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June 20, 2009

Comments on Open thread 126:
#1 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:09 AM:

shall doubtless come again with rejoicing

...after they ate Sir Robin's minstrel?

#2 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:17 AM:

First past the first post!

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Charlie @2:

With proportional comment representation, you could have contributed several words to Serge @1.

What would they have been?

#4 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:40 AM:

"Where is my vote?"

#5 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 11:02 AM:

I cried a lot at a lot of those links, but none more than the last one. There is hope for us, when compassion can endure even in the midst of such anger.

#7 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 11:38 AM:

Disproportionate post?

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 11:56 AM:

ate pots

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 11:57 AM:

had indigestion

#10 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 12:34 PM:

abi, great links! But one made me do a little more googling. Peter Fechter was shot three days after Rudi Arnstadt was killed by West German guards. Things are rarely as simple as one side presents them.

That Wikipedia article is worth reading just for the story about what happened to Hans Plüschke, the man who killed Arnstadt.

#11 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 12:46 PM:

will @10:
Things are rarely as simple as one side presents them.

In other news, the sun rises in the east.

#12 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 01:04 PM:

I bought a stove today! (For $50!) Now "all" I have to do is finish cleaning the kitchen, and I'll have a working kitchen when the gas is turned on on Monday!

Which is a roundabout way of saying that I could now technically cook a pot pie, as Serge's post free-associated in my mind; all I'd have to do is carry the stove up the stairs from my van. I could probably get the neighbor to help.

Mm. Pot pie.

#13 ::: Suzanne M ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Will @10: While it doesn't mention Arnstadt specifically, the video does say that the East German guards didn't move to help Fechter because they were afraid of being shot.

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 01:25 PM:

abi @ 11... Didn't John Wayne's Green Berets show the sun to also set in the east? Near Vietnam anyway. Ambrose Bierce once said that war is God's way to teach Americans about geography, but it looks like the Duke wasn't listening to the teacher.

#15 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 01:32 PM:

Suzanne @13, true. I didn't mean to imply the video was unfair. I was just surprised to learn about Arnstadt. Now I'm curious about the "deaths of another four East German border troops in quite a short time."

#16 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 01:45 PM:

And Wikipedia is my friend once again: Deaths of GDR border guards.

#17 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 02:13 PM:

Does "turn(ed) again" actually mean "turn(ed) against" in the main post?

#18 ::: Suzanne M ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Will @15: Ah, I see. Thank you for clarifying.

#19 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 02:28 PM:

126 = 2 * 3 squared * 7; two less than a power of 2; one less than a Mersenne prime, so says my partner Martin.

And hello to all from 4th Street Fantasy.

#20 ::: lauren ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 02:52 PM:

Yay hypertext art! I wish there were more of that around.

#21 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 02:57 PM:

126 is also the ASCII code for a tilde (~), the last printable character in the "original ASCII" range.

#22 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 03:55 PM:

126 is slightly more personal to me: it was my security badge number for entrance to my jobsite at the Naval Communications Station in Japan back in 72-74. It was my personal "chop" on all messages for which I had to confirm my activity (proofreading, tapecutting, receipt, transmission).

The circular loop at the bottom of the 2 led in an unbroken line to the downstroke of the 6; it looked like a fancy cursive H.

#23 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Hmm.
I don't remember the details that an eyewitness told me... some idiot in the US military stationed in Germany back in the late 1960s/early 1970s decided to take a walk one day--across the demilitarized zone, all the way into East Germany, and back. He didn't blow up, he didn't get shot, and the people on the western side of the border wondered from that if there really were landmines there--because, again, the fellow walked there and back, and didn't get blown up.

#25 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 04:26 PM:

These noted imperfections of old light,
enough to drive a god of patience mad,
tell us that death is not the lord of night.

On days like this the chance of change is slight
we take the hoped-for good with the hard bad;
these noted imperfections of old light

provide no proper guide for damaged sight,
nor helpful hand; though willing lass and lad
tell us that death is not the lord of night

since other forces keep their moments bright
and not all changes lead us to be sad.
These noted imperfections of old light

are simple facts, not signs of hurt and blight.
The signs that fate will catch up to foul cad
tell us that death is not the lord of night.

Our choices do not always turn out right
but we are still entitled to be glad.
These noted imperfections of old light
tell us that death is not the lord of night

#26 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 04:52 PM:

Earl @17:
Does "turn(ed) again" actually mean "turn(ed) against" in the main post?

It doesn't, it means that he turned it around, reversed it.

The New International Version renders it When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, with an alternative text of When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion.

#27 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:12 PM:

abi @ 11 ...
In other news, the sun rises in the east.

That explains so many things ...

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:19 PM:

abi #3: Are we talking list proportional comment representation or single transferable posting? And will you be using either the d'Hondt, the Sainte-Laguë, or the Hare quota?

#29 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:31 PM:

Fragano @28:
I think in this instance I would incline toward a list system, mostly because I am interested to see what lists would develop.

National loyalties would compel me to d'Hondt at this point, though it can be a bit of a dog's breakfast to administer. (Another argument against STV is that one ends up with the Hare quota, looking like a complete Burke. But I suppose it's hard Knox all around.)

#30 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:34 PM:

Glomming on to the open thread with a question.

I'm planning a program at the library, making LED Throwies, and I need about 25-50 leds and batteries. Radio Shack is expensive, and judging by the stock I saw today, it might be hard to come up with enough.

Before I chance ordering them over the internet, is there a good store in New York City that sells that sort of thing? Alternately, I'll take recommendations of places on the internet, but I'd prefer not to deal with shipping and time is getting tight.

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:50 PM:

abi @ 29... the Hare quota

I knew I should have toined left at Albuquoique.

#32 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #25: Nice!

#33 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:35 PM:

Jim McDonald, would you look at my most recent blog entry and tell me whether or not I'm out to lunch?

#34 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:35 PM:

Jim Macdonald, would you look at my most recent blog entry and tell me whether or not I'm out to lunch?

#35 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:50 PM:

abi #29: You're Belgian? This is what happens to American-Scots living in the Netherlands.

I incline towards STV because it provides proportionality while giving voters the ability to pick individual candidates. The Hare quota won't lead to close shaves, at least I d'Hondt think so.

#36 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:51 PM:

David Harmon #32: Thank you.

#37 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:58 PM:

No, John, you aren't out to lunch. In EMS we don't go for the most likely thing first, we go for the worst thing first -- the thing that'll kill the patient in the next five minutes. After we've either ruled it out or fixed it, we go on to the next one.

There was a similar case four years ago, almost to the day, in New Jersey. In that one the missing kids weren't found for two days, until they were located in the trunk of a car parked in the driveway next door.

In wilderness Search and Rescue, we start with the last known location, then search in a pattern out from there, covering the whole area, and physically looking in every place large enough to hold the person we're looking for.

Yes, there's a need to knock on doors, to find where everyone was standing at the time and see who saw what. But there's also a need to bring in algorithms from other specialties.

I expect a big part of it is everyone figuring "That's so obvious it must have already been checked." That's right up there with "Someone else must have called 9-1-1."

Everyone: Keep this in mind when you're looking. Maybe form three teams? One to knock on doors. One to sweep the area. One to check lift-threatening locations first before the sweep gets there, and before the door-knockers learn that was the last place someone was seen.

There have been some very sad cases.

#38 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:15 PM:

Thanks, Jim. I doubt myself when I get that "up on the soapbox" urge.

#39 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:25 PM:

The city of Bozeman, MT has rescinded a long-standing requirement that applicants for city positions provide their usernames and passwords on all social-networking sites.

What really boggles me about this is that they were apparently able to get away with this requirement for several years before anybody made enough noise for it to hit the media.

#40 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 11:47 PM:

Hilary @30 - if you don't find a local source, Mouser Electronics is your best internet source. [Link is to the LED category page] My husband regularly orders from them for small to medium quantities, and if they receive an order before 8pm they will ship the next day.

#41 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 11:56 PM:

Posting my own request for assistance: Does anybody know of a good document preservation/restoration service? Preferably in the Seattle or Portland area, but I'll take recommendations for good folks in other locations, too.

My mother has been going through old family photos and documents recently, and has several documents (approximately 100 years old, I believe all on parchment paper) that have been kept rolled up in a cylinder. They are all tightly curled, and one is cracked and torn in the middle. As she keeps pulling them out to show people, the rolling and unrolling is causing further damage. The others are in better shape, but since they all mean a lot to her I'd like to see about getting these properly preserved and mounted.

#42 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 12:20 AM:

James D. Macdonald @#37: And a completely different nasty incident from Australia: A teenage hiker was lost in the wilderness -- he called the "equivalent of 911" for rescue, but was told they couldn't do anything without a street address. (Did I mention wilderness?) He called 7 times before he died of thirst....

#43 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 12:56 AM:

Happy Solstice to all- which according to Spaceweather is about an hour away.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 01:00 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 43... Thanks for the reminder. Speaking of dates, does anybody remember what July 20 is about? If you don't, go to Turner Classic Movies's site and notice what's on their schedule that day.

#45 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 01:49 AM:

Serge@44: Nice touch.
http://twitter.com/ApolloPlus40 tweets the journey as it happened, although I don't think I'll be staying up to follow it on the day, or night, as it is.

#46 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 01:55 AM:

Fragano @36:
The Dutch use d'Hondt, though the Belgians invented it.

The Belgians have strong cultural pressures to invent really good voting systems to deal with a deeply divided electorate. They're the go-to guys on the subject, the way the Dutch are for water engineering.

(Interesting trivia via Wikipedia: Sainte-Laguë was also the guy whose back of the envelope calculation on bumblebees became the stuff of meme.)

#47 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 03:12 AM:

Saw an interesting looking wicker crate in the trash today. It was heavy. It turned out to contain enough tools to put a guy in a third-world sprawl city into the roadside motorcycle repair business.

I conclude that at least some of my neighbors are totally fucking stupid.

I guess I'll see if a friend or co-worker has an aspiring mechanic in the family.

#48 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:28 AM:

oliviacw @40 Thanks. That does look like a good site. I only dabble in electronics and the sites I was looking at were confusing and seemed to only sell in larger quantities than I needed. If I haven't found a good local source, I shall place an order at work tomorrow.

#49 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:35 AM:

abi #46: True, the Belgians do have a lot of pressure to have a good voting system. Doesn't seem to have helped much, though.

The Irish use the Droop quota for STV, even though it was invented by an Englishman, which says something.

Me, I was taught all this stuff by a Dutchman.

#50 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:39 AM:

I prefer the less-redundant traditional Jewish reading of:

then said they among the heathen,
The LORD hath done great things for them.

The LORD hath done great things for us;
whereof we are glad.

as

"then it was said among the other nations,
'is God glorified in working with these [downtrodden, miserable Jews? really?]'

God is glorified in working with us,
and therefore we are happy.

Which is closer, I think, to the Hebrew.

#51 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:43 AM:

Also, I should have noted that the psalm is written in an ambiguous tense that could also be future, not just past. So we tend to read it as a promise of the future final redemption, esp. since it was written allegedly by David c. 1000 BCE, over 400 years before the FIRST exile in 586 BCE, let alone the second in 70 CE.

#52 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:48 AM:

#42 David

That's hitting the press now, although the incident happened in 2006, because the inquest is recent.

I was astounded by one headline: Nothing could be done for David: survival medicine expert

But, on reading the story, I discovered that wasn't what the expert had said. He said:

"I doubt that oral water given to him would have been sufficient," Dr Luckin said.

But in cases of severe dehydration, I don't give oral water. It's IV all the way.

Yes, the 000 (Australian equivalent of 911) operators did screw up big time. But so did the people who designed the computer system they were working with:

The court heard the computer system used by the ambulance service had to be overridden if a caller did not supply an address.

Changes to the protocols regarding calls from remote locations still did not provide call operators with a set of questions to ask the caller.

The system did not alert operators if a call had been made before by the same person, unless they had given a street address.

I can see how that would have happened: You can't reach the "Name" screen until you've filled in the "Address" screen. And I can even see why it would have been designed that way: to get help rolling first, while you're getting the rest of the information. But with no "Skip" button on the screen, and no one even thinking about "What happens if it's from the middle of a forest?" everyone was caught up in a set of circumstances where they had to think way outside of their day-to-day routine and make decisions based on experience that they probably flat didn't have.

There was, apparently, lots of blame to go around: School denies knowledge of fatal hike

#53 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:52 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 47

I agree. People are stupid in what they'll throw away. We're several bookcases, filing cabinets, tables, chairs etc. richer for it (some actually rescued from skips; others were going free).

Hope you find someone who can make good use of the tools.

#54 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 10:41 AM:

Has anyone ever tried the Etsy feature where you solicit bids on having something made to order? This might be the best way for me to get that laptop bag I want in something that's not felt or quilt, but I don't know how it works in practice...

#56 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 12:14 PM:

For people who are Googling on the Australian case above, the lad's name was David Iredale. I've also learned that he was found 200 meters off the trail. Which isn't that far, but in a wilderness situation can be just as bad as 200 miles.

Always carry a whistle in your pocket. Really.

#57 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 12:23 PM:

The shows went well yesterday. I didn't mess anything up, and everyone danced very well indeed. The boy who played Puck definitely has a career in front of him if he wishes to take it, as do some of the young women.

I also landed smoke machine duty. Smoke machines are nasty things, but, when used judiciously, produce a good effect. This one performed its function, but also was a bit leaky. It was like having to deal with an incontinent dragon.

Sayeth Lee in the previous open thread: "GIF! GIF!"

I have jpeg of me from after the show. During was rather hard, as backstage isn't exactly the best place for photos.

#58 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 12:25 PM:

Stefan, #47: I had my partner, who is mechanically inclined, take a look at your tool picture, and he concurs with your thinking. There was a chance that the tools had been abandoned because they were cheap crap, but the only thing he says is below-quality there is the vice grips. The wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers are all of serviceable quality.

dcb, #53: It's not necessarily stupidity. We're in the process of serious decluttering, and have been freecycling a lot of stuff that's perfectly serviceable -- but not for us, for various reasons. And I have 3 small bookcases that I intend to replace eventually because the shelves are too small to hold anything but MMPBs; they're wood, and very nice, and I'll probably try to sell them on Craigslist first, but if they don't sell, they'll go to Freecycle too. And someone will probably say, "Why would anyone sane get rid of THOSE?"

#59 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 01:25 PM:

And now that I'm actually awake:

Fragano Ledgister @ 25:

Very nicely done.

Hilary Hertzoff @ 30:

As oliviacw says at 40, Mouser is pretty good for mail order. My suggestion would be to ask some students studying electrical engineering at a local university. Some of them should know of good, local electronics stores, which, unfortunately, seem to be a dying breed.

Stefan Jones @ 47:

One of the things I absolutely hate about where I live is that I occasionally see perfectly good furniture tossed in the dumpster. Some people set some chairs next to the dumpster, which means that I now have chairs for my kitchen table. But finding something otherwise nice that's had a chance to soak up the lovely dumpster juices is maddening.

#60 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 02:45 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #47, tomorrow is bulky pickup day here, and we put some old tired tubular aluminum deck chairs (vinyl straps broken but frames functional) by the side of the street yesterday afternoon. We're replacing them with high-backed solid plastic chairs which currently cost less than finding someone to restrap the existing chairs would.

I went out to get the papers this morning and all four of them were gone.

#61 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 02:58 PM:

KeithS @59 That would be a lovely idea if I actually lived in NYC. I would have made a special trip in from Westchester County if someone had come up with a good source. I suspect I'll just end up going with Mouser.

#62 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 03:38 PM:

Stefan Jones #47: It turned out to contain enough tools to put a guy in a third-world sprawl city into the roadside motorcycle repair business.

Perhaps the wicker basket was a casualty of a domestic dispute?

#63 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 03:49 PM:

Lee@58: is a vice grip something you buy at Good Vibrations? If so, I can understand tossing a cheap one; the results of a tool failure could be ... unfortunate.

#64 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 04:13 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 61:

Now that I think about it a little more, you might also want to look at what American Science & Surplus has to offer. Again, mail order.

#66 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 04:34 PM:

#62, Domestic Dispute Theory: Could be!

Apartment complexes should be pushing Freecycle and Craig's List. Every time a tenant renews a lease, they get a "what do do with your junk" flyer.

It would cost them a few bucks in photocopying fees. They'd more than make up for that in reduced trash fees and work for the staff.

#67 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 04:45 PM:

When my dad did throwies, he went with the places the Make article said, and had no problems. We do have quite a lot of LEDs still around, though-- it's handy for get-togethers when people get bored.
I have a huge soft spot for American Science and Surplus for no good reason, just that they exist. If you have a big university around, you might also see if they have an electrical engineering shop of their own. UIowa does, and it's not quite the cheapest batteries in town (that would be Biochem Stores across the river).

#68 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 05:19 PM:

Lee @ 58
I don't object to e.g. Freecycle - it's a great idea, and we all have things which we no longer need, for whatever reason. It's the people who skip (dumpster) things without seeming to consider that they're whole and servicable and could be used by someone that irritates me.

#69 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 05:34 PM:

James MacDonald@56

I've also learned that he was found 200 meters off the trail. Which isn't that far, but in a wilderness situation can be just as bad as 200 miles

It seems he was in the Blue Mountains, most of which is pretty open forest, so 200m really isn't very far.

I can testify that given the good visibility in open sclerophyll forest it is tempting to try to head in a straight line rather than along the paths. This can sometimes be a really bad idea, since the cliffs and gullies in places like the Blue Mountains are very steep and often have impenetrable spiky bushes in key locations.

The Blue Mountains are day-trip distance from Sydney, and are not very high at all -- the highest point is at about 3000ft and the ridge-to-valley height goes up to about 2000ft. It still took 15 or so years of repeated attempts for the early settlers to find a way through the mountains [they didn't try asking the locals], and parts of them are sufficiently inaccessible that the 'living fossil' Wollemia nobilis [a grove of quite large trees], escaped notice until 1994.

#70 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:00 PM:

KeithS, #57: *wolf-whistle* Very piratical! That outfit would blend in perfectly well at a con.

CHip, #63: Obviously, a vice grip is something you use to keep your vices at arm's length.
*grumble* can't believe I missed that on preview *grumble*

#71 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:06 PM:

Lee @ #70, wouldn't a vice grip be something you carry your vices in?

#72 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:11 PM:

KeithS @64 and Diatryma @67 American Science and Surplus it is. They've got leds by the dozen in assorted colors which will be perfect.

The nearest universities are a few towns over, so electrical students are few and far between.

We're in a temporary location, so I don't want to have too many leftovers (though they'll be handy for future programs).

But I like to do this sort of program, so the sites will come in handy in the future.

#73 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:12 PM:

Lee @ 70:

I didn't see anything wrong with that, but then I spell tyre-the-round-thing-what-goes-on-wheels with a 'y' and storey-the-level-of-the-building with an 'e', too. But color without a 'u'. I think I need help.

And, er, thank you for the compliment. I don't think I'd wear near as much makeup for a con, though.

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:26 PM:

KeithS #59: Thank you.

#75 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:29 PM:

Wow. So far the ABC Merlin series is really horrible. Unidentified kid just walks right into the castle, asking the guard where the Court Physician is. They point and let him walk right on by.

Poor Anthony Head. He's a fine and loathsome Uther Pendragon, but gods this is bad.

#76 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Xopher, I think that's how you can tell it's fantasy.

#77 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:52 PM:

It's all just so heavyhanded. Arthur is a total thug, of course. Morgana tells Uther he shouldn't outlaw magic.

And, of course, it's nothing like the Arthurian canon. Merlin is younger than Arthur in this version.

Oh, and right now the two medieval guards are shooting craps with modern plastic dice.

#78 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:11 PM:

Me 75: So far the NBC Merlin series is really horrible.

FTFM

#79 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:15 PM:

AAARRRGGH. He called the King "your Highness" and Arthur "Sire"!!!!!!

#80 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 10:03 PM:

I watched ABC for a while instead. Miniseries called Impact. Big meteor hits the Moon, then things get really bad for people on Earth.

This movie isn't just stupid, it's painfully stupid. No one with rudimentary knowledge of astronomy or physics was allowed to get anywhere near the screenplay.

The trailer will tell you all you need to know. Starting out, it looks like this will be a routine disaster movie. Then it gets weird. Brain cells die by the millions.

Very few movies or TV shows get the science perfect. Quite a number try, and fall short.

For this film, nobody even bothered.

#81 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 10:17 PM:

"Tournament" duels with live steel. Death-blows never connect, but the loser of each fight gets knocked out. Every time. No blood.

#82 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 10:22 PM:

Bill Higgins #80:

Here is a PublishAmerica author claiming that Impact infringes on their book.

#83 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 10:55 PM:

BWAH-HAH-Hah-hah! Pitiful live TV viewers! I have hours and hours of DVRd stuff to work through. (Alas, not enough to last until Mad Men starts up again.)

But seriously, thanks for the heads-up on Merlin. The setup, as described in the TV listings, sounded way dumb but I was going to check out the first episode out curiosity.

#84 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Discussion of moderation in the OT at Orcinus.

#85 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 11:07 PM:

Xopher, Emma watched all of the first season of Merlin, then showed me the "best of" starting with, I think, the fifth. The best ones have a goofy charm. Whether the show's been made even worse for ABC, I dunno.

#86 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 01:48 AM:

Xopher— I particularly liked how Merlin's mother, from the small town, was writing a letter to the king's physician. As though writing were something anyone could do, of course...

Just finished a run of Ruddigore. We're lucky enough to have a rich patron who makes it possible for us to have a full orchestra. Gilbert & Sullivan is unfairly maligned, in my opinion, by too many years of inept tinkly piano backing.

Incidentally, this is the most fun I've had in a production in years. You might be able to guess why.

#87 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 01:59 AM:

B. Durbin @ 86:

G&S are not unfairly maligned by me. My only complaint is that I haven't heard enough of it.

Those costumes look wonderful.

#88 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 02:16 AM:

I caught part of an episode of Merlin when I was visiting England last fall. My expectations were low - I was assuming it would be Arthur by way of Xena - and yet I was still annoyed. First by just plain sloppiness (I'm with you Xopher - inappropriate Your Highnesses and Sires are the verbal equivalent of zippers on knitted chain mail) and then I found myself griping about the scrawny whiny emo-Arthur, much like my bitching about the latest Robin Hood. I had to turn the TV off before I got to the point where I might shake my cane and yell at those kids to get off my lawn.

I am old.

I have been enjoying True Blood though. And finally going back and watching all those episodes of ST:TOS - and not just the same 5 episodes that Sci Fi shows on ST marathons - has been enlightening.

#89 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 02:25 AM:

nerdycellist @ #88, I've read all the books in the other series that Charlaine Harris has written (Aurora Teagarden, Harper Connelly, and Lily Bard) but haven't read any Sookie at all. I guess I should start if I want to be at all conversant with True Blood fans, since we don't pay for HBO. Not because we sneer at it, but because for years it had no movies we ever wanted to watch.

#90 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 02:26 AM:

Bill (&c) @80, Ah Impact in the wild! Phil Plait & commenters at Bad Astronomy blog ripped many slimy gobbets of thick encrustations of stupid/wrong & ‘Huh? What!?’ off it here, just from trailers. Hope money not wasted bringing it out here.

Merlin has been on commercial free-to-air in Australia a month or more. Trailers looked Quite Silly. On actual viewing Very Silly Indeed. Maybe OK if brain turned off, or assuming AU Arthurian. Worrying that for some might replace actual Matter of Britain, & ‘true’ legends/folktales [cue discussion]. I've plenty other nice things to spend time with; less nice I need to. *zooms elseweb for work, guiltily*

#91 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 02:31 AM:

Dear Designer:

I'm sure you think that your shiny new neat thing is the best thing since sliced bread, but quite frankly I'd rather have my sliced bread than this artistic concoction you've inflicted on me, and I can't digest.

Could you stop being shiny and start being useful again?

Thanks.

#92 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 03:18 AM:

Impact: Never let the facts interfere with a good story Special Effect.

#93 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 05:52 AM:

Bill Higgins @80: See here for an interview with the leader actor where he explains the "science" of the story:

"A brown dwarf is the remnant of a dead star," Elliott said. "When a star dies, it packs itself into very, very compressed matter, to steal a line from the film. What happens is this big hunk of dead star hits the moon, and it has the reverse polarity. So it knocks the moon off its axis and changes its polarity. So now it's on a more narrow axis, and it and the Earth are pulling each other closer and closer. We start getting anomalies with gravity lapsing when the moon passes closes to the Earth on its elongated orbit. Gravity ceases to be and people start floating, cars float, the tide change, like going from a 6-foot tide to a 45-foot tide. So there are all kinds of disasters happening."

Err. Yeah. Or something like that.

#94 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 07:20 AM:

B. Durbin @86: Ruddigore = Best. G&S. Ever. Congratulations! [Walks away whistling "O happy the lily when kissed by the bee...."]

#95 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 07:48 AM:

Jules (#93) "Err", indeed.
Fascinating how it approaches close to what we suspect may be reality-based, then — whoosh — veers off, rather in an epicyclic manner.

Mental scars from the recent Robin Hood series caused extreme wariness upon spotting Merlin trailers. Someone said "life is too short to stuff a mushroom"; this mushroom of a series is fairly stuffed, and I won't fill what life's left with it. This here Fluorosphere may be mushy OTOH, but comes stuffed to the gills with a sweet 'n' savoury goodness not altogether false. Though such shows can be of interest looking back later, to see what assumptions, blinkers, fashions of our time we put onto others. Like that 'Christmas in the Year 2000' print from 1900 linked round Yule last year.

#96 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 09:15 AM:

I had a wonderful time watching the Skype Laughter Chain video.

The last woman in the original video, Nassima, was discovered during the live taping of a French talk show, when she had the entire panel weeping with mirth. She was in the front row and they overheard her. She has since brought much happiness to YouTube users everywhere.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:37 AM:

KeithS @ 57... You know, that photo SHOULD be posted in "Making Light and Faces". Really, it should. I insist.

#98 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:50 AM:

Linkmeister @#89 -

We got HBO for the Rome series and were about to cancel it when they announce True Blood. Now that they've started in on George RR Martin's epic, I may have to continue subscribing.

I love both the True Blood TV series and book series, but I've started seeing the TV show as visual fanfic. It's diverged somewhat from the book by adding and subtracting characters. Also, the books are first-person stories told from Sookie's POV. She's a much more fun and sympathetic character in the books.

The show is very dark - which I suppose the books are, too. But then, my imagination somehow elided over creepier stuff and I find myself occasionally somewhat squicked out by the show. Still awesome, but if you're going to Netflix the first season, don't watch while eating!

#99 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:59 AM:

Mark @ #94: It's even more fun when one of the guys has to leave and the directors (who don't want to change the set design) ask if you'd be willing to play a ghost.

Oh. YES.

(Get to sing one of the best songs in G & S ever, AND get a portrait that will be Halloween décor for years to come? Britches, here I come!)

#100 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 11:34 AM:

Serge @ 97:

If you do want to use that photo, please at least use this version, which has the red-eye removed. I look a little less evil that way.

I'm sure I could dig up a reasonably recent photo where I'd be recognizable on the street instead of on the stage if you want.

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 12:06 PM:

KeithS @ 100... Nothing wrong with looking EEEEEEEEEVILLLLLLLLLLL. That less EEEEEEEEEVILLLLLLLLLLL photo should be up in the gallery tonight. Under letter 'K'.

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 12:40 PM:

KeithS @ 100... You're now part of the Making Light criminal lineup, which begins here.

#103 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Serge @102: How lovely to be able to put faces to names!

I also realize that the Fluorospherians who pop up every now and then in my dreams look nothing like their real-life counterparts. Maybe the former are the Other Fluorospherians (although I didn't spot any button eyes.)

#104 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 12:55 PM:

Pendrift @ 103... Oh, that's because the button eyes are usually photoshopped away by Mary Dell.

#105 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 12:59 PM:

Serge @ 101 and 102:

I try to look not evil; it gives me a much easier time of actually being evil. Would it be possible to redo the preview thumbnail, though? It cuts me off at the chin. Although, given the quote at the bottom, it could be interpreted as a rather drastic red-eye removal method.

(Note to Livejournal: putting the previous/next links at the top of the page when people have to scroll down to see everything is really, really stupid.)

#106 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 01:09 PM:

KeithS @ 105... I'll chop you off a bit at the legs, but I can do that only on my home computer, which is... not surprisingly... back home. I'll do the depedestration tonight.

#107 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Is it OK if I toot my own horn here?*
On Saturday, my parish choir had our annual fundraiser. This year's theme was Rogers & Hammerstein (ugh. hate). Here's a low-quality video of me singing "No Other Love Have I". I'm pretty proud of how it turned out, especially since I was worried I might have to lower the key one or two steps down just two nights before.

A word of warning - while the audio's not bad, the video itself is tragically boring; you can't see any of my expressions. Also, skip to the 1:20 point or so, unless you're interested in hearing ST:TNGs Lt. Cmdr Shelby introducing me.

* I was going to say "pimp myself", but that didn't sound right.

#108 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Parsing the sidebar multiblog ad as a run-on sentence:

John Keats, Sleep In Which In A Manner of Speaking I Just Want To Bleed Most Popular Amazon Purchases Q2 2009

#109 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 01:54 PM:

nerdycellist @ 107:

This seems to be performance season. That sounded great.

#110 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 02:19 PM:

Erik:
Not one of his more popular poems.

#111 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 02:40 PM:

Calling for help for a friend. The owner of Pegasus Publishing is in the process of moving from Sherman to Trenton, TX. He has also just found out that he has a slightly-torn rotator cuff, which is going to severely limit his ability to do heavy lifting just when he needs to pack up his trailer. Anyone in the Dallas area who

1) would like to earn some money doing hard physical labor, or
2) knows anyone else who would be interested, or
3) knows where he can hire some day-labor people who speak at least broken English (he has no Spanish)

please contact him: info AT pegasuspublishing DOT com.

#112 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 02:46 PM:

Good God, that Impact trailer hurt my brain. I usually like campy skiffy flicks, but there's a limit. (I've really gotten tired of it being night everywhere in the world at once.)

Looks like some pretty pictures, though.

In other news: hot water! I still can't move into the carriage house, because my dad helped me tear the wall out of the bathtub to fix the faucet, but ... getting closer!

#113 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 03:24 PM:

Today I heard Garrison Keeler's Writer's Almanac.

It was a revelation: (for those who don't know it's a mon-friday feature. A featured writer, some other writers; with less detail, and a poem).

First, I usually dislike the poems. Even when he chooses one I like for content, his delivery irritates me. Today he managed to avoid both of those by, of all things, having a poem by an author I don't like (John Updike, on baseball).

The featured author was... Dan Brown. The explanation of how he started writing was illuminating: He was on vacation, devoured a Sheldon novel and decided he could do that too.

Next was Octavia Butler! With a better thumbnail of her career/self. Last was Erik Maria Remarque (who's birthday it would have been. If I'd not been lost in Squee about Octavia I'd be able to remember if today is her birthday too. If it is.. YAY! Happy Birthday. If it isn't, then save it up until it rolls around again on the guitar).

Strange moments in everyday life. Went out to supper with my dad, sisters, step-mother (they are divorced now, but family is strange), and some other people. One of the other people knocked my new OBEV (to me, rummage sale score; good condistion, $.25) off the counter.

She said, "I think I knocked something down," I said, "Oh, that was my book."

"Oh, you read," in tone much as one might comment that a dog spoke. It was bizarre.

Then she refused to believe I was my sister's brother (she insisted on thinking I was someone from UT, whom my sister was dating). When I said I was he brother I got a dismissive hand-wave, and, "Oh yes, I KNOW all the family."

Oi.

(I checked, it is her birthday. This is the link to the text: after 22 June you will have to go back to find it. If you want to hear it, there's a link but I don't know how long it lasts)

Baseball

It looks easy from a distance,
easy and lazy, even,
until you stand up to the plate
and see the fastball sailing inside,
an inch from your chin,
or circle in the outfield
straining to get a bead
on a small black dot
a city block or more high,
a dark star that could fall
on your head like a leaden meteor.

The grass, the dirt, the deadly hops
between your feet and overeager glove:
football can be learned,
and basketball finessed, but
there is no hiding from baseball
the fact that some are chosen
and some are not—those whose mitts
feel too left-handed,
who are scared at third base
of the pulled line drive,
and at first base are scared
of the shortstop's wild throw
that stretches you out like a gutted deer.

There is nowhere to hide when the ball's
spotlight swivels your way,
and the chatter around you falls still,
and the mothers on the sidelines,
your own among them, hold their breaths,
and you whiff on a terrible pitch
or in the infield achieve
something with the ball so
ridiculous you blush for years.
It's easy to do. Baseball was
invented in America, where beneath
the good cheer and sly jazz the chance
of failure is everybody's right,
beginning with baseball.

#114 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Speaking of theater: The local high school theater festival is kicking in, and the Oklahoma! production my son is in is being revived. BUT-- due to some tenuous-to-the-point-of-being-basically-nonexistent relationship the director supposedly has with the people putting on the festival, they aren't allowed to mount the show in their home school. So theoretically, as we speak, it's all being moved to another school, several miles away. Grrrr......

#115 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:26 PM:

Terry, #113: Re baseball, I prefer Christine Lavin's take on it. Not to mention Peter, Paul, and Mary.

#116 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Speaking of theater: A friend has a problem.

Her niece has been recommended to a week-ling class in N. Hollywood. The family can afford the class, but rooming is a problem. They are hoping to find someplace near by with a spare room/couch.

She can make her own way (one way, or another) to/from the class.

Niece is 16, and said to be very level-headed. The friend I know well, and trust her judgement. If anyone here can help, contact me at my "firstname.lastname" at gmail.

#117 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:36 PM:

Terry: I'm not a big Updike fan, but I like that poem, and it seems an ideal fit for Keillor's delivery. (Warning: Updike wrote a very fine poem about the death of a dog that I read once years ago, and wish with all my heart I hadn't.)

I very much hope that the book-sneering lady who won't believe your own account of who you are kin to is not attached in any lasting way to anyone you're going to be spending time with in the future.

#118 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:38 PM:

KeithS @105: You should hang out with me. As far as I can tell, my aura shouts, "If anyone around here is up to no good, it's HER!" which makes me the perfect person to hang out with when you're plotting evil. It's one of my superpowers.

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 05:11 PM:

Velma @ 118... That doesn't sound like the aura of this Velma. Must be another Velma.

#120 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 05:27 PM:

Said woman is not in my regular orbit of company.

I forgot (though the birthday wishes still apply) that Octavia, like Herr Remarque, is dead too.

Ave atque vale, and all that.

Was still squee to hear her talked about on the radio.

#121 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 06:00 PM:

I don't think I seem evil, but I do tend to be the weird, brainy one in my physical friendset. I have been told I seem very prim and proper, to the point that people are shocked, SHOCKED! when I curse.

Which means, I think, that I am the perfect front for the evil overlord. I even bring brownies into work sometimes.

#122 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 06:11 PM:

Diatryma @ 121... We'll have to take your word for it as there is no photo of you in the Gallery. Hint hint...

#123 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 06:49 PM:

You've seen the "...and then Buffy staked Edward. The End" shirt. Now you can see the movie.

#124 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 07:02 PM:

John @ 33: Emphasizing the quick search of the most dangerous areas is always a good idea. A lot of local and small scale search and rescue is based on that very idea.

There is a large nursing home near where I grew up on the edge of the Minnesota River valley. In the mid '70s there were no fences keeping some the residents from wandering into the (for them) very dangerous river valley woods.

When this happened, the police would gather up us kids from the nearby neighborhood to comb the woods. The oldest of the kids would form a flying squad with the police reservists to sprint ahead and check the places where the kids knew the worst pitfalls lurked. The rest of us followed in a more traditional line, beating the bushes... It worked well. They finally fenced the property about '78...

#125 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 07:20 PM:

Major train crash in DC area; the fire chief just reported 50 green tagged, 12 yellow tagged, 2 red and 4 black tagged.

#126 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Lee @ #115, both Lavin and PPM imply that they were pretty bad players, so right field was the place for them.

I had a memory.

#127 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 08:19 PM:

Following up to Ginger, first train was stopped, they don't know why, and the trailing train went under the last two cars of the first train. Firefighters are still looking through the trains for people.

#128 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:27 PM:

glass art:
http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-0622-randyland-pictures,0,6420618.photogallery?1

#129 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:34 PM:

Serge, just about the only picture of me that is online, just of me, and does not make me look like a mole is my Facebook profile (Catherine Krahe). Steal if you wish. I still look kind of mole-like.

#130 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 11:27 PM:

Terry Karney @113: Re: Baseball. The poem exactly describes why I preferred soccer.

#131 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 11:39 PM:

OMG, Lee @ 123, that is fantastic! My daughter's going to love that when she gets back to the States and online. (She and I are Twilight LOLfans - she's actually made it through the book; I made it through the Cliff Notes.)

#132 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 11:54 PM:

Rob: I like soccer, I love baseball.

Soccer is a grind. I have the stamina, but the work is constant.

Baseball is more intense, but semi-episodic. Each pitch has you up on your toes, leaning to the direction the batter seems to be placing the ball.

Then it goes somewhere else; or it doesn't.

That's the spotlight Updike mentions. In those moments time stands still, and it's you, and the ball. Be it a moment at the plate; and the sweet feel of the the meat of the bat hitting the ball, or the floatig moment when the arc of the ball and the cup of the glove are about to come together.

Like swordplay, it's zen.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 12:24 AM:

Here are Diatryma and KeithS, both reasonably properly frame in "Making Light and Faces" although KeithS's feet had to be severed.

#134 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 12:43 AM:

P J Evans @ 128: That glass sculpture is gorgeous. I somehow don't have quite as much faith in its wind and earthquake resistance as the artist.

#135 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:02 AM:

"the deadly hops" in the second stanza refers to generic stadium "beer", right? heh.

#136 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:07 AM:

Well, if you're soliciting photos, Serge, I suppose my profile pics should do, but the really interesting recent one (putting on dead Baronet makeup) is on my camera, which I appear to have left at my parents' place.

Or you could just use the second portrait in the Ruddigore album referenced above. I only changed my jawline a tiny bit to make it more masculine— it's rather square already.

On the theater note, those of you who perform, what do you think when you see a tape of yourself? Most of the people I know hate to watch themselves on stage. What I think is "My god, I really am the tallest woman on stage." (I'm only 5'9", with mandatory 2" heels on top of that, but for some reason everybody else we've cast for the last several years is 5'6" and below.)

#137 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:18 AM:

B. Durbin -

Unlike 15 years ago (when I wasn't actually fat) I no longer watch video of myself and fret about being a lardass. I was struck by that last video not so much by my fatness as my Substantial-ness. I look pretty solid, and yet still not as much like a big dude in a dress as I had feared.

Otherwise, it's a bit tough. I had to learn stage presence; it did not come naturally. However, all video of me on stage I am performing for an audience and not a camera. I always freak out about how unconvincing I am. Mostly, I've tried not to watch before a performance, so as not to second-guess myself.

#138 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:27 AM:

B. Durbin: I am astounded at how slim and insubtantial I seem.

#139 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 02:23 AM:

I've never liked the sport of baseball. Slow and boring. Going to a baseball game is a lot like fishing: It's a good excuse to find a nice shady spot and read a book.

And yet the odd thing is... I like baseball fiction. Perhaps it's because a good writer is able to add a human element to the action/inaction on the field.

#140 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 04:28 AM:

Serge, you can grab one of the pics here if you like.

B. Durbin, I don't even like seeing myself in pictures, let alone video. Our choir stages operas every two years, and I'm perfectly happy to be in the chorus. The dressing-up part is great fun, and I don't feel self-conscious when I'm on stage, but watching recordings makes me cringe.

#141 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 05:53 AM:

The BBC's motoring programme. Top Gear, is not exactly respectable. It's very much in "toys for the boys" mode.

One of the common features is some sort of race or challenge involving the three presenters using different vehicles. Sometimes this can get rather silly.

Sunday night. it was London to Edinburgh using the technology of 1949.

The fastest production car in the world: the Jaguar XK120.

The fastest motorbike: the Vincent Black Shadow.

And, paradoxically, not the fastest railway locomotive of 1949, but the newest British locomotive of 2009: The Peppercorn class A1 Pacific Tornado.

Despite much manly coal shovelling on the part of Jeremy Clarkson, James May arrived first in the Jaguar. Richard Hammond, bow-legged and creaking, arrived much later.

Yes, it can seem a silly programme at times, but getting stuff like that is worth it.

#142 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 10:04 AM:

I've added B Durbin and Pendrift to "Making Light and Faces". Hmmm... Yesterday's addition of Diatryma and KeithS had the theme of Evillllllll in common. Today's theme appears to be pirates.

#143 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 10:13 AM:

The last time I was videoed on stage was high school, so it's been a while. I mostly remember noticing how long my hair is-- it doesn't seem very long most of the time, since it's all behind me-- and then paying attention to everything else onstage. I was in musicals and show choir, usually the chorus in the former, so I never got to see what was going on up front. Looking at pictures now, I am surprised at my smokin-hotness. I knew that would happen; I had a good cry in junior high that I was going to look back and see how beautiful I was, and hate myself for not taking advantage of it somehow.

Yeah, I was that kind of kid.

#144 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 10:25 AM:

Diatryma @ 146... Something like a decade or two ago(*), I was cleaning up some old stuff and came across my high-school student-association cards and realized how much I had let the perceptions of others affect my judgment of my physical appearance. Sure, I was a nerd inside, but my skin looked better than Martin Landau's in the Outer Limits episode "The Man Who Was Never Born".

(*) What does it say about me that I can actually say that? No, don't say it.

#145 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 10:50 AM:

Serge @#144 says: Something like a decade or two ago...What does it say about me that I can actually say that?

It says you have reached the age of reason.

Memory, maybe not so much, but reason, yes.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 11:52 AM:

Niall McAuley @ 145... I don't know if I've reached the age of reason(*), but I have reached enough of it to know it's better not to tell teammates that their way of handling our current big project is stupid.

(*) Is that the one that comes before the age of raisin, when we start getting wrinkled?

#147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 11:55 AM:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Today is the 15th anniversary of my saying that for the first time.

#148 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 11:57 AM:

Did you keep a straight face?

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 12:17 PM:

Niall McAuley @ 148... Oh, very much so, even the part about the Nation in a dirigible.

#150 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 12:25 PM:

Nations in Zeppelins!

I'd pledge allegiance to one of those, only there's been none for ages. I bet three will sail into view, just as soon as I give up waiting...

Damn, now I have to go and form a band called "Zeppelin Nation".

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 12:51 PM:

Niall McAuley @ 150... Nations in Zeppelins

...without ballooning deficits?

#152 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:02 PM:

I thought it was "one nation invisible".

#153 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:04 PM:

One nation inimitable.

#154 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:17 PM:

Wanna whole lotta proportional representation,
Wanna whole lotta proportional representation,
Wanna whole lotta proportional representation,
Wanna whole lotta proportional representation,

You been representin', baby, I've been votin'
All the good times, baby baby, are not representative of how we might expect your economic policies to average out in the long term, baby,

I'm gonna give you my vote (at least, my number one)...

#155 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Well, Serge, in years past I would congratulate you on the anniversary of your citizenship...Oh, what the heck, congratulations. Even though US citizenship isn't such a great prize anymore, I hope it will be again someday.

And..."I pledge a legions* to the flag of the United Skates of America. And to the republic for Witchit Stans**, one naked individual with liberty and just as for all."
___
*Didn't make sense to me, but I was obedient.
**No one ever explained who this gentleman was, or why the whole republic was for him.

#156 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 02:01 PM:

Niall, #154: *snork!*

#157 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Serge, #147: congratulations on the anniversary.

On other subjects: music reviewing & the internet.

"Crowdsourcing killed indie rock...you know why? Because crowds have awful taste. People have awful taste."..."It's not the music that's best; it's the music that the most people can stand."

#158 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 03:11 PM:

I am occasionally surprised that decisions I made a decade ago matter to me now. They are part of the same person I am. When did I get to be an adult? It's weird.

#159 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 03:32 PM:

...and to the Republic, for Richard Stans, one nation invisible...

(yes, I know it's "Under God", but when my parents said it in grade school, that phrase hadn't been invented/mandated yet.)

For more on Richard Stans and the Mondegreens...appearing occasionally in a Safire column near you.

#160 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 03:34 PM:

Serge— that pic is actually from Pirates of Penzance, and Frederic has just insulted all the daughters with the implication that they're homely.

#161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 04:06 PM:

Serge @147:
Congratulations! Happy anniversary!

American citizenship is a shareholding in a dream. The Pledge of Allegiance is a good summary of it.

Some of us have, at various points, found that dream painful, because the reality does not match up to it. And far too often, there are people who seem to be actively working to make matters worse. But the bitter disappointment that that engenders is a sign of love, too.

Don't let the native-born despair grind down your convert's fervor. We need you to remind us that people choose this citizenship, because that dream does matter.

and @149:
Liar. I bet there was at least one tear in your eye.

#162 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 04:12 PM:

Tee Hee. Even putting Top Gear into a sentence with ‛respectable’ amuses (Antonia @141).

Shadow is good, but fastest would be a Vincent Black Lightning (via Beesweb). Access to one: tricky.

#163 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 04:14 PM:

Old photos which make one look better than perhaps ever again: Me, 1968. I'm on the right, gazing into the middle distance (or looking to see if the bus has arrived; it's unclear).

For some reason (remember, even the Beatles wore ties on the Ed Sullivan Show) the guys in my high school occasionally put on suits and ties for no apparent reason. This day was one of my concessions to the trend (I don't think I owned a suit at that point; the sweater had to do).

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 04:21 PM:

abi @ 161 and others... Thanks.

There's a movie I saw a long time ago that had a line about the Pledge. I couldn't find that line, but found another from that movie.

"I love you like the Pilgrim loves the Holy Land, like the wayfarer loves his wayward ways, like the immigrant that I am loves America, and the blind man the memory of his sighted days."
- Arthur Penn's 1981 Four Friends

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 05:09 PM:

B Durbin @ 160... Corrected. Let me know if you want the caption further changed.

#166 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 05:45 PM:

Kangaroo Court.
John Roberts. Anton Scalia. Clarence Thomas. Mr Kennedy [I never remember his first name]. Samuel Alito. Fascists, bigots, misogynists, hypocrites, theocrats, and oathbreakers. They swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, but they are the champions of injustice, inequality, rampany cronyism, and protection and shielding of the likes of Cheney and Rove against lawsuits by their victims....

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Plame's Lawsuit Against Cheney, Rove

The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a civil lawsuit filed by Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, against Bush administration officials who were responsible for leaking her covert CIA status to the media and attacking her husband for accusing the White House of twisting prewar Iraq intelligence....

One day after Obama was sworn in, as he was signing executive orders ushering in what he called a new era of government openness, the Justice Department quietly filed a motion in federal court to dismiss [the]lawsuit [attempting to] force the Bush administration to recover as many as 15 million missing White House emails, including some from Cheney's office that special counsel Fitzgerald had subpoenaed in connection with the leak of Plame's identity.
....

Last Thursday, CREW revealed in newly released documents that the emails from Cheney's office [had disapppeared conveniently for avoiding the grand jury subpoena that Mr Fitzgerald was supposed to be the investigator who gathered evidence for.... seems to me that Mr Fitzgerald wasn't doing much in the way of due diligence, looking back the whole thing looks like an orchestrated sham whitehousewash....]

#167 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 05:49 PM:

#141 - spiffy. The one time I've travelled by "live steam" was on water, the R.M.S Segwun. There is a steam train near here, I've just never gotten the round tuit while it was running.

One of many interesting things is that they fire the boilers only once per season - in spring, they raise steam, then they keep the boilers hot until fall. I presume this involves banking the fires carefully for the night. Amusingly enough, the FAQ tells you that birthday candles are not allowed on board for fire risk reasons. Straining at gnats and swallowing camels, I think!

In my recent family trip to Dundee, I toured both Unicorn (1846 frigate, never rigged) and Discovery of south polar fame. Discovery no longer has engines, but when it did, they generated a mere 450 hp. Pictures from that will eventually be posted.

#168 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 08:04 PM:

B. Durbin @ 136:

Mostly I'm surprised they let me on stage in the first place.

I'm not sure I could ever watch video of myself. I already know I'm screwing so much up.

Serge @ 147:

Happy anniversary.

#169 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 08:51 PM:

Serge:

¡Buen quiceaños!

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 08:52 PM:

KeithS @ 168... I celebrated in the appropriately American manner tonight. Yes, that means I had a takeout turkey enchilada from a nearby Mexican restaurant of course.

#171 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 08:52 PM:

janetl, I suspect that a good windstorm could turn it into something suitable for making mosaics, or terrazzo. All those glass objects banging into each other ....

#172 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 09:23 PM:

Serge @ #170, that seems appropriate, since the ancestors of your town's inhabitants have been around a lot longer than the ancestors of most of the Anglos there. (Although I'm unclear about whether turkeys are indigenous to New Mexico.)

#173 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 09:33 PM:

Linkmeister @ 172... I think of turkey enchiladas as being another grand American tradition - fusion cuisine in the melting pot.

#174 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 12:59 AM:

#173 Linkmeister

I'm fairly certain that turkeys are indigenous to New Mexico. There are different species of them, I think, spread from Central America up through at least New England.

#175 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:10 AM:

Airships with sails!
(Tales of the Brass Griffin, banner ad from the Girl Genius page, shows one. So did an old Boskone T shirt.)

That, I posit, is impossible. Sailing works because you can control the boat by playing off forces that can be made to go in different directions (wind in the sail and the directional stability caused by the streamlining of the hull)

(The solar sailing that the outer-space visionaries dream of also works because solar wind and gravity go in different directions and you can play one off against the other.)

But the wind in the airship's sails will go in the same direction as the wind against the rest of the airship, so it will go the same way no matter how you set the sail. So how can you make that work?

This is wrong! This is impossible!

It's past my bedtime, so I am being cranky about unimportant things, but this has always been a pet peeve of mine.

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:17 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 174... I had forgotten, but there actually are wild turkeys in northern New Mexico. I also saw some on he north side of the Grand Canyon. Here is a flock of them, When we drove back, some time later, they had crossed to the other side.

#177 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:22 AM:

This is a note to sisuile, and anyone else who read Open Thread 119 back in February and saw my assurances that perlite doesn't look bad in flower beds. I was wrong. Sorry! I plead bad memory, and 5 months or so since I'd actively gardened. I wrote: "a moderate amount of perlite, well dug in and watered, doesn't seem to me to change the color of the soil much. It's a tiny percentage of the soil, and it turns a muddy brown color promptly."

Looking at my garden soil today, I have to say that the perlite, while somewhat muddy, is noticeable. Mind you, it's also fabulous for opening up heavy clay soil. I dug it into the beds when I first built them, along with some organic material. I've added a bit more perlite and organic material whenever I fluffed up a seed bed or added some plants. After 10 years of this, the areas that get changed a lot are so loose that you can use your hands instead of a trowel. That's starting from rock-hard clay. I know from experience in a previous Portland garden that adding organic material alone doesn't do this. The long growing season, mild winters, and damp climate means that organic material breaks down very quickly, leaving you back at pure clay.

I suspect that the mining and processing that produces perlite is probably bad for the environment, too. Sigh.

#178 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 04:28 AM:

Erik @175: There will of course be some directional stability provided by air resistance on the envelope. Nothing like as much proportionally as a boat in water, but the envelope will likely be substantially larger than most boats of equivalent weight. Therefore I can see a scheme working, although the sails will have to be substantially smaller proportionally.

#179 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 05:35 AM:

Serge @ 176

Can I make use of that picture for my work? With a photocredit of course. I don't have one of wild turkeys yet (I have a page for them, but no picture). It would become part of an electronic encyclopaedia on wild animal health and management (Wildpro).

#180 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 06:45 AM:

Re the cownose ray migration particle from Teresa...my first word on seeing it was "Escher".

#181 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:13 AM:

abi @ 180

Agreed. Beautiful.

#182 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:19 AM:

Erik #175: Well, there are also wing effects available, depending how things are arranged. And, of course, if you're taking about mystically airborne boat hulls, who knows how the true motive forces might interact with airflow?

#183 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:36 AM:

175: as long as there's some component of your course that's downwind, airship sails would help, wouldn't they? Agreed that they wouldn't work on their own as a means of propulsion.

At least it's better than Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars", which has a pair of characters flying an electric-engined dirigible which gets pushed off course by high winds. They don't have enough power in their fuel cells to steer upwind, but fortunately they have a cargo of windmill generators - they hang those over the side, so they turn in the wind, and connect them up to the engines. And viola!* More power!

*As in, I think this is a bit of a fiddle.

#184 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:40 AM:

For people who like theremins and/or people who like Super Mario Bros: Geek demos Theremin Super Mario game controller.

#185 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:02 AM:

dcb @ 179... Sure. I might still have the original large-sized photo lying around on a chip if you want that.

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:10 AM:

ajay @ 183... this is a bit of a fiddle

Trying to cello a bill of goods again?

#187 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:25 AM:

Serge @186: Isn't that a bass-less accusation?

#188 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:48 AM:

#176 Serge
Two or three years ago, as I headed off to Thanksgiving Day dining with relatives, there was a hen turkey walking on the side of the road by a small river, which I drove past. It was quite ironic.....

Deb Geisler and Mike Benveniste used to have an entire flock of turkeys that roosted in her yard at night. There was a NESFA meeting at their house where at dusk, the turkeys took off from a running start downhill and then flew up, sometimes managing to land and stay on the tree branches they were aiming at to perch in for the night--half the time they went "thunk" and didn't quite catch hold well enough (if they actually managed to actually even grab onto the branch with their claws) and fell off, and had to try to again.... they were NOT graceful in those endeavors, they were very ungainly!

#189 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:57 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 188... I take it that the hen turkey was walking in the direction opposite to the one in which you were driving.

When I was living in the Bay Area, I once saw a peacock and his hens going down the street. Luckily they used the sidewalk.

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:58 AM:

Salon.com's Stephanie Zacharek about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen...

Giant robots battle it out (and hump Megan Fox's leg) in this loud and clumsy summer spectacular
#191 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:08 AM:

I thought the second Transformers movie was better than the first: less teenage "humour", more giant robot battles.

Still too much shakycam, though.

#192 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:14 AM:

File under Wait, that's not what we meant!

SKY news are currently running a loop of some dude in Miami saying portentiously: "On the streets of Miami, an AK-47 is cheaper to buy than a Playstation".

My 8 year old son's reaction: "Hey! Cool!"

#193 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:26 AM:

Keep your 8-year-old the frell out of Miami, Niall!

Not that you need telling, of course.

#194 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:36 AM:

How the heck much do Playstations cost on the streets of Miami anyway?

(And why would you want to buy a Playstation on the streets anyway? You don't know where it's been....)

#195 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:55 AM:

Serge @ 185

That would be great. I'll use it at low-res (about 50KB) but starting with the larger version would allow me to crop it to show the birds in more detail, as well as using the whole picture. Please could you e-mail it to dbourne (at) wildlifeinformation (dot) org (higher file size limit than my other e-mail) and indicate how you want your Photographer/Copyright to appear?

Re. peafowl, we used to have a flock which for a while would set off daily walking up the pavement (sidewalk) a few hundred yards, then turn, wander into a garden, and make their way back home down through all the gardens. Most people liked them, luckily; a few didn't and occasionally complained of flower damage.

#196 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 12:07 PM:

dcb @ 195... I just wrote a note to remind myself to look up the photo tonight.

#197 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 12:14 PM:

KeithS @ #184, I think that is the coolest thing I have ever seen. *dies of geekitude*

#198 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 12:14 PM:

Ajay #183: Ouch! And I thought KSR was doing hard science fiction!

For those who haven't yet figured out the goof here -- there are problems with both the Third Law of Motion, and conservation of energy. Lacking an external counterforce, you can't draw enough power from a wind, to move against that same wind. (Boats tacking against the wind get the needed counterforce from the inertia of the water around them.)

#199 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 12:21 PM:

dcb: Want me to look and see if any of my turkey shots are decent?

Any other birds you need pictures of?

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 12:54 PM:

dcb... I expect that Terry has more savage-poultry photos than I do, and they're easily likely to be much better.

#201 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Terry, how many Wild Turkey shots have you taken? Don't you have trouble steadying the camera?

#202 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:09 PM:

Ginger@187

Careful. You can get in treble for saying things like that...

#203 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Michael I @ 202... Are you saying that Ginger's words could cause some people to resort to violins?

#204 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:23 PM:

What's the mortality rate from video gaming?

#205 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:26 PM:

I've been incommunicado recently, as I am in the middle of my Summer of Much Travel and No Weekends (and, in fact, I'm only writing this because my flight to ORD was delayed two and a half hours).

However, this seems like an excellent place to say that, if you are not already subscribed to Michael Roberts's blog about his house, you should be. It's really fun to read how Michael approaches problems, deals with them, and thinks about what to do next. And this from someone who has zero interest in home remodeling.

[this has been an unsolicited endorsement]

#206 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:29 PM:

James D. Macdonald #194:
(And why would you want to buy a Playstation on the streets anyway? You don't know where it's been....)

For that matter, you don't know where the AK-47 has been, either. That would be more of a worry, it might have been used in a crime. "Gee Officer, I didn't kill that guy, I just bought the gun from a stranger on the streets of Miami".

I doubt things would turn out well.

#207 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:32 PM:

Oh, also - the ISS captured photos moments after a volcano exploded.

#208 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:37 PM:

John Houghton writes: That would be more of a worry

Apparently not, if you're eight.

#209 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Xopher: You just put the cap on, and use the bottle in lieu of a monopod.

#210 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Just over a month to WorldCon, and I'm starting to get bouncy with...er...anticipation. (I started to say "excitement", but I couldn't resiste the other.)

How many of you good people might I encounter in Montreal?

#211 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 01:49 PM:

kayjayoh @ 210... I'll be there, helping Kathryn from Sunnyvale with the Friday night "Making Light" gathering.

#212 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 02:05 PM:

I, sadly, can't afford it. Sigh... I was planning on it, but this year has been quite different from expectations.

If I had a ride, I think I could manage it, so it's more a matter of logistics.

#213 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 02:41 PM:

I won't be at Worldcon this year; I'm going to Alaska this summer instead (in July, not August, but I can't swing both).

#214 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 02:50 PM:

Terry Karney @ 199

As opposed to indecent???

Seriously, I have a whole list - can I e-mail it to you? I know you take good pictures.

#215 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 03:01 PM:

The only SF convention for me this year is probably going to be ArmadilloCon in mid-August.

#216 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 04:08 PM:

I'll be at Anticipation, wondering shyly and hopefully whether mostly-lurkers can go to the Making Lumière party, too, and bask in the glow of y'all's brilliance.

#217 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 04:13 PM:

SylvieG @ 216... Of course.

#218 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 04:20 PM:

Just wanted to say Teresa's Particle on Buffy v. Edward is AWESOME. I must confess I'm not the least bit interested in the Twilight saga, and if the dialogue spouted by the Edward character is representative of the dreck, my lack of interest appears justified.

And debcha @ 207--thanks for the link to the volcano photos! Truly wonderful...

#219 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 04:48 PM:

debcha--

Thanks for the reminder about that blog, which I'd meant to bookmark and forgot about.

It makes me feel much more sanguine about the home renovations I'm currently living through. (Though I will be delighted when there isn't a new toilet sitting in the dining room, waiting to be installed and an old toilet sitting--disassembled--in the kitchen.

#220 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 04:49 PM:

debcha, #205: Seconded -- I've been enjoying it as well. And @207: AWESOME.

I will not be at Worldcon this year; much as I'd like to visit Montreal, we can't afford to do it as fans, and the Customs-related* risk for dealers is unacceptably high. Therefore, I will be attending the North American Discworld Convention in Phoenix**, and my partner will be running one of the Pegasus Publishing booths at DragonCon.

I have a few Fluorosphere buttons left, which will be turned over to our Gracious Hosts at FiestaCon. There will probably not be time for us to make more due to our schedule over the next couple of months.

* Not Canadian customs, but the American side. There have been several documented instances of dealers having large portions of their unsold stock summarily confiscated, with no reason given; "because we can" seems to be a not-universal-but-common attitude.

** At least, I hope so, given that we still haven't received any dealer information. They are going to have a table at FiestaCon, and I hope to be able to purchase my dealer tables there.

#221 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 04:50 PM:

Well, I'll be at Mythcon at UCLA in mid-July. Anybody else? Pre-registration deadline is July 6, so there's still time. Good con -- small, fantasy-focused, good academic papers but lots of fun too. Golfimbul, anyone? http://www.mythsoc.org/mythcon/40/

#222 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 05:02 PM:

Self-published author sues celebrity for plagiarism over diet book.

Author Susan Hassett filed the lawsuit Monday, saying she sent [Elizabeth] Hasselbeck a copy of her "Living With Celiac Disease" book as a courtesy after the TV celebrity disclosed she had the illness last year. The lawsuit says Hasselbeck's book reproduces lists of grains containing gluten along with scientific names of the grains. Hasselbeck's book "includes dozens of paraphrased as well as word for word regurgitations of phrases" from Hassett's book, the lawsuit claims, but it doesn't cite specific examples.

Be interesting to see how that plays out.

#223 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 05:03 PM:

Earl #215:

Thanks for reminding me; I've been forgetting to sign up.

#224 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 05:14 PM:

How many of you good people might I encounter in Montreal?

I'll be there; my first WorldCon, only my second con. And then a month after that, I've decided I'll probably drop by DragonCon. (It's local, or I'd never consider it. But...Lois McMaster Bujold! So I've bought a membership, and will probably use it at some point.)

#225 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 06:25 PM:

So Governor Sanford simply had an affair. There goes my "intentionally tried to throw state government into disarray as his contribution to right-wing anti-government lunacy" theory.

#226 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 06:33 PM:

If I may pick on the local luminous brains...

Is it safe to conclude that HG Wells appeared on the cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band because Paul McCartney was a fan of his? After all, Paul's group Wings got its name from Things to Come's flying fortress, Wings Over the World.

Or am I stuffed full of wild blueberry muffins?

#227 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 06:56 PM:

dcb(*)... The turkey is ready to land. I found that photo you were interested in, plus another taken a few minutes later. They're each 1.3meg. Where shall I send them?

(*) I keep thinking 'data control block', which betrays my professional origins in the mainframe world.

#228 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 07:10 PM:

Serge@203

Well there has been concern about sax and violins in the media...

#229 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 07:21 PM:

Raphael #225: It's interesting that Faux News decided that he'd become a Democrat once he announced his affair.

#230 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Mark Sanford has admitted to an affair. With a woman in Argentina yet. It doesn't pay to antagonize your Lt. Governor. I didn't know adultery came with frequent flier miles.

#231 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 07:30 PM:

So the whole Sanford's "Naked Hiking Day" thing was just a, so to speak, cover story? How disappointing. I expect a certain quality level of entertainment from our elected officials, after all.

#232 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 07:39 PM:

On the other hand, you just can't make up this stuff; now that's entertainment....

#233 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:15 PM:

Not only can I not afford Worldcon, but the US is the most accessible country in the world and I'm having trouble getting around here.

#234 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:26 PM:

Wild turkeys are endemic to this area; I took this picture (and the surrounding ones) on the grounds of a high school while prepping for a photography session.

Lots of fun taking pics when you've got very little zoom, but it's not the closest I've gotten to wild turkeys. One just strolled through my apartment parking lot one day, eyeing nervously the cats who hopefully followed it...

#235 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:30 PM:

Serge @ 226 ...
Far be it from us to tell you to get stuffed ;)

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:53 PM:

xeger @ 235... Far be it, but how far?

#237 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 09:55 PM:

debcha @205: [..] this seems like an excellent place to say that, if you are not already subscribed to Michael Roberts's blog about his house, you should be.

debcha @207: Oh, also - the ISS captured photos moments after a volcano exploded.

Home repairs are much more dramatic than I would have expected.

#238 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:01 PM:

I'll be at WorldCon. And at La Partie Pour Faire La Lumière. :-)

#239 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:09 PM:

Alas, I will not be able to afford travel to WorldCon. Quite unexpectedly, I have some other things to pay for instead.

I do have a webcam and entertain the hopes that some form of visual connection may be possible.

#240 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:30 PM:

B. Durbin @ @234

A former coworker took photos of them as they paraded across the end of her driveway in a fairly populated suburban neighborhood (Raytown). I speculated that they like it there because people can't hunt them there.

#241 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:37 PM:

I'm most likely going to have to pass up DragonCon this year. I am not happy about it. I need to focus on getting a house; I will be following Michael's blog on the subject.

Earl @ 232: The monkey story is not all that surprising; they do have a propensity to do that. I guess it was the politician that made it newsworthy. We could probably do a sub-thread on which politicians would you want a monkey to pee/crap on, but then again lets not.

#242 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:48 PM:

Ginger @ 239... You have a web cam? I'll see that Kathryn from Sunnyvale is made aware of this.

#243 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:56 PM:

Xopher@79: how sure are you that's wrong? Having just played a handful of parts in Henry V, I can attest that poets (at least) were much looser about forms of address in Tudor times; Henry is addressed as "highness", "majesty", "grace", and "lord" in just my scattering of lines.

linkmeister: remember, even the Beatles wore ties on the Ed Sullivan Show
IIRC, the Beatles wore ties \everywhere/ in those days, possibly because it meant they were no longer a Hamburg bar band. I've heard Ringo quoted that he was told he'd have to wear a suit if he joined the Beatles. (He had two from his then-gig, but IIRC they were a little ... loud ....)

re turkeys, Paula neglects to mention the ones that went courting on Deb's handkerchief of a front lawn. Deb describes it as the toms going "heybabyheybabyheybaby"; I hadn't realized that they literally go blue in the face when they're at full spread. Makes one think of all the cartoons and snide comments about men trying to impress women by sucking their expanded guts up into their chests. (John D. MacDonald had a particularly lovely example in The Lonely Silver Rain.)

#244 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:29 PM:

The Topiary Fox Hunt (in the Particle sidebar):

How fast are they running?

#245 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:36 PM:

No WorldCon for me this year, but I'm attending Dragon*Con for my first time ever. I blame the friend who set the costume idea in motion.

I am worried a bit about the crowds (I prefer much smaller conventions), but I won't know how bad it really is until I get there, so I'm going to chance it and plan to hole up in my room if it gets too overwhelming.

#246 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:02 AM:

Serge at #226:

I read the news today oh, boy
About some martians coming to invade
And though the field was rather wide
The ship was kind of cramped
When they got out they were amped
They blew some people up with rays
They didn't notice that the wind had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd not seen this before
Nobody was quite prepared for lots and lots of blood and gore

I saw the roads today oh, boy
The walking tripods blowing up the towns
A crowd of people jammed the way
But i just had to stay
I could not get away
I love to turn you on.

Woke up, got out of bed
Got my carriage from the shed
Met an artilleryman in the next town
Who had a plan for living under ground
Met a curate raving mad
Hiding in an abandoned flat
Found my way upstairs saw nothing but smoke
Somebody spoke and i went into a dream
Ah

I read the news today oh, boy
A million germs infecting all the war machines
And though the germs were rather small
They somehow killed them all
Now we can finally go outside to places like the albert hall
I'd love to turn you on

#247 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:13 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 246... Ooooh. Mind if I post that on my blog?

#248 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:14 AM:

CHip: If Uther is king, then Arthur cannot be Sire.

dcb: Send me the list. My name as her, with a dot between given and sur, at gmail.

Fox did the same thing to several people in the DeLay/Abramoff scandals.

#250 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 01:19 AM:

Serge: If you think I'm enough of a regular, feel free to use any recent short-haired photo here you like.

Marilee @ 233: I was shocked and dismayed to discover the sheer, WTF-worthy level of non-ADA compliance at a hotel my family stayed at (for one night) on a day-trip visit to the Aquarium in Monterey, CA.

Exactly three rooms per floor (above the ground floor) were reachable from the elevator without traversing at least one, and usually multiple, 8-step flights of stairs. The entire central courtyard is circled by zigzaggy up-and-down 'balconies' off which the rooms exit. Very quaint and picturesque (and somewhat Escher-resembling). NOT compliant, not in any fantastical imagining.

Luckily, we only had a bellcart full of luggage to get to a room two flights away from the elevator, and plenty of strong young bodies to hump the bags one at a time. It was still a shock to suddenly come across this at the end of a night drive through the Pacheco Pass, arriving about 10PM, and hoping for a trouble-free night's sleep.

In its defense, it's a quite-old hotel, probably built in the 50s and (going by decor) updated/reworked in the 70s, and not significantly touched since then except for things like paint, wifi, and newer beds.

It was the Holiday Inn Express, for those curious. Though I doubt its nearby (and similarly-aged) competitors do much better. The Intercontinental is much newer, probably fully accessible, and much closer to the Aquarium. Also more than twice the price per-night, so.

My (Toronto-born) husband reminds me that Canada's cities are likely more accessible, on average, than the US, due to their accessibility laws being older.

#251 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 01:58 AM:

It looks as though someone has attacked http://niemanwatchdog.org/, because it's coming back as an attack site when I try to load it.

#252 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 02:51 AM:

Interesting technical this-blog implementation nitpick: in this comment of mine, the odd character in the name of the second commenter quoted (KévinT) displays properly on the thread page, but improperly (KévinT) on my view-all-by page.

#253 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 02:58 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 175: "That, I posit, is impossible. Sailing works because you can control the boat by playing off forces that can be made to go in different directions (wind in the sail and the directional stability caused by the streamlining of the hull)"

Hmmm...of course, not all levels of atmosphere move in the same direction at the same speed. If you dropped sails down off the bottom of the ship, into a layer of air moving a different direction, you might be able to steer by playing the two currents off of each other. You'd need a really tall ship, though.

Ooh! You could drop a long line down and run an electrical current through it, and tack against the planet's magnetic field! I have no idea if that would work.

It'd look cool though.

#254 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 03:24 AM:

Serge @ 227
Please send to: dbourne (at) wildlifeinformation (dot) org

Don't forget to let me know how you want your name to appear for the "Copyright/Photographer:"

Thanks,

Debra

#255 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:19 AM:

Serge #242: I, also, have a webcam.

#256 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:20 AM:

Hilary Hertzoff #245: Look for me in the LitTrack.

#257 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:50 AM:

Another technical this-blog implementation nitpick:

In post 192 on open thread 126 I used italics for a single phrase. On the view all by page, all the text in that post following that phrase is in italics.

Looking at the page source for each, I can see that the /i tag is in a different position in the "view all by" version.

This does not happen every time. I used italics in the following 4 posts, and they all look OK in the "view all by" page.

#258 ::: Jesse M. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:11 AM:

Sorry for a strange request, but this the only site I could think of where people a)knew bookstore distribution and b)cared.

A relative walked into a Borders yesterday for an NYT and found no newspapers at all. The clerk claimed that the distributor wouldn't supply them any more. Is this happening anywhere else, or is this simply a spectacular example of blame-shifting?

#259 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:20 AM:

Niall @257: MT does some strange things to clean your HTML. AIUI, the guys who set up the "view all by" script were unable to work out how to use the same code to clean it for that use, so had to use their own cleaning code. It is bound to have some differences. Specifically, in this case, the MT HTML cleaner closes formatting tags that you've opened automatically at the end of each paragraph. I'd guess the one the VAB script uses does so at the end of the post only. Not knowing the code, I don't know how easy to fix this would be, but it shouldn't be _too_ hard.

#260 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:36 AM:

Jules, OK, I can see how that could happen. This suggests that the reason post 192 looks different is that I didn't actually close that italics tag at all, and the two html cleaners are doing it differently, whereas in the other posts I closed that tag myself so they look the same in both versions.

And now, a test: I will close this tag myself

The next one, I will not close at all.

If this theory is correct, this text will be non-italic except when viewed at the "view all by" page.

#261 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:37 AM:

Fragano @ 255... You too? I'm not quite sure what the tech setup will be for remote participants, but I'll make sure to let Kathryn know.

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:38 AM:

dcb @ 254... I emailed the 2 photos separately, about one hour ago.

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:39 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 249... Thanks. Here is a link.

#264 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:40 AM:

The theory is indeed correct, and I have not discovered the bug which will destroy the internets.

Yet.

#265 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:41 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 250... "Elliott, Beka and Boston"

#266 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 10:17 AM:

Serge @ 262:

Just checked my e-mail and got them. Thanks again.

#267 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 10:31 AM:

CHip @243: Since "Merlin" is obvious NOT set in 5th Century Britain, styles of address matter --

A King is "Your Majesty*" or "Sire."

A Prince or Princess is "Your Royal Highness" or "Highness."

A Duke is "Your Grace."

Any writer worth their salt could have looked this up in DeBrett's Peerage and deserves to get kicked in the butt for not doing so.

*This form was adopted in the reign of Henry VIII, prior to that the proper style of address had been "Your Grace."

#268 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 10:35 AM:

Jesse # 258 -- The clerk is probably correct, if not complete. Distributors (of newspapers and other goods) are often reluctant to distribute to companies facing bankruptcy until after they have actually filed.

I got a nice Borders gift card for Christmas, which I made haste to use, since gift cards are often casualties of bankruptcy. I've been a long-time customer of Borders, and I hope they make it.

#269 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 11:00 AM:

Terry Karney at 209: I suppose you put the cap on to prevent criticism of the resulting photography?

#270 ::: Jesse M. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 11:07 AM:

Tracie # 268 - Thanks! I'll warn the stepmonster; she's a long-time customer too, so she's bound to have gift cards lying around.

Crossing my fingers for Borders - I always enjoy stopping in those shops when I'm out of town.

#271 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:15 PM:

Syd @218, If you enjoyed Buffy v Edward, try Cleolinda's Twilight in Fifteen Minutes at her LJ, Movies in Fifteen Minutes. Slayage of other Twilight series books also available nearb… *notes link; follows* ZOMG!!!1! There's a book! Ahem. You all just carry on here. Back soon. :)

#273 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:58 PM:

I've also been following Michael Roberts' house journey with a combination of envy and "oh my god, I am so glad not to be the in midst of that right now" which is an amusing combination. I'm so glad that he's documenting the steps*.

*and the walls and the windows and the plumbing and...

#274 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 01:47 PM:

Dave Bell @ #272: I have actually contributed to that h2g2 site, odd to see it linked here.

For some reason, pseudonyms seem to be the norm there, hence my secret identity.

#275 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Unconfirmed reports that Michael Jackson has died.

What an odd, sad fellow. Genuine talent overshadowed by freakish self-delusion and self-hatred.

#276 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 06:43 PM:

Pretty clear that Jackson is in fact dead, on the same day as Farrah Fawcett. I'll take "objects of sexual obsession" for 1000.

#277 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 06:53 PM:

Still reading about the death of Jerri FitzGerald, the doctor who was rescued from the South Pole ten years ago. I hadn't known that the cancer came back in 2005.

#278 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Amusingly, the BBC had a teaser "Michael Jackson 'dies'". Combined with the dancing-zombie clips from "Thriller", the quotes on "dies" gave an odd impression.

Also spotted at the BBC: Stoned wallabies make crop circles in Australia.

#279 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:28 PM:

Elliott Mason, #250, a lot of hotels are like that. And even the ones that meet the US rules will usually not have a walk-in shower. You're supposed to be able to step over the tub edge.

I've only stayed in two hotels in Canada and they were both worse than the US hotels I've been in, but they're probably not enough to know in general.

#280 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:28 PM:

In re Michael Jackson, I think the final word on the subject was said by Ookla the Mok in their album 'OH OK LA' in the song, "F People," [m3u link to sample] which begins:

Show a little compassion for Michael Jackson
When he turns up on the evening news
Don’t judge that man or make fun of his tan
Until you’ve walked a mile backwards in his sequinned shoes ...

The chorus continues:

Famous people are weird. They can't help it.
It just goes along with being a star ...

#281 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:39 PM:

Elliott Mason #280:

Well, childhood stars especially do tend to have problems later. In Michael's case, he also got hit with a fair bit of family dysfunction all the way back to early days, notably a controlling father/manager.

#282 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:13 PM:

The best epitaph for Jackson I've seen so far was over at Shakesville: "it was a shame his weird overshadowed his talent."

#283 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:17 PM:

With Michael Jackson, my suspicion is that not only did he have a controlling/dysfunctional family, but all he ever knew was the crazy, insane world of being a star, basically from the time he should have been in kindergarten.

He was never, ever, in his entire life, been able to do anything normal -- your "average" star could put on a pair of sunglasses and go to the movies, or for a stroll down a beach, or go play a round of golf or go clubbing. Jackson's fans are abso-fricking-lutely INSANE. At the height of his fame, even when he looked fairly normal, can you imagine the reaction if he decided to go catch the premier of a movie with a girlfriend, or go dancing with friends? It would literally have been a riot.

So his entire life, he's been cloistered. Add to that what I suspect were probably managers and agents who weren't looking out for Jackson's best interest.

And ... how much education did he actually get? He obviously never went to college. He was likely taught by tutors ... how good were they? Did they teach him what he really needed to know -- money management and some law and general this-is-how-the-world-really-works? Or did his schooling consist of the bare minimum required by law, and assurance from his handlers that, "We'll take care of you."

I don't know the answer to that, but it's something I've always wondered about whenever he made a dumb move.

He always seemed out of touch with reality ... I think the truth was, the reality he knew -- all he EVER knew -- was not the same as our reality.

It's a shame his life was so screwed up. He truly had an astonishing talent and such an amazing voice.

#284 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Linkmeister, #282: Yes, that's good. Especially given the double meaning inherent in the term "weird" -- which I'm sure is why the writer chose it.

#285 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:50 PM:

Lori Coulson #267: That's "Debrett's" not "DeBrett's".

#286 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Lori@243: Debrett's may have authority on their side; Shakespeare may reflect what was used. And how far out of its time does Merlin seem to be? (No, I'm not going to watch it to estimate -- not after the comments it has gotten here....)

#287 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 09:42 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 252:

Ah, character encoding trouble. All of ML's comment pages after, um, 2006 or so? are encoded in UTF-8 and served up to your browser that way. The view all by page also serves up UTF-8-encoded text, however it seems to think that the comments are in Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1). This means that it looks at the individual bytes and converts them from what they would be in Latin-1 into their representation in UTF-8, giving you the effect you noted. This is, of course, annoying.

I've seen blogs that were in UTF-8 where all the old posts had that happen, because the upgrade script thought that of course all the old posts would be Latin-1 and ran amok.

Regarding Michael Jackson:

Michael Jackson's death was the subject of breaking news on CNN the entire time I was having dinner. (I assume that other things happened in the world too, right?)

I think that Cygnet at 283 has the meat of it; he never could have a normal life or even knew what one was, and then when he acted strangely he was made fun of for that too.

He was an amazing singer and dancer.

#288 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 10:22 PM:

More open threadiness: 35,000+ year old flute found in Germany

#289 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 10:49 PM:

#287 KeithS

I remember my father who was in his late 70s at the time, saying "That bastard can dance!" about Michael Jackson.

#290 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 11:26 PM:

Am safely in Calif.

Have been travelling for 17 and a half hours on three hours of sleep, two cups of coffee, a danish some tunafish and some hummus.

Am getting food.

Will probably be on later, no promises.

#291 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 11:32 PM:

Michael Jackson was an example of what the American Fame Game does to some. I think in some cases we manufacture the superstars, then we destroy them, and then if they're lucky enough to die, comes the resurrection and restoration, albeit posthumously.

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 11:36 PM:

Terry Karney @ 290... Me am glad you made it back.

#293 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 12:16 AM:

I was reading a news story on Jackson's death, and came across what I think must be two of the dumbest sentences I have ever seen:

"Cardiac arrest is an abnormal heart rhythm that stops the heart from pumping blood to the body. It can occur after a heart attack or be caused by other heart problems."

The Stoopid! It burns! It burns!

#294 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 12:27 AM:

In regards to Michael Jackson, I really wonder what will happen to his kids. By all accounts I've ever heard they've never gone to school, and have never had a normal life. Their lives are going to change dramatically now.

#295 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 01:11 AM:

RE MJackson:

The range of reactions I've seen on blog entries in amazing.

On one hand . . . well, no real true-fan mourning, but much wistful appreciation.

On the other hand . . . no-holds-barred visceral contempt for a kiddie-diddler. Some so spiteful I wonder if the posters were once victims.

#294: That is a very good question. Jackson had the money and prestige-power to warp his own life. To what extent did his narcissism compel him to warp his own kids? I really hope they get help, and some breathing room and a chance to be normal.

#296 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 01:32 AM:

Terry (#290), do you have half a tank of petrol, and were you wearing sunglasses?
Glad to hear you're home safe. Overnight we had a terrible example of 'just one of those goddammed things'. (Milperra is getting to be a bad placename.)

#297 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 02:04 AM:

Is not "home", but rather visit. On Tues. I am back in Tenn.

But it is good to be here (in the hospitable domicile of TomB). I was last in Palo Alto a year ago. I have some places to visit for photos, and am going to be running my intro speech in my head.

Also buying a hat, and generally treating it as something of a vacation.

#298 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 07:33 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @293: I can't decide if that's better or worse than "Cardiac arrest is a very serious life-threatening condition" which I heard on TV last night.

Re: Michael Jackson, I just listened to Childhood, the song he described in an interview as the most autobiographical one he'd ever written. Mawkish it may be, and far from his best work, but it had me bawling at the second line, to my surprise.

A talented, lonely man. I hope his kids will be ok.

#299 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 08:48 AM:

Serge@217: Merci :-)

#301 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 09:50 AM:

... and ... for content and straight lines DNA Lounge vs prohibitioners

#302 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 09:56 AM:

Fragano @285: Thanks! I don't know why I always want to capitalize that "B."

CHip @286: By my estimate "Merlin" - IF we're just basing it on the buildings is 8 to 10 centuries later than the "historical" Uther/Arthur. Which is why I got frustrated with the mixing of styles.

The costuming is inconsistent, I can't decide what century they think this story is set in. It's a hell of a note when Kostner's "Robin Hood" looks more accurate...sigh.

My partner wanted to watch it...I spent the time willing myself not to throw something at the TV set.

Last, but not least, *Arthur* built Camelot, not Uther.

#303 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 10:17 AM:

I am about to enter a longish period of mostly-away-from-the-computer. We have ApolloCon this weekend, after which I will be at FiestaCon, then on a 10-day vacation to some of the Western national parks, then traveling to the DC area for a weekend and back. I'll have a laptop with me, but time and connectivity may both be limited. See you in late July!

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 10:22 AM:

The comments about "Merlin" reminds me I should catch the miniseries where Sam Neill plays Merlin. He was the best thing in the whole affair. Martin Short wasn't.

"You've tricked me, Merlin."
"Come, come, Uther. I am a wizard, that's my business."

#305 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 12:35 PM:

Openthreadily: Any reports from Fourth Street Fantasy Convention?

#306 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 06:08 PM:

Epacris @305:
It was fabulous - my very first con, and I had a great time. Lots of chewy goodness (not the least of which was our hostess' mixed nut toffee, the best I've had in ages). Great panels, great venue, and a friendlier bunch of people (esp to n00b wallflowers) you'd have to go far to find.

#307 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 06:34 PM:

My recent spate of double-posting may be down to a fault in my mouse, leading to spurious, and very fast, double-clicks. It's also associated with a very slow response from ML.

#308 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 06:57 PM:

Epacris @ 305: This was the first Con I've been to that was focused on writing, and the first con of any kind I had been to in nearly 20 years.

The small size made it incredible. Everyone went to the same panels, and even though I'm not a writer, I gleaned huge insights into the process, and will be a better reader for the experience. Everyone was willing to take us newbies us their wing, so there was never a lack of conversation partners.

I can't even count the number of interesting people I met, including our hosts and several others from Making Light. The nightly sing-alongs were awesome fun. Patrick, Teresa, and Elise were a joy to watch together, and you missed a group rendition of "City of New Orleans" that will live forever...

I can't wait for next years' 4th Street...

#309 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Edward, Melody--curses, I had no idea you were there! Look me up next year...and Epacris, you need to come too.

#310 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 09:21 PM:

Because misery (and Missouri) loves company, I thought I'd share with everyone that our house here in KC was broken into this morning, while I was up here in my office getting ready to go to work. Paula had gone over to our friend John's to continue her archaeological work at 9a, and when I came down at 10 to put on my shoes to go to work, I found the front doors open, the air conditioner in the living room window on the porch and the bucket of change on the side table missing.

I retreated upstairs and called the authorities, then Paula, who asked after her laptop. It was, of course, gone. I figure the burglar had grabbed it when they heard me moving upstairs and scrammed, thus missing the camera on the floor under the desk, and not getting a chance to go through Margene's office.

Everyone, including the felines, are fine, if shaken. Paula will be back posting here once we get her a computer. Getting real tired of this crap.

#311 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 10:37 PM:

Dr Paisley @ 310 ...
I'm glad everybody's okay -- but having the house broken into just plain old sucks! I hope there were backups too...

#312 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 11:19 PM:

In other questionable-neighborhood news (and not to downplay your stress, Dr Paisley) I have officially Moved In. First night in The House, tonight. I figured, what the heck, I have a kitchen, I have a working shower (if not a shower wall, mind you) -- this will motivate me. I have five days until the family arrives at JFK, so it has to be looking like a civilized residence by then. Doesn't have to be pretty or renovated, just clean and functional.

So. The dog and I are finally sleeping here tonight.

I grew up on a farm, so I'm pretty sure I would have found the noise here irritating back in the 80's. But after four years in Puerto Rico, I now find it nearly eerily silent.

#313 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 11:39 PM:

Erik @ 175 (airships with sails) - it works esthetically, but not physically. I mean, Up. Which has a house on balloons, with sails and talking dogs.

Also, all up above there, thanks for the karma about my blog. It makes it all easier!

#314 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 12:19 AM:

If you decide to fly your house around the neighborhood, please do take pictures. Getting the proper permits beforehand might be problematic, though.

#315 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 12:40 AM:

I think the point of being able to fly around in your house is that local permits become superfluous.

I have to admit, the idea of flying this house around is in fact one of my favorite fantasies. The carriage house would be the shuttlecraft; the big house probably couldn't go dirtside very often. Also, the carriage house has the advantage of a very large cargo bay on the bottom.

It could work!

#316 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:13 AM:

If any of the Fluorosphere construct a Castle Wulfenbach, I would really like to help out. I can't swear I'd be useful for anything, but I'm a trainable minion.

#317 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:18 AM:

A friend of mine asked me for a list of stories with various characteristics. The one I couldn't come up with was "has no male speaking roles". I can't think of a one. "Female characters with no romantic attachments" were also thin on the ground.

Any suggestions?

#318 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:33 AM:

TexAnne -- Dang it! I knew there were probably people I'd missed... I was the fat, mostly bald guy with the squeaky Frankenstein footwear and the peace sign jungle hat...

#319 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:45 AM:

Even if flight was out of the question, you'd think a carriage house would be able to at least roll a bit.

#320 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:45 AM:

Michael @ 312: What city is this house in again? I've been reading your house blog and wanting to see the Google street-level views. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to tell more than generally, but I'd love to see.

#321 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:55 AM:

Diatryma @ 317 ...
I thought at least one of Sheri Tepper's books met the "no male speaking roles" criteria -- but I'm being rather too lazy to go dig and figure out which one.

#322 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 04:54 AM:

re: #317, Diatryma

A friend of mine asked me for a list of stories with various characteristics. The one I couldn't come up with was "has no male speaking roles". I can't think of a one. "Female characters with no romantic attachments" were also thin on the ground.

"No romantic attachments": Telzey Amberdon. fx:brooding Ash?

"Has no male speaking parts": Sorry.


#323 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 05:20 AM:

"Has no male speaking parts" ... I'd say Nicola Griffith's Ammonite, since that features a planet that HAS no males, but the intro bits getting our protagonist there probably have quite a few talking men.

#324 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 06:58 AM:

Any fluorospherians that live in or are familiar with the dining scene in Madison? Despite it being only 5 hours away, I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never been. I'll be in Verona for training 2 weeks in July, luckily with a couple good friends that also enjoy adventurous eating, and anything to enliven the experience would be much appreciated. Please send to mdnims at gmail dot com. Thanks!

#325 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 09:33 AM:

Edward, 318: I think we talked at the dead-dog party! Let's see...I was one of the knitters, and I wore a magnificent purple sweater on Saturday.

#326 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:36 PM:

"No male speaking parts" is ideal; "male roles minimized the same way female roles often are" is also useful. I kind of burned out my sortingbrain putting together the rest of the list and I can't concentrate on it any more.

Thanks for the suggestions!

#327 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 02:47 PM:

Wyman @320, my wife has a bit of Internet phobia and was horrified when I originally put the interior shots on Flickr. So the blog has no identifying information at all, not even regarding region. Not even the dog's name. But since the Fluorosphere is already contaminated with identifying information, I can tell you here that it is in Richmond, Indiana. And the dog's name is Jack. Although, post-naming, it turned out she was a Jackie.

#328 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 04:54 PM:

Female characters with no romantic attachments: "A Thief in Korianth," by C.J. Cherryh.

Actually there are tons of them if you don't qualify it further into ADULT female characters; Gretel has no romantic attachments, and neither does the unnamed title character of "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf."

Molly Millions doesn't have any romantic attachments during the present-day story in Neuromancer, but she tells of having had them.

Cherryh is rich turf for female characters with no romantic attachments, actually. Signy Mallory has sex occasionally, but she's never romantically attached in any of the books in which she appears (Downbelow Station, Merchanter's Luck, at least one more that I can't think of now). Raen a Sul hant Meth-Maren has an affair in Serpent's Reach, but it's more of a chess game than a romance, and she kills the guy by the end; her link with Jim is clearly not romantic at the beginning, and ambiguous by the end, but it looks more like a close friendship to me.

I've definitely read stories with no male speaking parts, but can't recall any titles now. Are they supposed to be in Our Beloved Genre, or do other kinds of fiction count?

#329 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 05:45 PM:

#327: BWAH-Hah-hah! We've tricked it out of you, Michael. Your worst fears are manifest. You may as well leave the keys under the mat and prepare Jackie for a life of servitude as a Carney Dog.

#330 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 06:12 PM:

She'd make a good carney dog, too. Terriers can jump!

#331 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 06:24 PM:

My day's work:

Fireworks Stand Flickr Set

Oh, gawd, I spent $109.00 on fireworks today.

Most of them are intended as gifts.

Yes, I've become the Cool Eccentric Uncle who comes from out of state with a trunk full of eye candy.

#332 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 07:00 PM:

Open threadiness: Can anyone point me towards an actual photograph of the Winslow? (Bill Higgins? Any suggestions?) I've got plenty of Foglioverse illustrations, and they're easy to find on-line, but photographs of the original, not so much. I remember getting to meet him (and Phil) at a Minicon, many years ago.

Yes, yes, nefarious porpoises, all that good stuff.

#333 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 07:05 PM:

Thanks Michael. You're up in my friend Mad Mike's neck of the woods.

#334 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 08:06 PM:

Stefan Jones #331: I'm also from New York -- when I moved down to Virginia, I was rather entertained to see fireworks sold in the supermarkets. Not that I've been buying -- I've still got all my fingers, and I'd like to keep them, thankyouverymuch. ;-) OK, I might get a few crackers and/or sparklers this year, but I'm not nearly as pyrophiliac as I once was.

#335 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Diatryma @317/326: Do short stories count? If so, Octavia Butler has one in her collection Bloodchild and Other Stories called "Speech Sounds" (I believe) where no adult male has a speaking part. Due to plot points, this does not mean that there are no major male characters, but none of them speak.

Another story in that collection (I don't remember the title, and my copy is four states away) fulfills your "minimized male roles."

Heck, for interesting short stories with non-standard gender roles, Bloodchild is a pretty good place to look.

Melody @324: I spend more time lurking than speaking here, but I do live in Madison (and work in Verona--are you coming to visit us?). What kind of food are you looking for, and what kind of prices? The Old Fashioned has great burgers, cheese curds, and sandwiches, and isn't super-expensive. El Dorado does interesting Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern food, but costs a little more. The Weary Traveler does tasty hippy-bar-food, and has great atmosphere.

Also, if you're free on Wednesday evening, there is a free concert on the capital square downtown. It'll be packed, but is a great opportunity to see something interesting.

#336 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 08:49 PM:

Diatryma #326:

Does Ted Chiang's "Exhalation" qualify? It's a short story told from a non-human/non-gendered PoV & is available for download. Scratching my head to come up with examples of "has no male speaking roles" in gendered settings.

#337 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 08:58 PM:

David Harmon @ 334:

I saw some fireworks at the grocery store today. This being California, they never have any really exciting ones (for good reason). I was surprised to learn a couple years ago that they don't even sell real sparklers here.

Please do not buy anything from poorly-situated fireworks stands.

Finally back home briefly before Fiestacon. I was just in Regina for the week. The trip home was a little less fun than usual.

#338 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 09:05 PM:

KeithS: Oh dear Ghu, the people at that stand are screaming for trouble, aren't they? Want to bet they also have no extinguishers (or not enough)?

#339 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 09:55 PM:

P J Evans: In that context, I doubt a fire hose would be "enough"!

#340 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Every once in a while I get sad and nostalgic for my parent's farm (Sold in 2002) where we could shoot off fireworks to our hearts' content and not get busted (if it had been wet enough). There were a couple of years where we just sat on the patio and watched the cities to the north of the house shoot off their fireworks display.

Then I remember all the other stuff. Nowadays we usually visit a friend who lives next to where her city shoots off their fireworks.

#341 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 10:44 PM:

Hey, has anyone else seen "Man Versus Cartoon" on Tru TV? The Energetic Materials Testing guys in New Mexico are going through Wile E. Coyote's schemes to catch the Roadrunner, one by one. Tonight, we've had a stuntman swung by a cable over the road while holding a harpoon, and dropping a huge boulder on the running target. They already did rocket-shoes last week!

#342 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 12:41 AM:

Man. Old house + Google = far too many geek moments (trying to date the razor blades in the wall). But at least I'm still having fun, a month into the project.

Second night here!

#343 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 12:42 AM:

KeithS @ 377 ...
I felt dreadfully stodgy telling the kids to stop playing with fireworks -- but I'm not willing to put up with incendiaries in my tree canopy... or in the power lines.

#344 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 12:42 AM:

KeithS @ 377 ...
I felt dreadfully stodgy telling the kids to stop playing with fireworks -- but I'm not willing to put up with incendiaries in my tree canopy... or in the power lines.

#345 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 12:43 AM:

In fact, emphatically stodgy ;)

#346 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 01:19 AM:

P J Evans @ 338:

If you look closely and find the fireworks stand's proprietor in the photo, you'll see something that might be a cigarette hanging out of his mouth too.

J Austin @ 341:

I have not heard of this at all. Let me know when they get to testing the instant tornado pellets.

Michael Roberts @ 342:

I've been quiet about it, but I'm enjoying reading your adventures as well.

xeger @ 343/344:

I'm all for having fun setting the right things on fire. The problem is that it's all too easy to set all the wrong things on fire, and much harder to put out.

#347 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 01:22 AM:

Keith @ 346 ...
I suppose I shouldn't misread you, and argue that it's much easier for some folk to get put out than others?

#348 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 01:34 AM:

California and Oregon fireworks are deliberately limited to the "don't shoot stuff into the air" variety. No rockets, mortars, or roman candles. Also nothing that explodes.

Everything is a shower of some sort or another, limited to a 10' altitude.

So, little chance of stuff that sets trees on fire.

But still darn cool.

#349 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 02:52 AM:

The brilliantly animated intro to the new Beatles Rockband game will be of great interest to any fan of the Beatles, or of animation.

Diatryma @ 317: Huit Femmes has no male speaking roles, as long as you don't mind that it was quite deliberately constructed so.

#350 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 04:48 AM:

TexAnne @ 325 -- Next year we have to make up some Making Light name tags with our handles on them...

In the meantime, DDB put up some FABULOUS pics of 4th Street HERE.

Let me know if you're in any of them! He caught me during a magical moment on Sunday when our ML hosts and Elise almost had me in (happy) tears...

#351 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 04:57 AM:

O LEARNED MASSES.... I once again turn to your wisdom... seeking to identify an old short story.

The Premise was genetically engineered microscopic humans were seeded onto a planet of puddles and forgotten about. The humans set out to conquer "space" by designing a 2-inch-long "ship" that actually only gets them to another puddle a few feet away... They believe they have conquered "space", but one persons questioning closes the story...

Don't know the author, title, year or anthology it appeared in... any help from The Mighty Assembly? Thank you!

#352 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 05:12 AM:

edward oleander @351: "Surface Tension" by James Blish, first pub. Galaxy Magazine Aug. 1952, according to the copyright info in front of the Asimov-edited anthology Where Do We Go From Here? (Fawcett 1971?).

#353 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 05:16 AM:

Thank you Julie!!! I would have never thought of the title, much less the rest... Now I sleep in peace, and begin my quest in the morning...
:-)
:-)
:-)

#354 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 07:18 AM:

re: #352, Julie, "Surface Tension"

Perhaps best appreciated with the other pantropy
stories, collected in eg this handy volume of "The Seedling Stars" (Arrow, 1972).

#355 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 07:48 AM:

Joseph M. @335: You don't happen to work at a certain Intergalactic Headquarters, do you?? This is the first visit for most of us, so we're really up for anything. We have a reasonable per diem ($28 for dinner I believe), and so were going to look for a few nice ($30-$50) places for dinner, spend a bit of our own money, and have some fun. There is a small subgroup of us that enjoy adventurous dining. The other two have kids, so we're really looking for places they wouldn't normally go - i.e. adult food/bevs.

I was thinking maybe a good steakhouse one night, Asian another (can't be only sushi, as one of us doesn't care for it), Indian or French or South/Central American one day? Probably only dinner, as the timing will most likely prevent off-campus lunch. Happily, we've been told that there is some good food on site.

Is that free concert every Weds? I believe we have one evening set aside for Slightly Impaired Dominoes (a variant of Drunken Dominoes for people that need to be alert for classes in the morning), but would appreciate other activities. We'll be there the first and last weeks in July. Thanks for the tips - much appreciated!

#356 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 09:13 AM:

Good Lord, heresiarch @349, that's fantastic! Especially the end.... chilling.

#357 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 01:51 PM:

Open-thready question here: we're adopting an at-least-partly Norwegian Forest cat, and although her shelter name, Cali, presumably short for Calista, "most beautiful", is reasonably accurate, it doesn't reflect her heritage. Is there anything nice and euphonious that might come from the general Scandinavian tradition? She's dilute tortoise shell (apricot and medium grey instead of rust and grey-black) on the head, back and tail, and white on the underside, lower legs and lower face. Huge paws with giant toe fur tufts, and a fairly wide aspect generally.

#358 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 03:50 PM:

Finally! A use for the Segway...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYykpRRuHQM

Caution, the music is by Philip Glass.

Cadbury.

#359 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 04:09 PM:

Pbbbt! to you, Cadbury! I LIKE Philip Glass.

In other news, one of the most grating voices ever has been tragically stilled. He was the same age as Michael Jackson, oddly enough. There's some suspicion he may have taken a knock on the head during a rough plane landing.

#360 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 04:13 PM:

Xopher @ #359, I'm a little ashamed of my first thought: that May died of excess verbiage expressed on behalf of dubious products.

#361 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 04:14 PM:

joann @357: Are you sure that "Cali" isn't just short for "calico" in this case? The Valkyrie name "Kára" may sound reasonably similar to "Cali" if she already responds to that name, and may even have an apposite meaning if the possible "curly" meaning is interpreted as "floofy".

Or to move sideways from "Calista" as "most beautiful", maybe "Freya", semi-depending on whether she is in fact inclined to create frays (either on the upholstery or as general chaos).

#362 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 04:14 PM:

Hey, Linkmeister, mine was that a lifetime of shouting finally popped his heart.

#363 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 06:22 PM:

There are suggestions that Billy Mays died of a head injury. He got banged in the noggin during a rough landing the previous day.

I think Mr. Mays performed a valuable service. When you heard his voice you knew it was time to turn off the TV and go outside and play.

#364 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 07:57 PM:

Paula Helm Murray, #340, I live about four very long blocks from where the city's fireworks are set off, so I sometimes just pull a chair out on the sidewalk in front of my condo for a while to watch.

President Obama wants your advice on how the government should keep its secrets.

#365 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Diatryma@317: I forget whether Brin's execrable Glory Season is the only one of the world-without-men stories to not have men intrude. There is also a short-short in which the punchline is that a lottery for places in a 30-seat starship came up with 29 women, but I'm blanking on the title.

<advt>Edward@351 et al: if a 1972 paperback can't be found on the book services, see Works of Art from NESFA. Unfortunately, I don't recall the names of the other pantropy stories or whether they were included; "Surface Tension" is the most famous, but it's also the last chronologically of a short sequence.</advt>

Melody: rule 1 for Madison is to go to the capitol square (preferably early enough to tour the capitol, which is ... impressive ...) and look around. I'll second the Old Fashioned if you're looking for modest prices; they also had a lot of interesting local-produce plates that didn't look to fit a single stomach. High-end is right next to them: L'Etoile and Harvest(?), which sound like they're out of your budget (can run over $100 for a full meal), but do visit Cafe Soleil in the morning for pastries. (If you're there Saturday ask for Spice Girl Wheels, which weren't selling well enough on weekdays.) If you're interested in beer (and also good modest-priced food) go out the corner opposite State St. to the Great Dane brewpub; they have outdoor seating, which isn't nearly as noisy as indoors. Going down State St. gives you a spectrum; the capitol end has several expense-account places (cf above), but the further half is what you'd expect to see running into a state university. There's a good Japanese place partway down, a tapas place near the capitol end (close to the restaurant in the movie-theater lobby, which has some good stuff, not all well-executed), and a non-Spanish tapas place "Al Fresco" after ~8 on top of the art museum. (Regular-dinner prices looked a bit high, but I had 2 $5 plates and a $5 desert and was content.) There are also \two/ Himalayan places surprisingly near the capitol. Sorry to not have more names -- I get there just for Wiscon and tend to wander rather than targeting. Big point is that if you're not looking for specific ethnicities, there are a \lot/ of places, at all price ranges, that do local produce, a lot of it wonderful -- the cheese is nothing like what is labeled "Wisconsin" in the supermarket.

#366 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 09:45 PM:

Perhaps Mays' extensive body of work will one day provide test cases to force the FCC to reconsider regulating the offensive loudness of television commercials.

#367 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 09:50 PM:

Marilee #364: President Obama wants your advice on how the government should keep its secrets.

Share escrow of all US government secrets between the EFF, the ACLU, and Amnesty International, giving them the right to declassify secrets by unanimous agreement.

#368 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 10:04 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ #366, if local car dealers haven't forced that issue already, there's no hope.

I blame it on a cheap LA dealer in the 50s who began making his own ads rather than pay agencies.

#369 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 11:13 PM:

... and a shout out to one of the MakingLight medbits on Tom Reynold's blog about dealing with heat[0] waves...

[0] Typo corrected from 'head waves', although ones head tends to wave in a heat wave...

#370 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 11:14 PM:

Melody @355: Yeah, that's my base. It's a nice place.

About those restaurants: for steak, I'd recommend either the Chop House or the Tornado Club--both nice, but the Tornado is a bit more expensive. My favorite restaurant in town is Fresco, on top of the art museum. As CHip mentioned, they do good small plates, but I like their full menu--yes, it's a bit more than some places but significantly less than the really expensive places in town (which CHip also mentioned).

For ethnic, State Street has two Himalayan restaurants, a Turkish place, an Afghan restaurant, and most likely at least one more place that I've forgotten. I also haven't been to a bad Indian restaurant yet. If you want other Asian, Lao Laan Xang is well regarded (on the east side) and I really like the Imperial Garden on the far west side. State street also has at least one combo Japanese restaurant (sushi plus other menu items).

About the concert schedule: a quick google for the concerts on the square calendar tells me that there's one all Wednesdays in July. It looks like July 29 is the last one for this summer.

If you get a chance, take a look around downtown Madison. I really like the town.

#371 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2009, 11:27 PM:

CHip @365: I forget whether Brin's execrable Glory Season is the only one of the world-without-men stories to not have men intrude.

There ARE men in Glory Season, actually -- both native and starfaring It's a story that falls under the the What These People Need is a Terran trope (variant of '... is a Honky,' which I linked to).

#372 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:18 AM:

Dammit, Eilliott Mason @ 371 ... you owe me a large pot of caffeinated beverage for the morning, thanks to that link following...

#373 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:32 AM:

To xeger @ 372 I offer no apologies -- I'm a unionized Foul Tempter, I am; they'd revoke my card for any such action!

I should warn anyone else who hasn't clicked through yet that 'wikisafari' is far from a strong enough term for the sort of compulsive link-following that that site, TVTropes.org, tends to inspire in anyone even vaguely geeky.

#374 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:42 AM:

Joseph M @ 370: Your list of interesting restaurants in Madison startled me, but then I remembered that it has been (mumble, mumble,..., wow!) about 25 years since I graduated and left. I recall a rather bleak restaurant selection back then.

#375 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:51 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 373 ... I ask for no apologies ... just enough caffeinated beverage to get through the day :P

#376 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:59 AM:

Speaking of awesomeness and link following, Neil Cameron's A-Z of Awesomeness is well worth the follow!

#377 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 02:12 AM:

Melody,

Two weeks in Verona...I can guess where you'll be, as a good chunk of my friends either work for or have worked for a certain company. Are you or any of your friends knitters? If so, you must stop in at The Sow's Ear.

I can second most of Joseph's recommendations, including Concert on the Square (or Wino's on the Lawn, as my sister likes to call it...lots of picnics featuring a bottle or two of grape). I love the Old Fashioned and the Weary Traveler especially.

My favorite dining clusters are State St. & the Capital Square, Williamson (Willy) St., and Atwood.

The squash curry at Lao Laan Xang is a favorite of mine (my 2 y/o nephow loves it, too). They have two locations, both are good.

For fancy, other options if you are feeling posh: Harvest and L'Etoile (both on the Capital Square). Both do locally sourced, seasonal dishes. (Very Alice Waters.)

For Japanese downtown, I recommend Takara on State, but others prefer Wasabi (just off of state). I am completely in love with the chicken peanut stew on injera bread at Buraka, a west African place on lower state (a few doors down from the Afghani place).

Oh man, my mind is brimming over with "Oh! You've got to try this!" places, such as Monty's Blue Plate Diner (across the street from one of the Lao Laan Xang locations and yet another Himalaya place) or Restaurant Muramoto or...you get the picture.

(I am very much in love with my city, especially in the summer, and can rattle on about it for ages.)

Two good resources are http://www.thedailypage.com/ and http://www.madisonatoz.com/

If you are ever looking for something to do in the evenings, besides the Concerts on the Square is the Memorial Union Terrace, which is a total gem. And there are farmer's markets all over the place, including a big one every Saturday morning at the Capital Square.

Ok, I'm going to try to stop waxing enthusiastic, but feel free to email me with any questions. kayjayoh (at) gmail

#378 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 06:46 AM:

Many thanks to Joseph M., CHip and Vicki for the recommendations! CHip, I know what you're talking about - Oleander and I found a dingy little cheese shop N of Eau Claire on one of our drives that sold the Emmentaler of the gods; damned if we've ever been able to find it again.

#379 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 09:14 AM:

CHip @#365: No, there are men with speaking parts; one of the plot points is the protagonist meeting and befriending a man.

#380 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:17 PM:

Kayjayoh @377: Thanks much! When does the farmer's market open on Sat, do you know? I adore our Mpls one, but the thought of trying to get Oleander up at 4am to go is muy chuckilicious.

#381 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:37 PM:

CHip #365: local produce, a lot of it wonderful -- the cheese is nothing like what is labeled "Wisconsin" in the supermarket.

Sounds like you Wisconsinites keep the good stuff for yourselves....

Elliot #373: to follow up on "'wikisafari' is far from a strong enough term", they actually have a trope for that. :-)

Also, Re: Teresa's particle on Ferrofluids, you can buy the stuff here. (Scan down for "MagnaView Fluid".) Warning: Various comments found along the way, indicate that ferrofluid permanently stains clothing and such. I also found some pages on making it at home, but it seems that making even lesser-quality ferrofluid is a finicky business.

#382 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Carrie S @ 379... men with speaking parts

...become dicktion teachers?

#383 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 03:20 PM:

The review of the new Transformers movie (see sidebar) calls it Transformers: ROTF

I know they mean "revenge of the fallen" but I can't help reading it as "Rolling On The Floor."

#384 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 04:07 PM:

A bit late to the announcements table (or early, depending on if you count several Open Threads ago...), but I will most definitely be at Anticipation. Pictures of me abound, of course, particularly on Facebook, but I will also be wearing my Fluorosphere button more often than not, so.

Can't wait to see many of you again, or for the first time (where applicable)!

So...has everybody here got their votes in, yet?

#385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 04:20 PM:

I can't say that I'm completely ready, but here is my panel schedule at FiestaCon/WesterCon.

#386 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 04:32 PM:

Skwid, 384: Hurray! I wish I had a Fluorosphere button. And no, I haven't voted yet--I'm still stewing about Best Novel. There's the one I liked, and then the one I admired. I think I'm going to vote for the one I liked, since I'm pretty sure the one I admired is going to win anyway.

#387 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 06:54 PM:

Just a reminder: the deadline for Hugo voting is July 3rd, 2009, 23:59 EST. It's already too late for snailmail votes.

#388 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 08:53 PM:

Ah, so MagnaView is a ferrofluid. I didn't know that, although I've met it. It was being painted on an unwrapped dead floppy (8", IIRC), for purposes of seeing the magnetic domains.

#389 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 09:11 PM:

#317 Diatryma

There are some books where the majority of the speaking characters are female such as A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer--the society is one where the gender ratio is many females, one male. The males are kept mostly sequestered...

In Legacy of Chanur the majority of speaking roles are female--the kif is male presumably (not really certain that, though...), Hallan Meras is male and outnumbered, the gods-be-rotten mahe pest Captain is male, the stsho are essentially hermaphroditic, and Hilfy, Chur, Fala, and the two other Chanur or Chanur-sept original crew of Chanur's Legacy, are all female.

The other Chanur books, Pyanfar Chanur and her original crew are all female--but the series has a number of ironic comments involved regarding geneder roles, and Py's husband winds up on the ship starting off as a mix of refugee/guest. The stsho as noted above, are not strictly gendered--the one that Py deals with is "neuter." The gendered ones tend to stay "in the nest" and aren't out in public especially aren't out dealing with members of other species. There are kif (see above), the mahedo'sat are in both genders, though Goldtooth nd the other most promindent of them are male--two ship captains. There is the second in commnd who's female to one of them. The t'ca, chi, knn, etc., "male' nd "female" don't immediately apply to.

There's one human, who doesn't do much talking.

#390 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 09:50 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 387 ...
Argh! Already?!?

#391 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 09:56 PM:

OMG LOL@@@!!!!!

[no, not spam... but I'm spectacularly amused by this take on West Side Story... ]

#392 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 09:59 PM:

389: The problem with _A Brother's Price_ is that it changes one thing about a world but doesn't change anything else. It's just an excuse to put a male character in the traditional Harlequin-romance heroine role, with a side of "what these people need is a MAN." And the multiple-wife thing doesn't seem right somehow (bearing in mind that I'm not poly myself, I just know poly people).

#393 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2009, 11:07 PM:

TexAnne @391 in re "What these people need is an X" - the original Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs is basically one long showpiece for that trope, as I'm sure you know (but it reminded me of it).

Even as a Hoosier boy growing up in the 70's in a lily-white community and reading these books in the 80's at an all-male college, it reeked for me when I hit the second or third book, with Amazons, where Tarzan rectifies the problem with their society by teaching the Amazon women to be properly deferential to their men (let alone all the racist stuff throughout the series, but one comes into Tarzan kind of expecting that).

Blew my mind, and it's never been quite the same since.

#395 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 02:51 AM:

Diatryma, #317: Female characters without romantic attachments -- Janet Kagan's HellSpark has several, including the viewpoint character.

#396 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 03:35 AM:

Michael Roberts @ #393, I somehow missed the Tarzan books when I was a teenager, but I did try some of the Gor ones. I think I read two or three (not in order, so maybe one of them was Slave Girl of Gor or similar) before deciding that I had more respect for the other half of the species than Norman did, so I didn't need to read any more of them.

Or maybe I didn't like Gor enough to continue.

#397 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 04:20 AM:

Elvish Light

OK, not really Elvish.

#398 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 05:27 AM:

There's a lot that feels slightly wrong about that self-publishing story.

But I can't avoid the feeling that PoD could satisfy many of the people who fall for self-publishing scams. They have their printed book, it can even be 'on sale', and how is that different from pubbing a fanzine?

Well, maybe lots of ways, but I've done enough in the world of fanzines that I suppose I could call myself a self-published author. Back in the eighties, I was writing fiction going into fanzines, and PoD tech instead of a half-inch wad of Gestetner paper looks quite possible.

The scams will be scams whatever the printing tech used. But I have a novel written, and I'm not sure how a PoD copy would be any more a breach of Yog's Law than paying to print a stack of paper with a double-spaced manuscript to post to a publisher's slush-pile.

#399 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 09:58 AM:

Re: "female-oriented" stories: What about Joan D. Vinge?

#400 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 10:43 AM:

Sherri Tepper's magnificent Grass.

Love, C.

#401 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 10:53 AM:

There are a few books out there about Tesla. Is there one in particular that people would recommend?

#402 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 11:15 AM:

Dave Bell @ 397:

Leaning on comments made at ML over the years as well as my own feelings, I don't think that printing would satisfy that urge. Just going to a printer, whether it's one that does PoD or small runs at a time, doesn't have that same cachet as being a Published Author whose books you can buy at a bookstore. (We know that neither is necessarily true in any meaningful sense, but they don't because they've been had.)

For you, writing for the joy of writing seems to be its own reward. For some others, writing is enjoyable as well or they feel that they have a story they need to tell, but they also want that additional step of being recognized. Not that you don't get recognition from a fanzine, of course, but it's not necessarily perceived as being quite the same.

#403 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 11:19 AM:

This is weird. I tried to post something about Nikola Tesla and it got sent to limbo. Let's see if the same thing happens again.

#404 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 12:06 PM:

In case people are interested... Not only does Eureka's new season premiere on July 10, but Leverage's is on July 15.

#405 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 12:35 PM:

I'm very upset that the Stonewall 40 thread had to be closed, and I think there are several people with cause to be ashamed.

I will say no more on the topic.

#406 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 12:51 PM:

No comments for nearly two hours. Is everything being held for moderation now?

#407 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 02:07 PM:

Re restaurants in Madison:

The two Himalayan restaurants on State St. that others have mentioned are:

Himal Chuli -- traditional Nepali and Tibetan food

Chautara -- experimental variations on Nepali and Indian food, run by the son of the couple who run Himal Chuli. Hands down my favorite restaurant in Madison at the time I left (2000), and it seemed to be just as good when I visited four weeks ago...

Also on State Street:
Buraka -- mentioned by Kayjayoh @ 377; it's actually an East African restaurant (primarily Ethiopian and Somali cuisine; the owner is Ethiopian, I think). The actual restaurant is downstairs, below street level, but I think they have tables outside on the sidewalk as well.

Kabul -- the Afghan restaurant (almost?) next door to Buraka.

Sunprint -- down at the University end of the street (State St. runs between the University campus and Capitol Square); good for breakfast/brunch.

I have good memories of El Dorado (not on State St.), as well.

#408 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 03:00 PM:

#401: "There are a few books out there about Tesla."

A FEW books about Tesla?

"Is there one in particular that people would recommend?"

That's a tricky request.

To put it bluntly . . . Tesla tends to attract weirdos. A fair amount of what is written about him appeals to conspiracy fans and/or uncritical wonder-seekers. Even ignoring the stuff published on mimeograph, you have to be selective.

That said, I'm pretty sure that this:

http://www.amazon.com/Tesla-Man-Time-Margaret-Cheney/dp/0743215362

(The "people who bought this also bought" list for this is . . . instructive.)

Is the pretty-good book about Tesla I read a few years back. While giving him full cred for his genius and contributions, it doesn't gush, or gloss, or buy into the conspiracies.

#409 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 408... Thanks. I've become more curious about Tesla as a result of research for that steampunk-movie talk. Did you know that there is a comic-book called "Five Fists of Science", in which Tesla and Mark Twain are in a battle against the evil forces of Edison and Marconi, who are building a mysterious tower in a town called Innsmouth? I haven't read it yet, but the premise souns like fun.

As for Tesla attracting the fringe & conspiracy people...

Did you notice that the device shown on the linked book's cover looks like a Dalek?
Coincidence?
Conspiracy?
You be the judge.

#410 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 03:19 PM:

#400 Constance
Grass squicked me--not as much as North Shore/South Shore did, but squicked me nonetheless. Ick things and worse happened to characters I cared about and the survivors and their values and goals and such weren't the ones that I was that keen on. (I don't remember much in the way of details, and don't -want- to!)

Of course, mileage various a LOT among readers--different experiences, different innate and different trained perceptions and expectations and interests and perspectives, etc.

#411 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 03:44 PM:

KeithS @402

There's a buzz in somebody else deciding that your work is worth the effort of getting out there, whether it's a fanzine or a website.

But having to pay them?

My first publications were outside the fannish mainstream—Blake's Seven fanzines and some stuff for the Tolkien Society—and so I tend not to include the fannish usual as a part of the core definition of a fanzine.

I remember being actually edited. Somebody was going to have to copy-type my text. Now, either I'm incredibly better as a writer, or the text just gets a cut-and-paste from one file-format to another (some headers and footers are added).


#412 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 04:44 PM:

Dave Bell #398: I'm not sure how a PoD copy would be any more a breach of Yog's Law

It's not, of course -- in fact, I remember someone around here amending Yog's Law with "In vanity publishing, books flow toward the author". The scam is in conflating vanity and commercial publishing -- promising actual distribution through the general publishing system, when (at best) the scammer can provide only the books.

#413 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 05:17 PM:

Musical open threadiness: Comparative Videos 101. Mission: find Kingston Trio performances on YouTube and match them with performances of the same songs by other artists. See what develops.

For example: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Roberta Flack may have created the standard, but that was ten years after it was first performed (by the woman who inspired the song, no less: Peggy Seeger, Pete's half-sister).

#414 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 05:21 PM:

I think it says something is wrong with me that, when I saw a Michael Jackson news item titled "What Was Michael Worth?", I immediately thought of Mary Worth.

#415 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 05:21 PM:

Dave Bell @ 411:

Most printers don't tell you that you and your book are special; there's no third party giving you validation. The scammers do that, and they misrepresent all their fees as the natural state of things.

I think that most people are basically trusting and trustworthy. Scammers prey on this by saying things that seem reasonable to people who don't know how things work.

#416 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2009, 10:42 PM:

it's actually an East African restaurant

D'oh! I knew that. It's kind of like my other left...I am wretched with directionals.

I don't remember when the Farmer's Market opens, because I'm never up that early, but I know it goes until 2. I like going near the end, because you can get good deals on stuff that people don't want to have to pack up and take home. And while you are at the market, you can also stop it at Fromagination (cheese store) and Candinas (chocolate shop----if you are into chocolate, the Madison area have at least 7 fine chocolatiers. Markus Candinas' main shop is in Verona, near where you will be.)
There is also and *actual* west African restaurant open now on Atwood. Africana. I haven't been there yet, but I've heard decent reviews.

#417 ::: JHomes ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 01:13 AM:

Diatryma @317, 326

If short stories will do, look up When It Changed, by Joanna Russ. I think from memory it meets the #317 condition, it certainly meets the weaker #326 condition.

JHomes.

#418 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 01:20 AM:

Kayjayoh, when it is so stinkin' hot here, going to the farmer's market early is necessary. (we've had a streak of 95 degree+ days).

We had guests for dinner Saturday, and when I managed to oversleep, I went to the next best thing. We have a (fairly) nearby supermarket that has the best produce section in town. It's priced fairly, and it's in air conditioning.

On the Fourth of July, I may cruise down there early to try and snag some treats for dinner. They're having a tomato festival. And our temperatures have moderated to 'normal' summer temps rather than extreme ones.

#419 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 09:59 AM:

It’s official.

There will be a gathering of Fluorospherians at Fiestacon/Westercon, on the evening of the Fourth of July, after the fireworks. Lurker Nadia is organizing it. There’ll be cheese and crackers, dip, soft drinks, plus wine and/or tea.

The location will be someone’s hotel room, to be announced early that day. Look for a drawing of a cartoon lightbulb in the various message areas.

Due to the occasion, “1776” may be playing in the background, or your favorite scenes anyway. Of course, you mustn't assume, because I'm the one writing about this, that Nadia fears that, if she were the one to do it, people'd run their quill pens through it.

#420 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 09:59 AM:

It’s official.

There will be a gathering of Fluorospherians at Fiestacon/Westercon, on the evening of the Fourth of July, after the fireworks. Lurker Nadia is organizing it. There’ll be cheese and crackers, dip, soft drinks, plus wine and/or tea.

The location will be someone’s hotel room, to be announced early that day. Look for a drawing of a cartoon lightbulb in the various message areas.

Due to the occasion, “1776” may be playing in the background, or your favorite scenes anyway. Of course, you mustn't assume, because I'm the one writing about this, that Nadia fears that, if she were the one to do it, people'd run their quill pens through it.

#421 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 10:20 AM:

JHomes at 417, I thought about "When It Changed" and mentioned it to her, but I don't think it counts-- the men are the plot. They show up, they react, they make the narrator feel small (oh how I love it) and they get their manly manhood all over the story.

Obviously, the list has a Point to it; it's hard to find stories that just happen to be all- or even mostly-female the same way so many are all- or mostly-male. I'm interested to see what she does with it.

#422 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Diatryma @ 421... they get their manly manhood all over the story

The penis mightier than the word?

#423 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 11:51 AM:

Serge @ #422: OUCH! (How long have you been waiting to use that one?)

#424 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 12:36 PM:

Lila @ 423...

How long?
(I'm whistling to keep myself from making the obvious and salacious joke.)

#425 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 12:40 PM:

I just came back from running errands, during which I found myself behind a vehicle with bumper sticker that left me wondering.

Dagon surf shop

I tell you, Annette & Frankie's beach movies are getting weirder and weirder.

#426 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 12:48 PM:

Serge @419 (&420):

Hooray! And three cheers for Nadia, who should consider commenting as well as lurking*!

-----
* But only if you want to, Nadia.

#427 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 01:05 PM:

#422 Serge

The elephant penis [or blue whale penis...] in the livingroom?!

Hmm, I wonder....
Back in the lesbian feminist literature spree of the 1970s and early 1980s, were there any exclusively female SF/F stories/books published?

Or what about Circlet Press lesbian stories?

Mighty Good Road by Melissa Scott which was the last novel that Baen published which she wrote (she changed publishers to Tor), had a lesbian couple as the lead characters, but there were lots of male characters with large roles and speaking parts.

#428 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Uh-oh, the Verse Daemon is roused.... first drafting....

The penis in the livingroom
Of "women's" literature
The smug and privileged knowing smirks
On they whose wills concur.

Of women it is not about
The Subject always males,
Central focused smug and vain
Aught else one sees derails.

The penis in the livingroom
The point of worshipped creed
And Patriarchy's grips stays tight
Behold the sacred seed.

A generation past that fought
To change that ancient war
To battle came Diana's bow
That Woman not be whore.

A generation past and gone,
And what now do we see?
Alito, Roberts, Thomas, No!
Scalia, Kennedy.

Injustices who times reverse
Removing hard-fought change,
With feminism murdered cold
And buried not to range.

The penis in the livingroom
Male privilege rampants fill,
It grabbed and still holds central stage,
And women chattel still.

#429 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 01:46 PM:

Peter Erwin @407 and Kayjayoh @416:

Thank you once again! My friends were flabbergasted by all of the wonderful info. I didn't even consider some chocolatier visits - they'll be thrilled. We used to visit Chocolat Celeste, a rather nice little shop here in Mpls, but that has fallen by the wayside lately with ROWE.

#430 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:03 PM:

abi @ 426... Nadia, who should consider commenting as well as lurking

I was thinking the very same thing.

#431 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 427... What's a blue-whale penis doing in your living-room?

I once read a review of a book about sex, which had a chart in it illustrating the actual sizes of the various malehoods hanging around the Earth. Yes, the blue-whale penis meant it had to be a foldout map. That'd probably make some gents feel insignificant. On the other hand, I think the review pointed out that human malehood is among the largest in proportion to the body that carries it around.

#432 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:26 PM:

#431 Serge
There was an NPR program about blue whales, and it showed blue whale sex-it takes three whales to accomplish, #3 provides assistance. One of the scientists said that he was impotent for days after watching the whales....

#433 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:27 PM:

Oh, BAH!
That should have been PBS, not NPR, in the previous post!
Bah!

#434 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:30 PM:

How do you know it when a lurker who doesn't post organizes a gathering?

#435 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:37 PM:

Raphael @434:
How do you *know* it when a lurker who doesn't post organizes a gathering?

As opposed to an uninvolved stranger with a mad passion for throwing parties?

You walk up to them and say, "Quick! Word association test! What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say 'dinosaur'?"

#436 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:40 PM:

Abi... Cetacean sodomy?

#437 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:45 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 432... It takes three whales? Hmmm... That might explain a few things about what the aliens wanted in Star Trek: The Voyage Home.

#438 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 02:53 PM:

#432 ::: Paula Lieberman :::
"There was an NPR program about blue whales, and it showed blue whale sex-it takes three whales to accomplish, #3 provides assistance. One of the scientists said that he was impotent for days after watching the whales...."

He couldn't get one of the whales to help him with that?

#439 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Coming soon on the Discovery Channel... "Orked by Orcas"?

#440 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 03:42 PM:

Paula Lieberman: #432:

I heard a similar story about the special-effects guys for the Dune movie. Apparently, it was pretty hard to tone down the phallicism of those sandworms.

#441 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 03:46 PM:

Paula Lieberman #432: So, if three people get actively involved with each other they can honestly say they had a whale of a good time?

#442 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 04:07 PM:

#441
Wailing at Fragano....
On second thought, send him waling over the side....

#443 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 04:13 PM:

So this is mainly for Abi but also our hosts and anyone who desires to chime in--

My daughter is going to Oxford for a three-week program and bought a plane ticket for a side excursion to Amsterdam on a whim, without devoting much time to researching it, and is now getting slightly cold feet. How difficult is it for the first-time visitor who's never even been overseas before and doesn't speak any European languages (but has a few years of Japanese)? Are the hostels reasonably safe? Are there places an American traveller can go for help and places to avoid? I'll point her to the thread on living in the Netherlands, but if I recall, that was more about living there than visiting. She's also planning on Paris for Bastille Day weekend, shudder. Her fellow students in this program seem, from her descriptions, to be cookie-cutter Greek-life types, not the type she usually hangs out with, so she was planning to go alone, yikes.

#444 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 04:23 PM:

For those of you who are considering an upgrade to version 3.5 of the Firefox web browser, be aware that the Leet Key addon has not yet been updated for compatibility with that version.

#445 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 04:26 PM:

ROFLRazzi, on the late Billy Mays.

#446 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 04:30 PM:

And now, on a completely different subject, here's a question:

What accounts for the difference between the military and police phonetic alphabets?

#447 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 04:41 PM:

Janet Croft @443:
My daughter is going to Oxford for a three-week program...

Dangerous, but not in the way you're thinking. I went to St Andrews for a year, and haven't spent more than two of the years since then in North America.

...and bought a plane ticket for a side excursion to Amsterdam on a whim, without devoting much time to researching it, and is now getting slightly cold feet.

Perfectly understandable, but entirely unnecessary. Amsterdam is a great place to visit. It's very friendly, easily navigated, and the Dutch are kindly and helpful*.

How difficult is it for the first-time visitor who's never even been overseas before and doesn't speak any European languages (but has a few years of Japanese)?

The vast majority of Dutch people speak beautiful English, and are quite happy to do so. English is all but the second language here - even the Amsterdam city council has adopted it.

Living here, of course I am learning Dutch. But visitors can get along perfectly well without any. It's useful to be able to say a few things like please and thank you, but there are plenty of websites with audio files for those.

Are the hostels reasonably safe?

That I don't know much about, but I think I would have heard if they weren't.

Are there places an American traveller can go for help and places to avoid?

The tourist office, which is called the VVV, sits just outside of Centraal station in Amsterdam. They're a good place to go for assistance and suggestions. She can take the train from the airport to Centraal.

I don't think there are any places in central Amsterdam that should be avoided. Even the red light district at night is more racy than rough.

One thing she should seriously consider is renting a bike. There's a company called Mac Bikes in one of the wings of the train station, as well as many others around town. Biking in Amsterdam is one of the great pleasures of travel, in my opinion.

When is she coming, by the way?

I'll point her to the thread on living in the Netherlands, but if I recall, that was more about living there than visiting.

Pretty much. She won't need to arrange child benefit or deal with the tax authorities, the lucky so and so...

Please feel free to have her email me at abi at sunpig dot com. I'm sure I can suggest a number of interesting and useful things, and as long as she isn't coming when I'm on vacation, I can be an emergency backstop.

-----
* I have never been in need of assistance here and not had it offered.

#448 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 05:16 PM:

Jaques, the assorting phontic alphabets seem to have emerged in two forms.

First, there were the various telephonic alphabets, apparently put forward by telephoine companies, which usually were lists of either forenames or placenames. The military alphabets may have been more designed.

This is a remarkably complete list.

What you Police Scanning page puts forward as a fire/EMS code looks like the standard International Code, used by aviators and NATO. Remember, the idea is to make sure everyone understands the code: it's not to hide information.

The Police codes in the USA seem to go back to the ARRL and Western Union codes.

The NATO/ICAO code has a few words from earlier English-based military codes, but looks clearer for non-English-speaking users.

The earliest British military codes seem to have just given words for a few letters. Hence the Toc H organisation.

It's all as easy as Ack, Beer, Charlie.

#449 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Anyone going to CONvergence?

#450 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 05:36 PM:

Thank you, Abi -- I hadn't even thought about a bike, and she bikes here all the time. Not sure which weekend is Amsterdam -- I intend to winkle all that info out of her after her final tomorrow -- but it's either the 10th or 17th of July. Whichever weekend the Lady Gaga concert is...

#451 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Janet @450:
If the choice is between the 10th and the 17th, then unfortunately, I won't be able to be backstop. We're on vacation then.

Lady Gaga is apparently playing two dates in Amsterdam, on Monday July 20 and Saturday July 25. (Thank you, Google...) If it turns out she's going to the one on the 25th I'll not just be around, but actually in Amsterdam proper (on my bike, natch), and would be delighted to buy her lunch if she's interested.

In any and all cases, she should feel free to email me.

#452 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 06:07 PM:

BTW, someone was wondering about a hardware version of the "audio grid" toy. One of the comments there called it a software version of a Tenori-On. A tad beyond my budget, but....

#453 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 06:20 PM:

Dave Bell @ #448

This moose has a "Home Office Wireless Instructions for Radio-Telephony Schemes" pamphlet in front of him, dated July 1950.

It was for the .uk emergency services, and has a modified "Telecom B" phonetic alphabet in it. This must have _really_ confused people transferring in from the military.

The other oddity is the three "Transposition Codes" for sending names, etc over the radio: Code No.2 is ROT13

ObSheesh: Furrfu!

Cadbury.

#454 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 07:18 PM:

Can't find whale threesome articles on web; wondering if it was just a tease.

#455 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 07:53 PM:

From "Picture is Unrelated", some seriously NSFW knitting. (Or perhaps, crotchet? ;-))

#456 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 08:17 PM:

Janet Croft #443:
I traveled through the Netherlands on a bike many years ago, and went far off the normal American tourist paths. The Dutch went out of their way to be helpful, and the only time I had language issues was when I tried to talk with farmers.
I recommend Hostels associated with Hosteling International (formerly International Youth Hostels), and I believe that these are state sponsored there. I found a better experience in the smaller Hostels away from the cities, but that's me. The city Hostels should be booked in advance, especially during the summer, and this can be done online via the web site. Bring a small padlock for the lockers, the bog-standard American school locker padlocks are too big.
Another rooming option are the tiny pensions that are everywhere, and can be booked from the tourist information office.
I can't speak to women's safety issues, but Amsterdam felt the safest of the European cities I've visited. Joining up at the Hostel with other women (non-American) would be my recommendation.

Standard European train warning: Always be in your own train car when the train comes to a stop. The trains split and rejoin like cellular automata, and your car may be the only one going to your destination. Ok, she's going by plane, it is still useful to know for future trips.

Broodje haring is great, but isn't a breakfast food. Trust me.

#457 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 08:43 PM:

janetl@374: over the Wiscons I've been to, I've seen several pictures suggesting that downtown Madison in general was "rather bleak" 25 years ago.

Janet -- in case you think abi is more acclimated than your daughter, I'll note I had no problems touring the Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Leiden when I was over for ConFiction (1990 Worldcon). Amsterdam in mid-August was sometimes crowded with tourists, but nobody seemed to be stressing from the heat. The weirdest thing (to a USian) that I remember is the trolley fares being on the honor system.

Jacque, seconding Dave: IIRC the ICAO code was designed to be understandable when spoken and heard by people whose native language was not English; personal names are OK if you're sticking to native speakers, but that doesn't work for air traffic control. Dave wasn't kidding when he called his link remarkably complete -- it even has the RAF alphabet that I remember seeing pieces of in Clarke's Glide Slope

#458 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 09:11 PM:

Janet Croft @ #443: I spent nearly two months in the Netherlands, specifically Amsterdam and The Hague, when I was 19. I thought I'd pick up some Dutch while I was there, but I think the only word I learned was bier. In fact, many of the locals insisted on speaking English with me. This was 39 years ago, but I'm sure the multilingualism has only increased.

#459 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 09:51 PM:

LMB #458:

What other words do you need?

#460 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 10:12 PM:

Apropos of nothing whatsoever:

Anyone who thinks American culture is homogeneous should read this front page.


(Alas, only the front page is available in PDF, but this is today's paper so you can go to the journal's main page to read the rest.)

#461 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 10:16 PM:

John, at that time, none.

#462 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 10:28 PM:

Lila, are you sure that's the right URL? The PDF your link goes to seems to be for June 18, not July 1, and I couldn't see anything particularly multicultural about it.

#463 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 10:39 PM:

OK, I'm just going to ask outright: could the Stonewall thread be reopened? I think it's the right place to discuss the outrage in Fort Worth, which keeps getting worse. I'm starting to draw parallels between the Fort Worth police chief and Ayatollah Khamenei, in both credibility and commitment to human rights.

#464 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 10:48 PM:

In case you don't know what I'm talking about.

Police Chief Jeff Halstead is the fracking scum of the frelling Earth.

#465 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2009, 11:32 PM:

Paula at 427: Try Joanna Russ's The Female Man. Great SF. Published 1975.

#466 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 12:02 AM:

Xopher, while I agree with you that the Stonewall thread seems the ideal place to discuss the Fort Worth Police Department Sponsors the Stonewall Anniversary Celebration, as the thread is still closed, this OT is the place we have.

I can't agree with Savage telling us what Halstead's words "really meant," but Halstead's own words and behavior say a lot. He seems to have become adept at stereophonic speech--he says the words quoted in Savage's article in one speech, but then, in an appearance at a church in East Fort Worth, claims Gibson wasn't even in the custody of "my [FWPD] employees" when the injury occurred. NOTE: That article has been updated since I originally read it; the first half, above the subhead, "'We've got to talk.'," was added this afternoon. The second half was what I was interested in last night, as it indicated he was really trying to straighten the situation out--to those who hadn't heard his hearty endorsement of his officers' fantastic story of their homoerotic irresistability.

However, since the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) has now admitted that Gibson was in their custody when he had the holy shit knocked out of him, it makes the story even more interesting. TABC officers, who are actually the instigators of these bar "inspections," as well as sting operations on retail operations, mostly stores that sell beer, to enforce laws against sales to minors, have pretty bad reputation. They've recently had an officer arrested for the sexual assault of one of the young female volunteers he used for sting operations. There are other accusations of entrapment and other questionable behavior from 2007-2008 in an ongoing lawsuit. Those are the ones that come immediately to mind; I'm sure further googling will get you more.

I haven't seen much about this in the Dallas Morning News, but the Fort Worth paper, known to be considerably more liberal-leaning, has had ongoing coverage every day, including articles about the national notoriety. One good overview of the general situation, with background info about TABC inspections and some unbiased (IMO) opinions about what happened that night, is a commentary by local columnist, Bud Kennedy. It might give someone from a very different urban culture a bit more idea of how we really are down here, i.e., not necessarily like Dan Savage's stereotype.

#467 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 12:17 AM:

Paula Lieberman @432: There was an [PBS] program about blue whales, and it showed blue whale sex-it takes three whales to accomplish [..]

Along the same theme, I saw a bit of a documentary (PBS?) showing the preliminaries of a mating of a pair of very expensive thoroughbred horses. Because there was a possibility that the male might break a leg, his rear legs were tied off onto two-by-fours, and a pair of human assistants (one for each leg) were assisting in the docking maneuvers.

And my thought was that if this was what it had been like with Prince Charles, it was no wonder that royal life lost it appeal for Diana.

#469 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 09:10 AM:

re 448: One of the things I discovered in writing the Wikipedia article about an early Japanese diplomatic cipher was that it was designed to save money on TELEX by generating text that looked like phonetic codes. Apparently there was a premium on transmitting text that was unpronounceable. Unfortunately the way it did this made the code very weak, and it was easily broken once the western cryptographers got around to it.

#470 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 10:38 AM:

Thanks all. Now I wish _I_ was the one going to Amsterdam. Putting it on my list of places to go when I win the lottery, right up there with Iceland... Bier, good word to know! :)

#471 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 11:36 AM:

Anyone catch the PBS American Masters show about Garrison Keillor last night? I watched it and loved it. Even though it didn't reveal very much about someone who is at heart a private person, it was an engaging portrait of someone who excels at his craft.

Toward the end of the show, he used a sentence that I really enjoyed:

"This is a great country, and it wasn't made so by angry people."

#472 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 12:38 PM:

Clifton @ #462, correct URL, I just read the date wrong. What I was referring to was the tornado/mudbogging story. Sure, I grew up with just that sort of thing, but that story would need footnotes in some parts of the country.

Incidentally, that's the hometown paper of the place where I start a 13-week travel assignment this month.

#473 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 02:13 PM:

More open-threadiness: Carnivorous robotic furniture.

Apparently at least one design could eat mice, which might be bad news for hamster and gerbil owners....

#474 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 03:00 PM:

LMB 466: how we really are down here

I read those words with alarm. I know better than to lump all Texans, or even all Fort Worth residents, in with that scumbag police chief or those slimeball and possibly murderous TABC officers. Fort Worth has an openly-gay City Councilman, for gods' sake. And I will have you know that I stopped trusting Dan Savage's objectivity a long time ago.

What part of his article are you objecting to? I think his accent-transcription is offensive, especially since he probably didn't hear Jeff Scumbag Halstead talking at all...but his translation seems otherwise accurate. It's OK in Halstead's mind to beat faggots without regard for their survival if one of them touches you in an offensive way, and he supported their statements that such a thing occurred without any corroborating evidence. He's "happy with the restraint that was used," when someone ended up in a coma and may die; that by itself makes him a homophobic shithead who has no business having a badge.

I note that it appears that Chief Scumbag was telling the truth about Gibson's custody; he was assaulted by TABC officers, not FWPD officers, according to the TABC's own admission. Of course, he may have been trying to get people to believe that Gibson wasn't in custody at all, in which case he's still a lying sack of shit even if his words are technically true.

Kennedy's piece doesn't contradict my reading of the situation at all, though I disagree with him when he says that "If neither [the city nor the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission] wants to say that it originated the inspection, that must mean neither agency is proud of the outcome." It doesn't mean anything of the kind. It means neither of them wants to be held accountable, that is, punished, for the crimes that were committed during this savage pogrom. Lying (and one of them must be) to avoid punishment isn't QUITE the same thing as remorse, now is it? In fact if anything it shows a lack of that quality.

Kennedy's account also fails to mention (perhaps to notice) that the raid took place on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. I don't think it's plausible that that was a coincidence. I think the officers involved (who may not have gotten instructions from any higher authority) decided to show what would have happened had Stonewall taken place on their watch. I want them kicked off the TABC and (where applicable and if they're convicted) put in prison. If Chad Gibson dies I want whoever did it to never again enjoy freedom. My rage is redoubled by knowing that this is vanishingly unlikely to occur, since most jurors believe cops won't lie on the witness stand, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

One other thing Kennedy's account does make clear: it IS, in a sense, a statewide issue: Rick Perry ordered, or appointed the people who ordered, arrests for being drunk in a bar. I guess that's illegal under Texas law, but the arrests started up, according to Kennedy, under Perry's regime. Perry is a known scumbag too, so I guess it's not surprising that he has policies that lead to this kind of grotesque abuse.

#475 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 03:09 PM:

And, of course, now the Stonewall thread is open again. Continue there.

#476 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 05:33 PM:

Regarding Serge's announcement of a Making Light party at Westercon, on Saturday night after the fireworks--Teresa and I will certainly be there.

#477 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 07:27 PM:

Have you guys heard of "earth-style" cooking? It means you don't seed or peel things you cook. I can see not seeding or peeling zucchini and such, but onions? And when this cookbook says "micro-roasting," they just mean zapping on high. Here's a Green Quiche recipe.

Dana Milbank uses his column to compare a new right-wing group to Star Trek, including noting that the American Family Association is boycotting Pepsi because they support homosexuals. I wonder how much Pepsi we have to buy to win. And if they'll girlcott Snapple.

And boy, has the WashPost stumbled because their new media division sent out flyers saying companies and lobbyists could buy reporting.

#478 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 08:34 PM:

C. Wingate #469: It should be possible to create an encryption system which does not have that problem. What you need to do is encrypt the message using an ordinary encryption algorithm, then put the output through a procedure that can turn an arbitrary bitstream into "looked like phonetic codes", which shouldn't be too hard if they accepted arbitrary text with merely language-like vowel/consonant/whitespace mix.

#479 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 09:52 PM:

re whales: When I was in high school we got a film (in biology), about Calif. Gray Whales. As with the report on Blue Whales the mechanics of it requires a second male to support the female.

So they have a few thousand miles of courtship, she makes her choice and the failed suitor helps out.

The amusing thing was the actual mechanics of the coitus. The male's penis bends, and it manages to find the vaginal opening while flopped over.

#480 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 09:56 PM:

There has been at least one phonetic letter spell out code which had both strong encryption and error detection/correction.

#481 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 10:59 PM:

Open Threadiness and of possible interest to the EMTs: Dr. Sheldon Jacobson died on Tuesday of pancreatic cancer. He was instrumental in developing emergency medicine at Mount Sinai, and in creating "paramedics" in NY State. He was also a long-time friend of my parents.

Evidence of life's little jokes: "Royal Pains" just mentioned Mount Sinai as a destination for an emergency transport.

#482 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 11:33 PM:

Hello, everybody. I'm at Fiestacon/Westercon. I just came back from a nice chat with Teresa & Patrick. Earlier today, I was on a panel about good & bad SF movies. I think it showed I've never been on a panel until today. I ran off at the mouth, an assertion that may surprise those of you who've met me. At least, I didn't speak thru my metaphorical hat.

#483 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2009, 11:51 PM:

Serge: I'm sure you did fine. I had a church lady give me the cut sign, because I was going long.

I also, apparently, said, "fuck" several times in same church.

Which is to say, I did the conference. It was a good time. On a couple of levels it may have been life changing. Certainly it caused me to rethink a few things, gave me some different perspectives on the subject and was; again on several levels, soul restoring.

It's also something I couldn't have done without the support, real and tacit, of the folks here.

So, such victory it might be, is shared with the lot of you. My most heartfelt thanks to one and all.

#484 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 12:27 AM:

Marilee, in what way does Pepsi support homosexuals? I haven't drunk any for years. Should I start drinking it again, and will it help me walk better? Better than real ale or cider, I'm sure, but what does Dr Pepper think?

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 12:33 AM:

Terry Karney @ 483... I'm glad to hear that the conference helped your soul. As for ML's support, I know what you mean.

I ran into KeithS tonight. Rather, he did. It took me a moment to recognize him because, unlike his photo, he doesn't look eeevvvvilllllllll. Not even a mephistophelian whiff about him. He told me that Lee IS around. I was wondering about that, since I didn't see her working in the dealer room. That's because she's not working in the dealer's room.

#486 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 08:07 AM:

The latest wave of spam (spoofing MSNBC.com) has some really creative subject hooks.

#487 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:04 AM:

tykewriter @484: see here.

#488 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 12:05 PM:

Lila (460), when I read that page of the Tattnall Journal, I noticed the happy family that little rural community paper featured on their front page for Fathers' Day. We've come so far in accepting divorce and unmarried couples that you might not have noticed it. This is clearly a conservative rural community, honoring a single father who is not even a respectable widower. It's not that family situations don't happen in rural communities, or didn't happen a generation ago...it's that the divisive idea of "traditional rural values are so different the liberal big cities on the coast" kept people from talking about them.

#489 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 12:34 PM:

Thanks, Jules! Although I think tykewriter may have been making ze pun. I have to say that if it made me walk better, I'd start drinking it again, too!

#490 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 02:30 PM:

Marilee, #477, re "earth-cooking"


I can see roasting unpeeled onions. Roast them like corn in the husk, until the interior is cooked and tender, then peel the outer skin off and enjoy the rest.

If the "earth-cooking" advocates were suggesting the papery outer skin should be eaten too... ehhhh, I don't think so. (Wouldn't that turn your tongue yellow?)

#491 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 02:50 PM:

Yes, it was a pune or play on words, but I really didn't know that Pepsi sponsored Gay Pride events. Good for them!
(Still won't drink the stuff though.)

#492 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 03:06 PM:

re onion skins. When making stocks, I keep the peels on. They give a slightly nuttier flavor to the onion notes. When browning bones they are fine too, because the heat will dry the outer "leaves" of the bulb.

But other than that... no.

#493 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 04:11 PM:

Janet (#443): Amsterdam was the first European city I ever visited, lo these many years ago. Young, female, and traveling alone.

I was there again a few days ago (and abi was kind enough to meet me for lunch).

I'm happy to confirm that in both cases I found the city to be safe, easy to navigate, and very English-friendly.

A few minor warnings:

The ticketing machines in Schiphol don't seem to like American credit or debit cards, so she should be prepared to go to the counter and pay cash (at a slight premium).

If she's easily shocked, you might want to warn her ahead of time that the wake'n'bake is popular in Amsterdam - I definitely caught whiffs of pot smoke as I arrived in the city at eight am on a Monday. Conversely, if she's adventurous, I've been told that Amsterdam weed is much stronger than what most people are used to. If she's traveling by herself, indulging might not be the smartest move.

And a final warning: once she tries French fries with mayo and ketchup, she may always prefer them to straight ketchup, and then all her American friends will make fun of her (seriously - tried them on my first visit and now that's how I always eat fries).

#494 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Are all cafes places where one can smoke weed or is it in select ones?

Not planning on travel any time soon, but inquiring (and radically allergic) minds want to know.

#495 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 04:38 PM:

debcha @493:
Yes, forgot to warn you about the ticketing machines. There are one or two that take cash, and the counter staff can take American credit cards (with surcharge), but the combination of a US cc and those machines is chancy.

Lunch was a pleasure, though, alas, too brief. But it was a busy week at work. The best I can say is that half a loaf is better than none.

Paula @494:
Are all cafes places where one can smoke weed or is it in select ones?

And here we must introduce the difference between a café, where one gets coffee, and a coffeeshop, where one gets weed.

Coffeeshops are distinguished by a sign in the window, argent, per bend sinister vert*, with the words "COFFEE SHOP"on it in black.

There is occasionally a miasma of marajuana in the air in Amsterdam, particularly in the red light district†. But it's rarely severe.

-----
* Heraldry is not my specialty. Corrections are welcome.

† Note that the red light district does not have prostitutes on the street corners. Everything takes place in windows or indoors. Walking down the street in the red light district is not going to get one mistaken for a sex worker, assaulted, or otherwise bothered.

#496 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 05:05 PM:

When I went to Confiction (first trip out of the UK, organised at the last minute--harvest was early) I wasted too much time at the convention to have any fun of any salacious sort.

There was, for instance, a sex-toy shop on the tram route from the conference centre into Scheveningen, not far from the Bad Hotel. Though I doubt I would have gone in even if it had been open when I passed. Today, I passed on in Scunthorpe--times have changed a lot.

But traveling around the Netherlands, not speaking a word of Dutch: no problem.

And once you're in the Euro zone, it's all the same currency. One or two people from further south in the UK, who travelled by way of Belgium, had a few little problems with having to handle another currency.

#497 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Another found sentence in the blogads headline sidebar:

* New, Softer Approach to Illegal Workers
* Will Resurface Later
* In Which Everybody Gets Corrupted

#498 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 05:46 PM:

abi @ 495: I think it's "per bend sinister argent and vert". But my recollection of heraldry may be as poor as my recollection of the Tenori-on specs.

#499 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 05:46 PM:

debcha: Mayo and ketchup is a regional thing. In Utah it's called, "Dipping sauce", and establishments pride themselves on their individual variations.

Since commercial mayo appalls me, and ketchup is (IMO) vile, the idea of combining them is not for me. Good mayo is ok on fries, but the ne plus ultra for me is a good tartar sauce.

#501 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 05:51 PM:

Damn it, Linkmeister beat me to it!

#502 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 05:59 PM:

Well, Lila, my link is blatant self-promotion, so. . .

#503 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:07 PM:

What's odd is that Palin's excuse for resigning seems to be that, since she didn't want to run for a second term, she'd be a lame duck. Apparently she thinks that lame ducks are required to gallivant around spending the state's money and not actually getting any work done. Which she is (surprisingly, given her recent history) morally opposed to.

Or something like that. And there was something about the troops being the most important thing, which makes me wonder if she's going to join a USO troop and put on a floor show for them.

Very strange press conference.

#504 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:15 PM:

Hunh... I didn't think to post it here.

One wonders what the real reason is.

#505 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:21 PM:

I find myself wondering if something is about to surface that even Palin can't brush off or justify...

#506 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:21 PM:

Sarah Palin's resignation is weird even by Palin standards. I'm briefly and temporarily fascinated. It's worth reading the transcript of her speech just to marvel at its incoherence.

Her reasons, as stated in her speech, don't make much sense. Coming from Palin, that doesn't mean they're insincere--her judgment and grasp on reality are, after all, shaky, and it may be that she really thinks this won't hurt her--that her fans will blame the nasty liberal media for hounding her, and spend the time until 2012 marveling at what a stand-up gal she is for not wasting taxpayer money. But some people seem to think something more is going on here. According to MSNBC, "Sources told NBC's Andrea Mitchell that it appears Palin is out of politics for good."

#507 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:22 PM:

"I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so I can hold the title of governor," she said.

This seems to be an outright acknowledgment that she has not actually been doing anything useful in office.

#508 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:29 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 507

I read that as saying that she'd be forced, forced I say, to run around spending taxpayers' money on junkets, and to ignore her job. Because that's what happens to lame ducks, you know.

#509 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:42 PM:

Regarding Nadia's ML gathering at FiestaCon tomorrow...

WHERE: room 3071
WHEN: after the fireworks.

If I remember correctly, Patrick Connors, CHip and Bruce Arthur were planning to be around, but I haven't heard any confirmation. I've met KeithS and Lee is around although I haven't met her yet. Nadia, who is the person doing all the work for this, said a few more people might show up. Oh, Teresa and Patrick will be there.

#510 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 06:43 PM:

Regarding Nadia's ML gathering at FiestaCon tomorrow...

WHERE: room 3071
WHEN: after the fireworks.

If I remember correctly, Patrick Connors, CHip and Bruce Arthur were planning to be around, but I haven't heard any confirmation. I've met KeithS and Lee is around although I haven't met her yet. Nadia, who is the person doing all the work for this, said a few more people might show up. Oh, Teresa and Patrick will be there.

#511 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:12 PM:

"allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste"

I wonder if she's alluding to the various ethics investigations she's subject to at the moment?

#512 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:34 PM:

David Harmon @ #505, that was the first thing that came to mind.

I tried to watch video of her speech but she's painful to listen to.

I'm waiting for something to blow up in Alaska government.

#513 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:35 PM:

re Palin: She alleges the ethics complaints are asymetric warfare, of the, "national level" poltical realm.

Outsiders, so she says, can file complaints and force the state; and her family, to spend millions of dollars, without spending a cent.

What got me was the style.

And there is such a need to BUILD up and FIGHT for our state and our country. I choose to FIGHT for it! And I'll work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and LIFE... I'll work for and campaign for those PROUD to be American, and those who are INSPIRED by our ideals and won't deride them.

I WILL support others who seek to serve, in or out of office, for the RIGHT reasons, and I don't care what party they're in or no party at all. Inside Alaska – or Outside Alaska.

But I won’t do it from the Governor’s desk.

Wha...?

#514 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:41 PM:

I just saw a report that there's an indictment in Palin's future. If true (and it could be, in any one of several ways), it would explain much.

#515 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:41 PM:

I heard about Palin resigning after shampooing the carpets for two hours.

I do this work on hot sunny days so the carpets dry out quicker; to help things along more I opened up the shades and windows. I was sweating and a bit woozy . . . and for a moment thought I was hallucinating when I heard the news.

Jeeze. Palin is the gift that keeps on giving.

#516 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:52 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 515: I heard about Palin resigning after shampooing the carpets for two hours.

Whoa, maybe she killed someone in the governor's mansion!

Oh wait, you mean after you were shampooing the carpets for two hours. Never mind.

#517 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Dear Gawd . . . I'm listening to a bit of Palin's resignation . . . speech?

I ate some fruit and drank some water so I know I wasn't hallucinating that.

Someone on the Whitechapel blog wrote "Someone found her Planned Parenthood receipts."

I could almost believe something like that.

#518 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Today I spent an hour or so collecting trash from a wooded shortcut between my development and the local shopping mall. Now, bottles, cans, and such are one thing -- but there were also several bags contains what I'm pretty sure were dirty diapers. (Yes, I was wearing gloves.) Damn, but some people are disgusting....

#519 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 08:26 PM:

My wife came across some comment made by some conservatives about what Palin's resignation means. I think it goes like this: "If there is an intelligent liberal out there, he must be afraid."

Does that mean Palin is going to turn into Jeff Goldblum and then into a giant wominsect?

#520 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 08:52 PM:

RE Why People Horde particle:

Oregon's Rabbit Lady is getting jail time after a maintenance worker found she was keeping forbidden bunnies in her suite hotel room.

Missing from the linked story: After having her 150 bunnies seized, she broke into the holding facility and took them back. She was busted when someone giving her a ride talked to the police, describing her as being disturbingly enthusiastic about rabbits.

She probably belongs in a mental health facility. No way she's going to get the necessary help in jail.

#521 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:14 PM:

I think her real future is as a talk show host.

#522 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:19 PM:

@521: Yes, but what about Palin?

#523 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:26 PM:

At a guess, either she's waiting for some amazingly bad news to come out, or someone has the goods on her (something that would wreck her personal life or send her to jail) and has told her to resign immediately or it will all come out.

Why did Sarah Palin get chosen as the VP candidate? Why did so many people, Republicans and Democrats (but especially Republicans) follow Bush and Cheney off a cliff, even when it led to their own downfall? What's behind so many spectacular scandals coming out about Republicans these days?

I have a kind of very speculative theory, way off in tinfoil hat land: Perhaps a lot of prominent Republicans were under some kind of blackmail threat, and in fact that some powerful folks in the party were helping out the people on whom they had blackmail materials. If this is true, it explains some of why Republicans keep having sex scandals, and so often have gay sex scandals. (It's much harder to remain politically viable after you come out, when you're a Republican.) If that is true, then it's interesting to ask whether Palin might have been chosen because someone had some very good blackmail material on her, and some ability to co-opt the selection process. (Note that Palin was a bizarre choice for VP, given the huge negatives (pregnant teenage daughter, ongoing ethics investigations) she carried. Married white women with kids and some political experience are not such a rare commodity in the Republican party that she was the only choice.)

#524 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:45 PM:

Remember the MySpace suicide? Ruling overturned.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/31722986/ns/today_people/

When was that, anyway?

#525 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:50 PM:

While I don't think Palin has much of chance of advancing much further in politics, you never can tell. Who would have thought a B actor would have wound up as president, or a pro wrestler become a governor?

That's the funny thing about a democracy; the voters can surprise you.

#526 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:51 PM:

Some days "throw something together out of what's in the kitchen" works beautifully.

Other days, you keep on throwing things in, hoping that they'll improve your current results to a point where you're willing to eat the ... stuff ...

#527 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 09:56 PM:

Albatross: A simpler theory for the general case: The Republican leadership was using their positions to protect blackmail-able underlings, in exchange for absolute obedience. Since they lost so much of their power, they can't actually protect those folks anymore, so the scheme is falling apart and the tools are slipping into the light.

Re the Rabbit Lady: I like tis line from the article (emphasis mine):

When the worker arrived, he saw and smelled more than a dozen rabbits.

#528 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 10:14 PM:

xeger #526: Been there, done that. Sometimes I can salvage an unbalanced veggie-pot by turning it into soup.....

Erik Nelson: Not pleasant, but I can see the problem with letting stand the "repurposing" of the law behind her conviction. What's really needed is laws against such targeted abuse, behavior that apply regardless of medium.

#529 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 11:00 PM:

abi @#495: That's "per bend sinister argent and vert". It's a division of the field, not a field with a charge on it.

[/heraldry_geek]

#530 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 11:26 PM:

abi,

Last summer, my family discovered that the red light district had expanded a bit beyond where it had been when we first visited Amsterdam, it must be sixteen years ago.

We rented an apartment (a very nice upstairs apartment) on a quiet street where, after dark, the girls showed up in the windows with the lights. The seventeen year old was amused, the fourteen year old horrified and the twelve year old curious. (We walked down the street just after dusk, just after the lights went on. The young women smiled and waved at us.) Based on previous visits to Amsterdam, we weren't worried about the street being unsafe, especially as when we had pulled up we had seen other children on the street. It made for a little awkward explaining to do, but I think the parents were more unsettled about things than the kids were.

Years ago, when I came to Amsterdam for the first time, the hotel clerk kindly warned me that if I wandered into the wrong part of town I could get my pocket picked! Considering I was living in the D.C. suburbs, where two German tourists who wandered into Anacostia had recently been *shot*, I wasn't too concerned.

I love Amsterdam.

#531 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 12:14 AM:

xeger @526: The sunk cost fallacy in action. I've been there more than once myself.

#532 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 12:21 AM:

Janet Croft@443:

I lived in Oxford as a student and have visited Amsterdam a number of times. I'd say that Amsterdam is safer than Oxford.

I can also confirm that language is not a problem for tourists. Almost everyone can communicate in English and lots of people have near-native fluency. They are also willing to speak English. It's not like, say, Paris.

Abi's recommendation of MacBike is seconded. I would add a warning to check when they close -- it was earlier than I expected.

#533 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 12:24 AM:

Spotted on the Plastic blog, under the subject line "SAD":

"The way she kept repeating the phrase 'no more politics as usual' kind of made me think of a sort of failed Dumbo, tightly clutching his magic feather while plunging to his death." -- Tashtego

#534 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 03:24 AM:

Why did Sarah Palin get chosen as the VP candidate? Why did so many people, Republicans and Democrats (but especially Republicans) follow Bush and Cheney off a cliff, even when it led to their own downfall? What's behind so many spectacular scandals coming out about Republicans these days?

Tune in tomorrow for the next episode of As the Worm Turns.

This is a soap opera, right?

#535 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 08:12 AM:

Terry, #499: Yes, I've had the prefab mayo-and-ketchup combo in Utah a few times, where I've heard it called 'fry sauce.' It helps that both the mayo and the ketchup are tastier, I think, than the American versions - in particular, the ketchup is more vinegary and less sweet. But you're not the only person I know who is all about the tartar sauce.

abi, #493: You know, you're weren't actually required - or even expected - to warn me about the ticket machines at Schiphol. Really. But I appreciate the thought nonetheless.

#536 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 08:29 AM:

#523 ::: albatross:

I used to think the Bush administration Republican party discipline had some blackmail at its base, but there've been so many "My party has betrayed me" books (afaik with an adverse consequences for the writers), that I'm now inclined to think that the party discipline was a matter of social pressure.

#537 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 08:33 AM:

Albatross@523

The "Married white women with kids and some political experience" in the GOP that come to mind generally had some policy position or other that made the right-wing activists less than enthusiastic about them.

What seems to have happened is that McCain had to back away from the VP he REALLY wanted (apparently Lieberman) and just picked someone who looked somewhat plausible (Female? Check; Acceptable to the base? Check; Somewhat prominent elected official? Check; Makes me look "mavericky"? Check.) without much thought or investigation.

#538 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 09:51 AM:

I don't think it's necessary to invoke blackmail to explain recent Republican behavior. For a while now, the people in charge of the Republican party have been good at one thing: public relations. They're good, preternaturally good, at selling their brand and smearing the opposition.

As time passed, as they got better at dodging criticism, it was less and less necessary for the Republicans to be good at anything else. They didn't have to make politically sensible decisions anymore. The PR guys could take any stupid decision and steamroller the consequences into a smooth road.

What we're seeing now is the moment when the party has become so crazy that even the mighty noise machine can't hide the damage.

We don't need conspiracies to explain McCain's decision to take Palin as VP. He's just that impulsive. And although there's a good chance a scandal is about to break, Palin's pretty damn impulsive, too, and it's also plausible she quit because she's just bored with being governor...

Fred Malek, a longtime Republican fundraiser and Palin ally, played host to the governor and her husband, Todd, less than a month again in Washington and said it was “so clear to me that she was terribly unhappy with the position she was in and the role she was playing.”
He didn’t learn of Palin’s decision until he got a phone call from the governor this morning, when she cited the pressures of a job that had become consumed with FOIA requests and ethics investigations and the demands it taken on her family and national political prospects.
Another prominent GOP source who is close to Palin, who also had no inkling of Palin’s decision to quit until today, said: “Things had piled up pretty steep on her.”

...And that she's egotistical enough to believe this resignation will not hurt her:

Those friends say she plans to give a series of paid speeches, and will also make free GOP appearances, raising money for the party and for issues. She also plans to help other candidates, collecting political IOUs for herself.

Maybe Palin honestly believes she's made a brilliant strategic move.

#539 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 10:03 AM:

"This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend SOMEbody!"
- John Adams in 1776

A happy Fourth to my fellow Americans!

#540 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 10:21 AM:

There's lady by the name of Sarah, shot a moose. Everybody knows she shot a moose. You say "What did Sarah do?" "Well, she shot a moose." But very few people know about the conversation that went on between the Lord and Sarah. You see Sarah was in her rec room cleaning her guns, she was making her family safe there. She was a good mother...

<*squeeka*> <*squeeka*> <*squeeka*>

TL: <*ting*> SARAH.

SP: ... Did somebody call? ...

<*squeeka*> <*squeeka*> <*squeeka*>

TL: <*ting*> SARAH.

SP: ... Who is that?

TL: IT'S THE LORD, SARAH.

SP: ... Right. ... Where are ya? What do ya want? I've been good.

-----

So: Is she going to start building an Ark in her driveway? Have a very special baby?

#541 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 10:50 AM:

Oh, and this might be a good time to add that I am in Berlin for the next few days, if there are a) any ML readers who would like to say hi, or b) any ML readers with suggestions for 'don't miss' activities in the city (or in Frankfurt, where I'll have one afternoon/evening before I leave).

#542 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 11:04 AM:

Wesley #538: Or maybe she just can't take the heat....

#543 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 02:14 PM:

Serge@509: I'll be at the Anticipation ML party, but not Westercon. I don't do severe heat (even dry heat); and while you're partying, I will be dreaming of riding an undersize raft down the Kennebec to The Forks, ME. (At least, I'd \better/ be asleep by the time you start partying, or it's going to be a more interesting ride than I had planned.)

#544 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 03:20 PM:

Joel @ #540, not bad. I hope you won't be offended if I link to a YouTube capture of the original.

The line I always liked best from it was probably "You wanna get it outta my driveway? I gotta get to work!"

#545 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Perhaps her resignation is somehow needed to advance the plot of the big work of fiction we all live in, and the author couldn't come up with a good plausible reason for it?

#546 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 03:31 PM:

Serge @ 509:
"If I remember correctly, Patrick Connors, CHip and Bruce Arthur were planning to be around, but I haven't heard any confirmation. I've met KeithS and Lee is around although I haven't met her yet. Nadia, who is the person doing all the work for this, said a few more people might show up. Oh, Teresa and Patrick will be there."

Ummm, Serge, it's Arthurs. With an "s" on the end. ("The gratuitous s", as Arthur Hlavaty once referred to it.) It's a small thing, but it's mine.

(I am not related to the Daniel Arthur who is also at the convention.)

I've seen you in passing, but haven't had a chance to say hello. Barring unforeseen circumstances, both Hilde and I should be at the party tonight. (I may be bringing some chocolate peanut-butter balls, and some holy-moley-they're-actually-ripe! peaches to contribute.)

#547 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 03:33 PM:

Happy Independence Day!

#548 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 05:03 PM:

Happy Independence Day to the other Americans here, and Happy Getting-Rid-of-Those-Loonies day to the British!

#549 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Sorry Clifton, the British didn't get rid of the loonies. Two words (pronounced as three): George III. THEY got stuck with him. If they'd had sense they'd've quietly poisoned the mad old bugger.

And of course the Canadians have brought back the loonies in a big way. And twonies. Yep, they have a loonie-twonie system!*

*No, actually I don't think I'm the first to say that. Saying it anyway. :P

#550 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:35 PM:

CHip @ 543... Anticipation then. As for Arizona's heat... No kidding.

#551 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 546... Argh.

#552 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Domestic advice needed, pretty strongly. I found someone on the local Craigslist that had a Wohnzimmerschrank and was looking to trade it for something I had. (Wohnzimmerschrank = big ass sideboard/cabinet/secretary.) Unfortunately, when they posted "brought over from Germany in the 1950's by a Military Man and his German bride" they didn't add the line "who smoked like chimneys" and I didn't sniff it indoors. The tobacco reek of this thing is about to drive me out of the house, and when I wiped down one of the small storage doors with warm water the paper towel turned almost black. Unfortunately the polish on the wiped door then turned dull as well. Any suggestions on what to use to wipe this hummer down with that will get rid of the reek and the dirt but not spoil the polish? Thanks!

#553 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:48 PM:

Bruce @552, here's the list of eHow suggestions:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2305759_remove-cigarette-smell-from-wood.html

I would also think, if the polish looked dull after any of these treatments, giving it a good wipedown with lemon oil and then buffing it would restore the shine.

Is it really a big midcentury modern entertainment center? That's what all the image search results are!

#554 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:51 PM:

Bruce, 552: Large shallow dishes full of white vinegar inside the cabinets, with the doors shut, worked wonders on my mother's inherited china cabinets. I believe she salvaged the outsides with Pledge and elbow grease. Shall I ask her?

#555 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Rikibeth, a Wohnzimmerschrank wasn't / isn't necessarily used for TV's, hifi's, and the like. Rather, it's for storing and possibly displaying things like table linens, china, silverware, maybe some books and figurines. Here's a pic.

#556 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 552...
The first thing you need to do is figure out what the finish is in the first place....

The two checks I remember off the top of my head -- Find an inconspicuous spot, and apply a q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol (just hold it still) for about 10-20 seconds. If the spot is sticky after, you've likely got shellac. If that has no effect, try the same thing (cautiously!) with lacquer thinner ...

General advice -- use a bit of soapy water (dawn+water) to get the worst of the grime off (don't worry about the finish getting dull for now -- it's not a problem, per se, just avoid soaking the wood). I know some folk will say that you should never, ever, ever use something like Murphy's oil soap -- I figure that -clean- is important, and what I'm working on isn't irreplaceably historic, so I often use Murphy's.

Having done that (and you may need to go over the whole thing several times to get the worst of the crap off), you can then use something like naptha or one of the "antique restorative" solutions that get sold at your home despot to clean the finish up some, instead of dissolving the dirt.

A technique I've used with good success on a variety of objects is to then take a decent furniture wax (I think I'm currently using old masters crystal clear furniture wax), and rub in (not -too- hard, since you don't want to cut through the finish... ) generous amounts with extra fine (0000) steel wool (or the white non-ferrous substitutes, especially with tannic woods) -- one coat at least for cleaning/smoothing, and a second much thinner coat for polishing (more coats don't necessarily hurt).

Bear in mind -- this assumes that you're not dealing with something that has major historic value, or suchlike.

There's also a vast excess of advice about refinishing online...

Oh! One other bit of advice that might be useful -- white vinegar, just set in a jar or bowl apparently helps to absorb cigarette smoke.

#557 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 07:00 PM:

Bruce @ 552
You could also try linseed oil soap. It would clean the gunk off without destroying the finish. They usually sell it in hardware stores: look in or near the paint section.

#558 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 07:07 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, #490, yes, you eat the papery bits of the onions after you zap them all together. It just seems so unpleasant. They didn't mention parts of plants you shouldn't eat -- some are poison.

Terry Karney, #499, I like tartar sauce on fries, too, but a boyfriend many years ago taught me to like BBQ sauce and horseradish sauce both on burgers and fries.

Wordle of the Declaration of Independence. (Snicked from Kathy Routliffe.)

National Anthem played by National Symphony Orchestra member on an electric baseball bat violin.

#559 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 07:51 PM:

Rikibeth: thanks for the link. This isn't really an entertainment center--it's more of a big cabinet divided into smaller cabinets with doors, a shelf inside the unit you can't reach from the front to put speakers on so sound comes out of slits cut in the unit, a small shelf the length of the unit, wood doors, glass doors, drawers in the base, mirror at the back of the secretary: I don't have a place to post pictures and I don't want to put in a link to the photobucket site she had for it because there's no overall shot of it, just parts. Also, it's clear that Germany had recently been in a war, since the majority of the setup is nice veneer combined with wood-grained vinyl on the edge of sheets of particleboard. Which relates to current particleboard the way that horsehair relates to current chair stuffing... Incidentally, eHow has got some great comedy writers: "Finally, remember that some odors are caused not by the smoke itself, but by a nicotine residue." Har de har freaking har. The doors were changing color as I wiped the sponge full of hot water over them.

TexAnne: I'll take any advice I can get at this point. Pledge by itself isn't doing much.

Debbie: this one has an insert in one of the drawers to hold a silver set. Which would promptly start to stink...

Xeger: Thanks for the tips. White Vinegar seems to be the universal recommendation, so I'll pick some up at the grocery. I'll try to see what type of finish is on it in the next day or so--only rubbing alcohol around here is menthol scented (don't ask, just don't ask) so will have to wait until the drug store is open tomorrow.

I'd been thinking about Murphy's (I tend to use it if I don't know what's been used in the past) but the eHow page says "an alkaline-based cleanser. Borax, baking soda and most laundry soaps are alkaline-based" instead of Murphy's if there's nicotine residue so maybe a little hot water and a tiny bit of Tide first, since I don't know that I could risk TSP. "Bear in mind -- this assumes that you're not dealing with something that has major historic value, or suchlike." Nothing that had contact paper used to cover the wood kneehole backing below the secretary door could have major historic value, by definition. Since I don't know what wood the veneer is, I'd best look into getting the white non-ferrous stuff you mentioned before I consider using a decent furniture wax.

#560 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 07:54 PM:

P.J. Evans: will check on Linseed Oil Soap ASAP. The hot weather in Seattle today combined with the smell of this beast is driving me to distraction.

#561 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 07:59 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 560 ...
I'd been thinking about Murphy's (I tend to use it if I don't know what's been used in the past) but the eHow page says "an alkaline-based cleanser. Borax, baking soda and most laundry soaps are alkaline-based" instead of Murphy's if there's nicotine residue so maybe a little hot water and a tiny bit of Tide first, since I don't know that I could risk TSP.

If you're heading that route, get something like 'Ivory pure' laundry detergent, rather than Tide -- and remember to use very little, and rinse -a lot-. Dawn dishwashing soap is probably easier :)

You can probably use TSP as long as it's sufficiently dilute -- in which case you're not that far away from laundry soap anyways ;)

Hm. Be very careful with water and veneer, and water and particle board. Veneer tends to peel, and particle board tends to swell -- neither of which are even vaguely optimal.

#562 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 08:30 PM:

xeger @561: You can probably use TSP as long as it's sufficiently dilute -- in which case you're not that far away from laundry soap anyways ;)

If only! For perfectly valid environmental concerns about algae blooms and so on, most if not all laundry detergents sold in the US are phosphate-free. This happened when I was a baby. It also significantly diminished the cleaning power of the laundry detergents, especially for getting baby spit-up out of clothing.

Automatic dishwasher detergent still contains phosphates. I don't know how that would work on smoke-stained furniture, but it DOES work to remove spit-up stains.

#563 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2009, 11:15 PM:

Bruce E Durocher II @ 552...

A wohnzimmerschrank?
That sounds like a device from Girl Genius.

#564 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 12:43 AM:

John Houghton #534 This is a soap opera, right?

No, it's a petroleum opera.

#565 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 01:11 AM:

Steve C. @ #525: I can still remember how some of us Texas Yellow Dogs laughed when we heard Junior was going to run against Ann Richards.

#566 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 01:32 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II, it sounds like it's too late, but unless you know Pledge has been used on the piece before, I wouldn't use it now. Pledge will put a thin film of silicon on the wood, which makes it impervious to most oil-bearing wood treatments later.

Actually, much of that wonderful shine you saw on the piece when you bought it was probably from the "tar" in the smoky atmosphere in which it existed for so many years. (Remember the cig ads that talked about "tar and nicotine?") "Tar" consists of various resins that are aerosolized as the tobacco burns. It gives a lovely golden sheen to almost any wood, as well as a less-lovely golden cast to teeth, laminate cabinet tops, etc. It's also what binds the smoked-tobacco smell to the surfaces on your wohnzimmerschrank. As you clean it off, the shine will go away, but after you have the surfaces clean, you can always put the shine back. All the previous warnings about not saturating the finishes still apply. As do suggestions that you use a soap or detergent product, not TSP.

The people on the websites that freak out at the thought of using Murphy's are thinking along the lines of cleaning a fine, old piece of crafted wood furniture. It won't hurt your particleboard veneer piece any more than any other aqueous cleaning solution, and the slightly more acidic nature (compared to most alkaline detergents) might act as the vinegar wood to help counteract the smell, as there are tiny cracks and indentations that you won't be able to penetrate unless you use your soapy water far more aggressively than prudence would dictate.

#567 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 01:44 AM:

531 (re. 526)

Yup, I've been doing that lately -- a lot. Partly due to hot-weather lack-of-appetite, and partly to having a Community Gardens vegetable plot. (The number of 'Contender' green bean plants needed to provide an abundant supply for one person is about a third of the 15 I estimated/planted. And pak choi 'Black Summer' has about a two-week window between "big enough to harvest" and "starting to bloom", so 20 plants was definitely overkill.)

The Salvation lies in having a compost pile -- and in discovering that packing a lot of surplus vegetables into a big stock-pot, adding water to cover, and simmering for a few hours, produces a clear (though tannish) vegetable stock (the solids going into the compost) that keeps well and is quite good as a base for soups, poaching fish, cooking beans or pilaf, or making chicken or beef broth, chili, or carrot or tomato juice. Just be sure there's lots of onion & celery in the mixture.

#568 ::: Nina A ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 03:45 AM:

Hello-As the sort-of organizer of the Fiestacon gathering(not sure where Nadia came from) I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Serge and Sue for showing the flag and helping make it a huge success., our gracious hosts, Patrick and Teresa for coming, and thanks to everyone who came. I'm sorry I missed saying goodbye, but it was a great time. I'm sorry everyone couldn't come. Thanks again.

#569 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 05:12 AM:

Thank you, Nina.

I think I got photos of everyone there except Patrick, who left early. I shall have to find a suitable substitute for him when I get around to putting the pictures online.

I was surprised to find Serge so soft-spoken. I expected to find puns shooting like fireworks out of his ears and eyes and other orifices.

#570 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 09:38 AM:

552 Bruce

If the finish is shellac, use denatured alcohol and steel wool to rub it down, and wipe up with disposable cloth. The alcohol temporarily dissolves the shellac and brings dirt and grime to the surface, for wiping off with a cloth.

DO NOT USE WATER! Water will leave water spots!

(Some year or other I should do the denatured alcohol rubdown to the frame of the bed I sleep it--I SAW the finish hand applied to it, when my father was finishing it it (solid mahogany (either Santo Domingan or Cuban--the wood was from pre-Cuban revolution) hand-carved canopy bed... which someday I need to have a new mattress made for (custom job, with cut corners for the bedpost--which are the genuine structural article)

#571 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 10:17 AM:

Palin is a whacko job, however, there are people who portray and promote her as Touchstone American Family woman unfairly attacked and singled out for abuse due to having a Family and being a Conservative....

On NPR/PRI airtime and space, the BBC interviewed a [gag] Washington Times correspondent... to me the fellow was a loathsome lickspittle oily conman, who was extolling Palin as "attractive young woman" who had been tastelessly and vindictively smeared and attacked by the evil Lunatic Malign Left....

The fact that the Washington Times is an appendage of the less than impartial Unification Church, was not part of the interview and discussion....

The fact that Palin is NOT what I suspect MOST women in the USA consider "representative" of American women's lives, did not get mentioned at all. The fact that most families do NOT have the hypocrisy of having an unmarried pregnant teenager while condemning all extramarital sexual activity and condemning birth control and wanting even MENTION of it banned, and then have the temerity to continue preaching "abstinence" and claiming that abstinence works...

Palin's claim of expertise in international affairs because the tail of the Aleutians (in federal control, not state...) had an oceanic border with the extreme western end of Russia, is not a credible claim.

And who finds Palin attractive? I certainly don't, her hairstyles to me are incredibly ugly, for example, and her personality more so, and her entire demeanor.... and she does NOT represent-me-. The only appreciations positive that I have for people like her are their determination and loyalty in pursuing their causes.... but I have NO admiration, only contempt, for their lack of willingness to be open-minded, for their lack of respect for others and the traditions and values of others, for the evangelizing and determination to interfere in other people's lives and bodies, for their hypocrisy, for the inability to comprehend that the world is NOT a sphere of uniform density and everything is the -same-....

And I despise her promoters, and that Washington Times correspondent and his smarmy ways, and whatever shills in the BBC gave the smarmy slime a public platform to spread his poison from.

WashTimes slimeball rolled out the fake-feminism whine about how Palin got perniciously attacked because she is a Mother and her d/u/c/k/l/i/n/g/s family was being attacked and how that happens to women but not men...

Reality --

a) Republithug female pols get attacked when they use PUBLIC monies for Family Stuff instead of their own income--and so do MALE pols regardless of party.

b) Palin got attacked for hypocrisy (so did Cheney regarding his daughter the lesbian versus his public posturings about homosexuality...)over being a malevolent moralist completely publically intolerant of extramarital sex and promiscuity and pregnancy, and then having a pregnant teenage unwed minor daughter.

A male politician in the same situations, would get attacked, perhaps not as intensely, but then the male politician wouldn't be trying to position himself as "see what I've accomplished despite being male and all you males who say that you've been discriminated against are whingeing liars, nobody stopped me from getting to governor and see how much of an icon I am!"

#572 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 10:19 AM:

Don Fitch #567: Thanks for the reminder -- I just set off my own batch of stock! I use veggie scraps and the bones from rotisserie chickens, which I accumulate in a freezer bag. Also the occasional leftovers -- this week that's just a handful of hash browns, to balance the pea pods.

And now I'm wondering if eggshells would be any good for stock. Maybe if I had tomatoes in there, which I don't usually....

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 11:08 AM:

Nina A @ 568... not sure where Nadia came from

The blame rests squarely at my feet. I knew your real name's spelling was relatively close to your nom-de-blogue here, but it had been such a long time since you had posted here (hint, hint) that I remembered it wrong.

I am very ashamed.

Thanks again for the gathering.

#574 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 11:12 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 569... I'm glad I got to meet you and Hilde. As for the real-world me, he suddenly started feeling very tired at about that time. I curse the timing, and I blame my not having had my usual bucket of caffeine that day.

#575 ::: The LOLrus ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 12:01 PM:

Oh, Noes!!
Sumbody tooks Serge's Bukket, too!!

#576 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 12:44 PM:

LOLrus @ 575... It pints me too, to see such dishonestea.

#577 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 03:20 PM:

Paula Lieberman #571: You want to know who finds Palin attractive? OK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/03/inris-rich-lowry-palin-se_n_131735.html

#578 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 04:47 PM:

Bruce who is cleaning furniture -

The article you mentioned @ 559 talks about laundry soap, which is emphatically NOT laundry detergent. It usually comes in bars, and is called something like fels naptha. You can get it at most grocery or general purpose stores.

#579 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 05:22 PM:

Friends who sold old furniture (as in Ye Olde-type Antique Shoppe, not walnut or mahogany) used to deal with tobacco smoke and mildew odors first, by letting the pieces sit outside in sunshine and fresh breeze for a while - this was Seattle area, so doubtless not direct sun - and then would burn piñon incense inside them in a ceramic dish, with the drawers or cabinet doors just cracked enough to maintain a draft.

If the good advice already given still leaves a faint odor, you might substitute a slightly more pleasant smoke smell.

#580 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 06:01 PM:

And a link or two away from Fragano's link, one Geoffrey Dunn(*) has a laundry list of her past and upcoming problems, including: she also quit her last statewide office (chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission), her nominee for Alaska AG was utterly rejected, and her refusal to accept stimulus funds was about to collide with the legislature. It's starting to sound like we might not need any "hidden bombs" to explain her hasty exit.

* He's writing a book about her, FWIW.

#581 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 06:10 PM:

Mom sent me to my dad, a second-generation hobbyist carpenter, who says that postwar German furniture probably used water-based veneer glue; he suggests a soft cloth dampened with alcohol.

#582 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 07:46 PM:

The military the ******* left us with....

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

From: dmack500@aol.com
Subject: Attorney for US Military Rape Victims Looking Into Class
Action Law Suit
Date: July 5, 2009 4:24:30 PM EDT

Attorney for US Military Rape Victims Looking Into Class Action Law Suit

Victims of US Military Rapes, Torture and Murder Have Attorney for
Class Action Law Suit

PLEASE POST TO ALL LOCATIONS --- HELP THROUGH REAL ACTION!!

A CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT FOR VICTIMS AND FAMILIES OF VICTIMS OF US
MILITARY SEXUAL RAPE, ABUSE, TORTURE AND MURDER "SUSPICIOUS DEATHS"
DEEMED AS SUICIDES.

Hello:

An attorney (Susan Burke from DC who has brought lawsuits for torture victims of US government and against KBR, and Blackwater) is coming to PHX July 10th as well as investigators who will be looking into a Class Action Lawsuit for military sexual trauma...I am looking for men or women (spouses and children of military, this includes civilians raped, abused, by former military to include those whose loved ones have been raped, murdered by former US military) who have been abused, raped, etc while in or associated to the US military or who has witnessed such cases. We are also looking for authors or experts in the field to help to stop the craziness of the rapes, now rapes and murders within the military.

If you have clients or experts outside of Phoenix please contact.....

Investigator for Susan is :

Barbara Dalton at www:piila.com

Her email is Dalton@piila.com

If you have legitimate clients in Arizona please have them contact me, or attend a meeting on Friday, July 10 at 9 am a meeting with the attorney and investigators at the Embassy Suite- Biltmore Hotel on Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ. Initiate interviews will be set up with those who would like to speak to the investigators as part of the case(s) of the law suit are gathered.

Investigators will be back to PHX as many times as necessary, and I am sure there will be other places are the US that they will visit repeating this process.

I would hope you would be willing to forward out this information to victims and potential clients since WE not have for the 1st time a significant ability to STOP the ABUSES within the US military. We need your help to stop the crazy making!

Can you call me at 602.374.7375

On July 10th (morning) beginning at 9 am there will be an initial meeting with Susan Burke and her two initial investigators to introduce themselves and give their history, what they have in mind and what they are working on a Class Action law suit for the rape of military women. It is my hope that as Susan gets into it she will see the connections between the cases of rape, abuse, mental, emotional abuses etc....against all military men, women, kids, spouses and citizens.

Attorney and investigators will be here July 10th. with investigators interviews on Sat, Sunday, Monday and possibly Tuesday to BEGIN dates of interviews are Saturday July, Sunday July 11, Monday July 12, and possibility Tuesday July 13.

Please contact me on my gmail account at dorothyhmackey@gmail.com if
your clients will be attending or have them contact directly Barbara
Dalton.

Initial interview slots will be given 1/2 a day per person to share whatever they would like with investigators. Each person interviewed can bring any person they need as support. Female vets will be there who have been through these offenses, as well as I plan to be there as a former commander with a counseling background, and with a great deal of spiritual counseling to affirm both ones strength and to support their need to vet, and let go of the anguish that they have been holding denied to speak, or get justice by the US military and this nation to date.

The investigators will be coming back and are from LA, so they can come back as many times as needed for others information.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rev. Dorothy Mackey
STAAAMP, Inc Exec Director
Former USAF Captain and Commander
call please....602.374.7375

#583 ::: Nina A ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 07:57 PM:

Serge @573 No need to feel ashamed-I was just worried that there might be a Nadia on here who wouldn't like her name usurped. No worries here.
Thank you again for coming.
Bruce, the chocolate things were lovely, as were the peaches.
And y'all are very welcome.

#584 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Wish me luck. After much pressure, and the events of the past month... I have started to write a book.

Part memoir, part commentary on life in the Guard, and part discussion of interrogation torture.

So far the glossary is about as long as the text.

Then again, I only started typing today, so it's about two pages and one page (text/glossary).

Oi...

#585 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 09:25 PM:

Luck!

#586 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 09:50 PM:

Terry #584
Encouragement from this direction, and I am also wishing you luck--you HAVE the "domain expert" knowledge, and you've got the writing ability, demonstrated here.

#587 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 10:02 PM:

I wish you luck, and remain confident that you have the skill.

#588 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 10:08 PM:

Fragano Ledgister & Xopher, I am shocked, mind you SHOCKED, that you would be so shallow and cruel as to accuse a tender new member of the fluorosphere of skulduggery, just because hir name is "cialis trial pack."

#589 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 10:55 PM:

#588 LMB McAlister

Cialis tripe pack?

#590 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 11:49 PM:

So THAT's their secret ingredient!

Senior menudo, anyone?

#591 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 11:58 PM:

Ooh! Luck! Also, be sure to notify us when it's ready to buy.

#592 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 12:22 AM:

I'm not surprised that 'menudo' means "tripe." Menudo certainly was tripe in the sense it's usually used today!

#593 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 12:29 AM:

No, "menudo" the adjective means "small, slight, narrow." I think the soup (famous as a hangover remedy) got its name because it's mostly broth. (Well. And tripe.)

#594 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 12:42 AM:

So thin, watery, and what substance there is is tripe. Still sounds kinda accurate.

#595 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 01:33 AM:

Xopher @ #592: Uh, ya lost me. What sense of use are you talking about?

Menudo, in Mexican cooking, is a savory soup made by boiling beef tripe down to whatever consistency the cook wants, or usually, has the patience for. Like many brothy soups, it's typically served with assorted seasonings on the side--usually chopped onions, peppers, and oregano. It is, as TexAnne pointed out, famous in these parts as a hangover remedy. Never worked for me, but back when I ate organ meats I never found but one person who could cook menudo I could eat.

#596 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 05:44 AM:

I strongly suspect that Xopher's association with the word Menudo, like mine, is not food*.

-----
* barring obIt'sACookbook reference

#597 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 07:13 AM:

Hi folks, just popping in to say 'hi'.

Hi.

I just noticed that I've made 144 comments on Making Light, 140 in 2007 and 4 in 2008. How very sad. At least now I have 1 in 2009.

I've missed you guys...

#598 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 09:36 AM:

Menudo the band got its name not from tripe but from another meaning of the word, "small change". A term which is used frequently, or, in Spanish "a menudo".

#599 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 10:59 AM:

Back from Fiestacon. I had a good time, got a chance to meet interesting people, and no one scared me away.

Nina A @ 568:

Thank you for organizing the gathering. I had a wonderful time seeing people there. (And Bruce Arthurs, the peaches were excellent.)

Terry Karney @ 584:

Good luck with the book. I think you'll be able to do a fine job of it.

#600 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 11:06 AM:

Ah, I see. The group Menudo was such a tiny (appropriately) blip on my radar screen, I overlooked them entirely. Boi bands just ain't my thang.

In Texas and Northern Mexico, un menudo means "a little bit or, in certain urban areas, "small change." Menudo means "tripe soup." I'd've thought the meaning was clear from my original usage.

#601 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 11:58 AM:

It was, LMB. I was just jumping to the band, because they WERE tripe soup. I am seldom able to pass up an an oppuntunity.

#602 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 12:38 PM:

Good luck with the book, Terry! It will be fascinating reading.

#603 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 01:28 PM:

Terry #584: Best of luck! You've certainly got everything else it'll take to make that work!

LMB #600: the former meaning was the source of the band's name, because they would replace members as they got too old. Hearing that it was a "jelly donut error" is funny though.

So... I have a funeral tomorrow. One of my hiking buddies just lost his wife, after a couple of strokes and a few days of coma. :-(, but she was in her late 80s (as is he). I think when I go to sit shiva with him afterwards, I'll bring some of my new batch of soup stock. The hard part will be getting it there still-frozen, given the local weather....

#604 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 03:04 PM:

David: my condolences.

#605 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Condolences, David.

#606 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 03:30 PM:

David Harmon @ 603: May her memory be a blessing.

#607 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 03:41 PM:

#604,605: Thanks -- in fact, I didn't know Thelma all that well -- I'm more concerned with Bernie. (Which is why I'm attending the funeral -- funerals aren't really for the dead, they're for the living!) Thankfully, he seems to be handling it about as well as could be expected, and he has a lot of people gathering around him in support. Even so, it's hard to know what to say.

#608 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Ald also thanks to #606, and anyone who chimes in while I'm writing this one.... (And that's a pretty good suggestion for one thing to say!)

#609 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 04:06 PM:

David Harmon... My condolences to you and to your friend.

#610 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 05:13 PM:

My condolences, David.

#611 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 05:40 PM:

We've started cataloging our main library in LibraryThing. Thus far we've taken care of two six foot bookcases and two shelves on another short one. That's 260-some books. Since we have at least ten more six-footers, not counting the three kids' bookcases with 40-50 books on each shelf, and several hundred books (at least) on separate shelving, my theory that we have over 3000 books may well prove to be correct. This is going to take a while.

#612 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 06:51 PM:

C. Wingate:
What do you use for a barcode scanner? (loaded question)

#613 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 07:08 PM:

Serge & Fragano: Thanks, guys.

So anyway, this will be my first funeral in several years, and my first in decades that hasn't been immediate family. (ken ahora!)

Mom squelched the stock idea, on the reasonable basis that it would be handing him decisions, rather than a complete dinner. (Which latter I would not be able to manage overnight -- I have trouble doing "complete dinners" for myself!)

Again at Mom's advice, I won't be wearing a suit this time, but I went checking through my suit archive anyway. The last 5-10 pounds I've gained seems to have taken a bunch of them out of the running, and many of my "dress shirts" have either old damage, or accumulated shoulder browning. Another round for charity and/or trash.... Happily, the suit whose pants are instead too long, is of lightweight material -- so once I get that altered, I'll have a decent suit for my new southern climes.

#614 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 07:29 PM:

David, my condolences as well.

John Houghton @ #612, the CueCat that LT made available wouldn't have done me a lot of good when I was cataloging the first 1,400 books I own, since many of them were so old they had no ISBN. I had to search LC and Amazon by title/author in order to find the correct edition.

The last 500 or so have had ISBNs, but I haven't been posting to LT in bulk, so a scanner isn't have been a gotta-have option.

#615 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 07:30 PM:

Good luck on the book, Terry!

Condolances, David.

#616 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 08:41 PM:

LMB @ 595
I've met menudo rojo that was delicious: thick and savory, and the tripe was melt-in-your-mouth tender. Garnishes: chopped green onions and sour cream.

#617 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 09:10 PM:

John Houghton @ 612:

When I catalogued my meager library toward the beginning of the year, I used a CueCat for scanning barcodes, typed the ISBN if it didn't have a barcode, typed the LoC number if it didn't have an ISBN, and typed as much useful information as I could if it didn't have anything else. Then I bulk uploaded the ISBNs and manually entered the remaining ones.

The rest of the work was just cleaning up the data once it was in LibraryThing.

LibraryThing sells USB CueCats for $15.

#618 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 09:13 PM:

Guys!

One of my best friends from college is going to teach abroad at Chungnam University in Daejeon, South Korea!

Looking at the photos of the area highlighted on Google Maps I already want to go and visit him. There is a beautiful mountainous lake region just east of the city. Going to have to squeeze some extra savings out of somewhere to do that while saving up for the wedding too. Round trip flight to Seoul costs about $1100, and then I don't know how much the train costs to get out to Daejeon, and then food, and I'm assuming we can stay with him (which may be a fallacious assumption)…

It's the first I've heard of someone with a master's in English literature getting offered a job as a lecturer in English literature immediately upon completing an interview, too. Nice to know there's actually a market somewhere.

He's been learning Korean all summer (he likes Rosetta Stone). I am just so excited for him.

#619 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 09:23 PM:

We're getting a CueCat but large swaths of the library won't be scannable. I have a small stash of Japanese-printed material and US Gov stuff which I'm certain to have to hand-enter entirely. Most amusing juxtaposition thus far:

Our Enemy Japan (copyright 1942, reprinted 1943 in the Fighting Forces Series)
Japan Friend and Ally (FEC Pamphlet No. 12-2: 3rd rev. 1 Oct 52)

We also seem to have three copies of the US report on Japanese religion, in three different formats.

#620 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 09:30 PM:

Actually, folks, my question was loaded in a different direction -- I have a spare PS2 barcode gone I could loan out.... but thanks for the replies. I have a cuecat around here somewhere as well that I got sent for free when they first came out.

Linkmeister #614:
I'm impressed by the number of pre-barcode books you have, but I haven't gotten near that part of my collection heap. I have found that art books like to not have a barcode and hide the ISBN.


#621 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 09:54 PM:

Folio Society editions have also been a pain.

#622 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 09:56 PM:

Paula@571: I heard that interview; IIRC it was done by the BBC (as relayed by WBUR), which offers a slight excuse (they might not be as familiar with U.S. loony-tunes presses) but not much -- especially since the BBC usually find \somebody/ to speak to each side of a question, rather than giving that whinger so much time with nobody answering his idiocies.

#623 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 10:11 PM:

John Houghton @ 620 ...
An iSight for the mac folk also works nicely as a barcode scanner.

#624 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 10:56 PM:

Caroline @ #618, that sounds amazing! Congratulations to your friend, and I hope you do manage to get over there to visit.

#625 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 11:27 PM:

I have been reading webcomics and find I sometimes start with the latest episode and work my way backward.

If you were an author, ?yaw taht sdaer ohw redaer a rof od uoy dluoc tahW

This applies to weblogs, too.

#626 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2009, 11:42 PM:

C. Wingate @ 621: I have no idea how LibraryThing works (I use EndNote), so this may not be helpful to you.

My default catalogue for uploading Folio Society books is COPAC, a consortium of numerous major library catalogues in the UK and Ireland. If a book isn't in there, I try find it through WorldCat; generally speaking, at least one library will have it, so I upload the record through them. Those two searches take care of almost all of them for me (your book choices may vary).

Even if you can't upload the records for what you want to do, you can at least copy and paste details into the appropriate fields instead of typing it all out.

#627 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 02:29 AM:

John Houghton @ #620, that 1,400 was accumulated from the time I got out of the Navy, so 1974, and from what I read the ISBN went into effect about that time. But. Many of those books were purchased from used bookstores, so they were in fact much older editions. I can still lay my hand on a few paperbacks whose list price was $0.25. Many of the Fawcett Gold Medal PBs were $0.75 and $0.95.

Back in November I noticed that some new mass-market PBs had been listed at $9.99, and I ranted about it.

#628 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 02:56 AM:

Linkmeister @ 627:

Make sure to check the spine--I found that some older paperbacks have the ISBN there and nowhere else (sometimes missing the leading zero and/or the check digit).

#629 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 08:47 AM:

Terry Karney @ 584... Best wishes!

#630 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 10:00 AM:

584: Should be an interesting read - just say if you need a proofreader...

#631 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 10:30 AM:

Heard at FiestaCon/WesterCon this last weekend... My wife was on a panel about what makes a good TV show and a young man in the audience said that, while Star Trek's NextGen struck a balance between conservative & liberal politics, he felt that Voyager should have been called Star Trek - Kumbaya.

For some reason, I fail to imagine Captain Janeway holding hands with the crew in between her eating carbonized marshmallows.

#632 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 10:31 AM:

I also look in the Australian National Library.

We're going to need something like busts of Roman emperors to keep track of where these things are. There are bookcases in every room of the house except the laundry, one of the bathrooms, the kitchen, and the bomb shelter.

#633 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 10:54 AM:

ajay: I'll need lots of things. I may send parts out for comment. If I do it will be quietly.

#634 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 12:56 PM:

C. Wingate #632: What, no bookcase in the bomb shelter? What were you planning to do while you waited for the planes to go away? :-)

And thanks Marilee and Linkmeister, too.

#635 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 03:03 PM:

Still on the road, so just popping in to say that I think this is the crowd who could appreciate the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, which I visited a few days ago. It's based around a printing press that was founded in the 16th century (ie right after Gutenberg invented movable type). The press remained family-owned and largely unchanged until the late 19th c., when it was given to the city of Antwerp. The museum includes the original 16th c. presses, typecutting, -casting and -setting facilities, a proofreading room (and edited galleys that look remarkably familiar), and a set of punches that were cut by Claude Garamond himself (pant, pant). I put up a photoset on Flickr if anyone wants to take a look, but I highly recommend a visit if you love books and find yourself in the area.

#636 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 04:12 PM:

OK, it turns out Mom wasn't planning on going to the burial, just dripping by for shiva. We've now done so, it went pretty well. Bernie was telling me he's planning on resuming hiking next week -- that good, for all the obvious reasons (getting out of the house, being with people etc.

The funny part was everyone "knew" me, as "the kid who's been hiking with Bernie". (I'm 42, but hey, these guys have 3-4 decades apiece on me, so they get to call me "kid" if they want. ;-) )

Oh, and just to cross threads a bit, I lent The Leaves of October to Mom.

#637 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Foundling Tourism:

My sister's family is visiting China, with a group of other families who adopted their daughters o'er there.

In addition to visiting orphanages and foster homes (to drop off gifts . . . purchased at the local Walmart) they're pointing out the spots where the girls were "found."

There's some both cool and eerie about that.

My sister also reports that the difference in the place between 1998 and 2009 is utterly astonishing. I can't wait for pictures.

#638 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 05:20 PM:

re 631: And what happens when Arachnia meets Anansi?

#639 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 07:50 PM:

Al Franken sworn in! Hurray!

#640 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 08:57 PM:

While I again note that hospital food has a greater variety than my normally appalling bachelor chow diet, it is with some dismay that I found during my recent stay there was a higher incidence of white bread and high fructose corn syrup in the food than I expected from an alleged institution of health.

In any case, it's great to be back online.

#641 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 09:09 PM:

Oh, and BTW, touched by His noodly appendage.

#642 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 09:28 PM:

Earl Cooley III, #640, sorry to hear you were in the hospital, but I'm glad you're home!

I have Warehouse 13 on for a try, but it may not make a full one. The WashPost TV Week reports that the change in channel name is because they couldn't trademark "SciFi."

#643 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 04:26 AM:

Stefan @637:

My brother's almost through the adoption process. His group has been told to expect to travel to China in the fall. They've been churning slowly through the system for about two years now.

I find the "where you were found" tourism a little odd. I wonder how much of an impact it is on the identities of the girls, knowing they were abandoned?

I suppose I'll see it as my niece grows up.

#644 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 05:54 AM:

Marilee @ 642... I'm holding off on judging Warehouse 13 until I see a real episode. Yesterday's 2-hour movie felt padded beyond what the story required. On the other hand, their using a stungun designed by Tesla to knock out a woman possessed by the ghost of Lucrecia Borgia is a mark in their favor.

#645 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Seconding debcha's recommendation @635. It's a wonderful museum for lovers of the printed word. If you're lucky, you'll get to watch one of the presses in action.
It's a smallish museum, but two hours can go by very quickly when you're inside.

#646 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 08:40 AM:

Earl @ #640, welcome back!

Randolph @ #641, presumably there are ninjas present, but we can't see them.

#647 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 10:44 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 637:

One of the biggest changes in the cities in China is that a lot of what used to be bicycle traffic is now car traffic. It's certainly an interesting place.

Earl Cooley III @ 640:

I didn't know you were in hospital, but I'm glad you're back now. I hope you're better, whatever it was you were in for.

#648 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 10:50 AM:

Serge, Marilee -

Warehouse 13 had some nice moments, in particular Saul Rubinek's character. Yeah, the movie felt a bit padded. If they can tighten things up for the regular series, it might be some enjoyable summer fluff.

#649 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Steve C @ 648... Speaking of summer's TV-watching, Eureka's new season premieres on Friday. I wasn't quite happy with the third season, but hopefully the fourth will bring back the looniness.

Oh, and Leverage is back, starting next Tuesday.

Yay!

#650 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 12:20 PM:

Serge 649:

Thanks for the heads-up about Leverage. I'd already set the HDTivo on stun for Eureka, but had missed any announcements for further airings of the delectable Mr Hutton. (We've got dueling Tivos just now, and are still populating the season passes on the new one.)

#651 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 12:38 PM:

joann @ 650... Come to think of it, there isn't anybody in Leverage that I don't like, but I am partial to crazy girl Parker, and to chef-cum-legbreaker Spencer.

Eliot Spencer: He tried to kill us!
Parker: More importantly, he didn't pay us!
Eliot Spencer: How is THAT more important?

Nathan Ford: Did you just kill a guy with an appetizer?
Eliot Spencer: I dunno. Maybe.

#652 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 01:20 PM:

The new season of Leverage was filmed in and around Portland, so each episode is going to be "spot the landmarks."

#653 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 01:26 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 652... Having been to Portland a few times, I can see why someone would want to film Leverage there, but I'm also surprised. Do Hutton and/or the show's producer live there or hail from the area?

#654 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 01:29 PM:

I just wanted to pimp/proselytize Umair Haque's latest column, The Generation M Manifesto

It pretty much captures everything I've been feeling lately, and damn I didn't realize how much deep down resentment for mainstream Baby Boomers I've been carrying as a Gen-X who's spent a lot of time living under their shadow...

#655 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Earl: Welcome back. I didn't realize you were sick, either; I hope you're doing better now.

#656 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Earl, I'm glad you're out of the hospital and back online! I hope you are feeling better.

It's true about the hospital food, too. I was offered pancakes and maple-flavored syrup (which is maple-flavored corn syrup) for breakfast when I was in recently (for a very brief period).

Yay for being out and able to eat food that is not full of HFCS!

#657 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 02:12 PM:

Earl, glad you're back and hope you're doing better!

A question for the Fluorosphere: my cousin received this string instrument from a nun in her parents' church, but has no idea what it's called. It is about the size of a ukulele, has a short fretless neck, and 11 strings (3 on the neck, the rest on the body). She presumes it's Eastern European.
My google-fu isn't working - the closest image I could find is that of a Ukrainian bandura, but they seem much larger. It doesn't seem to be in the Atlas of Plucked Instruments either. Does anyone know what it is?

#658 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Rampant Self Promotion.

There is now a video of me, on youtube.

Speaking about torture

#659 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 02:34 PM:

#653: As far as I know, it was a money thing. With all the "film it here" incentives, Portland is a cheap place to produce stuff.

Apparently there's a suitable amount of Craft Industry in town to support the work.

John Roger's blog suggests that everyone goes home to L.A. after shoots.

#660 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 03:07 PM:

re 657: That's likely a piccolo starosvitska bandura. It's also possible it is a child's or a tourist instrument. It should be recalled that many eastern European instruments come in a huge range of sizes so as to form an orchestra; banduras fall into this pattern.

#661 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 04:04 PM:

C. Wingate @660: Thanks! I watched some videos on YouTube and it sounds lovely - closer to a harp than to a guitar, really.

#662 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 04:08 PM:

Pendrift @ #661, yeah, it looked a little like an autoharp to me, although autoharps don't have that distinctive neck.

#663 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 04:10 PM:

Terry: thank you for doing what you do.

#664 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 05:43 PM:

Terry: Another vote of thanks for the talk. It was both straightforward and moving.

#665 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 06:22 PM:

Lance Weber @654: I just wanted to pimp/proselytize Umair Haque's latest column, The Generation M Manifesto

Wait...what!?

I mean, wasn't that the conversation the Boomers had with our parents...? Approximately...

#666 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 06:37 PM:


Massachusetts sues US over definition of marriage
.

Mass. is suing to take down the Defense of Homophobia Act, aka DOMA. Good for them.

This is going to put Obama in an awkward spot - his Justice Department is obliged to defend against the lawsuit, I guess; he himself is on record (supposedly) as wanting to change/overturn/something DOMA, and all the frothing nutters and conservative Democrats are going to be frothing and such, as they do.

Wait for Rethuglican heads to explode in 5... 4... 3...

#667 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 06:45 PM:

Is the Justice Department obliged to provide a good defense against the lawsuit?

#668 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 06:58 PM:

The DoJ isn't actually obliged to defend it. They can not respond, and lose by default (which is what Clinton ought to have done in regards to Jones).

#669 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Leverage in Portland thread - Stefan Jones @ 659 read that the crew goes home between shoots. I'm sure that if they lived here normally, we'd have heard about it. Portland does not have a plethora of TV celebrities, so they get noticed. I walked by Mr. Hutton on SW Broadway about 2 weeks ago during a pause in shooting, and other people at work have mentioned seeing him biking or in restaurants in the Pearl neighborhood. I haven't seen Gina Bellman (of BBC's Coupling) or Jeri Ryan (7 of 9).

#670 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 07:10 PM:

A question for the hive mind of copy editors and print professionals:
You're printing 3 copies of a 45 page document, and the printer inserts a blank sheet of paper between each copy of the document, as a marker. Is that sheet of paper a "slip sheet", "slipsheet", or "slip-sheet"?

#671 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Terry Karney @ 668:

The problem is that the DoJ already has, and in a particularly rotten way too.

#672 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 07:52 PM:

Terry Karney @ 658... Thanks for speaking. Have you gotten negative feedback over this?

#673 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 08:32 PM:

janetl@670: the usage I recall from mimeography >30 years ago is "slipsheet" (especially as a verb, but also IIRC as a noun); I've read people more knowledgeable about languages than I am saying that separate words in a phrase tend to fuse in just that fashion

#674 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 10:38 PM:

Serge: not yet. It's been, in some interesting ways, life altering; but nothing negative to date.

I've not yet seen any youtube comments.

#675 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 11:03 PM:

debcha @ 635:

I finally looked at your photos of the museum. I want to go. I'll put that on my list for whenever I next manage to make my way over to that part of the world.

Serge:

Would it be possible for you to drop me an email? My address is kesutt at gmail dot com.

#676 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 11:10 PM:

Terry Karney @ 658 ...
An interesting listen, and lovely technique :D

#677 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 11:20 PM:

It's been awhile since I dipped my toe into this river; in fact, it was a different river then (Open Thread 125 to be precise). I had some more surgery (the last of it, honest), and it went very well. Details on my blog if you're interested. Anyway, I'll be posting more regularly now that the drugs are all used up.

#678 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 11:29 PM:

Serge @ 653

Nowhere Man of lamented memory was filmed in and around Portland. The producers said that aside from lowered craft costs, they could find reasonable standin locations for Kansas, California, Pennsylvania, and other places, saving a lot of 2nd unit transportation costs.

#679 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 11:34 PM:

Earl Cooley @ 640

Glad to hear you're out. I've got say, I wasn't thrilled with being in the hospital myself, but the food was actually pretty good (once I was on solid food, anyhow).

#680 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2009, 11:58 PM:

My "welcome homes" too, to the recently unhospitalled several.

During my stays last year, I found the food in my particular hospital pretty good, and that was a surprise. I kinda like Jello, but never make it at home, so that was a nice departure. Having been on a cardiac diet while there, I was denied salt, but given plenty of Ms. Dash. And, being a cook, I had a good time separating the various ingredients by aroma, saving them, and adding to the various entrees as appropriate.

Really, my only gripe about the food was that, being in Texas, they just had to try CFS (chicken fried steak). And, since it was a hospital, it was really Chicken Microwaved Meatsubstitute. Really the nastiest stuff I've had in my mouth since I accidentally let a metoprolol tablet dissolve there.

#681 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 12:00 AM:

Hey, does anybody out there know how to make old-fashioned British roast chine of pork from scratch? The only directions I have found that begin with a fresh chine of pork (rack of spareribs, right?) are more than a hundred years old. I do not plan to rub the meat with salt and hang it up in a corner for three or four days! Do I salt it and refrigerate it for a while--? And is it plain sea salt or do I need some saltpeter as well?

#682 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 12:04 AM:

Terry @668, what's the history on that? How many cases are there where the President has had the DoJ not defend a law in the Supreme Court?

I brought this up in a discussion with a friend of mine who's a lawyer and liberal activist who's done public-interest law and advocacy in DC for years, and he said that the DoJ really is obliged to defend the law in cases like this, if there's to be any truth to the claim that we're a nation of laws. There've been a handful of weird exceptions, but generally, they've gotta do it.

#683 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 12:43 AM:

I had to hoard the tiny little pepper packets so that occasionally one of my hospital meals would be adequately seasoned; not every meal included that blessed institutional condiment. It was a sad thing when a couple of my pepper packets fell to the floor; there is no Five Second Rule in hospitals....

I didn't try the Dash; perhaps I will, next time.

#684 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 06:39 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 678... You remember Nowhere Man too, and with fondness like I do? I wonder where it'd have gone (aside from the obvious jokey answer), had it not been cancelled, since it stopped at a point that seemed like one of of the proposed explanations of why Number Six had been sent to the Village. That being said, maybe I should watch for Powell Books's building when Leverage comes back.

#685 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 06:55 AM:

Welcome back, Earl and Bruce!

Earl #683: You couldn't ask for more pepper? But Ms. Dash is OK, and IIRC, it does include a fair bit of pepper.

#686 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 11:10 AM:

Rikibeth @562 quoted, then responded:

xeger @561: You can probably use TSP as long as it's sufficiently dilute -- in which case you're not that far away from laundry soap anyways ;)

If only! For perfectly valid environmental concerns about algae blooms and so on, most if not all laundry detergents sold in the US are phosphate-free. This happened when I was a baby. It also significantly diminished the cleaning power of the laundry detergents, especially for getting baby spit-up out of clothing.

A lot of TSP nowadays is phosphate-free, too -- but still sold as 'TSP' -- which makes my head hurt. There's an asterisk on the acronym and an explanation below. The stuff that still has phosphates is labeled as 'TSP Tri-Sodium Phosphate' with the chemical name in fairly big print.

I looked around on the web for an image of one of the boxes that baffles me, but on the WEB most of what you find searching for TSP is actual TSP, whereas in home centers in person, most of it's asterisked. Interesting. If you believed the web, you wouldn't know asterisked products exist ...

Further searching (adding 'phosphate-free' to my terms) does turn some up. The more reputable brands call the asterisked version 'TSP-PF,' but not everyone does.

#687 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 11:12 AM:

Of course, I could have asked for more pepper, but then again, I have trouble thinking of something less trivial to bother hospital employees about.

#688 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 11:24 AM:

It's not like I haven't got lots of novels awaiting my peepers, but...

Last year, when Leverage premiered, someone here said it was reminiscent of Robert B Parker's stories. That may not be an accident, what with one of the show's characters being called Spenser, and another being Parker.

Anyway... Which Parker novel would you recommend to people who enjoy Leverage?

#689 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 11:55 AM:

xeger @623: Any recommendations for barcode software for use with the iSight?
I'm not sure it'd work with a built-in iSight camera - it seems focus isn't sharp enough so results are generally poor. At least that's what the EvoBarcode website said.

#690 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 12:19 PM:

Elliot @686: A lot of TSP nowadays is phosphate-free, too -- but still sold as 'TSP' -- which makes my head hurt.

Rather like "fat free half and half."

The FDA has assured us that this can be a legitimate labeling of certain milk products. Yum.

#691 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 12:25 PM:

Happy news - my baby son Charlie, who was born without most of the useful parts of his left arm, just got his very first prosthetic arm yesterday. It has a spring-loaded thumb and a ratcheting elbow, and it has dinosaurs on it.

I'm torn between being delighted as a parent and being delighted as an engineering geek, because it is the coolest thing ever from both perspectives.

#692 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Mary Dell @ 691... Mom seems torn by delight no matter what. Yay!

#693 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 02:28 PM:

#691: Just think: By the time he's a teen there will probably be prosthetics that will let him lift the car up for you when you need to change a tire!

#694 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 02:32 PM:

In re prosthetics, there are two fascinating videos on TED.com:

-Dean Kamen (the Segway guy) talking about a prototype he had in development that -- if everything he says about it is true -- is profoundly SFnally cool. He's being paid to develop it by the DoD, because of the sheer numbers of whole-arm losses caused in Iraq to US veterans ... which means that even if it's going to be ridic expensive, they're going to be willing to buy enough to fund a certain amount of development, which might someday make it cheaper and more widespread.
-Aimee Mullins talking about her 12 pairs of legs.

#695 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 02:56 PM:

Earl #687: Dude, when the hospital staff ask "is everything all right"? -- they really want to know! They probably didn't hand out more packets with every meal, just because they don't want unused packets going to waste (or litter). But when all it takes to make a patient happy is a little more pepper, they'll be glad to supply it!

---
Open threadiness: Dan Wallace at Freedom To Tinker muses on targeted spam.

#696 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Where was I reading that (here?)...something about open-source development on prosthetic arms, because turns out the old spring-loaded hook is still the best state-of-the-art for a lot of tastes.

They've gone out of production, so because the market is too small to support much development, I gather there's a whole underground open source community for refurbishing these things. (Which, sadly, seems to be changing, ref. @694 above.)

Not so fast, says I! I'll bet there's a whole, untapped, possibly huge market out there in hobbyists and crafters who would be willing to pay a princely sum for a third arm.

#697 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 03:09 PM:

Argh. Misplaced modifier in #696 above: "Sadly changing" qualifies "small market," not "underground community."

Am I speaking English? I can't tell....

#698 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 03:11 PM:

"Modifies," dammit! Not "qualifies." I seem to be having an attack of Norm Crosby.

#699 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 03:20 PM:

So my first thought was that when Charlie is old enough, he can get matching tattoos on the other arm. (Which means that as he grows into newer and larger prosthetics, he'd have to keep the dinosaur theme. Which would be Pretty Damned Cool, so why not?

Guess what Flickr has a pool of?

#700 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 03:21 PM:

Stefan #693: Not unless they also reinforce his shoulder, back, hips, etc...

#701 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 04:01 PM:

Scalzi's blog linked me to a contest going on over at Orbit Books for "the most awesomely bad sff cover in the world." My favorites so far are

Vampyres of Uranus: Where the Sun Never Shines
Rise of the Fallen, Book Seven: The Pre-Antepenultimate Battle
Testosteroid!
Perhaps I'll submit "Magical Ethics: Compiling the Sorcerer Code" as my entry.

#702 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 04:03 PM:

david,

Not unless they also reinforce his shoulder, back, hips, etc...

well, it could be an arm that he could brace to the ground, like a jack. less supermanly, still way useful.

#703 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 04:38 PM:

"What? No death ray?!"
- Mary Dell's son Charlie

#704 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 04:43 PM:

David Harmon @ 700:

Do you think that sort of thing costs more than six million dollars these days?

#706 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 05:26 PM:

Bad link. I blame the abiveld. Let's try again.

Abi the robot...

#707 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 05:52 PM:

KiethS #700: It probably would, if we could actually do it! Aside from the logical problems with the fictional Bionic Man/Woman scenarios, it turns out that fusing flesh to machine is much harder than we thought it would be.... Not to mention the issues with power supplies!

On the other hand, (ouch) neural control of prosthetics is coming along nicely, and I suspect the sensory feedback will follow in time. Human Sensory plasticity turns out to be amazingly powerful -- we still can't splice a full-quality visual feed into the brain, but it turns out we can supply a low-res tactile feed (to the tongue, in the examples I heard), which the patient can learn to interpret as visual information. And IIRC, cochlear implants (hearing) are working pretty well already.

But as far as building super-strength directly into a human -- it seems that tool use is just more versatile and more convenient. Never mind having a lifting jack built into his arm -- all Mary Dell's kid will really need is a prosthetic arm/hand that can work a standard auto jack! And also turn a wrench, plug in an air hose, help carry a tire, etc....

And yes, humans can multiply their basic strength through exercise and training, but even that takes a fair bit of time and effort, both to achieve and to maintain. And the extreme cases offer brand new health hazards....

#708 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Oh, and...

(Via the Beeb, bless.)

Blesséd Beeb?

#709 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 06:40 PM:

How'd that happen? Damn.

#710 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 07:01 PM:

Jenny Islander @681 -- I haven't made this, but you should be on solid ground if you rub the meat with the stated weight of kosher or plain sea salt, then let it sit on a rack in the refrigerator. That will keep it from sitting in the liquid it's going to throw off. You may want to tent the whole thing in parchment to keep it from excessive drying -- your 'fridge is dryer than an English winter, for sure.

As for the cut of meat -- my references for "chine roast" turn up the loin as the muscle in question, which runs under the backbone. So you could have a whole loin section (as in a rib roast or crown roast) or a boneless loin, depending. Spareribs probably aren't the cut you want.

#711 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 07:25 PM:

By the way, I found a nice summary of salt varieties. TV chefs tend not to explain the salt choices they make, to the extent that it seems like irrational habit with some of them.

#712 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 08:05 PM:

LMB MacAlister, #680, I hate Jello because the nurses kept trying to make me eat it while I couldn't eat. When it keeps coming up, you just can't have it again. I ended up with vile Ensure down an NG tube (which you *can* get caught in and block your throat -- if that happens, pull it out right then), but nobody asks me to have that now.

Mary Dell, #691, dinos on his arm, how cool! And look how he's supporting himself on his new forearm!

Elliott Mason, #694, I had a link about that in an earlier post -- how they're testing it at Walter Reed. And this week, an article on wheelchair basketball at Walter Reed.

#713 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 08:06 PM:

Earl @ 711 -- a nice roundup of varieties. I hadn't known about the colored salt.

I do wish they'd gone on to mention the main problem with swapping kinds of salt: the same weight has wildly different volumes depending on form or granulation. Thus these weight equivalents: 1 volume table salt = 1.5 volumes Morton (brand) kosher salt = 2 volumes Diamond Crystal (brand) kosher salt. TV cooks seem to use Diamond Crystal when they call for kosher salt, which has caused oversalting problems for a number of my Morton-based friends.

(Morton also adds anti-caking ingredients to their kosher salt, which will keep your dried beans from softening properly -- but that's another story.)

All this is why I mentioned the weight of salt above -- your results will be more consistent across salt types. (Plus, an old recipe from England probably uses weights if it's got any reliable measurements at all. Otherwise, it's "take a lump as big as a plover's egg" stuff.)

Also -- for curing meat, you'll want to use a non-iodized salt. Otherwise, you'll get a pretty strong iodine flavor in the final product.

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 08:49 PM:

I just got a call from Lee. I met her at FiestaCon then she went back to the West Coast with KeithS. Right now she's at the Four Corners. She'd hoped she could drop by here, but, alas, a lot of time was spent at the Mesa Verde ruins. I told her to get plenty of sleep for the rest of the trip back to Texas.

#715 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 09:20 PM:

Mary @ 691: That's great news. Including that he got the dinosaurs you talked about at Wiscon.

#716 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 10:00 PM:

In re colored/etc salts, I can highly recommend for all one's OCDly geeky needs Mark Kurlansky's excellent _Salt_ -- from which I learned a lot about all the varieties there are (and why, and what they're used for), as well as far more on the history of salt and ... well, Western Europe, and also other things, than I expected.

#717 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 11:04 PM:

re Salt: If it's being cooked into something... use table salt (or Kocher Salt, though Morton's has an anti-caking agent, which is annoying in how it keeps beans from properly softening).

Kosher salt isn't a different grind, but a way of affecting the drying time, to get flatter crystals, and so melt faster.

The place in which the various salts come into their own is mostly the result of how the crystals formed, so the fleur de sels, sel de gris, the exotic location sea salts, etc. are only good before they have melted. The trace ingredients are too slight to have any real effect (as blind tastings have shown).

The colored salts... well color is part of presentation.

#718 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Indian 'black' salt is not one you should substitute with, or for. It has minerals in it which give it a somewhat sulfurous smell, and it's actually a reddish color. But it seems to go well with Indian food, according to my cubie.

#719 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 11:49 PM:

Terry Karney @ 658:

From that snippet of video, it looks like you gave a good presentation. Perhaps there'll be more of it available eventually.

Mary Dell @ 691:

Now that I can actually see the pictures, very cool. Dinosaurs go well with any age, but especially that one.

Bruce Arthurs @ 699:

And if dinosaur tattoos just aren't your thing, for whatever reason, science tattoos.

Serge @ 714:

Pity meeting up didn't work out for you. It was nice to meet people face to face.

And now, something cool:

A maglev toy train. (via)

#720 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 01:25 AM:

Mary Dell @ 691

That's fabulous. To arms!

Re prosthetics in general: I was in a prosthetics supply and fitting operation a few weeks ago to get the back brace I'll be wearing for the next few months, and was really intrigued by all the gizmos lying around and being carried back and forth. One point that's not made often is that modern materials make prosthetic appliances much lighter than they used to be, with consequent reduction of fatigue during use.

And speaking of hooking artificial limbs to the sensory system: there's a new treatment for "phantom pain" syndrome that leaves me wondering. It turns out that the pains are perceived because the brain (not the distal nervous connections) still has the missing parts in one or more of its sensory maps, and when that doesn't match what the subject sees or can do, the mismatch is sometimes percieved as pain. One treatment is to fake the brain into thinking it can see the part (say by using a mirror so that the right arm, for instance, is seen on both the left and right sides). I wonder whether you could do the opposite: convince the brain there really was a limb there and speed up the retraining time.

#721 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 01:49 AM:

About the presentation: To brag a bit... that was without a script. I'd been asked to talk, that evening, about how I came to be there.

So I played with it in my head for the week before, and then ran with it.

The best comment I got was from one of my army buddies, "It was like being in an NCO Class".

I haven't had the courage to watch it.

#722 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 02:50 AM:

Cheetah speed trials

Interesting science, cute pictures, and a really dumb spelling error, from the BBC.

#723 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 03:32 AM:

If you're like me--and, in this respect at least, you're probably not--you're always on the lookout for performances of John Dowland's lutesongs that are neither too stuffy nor too loose.

Bingo. Also.

#724 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 06:05 AM:

"The Lies of Sarah Palin, compiled" When I was a child, they told me some day computers would do things that would take months of work by a roomful of scientists. I feel as if I'm living in science fiction.

#725 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 06:28 AM:

Remmeber, tonight on the Skiffy Channel, the premiere of Eureka's 4th season. (Why is Deputy Jo dressed like a Torch Singer?)

#726 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 09:15 AM:

In exactly 4 weeks, I will be waking up from my first day at the worldcon.

#727 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 11:46 AM:

Bruce Cohen (StM) @ 720:

I knew that modern prosthetics were made out of some really neat materials, but the weight issue completely slipped my mind. I can imagine that that would make them much nicer.

With modern digital signal processing techniques, we're getting better at pulling small signals out of a lot of noise. That might make controlling artificial arms and hands easier, although, as you mention, there would still have to be some amount of training. Also, the idea of the phrase "I have to recharge my arm" is nice and science-fictional.

(Aside related to David Harmon's post at 707: I'd heard of tactile replacements for sight on the chest but not the tongue. Cool!)

Terry Karney @ 721:

I like to think that I'm not too bad at public speaking, but my vocabulary bucket tends to run dry after about four or five minutes. You're definitely doing better than that. Don't worry about not watching it; I'm kind of afraid of watching any performance I do too. The rest of us think you did well.

Serge @ 726:

That sounds ominous.

#728 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 12:04 PM:

KeithS @ 727... Ominousness was quite unintended. How about this:

In exactly 3 weeks, I will be waking up in the house where I grew up. Maybe even in my old bedroom, and from its window, one can see the nearby nunnery.
#729 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 12:25 PM:

AAAnd one more version of the remixed Hitler scene: Hitler and the Cheap Font CD!

#730 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 12:44 PM:

Serge, you're planning better than I have. Tonight, I leave for Pennsylvania. Family reunion and Alpha workshop. I still haven't packed-- not entirely my fault, as I thought two days on the drying rack would be enough for my laundry, but no, still wet. I'm not sure exactly what's going on with my ride to the airport, and I haven't written instructions for the catsitter.

I am in trip denial.

#731 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Diatryma @ 730... My approach to many things is a combination of careful planning of some aspects while, for the rest, I take the Indiana Jones attitude.

"Meet me at Omar's. Be ready for me. I'm going after that truck."
"How?"
"I don't know, I'm making this up as I go."

#732 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 02:00 PM:

KiethS: I have a little bit of practice. I've taught interrogation for 15 years: platform and booth.

Stand up and lecture (even with notes) for three hours on The Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare.

Sit across from someone for two hours, with a character sketch, and an arcane list of very specific details.

That, and 23 years of Renaissance Faires.

None of which detracts a whit from my being amazed it went so well. So, thank you.

#733 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Terry Karney @ 732... That, and 23 years of Renaissance Faires

Goodness, those RenFaires have become tough places since I last went.

#734 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 03:30 PM:

Jacque @696: The Open Prosthetics project is something along those lines.

Bruce Arthurs @699: He's going to get a new arm every year until he's full-grown, so the dinosaur theme may change into something else over time, but dinosaur tattoos are way cool anyway.! Eventually I'm hoping to make a custom fabric that looks like a robot/transformer type "skin," but I didn't have the time on this go-round so used a gymboree fabric.

David Harmon @700: physics, schmisics.

Serge @703: Not until he learns to safely operate a spoon.

Bruce Cohen @#720: I haven't done a ton of research on sensory limb stuff, because congenital limb difference doesn't have the same neurological features as surgical amputation. But the RIC does have an awesome bionics program...I'm curious to know if people using these kind of devices have the same kind of phantom pain as people with more traditional approaches.

Serge @#724: you're planning to sleep through your first day at the Worldcon? Seems like a waste of money.

#735 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 03:40 PM:

Mary Dell @ 734... Not quite. When I wrote that, it was still early in the day. I expect that I'll go to bed VERY late on Thursday, July 6. (On my schedule that evening, the birthday of a woman I've known for 30 years.) I'll probably be up early the next day.

#736 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 03:41 PM:

Terry @ #732, Ah! The RenFaire attendance explains the hair length!

Seriously, knowing the Army background and the photo Serge has of you at his site, I expected a buzz cut.

#737 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 03:43 PM:

Good news! The boss who constantly belittled my accomplishments, going so far as to unofficially demoting me, recently announced her transfer to another dept. Backstairs talk revealed to me that, as a result of her overall incompetence if not for her treatment of some of us, she has been demoted. She's finally gone now.

This is poetic justice.
And dare I say it?

It’s poetry in demotion.

#738 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Serge @ 737 - It’s poetry in demotion.

I gotta admit - that one is very good! (It could be verse)

#739 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 04:00 PM:

It's positively lyrical.

#740 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 04:05 PM:

One consequence of living in the future. Reading the Grauniad's report of Custer's last stand sent to me by a friend currently in the Netherlands.

#741 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 04:38 PM:

PJ Evans @718, "black salt" is indeed essential for some Indian food (especially various chaats). (And yeah, there are definitely sulfur compounds in there, it smells like hard-boiled eggs.) It should not be confused with the incredibly expensive non-Indian "black lava salt" which contains charcoal.

#742 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 04:39 PM:

Serge @ 737: Such a moving tale. (And an appropriate number for the post, too.) She drove you crazy, now she's on the loco-motion -- such a commotion you never heard!

#743 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 04:51 PM:

Serge @ 737:

In commemoration of the good news, as well as that fine groaner:

Happy day, happy day,
Serge's old manager
Treated him badly but
Can't any more;

Basic incompetence
Incontrovertibly
Leads to her downfall as
She's shown the door.

#744 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 04:55 PM:

Thanks, all of you. There definitely was much rejoicing.

#745 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Serge: Faire is a tough gig. When I started it was a 10 hour day, no script, and the audience can talk to you; will often try to throw you off your character. Sometimes you get tipsy, other times hot and tired.

Linkmeister: I used to have realy long hair. For 16 years I, basically had a "high and tight". I am rebelling, and going back to my roots.

I've not had a haircut since the 6th of June, 2008. I went inactive in Sept. 2008; and did some contriving to avoid cutting my hair in the interim.

There are brand new pictures of me, from last night, here (Serge, feel free to make use of them)

#746 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Terry, "going back to my roots."

All together now: Gro-o-o-o-an.

#747 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Serge @ 684

What might have been the best ep of Nowhere Man was the homage to Walter Hill's Warriors with the radio announcer voice over and some nice shots of the then new light rail in the area of the Convention Center.

As for where it was going ... it has now become obvious to me based on the total mindf*ck of the last 2 minutes of the last ep of the show that it was a pilot program for Dollhouse.

#748 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 06:32 PM:

Speaking of SyFy, I saw the pilot of Warehouse 13, and was rather charmed. It had some very nice visual jokes (the first 30 seconds in which the female Secret Service agent gets the hairy eye from the kid in the class trip group was very nice). And I really liked Saul Rubinek as "South Dakota Jones".

#749 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 06:44 PM:

Serge #737: Now, that's good news.

#750 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 06:53 PM:

Serge: YAY! GRTBR.

Terry: Wow. Now I can REALLY see Fr. Terry Karney, SJ.

#751 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 07:27 PM:

Fragano @ 749... Xopher @ 750... To be honest, when I first heard about this, I actually found myself feeling sorry for my boss, even though she got what she deserved. I got over that feeling fairly quickly. Huckleberry Finn I am not.

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 07:32 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 747... I expect that young Whedon, if he was as nerdy as we are, probably watched each and every F/SF shows that came his way - even Wizards and Warriors. I then wouldn't be surprised by a Nowhere Man influence.

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 07:35 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 748... I like the whole cast of Warehouse 13. I'm curious to see what their non-pilot stories will be like though. Well, they do have Saul Rubinek AND CCH Pounder, and the ferret in that kettle. And Tesla's stungun.

#754 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 07:42 PM:

Mary Dell #734: physics, schmisics.

<pssshhhfft> Aiii, my beautiful pedantry! You've punctured it... :-)

Seriously, congratulations and best of luck! And even before he's full grown, I suspect they will have neural-control prosthetics for him despite the difficulties. Like I said, plasticity is remarkably helpful. Also, that Open Source Prosthetics project (among others) is likely to get a talent surge eventually....

#755 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 08:05 PM:


Serge, in holding cell, hears guard walking down corridor.

Guard: "I have good news."

Serge: "They got Fritz Brenner to prepare saucisse minuit for my last meal?"

Guard: "Oh, better. The governor's office called."

Serge: "Yeah? What did they say?"

Guard: "You've been reprieved."

Serge: "Praise be! Say, does that mean I can have poutine with my sausage?"

#756 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 08:11 PM:

Oh dear. I'm not sure whether there's more absolute sexist fail in what RMS has to say, or in the idiots showing up on that blog post to defend him. What a train wreck.

And people wonder why there aren't more women in computing.

#757 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 08:12 PM:

And since we're on vaguely medical stuff, the wonderful Dr. Charles is blogging again!

#758 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 08:25 PM:

Linkmeister @ 755... Did you have to put that image in my mind? I still have to wait 3 weeks before I get easy access to my poutine, with or without sausage.

#759 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Serge: I don't epect to get access to poutine until January.

You could, you know, make some at home.

(walks off grumbling... ponders beavertails with lemon juice)

#760 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 08:46 PM:

KiethS: Wow... from the get-go.

The inanity of "private e-mails". Send me a letter, it's mine. Don't want me to publish it, don't send it.

To say the questions raised are invalid because he "published private e-mails" is nonsense.

To demand a "summary" is disingenous, as the immediate reaction will be, "you are mis-representing his position. I am sure he answered you, but you just want to make him look bad,", etc.

#761 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 08:54 PM:

Terry Karney @ 759... True, I could make my own poutine, but it just wouldn't be the same. The fries up there are so much better, for one thing.

#762 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 09:34 PM:

KeithS @ 756 ...
Oh dear. I'm not sure whether there's more absolute sexist fail in what RMS has to say, or in the idiots showing up on that blog post to defend him. What a train wreck.

-that man- is plain old fail, and has been for a very long time. All things being equal, I think the best thing to be done with him is to fail to comment, fail to notice, fail to attend -- fail to feed the troll.

And people wonder why there aren't more women in computing.

I'd say it's substantially more complex than -that man- being an arse. I would agree that he's no help, to the extent that he makes it possible to perceive that behaviour as less offensive than it is... but fortunately most people grow out of their juvenile girls are icky phase.

#763 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 09:52 PM:

KeithS: And people wonder why there aren't more women in computing.

xeger: I'd say it's substantially more complex than -that man- being an arse.

Well, part of the problem is that it isn't just one man. Open source computing in particular seems to both have a particularly low proportion of women in it, and a *number* of prominent men in that community who are dismissive of women and their concerns (often in an unthinking way rather than a consciously malevolent way). I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that the latter phenomenon influences the former.

A similar incident came up recently in a Ruby on Rails conference. I wrote about it not that long ago, and suggested that it might not be a bad idea for developers to start thinking about gender inequity as bugs in the system, bugs that could and should be fixed.

#764 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:10 PM:

Serge: Better in what way?

If it's the tatties, well there's not much for it.

If it's the cooking... The secret is to cook the fries twice. Once to gelatinize the starches, and once to brown them (IIRC, the first frying is at about 360°F, the second at 425°F).

#765 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:11 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 763 ...
Open Source computing does have a particularly low proportion of women in it -- but I suspect that's as much a social issue as anything else. In order to have time to work on open source, you need to have an environment that makes finding that time easy -- and given the sheer number of women who have two careers, one at home, and one at work[0], adding in the third, for open source is decidedly difficult.

I suspect you'd find that most of the women who are active in open source are either enabled by their current career choice, don't have the burden of a partner or child, or most unusually, have a partner that actively supports and enables their work.

In my experiences with various open source communities, I'd have to say that I've had far better experiences with most of the *BSD community, the apache projects, and the parts of the Linux community that are more concerned with technology than ideology.

As Lefty says, the people who are prominent in their community tend to set the tone -- we see that in play repeatedly here at Making Light :)

[0] Yes -- the feminist movement, which instead of resulting in the right to have a woman's work valued to the same extent as a man's work gave a woman the 'right' to do all of her work plus a man's work... and still not be treated equally.

#766 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:20 PM:

KeithS #756: Yeah, RMS was known as weird, and specifically dysfunctional regarding women, back when I was in college, 30+ years ago. Asperger's explains some of it (he's surely at least on the spectrum), but doesn't really excuse it.

Unfortunately, I suspect he has surrounded himself with fellow spectrum folks and/or worshipers, when he clearly needs some non-autistic "spotters" who can warn him about offensive stuff like this. (And yeah, I think the prevalence of Aspies in computing probably aggravates the hostile environment toward women, in basically the same manner.)

#767 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:26 PM:

David Harmon @ 766 ...
I think being willing to excuse bad behaviour towards a particular gender as an acceptable part of a given career is simply Not Okay[0].

Unacceptable behaviour is unacceptable behaviour, and needs to be addressed as such.

Computing certainly didn't start out as a male ghetto -- and not all areas of computing -are- male ghettos. The gender balance is almost reversed in the database arena, for example.

[0] Never mind as "he's just pretty far down the asperger's spectrum" ... shouldn't that imply "generally emotionally clueless", not "specifically clueless"?

#768 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:37 PM:

xeger @ 762... most people grow out of their juvenile girls are icky phase

I never went thru that phase. Do normal boys do? Or does this refer to their reluctance to have other boys see them enjoy the company of girls because, if they enjoy it, that means they're not real boys? I get the sense that lots of boys bought into that belief, not realizing that nearly other boy also thinks everybody else holds that belief? And no, I don't know where I'm going with this.

#769 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:41 PM:

To everyone who replied about RMS:

I know RMS is a bit, um, strange, it's just that that blog post in particular has such an epic amount of fail attached to it in the comments that I can still barely believe it. I know the problems are systemic rather than centering around one guy, but when he's one of the leaders of the movement, well...

I do like the idea of treating problems like this as bugs to fix.

#770 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:44 PM:

Terry Karney @ 764... Better in what way? Well, for one thing, you appear to assume that I have sufficience culinary skills not to screw up something as simple as poutine.

On a different topic... Considering what linkmeister said @ 736, would you have a more recent photo of yourself for "Making Light and Faces"? I appear to have lost the photo of you as Dorian Gray.

#771 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:52 PM:

KeithS @ 769 ...
I know RMS is a bit, um, strange, it's just that that blog post in particular has such an epic amount of fail attached to it in the comments that I can still barely believe it.

Er... if you think that's a notable amount of fail, I'm -very- happy for you! It is, unfortunately, remarkably polite, sane and reasonable for the normal outcome of that sort of discussion.

#772 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 10:54 PM:

And the comments just get worse. How is it so many people are all making the same point..."It was a joke, you have no right to be offended, get over it"

And I know they wouldn't be so happy if the "joke" were on them. If someone were makning "jokes" about how nerds need to get laid so they can understand something.

I'm also, amused is the wrong word, but the closest, which comes to mind, at how many of the people so vigorously defending the right to be an asshole, are hiding, not behind a screen name, but, "anonymous".

The world, sadly she changes very slowly.

I did break down and leave a comment. Windmills, I can't resist 'em.

#773 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Terry Karney @ 772 ...
I'm also, amused is the wrong word, but the closest, which comes to mind, at how many of the people so vigorously defending the right to be an asshole, are hiding, not behind a screen name, but, "anonymous".

... which given that the -only- requirement on that particular site is to leave a screen name, is rather amusing.

I did break down and leave a comment. Windmills, I can't resist 'em.

Heh. You certainly aren't the only one ;)

#774 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 11:03 PM:

sigh...

I made a post at majikthise, about the conference. I got.. at my business email, connnected to my photo-website, an email asking me to prove I was what I said I was (an interogator).

What a week.

#775 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 11:27 PM:

KeithS #769: I do like the idea of treating problems like this as bugs to fix.

Filing a bug report.

#776 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 11:37 PM:

Terry Karney #774: I got.. at my business email, connnected to my photo-website, an email asking me to prove I was what I said I was (an interogator).

Is it possible for you to do that without making yourself vulnerable to identity theft? Years ago, I had to prove I wasn't someone with a name very similar to mine; I managed to do it with personal references from two subject-matter experts.

#777 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 12:21 AM:

Xeger #767: Never mind as "he's just pretty far down the asperger's spectrum" ... shouldn't that imply "generally emotionally clueless", not "specifically clueless"?

Not really -- there's a lot of variability, but in general, most folks on the autistic spectrum (Asperger's is the middle section of that) have, to varying degrees, difficulty with:

  • awareness of their own emotions (and other body states)
  • noticing and interpreting non-verbal social responses from other people
  • evaluating the social appropriateness of their actions (connected to the prior item, as they're not getting proper feedback)
  • modulating their social behavior, including verbal aspects
  • executive functions, including impulse control
Most spectrum folks can eventually learn various "compensations" to work around their weaknesses (thus my "old enough" comment), but the more autistic they are, the more effort those take, both to learn and to maintain. Also, such compensations tend to go away without warning under stress, fatigue, or distraction -- all of which are easier to come by due to other factors, notably our vulnerability to sensory overload.

It's also worth noting that at least in the USA, the institutional (schools etc) understanding of Asperger's and the rest of the autistic spectrum is fairly recent -- I just missed out on that myself, and RMS is over 10 years older than me. The younger Aspies and NLDers I've heard from have been getting great benefits from early interventions and specialized therapies.

By comparison, I'm diagnosed with NLD -- roughly, "half an Aspie" -- and I still had so much trouble (some of it traumatic) trying to approach and court women, that I eventually gave up entirely. I'm not going to get into details about that tonight, because at this hour I don't trust my own discretion (see above), but I wanted to get a basic reply out.

#778 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 12:30 AM:

Earl Cooley III: I just info-dumped him weblinks which had my name on them, saying I'm an interrogator, interviews, etc.

If it's a fake, I've been doing it for a long time, and a lot of people have been in cahoots.

#779 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 01:16 AM:

David Harmon @ 777 ...
My bad -- I'm aware of the spectrum, but was shortcutting in a particularly unhelpful way. What I should probably have written would be closer to "issues with social feedback loops, whether self, reactions to self, or responses to take in either or any case".

That aside, the clarification is much appreciated :)

By comparison, I'm diagnosed with NLD -- roughly, "half an Aspie" -- and I still had so much trouble (some of it traumatic) trying to approach and court women, that I eventually gave up entirely. I'm not going to get into details about that tonight, because at this hour I don't trust my own discretion (see above), but I wanted to get a basic reply out.

It may have no bearing on your particular situation, but the advice[-1] that I'm prone to giving to geeks with that sort of problem typically summarizes as:

(1) Stop trying so hard -- that sort of intensity freaks most people out[0], which makes them behave sub-optimally.
(2) If you aren't sure, ask somebody whose opinion -about those sorts of things- you trust.

[-1] Indulging in the geek fallacy that it's possible or desirable to try to fix a perceived problem, rather than having the sense to simply listen and accept.
[0] ... and as a subcase of that, desperation/wanting too much -really- tends to freak people out, even the ones that can pretty much understand where you're coming from, again, sub-optimal.

#780 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 01:39 AM:

coming in late here, due to connectivity woes, but:

Mary, I gotta say that Charlie's dino arm is the coooolest thing!

#781 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 03:48 AM:

Torchwood: Children of Earth just aired here over the last five nights and will be airing in the US on BBC America over five nights from 20th July. Even if you thought every previous episode of Torchwood was rubbish, you should watch these. Over on HuffPost, TV reviewer Ed Martin says:

Torchwood: Children of Earth is the television event of the summer. In fact, this is one of the finest television productions you will see all year.

He's right. If you can avoid spoilers, do. Tough, uncompromising, and brutal, it has some breath-taking twists. It was edge-of-the-seat viewing for all five nights.

#782 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 03:56 AM:

So, why aren't there more hot chicks in Open Source? And why don't the ones who ARE here date other coders? WOMEN JUST DON'T LIKE NICE GUYS LIKE US IT'S SOOOOO UNFAAAAAIR!

Err. Sorry. Small overflow of bile there.

Meanwhile, my most excellent friend Kirrily Robert will be giving a 15-minute (yes, they gave her fifteen whole minutes! after which ... BACK TO THE MENZ, presumably with a sigh of great relief all 'round) keynote address at OSCON about women in Open Source:

Standing out in the crowd: What's it like to be a woman in an open source project that's 99% men? [I don't think she's just going to put this up on the screen. Though God knows I see the temptation]What's it like to be a woman in a project that's 75%... women? Kirrily Robert, who has worked on both kinds of projects, will talk about the differences, and what we can learn from majority-female open source projects.

Any of you who are going to be there could go and, you know, cheer her on. Or buy her a drink after; I get the impression she expects to want one.

#783 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 04:29 AM:

Marna Nightingale @ 782: Love the bingo link, thanks!

#784 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 08:24 AM:

General open threadiness: the annual Double Dog Dare Flyball tournament is in town. If you've never seen flyball, try to find an opportunity to do so. It would make Buster Keaton break into a huge grin.

Bruce Cohen @ #720: I did a paper on mirror box therapy when I was in PTA school. It turns out there are more uses for it than treating phantom pain (for example, treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which used to be called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). Apparently a lot of chronic pain involves a mismatch between the body and the brain's cortical map of the body.

#785 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 08:59 AM:

xeger #779: Stop trying so hard
dmh: AAAAIIIIEEE!!!

Sorry, but I've heard that plenty often enough to have reached the "I'm gonna scream" stage. Bluntly: that may be good advice for normal adolescents. It's not useful for someone with a neurological deficit in their social capabilities!

This is not guaranteed to be complete, but here is my experience of some of the issues:

  • Coming across as "intense", is a natural result of attentional hyperfocus (see also ADD), and difficulty in maintaining the usual social masks.
  • If I'm not thinking about the relationship potential, I'm not paying attention to it. That means I miss signals. COMPLETELY miss them, and accordingly do not respond appropriately.
  • In practice, the demand for responding to such signals is very time-sensitive, my response is slow at best, and most women (in my case) aren't interested in offering "do-overs".
  • When a woman does show interest, that registers as some combination of
    • a major context switch, as in "WTF is that about?"
    • an animal-level challenge -- trust me, sexuality is linked to aggression, no matter how heavily neurotypicals paper it over with politesse.
    • extremely stressful -- remember what I said above about compensations and stress?
  • In the "normal" case, women are expecting me to make the initial approach, within a narrow range of acceptable setup, timing, and body language.
  • I have stopped trying so hard. Or, in fact, at all.

#786 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:15 AM:

Marna @ 782 -- I suppose that "You're the one demeaning women by speaking on their behalf!" wouldn't fit the card, since it presumes that the addressee is male.

I'd be interested in hearing/seeing Kirrily's comments. (I know her, somewhat, from her time with the SCA in Ottawa.) Do you know if they'll be posted anywhere?

#787 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:16 AM:

Marna Nightingale #782: On the contrary, she certainly should put it up, full-screen -- and a full page in the handouts! In that context, subtlety is just going to be wasted, and the bingo card is a great way to call "bullshit" on all those items at once.

#788 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:26 AM:

On salt:

I second Terry's point about some salts being 'finishing salts,' in that their taste experience derives from their geometry, not their composition. In particular, fleur de sel has a lacy, dendritic structure. The high surface-area-to-volume ratio means that it dissolves quickly in the month, which leads to an 'explosion' of saltiness. I knew someone once who cooked with fleur de sel, which I'd describe as conspicuous consumption if it wasn't utterly inconspicuous, indistinguishable as it is from cooking with regular table or sea salt.

And a minor quibble: in cooking, we're talking about salt dissolving in water, not melting. Salt melts at about eight hundred degrees Celsius.

#789 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:35 AM:

debcha #788: And a minor quibble: in cooking, we're talking about salt dissolving in water, not melting. Salt melts at about eight hundred degrees Celsius.

Melting salt might be a valid cooking instruction in molecular gastronomy. heh.

#790 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:42 AM:

debcha @ 788... I second Terry's point about some salts being 'finishing salts,'

Also known as the final insalt.

#791 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:47 AM:

Open threadiness: This post on Gellman's wonderful statistics blog talks about the polling numbers for vouchers, and gives an interesting insight: Relatively richer whites tend to like them, and relatively poorer nonwhites also tend to like them.

#792 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:49 AM:

David #785:

I am outside my expertise, but ISTM that knowing when you're trying too hard is one of those things that depends on subtle social cues to figure out. There's not some obvious absolute measure.

#793 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:51 AM:

Colored salts: Earl's link at #711 dismisses all colored salts with "Food coloring is added to salt".

In the windows of a local New Age store, I see "salt lamps", attributed by the labels to the Himalayas. These certainly appear to be made of a translucent pink mineral, but I have not attempted to taste or dissolve them -- I assume the shopkeepers would (quite reasonably) object. ;-)

#794 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:58 AM:

David @777:

If this isn't too personal:

None of what you say about yourself or about the patterns of neurological difference seems to explain the pattern of sexism (as shown by RMS and many of the men who turned up to anonymously argue that what he did was far less important than someone publishing email sent to him without a request for privacy). Am I missing something here? [In case it's relevant, I'm bi, and don't map attraction onto (gender or other) difference, or vice versa.]

And yes, absolutely feel free to say "look again at point n" or refer to an URL for more information, rather than talking about yourself.

I don't see, in what you say or in the list you give, anywhere that implies "treat women like an alien species to be joked about, and then deny intent repeatedly" as a likely outcome. Not getting the social signals that could be connected to courtship, yes. But to my mind, that could equally well lead to "treat everyone as more-or-less-neuter," not "treat other men as real people and women as objects."

Theory of mind is weird and complicated, but I'm not really feeling all that charitable to anyone whose theory of mind seems to be "selfhood is found in the penis." Or who justifies--as you have not, but RMS clearly does--insulting and belittling real human beings who are in the room with him on the grounds that he has the right to attack an organization he dislikes by mocking one of its symbols.

#795 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 10:45 AM:

David Harmon: I don't think she said Kirrily ought not put it up, just that she shouldn't.

Which reminds me, I have to finish her head-shots.

#796 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 10:53 AM:

David Harmon @ 785 ...
Sorry, but I've heard that plenty often enough to have reached the "I'm gonna scream" stage. Bluntly: that may be good advice for normal adolescents. It's not useful for someone with a neurological deficit in their social capabilities!

Heh. It's not actually advice that I'd give to most adolescents, truth be told -- there's a different flavour and set of expectations around adolescent fumbling.

Beyond that, I can tell you that the advice has worked well for some people with the same neurological deficit in their social capabilities -- but difference advice 'catches' in different ways, and it sounds like the phrase causes a highly emotional reaction for you at this point, which makes it unhelpful.

Coming across as "intense", is a natural result of attentional hyperfocus (see also ADD), and difficulty in maintaining the usual social masks.

I'm often described as intense, myself -- but I've always found that there's a difference between how people react to "intense" about [as a trivial example] compiler optimization, and "intense" about a person.

The first can be endearing -- the second tends to trigger a fight/flight reflex in many people, _especially_ in women, where that sort of intensity often heralds harassment or harm.

If I'm not thinking about the relationship potential, I'm not paying attention to it. That means I miss signals. COMPLETELY miss them, and accordingly do not respond appropriately.
In practice, the demand for responding to such signals is very time-sensitive, my response is slow at best, and most women (in my case) aren't interested in offering "do-overs".

Heh. A friend of mine realized (a good five years after the fact), that somebody had definitely been interested in him -- while it didn't provide a "do-over", it did provide a data point to add to his pattern-matching.

Completely missing signals (or reading non-existent signals) is nothing at all unusual though -- and generally frustrating to all parties :(

(TBH, though, I'd rather be treated as a person than a potential relationship -- respect is a big part of getting along with others, at least as far as I'm concerned... and being seen as a relationship on the hoof tends to trigger that whole fight/flight aggression thing)

When a woman does show interest, that registers as some combination of a major context switch, as in "WTF is that about?" an animal-level challenge -- trust me, sexuality is linked to aggression, no matter how heavily neurotypicals paper it over with politesse. extremely stressful -- remember what I said above about compensations and stress?

Of course sex and aggression are linked! Why else would you have the showing off of plumage, banging of heads, and other similar behaviours?

That said, it's not an atypical reaction to get utterly confused or aggressive or weird when you've just been hit over the head with an unexpected clue-by-four. Being able to realize that you're having that reaction is something else entirely :)

In the "normal" case, women are expecting me to make the initial approach, within a narrow range of acceptable setup, timing, and body language.

Bluntly: there is no "normal case". No matter what TV or books feed you, the closest thing to a "normal case" I can think of generalizes as "two people spend some time together".

I have stopped trying so hard. Or, in fact, at all.

Would 'go gently' make more sense?

(I'm trying to collect data points here -- the "why are my (relationship) signals all crossed" question is one that I deal with semi-regularly, so it helps to get input about what does/n't make sense)

#797 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 10:57 AM:

David Harmon, #793: That dismissal of coloured salts is flat-out wrong (I note that the author also talked about salt 'melting'). While it's clearly possible to artificially colour salt (like sugar), coloured salts normally result from natural contaminants.

(Alternatively, of course, she might just have omitted to include coloured salts, which seems like an even more serious error.)

Here's the pink Himalayan salt, and you can look under 'salt' in the index to the left to see various other kinds of coloured salts.

#798 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 10:58 AM:

Marna Nightingale @ 782 ...
So, why aren't there more hot chicks in Open Source? And why don't the ones who ARE here date other coders? WOMEN JUST DON'T LIKE NICE GUYS LIKE US IT'S SOOOOO UNFAAAAAIR!

Err. Sorry. Small overflow of bile there.

*SNORF* Okay... I think I need a new set of nasal passages now...

#799 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 11:05 AM:

debcha: Colored salts are a problem. I've looked at lots (and let me tell you, as an aside, I tasted some of that black salt.... it may be useful in cooking, but plain... it was nasty. I had to take a HANDFUL of plain salt to burn the taste out of my mouth... it mostly worked).

A lot of them are colored by addition. Some of the colored hawaiian salts are done by grinding coral and pumice up and adding them.

I know that the intensely colored salt ponds of SF bay make white salt. I know that there are colored salts (pinks, and yellows and greens, and beige and grey, and...), but I'd need to check them to be sure they were going to be different.

And yes, cooking with fleur de sel if a shame, and waste, and way to show off.

#800 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 11:05 AM:

albatross #792: Yes, that's much of my point.

Vicki #794: Am I missing something here?

No, my comment at #777 was. ;-) That was most of what I elided with "at this hour I don't trust my own discretion". I'll take a stab at it now....

For brevity, I'm going to use "Aspie" to include most of the autistic spectrum, and "NT" (neurotypical) for all non-autistic people (any other neurodiversities are irrelevant here, except where they resemble autistic disorders).

For starters, the weak social perceptions tend to translate to dubious "socialization", and late progression through various stages of same -- at any given age, an Aspie will be noticably less mature (socially) than an NT. So in high school, my "social age" was probably something like 11-14, and when I entered college, it was around 15. (At best!)

How far someone progresses depends heavily on what kind of social "education" they're getting -- and if someone's too far out of sync, they can end up with basically no social feedback beyond "you're skeevy/immature/needy/etc!" So you really can get 40-and 50-year olds who don't know any better than a teenager. Aspies have particular problems with boundaries and "social reality testing", so those are likely to be even more retarded compared to NTs.

Also, "treat everyone as more-or-less-neuter" doesn't work too well when your hormones are percolating! Inappropriate behavior can easily come out of failure to recognize that situation, and the related failure to "hit the throttle" on the behavioral output of said hormones. (That is, self-awareness and self-control.) As I alluded to above, both lust itself, and "courting" contexts are quite stressful, which is particularly rough on already-fragile social controls. In an group of adolescents (or extended-adolescents) all this gets aggravated by dubious social feedback.

This in turn, feeds heavily into a more general human pattern: need, vulnerability, and lack of control, are all threatening! And when faced by a threat, one of the common responses is to pre-emptively "attack" in various ways. One is to denigrate the "threat object" (TO), as in the "sour grapes" fable. Another is to try and dominate the TO, especially by shifting the apparent conflict to one's own strong points. For jock-types, that might be physical violence -- but Aspies are more likely to resort to wordplay and mockery. Pornography comes into that too, because as a fantasy outlet, it emphasizes a sense of control, and of "containing" the objects of desire.

And again, Aspies tend to be less aware of their own emotions (such as feeling threatened) and worse at impulse control.... Add in the positive-feedback loop provided by Aspies being "isolated together", and you've got a recipe for exactly the sort of hostile environment that women in CS/IT complain about.

So, have I covered all the bases here?

#801 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 11:48 AM:

xeger #796: The big thing you're not picking up here, is that intellectual knowledge was not helping "in the crunch" -- i.e. if I'm "pattern-matching" for potential interest, I'll not only come across as "needy" (another term I got damned tired of hearing), but I'm not giving full effort to the conversation at hand.

And "intense" may draw different reactions in different contexts -- but IME, it's a common interpretation of my normal attention patterns -- which are my (only) way of maintaining focus on a particular person (or thing). In particular, if I'm not focusing on a person, I'm likely to miss much of what they're saying, let alone social feedback. (Oh, did I mention I'm also hearing-impaired? :-( )

Completely missing signals (or reading non-existent signals) is nothing at all unusual... Sorry, but most people only do that sometimes. For me, it's consistent. And "two people spend some time together" is a context, not an approach. I've certainly had female friends -- even the ones who weren't outright "taking advantage of the safe guy", wanted to be "just friends", and often to discuss their romantic problems with me. And then there's the already-attached ones who just wanted to flirt....

At some point, initially way below my conscious level, my basic response shifted to "the hell with this".

#802 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 11:57 AM:

More to xeger: Oh, and for me, friendships tend to be few but strong (this is apparently usual for Aspies). Maintaining lots of female friends until one of them is "interested" is basically not an option.

#803 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 01:06 PM:

Ah, Terry, I take your point. I seem to recall that (inexpensive) Trader Joe's red and black Hawaiian salts are made like that, and I wasn't that big a fan.

I should have been clearer - the About article suggests that all coloured salts are like coloured sugars; that is, artificially tinted with food colouring. At least some colours occur because of natural impurities (like the Himalayan stuff, which is mined).

I'm a fan of the TJ's sea salt in a grinder as my finishing salt (which I may refer to as the final insalt from now on - thanks, Serge!) for foods like edamame - the pieces are nicely irregular (so a high surface-area-to-volume ratio) and a good size. I also like smoked sea salt.

The salt ponds - these are the beautifully-coloured ponds on the wast side of the Bay, yes? I've seen them from a plane many times, but I hadn't realized they were for salt.

#804 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 01:10 PM:

David Harmon @ 801/802 ...
It wouldn't occur to me to suggest trying to have lots of female friends -- none of the Aspies that I know find the process of forming friendships particularly straightforward, all all of them would rather have a small set of good friends than a large circle of acquaintances. It makes sense to me (as a borderline introvert/extrovert) -- it's far less stressful to deal with a smaller number of people you really want to spend time with.

The big thing you're not picking up here, is that intellectual knowledge was not helping "in the crunch" -- i.e. if I'm "pattern-matching" for potential interest, I'll not only come across as "needy" (another term I got damned tired of hearing), but I'm not giving full effort to the conversation at hand.

Ah. I'm thinking of "pattern-matching" as being closer to a way of creating a habit that makes it easier to notice a behaviour.

As an example if I notice (sometimes rather too late *sigh*, although fortunately less so than it used to be) that everybody sucks, and they're all being grouchy and mean and awful, and I'd really like to bite somebody.... the odds are extremely good that I need to eat.

And "intense" may draw different reactions in different contexts -- but IME, it's a common interpretation of my normal attention patterns -- which are my (only) way of maintaining focus on a particular person (or thing). In particular, if I'm not focusing on a person, I'm likely to miss much of what they're saying, let alone social feedback. (Oh, did I mention I'm also hearing-impaired? :-( )

Ugh. Hearing-impaired makes the whole pile harder, since (I suspect) it means that in many contexts there's enough noise to make it difficult to hear much of what's going on.

Unfortunately for me, my voice is pitched in the exact range where hearing loss is most likely to start -- so I routinely encounter folk that have trouble hearing me, through no fault of their own. It really does make communicating ... interesting.

While I've tried, I've yet to find a way to raise or lower the tone of my speaking in a way that's clearer to the person that I'm speaking to without either yelling/projecting to the entire room, or rendering my voice unusable in a few sentences.

It does leave me very glad of things like irc and IM though :)

And "two people spend some time together" is a context, not an approach.

Yes -- I was trying to say that there really isn't any approach that I'm aware of that's universally accepted/expected or consistent. Ergo, "two people spend some time together" is the closest I can get to a universally applicable generalization about courting behaviour... and it's so general so as to be useless.

It reads to me as though this discussion is pushing all sorts of buttons for you, although there's no intent to do so on my part -- please let me know if I should just drop the thread, or if it's okay.

#805 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 01:24 PM:

debcha: I don't know they are still harvested, but they used to be.

Some pictures of one of them. The first was taken a year after the rest.

#806 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 02:03 PM:

I wonder if a couple of heuristics might be useful for folks who are on the reasonably functional part of the Aspie/autistic spectrum, and want to avoid situations like the ones with RMS, the Ruby conference, etc.

One is simply: Know when you're in a professional context, and keep professional contexts professional. If you're at a developer conference, you can pretty much assume all of the program events (including both presentations and mid-day breaks) are professional. (Even if you personally code for fun, lots of your colleagues code for work, or use the code for work.)

Professional contexts don't necessarily mean "you wear a tie" (as one high-profile open-source person seemed to think it implies). What they mean is that you treat others with respect as fellow professionals, and not as romantic/sexual prospects. It also means avoiding focusing on nonprofessional topics (like sex and religion) that are likely to make others uncomfortable. That alone should at least prevent speakers like RMS or the Ruby guy from repelling large numbers of attendees in the way they did.

In social contexts, and potential romantic contexts, I'd recommend: Play to your strengths (those you have, and those you can develop). I think one mistake people make is that they think they have to play to a particular script when they're seeking romance, and often the script they're thinking of using doesn't work very well (either for them, or in general). I'll repeat what xeger said here: there is no "normal case" for starting romances.

So, yes, *some* people play and enjoy the elaborate "mating dance" script that's full of subtlety and just-right timing. But if you're on the spectrum, that's not likely to work well for you. Fine: don't use that script. There'll be folks who are used to that who won't be prospects as a result, but there are still plenty of others left, and they're probably the ones you'd get along better with in the long term.

There's a second script that shy or aspie guys tend to fall back on, though: the "make lots of women 'friends' and hope that someone eventually notices I'm attracted to them" script. That is a bad script, tempting though it might be. I'm not saying here that opposite-sex friends are a bad idea, or that romance can't blossom out of friendship; I'm saying that keeping someone as a 'friend' (note the scare-quotes), bur really just valuing them for a romantic interest that you do your best to conceal from them, is not the way to go. This xkcd cartoon is a funny, if somewhat subtle, take on the problems with it.

I haven't said much here about what *can* work, but this comment is long enough that I should stop here for now.


#807 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 02:40 PM:

debcha #797: That dismissal of coloured salts is flat-out wrong (I note that the author also talked about salt 'melting'). While it's clearly possible to artificially colour salt (like sugar), coloured salts normally result from natural contaminants. (Alternatively, of course, she might just have omitted to include coloured salts, which seems like an even more serious error.)

I think that if you were to contact the author of that salt guide with documented corrections, that the article would likely be updated. It seems to me, though, that a balance would need to be made between completeness and too much detail for a general cooking audience.

#808 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 02:47 PM:

Serge: There's a link at 745 to the most recent photos taken of me (two days ago).

The "Dorian Gray" shot is here

#809 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 03:09 PM:

Xeger: #804

Re: "pattern-matching": I consider what you describe to be "compensations" -- in this case, for the bugs in my body-awareness. And part of why I was so delayed about romantic issues was that I was occupied in developing those basic compensations, so I could handle normal life-cycle and generic-social contexts. (Which I'm doing passably well these days, except for employment -- I've got a separate set of traumas there.) Recurrent depressive episodes (starting in college) didn't help either.

Hearing-impaired makes the whole pile harder ... in many contexts there's enough noise to make it difficult to hear much of what's going on.

Oh yeah. The effort involved also interacts poorly with my sensory-overload issues.

It reads to me as though this discussion is pushing all sorts of buttons for you,

It is -- as a matter of principle, I don't like to run away from uncomfortable discussions (leads to hiding in a cave ;-) ), but if the topic continues, I'm going to be more uneven about responses -- that is, I'll be trying to back off for a while and recover my balance between interchanges. (Major advantage of the 'Net!)

#810 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 04:29 PM:

David @800:

Yes, that clarified a lot. Thanks for writing that for us.

The only other thing I have to say: sometimes women do tell men we're interested. Not all that often, perhaps, but we do exist, and it can work out. No guarantees, but there are no guarantees when a man speaks first either.

#811 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 06:06 PM:

Debcha #793: Thanks! I like their description of "Form: Ginormous Crystal".

Xeger, Vicki, et al.: Thanks for the honest engagement. That's one of the things I love about this place!

#812 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 06:18 PM:

I have seen Stallman speak, and interacted with him briefly, and I know a couple of Aspies (including a nephew), and I have to say that Stallman does not strike me as particularly Aspie-like. Rather, my impression is that he has a vastly overblown sense of entitlement, constantly blown up further by the fans he surrounds himself with. (Not going to go into specifics, that would be a distraction.)

I think it is important progress that many people now make allowances for the fact that some people have severe social difficulties and can come across as socially inept because they are not neurotypical. David raises some excellent points there (and it takes some guts to come out with personal details like those in a public forum.)

However, the converse is definitely not true - a person being self-centered, self-important, self-righteous, or otherwise a jerk does not mean in the least that they are on the autism spectrum. There are plenty of complete dickheads and just plain socially inept people out there, not needing any neurological reason for it.

I think jumping to the assumption that bad behavior is the result of Asperger's or autism spectrum, while very generous in spirit, has the potential to be long-term damaging to autism spectrum people. The group is already getting stigmatized and stereotyped in a variety of ways due to others trying to use it as an excuse for all varieties of bad behavior.

To sum up, if I think someone is unintentionally coming off as sexist or offensive, then I think it's reasonable to let them know discreetly, avoiding embarrassment, in a way that's appropriate for them. If on the other hand someone who sets himself up as a role model is acting like a sexist jerk and then being self-righteous about it, I think it's reasonable to call it as acting like a sexist jerk and knowing it.

Just IMHO.

#813 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 06:39 PM:

wrt Aspie-type social cluelesness, I've been following a lovely set of blog posts that reframe Pride and Prejudice from Darcy's POV in (imho) a far more plausible way than usual. Due to partial reverse-chronological ordering, there are a few intro/setup posts at the bottom of this group, starting with the post titled "Darcy, Extreme Introvert" (do a text search for that header); for the actual prose, go back to the top of the page, skip down to "Darcy's Point of View: First Impressions" for the first bit, then read to the end before jumping back to the most recent post to finish.

#814 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 06:40 PM:

xeger @ 792... I'm often described as intense, myself

You too, eh? I've had a couple of people at work, one of them my then-manager, make that observation. They obviously thought there was something wrong about that, but I simply said they should have seen me 10 years before.

#815 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 06:51 PM:

Serge, #714: Sorry it didn't work out, but it was nice seeing you at the con. And meeting Susan -- I'll be looking for some of her books now!

KeithS, #719: Wow, cool link! I was especially impressed by the trains running along the vertical face of a sample building with "track" incorporated into its structure.

Serge, #737: Yay for less work-related stress! Not to mention karmic justice...

KeithS, #743: Nice! If you plan to keep up that sort of thing, I'll send you a copy of the list of hexasyllabics I coaxed out of a poetic friend.

Terry, #745: "Going back to your roots"? 888888888888888888888888888888888888888
(handful of peanuts tossed at the punster)

Oh, and that first pic especially is just... wow.

KeithS, #756: That's a nearly-canonical example of how the accusation of "political correctness" is frequently used to argue against any requirement for basic politeness in public colloquy. Notice also the number of times the "where's your sense of HUMOR?" card is deployed; these guys know exactly how offensive those comments were, and that's how they like it.

xeger, #762: Yes, it's definitely more complex than "that man" being an arse. It's him plus all the other guys (I won't call any of them men, since they don't appear to deserve that level of respect) who jump up and down having a screaming tantrum when anyone points out the first problem, which leaves the definite impression that his behavior is not only normal but welcomed in his community. See also the discussion here a few months back about "blogging while female".

and @767: Computing certainly didn't start out as a male ghetto

Quite so. When I was in college, computer programming was one of the few career fields in which a woman could aspire to make as much as a man of equivalent experience -- partly because there weren't many people of either gender who had that much experience! I wonder when and how it changed?

and @779, re first footnote: AKA "Male Answer Syndrome", which IME seems to break down much more along MBTI T/F lines than strict gender ones.

David, #785: My sympathies. I think I edge into that spectrum just a bit, because I recognize a lot of what you say here as issues that have bitten me occasionally -- but only occasionally, not as ongoing struggles. In particular, the "focus on the conversation, miss signals, suddenly have to refocus"... oh, yeah. Or figuring out only in retrospect that some guy was hanging around trying to get my attention at some event or other.

And @801, it sounds like you could use the button another friend of mine wears at cons. It says, "Shy, near-sighted, and hard of hearing. Please flirt aggressively!"

Terry, #799: So what is the proper use for fleur de sel? Bear in mind that I am among the people who dislike extreme saltiness in food, so having "a little explosion of salt in the mouth" is likely to strike me as a bug, not a feature. Does this mean that I can safely ignore the whole issue, and save money into the bargain?

xeger, #804: With me, that "need to eat something" reaction often manifests as "Why am I the only intelligent person in a world full of idiots?!?" Or else I can feel the lava-blast building, and realize that I'm reacting out of all proportion to the input level. It does get easier with practice, though.

I'm back, briefly, before heading out again for the East Coast this time. FiestaCon was fun, and the Western National Parks are just amazing -- pictures will be posted eventually. Oh, and I can definitely recommend KeithS as an interesting and comfortable convention roommate, if anyone is looking for a roomsplit to lower costs.

#816 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Earl Cooley III, #807:

Thanks for the suggestion. I shot her a quick e-mail saying that we were discussing it, mentioned that there was some confusion about the nature of coloured salts, and included a link to salts at the World Spice Merchants. I also pointed out a couple of minor errors in the article. But it's clearly up to her to decide what to include (although I think that if she includes, say, dairy salt, including something that you can buy at Trader Joe's isn't really a stretch).

Terry, #805: Thanks for the pix! I'm pretty sure I've only ever seen them from above.

#817 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:03 PM:

David Harmon, #811: You're welcome! World Spice Merchants' storefront is in the Pike Place Market here in Seattle. As you may imagine, it's a fantastic place to visit.

#818 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:03 PM:

Terry Karney @799 said: A lot of them are colored by addition. Some of the colored hawaiian salts are done by grinding coral and pumice up and adding them.

I know that the intensely colored salt ponds of SF bay make white salt. I know that there are colored salts (pinks, and yellows and greens, and beige and grey, and...), but I'd need to check them to be sure they were going to be different.

All evaporative salt ponds are colorful from the air. They go turquoise as they get saltier, then suddenly bright pink ... from brine shrimp, which are not included in the final crystals/. This is why flamingoes like salt ponds for feeding ... and eating all those brine shrimp turns 'em pink.

Colored (naturally- ones, I mean) salts are usually colored because of inclusion of minerals from the SILT at the bottom of the evaporative ponds, according to Kurlansky.

#819 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:08 PM:

Argh. In my 818, the italics should continue for another paragraph to properly sort out who said what.

#820 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:22 PM:

Terry Karney @ 808... Oops. I had missed that. I have added Dorian Karney and Terry the Fifer. I especially the caption I chose for the latter. Bwahahahah!!!

#821 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Clifton Royston #812: I have seen Stallman speak, and interacted with him briefly, and I know a couple of Aspies (including a nephew), and I have to say that Stallman does not strike me as particularly Aspie-like.

With all due respect, public speaking is not going to be the most revelatory context for that. I recall that he's gotten at least some training specifically in public speaking, it's pretty easy to "pass" in brief exchanges. While I never dealt closely with him myself, back in college years (late 80s to early 90s), I knew a lot of people who did work closely with him, and in retrospect, the stories and accounts I was hearing are remarkably suggestive.

Rather, my impression is that he has a vastly overblown sense of entitlement, constantly blown up further by the fans he surrounds himself with.

This is in no way incompatible with Asperger's! Indeed, Aspies often have a unfortunate tendency to be "personality chameleons", copying behavior and attitudes from people around them, but with little discrimination or judgment. (Who can be trusted, who ought to be imitated, the correct context for their mimicry, and so on.) I had close family and friends who helped me learn to filter that sort of thing. He had fans, followers... and "keepers".

By the mid-eighties, he was already a "star" in the MIT-area programing community, with major contributions to a number of high-profile projects. (That was why he got away with stuff like living in his office at MIT, not to mention looking and smelling like a derelict.) He was also widely known as stubborn and argumentative, further reducing the number of people who would be willing to "call him out". Luckily for him, there were a fair number of other strong-willed folks around, who valued his abilities -- and didn't want him getting arrested, or otherwise creating PR nightmares for MIT. So they organized an informal corps of "keepers", who maintained a certain amount of separation between him and "society at large". Life was easier for everyone that way, but for a long time, they also "protected" him from learning better social skills, having his ego punctured, or developing a broader perspective on society. After 20 more years of that, plus worshipful students and other followers, plus his growing 'Net fame... well, I expect that by now he can rent out his ego as a zeppelin!

#822 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:42 PM:

David @ 787: It's not that I don't think she should. It's just that I don't know exactly what she has planned, but given that they gave her, as previously mentioned, a whole 15 minutes to talk in, I suspect she's got it scheduled really really tightly to make every word count.

#823 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 07:55 PM:

I'm coming late to the "boy programmers subculture" subthread, and much that I would have said about RMS has already been said well by Clifton @ 812.

David Harmon @ 821: I agree with you that it's possible* that RMS is on the autism spectrum, and that much of his behavior is a learned entitlement based on the protection from consequences by his entourage and sycophants. Nevertheless, when he's wrong and called on it, the resultant behavior shouldn't be excused or accepted in any way. Even though he is often less publicly obnoxious than many flamers, his influence on the software community in general tends to give that sort of behavior an appearance of community acceptability**.

I'm going to continue on the subject of software culture (too many puns, too little time) in the "Permission to Suck" thread that abi set up. I have many and very strong opinions on the subject, and I may get a bit verbose; I'd rather not use up bandwidth on the open thread for what may well turn into a rant.

* Though I am somewhat skeptical based on my own interactions with him, and that of colleagues of mine.
** I wish his was the only such influence.

#824 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 08:00 PM:

I don't know if Serge @820 is interested, but here is a picture of me taken when I was almost precisely 1/3 of a century old -- last Thursday. I particularly cherish the amount of time and thought my dear husband put into the cake.

#825 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Lee #815: It's now pretty well recognized that the autistic spectrum trails off into subclinical "tendencies" (that is, no disabilities, so no diagnosis).

Julie L. #813: Ooh, that sounds interesting! It occurs to me that I don't actually remember reading P&P - if I did it would have been back in high school, and back then I probably wouldn't have understood it well enough to retain it properly..

#826 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 08:52 PM:

David: You make a couple very good points in your response, and it's possible you're right overall. It's true about the training factor - I think nobody who saw me speak in public would guess that by inclination I'm highly introverted. And you're also correct that RMS's history of weird behavior goes back a long time. I seem to recall that Seth Breidbart has some stories about him from being in the same class at MIT.

#827 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Bruce Cohen #823: Oh, I'm certainly not suggesting that the behavior should be excused, or that it shouldn't be confronted!

As I noted above, part of the problem is that it was condoned for so long! Partly that was for the "pragmatic" reasons I alluded to (rare talents got a pass for socially dysfunctional stuff), and partly it was because of the hippieish free-for-all that was the "hacker culture" of the time. But "it's time to come in out of the rain...". (How many folks can place that SF reference?)

#828 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:04 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 824... I had to take out a piece of cake, but here you are. Well, not you, but an image of you.

#829 ::: Elliott Mason, Facebook user ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 09:26 PM:

I'm wondering if there's a ML 'page' on Facebook that I can 'Become a Fan' of? And if not, perhaps if enough of the rest of you kind folks actually care about FB at all, one could be made?

(those wanting to 'friend' me there will find me under my former first name (Eloise) and the same last name I have now)

#830 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 01:26 AM:

Vicki: sometimes women do tell men we're interested. For which this member of the male world is grateful; because he's been more often clueless and needed such information to be made plain.

re the RMS discussion elseweb: They know what they are saying. In a follow up there is a comment (anon) that 1: the generic condemnation was good, but to actually mention anyone by name/action is bad. What the left hand giveth, the right hand taketh, and then uses to slap the OP.

Serge: You are going to get music from me. Listen at your peril.

#831 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 01:29 AM:

Serge @ 820: You are a Very Bad Man.

I guess I will be sticking around this time, so this is me.

#832 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:07 AM:

Non-baseball and more specifically non-Dodgers fans may ignore this.

Terry, did you happen to see video of Kemp's catch last night? Not content with a grand slam in the top of the inning, he made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the game in the bottom of the 10th.

#833 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:17 AM:

Marna Nightingale @ 831... You are a Very Bad Man.

I'll assume that you mean that in a good way.

By the way, you have joined the Faces right HERE.

#834 ::: J MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 06:10 AM:

Serge at #833: By the way, you have joined the Faces right HERE.

There's a Mods and moderators joke in there somewhere. A pity my brain is too muddled to make it coherent...

#835 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 09:46 AM:

David @811, you like Ginormous Crystals? (Tho’ those are gypsum, not salt.)

Still trying to catch up loose threads.

#836 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Linkmeister: No. :(

But I am moving back to a place where baseball is possible. I'll be living in the land of Giants' fans, but I'll be able to see the Dodgers, when they come to town, and will probably make the pilgramige to Chavez every so often (yes, I know it's a lot harder for you... but dude... Giants' fans).

(goes off to find higlights footage on the web)

#837 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:27 AM:

J MacQueen @ 834... my brain is too muddled

Mine too. I went to bed late last night because of a programming project that's due in a couple of weeks. I'd prefer not to have my first project under my new manager to be one that has even a whiff of suckitude.

#838 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:27 AM:

Terry at 836: okay, I get it. You are moving to the Bay Area, yes? San Francisco? East Bay? Any chance of getting together? Will you be looking for a dojo?

#839 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:31 AM:

Terry Karney @ 836... When will you be moving there?

#840 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:48 AM:

I am (all things working as planned) landing in SFO on the 23rd (ish).

I have a place in Aptos, am looking for a day job.

I will be looking for a Dojo. I will have to get to LA, grab some things (to include my gi) and the like, in the not too distant future.

All in all, it's been an interesting year, and a very interesting last few weeks.

The Bay wasn't where I was expecting to end up right now (life, other plans, etc.). But the area has a fair bit to reccomend it (costs are about the same, overall; and I have what looks to be a good place), the VA in Palo Alto is much closer than any of the available (were I in SLO the choices were LA, Bakersfield, Fresno, Palo Alto). I have more friends, in/about the Bay, work ought to be easier to find, and the working out the GI Bill when local to a college is a lot easier.

There is also a romantic interest; which is why I started thinking of the Bay.

It's been a rollercoaster of a year, let me tell you.

#841 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:59 AM:

Terry Karney @ 840... There is also a romantic interest

Glad to hear!

#842 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 01:46 PM:

OK, freaking out a little here. I had my important documents (birth certificate, passport etc.) in a file called "CIT Papers." The entire file is missing. I need to get a passport in time for Worldcon, and if I can't even find my birth certificate, I'm SOL. Too late to get a new one AND get a new passport. My passport's expired, but recently enough to do a by-mail renewal IF I can find it.

Oddly enough, I think the last time I used it was the last time I went to Montreal several years ago. But my apartment is such a mess that I despair of finding it in time.

Good thoughts appreciated.

#843 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Xopher... I'm sending many good thoughts your way.

#844 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Xopher @ 842 ...
Good thoughts heading your way... and if it's financially feasible, isn't there a fast-track option for passports?

#845 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Xopher (842): Good luck with finding it in time!

In the interest of helpfulness, have you tried everywhere, even the places it couldn't possibly be? That's where my missing stuff usually is. ("It can't be there, I never ever put anything there.")

#846 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 01:56 PM:

Thanks Serge & xeger. And xeger, there is and I plan to use it. But if I can't even find a BC I'm out of luck.

#847 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:00 PM:

*all-clear siren sounds*

Just found the padded envelope I used to cart these around to get my non-driver's ID in 2006. Everything's there: two different versions of my birth cert (same information, just one old and crumbly and one a duplicate), passport, Social Security cards, everything.

After weeks of looking.

I stand in awe of, and gratitude for, the power of Fluorospherian Good Thoughts.

#848 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:13 PM:

We must always use these powers for w\e\i\r\d\niceness instead of evil.

#849 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Xopher @ 847:

One time that I temporarily lost papers like that, it was because I put them in a special place so I wouldn't lose them. There's a lovely sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you think you've lost things like that. Glad you found them.

#850 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:24 PM:

Xopher @ 847... I stand in awe of, and gratitude for, the power of Fluorospherian Good Thoughts.

Nothing to it. All I had to do was to call George and his therapist.

#851 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:27 PM:

Terry @ #836, "(goes off to find higlights footage on the web)"

Dude. I put a link to video in my #832.

Egad. Moving to Giants country? ;) Ah well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And I really really want to see a game at PacBellPark sometime; that setting is spectacular. A definite upgrade from Candlestick.

#852 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 02:27 PM:

OM JORJORA NAMAHA! OM JORJORAYA NAMO NAMA! OM NAMA JORJORA, NAMA JORJORAYA JAI!

#853 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 03:03 PM:

Random open-threadiness: Early this summer, I planted a catnip plant in a hanging basket on my back porch, up out of reach of marauding hordes. I'm been pinching off a few leaves for my cats every day. They don't get crazy, or heavily sedated, just scarf it down with great enthusiasm, and are a wee bit happier afterward. It is providing them (and me) with pleasure quite disproprionate to the amount of effort involved.

I highly recommend doing this to anyone who enjoys pampering cats.

I had a blue lobelia handy at the time, and put it and a trailing green thing into the pot, too, so it's reasonably attractive. It definitely grows faster than they are eating it, so I'm also making up a bundle to hang to dry every week or two.

#854 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 03:06 PM:

#851
I live in LA, but I don't bleed Dodger blue. (I grew up in the Bay Area. Orange and black, or green and gold, for baseball.)

At least PacBell can't be colder and windier than Candlestick. (Well, it could, but that would take some doing.)

#855 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Xopher (847): Whew!

KeithS (849): That's what I did with an entire book of checks back in college. I had to cancel that account and open a new one. The checks finally turned up four years and two apartments later.

#856 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 03:33 PM:

Xopher, glad you found them!

KeithS, #849: There's a lovely sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you think you've lost things like that.

Last week I was going through security at Frankfurt, on my way back to the US, when I realized that my green card was no longer tucked into my passport (they had made me put both into an x-ray bin).

Now I know what my brain is like at DefCon One.

Fortunately, the checkpoint was small, quiet and friendly (ie not at all what I'm used to), and the security personnel found it in the bin, which had gone back around to the front of the machine.

#857 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 03:47 PM:

P J @ #854, I attribute my allegiance to being 10 years old when we moved to Westwood the year after the Dodgers won their first West Coast pennant and World Series in 1959. I discovered the team, Jim Murray in the LA Times and broadcasters Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett on the radio all at the same time.

Call me impressionable.

#858 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Linkmeister, with a grandmother who was a Dodger fan, I got to hear Vin enough to know his quality. (In those days, you could actually pick up their broadcasts at night, on the radio, in the north.) I respect the guys in blue, but I'm still not going to root for them.

#859 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 04:07 PM:

Open Threadiness: The Hillbilly Report -- a blog for progressives living in rural areas. He doesn't seem to have much of a reading community yet, but I'll bet if we pass the word, he'll develop one.

Re losing things -- we think one of the SD cards with images from North Rim (including the one of me out on Angel's Window) may have been left at the hotel where we stayed that night. They've been contacted, but are not being helpful. It would be really nice if that card were to turn up in a corner of the luggage or something...

#860 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Lee #859: That link gives me an error: "502 Bad Gateway". I'm not sure I've ever seen that error before, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

#861 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 04:34 PM:

859/8860
I got the same message trying to go in via Google. So it's them, not the link here.

#862 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 04:46 PM:

David Harmon, you've said everything I'd have said if I wasn't a) too shy to post and b) stuck with a web browser that hates web pages this size.

I've found it a lot easier to talk to people now my hormones are calming down in my mid-thirties: I can treat them as 'human beings of nonspecific gender' more easily, and turn off all that annoying biology stuff (yes, it is annoying, it's never done me a blind bit of good).

One thing that perhaps needs to be emphasised is that a huge proportion of an Aspie's life is *stress management*. I don't bother with any kind of social life and try to work from home whenever possible simply because the alternative is constant stress --- and we're talking the degree of stress that takes hours to days of just sitting there shaking to get rid of, just from, say, travelling on the Tube or meeting a single person, even if that person is charming.

Hence my friendship formation rate has been constant at perhaps one per decade, and is unlikely ever to rise. The chances of ever finding anyone suitable at a rate of one per decade are... low, especially when you miss every single damn signal other than extreme emotional state changes until hours later (at best: sometimes days to years later). So I too don't bother with the romance game, to my parents' chagrin. (Alas I have the standard human desire for offspring, but 'dreams die in every life' and it's not as if the world is short of people.)

(For comparison from my position deep in the full-blown Asperger's zone, my current social skills at the age of 33 are approximately equivalent to a twelve- or thirteen-year-old's. Reading body language? A normal eight-year-old can outdo me. But I can outdo the eight-year-old at attention to detail and C coding, dammit. :) )

#863 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 05:11 PM:

Rob Hansen@781: For some reason I thought "Children of Earth" was airing in England next week. Thanks for the heads-up.

#864 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 06:28 PM:

Arrrgh, Gripe, Bitch.

Yesterday I walk into the local Goodwill. I head for the electronics department to look for a USB cable. Perched on a shelf with the $10 VCR players is . . . WTF?

It's a metal chest, about a foot wide and 9" deep and high. Ah, it's plastic . . . silvery faux pewter. But the decorations . . . it's covered with grotesque, gothy snaky bas-relief stuff. Dark heavy metal vibe decor. If you found this chest in a Dungeons & Dragons game, it would contain a Liche-Lord's heartstone, or something powerful whose disposal would require a long and inconvenient trip to a volcano.

I wonder if it might have been a toy accidentally placed in the electronics section when I see the buttons. Play/Pause, FF and RW. It was a CD player!

I open it up expecting to see the lens and spinner mechanism. Instead, there's a little platform, in the middle of which is a translucent red plastic human heart.

Sweet Jeebus!

I turn it on. The heart lights up.

At this point I notice a little latch; the heart lifts up to reveal the CD-playing gizmology. I grab a Brian Seltzer CD from the music department and put it in. It plays. The sound is quite decent.

I'm impressed . . . but hold off buying it. $12 isn't much for something that gloriously hideous, but I didn't want it lying around.

Went back today, intending on buying it for a friend who is getting a new house. Someone who'd appreciate.

And of course it was gone. Damn.

#865 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Linkmeister: Oops. I was tired, and misssed the link.

Pretty.

P J: I understand. I'll even sit next to you if you want to wear a Giants' Jacket to the park.

I never made it to Candlestick, but I did see a game at the Real Fenway.

#866 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 06:32 PM:

Nix #862: Thanks for joining in!

huge proportion of an Aspie's life is stress management

An excellent point! My own "cool-down" period from minor overloads is usually in hours, but a particularly busy day, or a large-group gathering, can can knock me down for the following day or two. That's an issue with managing my diet, too, because I can't "pop out to the store before dinner" -- even 20 minutes in the supermarket leaves me too frazzled to cook.

Oddly, this wasn't as obvious back in my teens and twenties -- I'm not sure if I had better stamina back then, or if I was just running around in near-continuous overload. (And I was crashing a lot -- I took 10 semesters over 7 years to graduate.)

Alas I have the standard human desire for offspring, but 'dreams die in every life' and it's not as if the world is short of people.

Likewise -- also, visits with my sisters make it clear that much as I love my nieces and nephews, I couldn't handle living with children full-time. Something similar was probably behind my parents' divorce -- Dad was likely on the spectrum, and it was after we kids came along that he started having trouble.

And yes, new friends come rarely -- I'm still in touch with a few friends from high-school and college, but even some of those have drifted away. My newest friends are among the elderly guys I hike with, who are a good deal mellower than folks my own age (I'm 42). I've bonded most closely with the oldest* (who's also most interested in the plants and critters), and fairly well with the next-oldest**. Being in excellent shape for their ages, they're also a decent match for my own physical condition -- I'm in much better shape than I really "deserve", but 10 years of severe depression did take it's toll!

* The one who just lost his wife.
** He has an grandchild with full Asperger's, who he's bringing down for a visit in the next month or so. That should be interesting!

#867 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 07:13 PM:

I find being alone for extended periods draining. Less so when I have active conversations going on on the Web, but years ago when I took a two-day fast-from-words (never mind), I thought I'd die, not (as I had expected) from not reading, but from lack of human contact.

#868 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 07:36 PM:

Elliott Mason, #824, the baby doesn't like chocolate cake?

Xopher, #847, consider putting them in a safe deposit box. Mine only costs $35 a year and eases my mind.

#869 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 07:38 PM:

Xopher #867: Well, that's our double bind -- most of us do enjoy at least some human contact -- but we also find it exhausting, and often overwhelming!

Close friends are much easier, though -- there's a mix of trust, familiarity, the friend's adaptations, and not having to be quite so alert for unexpected stuff.

#870 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Xopher @ 867 ...
I find being alone for extended periods draining. Less so when I have active conversations going on on the Web, but years ago when I took a two-day fast-from-words (never mind), I thought I'd die, not (as I had expected) from not reading, but from lack of human contact.

My problem along those lines actually appears to be what Daniel Keys Moran helpfully refers to as 'datastarve'. I apparently need an ongoing stream of information of some fair density, or I start getting decidedly squirrly and unhappy.

#871 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 07:48 PM:

Xopher: Also, reading is in large part "remote" human contact!

#872 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 08:05 PM:

xeger #870: An interesting point (and I just Googled DKM, but for some reason my Firefox is pulling a slowdown strike -- I suspect plugin troubles). Certainly even when I was depressed and withdrawn, I kept reading voraciously on the 'Net.)

#873 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 08:17 PM:

Xopher, #867: That is the single most classic and unmistakable indicator of being an MBTI Extravert; in a very real sense, other people (and your interactions with them) are your power sources, and without that input you wear yourself out.

An MBTI Introvert like me* has exactly the opposite problem -- being around other people for extended periods of time is draining, and we need "alone time" (or, in some cases, time with just trusted friends) to recharge. This is one of the better-known treatises on what it's like to be an Introvert in an Extravert-oriented world.

* Yes, I know, you'd never guess that from being around me. But it's one of the reasons that I'm always completely wiped out at the end of a day behind the table at a con; I've had to be "on" all day long, and my internal batteries are flashing red. Add in blood-sugar issues, and the results are Not Pretty.

#874 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 08:22 PM:

#873
I do both - I need alone time every day, but I also need to be around at least some people every day, just to stay [relatively] sane. Balancing them is the trick.

#875 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 08:24 PM:

Keith @756 et seq.: I didn't have the heart to read past the first couple of letters in the exchange, but I'm not surprised in the least. RMS may be a genius at the things he does well, but social appropriateness has NEVER been one of them -- I've been dodging him at parties and conventions for the last twenty years. He always seems to MEAN well while giving me a case of the utter creeps.

The associated fail provided by others doesn't surprise me either, but it saddens me more.

#876 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 09:10 PM:

Clifton Royston @812: I've interacted maybe a little bit more with RMS, and I'm not as ready as you are to dismiss the idea that he's on the autism spectrum somewhere. The faulty-feedback thing on social signals seems to be in full play on behavior entirely unrelated to computer matters. No, I don't want to try the kulfi ice cream, ESPECIALLY when you stand too close and poke the spoon at my face, while wearing an expression unnervingly similar to ones I've seen on photos of Charles Manson.

However, the combination of faulty processing of social signals, COMBINED with the adoring-fans effect you mention, could easily have led him to develop obnoxiously sexist views and be smugly convinced of his rightness in holding them. Unlike, say, David Harmon (who was part of my circle of acquaintances in college, and might even have been at the same party where RMS poked ice cream at my face), who by his own description has the spectrum issues and attendant social difficulties, but who NEVER struck me as being as aggressively creepy as RMS, and who clearly doesn't hold obnoxiously sexist views. So developing those views isn't an unavoidable consequence of being on the spectrum.

David, FWIW, while I noticed the intensity you've mentioned, I found it less off-putting than it might have been in others, because I ascribed it to the hearing impairment. And you never had the Charles Manson face!

#877 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Terry@865: I never made it to Candlestick, but I did see a game at the Real Fenway.

? Where is there a Surreal/Imaginary/Counterfeit/... Fenway? And why?

#878 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:05 PM:

Rikibeth #876: Thanks! It occurs to me that I don't know anything about RMS's family (aside from the parents listed in his Wikipedia entry). My two younger sisters helped a lot with my socialization.* Now I'm wondering if RMS was an only child....

And yes, spectrum folks certainly don't have to be assholes! As I understand things, it's more that any flaws in their early environment can get magnified, sometimes out of proportion. With a caring and attentive family, they're just handicapped. With a really abusive early environment, they can collect traumas, neuroses, and obsessions like trading cards!**

PS: Rikibeth, when you first introduced yourself to me here, I couldn't place your face. (I'm pretty bad with faces anyway, and my memories of those parties are thoroughly jumbled.) Since then, a memory has floated up of a discussion on the T -- if that was you, I remember remarking on your red hair, and you said that people had only started really noticing it since you grew it long. Does that ring a bell?

* If anything, I had a distinct shortage of male influences in my early life, which probably aggravated my later romantic issues.

** I think I still have a "Magic: The Addiction" deck buried somewhere....

#879 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:16 PM:

David, although I have had long, somewhat auburn hair in the past (courtesy of henna), my hair when I was at MIT was shortish and blondish, because I was bleaching it, and hadn't grown it out yet. So that wouldn't have been me. I actually have a picture from that era on this computer; give me five or ten minutes, and I'll put it in a public entry on my livejournal (same handle as here, or click the name) so you can put a face to the name.

#880 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:36 PM:

obBaking: naomi libicki's miraculous strudeltorial. really, the pictures are worth clicking over for.

(she's an occasional commenter here, but she cannot be trusted to toot her own horn.)

#881 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:40 PM:

David Harmon, it sounds like you are coping as best you can.

We have a friend from the local SF club who is a) fairly high skill Aspergers function and b) comes from a family that sounds like they all have some form of Aspergers/autism spectrum in some way, he tells stories of how they interact and it is so unnatural (from my view, mean to one another, they have no regard for the idea of personal property from parents to children, all of them).

They do stuff like take one another's stuff/throw one another's stuff away without regard to need/usage, from what he tells us.

On the other hand, he is one of our best friends. He knows he's at a disadvantage and does his best to figure stuff out because we are willing to help, overlook and just love him for his own self. Because he's smart, can be as witty or trenchant as any of us and always shows up to help if he can offer it.

When we bought this house, he volunteered to come help paint. When he saw me getting up on a step ladder to paint the top of my walls (after I did the crown molding) he went, "get down, I can paint all the high parts and you can paint the low ones" (I'm 5'4", he is well over six feet tall). And he did. Very well. I went ahead and finished all the trim parts that day, and he finished all the main walls down to about five foot,

WE all have our best things and we all have problems with some stuff. It's just how we get through the day and interactions that makes our lives interesting.

Sometimes just coping is the best we can do. AS long as you are looking ahead and moving forward, it's a good day.

#882 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:41 PM:

Freeper hate hits the MSM. Not here, sadly, but at least on the same continent.

#883 ::: J MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:44 PM:

J MacQueen @ 834... my brain is too muddled
Serge @ #837: Mine too. I went to bed late last night because of a programming project that's due in a couple of weeks.

My best wishes for the good impression on the new manager, let alone the project itself. I hope you've caught up on sleep and are not getting to the stage where you see what is supposed to be there rather than what is actually there. (I'm about to start on an essay for one of my uni subjects, and anxiety about my mother's current physical state is not going to help me develop a coherent argument about anything, let alone the doctrine of the separation of powers, heaven help me.)

#884 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 10:50 PM:

Richard [M. Stallman] is Richard. He has his own particular view of the universe. He's earnest, dedicated, and not on the same axis as anyone else in the world... and has probably been the direct recipient target of more of my intentionally less than tactful comments than anyone else in the world--not the tactless comment variety that one aims at e.g. trolls and astroturfers on Making Light, but rather at people who don't have and are never going to have any tact and for whom "subtlety" involves "notices when someone applies a four foot diameter log."

My most recent go-around involved me having brain spazz and calling him Robert instead of Richard, despite acquaintanceship going back to when I was an MIT freshman and he was a Harvard undergraduate.... (there was an Arisia at which he and SethB were talking, I pointed out to someone, "It's the distinguished Harvard graduate computer scientist MacArthur Award Recipient talking to his classmate the distinguished Harvrd graduate Wall Street Vice President Investment Banker--until you realized one of them is Stallman and the other is Seth!"

He didn't appreciate me calling him Robert and got annoyed at it (at Arisia).

#886 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:30 PM:

Terry at 840, the closest dojo to Aptos is Aikido of Santa Cruz. Good place.

Xopher at 847: Good!

For anyone who might need to replace a Social Security card: it's free and easy. Takes one visit to a Social Security office. They promise it will arrive in about 2 weeks: we'll see...

#887 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:38 PM:

Fluorospherians at Readercon commentary:

There was a Viable Paradise-themed dinner get together at the Food Court in Burlington Mall. It included, Greg London meets vindaloo; vindaloo wins.

#888 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:47 PM:

Rikibeth: Sorry, nope. (And drat!) I suspect that your face from the time was lost to my general overload. And the woman on the T had wavy, strikingly red hair, almost to her shoulders.

Paula: They do stuff like take one another's stuff/throw one another's stuff away without regard to need/usage,

Eeew. 'nuff said.

And sure, Richard is a unique individual... just like everyone else! It does sound like you're pretty good at dealing with him. I have no trouble coping with mere tactlessness, but something like Rikibeth's "ice cream incident" would have me backing towards the exit in no time. (Even though I like kulfi!)

#889 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2009, 11:55 PM:

David Harmon @ 888 ...
And sure, Richard is a unique individual... just like everyone else!

But... but ... I wanna be a non-conformist, just like all my other friends!

#890 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:04 AM:

David, no worries. BTW, I suspect you would have been safe from RMS and the ice cream; this was at a party hosted by Vicka and Sian G, and I'd arrived in a cocktail dress and heels because I'd been scouting wedding musicians, but quickly borrowed a skirt and a tank top from Sian because I felt overdressed. The effect was best illustrated by JB's reaction:

"Wait, were you wearing that when you got here?"

"No, I borrowed these from Sian."

"Oh, that explains it -- I knew I'd seen that cleavage before, but not on you."

The difference between RMS and JB is that JB could say something like that and have it be FUNNY.

#891 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:18 AM:

Lizzy L: I am lazy... do you know their affiliation?

CHip: Fenway was rebuilt recently. It's very similar, but not the same. Dogder Stadium is now the second oldest park in the Major leagues (after Wrigley Field).

#892 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:40 AM:

Rikibeth @ 890 ...
The difference between RMS and JB is that JB could say something like that and have it be FUNNY.

... but that's because JB'd say it in a straightforward (and slightly droll) way, where it just happened to be cleavage he'd seen before, with appreciation, but no suggestion of expectations[0] attached.

... where RMS would say it in a way that made it clear there were presumptions and assumptions and intentions attached.

[0] Well, okay -- it's JB, but no expectation of fulfillment attached...

#893 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:43 AM:

xeger, exactly.

Do I know you? Are you one of the Usual Suspects?

#894 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:06 AM:

Rikibeth @ 893 ...
I'm not one of the Usual Suspects ... although I've occasionally rubbed elbows with them without screaming into the void.

#895 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:41 AM:

Open-Threadiness - any Germans here? What's the movie that PNH's Hitler/fonts Sidelight is dubbed onto? The snippet they used hooked me immediately (and it was a little distressing, the disparity between the dialog and the subtitles). Not, I suppose, that I can obtain the movie here in the States, but ... I'd like to watch it maybe next time I'm in Europe.

#896 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:48 AM:

#878 David

rms was accounted brilliant and a flake by Harvard/MIT standard of brilliant, and flakey == world class flakiness etc.

#869 - #873 assorted: I apparently was an extravert as a young child, but it was quite literally beaten out of me in school....

#866 David
Seth Breidbart, Chip Hitchcock, and I were all part of the same fannish MIT-Harvard cohort, rms also to a degree, for that matter....

#826 David
Seth and rms were classmates at Harvard, that's where their undergraduate degrees are from. And yes, there were lots of Stallman stories from way back even then.

#823 Bruce
I might go ove the to permission to suck thread later....

#821 David
rms was famous/infamous even while an undergraduate, in the early 1970s. As for "keepers" it's STILL the case that there often is a separation between software engineers/"code monkeys" and the public. The silliest story I know about that dates from the 1960s, regarding an IBM developer sent to run something in New York City who wasn't allowed inside the facility at the corner of Madison & 5th Avenues due to being completely not in accordance with the corporate dress code for public appearance... but, it was okay for the person to be outside scribbling notes to put against the plate glass window, with printout from the program inside taken to the window and put up against it for him to read and put notes back to the window for code revision and rerunning....

#800 David

And again, Aspies tend to be less aware of their own emotions (such as feeling threatened) and worse at impulse control.... Add in the positive-feedback loop provided by Aspies being "isolated together", and you've got a recipe for exactly the sort of hostile environment that women in CS/IT complain about.

I don't agree, I vehemently do not agree. I see it more as failure to acknowledge female as human and a basic lack of respect, inculcated in large part by general society memes. My nephew the Marine when he was 9 or 10 mouthed off to his mother that women couldn't be President because they had to stay home and do the cooking and the cleaning--and this was when my sister and brother-in-law both were full-time software engineers, my brother-in-law did most of the cooking, my sister did the dishes, but they were sharing the housework. Yet, my nephew was full of the perceptions that the role of women in the USA was domestic slave....

#782 Marna
There used to be more women in software than there are today, the proportion taking computer science/software engineering has dropped considerably from a decade and a half ago.... influences of cultural stereotypes are part of it (TV shows such as Beauty and the Geek, reinforcing all that crap....), another part could be the career path issues--it can involve a lot of career and employement uncertainty--the dotcom bust threw a lot of computer industry people out of work, for many a month (me being one of them as an example).

Also, a lot of women who program work in the financial services sector, which has traditionally at banks in local communities and in insurance companies, had a high proportion of women as workers, and a significant percentage of them promoted to branch manager and such positions, and in development, to being project nd program managers.

I know what it feels like to be the only woman in a military communications conference session with 120 or more people in the room, to be one of the 20 women at a military technology conference with a few hundred people... I don't know what it feels like to be employed for anything beyond short-time in an enviroment where the gender ratio is either equal, or predominantly female.

On the other hand, there are all sorts of different axes, and gender is not defining of one's basic cognitive approaches... there are males who are mathophobes, and females who are mathematically talented. There are males who are social geniuses and females with, er, my lamentable level of social clue--I have been annoyed about and discriminated against for the particular situation my entire life, regarding the inculcated social value which insists that females are the social clueful and males are socially inept.... and even outright saying "I a socially CLUELESS, there are people who will not accept that as reality and get angry at me for being truthful about it and not having the social clue they have as expectation that any female should have. Hypocrites....

Regarding rms, perhaps part of what is going on is a multidimenionsal flattening, that is, there are behaviors perceived as gender-discriminatory which actually are not really gender-discriminatory, but wind up appearing that way from the outside, out of I-will-be-charitable-and-call-it-orthogonal view of dealing with -people-. That is, if someone's interactions with the class people are qualitatively off from the norm, then there is an inheritance involved that dealing with the subclass, female people, interactions are also going to be off.

The observation from the outside is "socially off attitudes/treatment of women" whereas the actual situation is "socially off treatment of people generally" with a particularization of e.g. attempting to "flirt" with women but not necessarily men, meaning a gender-differentiation in actions because the person isn''t flirting with men--but if the person were doing so, much the same behavior would occur....

I fall back to my time in Greenland, where there were bisexual Danish nationals, who used the same propositioning methods on the US males as the US females.... the US males got extremely upset, my attitude was, "Now you now what if feels like to be on the receiving end of unwanted passes from men."

#766 David

Yeah, RMS was known as weird, and specifically dysfunctional regarding women, back when I was in college, 30+ years ago.

On the "obnoxious male asshole hitting on women" scale from my particular point of observation and experience back when he and I were college students, and MITSFS members and MITSFS keyholders, he didn't even register as noise level. He registered as "Stallman is Stallman and peculiar, generally, and can get quite obnoxious" and that belonged to a different axis. There were/are qualitative and quantitative differences, but when "flattening out" dimensions, the differences can disappear and perhaps seem nonexistent.

#763 John
It's the feeder and support systems and cultural inculcation that as act barriers to women in computing and particular open source computing. the image of "hacker" (jackass journalistic perversion of the term and glorication of immature twerps and scum breaking into computers systems for one or more of greed, maliciousness, incompetence, and/or narcissicism...) as glamorized male outlaw sort and promotion of it much the way the that film with Tom Cruise in it promoted and facilitated the Tailhook obnoxiousness (Tailhook going out of control was something that the fictional image of the Tom Cruise character, really did contribute massively to).

Environments perceived as inhospitable to women, a) women tend to decide to not go into, and b) the situation of there being few women in a field, is a disincentive for women who aren't Queen Bees, to stay in the field over time. Particularly if the promotion and achievement and recognition opportunities look absent, why continue on vastly outnumbered and culturally peculiar and being always the odd person out....?

The cultural entry barriers are particularly nasty, with the cultural narrative carrying the message that women are unwelcome, and unrewarded, and should go into administrative support function fields instead, or be teachers, or nurses, or (these days) family practice or ob/gyn MDs, or marcom types.... the reality seems to be that that larger percentage of the women in Kuwait study engineering and science, than women in the western world! (information from a book I can't find at that moment by a women from the Middle East originally, on the status of women in the Islamic Middle East).

#897 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:53 AM:

Marilee @868: The baby was unrelatedly fussy, and not at all interested in being held still for a photo ... but Daddy couldn't both hold her and take my picture all at once, and she wanted to be held, so she got to be in the picture. :-> I kind of like how in that shot it almost looks like she's trying to figure out how to blow out the candle.

#898 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:55 AM:

Terry, their Chief Instructor, Linda Holiday, rokudan, trained in Japan with Hikitsuchi Sensei at Shingu. I've known her for many years: she's a dedicated Aikidoka. The dojo is large, well known, and quite welcoming. When you get a minute, check out their web page.

#899 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 03:09 AM:

That sounds good. I am fond of female tradition/friendly dojos. Might be interesting in the getting back into things phase.

I'm really rusty, so my 4th kyu may be set back some, but that's not really a big deal. The training is the ticket.

#900 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 03:19 AM:

The Hitler movie is Die Untergang

That scene has been subtitled and YouTubed in many ways. Not all of them are what I would call funny. Have people tried to associate Hitler with their political opponents?

#901 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:30 AM:

A quick question: I've recently been using my iPod and iTunes for podcasts--it's been invaluable when I've been exercising or while commuting. I've greatly enjoyed the Jean Shepard podcasts, LeShow, the BBC Radio 4 Friday Night comedy podcast, The New Yorker's Comment, Out Loud, and The Political Scene, Rachel Maddow, Wait, Wait and Creative Screenwriting Magazine. Old Time Radio Thrillers, not so much--who on earth or under the sea ever thought that The Strange Dr. Weird was worth the powder to blow it to hell I will never know. Are there any others I should keep an ear on?

#902 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:20 AM:

Paula: failure to acknowledge female as human and a basic lack of respect, inculcated in large part by general society memes

What's where the previous bit about threat-->attack comes in! Certainly not just for Aspies or techies -- that's a widespread pattern in our society. The "positive-feedback loop" is just a local aggravating factor, but again, not unique to these groups.

The point about "flattening" of interpretations is a good one, but I'll respond that starting with poor general social skills aggravates all particular social problems -- in this case, sexism.

Stallman is Stallman and peculiar, generally, and can get quite obnoxious" and that belonged to a different axis.

With all due respect... horsefeathers! RMS was (and still is) heavily "privileged" to blow off corrections, even beyond the usual "male privilege". That is in no way unique. It's a standard benefit of status and power -- but it also feeds back to the group as a whole, because he's accepted as a leadership figure. I was going to say "despite" his social maladjustments, but it's worse than that:

Rejecting criticism from others (and getting away with it) actually reinforces a position of dominance. (q.v. the Republican Party, Microsoft, AIG, etc..) Indeed, that's a primary reason why nutjobs regularly get into, and stay in, positions of power -- they get their way by refusing input until everyone else quits trying to argue with them. And it's a major obstacle to cultural change in any group -- if the folks in charge don't buy into the change, they can and will subvert anything you try at the lower ranks.

#903 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:37 AM:

Addendum to #902: That power can also be used for good -- as when Our Moderators hold the line against trolls -- including the "concern trolls" who'd love to slip their crap in under the flag of "everyone has a right to their own opinion". Good leadership includes good judgment, especially about whether a given criticism is valid or not.

#904 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:01 AM:

Bruce at 901, how about NPR's This American Life? I don't know if it's available in a podcast, since I don't have an iPod, but it's often wonderful.

#905 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:10 AM:

#902 David

I think I can uncategorically state that
a) I've known Stallman longer than you have
b) I'm female and you're not
c) I have other data points which would be quite tedious for me to go into here, that are evidential of my opinions in the matter, including comments I made to Newt Gingrich at the 1986 Worldcon and rms' reaction to them (basically I said that the so-called Family Values agenda does not advance technology and the space program, far from it it locks half the population out from developing and exploiting the talents they have for science and engineering and invention and contributing in those areas... rms at various times has reminded me that I said that and expressed appreciation for me having done so).

There's are differences between the attitudes that someone has and how they express themselves... there are lots of bigots out there who aren't at first or second or third glance, or hearing, noticeable as bigots, because they're politic about the issues. There there are those who get mistaken for being bigots because their social graces are on the order of a certain SF writer who in apparently trying to compliment a certain other writer, swallowed both his feet along with various other appendages and wound up with a drink poured over his head./

Perhaps the term "schmendrick" applies--someone of breathtaking social ineptitude such that whatever they try to do, comes out -wrong-.

What the perceptions/interpretations might be from casual second or third hand stories/reports, often miss what the primary status often is.

E.g., long ago, I happened to be wearing a skirt rather than pants on the MIT compus while an undergraduate one day. A male classmate was utterly horrified, "That's disgusting!" he exclaimed, as if i were dressed completely obscenely and inappropriately. "Get back in your jeans!"

This was NOT sexism at work, really and truly. It was viewing skirts as Inappropriate and -wrong- and offensive attire. The fact that skirts were considered female attire, and he commented on my appearance, might casually be considred as sexist, but he probably would have said something similar to a male classmate wearing a shirt and tie--the class was "incorrect clothing and one comments upon one's friends being dressed Inappropriately and -wrongly-. So yes, there was a large heaping of social dis-grace involved, but it really was NOT sexist, to a third party observer perhaps it may have appeared sexist, but really, it wasn't. What it was, was deploring the social values of the "real world" where women wear skirts rather than sensible clothing for crawling around in roof and tunnel tours and doing lab stuff at MIT....

Or, to go on further--skirts actually are -barriers- to women Doing Science and Engineering and poking around things and exploring--I have that anecdote of blowing the minds of all those male ROTC cadets from the Deep South Bible Belt who excoriated me for climbing a ladder in a skirt--I wanted to poke around the plane that was specifically sitting in front of the hangar FOR the ROTC cadets to swarm over, but was the ONLY women in the group to actually do so--all the rest the fact that they were wearing skirts stopped them.

It didn't stop-me-- but I caught shit for it, massively.

My point is that the sexism there was both overt and covert--the skirts being a constraint and control device, which blocked women from even -showing- interest in airplances and flying...

The connotation of "skirt" included that sort of thing--physical constrain, and social barrier. Telling someone that wearing a skirt was disgusting and get back into your jeans, was actually a message -supportive- of women in science and engineering and exploration and invention--because wearing a skirt meant being -exposed- in all sorts of ways to be subject to -restrictions- blocking women from participating and being ALLOWED to participate.

(It's sort of like how the noxious evangelicals claim that it's discrimination to squelch their proselytizing because that's denying their targets the vast benefits and advantages of converting to evangelical Christianity--that is, it's preventing the would-be targets from being informed of important soul-saving information and of being Redeemed.... the anti-skirt classmate however was perceiving in terms of skirts being constraining and barrier, and jeans being facilitating of Doing Science and of the actions and mindset and entire lifestyle environment, of being a technologist....

#906 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:11 AM:

Dave Bell #900: My pedantry compells me to point out that 'Untergang' is masculine, and so the title is 'Der Untergang'.

Michael Roberts #895: the English-languge title is 'Downfall', and there shouldn't be any trouble finding it on DVD - amazon seems to have it in stock.

#907 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:11 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @901: I can highly recommend A Way With Words as a great podcast for anyone into words and language; the BBC's Friday Night Comedy podcast (which alternates between being two shows in sort of mini-seasons) for humor; and there's one called The Dragon Page: Cover to Cover that's wonderfully SFnal, if you like hearing authors talk about what goes on in the sausage-making process.

If you're into hour-long interesting meditations on odd topics, WNYC's Radio Lab can't be beat. I swear, our daughter's going to grow up recognizing the two hosts' voices as if they were her uncles, as much as she's heard them talking throughout my pregnancy and her infancy. :->

#908 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:20 AM:

There is, I feel, the issue of the Deeper Value System.... just as ***** **** deplored the culture sticking women in clothing limiting their actions and activities and expressed his opinion of it as "disgusting," there is the breathtaking social ineptitude and established -apparently-= gender bias in software... there is real bias there, too, but ther really are differences among generic rudeness/social-lack-of-graces, institutionalized sexist conventions, and genuines sexists (e.g., in SF the likes of Leo Frankowsky and John Norman).

The first group, are schmendricks, and stick feet in mouths in all sorts of different categories. The second situation, that's when one can determine granularity, regarding who's willing to -change- Convention to make the environment less inheritedly hostile. The third group.. shove 'em out the airlock.

#909 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:25 AM:

Paula Lieberman: I'd say the comment, "that's disgusting" is more than just social pressure to be practical. It's a moral judgement on the object itself, not it's function.

And, since he couldn't know where you were going, what you were planning to do, etc., he wasn't in position to make a value judgement on the practical aspects either.

My guess is, when a male showed up in a tie, the response would be first a question ("Why the hell are you in the monkey suit?") and then the condemnation.

#910 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:38 AM:

Great spam subject: "Kazak doorway to hell - burning crater for 38 years"

#911 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:42 AM:

I'll be in the Bay Area the whole week of September 21, or maybe the week before. Dates still not firm, but the trip WILL happen. Looking forward to being back where my heart belongs.

#912 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:44 AM:

#909 Terry
It was during the day between classes.
It was a fellow who spent a lot of time going into obscure places (I didn't lightly specify "roof and tunnel tours").
There was a definite value judgment, and assumptions that one might at any time be going off into obscure places, and should always be prepared for such eventualities.

#913 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:44 AM:

Terry Karney @ 909... a male showed up in a tie

Last night I shot an elephant in my Pajamas and how he got in my pajamas I'll never know.

#914 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:56 AM:

Paula, #905: Nothing you say here refutes David's arguments in any way. Stallman DOES get a pass on obnoxious behavior (sexist and other) because of his privileged position, and that DOES feed back into the cultural issue, whether you like it or not. Furthermore, you have made yourself part of the problem by buying into the whole "Oh, that's just Stallman, he's like that" thing and brushing off any criticism of him on that basis. See also: Known Asshole Defense.

#915 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Bruce @ 901: For old time radio, I'm very fond indeed of a short-lived series called Crime Classics which is a surprisingly sardonic retelling of famous and not-famous-at-all murders. I'm not sure if it's available in podcast form, though. The Strange Dr Weird and its near-clone The Mysterious Traveler aren't all that great, as you've found. I see someone else has already recommended This American Life; it's an NPR show that does have a podcast. It's an essay show that (usually) has 1 to 3 segments exploring a theme; the segments can be fact or fiction. Sometimes it's downright brilliant; the episode The Giant Pool of Money finally made the financial collapse make sense to me. And the opening segment of Fiasco! nearly made me get into a car wreck I was laughing so hard. I had to pull over to the side of the road. You can buy old episode podcasts; the current episode podcast is available for free download. And listening streaming to the old episodes is free, as well.

#916 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Paula #905: I think I can uncategorically state that
a) I've known Stallman longer than you have
b) I'm female and you're not

OK rebuke taken. I still think that over and above social ineptitude, RMS's sexist comments have disproportionate impact and effects on his surrounding group. Certainly the crowd I hung out with, sans RMS but including many pagans, GLBTs and "hippie" types, also included a fair number of female hackers.

I sometimes wonder what's become of such luminaries as Mamaliz, Mikki Barry, and Wendy "Pooh" Nather. OK, I remember that Pooh got married, but not her husband's name, nor much after that.) And the last I heard of "zonker" (Regis ???), was when she headed off to Microsoft.

Also, I suspect that "schmendrick", historically was coined largely to describe the same people who today we'd categorize as "autistic spectrum". If something is relevant to daily life, people need a word for it, sometimes several. (Many of us would also qualify as "schlemiels", and perhaps a few other Yiddishisms.)

included a large number of people who today we'd describe as "on the autistic spectrum".

#917 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:23 PM:

OK, editing fail at #916. I blame my lunch. :-)

#918 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Paula: That attitude (that there are things like crawlig around ducting) which always take precedence, is daft.

Between classes doesn't preclude say, a date right after, or a job interview, or a funeral, or...

So the first response to be a shaming, "that's disgusting" is never appropriate. I also suspect a differential response, with a question as to intent when speaking to a male, and value judgement when speaking to a female, is going to be the case.

The first problem (lack of thought that the person dressed the way they did for a valid reason) is one socialisation problem. The other, when it happens, is another.

That other is sexism.

#919 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:14 PM:

#918 Terry
It was 1972/3/4 time frame and the social conventions were NOT the ones around today, and it was MIT.... it was a VERY different environment that what most people are familiar with, and given that it was more than a full generation ago, also... the standards of the era were different, and the local customs were very different.

Various:
As regards Stallman, you don't know some of the things that I've said to him--he hasn't gotten free passes from me in person.... I've done the verbal equivalent of whacking him with the three foot diameter tree trunk, and more than one or two or three or four times.

#920 ::: Paula Lieb4erman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:17 PM:

#918 Terry
Were I going to a funeral or some such, I would have said so....

The first response was, "You're wearing a skirt!" The fellow had never seen me in one, and we had indeed gone roof and tunnel touring on short notice--different culture, different era. different clothing conventions and codes and such.

#921 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 02:04 PM:

Paula #920: And were those roof and tunnel tours mandatory, such that you would have to participate regardless of your clothing? Or could you have begged off with "sorry, not today -- this outfit won't work with that"?

Come to think of it, I'm reminded of the midrange reactions to male transvestites -- they too can face an immediate value judgment, and disgust.

#922 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 02:14 PM:

#901 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II

Go to the WBAI - New York website here, where you can find quite a few shows, including Jim Freund's eternally running show, "Hour of the Wolf," that features SF/F writers reading their own works and interviews with them by Jim.

The "Personal Computer Show" is also nifty -- back in the days, at the end of the 80's I learned a great deal without even knowing it, so when I took my first computer class it was all familiar and not intimidating for that reason.

Love, C.

#923 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 03:16 PM:

Elliott Mason @373:

A couple of weeks late, but obxkcd.

#924 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 03:31 PM:

Abi #923: Yep -- I'd noticed that about cracked.com (see his hovertext), too. (Damndest thing -- the magazine certainly wasn't that gripping, back when I used to read it!)

#925 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 04:10 PM:

#921 David

It was an aesthetic, not moral, judgment. Consider it e.g. the equivalent of David G. Hartwell at night at a convention dressed in pants, shirt, jacket, and tie, all of them clashing. (someone at Readercon regarded his outfit on Saturday as his most appalling combination ever... I didn't agree with that perspective, but my point is that there are aesthetically repugnant outfits, which are not -morally- repugnant.

I was attempting, unsuccessfully apparently, to explain that the aversiveness to skirt was based on aesthetic/functional grounds, that your true geek female wears geek female clothing, not an everyday skirt-- it was not part of a suit or evening glamorwear, it was the sort of skirt that someone in high school might wear to a high school class, who was not a fashion plate.

The aesthetic judgment was that it was not reasonable wear for going to class in (agian, it was still during the class day, and it in effect was not withing the main unwritten ex officio dress code for classwear. (And skirts and lab equipment sometimes are very much NOT cordial to one another.)

The aesthetics of clothing as applies to -functionality- is a key consideraton for the anecdote. Also, skirt was identified with e.g. BU students in search of an Mrs. degree as opposed to a baccalaureate.

#926 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 05:54 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 925 ...
I was attempting, unsuccessfully apparently, to explain that the aversiveness to skirt was based on aesthetic/functional grounds, that your true geek female wears geek female clothing, not an everyday skirt-- it was not part of a suit or evening glamorwear, it was the sort of skirt that someone in high school might wear to a high school class, who was not a fashion plate.

I believe the point some folk are trying to make is that "a true geek female wears geek female clothing", where "geek female clothing" doesn't include things like skirts can be readily seen as "female geeks are only acceptably dressed if they dress like male geeks".

(I would also add to that that it's possible to (safely) do almost anything you can do in pants in a skirt (note that a tunic is, in essence, another name for a dress, and our civilization was somehow built by dress wearing people...), so I have trouble with an assertion that skirts aren't reasonable clothing -- that they might not be preferred clothing, absolutely!)

#927 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 06:05 PM:

xeher: Yes, that was part of my point too. Heck, I intend to get several utilikilts (the tuxedo one looks way spiff.... I want to wear it with my tail coat and opera hat).

#928 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 06:30 PM:

AAARGGGHHHH!!
It is NOT 1973!!!!!
Fashions, modes, culture, and even technology has changed.
Writing styles and reading tastes have changed.
Clothing of 1973 and clothing styles of 2009 are not the same.

And just -what- is the problem with unisex clothing styles, anyway?

#929 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:14 PM:

Hmmm, if I were giving job interviews, I admit that I would give plus points to job seekers wearing interactive t-shirts and double plus points if they were wearing a hand-made interactive t-shirt. Minus points for suit and tie (unless it's a string tie). That's a corporate culture decision, though; I've never worked for a white dress shirt thin black tie company. I irrationally associate such clothing choices with evil.

#930 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:20 PM:

Earl, #929: I'd dock more points for a string tie. But possibly my associations concerning them are different from yours.

#931 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Earl Cooley @ 929... I've never worked for a white dress shirt thin black tie company. I irrationally associate such clothing choices with evil.

That explains the caption at the bottom of this photo.

#932 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:47 PM:

Lee #930: I'd dock more points for a string tie. But possibly my associations concerning them are different from yours.

It's an inherited eccentricity; my father wore string ties on formal occasions, and so do I. My black SRV-style hat (crafted by Manny Gammage) is too beat up with use to wear formally, though. One of these days, I need to go back to Texas Hatters to have it redid.

#933 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:56 PM:

I was supposed to have a job interview last week (which the interviewer cancelled a few hours after it was set up -- "something came up"). When I asked the guy who arranged the interview what the expected dress code was -- casual? suit? -- he told me that one could never go wrong dressing up for a job interview.

I don't know about that. I've usually worn a suit for job interviews. The one time I dressed semi-casually (knit short-sleeved shirt and good corduroy pants), I got the job, but it was the worst job I've ever had.

(For 2½ months, three days out of five, I was a thermostat. I sat alone in a clean room, wearing the full-body clean-room outfit, surrounded by humming equipment, and watched an oven bake. Every ½ to ¾ hour, I tweaked a temperature controller to try to second-guess it and keep the oven at a constant temperature. This was because the system was fundamentally ill-designed, and though the correction was obvious and simple, I wasn't allowed to alter the system from what had been sold to us. I wasn't allowed to bring in a book, because it would carry dust/lint. I wasn't allowed to bring a radio or other sound equipment, because it might mask an emergency announcement. I did nap occasionally, though that was probably also against the rules.)

#934 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Serge @ 931 ...
That explains the caption at the bottom of this photo.

You're a chronic voyeur?

#935 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:59 PM:

Joel @ #933, that's very reminiscent of what Desmond had to do during the first seasons of "Lost:" Press a reset button every 120 seconds to ensure the island didn't blow up.

#936 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 08:07 PM:

Hey, I make really beautiful bolo ties!

#937 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:29 PM:

Marilee, got any pics? I'm not fond of bolo ties, so making beautiful ones would really impress me!

#938 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:32 PM:

Paula@912: -"Real Programmers do not play tennis, golf, or any other sport which requires one to change clothes. Real Programmers \do/ climb mountains, and wear their hiking boots to work in case a mountain should spring up in the middle of the machine-room floor."

David@916: Mikki Barry gets several hits on Google, several of which could be the same person; at least one of them (handle "ooblick") is the one I last saw at the 1994 Disclave, carrying a baby. I don't know whether that damped use of her skills; but the current citations suggest that she's a success in the dealing-with-the-world end of software that she was already moving toward when I knew her, despite "being told in 1995 that [she] was unemployable".

xeger@926: tunics were often short, and worn with trousers. wrt practicality, note that a female at MIT in the 1970's could even wear nominally-male clothing, getting better value and durability than was typical of female clothing.

Generally: MIT of the 1970's was not George Carlin's 1960's, but it was a different place; I'm not sure how many of the readers here grasp how different. It was enough of a recognizable personality type that people are sometimes surprised to find I \didn't/ go there. (It didn't even make the final cut, and I'm probably a lot saner and more functional for not having gone there.)

Terry@891: from the outside, as I watched the descriptions, I got the impression that "rebuilt" is an exaggeration; but I will not argue the point with a devotee, as I'm not one -- and the only place I've been since the work was behind home plate, singing, so I don't even have a good impression to argue from.

#939 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:44 PM:

CHip @ 938 ...
xeger@926: tunics were often short, and worn with trousers.

It varied by time and location -- and short is relative :) Arguably by standards that think of 'long' as "hits the knees", a hip length tunic is short. OTOH, if you're thinking 'long' means "hits the floor", a knee length tunic is short.

Either way, pants were rather late arrivers in the several millennia during which tunics were common wear -- wrappings around the legs were more common.

wrt practicality, note that a female at MIT in the 1970's could even wear nominally-male clothing, getting better value and durability than was typical of female clothing.

I think I missed something in your sentence. The point I was making was simply that skirts aren't inherently impractical -- and to your point, now, I think it really depends on where you're getting your female clothing, and what sort of clothing you're buying.

Heh. I can't be the only one that recalls Nancy Drew slipping on a plain skirt and sensible pumps to go traipsing through a succession of odd locations...

#940 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:45 PM:

CHip @938:

Real Programmers \do/ climb mountains, and wear their hiking boots to work in case a mountain should spring up in the middle of the machine-room floor.
...or, more likely, in case they need to pull up the floor tiles and go traipsing around underfloor.

#941 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:51 PM:

terry,

Heck, I intend to get several utilikilts

i recommend it. they look good on many body types, & i also appreciate your giving me an excuse to show off my partner in a custom-painted number.

#942 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:10 PM:

#939 Xeger
Skirts were NOT a good idea in one were prone to e.g. get into spontaneous water fights. (There is an on-line forum in which I would occassionally virtually hose dose Jeff Hecht or Geoff Landis--Caltech (Jeff) culture was mostly congruent to MIT culture, and so threating them with waterfights was socially appropriate....)

#943 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:29 AM:

miriam, #941: While we're looking at guys in kilts, here's my partner wearing the tartan of Clan Garcia.

#944 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 10:18 AM:

Lizzy L: Thanks for the suggestion. This American Life is available as a podcast for the current show: I just have mixed feelings about. The funny stuff is very funny and the recent financial coverage has been outstanding, but when they run stories about folks like the guy that worked up the business plan for kidnapping Frank Sinatra, Jr. I just get depressed--and I don't think the iPod is set up to skip acts on the show.

Elliott Mason: I hadn't heard of A Way With Words so I'll give it a look. As I mentioned, I've already listening to the Radio 4 comedy podcast, but I'll be sure to check out The Dragon Page: Cover to Cover since the sausagemaking details of Creative Screenwriting Magazine are one of the things I like best about their show. I've heard Radio Lab once or twice in the wild: I'll check out their podcast.

Cally Soukup: I'll check on Crime Classics and see if it's available: I know The Lives of Harry Lime isn't a podcast, but it's interesting as well. Everyone keeps telling me that The Mysterious Traveller is only so-so, but it did produce one episode good enough (Eight Miles Down) to convince Harlan Ellison that it had been an episode of Quiet, Please, which is pretty rarefied territory. Incidentally, have you ever listened to Q,P's episode The Thing on the Fourble Board? Lots of people seem to think of it as one of the scariest short broadcasts ever done on radio (Arch Obler's A Trip to the Dentist beats it out among those who have had bad sessions in the chair, I gather) and I'm waiting for a nice, dark, stormy night to listen to it and creep myself out properly. The Bickersons is incredibly funny if you listen to a couple of episodes at a time, but don't do a marathon session or you'll find yourself brooding about how marriage has turned both parties into the worst people that could have married one another.

Constance: will check out the WBAI offerings ASAP.

#945 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 10:48 AM:

David @916, I don't know what Regis is doing for a living these days, but she's around. I saw her at a party sometime last year.

#946 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:07 PM:

Xopher, #937, no, they died on a disc crash a while back. I haven't made one in a while; I should make one. However, in a similar vein, here's a gold George coin made into a brooch (for a face brooch swap), one of those badge-holders with a spring rewind with a bezeled glass cab, some spider earrings, and my BFAC project for 2010. You can see my photography has improved, although it's still not good.

#947 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 09:05 PM:

Bruce @ 944

Yes, "The Thing on the Fourbleboard" is quite good; _Quite, Please_ is really quite good in general. The story "Shadow of the Wings" always makes me cry. I've only heard maybe 6 or 8 of them, but I can't think of a bad episode. I hope it's not because they only play the good ones....

Many of the comedy old time radio shows have aged very badly; shows like _The Easy Aces_ just make me cringe. The _Jack Benny Show_ holds up pretty well, if you're willing/able to overlook the fact that the only black characters are servants and somewhat Steppin-Fetchitlike (though not nearly as badly as some other shows). At least Rochester gets a few digs in once in a while. The humor itself is mostly not cringeworthy, perhaps because Jack is generally mostly poking fun at himself. _Fred Allen_'s show was brilliantly written, but is very topical for its time; lots of material is based around the day's news. _Milton Berle_'s radio show was basically the same show over and over and over again. If you've heard one you've heard them all. As was the _Abbot and Costello Show_, in a different way. A&C put themselves in different sitcom situations, but the core of the humor was always Who's On First-type stuff, and that gets old, at least for me.

For detective shows, after _Crime Classics_ I'd have to go with _Richard Diamond_, who, unlike most of his detective compatriots, was actually on good terms with the police. Of course, there's also _Dragnet_, which was at least as good on radio as it later was on TV.

I mustn't forget _Dimension X_ which turned into _X Minus One_, which made radio episodes out of stories from Galaxy Magazine. Everyone from Heinlein to Sheckley.

And there was a rather pretentious and frankly not very good series that had John W. Campbell doing the introductions, but I can't remember the name. _Exploring Tomorrow_, I think.

#948 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:35 AM:

My wife made me a beautiful bolo tie for our wedding. I don't have a digital picture thereof, but you can get an idea of her style at her site.

#949 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:43 AM:

David@866, 'near-continuous overload' describes my life very well as well. Thankfully I'm not depression-prone so I can just keep on doing this forever :)

Friendship with older people seems to be an Asperger's constant: for me, many years younger works too but that's probably seen as creepy in this society.

I've also noticed visual abnormalities under social stress which nobody else has ever mentioned to me: my edge detector goes into overdrive, so everything seems to have more prominent edges than before. (Illness does this too.)

#950 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:20 AM:

I've added to the Aspie discussion in OT127. Shall we decamp to there?

#951 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:21 AM:

Paula@896: I see it more as failure to acknowledge female as human and a basic lack of respect

See, here you're making a basic category error. You're assuming (by implication) that people see other people as 'humans *like them*'. This is a delicate balancing act --- you have to recognise that other people have feelings just like yours *yet* are not just like you (for one thing, they're not necessarily interested in the same things you are, they don't necessarily have the same knowledge base, and so on).

For a normal person this is trivial, you probably don't even have to think about it. It took me perhaps a quarter of a century to stop oscillating between the poles of 'nobody but me is really human so I can ignore them completely unless they impinge on my goals' and 'everyone is a person with the same interests as me'. Even now, figuring out *which* components of my mindstate can be mapped onto someone else, and how, requires considerable thought and can't be done in realtime.

So it's not a failure to acknowledge female as human: it's a failure to realise that other people are like yourself yet not.

Another trap we fall into is to pick up techniques that we've seen normals use to ingratiate themselves with each other, and try them ourselves. So far, so normal: but we do it in a totally tone-deaf way, applying them largely at random at first and trying to derive rules of application from the result. Many of these techniques are apparently severely context-sensitive (which is tricky to figure out on its own: for the first few years it just seemed random what worked and what didn't), and we often can't determine the correct context to use them, or even what parts of human behaviour constitute the context. e.g. RMS's odious comments would not have been out of place in some all-male gatherings, although not the sort I'd expect RMS to go to. God knows where he picked them up, but apparently the 'use around females will lead to offense' rule wasn't succesfully derived. I suspect I can only do it because I have a sister, so I have a mental role model based on decades of observations to run things like this past.

So you see words like 'respect' are somewhat inappropriate here. In any case, respect-as-a-fellow-human-being is a rather abstruse emotion: I can feel it but I don't always know how it's supposed to influence my behaviour. (I tend to use the word 'respect' almost entirely to indicate that someone has done things that make me consider her better than I am in some area, and thus worth learning from.)

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