quite well. I make loads of brown rice in it.

#677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 05:11 PM:

Fragano @ 670... The student's name wouldn't happen to be Count Scarlioni, would it?

#678 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 06:43 PM:

As knitting is a regular topic here:

#679 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 07:03 PM:

Serge #677: Alas, no.

#680 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 07:07 PM:

David Harmon, #648, mine cost a bit more and can be set for specific types of rice/grains, but most importantly, to be done at a specific time. I'd never eat breakfast if it wasn't ready to be put in a bowl right after I feed the cats their breakfast.

#681 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 07:17 PM:

Lizzy L #676: Yep, mine's Rival brand.

Marilee #680: Yeah, that was the biggest feature I was annoyed to be missing. It'll still be useful, though. Breakfast is a problem for me too -- I like bigger breakfasts than I'm really up to making in the mornings. (That vicious circle of low blood sugar. ;-) )

#682 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:12 PM:

Pendrift at #602: It reminded me of why I generally dislike taking pictures - the fear of missing something significant while I'm fumbling with the camera.

I used to worry about that, too. Then I ran across this quote:

When asked how he felt about missing photographs while he reloaded his camera with film, Garry Winogrand replied "There are no photographs while I'm reloading."
#683 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:49 PM:

Bob Oldendorf @682: I have been irritated because of photos I could have taken if I had a camera*.

The most vivid rainbow I had ever seen, I spotted walked down a street into Toronto. From my vantage point, it appeared to terminate in one of bank towers. A stranger walking along the sidewalk with me commented on its brillance. My thought was, that if I had a camera, I could take a picture, and sell it for the bank's annual report (pot of gold indeed).**

* And knew how to use it.

** Nowdays, easier done with Photoshop. If I had the picture, captured from my eye and brain, you would swear it was photoshopped.

My story also assumes I could make money with this — at the time, I lost money converting American dollars into Canadian.

#684 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 09:02 PM:

Does anybody know why HG Wells wound up on the cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band? I seem to remember reading that one of the Beatles was a big fan of Wells, but, even after some googling, I have been unable to find out if this was true or, if true, who was the guilty one.

#685 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 09:05 PM:

Rob @683, I feel your pain. In 2005, in Budapest, I had the wonderful experience of seeing a steampunk-inspired balloon aloft in a cloud-swept sky before the rising full moon.

And I had forgotten the camera. My wife just didn't understand why I was so perturbed, but ... that scene was just fantastic.

#686 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:04 PM:

#640 Lee

The fellow who tied a bunch of weather balloon to a lawn chair, strapped himeself into the lawnchair, filled the balloon with helium, and rose to become "lawnchair at 14,000 feet" reported by various airplane pilots, got a whopping fine from the FAA for violated federal airspace rules.

Election fraud/interference is a -criminal- offense....

#687 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:29 PM:

Michael Roberts @685: A kind-of-reverse of what you're describing — our family was entertaining relatives by taking them to the Genesee Country Museum, a collection of 19th century houses, including the original George Eastman House (the one he grew up in). A few people were at work demonstrating crafts, such as making baskets (starting with banging small logs together to separate strips of wood). While I was wandering around there, a stealth fighter from a local air show flew overhead.

I would never have been able to capture that in a photograph (stealth fighter, what's the big deal?), but I have enjoyed the memory of the anachronism.

#688 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:29 PM:

#494 Serge

I didn't say that Hellboy was steampunk, only that it reminded me of steampunk, with the giant mechanical geared stuff (that there didn't seem to be any intrinsic justification in the film for. Something being there for the sake of "look at this!" scenes, that don't have any other excuse for being present, are among the things that motivate me to be unmotivated to go to theaters much... much of what's in movies seems to be extrinsic to the story in the film and lacking in contribution to anything other that relatives of in-jokes....

#689 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:44 PM:

This is like something Dr. Seuss might come up with after licking toads:

Segways + band instruments + torch hats + Philip Glass = Joy!

#690 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:11 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 688... I stand corrected. And my apologies. The misunderstanding arose from having other people refer to the HellBoy movies as steampunk precisely because they have cogs in them. I don't think the director ever used the label for the movies. They were over-the-top fun rides and, taken that way, the cogs were intrinsic to the story.

Meanwhile, I was tempted to call 1986's Young Sherlock Holmes a steampunk movie, because of the flying machine briefly used to chase the bad guys. Then I asked myself: could the steampunk device have been replaced by a more mundane means of pursuit without affecting the plot? My answer was yes and so the movie wasn't steampunk.

As for the current state of movies... Alas, there are too many of them that seem to think if they throw enough crap at us, we'll believe ourselves entertained.

#691 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Serge @ 690:

I believe that it was mentioned in the director's commentary that he just thought all the gears looked cool. Del Toro seems to be very big on the visual experience of films.

#692 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:26 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 689: That performance is just amazing! Thanks for the link.

#693 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:28 PM:

Stefan Jones @689: Musical flaming Daleks; there is much to like about this. Theory suggests that Daleks should evolve into a less virulent form; busking street performers seems like a possible path.

#694 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:30 PM:

Scenes I wished I had had a camera with me at the time to take pictures of--a double rainbow arched over the Great Dome of MIT rising behind Building 10 (which the Great Dome is ontop of). Being on final approach to land at Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, with the Thunderbirds holding in position on the end of the runway ready to take off (I was doing "touch and go" landing and taking off, in the flight pattern, and they'd taxied out to the end of the runway and got told, "Thunderbird 1[includng the other three] hold for traffic on short final". (they sat and waiting in formation as I did the touch and go landing, flying over them to touch down further down the runway and take off again).
Another time, I was doing touch and goes, and there was a 360 degree rainbow around and above the airport, that I was flying through....

#695 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:31 PM:

My great-aunt Char traveled a lot in her youth. Lots, I am told. Lots and lots. Peru and other places.
She took two pictures. People objected. "You go," she said.

#696 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:37 PM:

KeithS @ 691... And they did look cool. That didn't bother me because del Toro didn't overdo the cool visual stuff. I wish he had kept that in mind for the sequel. Still the sequel was less of an assault than van Helsing.

#697 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:55 PM:

Serge @696: Still the sequel was less of an assault than van Helsing.

A motif that has annoyed me is the stone bridge which has stood for generations (Hellboy, van Helsing, — er, and Lord of the Rings) which gets shattered in the action of the moment. In a couple of those examples, the bridge is an improbable construction in underground caverns. In the other (van Helsing), it is an unlikely construction between alpine mountains.

#698 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:57 PM:

Paula @694 -- that 360-degree rainbow is called a glory. For what seems to me to be a good reason. One can see one pretty much any time one looks down on a cloud from an airplane and sees the plane's shadow.

Stefan @689 -- a glory of a different type.

#699 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 12:16 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 689:

... Wow ... That was ... um ... yeah. Shiny. Reminded me a little of Cirque du Soleil, who really ought to work up some routines with Segways and unicycles.

#700 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 12:25 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 698:

A really special way to see the glory is to stand on a hill and look into a cloud or a fog bank with the sun behind you. You see your own shadow with the glory around your head. It's also called "Buddha's Light". Here's a photo. Contra-indicated for people with excessively large egos.

#701 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 12:28 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 689:

That's delightfully strange.

Serge @ 696:

I think that Hellboy 2 was great visually. I'm still not so sure about the rest of it.

#702 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 12:34 AM:

Fragano, #670: I am officially becroggled. I can't think of any possible decoding of that which suggests what the student was trying to express, nor is the number an easy one to typo for a year in the period that he or she might have been discussing. What, pray tell, was the context?

Michael, #685: Just recently, one late afternoon as we came out of Target, we looked toward downtown and saw the Houston skyline brightly lit by the setting sun, against a sky full of dark clouds from the storm system that was blowing in. It was the sort of shot that a professional photographer would die for.

There was, sadly, too much interference clutter (trees, electric lines, etc.) for me to even think about trying to frame it -- not to mention that I don't think my little Fuji could have done it right; my attempts at striking landscape effects shots have all come out pretty lame. My partner has the kind of equipment that could have handled it -- but not with him, and the light would have been gone by the time we could have gotten home and back.

Question for the Encyclopaedia Fluorosphericana: Some time back, I read a short story about the re-creation and re-embodiment of Richard Strauss using futuristic "mind arts". A phrase that sticks in my mind is Strauss thinking to himself that "they had done their homework in the critics well, but in the music badly, and so had got a critics' Strauss for their pains". I'm sure I've got it in one of my anthologies -- but I have 5 shelves full of anthologies, and it might not be in a themed one. Can anyone provide an author, title, and/or anthology where I might have read it?

#703 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 01:20 AM:

Lee @ 702: James Blish, "A Work of Art". Reprinted in several collections of his work, and IIRC a fair number of times elsewhere.

#704 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 01:36 AM:

David Harmon #648:

My rule of thumb* for those sorts of rice cookers is to add enough water so that the water level reached the first knuckle when the tip of my little finger just touches the rice (roughly an inch of water above the uncooked rice). Works great for cooking rice to feed up to six people.

*More of a Rule of Knuckle**.

**Unfortunately, I discovered recently that it doesn't scale well past a certain volume. When cooking a lot of sushi rice (to feed a crowd), I found that it underestimated the amount of water required resulting in slightly crunchy sushi rice that needed more water & additional cooking.

#705 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 01:48 AM:

I note with amusement that the has a map entitled "The Sutherlands and Beyond". For my own campaigns, I've used this no-frills random dungeon generator. The current version uses D&Dv3.5 for stats of resident wandering monsters.

#706 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:53 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ #625: There seem to be groups of recovering Bushaphiles, as well as Bushaholics. There's no hope for those few, benighted Bushaphones.

#707 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:53 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 670, Lee @ 702 ...
Let me introduce you to the student with the time machine: "The issue I have is the same one we are facing now, in the year 2734 how are we going to make sure that rules and regulations are being enforced in the court system."

Somehow I suspect said student also Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

#708 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 08:25 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 696... Well, you know, there are people who are like King Arthur in Excalibur. To quote Merlin:

"You broke what could not be broken!"

I know folks like that. I'm married to one, and I've often told her she'd be a good beta tester of software.

#710 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 10:51 AM:

Lee #702, xeger #707: The student was writing an essay on the Constitution, and how it should be interpreted. I cannot for the life of me figure out how the year 2734 got into it. Missing commas (or is that "commata"?) and all.

#711 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 10:56 AM:


I was just musing aboutthe patent system, and especially patents on software and genetic sequences. I'm against them, and while trying to articulate why, I came up with this rule: Something should not be patentable if it can be meaningfully expressed in one dimension. Any thoughts?

#712 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 10:59 AM:

Fragano @ 679... Alas no? I'd have thought you'd have said "THANKFULLY no." Characters played by John Glover usually mean trouble. (Remember how he was cooked by Martians before drinking from the wrong Grail cup?)

#713 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 11:10 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 710 ...
Lee #702, xeger #707: The student was writing an essay on the Constitution, and how it should be interpreted. I cannot for the life of me figure out how the year 2734 got into it. Missing commas (or is that "commata"?) and all.

Hm. I'd read it as "We have the same problem now as we will have in the distant future, namely how to ensure that the courts work".[0]

Although I'd have stuck with "going forward" or "in the future", 2734 would be 750 years in the future -- an oddly round number for a typo (although not an impossible one).

[0] Why yes, like so many other folk here I've also marked and reviewed papers...

#714 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 11:26 AM:

David Harmon @711: I expect you would still want a physical machine to be patentable, and yet its patent might be considered a meaningful expression of it in one dimension (the sequence of words describing it); therefore, it should be unpatentable.

I agree with your point. I especially dislike the idea of patenting genetic sequences — how does learning something about how the natural world works translate into a property right?

#715 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 11:29 AM:

David Harmon #711: Something should not be patentable if it can be meaningfully expressed in one dimension. Any thoughts?

Potentially anything can be expressed as a Class IV one dimensional cellular automaton set (a basis for very small universal Turing machines).

My alternate rule is that something should not be patentable if it make me want to defenestrate the patent clerks who approved it.

I support the idea of EFF's Patent Busting Project.

#716 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 11:48 AM:

Fragano @710 -- the number is certainly not random, as it's precisely 625 years from now. You have a budding Pythagorean there, I think, who finds the fourth power of 5 particularly interesting. xeger @713, check your calculator. Either that, or the setting on your calendar/time machine.

#717 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 12:01 PM:

Earl Cooley@715
Potentially anything can be expressed as a Class IV one dimensional cellular automaton set (a basis for very small universal Turing machines).

No need to go even that far. The classical universal Turing machine uses a one-dimensional input tape that specifies the algorithm. If you are prepared to allow jumping around in one dimension then so does any standard computer. I assume the aim was to distinguish between algorithms, which do fit in one dimension, and physical instantiations of them, which don't. The cells in a physical realisation of a cellular automation will have volume, and they will need to have volume to work.

I don't know if it can be made precise, but there really does seem to be a difference between algorithms and machines. There is a sense in which the code for Kamarkar's algorithm does something without needing to be extracted from its one-dimensional form, but the description of a bobblehead doll doesn't.

Unfortunately, I think that genetic sequences would be on the wrong side of this distinction, since the 3-d structure of proteins of the proteins they code for is certainly important and 3-d structure can be important even for DNA. DNA isn't a substrate-neutral algorithm.

Perhaps we should go for the defenestration rule. It has the advantage of allowing patenting of algorithms in the very rare cases where it might make sense -- where the algorithm is a major advance that it would be better to have as an open patent than as a trade secret.

#718 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 12:41 PM:

FYI, IE wants to flag ML (specifically the Guadalupe page) as a phishing website. Maybe because of the link-heavy post Teresa put up a short while ago, because the page was OK last night.

I can advise Microsoft that I think you're not a phishing site, but only an owner or representative of ML can speak authoritatively to them.

#719 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 01:05 PM:


Grandfather Stories, a book by Samuel Hopkins Adams, recalls a time when George Eastman invited the author's grandfather to invest in his new company, and he decided not to.

#720 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 01:18 PM:

I note (re the TPM article on the Minuteman) they have the, "operations director" is almost certainly a fake.

Gunny is a Marine nickname, and the CIB/Special Forces are Army. The "6 tours over seas, where he has several medals. He received a Purple heart, Silver and Bronze star, Combat Infantry Badge and a Presidential citation for his actions in the Special Forces."

He probably keeps them overseas because he's afraid immigrants will steal them. :)

Kidding aside, that's classic faker language. The ordering isn't quite right (we tend to move from lesser to greater), and I have a presidential citation; Well, not, I have an MUC, not a PUC, but they aren't personal awards, they go to units (usually battalion and above).

Not that it makes them any less dangerous, it just points out a certain credulity (which is in keeping).

#721 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 01:46 PM:

Erik Nelson @719: There are stories of people who made fortunes investing in Kodak in its early days; one was a secretary in a law office who took her boss's suggestion to buy Kodak stock seriously, and bought up as much as she could afford to buy on her salary over a period of years (IIRC, the lady in question retired to a swank hotel room with her cats — the staff were by turns pitying and mystified how she could afford it, and it was after her death that the story of her fortunate investments came out).

Xerox was another miracle story for some; allegedly a cab driver's investment of $10,000 paid him back more than a million.

I forget which sitcom it was; some incidental character was sketched out as a failed gambler/investor:

"You know, there was only one stock he ever gave up on. Haloid."

"Haloid? That sounds like one of his typical fly-by-night companies".

"Yeah, that's what he thought when they changed their name to Xerox."

#722 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:06 PM:

Re: Patents, #714-717 This is why I specified "meaningfully expressed", but clearly my wording was deficient! My point was that for genetic and programming data, the one-dimensional form is the whole thing -- it embodies the invention as a whole, and it's the "natural" form for such material. In the case of a program, the source text is the thing, and for genetic data, there's an exact transfer between the data and its proper medium.

By contrast, the description of a machine is not an actual instance of the machine -- not usually sufficient even to duplicate it, much less to perform the machine's function! (Consider the proverbial mousetrap....)

Even for machines that do manipulate data, Turning-machine simulation may be "formally possible", but that's not a practical equivalence -- certainly not for any "normally complicated" algorithm, and much less a physical device. Implementing algorithms in specialized machinery is worse -- the machinery required to implement e.g., a voting machine, does not simply follow from a mere specification of the constraints and procedures required. (Note that universal programmability is the last thing you want in a voting machine.)

#723 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:20 PM:

I am amused to note that neither xege@713 nor Tom Whitmore@716 appear to know what year it is. I can only conclude both are visitors from another time entirely, and presumably with time machines in dire need of recalibration.

2734 is, of course, 725 years from now (not 750 or 625 as suggested by the posts above).

#724 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:25 PM:

David Harmon @ 722:

I think what you're grasping for is that you think that patents on devices are fine, but you don't think that algorithms or processes should be able to be patented.

Not sure where the genetic patents fall on that line, although I don't really think they should be allowed either.

#725 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:28 PM:

Chris @ 718 -- I've just loaded Making Light into IE, and I'm getting nothing that indicates it's being tagged as a "phishing site." I even tried amping up the various security settings, to no effect.

I'm running IE 8 under XP SP3, in VMWare Fusion.

Is anyone else having the problem Chris reports?

#726 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:42 PM:

Jules @723: Some days the numbers run away from me. I can never remember which century I'm in for at least the first decade.

#727 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 03:16 PM:

Hmmm, AVG's LinkScanner feature gives the ML Guadalupe page a nice green check mark.

#728 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 03:39 PM:

2734 *is* 750 years after something. After 1984. Did Orwell feature prominently in your course, Fragano?

#729 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 03:41 PM:

My problem with patenting a described genome is nothing was created. The means by which they are mapped is one thing, but the genome itself exists independent of the description.

Tailored things (BtS Corn, and the like) are different. They exist beause someone made them.

I am, perhaps, failing to understand this, but it feels more as if someone had found an ancient Etruscan Dictionary, figured it out and patented the thing.

#730 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:06 PM:

I don't think this has been mentioned here yet - Frank Rich writing in the NYT that

The genteel debate in right-leaning intellectual circles about the conservative movement's future will be buried by history if far-right rage is met with silence.

Based on my admittedly limited exposure to Fox News, Shepard Smith is the only voice of reason on that network. I hope they keep him nonetheless. I'm also very worried about what the next months will bring.

#731 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:15 PM:

joann #728: I haven't mentioned Orwell once. So far we've covered the basics of government, the origins of the US Constitution, federalism, and civil liberties. It's just your basic intro American government course.

#732 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:20 PM:

Serge #712: You have a point!

#733 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:22 PM:

xeger #713: Given the overall tone of the essay, I'd say that was a very generous interpretation.

#734 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Tom Whitmore #716 & Jules #723: I intend to ask, when I return the essays, just how the student in question has a functioning time machine. I have some inquiries to make regarding various future sporting events in which I would not normally take an interest.

#735 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:49 PM:

Hm. I'm clearly missing -something-

bc 1.06
Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type `warranty'. 
2734 - 2009

... given that I've managed to look at the same results twice now, and still read 750 ...

This is surely clear notice of something (although I'm not quite sure what... perhaps Fragano's student is spreading a literary virus with dire effect... )

#736 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:57 PM:

Hmm, using one specific randomly chosen year far into the future as a stand-in for "the far future" when making a point about how some things might be the same in very different times almost sounds like a writing device I might use- ok, I'll be careful about that now if it's irritating people so much.

#737 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:07 PM:

Soon Lee, did you see Sheila Williams mentioned you in the August Asimov's editorial?

#738 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:48 PM:

John A. Arkansawyer @ 709: Thanks for that link. I have a friend (one of those I mentioned in another post with whom I have an agreement not to discuss politics--we occasionally consume enough alcohol to suspend that agreement, but never enough to start to argue) who's a strongly anti-illegal-immigration, and who used to be strongly anti-immigration. He realized the error of his ways after one of his even-more-rabid correspondents started sending him information about Minutemen American Defense and a couple of other similar organizations.

I can't imagine anyone more subhuman than the grade-school daughter of a Subhuman Mexican.

#739 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 06:15 PM:

KeithS #724: Actually, I'm going the other way -- given my intuition that software and genetic patents are wrong, I'm trying to express what makes them seem wrong.

Terry #729: Tailored things (BtS Corn, and the like) are different. They exist beause someone made them.

No, they exist because someone took a preexisting life-form and made very small changes to the genome that had emerged after millions of years of evolution (and perhaps "mere" millennia of human breeding). Sometimes even scientists need to get over themselves, or at least smack their PR guys. ;-)

On a different tack, the patent system is designed to parcel out rights to produce a given invention. This seems fundamentally inappropriate for something that can reproduce itself. Come to think of it, that's an issue with software too, though with some variations. Is that one-dimensional nature is intrinsically connected to ease of copying? My intuition says yes, but I can't really back that up offhand.

#740 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 06:33 PM:

David Harmon @739: Most software doesn't reproduce itself -- when it does, people tend to get upset about it, and call it a virus.

#741 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 06:41 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 740 ...
It's the (apparently) uncontrolled reproduction that people get upset about ...

#742 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:03 PM:

David Harmon @ 739:

I think what you're trying to get at falls out of what I said, but maybe I'm not looking at it from the right angle.

For example, I should be able to patent a device to make a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I should not be able to patent a method to make a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The first is a physical device that performs a task. The second is a set of instructions for performing the task or creating a device to perform the task. It's one step removed from a useful device.

I'd argue that patents on genomes are similar to software, in that they're not a device they're more sets of instructions.

I'm not sure that one-dimensionality is really the right criterion. More that software, business methods, genomes, and the like are one or more steps removed from the physicality of something that should be patentable.

#743 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:14 PM:

KeithS @ 742 ...
So ... do you consider an algorithm to be the same thing as software?

#744 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:14 PM:

Terry @ 720: I'm confident you're right the man is a phony soldier. He's a real racist killer, though. It strikes me as an escalation from the white supremacists that've been armed robbing in the northwest, in the ruthlessness of the murders and the stronger ideological justification. I expect there are a fair number of people thinking, "Illegal immigrant dealing drugs? Good riddance."

Here's a down-home example tending toward that sort of thinking, down in the comments. I'm calling commenters on these as I can, in the hopes of short-circuiting them or making them fess up to tacit racism, but that's a weak defensive action (reaction, really) at best.

#745 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Patents on software techniques (and business methods!) are already ridiculous enough, but genomes are instructions written in a language no human understands. It really is like "patenting" the Rosetta Stone because you happened to find it.

Patents are one of the ways America has metastasized.

#746 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:39 PM:

xeger @ 743:

All software is a set of instructions. An algorithm is a set of instructions to perform a certain task. An algorithm can be implemented in software. When you program, these two levels of the system can get mixed in your mind because they're so similar.

To my knowledge, all software patents are either actually patents on particular algorithms, or are so general as to be absurd.

#747 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 12:23 AM:

I'm trying to unearth a reference that keeps getting swamped in hits on restaurant ads, RPG threads, and online jewelry stores. Is there in fact a Chinese legend at least as old as the Song Dynasty about the Red Dragon of the East? Was it an evil dragon that, when defeated, proved to have a marvelous hoard? I stumbled across a short summary on a student page that was designed to demonstrate page design and there were no citations. I'm hoping that somebody here may have read the original text or be able to point me to it (in translation).

#748 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:12 AM:

Erik Nelson@719: Seth Breidbart can top that one. He once told a college poker buddy, "No, Bill, I'm not interested in writing a compiler for a brain-damaged language for toy computers."

#749 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:37 AM:

David Harmon @ #648:

My own rice-cooking method assumes that the water required is directly proportional to the amount of rice as measured by the cup, e.g. in my case one cup of rice requires 1.5 cups of water. This (IME) works with basmati, long grain and Thai Jasmine rice -- and any style of cup I've cared to use.

Once you've figured out the proportions that suit you best, you shouldn't have to worry about the markings in the pot or the potential loss of the cup.

#750 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:55 AM:

For those interested in real-time Twittering about the Iranian "election," the predominant hashtag seems to be #iranelection. The Tweets show no signs of slowing down; I had 90 new ones in under two minutes while I was reading what's there.

There are a lot of duplicative messages and heartfelt "Good luck" wishes, but an awful lot of linking is going on as well.

#751 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 07:42 AM:

Apropos of Iran, which has captured the attention of so many, Mark Kleiman today pulls up a choice bit of Machiavelli which I commend to your attention:

Between an armed and an unarmed man no proportion holds, and it is contrary to reason to expect that the armed man should voluntarily submit to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should stand secure among armed retainers. For with contempt on one side, and distrust on the other, it is impossible that men should work well together.

Not that it has anything to do with, you know, domestic affairs.

#752 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:02 AM:

David @648/681, FungiFromYuggoth @657, xeger @662, Marilee @680, Soon Lee @704, mcz @749, & any others I've missed: crossposting my belated (as so often) ‘thank you’ from Open thread 124 to all who've offered thoughts & advice on rice cookers & slow cookers. Still mulling – looks like rice cooker with steaming bits is likely to be more useful.

Marilee, can you let me know more about your model? ‘Disposable’ yahoo address for here on old (vab) (?), or my handle at gmail for privacy if anyone wants separate comms.

Linkmeister @750, post-election Iranian news is worrying.

#753 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:39 AM:

This site will be off the net for at least half an hour, this evening.

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 1830 BST with Stephen Fry in the chair and Victoria Wood as guest panellist.

I am assured, by the BBC, that Samantha will still be scoring.

#754 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:33 AM:

After Clue, switch to BBC Radio 3:  Angela Hewitt plays the Goldberg Variations.

#755 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:51 AM:

Jenny Islander @747--From the little I know, Chinese dragons are benerally benevolent, although they are, by legend, capable of becoming extremely annoyed and Taking Steps when that happens. The Wikipedia article has what may be some useful links. (My rule for Wikipedia these days: What are the references?)
The Eastern Dragon King makes an appearance in The Journey to the West, but survives the experience*. The Azure Dragon that's one of the celestial guardians governs the eastern quadrant.

*Although he probably joined the club that agreed a day without a visit from the Great Sage Equal of Heaven was a good day.

#756 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:14 PM:

My Provigil appeal was denied -- and it was a hard denial based on plan provisions. So it's not likely to be covered through insurance.

I'm sort've at a loss here. I cannot work without this drug. Yet, I have to work because I have to have health insurance, as I have rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and (just diagnosed) probably a kidney problem. If I don't want to end up dead or crippled, I have to have insurance.

Finding another employer isn't an option -- I need to be eligible for FMLA leave. (Rheumatoid arthritis + asthma is not a good combination. I'm immune compromised and get pneumonia every time I get sick.) Also, another concern with a new employer is if they would cover preexisting conditions on their plan.

(Years ago, I took a job and both the hiring manager and an insurance rep assured me their plan covered preexisting. After I'd quit my last job, I discovered he was wrong. At the time I was just dealing with asthma, but I still ended up owing thousands in medical expenses.)

I've explored all the options I can think of -- patient assistance programs, going out on disability, state medicaid, cheaper medications, etc. etc. -- nothing seems viable. I'm really at a loss here. I could post the gory details of my research into every option I could think of, but the quick and easy summary is that I have no options to get this med covered, period, as far as I can find. Either I make too much money or I'm otherwise disqualified.

I'm sort've at a loss. I just don't know where to go from here.

#757 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:20 PM:

Cygnet @ #756, have you tried the manufacturer directly? It has a prescription assistance program.

#758 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:22 PM:

Oh, oops. Reading your comment more carefully, maybe you've already tried that one. If so, sorry.

#759 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Epacris, #752, the price on mine seems to have actually gone up, but here it is. I did notice that it still has tons of five-star reviews.

#760 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Some gifts are more satisfactory than others. The only thing that could have made this one better would be if it were the original. Mrs. Arkansawyer and Kid A hit pay dirt--no, a gusher--here.

#761 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:16 PM:

My day has been made remarkably better -- I found copies of 'How much for just the planet' and 'the final reflection' at my local thrift shop... and in quite excellent condition, at that!

#762 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:32 PM:

Linkmeister, according to the manufacturer, I'm disqualified on two counts -- one, I make a few thousand dollars too much and two, I HAVE prescription benefits. (Even if they won't cover the Provigil, the drug maker would exclude me from the plan.)

I've looked at every option I can think of. My best bet seems to be to get a passport, drive down to Nogales, and purchase it there, but I'm trying to research the actual legalities of that. It's a controlled drug, so things get funny. Also, I'm none too happy about going down to Mexico at all right now with the level of border violence. (I miss Rocky Point ...)

#763 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:55 PM:

Meh. I just dug up the relevant laws re: importing it from Mexico, and after reading over things a bit there's some risks there I'm not comfortable assuming.

#764 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:56 PM:

Cygnet, the only Nogales story in Google News at the moment is the discovery of a cross-border tunnel.

One thought if you conclude you will try that: a passport card:

The main advantages of the passport card are its cost and practicality. The passport card costs considerably less than a conventional passport, $45 for the first card, which is valid for ten years, as opposed to $100 for a passport.

Budget 4 weeks from app. to receipt.

Is online purchasing of Provigil (or the generic) an option?

#765 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 10:17 PM:

xeger @761: I found a copy of 'The Final Reflection' in good condition at the local library's ongoing booksale. I understand that it was an inspiration for TNG treatment of 'honorable Klingons'. I got a copy of 'How Much For Just the Planet' here (literally — and it was the first and so far only time I have had a package from Australia).

#766 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:53 AM:

So... in my latest minor comedy of the bizarre, Sunday I ended up observing the third neurological exam in the past month, this time as the subject. (The first was my mother, who I've written about here; the second was my son who got a mild concussion from hitting his head on the playground asphalt. He got a clean bill from the ER doc after a few hours had passed.)

The reason behind this was that last week following a very bad night's insomnia, besides several days of feeling exhausted and headachey, I seemed to have developed a new twitch or nervous tic. It kept feeling like my right eyelid was in the way of my vision and I kept trying to open my eyes extra wide to get it out of the way, which made it look like I was constantly twitching. I've had nervous tics before when under stress, and I was viewing this as a minor annoyance for several days. Saturday morning while shaving I took a good look at myself in the mirror and realized that in fact my right eyelid had a noticeable droop, it was slightly blocking my right eye, and I wasn't able to control that.

"Uh-oh", says I. I asked my wife to confirm that the one eyelid actually was hanging low, and then after some calls verified that it wasn't a matter for an ER visit unless I had severe and worsening headaches. (Remember that "worst headache of your life" guideline from the head trauma thread, and from Scraps' experience? Really, remember that; you might need it one day.) I was somewhat reassured when I realized that I really would not have been able to do any of the work I'd done in the past week if I had any noticeable cognitive impairment, e.g. a stroke.

Sunday morning I saw a GP, who gave me the aforesaid basic neuro exam and reassured me that indeed there were no signs of a stroke or major neurological problems. She was fairly sure what I did have, in fact. It turns out I appear to have contracted Bell's Palsy, which I'd never heard of before yesterday, but is apparently pretty common: anywhere from slight to complete facial paralysis suddenly appearing for unknown reasons, but believed to be connected with a minor viral infection, even a cold. The best guess is that the facial nerves or the tissue surrounding them become slightly inflamed in the channel through which they run out of the brain, the nerves get pinched, and presto, a minor (or major) paralysis results. The standard treatment is simply to take anti-inflammatories, usually OTC, and wait it out for a few weeks until it goes away.

Now that I know what it is, I'm no longer terrorized - but it's still really frickin' annoying to have my eye half closing all the time and to keep having to pull the eyelid up. (Sometimes literally having to separate them with my fingers because that's more effective and less annoying than constantly grimacing.) The consolation is that it's a whole lot better than those who get it the other way around and can't close their eyes.

That's my little true tale for the day, and I hope it has amused and informed you all.

#767 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 01:45 AM:

Clifton @ #766, that's scary. I remember an MRI for a fainting spell once; Kaiser eventually concluded there was nothing systemically wrong.

Which reminds me of the Dizzy Dean story:

That year [1934], during Game 4 of the World Series against the Tigers, Dean was hit in the head with a thrown ball while trying to break up a double play at second base. The collision of skull and spherical horsehide knocked Dizzy unconscious, and he was taken to the hospital. The next day, the local sports section ran the now famous headline, "X-ray of Dean's head shows nothing."


#768 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:02 AM:

Clifton Royston #766: It turns out I appear to have contracted Bell's Palsy

You're in good company: Amy Goodman, host of "Democracy Now!" has had to deal with that.

#769 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 04:40 AM:

Cygnet: many sympathies. Sorry, I have no practical ideas to help you - unless you can get your doctor to re-write your diagnosis, saying your hypersomnia is a type of narcolepsy? Good luck.

#770 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 05:11 AM:

Marilee #737:
Thanks for the heads-up. It take a while longer for issues to make it to this part of the world.

#771 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:52 AM:

Why is everybody looking at me?

#772 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Linkmeister, there's no generic for Provigil in the United States. Pardon me while I make some rude noises about that .... yeah. It has "orphan drug" status, which was supposed to be reserved for oddball medications used to treat small handfuls of people. Provigil is multi-billion dollar drug.

Based on the "orphan drug" status they just increased the patent time until 2015.

You'd think the generic drug manufacturers would challenge this, right? Well, they did. And Cephalon, apparently openly, paid them $200,000,000 to drop the lawsuit. So instead of being a $60-$100 a month generic as it is in Canada, it's a $800 a month brand-only drug here.

#773 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 04:04 PM:

In the vein of the "go bag" and "emergency kits" posts ML has had in the past, can I suggest that everyone should have an "In The Event Of My Death Or Incapacitation" kit as well?

One of our closest friends went into the ER last week and ended up having emergency abdominal surgery (intestinal gangrene is not your friend). She's been under heavy sedation most of the time since, trying to recover from both the infection and the major surgery (not helped by being in generally poor health normally).

She granted a medical power of attorney to me when I took her into the ER, But it's still uncertain how long she'll have to remain sedated (and still some question if she'll survive at all). Her household bills will still need to be paid, and it's not likely she'll be aware and alert enough in the next few weeks to give someone a financial power of attorney. Also, if she dies, no will.

In short, a mess. A lot of which could have been made easier by advance preparation: A will, a list of people to notify, power of attorney in case of incapacitation, etc.

(How many of these things have Hilde and I done ourselves? Ummm... excuse me, I have things to do.)

#774 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 06:12 PM:

Cygnet @ #772, have you seen this March 2009 info about Cephalon v. Federal Trade Commission? The FTC
is suing Cephalon to void the "pay-for-delay" $200M settlement it made with TEVA, Barr, and two other generic manufacturers.

Obama's new FTC Commissioner is taking the case very seriously, it appears. Legal wheels grind exceedingly slowly, as we know, but still...

(I'm not obsessing on this, but it's the kind of work I've been doing for ten years, so it interests me.)

#775 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:06 PM:

I'm just back from seeing Pixar's Up, in 3D. (We have "cheap movie" Tuesdays around here.) It's very good, with some nice steampunk/mad-inventor elements -- it starts with a Famous World Explorer and his airship. There's a lovely sentimental sequence near the beginning, giving the backstory for the curmudgeon who's voiced by Ed Asner.

#776 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:09 PM:

I have a question for Linux-y peoples...

I am considering getting a netbook for some light word processing, net surfing and the usual email/blog posting applications. All computers I've used in my lifetime have been Windows based. The home computer is my roommate's and other than installing various Firefox whoozits, I haven't touched much and I am quite reluctant to go so far as to overhaul her OS. I consider myself to be at the far reaches of end-userdom. I'm not afraid of learning new things, but I am very much a beginner. Would purchasing a netbook with a Linux OS be a reasonable thing for me to do?

Unrelatedly, here is my contribution to the growing compendium of tortured English. This sentence was included in an email from Corporate Comm:

"[New Guy] will serve as a high-level communications resource dedicated to strategically and consistently formulating public positioning."

I think I'd rather parse some of Fragano L's alarming submissions that try and figure out what the above even means. I do know that [New Guy] is now an Executive Vice President, so formulating public positioning must be a pretty lucrative skill set.

#777 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:18 PM:

nerdychellist, #775: well, Firefox is Firefox regardless of platform. But if you've any interest in sound from that computer, check the sound capabilities very carefully.

#778 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:23 PM:

nerdycellist @ #776, "a high-level communications resource dedicated to strategically and consistently formulating public positioning."

Translation: "When we screw up, he's going to make the public statements that say we really didn't screw up, that the incident was a once-in-a-lifetime Act of Deity, and anyway have you reporters seen our new shiny product over here?"

#779 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:39 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 775:

I've already seen Up and I love it. I've been thinking about going again. Is the 3D worth it, or is it just a gimmick?

nerdycellist @ 776:

I'm not quite up on the latest and greatest in netbooks, but I think that most of the netbooks that come pre-installed with Linux are already set up to make web and email easy to do. And, as Randolph said, Firefox is Firefox. If you want to do more than that, I'm not sure.

As for management-type speak, there's a collection of them here.

#780 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:56 PM:

nerdycellist -- The latest ubuntu netbook remix is easy enough to use, I like it well enough on my asus 901. What I can't stand is the keyboard on that machine, it's good enough for emergencies but not for anything longer than a quick post or 'save the server' session.

I think you can download it and try booting your roommate's machine via usb key. That would give you enough to go on to see if you could handle it. (I think you can do the netbook remix, but I'm unsure how it would handle booting a desktop machine. The desktop version will boot and run on a cd or usb key just fine, but it's got a different interface, not optimized for the small screen).

#781 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:56 PM:

I have a will. I ought to find someone I trust to handle that power of att'y. Actually, I was talking with Marna about the seminar I'll be at in two weeks (Torture is a moral issue) and realised I have created a body of work which I might want to have the rights to clearly defined.

I have to see to it my lawyer, and someone else, have copies of my various passwords.

Ah, the modern age.

#782 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:00 PM:

Re copies of passwords: a spreadsheet offloaded to a thumb drive, maybe?

I originally had a sheet, but it was two machines back. Now I just have the printout and hundreds of pen-and-ink updates.

#783 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:21 PM:

Good news! Someone's obviously been listening to Jim. Our Lord Mayor has released a statement suggesting people in the city prepare go bags.

Mind you, his suggested contents list implies he hasn't been listening all that well.

#784 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:27 PM:

nerdycellist (776): Another life-long Windows user here. I recently bought a netbook (Eee 1000*) for just those applications. I haven't had the slightest problem figuring out the basic things I want to do. If I wanted to do any serious tweaking, it might be a different story.

*I was going to get a 901, but as eric mentions in 780, the 901's keyboard is quite small. Also, the bigger screen is nice.

#785 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:30 PM:

Rob@721: not a tale of huge wealth, but a large chunk of my college costs was paid from Pitney Bowes; unfortunately I never thought to ask my father whether he had gotten a tip (from a parent or alum, as he was headmaster at a school for the rich) or figured it out himself.

#786 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:34 PM:

Linkmeister, re: FTC/Obama/Cephalon/etc.

I figure this is why Cephalon is releasing Nuvigil, which they've had waiting in the wings for awhile. They're working very hard to transfer patients from Provigil (which may end up with a generic earlier than planned) to Nuvigil. Among other things, they've made Nuvigil cheaper (they've essentially doubled the wholesale price of Provigil in the last five years, BTW), and are actively trying to get Nuvigil approved for a few things that Provigil isn't, including jet lag and bipolar disorder.

#787 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:42 PM:

KeithS @779: I've already seen Up and I love it. I've been thinking about going again. Is the 3D worth it, or is it just a gimmick?

I saw it in 3D. Pardon the pun, it does add 'depth'. Bolt in 3D was similar; there was nothing gimmicky about it, but it did enhance the movie. I saw Polar Express in 3D a few years back, and there were more shots that seemed designed to show off the 3D — the train on roller coaster stretches of track, for instance.

That said, I'm annoyed how quickly the prices of the 3D movies are ratcheting up. They have been promoting the 3D movies as an incentive to get the theaters to put in the digital projection equipment. Last summer, I saw one of the 3D movies; the ticket cost $9. The next 3D movie I saw was $10. The next one after that was $11. Up in 3D cost $12.25. Think they're trying to figure out what they can get away with charging?

#788 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:50 PM:

KeithS @ 779 -- I find it hard to say if the 3D was "worth it". It did enhance the movie, I think; for the most part it wasn't particularly obtrusive. I think I ended up paying a $3 premium for the 3D showing, and took home the glasses in case I ever find some reason to want to play with circular polarization.

#789 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 09:07 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 787 and Joel Polowin @ 788:

I might just pay extra and see it in 3D for fun, then. I think that Up probably has two things going for it in that regard: it's Pixar and so even though they like pushing technical things they want the story to be at the forefront, and they probably didn't design it with the intent of it being in 3D. I know some 3D movies are more about seeing how many things they can shove out of the screen at the audience.

The big theater near me sets its non-matinee normal ticket prices at $11.50 and the IMAX at $16. I don't think that matinee prices are much better.

On a different topic, I'm going to be in Regina next week for business. I'll be taking a little time off at the end of the week. Any suggestions for things that I absolutely have to see?

#790 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:47 PM:

Coraline in 3D was a blast. They didn't poke things at the camera; they added depth to the odd little diorama-world.

#791 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:51 PM:

I saw Up last night, having (finally) caught up with the paying work and not wanting to work on The House after dark (no windows in the carriage house + no screens + lights in the darkness = way more bugs than I want to meet; it's bad enough in the daytime). Having an old man be the lead in a cartoon was refreshing - encapsulating the old man's entire life in ten minutes so there was actual depth of character was jawdropping genius.

But his story was so sad it left me melancholy all day today, and missing my family (still in Budapest). Also wishing my dog could talk.

I read some reviews. Some people just flat-out loved it, but others wished all that action and talking dog nonsense were taken out of it and that the whole movie could be like the first ten minutes (Salon, I'm looking at you). I pity the people who didn't understand the basic wonderfulness of the talking dogs. They actually acted like dogs, except that they could talk. Who would have thought of doing that in a cartoon? Pixar, that's who. I want to be Pixar when I grow up.

#792 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:02 AM:

Back in the days when the only picture technology was drawing and painting, we could all be Pixar when we grew up.

#793 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:34 AM:

Linkmeister, #782: I keep a NotePad file, just plain text, called "Hints". It contains every site for which I have a password-protected account, the username associated with that site, and not the passwords themselves, but hints to what they are. I have about a dozen, which I do reuse, but not in any particular order. And they're all pretty damn obscure if you don't know my favorite not-big-name books -- I tend to use character and planet names out of various SF novels. A copy of that file is kept on the thumb drive I carry with me, and updated whenever I've added a new account.

What I don't have is a key that translates hints into passwords, because I've been thinking in terms of security, not mortality. But it wouldn't be hard to print out such a key and store it with my will. That would not be stored anywhere on my computer.

#794 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:35 AM:

Bruce, the whole 'go through what you think you might need legally" is a Good Thing.

A few years ago, well, maybe longer than that BUT several years before we did a big three-way commitment ceremony at our local SF convention in front of all our friends and loved ones, we met with our lawyer.

On the first meeting he told us what we needed to do to protect our property as three people holding property in common, being able to make decisions for or just visit one another in as hospital (terrifying enough, the hospital can tell you to 'go fish' if your loved one is a restricted place like ICU and you aren't a legitimate family member. Like one of a three-person poly triad.)

And other stuff like that.

We accumulated all the paperwork and sent copies to him if we needed his services, kept what we needed AND when we got mortgages, car notes, etc. made sure all three of us were owners in joint.

It was rather more complicated than dealing with the rights that just getting married gives you, but it is a peace of mind kind of thing that makes sure we all feel good about how life issues play out.

#795 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:39 AM:

#791: Carl's story was very sad . . . but then most stories of people his age are sad. But he does get a happy ending!

I love Dug's last line: Cnencuenfvat: "Gurer'f n tenl bar!"

#796 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:44 AM:

Remembering passwords:

You can construct rebus-like things from characters and numbers and write down the corresponding sentence.

One I made up but can't use at work because the logins there have a non-double-characters rule:

"I ate two eggs and hash" => I82eggs&#

#797 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:07 AM:

Clifton Royston@766

I had somewhat the opposite experience. About a week after an ear infection (which resulted in my first drug prescription in nearly thirty years) I had the same symptoms as Bell's Palsy, and assumed that was what was wrong. I went along to the GP in the morning to make sure, and immediately got sent to the ENT specialist at the university hospital. I ended up getting my ear vacuumed out and being admitted to the hospital for intravenous corticosteroids and antibiotics. The US health care system at its best can be extremely efficient.

It turns out that the facial nerve can get inflamed either for slightly mysterious probably viral reasons, or (rather less commonly) because there is residual nasty bacterial gunk in your middle ear. One of these gets better spontaneously, the other potentially gets worse when left to its own devices.

#798 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 11:12 AM:

It takes more than mechanical, missile-launching Morris dancers to kill Othar Tryggvassen. Even after he's been tossed in a pit of acid filled with mutant acid-resistant flying piranhas.

#799 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 11:29 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 791 - they hired dog behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar as a consultant, which is why the talking dog thing is less of an anthropomorphized dog-shaped fakey character.

The clips I've seen have been delightful, but I'll probably not see it until DVD. On the one hand, there are awesome dogs with the ability to communicate with humans, old dude and chubby kid protagonists and (I've heard) a lack of poop/fart jokes and cruelty that have come to define "kids" movies these days. On the other hand, the closest theatre showing this film is the one owned by The Rat in a tourist area with predictably inflated prices, and also... yeah, it does irk me a skosh that the only female is in a flashback. I'll add it to the Netflix queue.

#800 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 11:55 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 791: I want to be Pixar when I grow up.

You only get to be Pixar by not growing up.

#801 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:23 PM:

I found this cool Morse Code Translator. It translates both ways, depending on what you put in the box. There's a Java one too, but it doesn't work (or maybe, since I'm at work, it's just blocked).

#802 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:37 PM:



Apparently the beginning of a long and frustrating morse exchange during WW2, off the US weat coast. The shore station wireless operator was not of the quality usual in peacetime.

.-- .... .- - ... .... .. .--.
.... -- ... ... .... .- ....

(Reported in Make Another Signal by Jack Broome.)

#803 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:09 PM:

How to Increase your Walt-Power

(That link isn't going to last, I'm afraid)

Personally, I want one for my teddy-bear.

#804 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Erik Nelson @792: Back in the days when the only picture technology was drawing and painting, we could all be Pixar when we grew up.

True enough, in its fashion. You'd still need an army to compete with Disney. The Hubley's did well with just scouting parties, but they were also looking to claim territory neglected by Disney. When you look at the closing credits of a contemporary CG movie, it is depressing (as an individual) to see the army required.

Still, reading Computer Dreams* (in 1978, IIRC) inspired a fascination with computer art and animation. I worked at it ineffectually in an autodidact manner; fortunately, faster than my own programming skills were developing, other people built tools I could use.

Richard Feynman suggested that the true use of quantum computers would be to solve quantum problems. Rendering (a depiction of the interaction of light and matter) could fairly be described as a quantum problem.

Higher end tools for animation may be developed; currently, people are using game engines to do animation. You might be able to set up a 'Sims' like environment, set an automated director loose in it, and watch edited dramas or comedies derived from it. Or in a 'Dungeons and Dragons' mode, define your characters, set them loose in an environment, and play the part of DM.

It is impressive how much has been done in the 30 years since Computer Lib/Computer Dreams was published. Quantum computers may take longer; I don't think we've reached the level of a quantum equivalent of a vacuum tube, much less a transistor.

*I remember your story about helping in its publication :)

#805 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Xopher @801: If you have been using the Firefox addon LeetKey for your ROT-13 needs, it also includes a Morse Code encoder and decoder.

#806 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:32 PM:

Rob, I haven't, but I think now I probably will. I have only occasional use for Morse Code, but was teetering on the edge of installing Leetkey. I can't remember why I didn't before; there was something about it I didn't like, but I can't think what that was.

#807 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 02:00 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 792:

I'm not sure that your idea that "Back in the days when the only picture technology was drawing and painting, we could all be Pixar when we grew up" is necessarily true. I'd say that anyone who's willing to put in the effort can make shorts, but that you still need more than a few people to make something feature-length. Also, while specialized rendering tools are expensive and out of the reach of beginners, I think that playing around with, say, the Sims and a copy of Windows Movie Maker actually levels the playing field for people who just want to have fun and share it with their friends. It certainly would for someone like me who can't even draw good stick figures.

Rob Rusick @ 804:

I've seen some good videos made using Sims 2, including one that the beginning of Up reminded me of. I expect there will be some more now that Sims 3 is out. I think we're still a long way off from semi-autonomous filmmaking using game engines, though.

One of the greatest disappointments in animation after Toy Story came out was that some animation houses, Disney included, seem to have grabbed the wrong end of the stick. They thought that it was CG that was the big draw, rather than story. Fortunately, Disney seems to have recovered; one of the trailers before Up was for a traditionally-animated film that looked amusing.

This is not to say that part of the draw isn't that it's CG, of course. Pixar does it well, though, and it's in service to the story—never for its own sake.

#808 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Rob Rusick at 804:
If you are referring to Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson, that's my father and he published it in 1974. I helped out with the paste-up, which is what turned me into a typography geek. This eventually led me to my most recent job; fifteen years of newspaper page production, which I am now laid off from due to a few cost-cutting moves by my former employer. But I credit my dad for the fact that I have printer's ink in my veins. The paradox of that book is that it promises to make paper-based media obsolete but its charm is in being hand-built out of paper.

#809 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 03:00 PM:

Really Stoopid SF alert: ABC will be broadcasting a miniseries called "Impact", starting on June 21. A massive meteor shower strikes the moon. Concealed within the shower is a "chunk of a brown dwarf" that imbeds itself within the moon and alters its orbit so that it will strike the earth in 39 days.

Phil Plait catalogs the dumbness here:

Dumb Impact

#810 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Steve C @ 809... The only difference between that and the Skiffy Channel's normal output is that it's on a more mainstream network. (One of these days, I'll propose a con panel where the panelists and the audience cook up the ultimate Skiffy Channel movie.)

#811 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 03:39 PM:

Serge @ 809 - ...ultimate Skiffy Channel movie

Zombie Dinosaur Sodomy!

#812 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:00 PM:

nerdycellist @799 (wrt Up): yeah, it does irk me a skosh that the only female is in a flashback.

Russell's mom briefly appears at the end, but has no dialogue. But unless there are some females among Dug's pack (hard to judge from the collar voices, since they're obviously tunable), either Muntz has worked out a reliable system of canine cloning or this is going to be his last generation of dogs.

Random tangent: "skosh" is apparently a loanword from Japanese sukoshi. Back in the 1980s, there was a mini-furor from (iirc) the early ad campaigns for Dockers pants that used the phrase "a skosh more room", prompting protests from former WWII POWs for whom the word brought back bad memories.

#813 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:07 PM:

Ok... bullet biting:

I did a radio segment on Monday, to promote a conference I am speaking at a week from this Fri/Sat ( Torture is a Moral IssueIn Palo Alto).

We managed (by the most fortuitous twists of misery-making, if ultimately fortunate Providence) to record it, and there is a pair of streams (just me, and the whole section on the conference) Me, on stuff, relating to torture, on KZSU the Stanford University station)

#814 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:09 PM:

Serge @ 810:

Next week on the Sci-Fi SyFy channel: Dinosquito Terror

A fragment of the meteor that hit the earth 65 million years ago bounces through a bunch of dinosaurs and then time, becoming radioactive. It lands in a swamp full of mosquitoes, which our heroine and her boyfriend are visiting in order to study. One of the irradiated and dinosaur-contaminated mosquitoes bites the man, who starts to itch and scratch on the way back to the city. He eventually turns into a dinosaur/mosquito/human/rubber-suit hybrid who terrorizes the city and tries to have his way with his former girlfriend. Hilarity ensues.

#815 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:12 PM:

Terry @813:

Listening now, but man that background jazz is driving me bats.

#816 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:14 PM:

Keith S @ #814, "and tries to have his way with his former girlfriend"

Now that's a Judd Apatow vehicle if ever there was one!

#817 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Did they keep on the whole time? It was pretty annoying when I was on hold, but I don't recall it when I was on the air.

#818 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:21 PM:

Steve C @ 811... Dinosaurs aren't really Skiffy's thing. Dragons, on the other hand... Maybe dragon sodomy with a bunch of mummies instead of zombies as the latter also aren't their thing.

KeithS @ 814... Why can't it be the girl friend who gets transformed? A movie called Womantis basically writes itself. We could throw in a black hole that breaks apart and then each fragment grows into a separate world-eating black hole except that the Channel already did that one.

#819 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Steve, #809: Oh, ick. Reminds me of watching the NextGen episode "The Masterpiece Society"; the plot as a whole was a strong one*, but the thing they used to drive the plot was "a chunk of neutron star core matter". Excuse me, you take a chunk of matter out of the core of a neutron star, and it's immediately going to expand to normal matter with explosive force!

* The Big Ethical Question was, "Do we save this space colony from certain physical destruction, at the cost of irrevocably destroying the long-term purpose for which it was designed and causing severe emotional trauma to most of its inhabitants?" And unlike ClassicTrek's "The Apple", there was at the end some recognition that, while they had made the best decision they could, there was really no right decision in that situation.

#820 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:25 PM:

#808: Once, years and years ago, just pre-web, I bought two dozen copies of the Microsoft Press edition of Computer Lib / Dream Machines to give out to friends and co-workers.

I don't think it did a damn bit of good; I worked at a home computer / multimedia software company (CD-ROMs had just come out), but they were all about repackaging existing stuff and salesmanship. No research, development, or vision.

On the other hand, I'm sure handing that book out made me look really hip after the fact.

#821 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Serge @ 818 ... I don't know if it's typical, but I do recall a really bad dinosaur movie on Skiffy about pterodactyls. In fact, it was called Pterodactyl.

#822 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:32 PM:

Steve C @ 821... I remember that one. Pterodactyls with razor-edge wings that mow down people left and right and leave the bodies there, until they decide to take the cute redhead geeky girl over to their nest, presumably for their kids to nibble on when they hatch.

#823 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:39 PM:

Terry Karney @ 817:

I just listened to your segment. I think you did very well for the time given. I certainly would have liked to hear more.

They did play that jazz-sounding stuff in the background the entire time. Oh well, nothing's perfect.

Serge @ 818:

Isn't that always the way with cheap horror movies, though? Ugly male monster, cute woman running away with possibilities for shirt being torn off?

The other (just as sexist) way would typically be sexy woman with slight monster features using her allure to do in handsome (but not too handsome) men, but that wouldn't lead to police chases with helicopters and stuff to take down the nigh-unstoppable, rubber-suited monster.

#824 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:04 PM:

KeithS @ 823... In the case of Pterodactyl, it was a female monster who took the girl to her nest.

Do you think there's potential in a movie called Blondsters?

#825 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Colorado Front Range ML Assembly next Wednesday (24 June) evening at the Boulder Farmer's Market, anyone? (Re: this)

#826 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Serge @824: You mean that movie was about Lesbian dinosaurs of Sodom?

#827 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:38 PM:

Colorado Front Range ML Assembly next Wednesday (24 June) evening at the Boulder Farmer's Market, anyone? (Re: this)

#828 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:40 PM:

Garg. 'scuse-ez moi.

#829 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Open-thread randomness: a rather silly-looking knitted squid hat, adding that crowning touch of comedy to a Gothic Lolita getup. (Funny, the model doesn't seem to get the joke....)

The comments at PIU say it came from here, at "What Not To Crochet". Comments there implicate a site called "Romance was Born". (Warning: the front page there is a Flash blob.)

#830 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 08:26 PM:

Re: #807, from KeithS

In regards to DIY animation, is interesting. You create a script with dialogue, character gestures, and camera angles, and the site renders a flash animated movie for you. It is fairly primitive right now (what you can do is pretty limited) but they have some big plans for more features, and a downloadable app.

What I like so far about them is that that the interface is intuitive and simple, almost google-like, in its ease of use. As they add features it will be interesting to see if they stay simple.

#831 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 08:33 PM:

Ginger @ 826... Call it Lesbian Dinosaurs of Sodom Behind Bars and you can be sure to win the Joe Bob Briggs drive-in award for bad cinéma.

#832 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 09:17 PM:

Erik Nelson @808: If you are referring to Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson [..]

Exactly so, and I should have got the title right. It's on a shelf over here; along with the other %2 of my library not in a box.

#833 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 12:00 AM:

david harmon 829 knitted squid hat:

it's cthute!

#834 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 04:08 AM:

KeithS @823: The other (just as sexist) way would typically be sexy woman with slight monster features using her allure to do in handsome (but not too handsome) men, but that wouldn't lead to police chases with helicopters and stuff to take down the nigh-unstoppable, rubber-suited monster.

I dunno, Species seemed to manage both of those points fairly well. Which links nicely back to the genesis of this thread, because the direct-to-dubious-tv-channel movie in question apparently stars Natasha Henstridge.

#835 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 04:14 AM:

s/movie/miniseries/. Whatever. :)

#836 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:50 AM:

KeithS @823: The other (just as sexist) way would typically be sexy woman with slight monster features using her allure to do in handsome (but not too handsome) men [..]

Reminds me of one of those Art Linkletter kid's definitions: "Revamp is when a lady monster gets repaired so she can attract men again."

#837 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 07:48 AM:

Rob Rusick #805: .-- .... .- - .... .- - .... - --- -.. .-- .-. --- ..- --. .... - ..--..

#838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 09:20 AM:

Yes, today is Paul McCartney's 64th birthday.

#839 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:04 AM:

Serge @ 838: It's his birthday, but he's 67 today. He was born in 1942.

#840 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:07 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 836:

Be glad I'd just put my tea down before I read that.

Serge @ 838:

I wouldn't blame him if he locked all his doors and unplugged all his phones today.

#841 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:16 AM:

Carol Witt @ 839.... Curses! Misinformed again!

#842 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:18 AM:

I've begun reading Sean Williams's The Grand Conjunction, 3rd in his Astropolis story, and I came across the following this morning:

"Who was he, Grimes?" she asked in a low voice.

He moved in closer. "A thug by the name of Serge Maim. His friends call him the Crab."

It's not every day that I find my name in a superduper space opera, even if it's as a disreputable member of society. That beats having 'Serge' associated with Eurotrash, like it did in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

#843 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:18 AM:

Serge @ 841: Or you could point out that it's the third anniversary of his 64th birthday.

#844 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:25 AM:

KeithS @ 840: I recall hearing an interview done when he was 63. He was already quite sick of having to discuss his 64th birthday, which was still months away, every single time he talked to someone.

#845 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:43 AM:

Ginger @ 843... Meanwhile, in a few months, I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday for the 24th time.

#846 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:51 AM:

Serge #842: That beats having 'Serge' associated with Eurotrash, like it did in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

I bet you're really tired of being compared to Bronson Pinchot, too. His portrayal was the first 'Serge' I'd ever encountered.

#847 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:56 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 846... I remember seeing that one with my wife & friends (not that they are mutually exclusive). Got some chuckles out of them. Such an easily amused bunch. Heheheh...

#848 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 12:01 PM:

Wyman Cooke @245: I find I'm in the same boat as Summer Storms. If things don't change within the next month, I'll be broke and homeless. I've got signed up with an employment agency, but I haven't received a call to work yet.

I'm way behind (how the hell do you people keep up with these Open Threads, anyway?) so I apologize if this has been addressed but:

Sign up with multiple temp agencies. It's rare anymore for one agency to be able to supply a steady stream of gigs. Especially in this climate.

Then, call them. Frequently. The impression I've gotten is that they eternally operate in crisis mode. If you aren't right in their face, you'll drop off their radar completely.

Also, by working with different agencies, you'll be able to suss out which ones are useful and en-clued, and which ones (most of them, sadly, IME) are just kind of blundering around tripping over their on feet.

FWIW, I personally have had the best luck with the Robert Half suite of agencies: OfficeTeam, AccounTemps, and so on.

#849 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 12:04 PM:

nerdycellist @799 - I hate it when movies sneak past my own prejudices. You're right -- the only female character is Kevin! That could have been done better.

Damn. Even perfection is imperfect in this rotten world.

(Note: I hate finishing big jobs; I'm depressed for days.)

#850 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 12:25 PM:

To be honest, I'd rather see a cartoon with no female characters than one with lousy, stereotypical ones - such as that new Ice Age, where you can tell an animal is female by how many modern, western standards of "beauty" it upholds. Cartoon animals are by default male - unless they have (2) boobies, eyelashes and "feminine wiles".

If "Up" were playing at the ArcLight, I'd get over the lack of chicks and see it. Or I'd suffer the hordes of tourists and sugar-high kids to see it at the El Cap if there were a lady or girl in an important role.

#851 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 12:57 PM:

nerdycellist @ 850:

Not that it's the same as having an active, important female character, but the old man's wife does play an important role throughout the film even though she's no longer present.

The male-by-default cartoon character thing is annoying, and I'm not really sure how to fix it. The typical feminine signals for cartoon characters seem to be one or more of pink, lipstick, make-up, skirt, and long hair. Why they think that all men have short hair and all women have long hair remains a mystery to me.

#852 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Keith @ 851: Your comment reminded me of my mother's foreign-born colleagues, who were terribly confused by the photos of her daughter (with short hair) and her son (with long hair).

#853 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 01:25 PM:

245 and 848:
I for one am trying to go that route. I am signed up with three agencies, and so far I have worked for one day, and that day was in April.

Any more ideas? Are some of them different from others in terms of what kind of work they hook you up with?

#854 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 01:31 PM:

I suppose one way of getting around the problem of the depiction of females is to hire Doug Winger

On the subject of Squickage, I surmise that the relationship between the milliWinger and the Shudder must be something like that been the Roentgen and the Rem (or their S.I. replacements)

#855 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 01:49 PM:

Male and female voices are different, but I'm not sure why that's not enough.

I guess the question is - how important is it that we know the gender of the cartoon animal to begin with? And if it's that important, why don't we make the females the generic default cartoon animal look, and depict all male cartoon animals with broad shoulders and six-pack abs.

(as an aside, I always assumed the RoadRunner was a girl. And what with all his fully committed drag, thought Bugs Bunny was a boy and a girl.)

#856 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 02:46 PM:

Carol, #844: Not to mention the mean-spirited treatment of his divorce, which IIRC happened right around then, and of course every soi-disant "wit" in the media thought they were the first one to come up with the joke of "And the answer is... NO!" That was very definitely a funny-once kind of gag, and I must have heard it 50 times.

#857 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 02:49 PM:

Excitement in New Hampshire:

List of books to be banned?

#858 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 03:00 PM:

Antonia T. Tiger @ 854:

Let's please not go there. It would be bad.

nerdycellist @ 855:

I'll be contradictory and say that it's both not important at all and very important. Not important because, except as it matters for characterization, it shouldn't be an issue. Important because, by default, they're male and, in reality, 50% of the population is not.

Also important because otherwise you wind up with male cows and female peacocks when done by clueless people.

(Is this the time to admit that I still think of Estraven as male when I read Left Hand of Darkness? One of these days I'll get it right in my head.)

#859 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 03:06 PM:

On gender and the "Ice Age" movies--species extinction is a fairly important subtext in those movies, and from time to time the question comes up as to whether extinction might be averted by finding a suitable mate. (Thus much of the plot of the second movie, as well as the jokes revolving around Sid the sloth's inability to get laid to save his life, or at least his genes.) It would be kind of hard to bring in the subject of mates without bringing in gender differentiation.

Now I'm not saying the makers of the "Ice Age" movies handle this especially well, or that it couldn't be done better, just that there's a case for giving gender differences a prominent role in those movies--more so than in, say, WALL-E. (Which I love, but gendered robots bother me more than stereotyped gendered animal characters.)

On a related note, during an online discussion of why men seem to enjoy 2001: A Space Odyssey more than women do, it occurred to me that there's no sex in the movie to speak of--not just lovemaking as such, but all the weird and wonderful stuff that happens between men and women on the way to that point. Sexual selection, as it's called. Not that 2001 isn't still one of my own favorite movies, but it did seem a curious omission from a movie about human evolution.

(I would love to see someone write an answer to 2001 incorporating sexual selection. Preferably a comic/romantic take on evolution, and preferably by someone as smart and funny as Connie Willis if not Connie Willis herself.)

#860 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 03:59 PM:

And as an apology for dragging (double entendre somewhat intended) gender politics in pop culture back into an open thread, here is a video that had me giggling maniacally over essentially nothing.

Please note: You can tell the female pug by the bow on her head.

#861 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 04:40 PM:

Rob T @ 859... I'd be curious to know if there is a gender-based preference for Forbidden Planet, which is all about sex and/or reproduction. You have two males butting heads over who'll get the only available female. You also have the male progenitor of the female, who wants to keep her under his will, and who reproduces himself thru the Krell machine. And let's not forget the ship's cook who wonders if Robbie the Robot is male or female.

#862 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 05:25 PM:

Serge @ 861: The 2001 discussion took place at the Internet Movie Database, so we were discussing the ratings there (voted upon by IMDb users, ranging from 1 for worst to 10 for best). The current average rating for 2001 is 8.4, but among women it's 7.4. In contrast, the current average rating for Forbidden Planet is 7.8, but among women it's 7.9. (The average for men is about the same as the overall average for both movies.)

These aren't scientific surveys of course--for one thing, men participate at a far greater rate than women (about ten times as many for both of these movies)--but they're certainly useful for considering the tastes of IMDb users (and by extension, most computer-literate film fanatics inclined to keep track of their faves/unfaves). Thanks for your question!

#863 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:04 PM:

This question made me think of you all.

I work in a lab. We have 10 high-schoolers coming up for an intensive 5-week internship program soon. Lots of chemistry, some relatively non-hazardous biology. We're going to give them the standard safety talk, but we also want to do an hour or two of some role-playing stuff in actual plausible scenarios, in a way that doesn't actually pose any danger.

Current ideas being batted around involve dropping a beaker of "acid" (actually water) that they'll need to do spill cleanup on, someone getting solvents in their eyes and helping them to the eyewash station.

Thanks to reading Jim's emergency entries, I came up with one for which the right answer is "Don't help that person, get the heck out of the room." (Air nozzle falsely labeled "CO2" in big letters, person "passed out" on the floor. If they don't leave within ~20 seconds, the group leader taps them on the shoulder and says "Everything goes black. Lay on the floor." then calls in the next student.)

Does anyone have any other ideas? Basically, we're looking for things that could happen in a lab, that can be faked convincingly and safely, and that involve at most one "actor" (probably me).

#864 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:20 PM:

Things I have done in lab: spilled the acid, mostly on my lab coat but also a bit on my jeans. Concentrated acid is tougher to clean up than diluted-- it's like glycerin.
Skidded on water from the ice machine. Perhaps a false test-- here's the problem, but you're really supposed to let it sit and get a mop?

Safety talks themselves might be worth roleplaying-- what to say to someone who isn't wearing gloves or goggles, for example.

On secondary sex characteristics: I think of Estraven as male, but part of the reason I liked that novel more than previous Le Guins I'd read was that a friend told me Le Guin regretted not using a neuter pronoun, so I could see flaws in the book and talk back to them rather than feeling preached to in the mildest way possible.

WallE annoyed me with the robot gender cues, but I seem to be alone in my group of friends in seeing Moe, the cleanerbot, as Chinese or Japanese. I am more aware that my perceptions come from me because of that.

#865 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:47 PM:

Prompted by a recent should--have-been-avoidable death, would a reminder of and practice with "stop, drop, and roll" be appropriate?

#866 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:49 PM:

TChem @ 863:

At the level you're talking about, I think you largely have the basics covered. As Diatryma notes, you'll want to involve something about proper personal protective equipment, especially safety glasses. It's a chemistry lab, so dangly jewelry isn't going to get caught in machinery, but necklaces, earrings, and rings can still get in the way and get caught on things.

The only other thing you'll probably want to go over would be fire safety, but that's a bit difficult to roleplay. At least mention keeping long hair tied back and away from bunsen burners. You might also want to do something about burns.

Diatryma @ 864:

Le Guin has written on occasion that she regretted using masculine pronouns for the Gethenians. She has written a couple short stories with them using feminine pronouns, which does and doesn't alter my perception of things. Additionally, the story is supposed to be written by the viewpoint character, so his view is necessarily going to intrude.

Wall-E annoyed me a little on that front too, but then again I'm not sure how an ungendered robot romance would actually be any different. Certainly the filmmakers talk about Wall-E being masculine and Eve being feminine, but there isn't much of anything in the film that actually makes them one way or the other.

Hmm... I have to ponder this a little more.

#867 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:58 PM:

Air nozzle falsely labeled "CO2" in big letters, person "passed out" on the floor. If they don't leave within ~20 seconds, the group leader taps them on the shoulder and says "Everything goes black. Lay on the floor." then calls in the next student

Not entirely a fair simulation, because if it were really CO2 the student's "can't breathe...panic" instinct would set in. Of course, if it were nitrogen being released, this wouldn't be the case.

#868 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 08:28 PM:

TChem @ 863 ...
"You walk in the room and discover a slightly steaming (not in a 'heat' sort of way) puddle of clear liquid ... " [0] [1]

[0] It turned out to be nitric acid, but they cleared half the campus first...
[1] ... also a way to find out if they're silly enough to touch, taste or smell[2] what seems to be a mostly innocuous substance -before- finding out what it is...
[2] Of -course- it was the last bottle of the entire bloody box that turned out to have ammonia in it... and that was the only one I hadn't done a waft test with...

#869 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 08:35 PM:

TChem @#863: Well, you should certainly include some exercise involving silver nitrate or something else that stains skin, just to underline how easy it is to contaminate yourself. Or if you really want to underline the lesson, you could use phenolphthalein.... ;-)

Some other points you may want to cover:

Fume-hood training (using mercaptans?).
Dealing with broken beakers and such, as well as their former contents.
Emergency showers and related equipment.
Hazardous-waste handling and disposal.
Glassworking safety? (Wanna bet somebody tries to make a bong? :-) )
"Do not look into laser with remaining eye".

Oh yeah, and jewelry can be damaged by fumes, notably silver stuff.

#870 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 08:42 PM:

There are agencies that specialize in technical-type jobs. (FWIW, I'm in Los Angeles, so YMMV.)

I have a list of names (because I was asking about them at work today, for other people):

Aerotek (
SuperbTech {
PEAK Staffing (
Darnell Technical Services (
Principal Technical Services (

#871 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 09:56 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @837: .. -.-. .... . -.-. -.- . -.. ... - --- .--. .- .--. .--. .- .-. . -. - .-.. -.-- .... . .... .- ... -... . . -. ..- .--. - --- .- -.-. --- ..- .--. .-.. . --- ..-. - .... .. -. --. ... ... - --- .--.

#872 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 10:09 PM:

864 Diatryma: the water at the ice machine's a good one we hadn't thought of. There will be lots of sloppy glassware washing at the sink, I'm sure.

865/866: Fire's good for future reference, though our building has a no-open-flame policy. Burns, yes! (she says, one hand in cool water after touching a fresh from the oven pan with WET HANDS grrrr)

jules: I did not know that! Nitrogen in a small room it is, then. I considered giving them a hint at 10 seconds, but I think having the third student come upon the first two who failed will be more effective.

xeger: Unknown spill is even better than a known, actually, because the secondary lesson is to label everything. Cool.

David: We were going to do an eyewash; the shower makes a terrible mess. And possibly having a fellow student come up to them saying: "Hey, this peroxide goes in with the organic solvents, right?" No glassblowing, thank goodness.

#873 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 10:43 PM:

Open Thread self-aggrandizement involving knitting:
Mission Statement

Yes, it just went up. No black on white (or worse, white on black), Xopher and others!

#874 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 10:49 PM:

The joke in our lab is that you never take off a glove as fast as the one that's on fire.

As we found out last week, the first step of unidentified spill cleanup should often be, "Who knows what this is?" Especially if it's a bunch of jars in a fridge that turned into a freezer (my own fault, my jars). The second step may well be, "Glove up anyway, and don't bring in new people to step through the puddles of potentially toxic fluid."
Not very toxic, and not very much of it, but still.

#875 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 11:51 PM:

#859 Rob

How many women have any noticeable relevant role in 2001? Forbidden Planet has -one- main character who's female. I don't remember there being any in 2001.... and unlike the film set of Lord of the Rings, there isn't really good eyecandy males.

#876 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 12:29 AM:

I have to wonder if the timing of the Washington Post's firing a reporter who had made too many powerful enemies was influenced by events in Iran. If you're going to do something that looks kinda bad, it's best to do it in the middle of some other, much bigger story.

#877 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 12:35 AM:

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has an on-line petition that people can sign virtually pushing for Single Payer Health Coverage in the USA.

Link accessible from http://www,

#878 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 12:48 AM:

Rob T @859, are you aware of the theory that holds that HAL's murder of (most of) the crew of the Discovery One was motivated by dysfunctional unrequited love for David Bowman? ("I'm half crazy, all for the love of you....")

#879 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:15 AM:

Apropos of not much, I'm getting a fine giggle out of the photography advice here

#880 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:38 AM:

Carol Kimball @ 873:

That's the best mission statement I've ever seen.

xeger @ 879:

I can certainly identify with his advice to photograph the bird while it's still there. That advice also applies to bats.

When at the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few years ago, I asked one of the attendants why there was a no flash photography sign by the octopus tank when using the flash anywhere was only good for getting reflections off the glass. He replied that it was a real pain to clean octopus ink out of the tank.

#881 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:53 AM:

Carol Kimball @ #873, KeithS is absolutely right. I'm just wondering which mission was the model.

#882 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 02:02 AM:

Carol @ 873: You made me LOL at work. Oh noes!

#883 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 02:54 AM:

Paula @875, I did notice this, and Avram @878, I did not know about that theory. Taken together, both points remind me about Rosalind Russell's classically catty remark at the 1969 Oscars that "the only female thing in 2001 is a computer with a noticeable lisp." (To be fair, it was in the context of the presentation of the "best director" awards, in which the female stars who collectively presented the award were bemoaning the lack of female stars in the year's nominated movies.)

#884 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 03:25 AM:

Rob Rusick #871:
...- ..-. --.. -... . ..-. .-. --. ..- .-. .- .-. .--- . -... --. .---- ...-- ..--..

#885 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 03:30 AM:

In undergrad chemistry labs, it was mandatory that we look up the LD50 & safe exposure limits of all the chemicals we were to handle, *before* commencing the experiment.

#886 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 09:39 AM:

xeger #879: Snickering here... I just reached "Try to photograph the sea in a way that it doesn't flow out of the picture."

#887 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 09:45 AM:

Rob T @ 883... I wonder what Russell would have said about the main female character featured in the other major SF movie that came out in 1968. Me, I liked Zira a lot. Smart, inquisitive, always questioning things.

#888 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Soon Lee @884: ....- ---.. ..... ----- | ..- --... ...-- | -.-- .-.-.- ....- | | --... .... ...-- ( ----- ----- | -.- .---- -.. ..... ....- .-. ...-- --... ...-- -..- --... .---- -. -.... .---- -. ---.. .---- -. ....- .-. -.-- -. ----- .-- .-.-.- :)

#889 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 10:23 AM:

#881 ::: Linkmeister :::

...I'm just wondering which mission was the model.

It's the ur-mission (I made it up).

#890 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 11:16 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 875... Actually, thre were three female characters in 2001: the woman in the Soviet group that meets Dr. Floyd on the space station, his daughter on a phonecall, and the mother during the birthday call to one of the astronauts on the Discovery. Wow. I know. By the way, I think Forbidden Planet is a better SF movie than 2001 if you take out the former's cook. Please take him out. Shove him out the airlock.

#891 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 12:10 PM:

Carol@ 889: What happened to the o-mission?

#892 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Should we check to see if the missionaries have an o-pinion, or a position, on that?

#893 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:04 PM:

If it isn't already on the Troll Bingo Card (where's the official list?):

"Thank you for proving my point for me."

#894 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:38 PM:

I just want to say, after a couple of days rattling around other fora on the net... I am so glad I have ML to come back to.

Even the best of the others isn't quite my cuppa. I don't know that ML is, "better", but it's certainly more comfortable for me, no matter how much fun I may have knocking piñatas, and burning the straw men in other places. Top posts are great, comments, usually, not so much.

(p.s. P J: nice comments at Orcinus).

#895 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:40 PM:

TChem - even if open flame is prohibited, I think it's essential to do some fire safety training.

This is the should-have-been-preventable death I was thinking of.

#896 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:43 PM:

serge at 890; three female characters in 2001:

I say maybe HAL is female. HAL, as a life support system, is a womb surrogate/mother surrogate.

#897 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:45 PM:


Fans of the Athens, GA music scene will be saddened to know that the Georgia Theatre caught fire this morning and burned to a shell.

Fortunately, it appears no one was killed or hurt.

#898 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 896... Except that the Hal-womb is shaped like a big metallic dick.

#899 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 02:03 PM:

Rob Rusick #871: - .... .- - ' .-.. .-.. - . .- -.-. .... -- . - --- - --- ..- -.-. .... - - -.-- .--. . .. -. . -. -.-. --- -.. . -.. ..-. --- .-. -- .-.-.- .. ... .... --- ..- .-.. -.. .... .- ...- . -.. --- -. . .. - .. -. -.-. .-.. . .- .-. ..-. .. .-. ... - --..-- - .... . -. . -. -.-. --- -.. . .-.-.- .- .... --..-- .-- . .-.. .-.. --..-- .-.. .. ...- . .- -. -.. .-.. . .- .-. -. .-.-.-

#900 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 02:38 PM:

{drops pinata on Terry's head...}

#901 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 03:22 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @899: I thought 'tod' was some particularly sly reference (something fannish, maybe); it took a while to think of a response.

#902 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 06:47 PM:

Rob Rusick #888:

Uh, uncle?

Because despite my personal motto being "Never start anything you're not prepared to escalate", if this goes on, we'll shortly be deep into cyphers that are the mutant bastard offspring of Riemann zeta functions and LOLcode. I don't think I have sufficient mental fortitude to cope.

#903 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 07:32 PM:

Soon Lee @902: Ah, you gave me a ROT13'd phrase converted into Morse Code, so I gave you a phrase converted first into Leetspeak (via the LeetKey addon for Firefox: hilight the text, then — Edit/RMB > LeetKey > Text Transformers > Latin to L337) before converting it into Morse Code.

I have been using LeetKey for my ROT13 needs, but it can also do Morse Code conversions (re: comments 801, 805), and Leet (or in Leet, L337) &mdash from the name, I'd assumed that was the first thing it had been designed to do.

My unaided cryptographic skills are close enough to nil to make no difference.

#905 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 08:33 PM:

Terry, thanks.
(My normal mode for dealing with trolls has an extreme pH value, in either direction. I have to work to not be nasty to them little dears.)

#906 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 09:53 PM:

Rob Rusick #903:
I did manage to decode that (using online resources), including the bit about kids these days txting in binary. My own cryptographic skills are equally limited; know about Riemann zeta functions from reading Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon".

#907 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 10:53 PM:

Soon Lee @906: That bit about the cool kids texting in binary was a bit of whimsy that Morse code had become hip — I have no evidence that it's true.

You could do an interesting steampunk cellphone with a telegraphy key as the whole of the keyboard.

#908 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Rob: that may well be the single best idea I have ever heard.

#909 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 01:44 AM:

Is this the right place to freak out about being on stage tomorrow? It'll be good, but audience!

Rob Rusick @ 907:

I haven't seen a cellular telegraph, but I do want a cellular rotary telephone.

#910 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 02:03 AM:

KeithS @ 909... Yes this is the place. This is the place for all occasions. For what occasion will you be on stage again?

#911 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 02:27 AM:

Serge @ 910:

I'm dancing a small part in my local ballet studio's production of Midsummer Night's Dream.

#912 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 04:27 AM:

KeithS @ 911... Congratulations!

#913 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 04:29 AM:

I am cautiously rejoicing about my work situation. Only a few hours ago, I learned that the incompetent and unqualified creature who is our manager and who undermined my professional situation and who thinks that making exceptions to procedures will lead to KAOS (due to the creature's lack of SMARTs) is being promoted to another group. I say 'cautiously' because it's always possible that the replacement creature will be even more incompetent and unqualified.

#914 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:06 AM:

KeithS, #911: (1) Cool! (2) GIF! GIF!

#915 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Jacque@848: Sounds like Robert Half's temp group is better than their perming operation, which around Boston is sometimes called Robert One-Eighth. I hadn't thought about multiple agencies for temps, but it makes sense. This contrasts to perms, at least, when I was beating the pavement 14-15 years ago, when the general advice was \not/ to hand a resume to every agency because most of them knew most of the available posts and hirers didn't appreciate getting multiple copies of your resume.

Rob@859: 2001 is not about evolution as it was then understood; it's about the inverse of the punctuation in punctuated equilibrium, and so has little to do with breeding. (An interesting lack of parallel; the upgraded apes \might/ be enough better within their own niche (e.g., getting food and blocking predators) to improve their immediate breeding chances, but I have trouble visualizing anybody getting hot over the Starchild.)

#916 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 05:29 PM:

OMG WTF hath God wrought?

#917 ::: fidelio sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 08:38 AM:

A classic of the genre!

#918 ::: Carrie S. sees definite spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 08:39 AM:

This one is quite blatant.

#919 ::: Dan Hoey sees ntrtnmnt src ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 08:42 AM:

The text of the spam is too good to lose:

I have noticed many changes in your blog and they are like improvements for you.
Who needs fortune cookies when we have blogspam?

#920 ::: Kevin Riggle sees possible spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2010, 04:13 PM:

...somebody's bot is regurgitating forum posts from elsenet?

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