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September 27, 2009

Open thread 130
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 09:04 AM *

Hadrian is my favorite emperor1.

I’d have loved him for the Pantheon alone, with its soaring, unprecedented, unmatched dome. It’s still the largest unreinforced concrete one in the world. But better than the engineering is the psychology: the entire building was designed as a surprise. Given where it stood, we think that visitors couldn’t see that it wasn’t an ordinary temple with a rectangular cella until they were inside. The street level, lower than the present one, plus the buildings all around blocked any view of the dome from the outside.

Imagine the dropped jaws, the O’s of mouths matching the oculus above. Imagine a mind that could design2 such a jest.

And he’d done it before, with the Temple of Venus and Rome. In his design, the two cellae for the goddesses stood back to back, matched half-domes separating the palindrome: ROMA )( AMOR. The guy was a playful intellectual.

But that’s not why I fell for him as a historical figure. Stone is all very well, but I love story more. And the story that hooked me, when I heard it in my Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome class in college, was that of Antinous.

Hadrian’s marriage to Vivia Sabina was wretched3. Instead, Hadrian lavished his devotion and his tenderness on a handsome boy he’d met while traveling in Bithynia, and whom he brought with him everywhere. Was their relationship sexual? We will never know. Was it abusive, since Antinous joined Hadrian’s entourage at 13? Probably, at the very least in the sense that the emperor had no equals, so that his wishes ever become his commands. Was it, for Hadrian, transformative, electrifying, inspiring, obsessive? Yes, very much. I don’t know that I approve, but I understand.

And then, in 130, the twenty year old Antinous drowned in the Nile.

Hadrian was devastated, and determined to seed the entire empire with the memory of the young man. He named cities after him, commissioned statues, struck medals. He had Antinous deified (he became associated with the cult of Osiris in Egypt) and built a shrine to him in his villa at Tivoli. He even placed him in the heavens.

And the loss broke some part of Hadrian forever. Except for those memorials, the only thing he designed after Antinous died was his own tomb.

I’m sure it’s all a farrago of spin and speculation, but as Philip Larkin says of another story told in statues:

Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.
  1. Despite his monstrous treatment of the Jews
  2. Contra recent hypotheses, I think the evidence trends toward Hadrian as the designer rather than Apollodorus of Damascus. The Pantheon, after all, is just such a pumpkin dome as Apollodurus mocked Hadrian about.
  3. One of the little touches in the Capitoline Museum in Rome is that their busts, though next to one another, face apart.
Comments on Open thread 130:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:51 AM:

What we have made is not enough for song,
so we are told by critics of the age
who always urge the young to disengage,
and tell the old they are no longer strong;
the middle-aged must see they can't belong
and therefore are required to quit the stage.
It seems there is no text left on this page.
That can't be so. Thus the whole tale is wrong.
Where we began no hero could pretend
to claim the moment and the victor's crown.
But infant struggles of the teller's art
convert each listener into a friend,
bring each lost wanderer safe back to town,
and know the climax is there from the start.

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:55 AM:

Hadrian is my favorite emperor

Adrien was my favorite dad.
Gone for almost 17 years, but I still miss him.

#3 ::: xebecs ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 10:50 AM:

Is "Osirus" a Romanized spelling of Osiris, or does someone need a coffee infusion?

#4 ::: Jon R ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 10:58 AM:

My favorite emperor is Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.

#5 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 11:07 AM:

xebcs @3:

Someone was typing in a hurry because she had something else to do immediately afterward. Fixed.

#6 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 11:19 AM:

Which emperor, was it Hadrian, had a group marriage?

I'm both resentful and relieved that the public miseducation I had didn't include World History. The resentful part is because I had no world history teaching when I was a child and that was an omission. The relief was because public education has the habits of pandering to the lowest common denominator in not only community but intellect, too. The habits of Texas and California of state-wide qualifying and ordering of textbooks, with the Christian Taliban exercising considerable influence and control over content and themes, means redaction eliminating generally content which Christian Taliban considers offensive and deserving relegation to oblivion.

I was annoyed in what today would be called middle school at the bowdlerization of Shakespeare--no "your whoreson dead body" said by the gravedigger in Hamlet in the student edition expurgated versions in the classroom I was in.... How much less would have world history been treated regarding dropping material not compliant to Christian Taliban values and attitudes of appropriate and decent and correct....

(Although, I did have some teachers who went out of their way to do things such as inform students that syphillis went from the western hemisphere to the eastern, and that the colonization by Europeans of the western hemisphere, was an abominable diaster for western hemisphere natives.)

#7 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 11:32 AM:

The photograph, which I added to Abi's post about an hour after it went up, was taken in the Pantheon by me, at roughly the moment that I was one of those "dropped jaws, the O’s of mouths matching the oculus above." It now serves as the wallpaper on my iPhone...

#8 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Taking advantage of the open thread (and, although I'd love to sit down and chat about emperors, I'm running terribly behind): I recently had a panic attack for the first time. Does anyone have any advice on managing stress to keep it from happening again? Reducing stress doesn't seem to be an option at this point.

#9 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 12:20 PM:

Sarah, 8: Recognizing what was happening helped me most of all. Controlling my breathing and focusing on what I was doing, not what I was feeling, also helped.

#10 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Sarah @ 8: Have you tried 10-15 minute relaxation or meditation sessions? I found these very useful when I was seriously overloading (no panic attacks, but e.g. crying or getting very angry over relatively minor problems). The trick is to do it every day even if you're feeling like you're okay and don't need that "time-out" today. I should still be doing it but I'm taking time out for running at the moment instead.

I can point you to a website with an mp3 you can download (you do have to register and they send you e-mails for a while, offering more examples, but then they stop if you don't sign up for anything further).

#11 ::: Diana ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 01:01 PM:

two little details, neither of which I can source at the moment:

Pantheon was well above streetlevel when it was built. The street has been paved, and repaved, and repaved, with stone and brick and more stone and more brick and eventually asphalt since then. Rome really was seven hills back in the day. All the millenia of building has kind of flattened them.

The other point is that enlightened as Hadrian was, he was the first emperor to institute a different legal structure for the rich than for the rest of the empire. This only got worse as the empire went on.

re the panic attack: Deep breathing. And if you're looking for a longterm solution, hatha vinyasa yoga. There's a reason breathing is part of the practice.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 01:39 PM:

Sarah @ 8... If the panick is caused by something where you feel out of control, I'd suggest putting that aside if possible, and focussing on a task where you do have some control.

#13 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 01:43 PM:

Sarah #8: A course in yoga may take time. You may find yourself caught by what used, quite accurately, to be called panic terror before you start one and learn the techniques.

There are two things you can do.

One is change the actions you are doing when you started to panic. Taking a different course of action, refocusing your mind on the new set of actions may help control the panic.

The other, as has been mentioned before, is to control your breathing. Slow it down. Count the number of breaths.

#14 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 01:59 PM:

Sarah at 8: when I finally figured out that what I was experiencing was a panic attack, I was pretty stunned; I am used to thinking of myself as someone who copes.

Acupuncture (six treatments over six weeks) worked for me: no more panic attacks, no more insomnia. Taking a long walk (45 minutes to an hour) with my dog every day helped reduce my stress level in two ways: it increased my level of physical activity, which has always been a way I control stress, and it involved me in observing and delighting in the world.

#15 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:25 PM:

To the extent that the emperor's relationship with Antinous was abusive because of the inherently unequality of there being only one emperor, I think it's reasonable to argue that any relationship any emperor (and not just the Roman ones) had was abusive.

There are degrees of that, I think: a same-sex relationship would have had different imbalances than a heterosexual one, obviously, and it matters whether the other person's family has influence. (There is only one emperor, but practical politics means that some people have more influence, and more ability to resist his desires, than others.)

Whether the relationship pre-dated the emperor's accession to the throne might also make a big difference (I'm thinking Alexander and Hephaiston here). And perhaps whether the emperor had been raised with the idea of being emperor: Hadrian wasn't. He succeeded Trajan, who (if I can trust wikipedia on this) was his first cousin once removed. (This was during what became known as the "five good emperors" period.) Yes, senatorial family, so born to some degree of status and privilege, but it's not like the dauphin, knowing from earliest childhood that he will become king of France.

#16 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Open thread terminology question:

If I want pants with tapering or close-fitting calves so I can tuck them into boots, what name/search term do I need? I see that "boot cut" means very wide, so I can wear them over boots; that also seems useful, but in different ways. (What I currently have are straight-legged pants that bunch up when I try to tuck them into boots.)

This is likely to be a lengthy search, because in addition to having what appears to be a non-standard difference between my hip size and waist size, I have thick, muscular calves. But knowing what the things I want are called would help some, I think.

#17 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:42 PM:

Vicki @16 - I think what you're looking for is called a 'tapered leg.' Here's some tips... Britney's boots

#18 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:43 PM:

Vicki @ 16, what about "skinny" or "tapered"? "Skinny jeans" (tapered, close-fitting legs) are in fashion right now. This, of course, does not guarantee that it will be easy to find ones that fit someone with a "non-standard" waist/hip ratio or calf size (and I've come to believe that "standard" fits no one), but it might mean it's possible.

#19 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Vicki @16: "Tapered legs" are probably a good search phrase to start with.

What's the nature of your "nonstandard" waist/hip ratio? For the past decade or so, the jeans shape trend has been favoring a relatively narrow-hipped style (or at least hips that aren't much wider than the waist) with a dropped waistline, often leading to "muffin top" fleshy overspillage-- a low waistline and a cropped top are a particularly risky combination. But that doesn't nec'ly mean that a different waist/hip ratio is nonstandard within most of the population, as opposed to just being poorly accommodated.

If you're looking for tapered legs *and* a relatively high, narrow waistline over a loose hip/thigh region, you may want to make a beeline for the "reverse fit" jeans style which is finally reappearing in stores after a long hiatus. These were popular during the 80s, sometimes exaggerated by "pegging" the legs (narrowing the cuffs by pleating excess width at the ankle and rolling them up to keep the pleat in place). They're often denigrated as "mom jeans", but I'm glad I can find them again after lovingly mending my old ones for years (the style went so far out of fashion that they weren't even appearing in thrift shops anymore)-- I really dislike the low-waisted flared-leg style; even with the compleletely straight-cut rectilinear jeans shape, my waist/hip ratio won't keep my shirts tucked in unless their hems are long enough to anchor underneath my butt.

#20 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 03:34 PM:

@Sarah: In the short term, visualize your breathing. As you push the air from your lungs, close your eyes and imagine that you are exhaling something toxic, like cigarette smoke or car exhaust. As you pull fresh air in, imagine that it is perfectly clean and healthy, like forest air constantly scrubbed by ancient trees. Try to pull as much of the clean air in as you can as slowly as you can, and push the foul air out as completely as you can, with the strength of your diaphragm muscle. You are inhaling serenity, and exhaling panic. Do this five times. Then turn your head slowly in the four cardinal directions to stretch your neck. Repeat as necessary.

I am in the midst of editing my thesis, and have employed this little brain hack any number of times in the past week. (I have also renamed the MLA "Modern Lucifer's Attempts".) I also have sore throat, and have been chugging green tea and miso soup like a freshman pledge.

In happier news, someone made me these buttons based on one of my tweets.

#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 03:41 PM:

A few months back I found, in a "dumpster moving sale," a matched set of folding chairs. Really nice ones, with quilted sling-seats covered with satiny black microfiber. They were clean and entirely intact, so I adopted them.

One I used as an easy chair, placed at my surround sound system sweet spot when watching stuff of import. I deployed it so this morning, to get caught up on Mad Men and Glee.

An hour or so ago it "settled" a bit at one side. I figured that one of the legs had caught on a wrinkle on my throw rug and spread out to its fully extended position.

Just a few minutes ago, when I started reading ML, it fell flat with me in it. I safely ditched my netbook and inspected the damage. The sliding plastic flanges that held the legs to a tension frame had fallen apart.

I'm amazed and disgusted that stuff that looks so nice can be built so shabbily.

#22 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 03:45 PM:

On the breathing, as well as the previous useful advice, also try to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This controls the impulse to pant and thus make things worse.

#23 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 03:57 PM:

re clothes: I have a non-standard body for adult males. I have, in many ways, a "boys" frame.

Which means shirts and pants are based on some false assumptions.

1: I will have a waist at least 28" inches around (If I am lucky, most places rarely have more than one, or two, 29" in waists. Those are barely adequate, but often the best I can do).

2: I will have a chest much larger than I do, based on neck/sleeve measurements.

Because they build boys trousers to a different ratio, the "rise" is inadequate, and I'd have to add about 2 inches to the inseam. No matter, because they don't really fit.

I tried going to chinatown, where there are a significant number of men of slighter frame. The inseams are rarely long enough, and the cut isn't flattering to my shape.

So I buy 501s, and prowl thrift stores, and look forward to someday indulgding in a bit of bespoke tailoring; when I have enough money lying spare.

#24 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 04:16 PM:

Oy; William Safire just died (loathed his politics; was entertained, even when he was wrong, by his writing on language; he was one who could almost be called a grammar Nazi) and Roman Polanski got arrested in Switzerland.

#25 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 04:35 PM:

I which he had never done but the writing on language.

I have no greif for his passing. I have some sympathy for his families grief, but he was a small, bitter odious man, willing to replace the national interest with party; and then to crow that he did the right thing because of it.

Even when what he did made the world less safe, and caused people who were working to make it more safe to be killed.

#26 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Terry #25:

It wasn't like he could separate the two.

I would always get sucked in to the grammar/language column, and then about three paragraphs in (if not before) have to pull myself out because the examples were always tied into some vile political agenda.

#27 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 06:47 PM:

Panic attacks: allow me to third (fourth?) the suggestion of concentrating on your breathing. I'm extremely prone to them (had one on the Tube on Thursday and one when my primary server decided to stop booting at 00:30 on Saturday morning) and in both cases focusing on breathing saved me. It doesn't need to be deep: normal will do. But just concentrate on it: constant, unchanging, continuing no matter how horrible everything else may be.

(Of course if *that* isn't true you have bigger problems.)

#28 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 06:49 PM:

'Osiris' is a Romanized spelling of a Hellenized pronunciation of something more like Us-Ar.

I can't get the macron over the A. I don't know what it means anyway though, so it's probably just as well.

#29 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 06:55 PM:

Slowly, slowly, the people who made conservative hate "respectable" are dying off, leaving only the out-and-out loons to carry the flag. My condolences to Mr. Safire's family and friends, but his passing is a positive thing for the world as a whole.

#30 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 07:00 PM:

@Sarah, surprised nobody has mentioned the #1 thing that worked for me when I started getting panic attacks: cut out the caffeine. Stop drinking coffee (or Coke or whatever) completely if you can, and no more than one a day. Instantly cut my attacks in half.

The other thing that worked for me is the beta blockers my doctor prescribed - have you spoken to your doctor?

Nothing else worked for me, except cutting down on one drug and starting on another. Deep breathing didn't do squat, and I despise meditation. Mileage varies all over the place, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a physical problem with physical solutions.

Oh, except for one other useful thing: if anyone ever tells you, mid-attack, to "calm down", "relax" or "stop worrying", explain gently but firmly (or at any rate firmly) that this advice is both perfectly useless and insultingly vapid to somebody's who's panicking. The quicker you get everyone who knows you out of that habit, the better.

#31 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 07:02 PM:

Much as I deplore the act that Polanski is accused of, it seems to me that more effort and expense has been expended over the last 32 years in trying to bring him to trial than has been used in searching for Osama bin Laden. That strikes me as a serious case of bad prioritization.

Yes, I know there are different agencies involved, and that effort can't really be taken from one case and put into the other. It still feels to me as if Polanski pissed off someone powerful, and that, rather than any real need for justice, is what kept his case active.

#32 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Thanks for the link about the flu victim, it got me to take some tabs and finally use them.

#33 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Re: the "Search is the drug" sidelight. Fascinating stuff, but was any else brought up short by the use of "different to"? When did this Frankensteinien construct become acceptable?

#34 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 07:35 PM:

Bruce Cohen (StM): Different to, is the standard British usage = US usage, Different from.

#35 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 07:47 PM:

OK, I will see what I can find under "tapered." Thanks.

Since someone asked: Basically, my waist is about five inches less (in circumference) than my hips, and women's pants all seem to be built for a ten-inch difference. Ergo, if they fit my hips there's lots of extra space at the waist, or if I try to make the waist fit right, there's lots of extra space at the hips. Men's pants are better in this regard; the inseams are too long, but so are the ones on women's pants. (And "petite"s don't have a long enough rise for me.)

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 07:54 PM:

Terry Karney @ 23... false assumptions... I will have a waist at least 28" inches around

I take it that your waist is less than that. For me, the problem with vestimentary assumptions is with the length of arms for people with a certain chest measurement. Let's put it that way: I could have played Cornelius in Planet of the Apes - which wouldn't be so bad since it'd mean hanging out with Zira.

#37 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 08:03 PM:

Serge: That is, actually, the same problem. If I get a shirt to match my arms/neck, the chest is large enough that I can set up a ridgepole and use it as a tent.

(yes I have a waist of less than 27"; recall the comment about me not being an "adult" for purposes of the danger of venemous animals)

#38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 08:26 PM:

Terry Karney @ 37... Yeah, I remember your comment about your body weight and venemous animals, but I wasn't sure of the numbers. My waist is between 32 and 33, and I weigh about 177 pounds distributed along a 72-inch-high axis. I guess that puts me in the 'adult' category - where nasty critters are concerned anyway.

I think I switched to short sleeves when I moved from Canada to California because that meant cooler clothing, but that also took care of my Cornelian dilemma.

#39 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 08:43 PM:

Stefan Jones @21: I had a chair I was fond of turn on me and try to kill me. Broke apart and pitched me face forward into the corner of a substantial end table. It was like being punched in the jaw; I was lucky it didn't go for an eye.

I felt I had always treated it fairly... but some furniture is just built bad.

#40 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 08:48 PM:

Bruce Cohen@33:

"different to" does seem less ubiquitous than many phrases that are supposed to Ruining The Language. Unlike singular "they" and restrictive "which" it isn't in the King James Bible, Shakespeare, or Jane Austen. It takes some care to search for, since there "it looked very different to her now" is not the same usage.

In the form you are objecting to, it was used at least once[#] by by Wilkie Collins, G. K. Chesterton, Hans Christian Andersen, and Arthur Conan Doyle. So the answer to "When did this Frankensteinien construct become acceptable?" appears to be the middle of the 19th century[*].

There certainly have been changes over time -- in the 19th century "different to" was much less frequent than "indifferent to", and according to Google it is now rather more frequent.

[*] Mary Shelley herself appears to be innocent.

#41 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:06 PM:

Terry Karney @ 34: Oh, dear. Does this mean I need to go and apologise to all the (British) students I've marked down for writing style because they've used 'different to' in their papers?

(I'm trying to remember whether I've ever seen 'different to' used in an academic text, and while I can't be entirely sure that I haven't, I'm reasonably sure it would have leapt out at me and been incorporated into my mental landscape of language differences. Except that this is honestly the first time I can recall seeing that usage outside of a student essay.)

#42 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:12 PM:

xopher @ #28: You should be able to use Unicode. The value for "lower-case a macron" is "U+0101". Convert the "0101" to from hexadecimal to decimal (that's 257) ; precede it with "&#" and follow with ";" and you get "ā" appearing in HTML.

#43 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Oh, here's Latin Capital A with macron (U+0100}: Ā.

#44 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:19 PM:

Too bad van Vogt's printer couldn't do Unicode...

#45 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:27 PM:

Vicki @ 35 ...
Since someone asked: Basically, my waist is about five inches less (in circumference) than my hips, and women's pants all seem to be built for a ten-inch difference. Ergo, if they fit my hips there's lots of extra space at the waist, or if I try to make the waist fit right, there's lots of extra space at the hips. Men's pants are better in this regard; the inseams are too long, but so are the ones on women's pants. (And "petite"s don't have a long enough rise for me.)

I don't have any direct experience with Zafu, but their fitting ideas apparently do work well for some folk (I believe they'll ask for an email address, but as said, haven't tried them out -- I've been fortunate enough to finally find a brand that works for me, for the most part).

#46 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:34 PM:

Thomas, 40: Say, rather, "Hans Christian Andersen's translator."

#47 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:43 PM:


It's not an academic text, but there is a discussion of "different from" vs "different to" in issue 41 of Scribner's Magazine (1907), in an article on misconceptions about the differences between American and English. The author clearly implies that people thought of "different from" as an Americanism, even though he shares Bruce's attitude to it. Incidentally, this agrees with the C19th origin from my earlier searches.

"Different from " can hardly be called an Americanism, because it can be found in English writers of the highest mark at all periods. Byron, for example, uses "different from" in his letters (Prothero Ed., vol. iv, p. 422). But during the last century a fashion grew up in England of saying and writing "different to." I have met with it in many recent authors of repute, and some Americans—the few who like to ape English habits, good or bad—undertook to use it in this country with very slight success. There never was either warrant or reason for "different to" and it is clearly ungrammatical, as was strongly shown by a writer in the "Spectator" not long since in an article condemning this practice among some of his countrymen. "Different from " is not only correct, but if anyone desires authority he can find a great one in Dr. Johnson, who uses it in his letters (Hill Ed., i, p. 189). The universal American usage, I am glad to think, is again prevailing in England, where it was set aside only in obedience to some strange freak for which no cause can be alleged.

[via Google Books]

#48 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:47 PM:


Um. Yes. I had that specifically in mind when searching Homer, Dante, the Bible, etc, but my subconscious must think of Andersen as English. And I've seen the statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, so I really have no excuse.

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 10:35 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 39... some furniture is just built bad

In Dante's Infurniture Store?

#50 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Thomas @47: Thank you. That and a brief search of my own through Google Books persuades me to withold the Red Pen of Doom, and add this one to my list of 'things North Americans ought to know about British writing.'

Hrm. I suppose I ought to start keeping that list in written form, instead of as a mental checklist. It would probably be helpful to hand it off to new teaching assistants *before* they start marking papers.

(Trivia: Brits make no distinction between 'that' and 'which'; I have had to put great effort into unlearning that rule.)

#51 ::: antinousworshipper ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 10:44 PM:

@sarah I was glad someone mentioned medication in addition to the breathing and yoga. Breathing exercises, regular aerobic exercise and yoga are amazing in helping keep panic attacks at bay now, but when I was in that deep pit of depression and the panic attacks came in waves, then medication was the only (relatively) immediate relief. Once the meds put me on the path back uphill then the alternatives kept me going upwards. Haven't had to have chemical assistance in several years now, but if I head back into 'the depths of despair' my first stop will be my psychiatrist's office, and second stop the drugstore.

#52 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 10:44 PM:

Pedantka @ 50:

There's a rule about that, beyond whatever sounds more natural at the time?

#53 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 10:51 PM:

I watched Flash Forward this afternoon.

Amazing. Intriguing. And . . . how do I put this? Vastly annoying, because it is tempting me to keep watching. I'm so afraid of smart continuing shows ending up as snipe hunts, like I hear Lost has become.

I also watched last week's episode of Mad Men, which is a show continuing show which I have no doubts about. The people doing that show are utterly in control. They know where the characters come from and where they are going.

#54 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 11:03 PM:


restrictive "which": some people believe that 'which' can only be used non-restrictively, ie, following a comma, and that other uses should be replaced by "that".

This "rule" appears to have been introduced by Fowler, in the interests of symmetry. The use of "that" following a comma is extremely rare, so things would be tidier if "which" could only be used in situations where "that" can't be used. I was introduced to this under "strange things Americans believe about English", and it is more common in the US, but it does have disciples in the UK.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (the only major evidence-based usage book) says "You can use either which or that to introduce a restrictive clause--the grounds for your choice should be stylistic".

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Us-Ār. Thank you, theophylact!

#56 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 11:26 PM:

By the way, the Pharaoh of the Bible was supposedly Ramses II, known by the Pharaonic name Us-Ār-Maat-Re, or Ozymandias.

#57 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 11:44 PM:


Thomas covered this beautifully. I'll only add that I learned the which/that rule from someone who used to copyedit for HarperCollins, and thus have been inclined to take it rather seriously when I'm preparing something for print in America.

#58 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 12:13 AM:


Yes, the Journal of the American Medical Association also has a "wicked which" rule.

I should point out that I don't have any objection to people saying that they personally prefer "that" in restrictive clauses, or even to organizations saying that their house style is to use "that". Those are stylistic preferences, to which people and organizations are entitled. The problem is people who say that restrictive "which" is a grammatical error and that proper writers knew to use "that" in the Good Old Days. It isn't, and they didn't.

#59 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 12:50 AM:

Grabbing the opportunity for an open-thready question:

I've been re-reading a lot of Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin books lately, and I'm really struck by how late in the day things happen. Nero is always having people show up at 9pm. Various characters mention going out for the evening at 8pm. There is one reference to someone dropping by for a visit at 10pm, and no one seems to find this odd.

It this a New York thing? I've lived a few places (deep South and Mid-west, mostly), and all these things seem like they should have happened a couple of hours earlier.

Is it an earlier times thing? The books I've been reading take place between the 30s and the 50s. Was there a shift sometime in the second half of the last century, and everyone started doing things earlier? (The annotated Jane Austen talks about something similar happening in the early 19th century in England, so it's possible.)

Or am I just out of the loop?

#60 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 12:56 AM:

Terry, I remember my father trying to buy nice suits after he retired. (he was an airline pilot who wore uniforms for work...)

He had a hell of a time finding things that fit. He was not much taller than I am (I'm 5'4" and dad may have been about 5'8") BUT they don't make suits that appeal to older gentleman that are V-shaped as in, dad was fit and had something like a 28" waist and very big shoulders. And he also had fairly long arms and short-ish legs.

He was able to and decided to, have a couple, three suits made for him that fit correctly. But he was also able to afford it with no quibbles.

#61 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 01:04 AM:

And the Pantheon. It was one of the sights of Rome that made me weep with joy at seeing it, and the sentimentality of people that still left flowers at the tomb of Titian as well as others entombed there.

The last trip to Rome was part of a college/high school trip for me and my sister that my mother engineered. We went to London, Paris, Rome and Athens. In London and Paris, we went on GrayLine tours of the city; in Rome and Athens, mom was able to afford a driver/guide and we had really personal tours.

In Rome, we figured out the construction workers, etc. thought mom and the driver were married with two daughters so we didn't get harassed. (Mom is at least part Cherokee, has long and fabulous hair, which was black-black-black until rather later in life than most women go grey.)

In Athens we also saw a lot of sights that we would have otherwise probably never seen. The cog-train up to the Acropolis was fantastic, even though it scared the sh!t out of mom. We got to walk around and look at everything. Mom was a little calmer going down on the cog-train. And we had a fantastic dinner at a little, hole-in-the-wall, where I learned that the retsina wine is just not for me.

We didn't learn until later that mom was very agorophobic and that trip was probably really very trying for her.

#62 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 04:32 AM:

My table of contents is finished! I'm taking this baby to the print shop, tomorrow!

By "tomorrow," I hasten to add, I mean: "later today."

#63 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 07:52 AM:

Julie Thompson, #59: I find that weird as well. I've always just assumed that Nero Wolfe is a night owl, and that in this, as in everything else, he's bulldozing the outside world into arranging itself to his convenience.

#64 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 08:23 AM:

To answer Jacque's question from the previous Open Thread:

My time-knitting skills aren't very good yet, so I rely on Stumble Upon in the meantime. The toolbar button opens a timesink, though. I found all these pretty pictures and useful guides in the past 10 minutes, frinstance.

#65 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 08:34 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 53, Lost ceased to be a snipe hunt last season. Once the writers were told what the timeline for the show was, they started explaining mysteries. But a lot of people had already given up, because the writers were vamping to stretch out the show. I can't blame the people who'd given up.

Madeleine Ashby, high five! Now get some rest, yes? *hovers with tea and chocolates*

#66 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 08:44 AM:

xeger @ 45, I just tried Zafu (I'm pretty sure I'd used them before) and this time they just sent me to a page offering to sell me "my personal style guide" for $29.95. I couldn't find the usual teeny tiny link saying "No thanks, take me to my results" so I'm wondering if they've gone completely pay.

#67 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:34 AM:

Re Hadrian -- just got the current issue of Smithsonian, which has a lovely article on hiking Hadrian's Wall, which is now on my List of Things To Do Someday. 84 miles coast to coast -- not awful, but a lot of it IS straight up and down...

#68 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Thomas@58--Not to even attempt to defend all writing instructors ever[1], because I have run across some who do make 'Thus it was, is, and ever shall be world without end' claims about grammar, but more often when I hear people defending hard and fast rules (that really aren't), or attempt to impose them on students myself, it's in the context of 'you cannot do this because it will make you sound uneducated and people will laugh at you. Don't give people a reason to laugh at you.'

[1]First off, I'm not even a writing instructor; I teach religious studies--but the method of assessment for students is essays, which means that either I teach them something about how to produce clear, comprehensible, academic prose[2] or they keep losing marks and I keep crying over my marking.
[2] Of course, the small details we're talking about here-- different to/different from, or that/which-- are usually the least of a student's worries.

(I cannot believe I have fallen backwards into half-defending prescriptive grammar.)

#69 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:22 AM:

different to/different from: My (American) tenth-grade English teacher, an old-school grammar fiend, insisted that 'different from' was a barbarism and that only 'different than' was proper. I doubt she'd ever encountered 'different to'; it would probably have given her an apoplexy.

#70 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:42 AM:

Thomas @ 54/58 and Pedantka @ 57:

Thank you. That explains why I'd never heard of that rule before, and it's not one I'm likely to pick up.

I'd also just like to say that "'wicked which' rule" is an absolutely delightful turn of phrase.

#71 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:53 AM:

Different from is the barbarism, and different than is the way to go...


#72 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:53 AM:


Thank you! I am just about to get myself some tea. Then a final check, then the printers'!

#73 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:54 AM:

when I hear people defending hard and fast rules (that really aren't), or attempt to impose them on students myself, it's in the context of 'you cannot do this because it will make you sound uneducated and people will laugh at you. Don't give people a reason to laugh at you.'

Yes, this. The "no split infinitives" rule is ridiculous, and I've said so to my students, providing awkward-sounding examples from The Economist, but I've also warned them that some EU and UN competitive exam correctors will gleefully reject a paper on the basis of a single split infinitive.

#74 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 11:37 AM:

Terry Karney (71): Yes, I know. You're not the first person I've run into who's had that reaction. But after thirty years, I have 'different than' too firmly ingrained to change now.

#75 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 12:19 PM:

Mary Aileen: I actually use all three, but "different than is the one I have to ponder the need for most carefully.

Of course, at this moment, I can't think of a specific example.

#76 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Far, far behind, having just posted this on the previous Open Thread.

Joel Polowin, on pysanka repair:

Our kid has recently been making "stress balls" - two nested balloons filled partly with flour to knead in the hand as a relaxation aid. They're about the size and shape of a hen's egg (and could be adjusted).

If there's enough integrity in what you've got of the shell, you could funnel in something similar for support, and either leave it in place, dump it out, or replace it with, say, a 2-part resin. Fillers can expand as they set, so roll the egg around to cover almost all of the inside while the resin is still fluid but becoming thick. Test first in case it doesn't play nice with the balloon. If you're using a urea foam, undershoot.

#77 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 01:11 PM:

I don't understand why it's controversial at all that Roman Polanski has been arrested. Forget who it is: a man drugged and raped a thirteen-year-old girl, pleaded guilty and then fled the country before he could be sentenced. Why would you not expect him to be arrested as soon as the opportunity presented itself, even if that time was three decades on?

#78 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Serge #36, Terry #37:

There are catalog sites, notably Land's End, that will at least help you solve the arm vs neck part of the problem, as they allow you to specify sleeve length separately. (You can even get a "Tall" main shirt body, useful for keeping your shirt tucked in, if that is another of your problems. Although I doubt it in Terry's case.)

#79 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Just acquired an iPhone and I don't know if I could really afford it. But being able to listen to WFMU despite firewalls is priceless.

#80 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 02:24 PM:

Sarah @8: panic management...

Sux rox, eh?

Long term: make sure you're getting plenty of sleep. Eat well, especially lots of vegs, esp. dark leafy greens. Exercise.

Immediate: locate the panic in your body. (Belly? Upper back? etc.) Observe which direction it is rotating. What color is it?

Then: Make it rotate the other way. Change the color to one you like. Make it sparkley.

#81 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 02:46 PM:

Juli @ #59, from Wikipedia: "In an early story, Wolfe tells a guest that luncheon is served daily at 1:00 p.m. and dinner at 8:00pm."

That suggests that Wolfe is, as usual, forcing people to conform to his schedule when holding meetings at 9:00pm or later.

Archie is a night-owl, particularly if dancing at the Flamingo is part of the evening's entertainment.

#83 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 03:29 PM:

(Oops. Article is from 1951, but photo was taken in 1950.)

#84 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 03:33 PM:

Fragano @1:

Long-delayed, a reply.

To make a thing, to bring it into being
Is intimate, like making love. The verb's
The join, for making either one disturbs
A universe where knowing comes from seeing.
I dream a thing that doesn't yet have form
Is risky as I love you. Both require
A trust that one's interior desire
Is strong enough to make the world transform.
But reformations of the universe
Alarm a fair few folk. My age is cause
To say I mustn't meddle with what was.
And thus they have a reason to reverse
That instant when I took the world apart
And re-assembled it to match my heart.

#85 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 04:07 PM:

Carol at 76: Silly Putty works too. I've been using it for years to relieve stress and exercise my hands.

#86 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Abi @0: I think I like Augustus better than Hadrian, though I don't know that it's a strong preference and it may be a bias from the amount of stuff still lingering in popular culture. (One does wonder why there are lots of books, films, etc., about the Julio-Claudians and not so many about the Five Good Emperors. Are they just boring? Or was it that they were mostly running a machine that Augustus had set up...)

Bruce @31: I dont' remember the last time we invaded a country because Polanski was there...

Juli @59: And Wolfe's ability to force people to conform to his schedule is amazing, isn't it? (Particularly when you get to fairly powerful people who are used to making others conform to their schedules...)

#87 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 04:19 PM:

This is specifically directed to all denizens and lurkers on Making Light who live in the SF Bay Area: Do you want a dog? I have rescued the most wonderful dog. She needs a home. She's about one year old, healthy, not neutered. Short-haired -- a deep brown color, almost black. She's had a litter. She's 51 pounds. I have gotten her her shots: rabies, parvo, distemper. She's been de-wormed and given flea meds. She has a weak left rear leg: the vet is not sure what it is or how serious -- maybe an old injury. It is not exceptionally noticeable.

I made a found dog report to the county. I have checked on Craigslist for her owners: nothing.

She is housebroken and leash trained. She does not chew furniture, books, or anything except her toys. She has a "soft" mouth. She is submissive rather than aggressive. She tolerates cats and likes other dogs, is good with kids, and behaves appropriately at the dog park with all sizes and genders of dogs. She's not at the moment spayed, but that's being rectified this coming Thursday.

Have I mentioned: she's a pit bull?

She's an absolute love: everyone who has met her has mourned the fact that they can't take her, including my vet. If you're at all interested, e-mail me. I'm willing to foster her for a while. If I can't find her a home, she goes to a no-kill shelter.

Her name's Midnight...

#88 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 04:37 PM:

Juli @59--

Nero Wolfe's hours, although they run late, were not out of place for members of the leisured classes (which is how he probably preferred to think of himself) in the first half of the 20th Century. A lot of that was by adoption from the European upper classes.

If you don't have to drag yourself in to work at 8 in the morning, it's possible to reset the entire day, just because you can. This is, BTW, one of the reasons old biographers often mention, in praise of a Great Man's work ethic, the fact that he rose so early and was soon hard at work (by 7AM! Imagine the effort!) or that he got so much done before breakfast (at 9 AM! What a workhorse!)

The working classes might be dragging themselves out to catch the first rays of daylight for their labors, but the well-off could set a sweeter schedule for themselves, and did.

#90 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 05:24 PM:

SeanH@77: I'm not following the case closely, so who knows? And your real question is why other people are up in arms, and all I know about is my own relatively mild reaction to the alleged facts.

The facts I know are that he plead guilty as part of a plea bargain agreement, which the judge then reneged on. Also that the alleged victim sued him privately, reached a settlement, and is quoted as not favoring his prosecution.

Thus, to me, it seems like the legal system has had its shot, and the event should be considered over.

Of course, the things I think I know are no doubt incomplete and may be completely wrong. If so, well, then different actions are appropriate.

#91 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 05:25 PM:

I've clearly been guilty of linguistic parochialism, and I apologize. Just goes to show how deeply jammed into my head those "rules" have become.

Thomas @54:
Thank you for pointing out that the "wicked which" rule isn't universally accepted. I've been beaten over the head with it all my life, since I often prefer "which" to "that" in my writing, and have often used it out of spite because I hate the rule so much.

Stefan Jones @53:
"Flashforward" has real potential, and there have been enough exceptions to the rule that a dramatic series can't carry a mystery well over many episodes that I am willing to continue to watch it and see how it works out. Exceptions include: "Dollhouse" ¹, "Life", and "Tru Calling". I'm still optimistic about "Defying Gravity"².

Incidentally, watching new shows over the last few days has renewed my belief that no one (at least in the US) can write a sitcom anymore that doesn't make me want to decorate the TV screen with my last meal. Note that comedy is still possible³, just not "situation comedy".

1. About which I will say more in another comment at a later time, under ROT13 despoilation.
2. Despite that they've consistently screwed up one major scientific point out of either laziness or a need to rely on standard dramatic conventions: the speed of light lag for communications over a 30 million km distance.
3. I especially liked Rebecca Romijn in "Eastwick". I think people forget how good a comic actor she is, just because she was a model. Especially when I compare her to Jenna Elfman, whose new show I find dreadfully unfunny.

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Terry 75: I actually use all three, but "different than" is the one I have to ponder the need for most carefully. [&pilcrow;] Of course, at this moment, I can't think of a specific example.

You can talk all you want to but it's different than it was! No it ain't, no it ain't, but you gotta know the territory!

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 05:32 PM:

And note that 'different from' cannot be used in that context without another word or phrase like 'how' or 'the way'. That is, when an independent clause is compared, only 'different than' may be used; if a noun phrase is compared, either is appropriate.

I speak of my own dialect. YGMV.

#95 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Bruce Cohen@91:

often prefer "which" to "that" in my writing, and have often used it out of spite because I hate the rule so much.

If someone argues that 'which' and 'that' can't be interchanged and should be separated, you could ask for reasons. After all, 'a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.'

#96 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 05:53 PM:

SeanH @77:

My comment was not intended as a statement that I thought Polanski shouldn't be arrested, nor even that he shouldn't be arrested 30 years later, but that a great deal of effort went into tracking him and trying to catch him over that 30 years, far more effort than has gone into many similar, or even more egregious, cases. I think there are political overtones to the arrest, and I'm curious to know what they are. I don't know that he's guilty of the crimes of which he is accused, but certainly the accusations warrant a trial to determine his guilt. It would seem that many people questioning his arrest don't think he should be tried, which I don't agree with at all.

#97 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 05:57 PM:

Thomas #54/Pedantka #57: I've recently had to deal with a copy editor who had strong feelings on the subject of "that" and "which." Together with the placement of commas (or should that be "commata"?), restrictive or otherwise, about these words.

The copy editor also thought I had unnecessarily repeated a word in the name of a prominent figure in early twentieth century Jamaica, Sir George Seymour Seymour. I was determined to see no more of that sort of pedantry.

#98 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 06:05 PM:

Abi #84:

It is a fact, one I cannot deny,
That better than my verse is your reply.

#99 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 06:08 PM:

thomas, #95: *SPLORT!*

#100 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 06:49 PM:

A request for assistance in identification of a short story, which I can remember in some detail but have been unable to pin down.

The story concerns the inhabitants of an alien planet. There is a human presence on the planet, & two notable indigenous species. One is an intelligent nonhumanoid resembling a big cat with tentacles*. The humans call them "octopussies". The other species closely resemble humans but appear to be no more intelligent than baboons. The humans call them "yahoos"**. A human couple arrive from Earth with the intention of proving the yahoos are intelligent (and therefore have human rights - they're treated as animals) by raising a pair of yahoo infants as human children.

I think it was the first story in an anthology I found in a school library in the early 90s, and probably at least a couple of decades old at that point. The anthology may also have contained Cordwainer Smith's "The Crime and Glory of Commander Suzdal", but none of the anthologies listed as containing that at really look familiar. (I know I read "Suzdal" in something at about that time, though, so either I'm failing to recognize one or it's unlisted.)

* Something like van Vogt's Coeurl, I guess.
** I didn't get the reference to Gulliver's Travels when I first read this.

#101 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 06:56 PM:

As I am about to start into the new book in my life, I really do want to add the note:

While I will buy every book ever written by David Weber and read them voraciously, is it now a requirement that they double as doorstops? Thank God they're on the bottom shelf or they might break the furniture. (And PNH, the repetition about the spiffy wonderfulness that is fpubbare-evttvat becomes really obvious in the audio book versions of Armageddon Reef and Schism. Not an explanation of how it's better in terms of how the physics works, just a lot of gushing about why it is better in effects. Over and over again. Probably catches my ear more because I can't unconsciously go "Oh, again?" and skim the the paragraph. Am I going to have the same problem this time?)

Off to neglect the textbooks for some light naval-sf.

#102 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 07:04 PM:

Re: The Wild Sewer Pigs of Hampstead - One wonders if Neil Gaiman knew about that legend when he wrote Neverwhere.

#103 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 07:13 PM:

Xopher (93&94): Huh. In other words, 'different than' is always correct, but 'different from' is only correct some of the time? (Your terminology confused me a little, although your example in 93 sounds right to me.) That makes sense; this is the same teacher that advised us to always use the serial comma, on the practical grounds that it is never wrong and the lack of it can be (as in the famous "my parents, Ayn Rand and God"). That doesn't explain her vehemence in objecting to 'different from', but it is at least consistent.

#104 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 07:26 PM:

Sarah, #8: I think big protein-heavy meals helped me with panic attacks. Eggs, beans, and spinach for breakfast, in my case. I don't know if I needed protein, or iron, or if it replaced sugar and starch, or what.

Nor did it fix everything, but it did seem to help, and it was pleasant.

#105 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:22 PM:

Bill at #82 & #83 - there were probably just as many ties in Montreal as being worn in those Worldcon photos. The difference is that in Montreal, they all belonged to David Hartwell!

#106 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:29 PM:

#100 The story is Overproof by Johnathan (sic) Blake MacKenzie, Analog October 1965. I have the magazine right here.

I think it's collected in one of the Analog anthologies.

#107 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:44 PM:

I just stumbled across a couple good uses of modern technology as applied to Bach.

Crab Canon, illustrated using a Möbius strip.

Applying the principle of Shepard Tones to the neverending canon.

#108 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:47 PM:

Tim @100, sorry not to help, but I do remember that story. From the years I read my way thru' the local library, so anthologies especially are all merged into one often-anonymous storystream.

#109 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:51 PM:

Er, didn't spot Henry @106 answering question @100. *sheepish*

#110 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:38 PM:

On Polanski: it's probable that his lawyers caused the arrest, because they didn't think LA was serious about the matter.
Although after 30 years I'd think it was past time to end it: the victim settled with him years ago, out of court. (I'm pretty sure that the statute of limitations has also expired on this.)

#111 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 10:55 PM:

Juli @59:

I think it's partly a New York thing (more to do in the evenings, transport running all night and some chance of finding, say, a diner that will sell at least a sandwich and a cup of coffee quite late), and partly a characterization thing, including an easy way to show Wolfe insisting on having his way on schedules etc. even when the clients didn't like it. Even at the time, it wasn't meant to look like business-as-usual: Wolfe's scheduling everything around meals and set times in the plant rooms is part of his eccentricity.

#112 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Re Polanski:

On the legal issue, I don't think statute of limitation applies after a conviction: Polanski pled guilty, and then jumped bail pre-sentencing when the judge changed his mind about the plea bargain. (Did he or his lawyer really think the Swiss court would grant bail at this point?)

Beyond that, I want to note somewhere (and this seems like a plausible place) the contrast between two headlines on the BBC News Web site today. One was about Poland instituting mandatory chemical castration for convicted "pedophiles," defined in this case as anyone who raped someone under the age of 15. The other was someone in the Polish government pushing for charges to be dropped against Polanski, who has been convicted of drugging and having sex with someone under the age of 15.

I realize that "Poland" is no more a monolithic entity than the United States, but I also found myself thinking "convicted pedophiles, unless they're famous" and "I wonder if the same people would be pushing for charges to be dropped if the victim had been male" and whether they're telling themselves that it wasn't really rape, because [any number of excuses to do with her behavior or his history].

#113 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:01 AM:

Vicki, this might be wroth throwing into your thoughts:
“The district attorney’s office, in the 30 years since Mr. Polanski left the jurisdiction, has not once sought to have him extradited. If it had, there would have been a hearing regarding misconduct in this case,” wrote the attorneys, Chad Hummel, Douglas Dalton and Bart Dalton, in a July 7 filing.

It isn't like Polanski's been hiding the whole time. The DA's office hadn't bothered to do anything until now; it seems it wasn't important to them.

#114 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:45 AM:

My gut feeling about Polanski, when hearing the news was, "Good. About time!"

I first remember hearing about Polanski's crime when I was very, very young. Maybe 8. Juuuuuust old enough to understand what rape was. When I found out that he had gotten away and was living free in Europe, I was absolutely horrified, especially since he wasn't hiding. They knew where he was and no one was going to make him come back and go to jail. Polanski kind of became my boogieman...the proof that bad people sometimes get away with things, even when everyone knows about them.

#115 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 01:29 AM:

#102 heresiarch

I don't know though I'd suspect he did. But I'm sure Joan Aiken did when she wrote Midnight is a Place, which features feral pigs in the sewers under an industrial town.

#116 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 02:00 AM:

KeithS, #107: That second one is COOL.

#117 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 02:09 AM:

Head covering certainly isn't unique to Islam, or completely out of the norm in the US. I see the occasional headscarf in Portland, Oregon — some on women who look like their religion is probably Islam, and some on women who I would guess are Russian Old Believers. I've seen one full burqua, on a lab assistant working in a university computer center. As I child, I attended parochial schools where the nuns wore full habits with wimples and scarves, and I had to wear a hat when I attended the Catholic church. When I lived in Pennsylvania, I knew Amish women who wore small caps on their hair, and modest dresses.

The religious realm isn't the only place where attire is about gender and power, and westerners who aren't Islamic shouldn't congratulate ourselves too quickly that our culture doesn't show disparities like a burqua. I was at a theater festival in June, when the audiences are full of high school student groups, and was really struck by how they dressed. The boys wore baggy clothes that concealed their bodies and made them look bigger than they were, and wore sneakers. The girls wore skin-tight clothes, sleeveless and low cut, short shorts and miniskirts, and wore strappy sandals often with high heels. No religious oppression here, but who is unable to run, fussing with tugging clothes down (or up), shaving, painting, blow-drying? And who is the show for?

I thank heaven that this disparity does seem to be reduced somewhat after the teenage years. I watch Mad Men on TV, (wearing jeans, a comfortable shirt, and sneakers) and shudder at what my Mom had to wear.

#118 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 03:30 AM:

P.J. Evans @ 113:
I'm not sure I believe that, given that news coverage has been reporting for years how Polanski has been avoiding any jurisdiction (such as the UK) from which he was likely to be extradited to the US.

I'm also not really sure why it's relevant. If the police or prosecutors got sloppy or lacksadaisical about following up on a case, after he'd been dodging extradition for some time, that means what? That the criminal gets a pass forever?

I suspect the truth is the opposite of what Polanski and his lawyers claim: if Polanski were other than a celebrity with powerful friends, he would have been in jail many years ago. He might even have been out by now.

#119 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 03:30 AM:

xeger @OT#129:940 I have to admit to being utterly curious as to why

It's because of the way my week is structured: My workweek M-Th, which is when I'm on the computer most. F-Sun, much less so, so if I want to quckly pick up on where I'm at with a thread, "Was that later than last Thursday?" is faster for me to key to than "What was last Thursday's date?" (I have a bookmarking strategy for keeping track of this, but I haven't come up with a smooth transition between computers.) (I'm sure there are more elegant ways; I just haven't dug into them yet.)

Also, beyond, say, the last two weeks in time, day-of-the-week helps me coordinate events to my own life rhythm. "What was I doing when...?"

Does that answer your question?

Tangentially, I absolutely detest the way that many mail clients think that "today" or "yesterday" ... are reasonable things to put in the 'Date' column. I couldn't care less if it's "today" or "yesterday" -- I'd like to know what the date actually is...

My beloved Mac does this, and I can't figure out how to get it to default to date. Drives me nuts if I pay any attention to it at all. (Thank Ghu for Linux and ls -l.)

(or for that matter "Wednesday")

That's why I want date AND day-of-the-week. So call me greedy. :)

#120 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 06:50 AM:

Don't think it's been posted before: NaNoWriMo participants who have no plot ideas yet may find this very useful.

#121 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 07:46 AM:

janetl #117: I have a feeling that went into the wrong thread....

#122 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 09:23 AM:

PJ @ 110: There's no statute of limitations on sentencing; Polanski pled guilty and then fled sentencing because he thought the judge would "renege". There's no evidence that the judge was indeed changing the sentence, but even if there was, it doesn't mean Polanski was right to flee. Once he pled guilty, he was required to serve whichever sentence the judge handed down, and judges do reserve the right to change or modify a plea bargain that's been worked out between the prosecutor and the defense attorneys. It happens all the time. In Polanski's case, if they felt there had been a miscarriage of justice, that would have been a case to appeal, not a case for fleeing.

I've read some of the trial transcript (where the girl testifies), and it isn't pretty. He knew he'd done wrong, and he pled guilty to a reduced charge, so there is absolutely no excuse for his behavior in fleeing and staying away for more than 30 years.

After all, if he'd stayed and completed his sentence, he'd have been totally free long ago. He prolonged this case with his unnecessary actions and refusal to take his justified punishment.

#123 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 10:39 AM:

An open thread at this particular site seems like the perfect place to ask if anyone can give me a reliable bibliographical reference for the Asimov essay titled, "What Is Intelligence Anyway?" I've seen it attributed to his book _It's Been a Good Life_ but a thorough re-read of that work assures me that it's not in there.

My permissions editor is going nuts looking for this. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

#124 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 10:40 AM:

I didn't say I believe Polanski's lawyers, except that yes, he could have been extradited before this.

I keep wondering, why now and not thirty years ago? What changed? What's their real goal? (The judge and the prosecutor and the DA involved are long gone: there's not much of a point to going after them.)

#125 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 11:00 AM:

Sarah S. @ 123: Is that definitely the title? There's "Thinking About Thinking" in The Planet That Wasn't on that subject.

#126 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 11:13 AM:

Joel Polowin @125: Here's the text - it's not the same essay. Floating around the internet, crediting Asimov, but with no source.

#127 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:28 PM:

Xopher: Yes.

Mary Aileen: I would say different than is the least commonly correct.

#128 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Terry Karney (127): Then I guess I'll bug you a lot, because that's the only one I ever use. :)

#129 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:44 PM:

This may* be abuse of an open thread, but hey, open's open, right?

I just found myself writing "there are some more pictures up on the flickr account; I know you've seen the old ones"

I use "ones" that way a lot in spoken English - referring to a number of examples of a given thing - but it always looks wrong to me written†. Is this use of "one":

i) informal usage, and therefore fine
ii) informal usage, and just plain wrong
iii) correct usage, but not the way I'm doing it
iv) correct, it just looks funny to me, or
v) correct only when capitalized, but don't mention them or they'll eat your mind?

And as a bonus for 10 - where would you normally go to resolve a grammar question? I came here because I lurk and, well, you guys are likely to know and may even be interested.

†mostly it looks like it needs an apostrophe, but I think that's the Grocer in me talking

#130 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:46 PM:

Russ, there is nothing wrong with your use of "ones," and RESIST the temptation to put a grocer's apostrophe in there! There's no need or reason for it.

#131 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:52 PM:

P J: According to the LA DA's Office, they haven't filed for extradition because Polanski's people have been very careful to 1: not travel to anyplace where there is a standing extradition treaty (say the UK, where he'd be flagged at passport control) and 2: not to announce his plans to enter places like Switzerland where an actual application has to be filed. They have, so they say, been paying attention to him, looking for just such a chance as they got.

So Polanski's lawyers may be telling a very careful set of, accurate, facts, to hide a piece of difficult truth.

So this time he got an invite, and then showed up. Bang! they got their chance.

As to the timeline; there are two crimes. One of which he plead guilty to. That voids the statute of limitations on that one.

The other is flight, which has no such statute of limitations.

The rest, well if he'd been less wealthy fleeing would have not been an option. If, I suspect, he were less famous, the ongoing interest wouldn't exist.

I've heard, on a pretty regular basis, people bitching about him; saying someone ought to just "pull a Noriega" and kidnap him back. I've seen such things in print. I don't think more than a couple of years went by without something he does making the papers, and a big outcry about how he needs to be arrested.

#132 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 01:09 PM:

Sarah S. @123

Google Books pointed me to several books that used the essay. One is The Simon & Schuster short prose reader, and it does have a copyright attribution for the essay (though you can't see what it is in the Google snippet).

#133 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Open-threadiness: I just wanted to enthuse about how my son has clicked on They Might Be Giants new album (Here Comes the Science), especially the Boing-Boing-produced video for Meet the Elements. He's home sick today and is pulling the stuff up on YouTube for repeated listening.

Also, their "The Mespotamians" is one weird-ass song. Not .. that that stands out in the overall TMBG body of work, but still...

#134 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 02:10 PM:

Thomas @132

Thanks so much. I think that may well solve the problem for me!

#135 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 02:11 PM:

Russ: iv.

#136 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 02:48 PM:

Pendrift at #120:

This one is a favorite of mine: action film trailer generator page.

Much related stuff on the same page.

#137 ::: Pendrift ain't happy ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 03:31 PM:

Just received in my inbox: Senate Finance Committee nixes public option. This is not a good thing, right?

#138 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 03:47 PM:

Russ, #129: You left out "standard pluralization", which is what you have there, albeit of a pronoun rather than a noun. UR DOIN IT RITE.

#139 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Michael: I really should get that. My son still loves their 'No!' album, and he loves science, so it seems like a natural combination.

#140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 04:05 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 60... Your dad sounds like one of the associates of Clark Savage Jr.

#141 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Pendrift at 137: don't despair. The process ain't over. The committee voted down one version of the public option (Rockefeller's), but will be voting on another (Schumer's), which might pass, though probably not. However, an amendment which adds the public option to a bill may still be brought up on the Senate floor and passed there.

The fact that four Democratic Senators voted against it is not good. It might mean that if a bill with a robust public option comes to the floor, it doesn't have 60 votes. However, one of those four, Ben Nelson, has said that he will vote for Schumer's version. Maybe the Democrats will make the Republicans actually filibuster, a la Jimmy Stewart. That would be teh awesome. Maybe Harry Reid will use the reconciliation process to pass a bill with a public option -- that only needs 51 votes. Maybe, maybe, maybe. And the beat goes on...

#142 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Pendrift @120

They've stolen my plot!

I suppose I could always bring back the fascist ninja clowns in airships.

#143 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 05:03 PM:

For all the guinea pig fans in the house.

#144 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 05:12 PM:

Russ #129, the answer to your bonus question is a “style guide” for the dialect of English you’re speaking and writing.

Several people here are professional writers, which I’m not, and they may have other views, but with due humility I’d say that for British English the style guide is Fowler’s Modern English Usage, ideally supplemented by the excellent The Complete Plain Words by Sir Ernest Gowers.  For US English it’s “Strunk & White”, that is The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White.

#145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 05:22 PM:

I would say Strunk and White is a moderately useful style guide for students, when taking classes from professors who believe in it.

Elstwise, I don't commend it.

#146 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 05:27 PM:

Which edition of Fowler?

There's a strong argument that the 3rd Edition completely misses the point. It does describe modern British English, but you don't get Fowler's prose on splitting infinitives. It's not Fowler, the person, but Fowler, the brand-name.

#147 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 05:40 PM:

Well, I have to admit that my Fowler is the original 1926 edition, so I’m not up to speed on the later editions.  But if not Fowler, Dave, and if not Strunk & White, Terry, then what?

#148 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 06:07 PM:

John Stanning @ 147:

Why not Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage? It gets a shout-out from no less an authority than Geoff Pullum. And if the co-author of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language[*] -- and notorious loather of Strunk & White -- likes it, that's a pretty good recommendation:

MWCDEU explains what actually occurs, shows you some of the evidence, tells you what some other usage books say, and then leaves you to make your own reasoned decision. It won't tell you either that you should split infinitives, or that you shouldn't. But it will give you a number of examples of writers who do, and point out that the construction has always occurred in English literature over the last six or seven centuries, and that nearly all careful usage books today agree it is entirely grammatical, and it will then leave you to decide.
In other words it treats you like a grown-up. Strunk and White treat you like the abused 9-year-old daughter of a pair of grumpy dads ("Omit needless words, damn you! And fetch my slippers. And bring his slippers too. Now fix our supper. And don't let us hear you beginning any sentences with however"). Don't put up with the abuse.

[*] Not what you want, since it's a thousand-page compendium of modern linguistic research on the grammatical structure of English.

#149 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Open Thread Query/Alert to South Pacific-dwelling Fluorosphericals: We hear an at-least-moderately-bad tsunami has hit American Samoa, after a Richter 8+ earthquake also damaged it.

There's a tsunami warning out for other places spreading out from there. Anyone affected by this? We'll hear more news & start sending aid over the next few days.

#150 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 06:15 PM:

ACookingKICIML question:

Inspired by a recent (re)viewing of the GlobeTrekker episode where Ian goes to Tunisia, I tried my hand at leb-lebi, the breakfast stew he eats while he's there. The recipes I found said to use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, which I did. (I had canned ones, but figured they'd fall apart too much while I was getting the onions cooked.) What happened was that when I cooked it for eight hours *on high* in the crockpot, the chickpeas did not magically fall apart and/or become very squashy. They weren't rock hard, but then they hadn't been that after they'd been soaked. What was I missing/doing wrong?

What I had was very good, particularly after I poured it over baguette slices in a bowl, and added the olives, the capers and the harissa, followed by an egg, nabeyaki-udon-style, but I gather it was supposed to be a bit, well, thicker, which it would have been if the chickpeas had disintegrated properly.

#151 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 06:17 PM:


Right now getting just about ANY bill out of the Finance committee is progress. The details of the bill are less important, although of course it would be preferable that the bill that passes out of Finance is as good as possible.

Something similar applies to later parts of the process. As long as the House and Senate pass bills that can be combined into a good bill, passing SOMETHING through both of them is more important than the details of either bill.

Ultimately what's important is what lands on Obama's desk, not the intermediate steps.

#152 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Jacque #143: Arrgh! An hour and a half, eaten by capybaras! ;-)

#153 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Peter Erwin@148 (and others above):

This entire discussion reminds me of a conversation amongst a group of hapless, newly-arrived international research students (myself included), all trying to figure out which of the rules of usage we had grown up with still applied in this brave new world we'd landed in. That/which came up, and we ended up fairly equally divided into those who lived and died by it and those who had never heard of such a distinction--at which point, a more senior member of staff cut in with 'Oh, don't listen to [person]--he splits his infinitives!'

#154 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Grrrrrr. I've emailed Bayh twice about a public option in the last week. His responses are pretty good, actually, but it's clear they're just pretty talk. (I also emailed him to yell at him about his little chest-beating crap about Iran, and told him to stop hanging around Joe Lieberman, who's clearly just a bad influence on him.)

Bayh is hopeless. He knows he's in for life anyway, so he might as well cash in with his Indianapolis corporate friends.

#155 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 07:32 PM:

David Harmon @152: I managed to pry myself loose after only 20 minutes, but only by bookmarking the videos to watch from home where I can turn the speakers up.

I'll be fascinated to see what The Herd thinks of this.

#156 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 08:04 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 154: I feel your pain. I've been letting Not My Senator Lieberman (I-Dipshitopia) have it with both barrels throughout the course of this debate, and having Chris Dodd as my Senator besides doesn't help as much as it ought.

At this point I would crawl across a field of broken glass to beg Dick Blumenthal to stop dithering and run against the Man of Lieber next go-round.

#157 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Epacris: Thanks for thinking about us Pacificans.

Hawaii was essentially unaffected, as I would have expected - a sea rise of a few inches, possibly with some strong currents. For a quick summary of effects here:

It looks like NZ was expecting a 1 meter surge, fortunately not coming at high tide but I haven't seen the actual reports yet.

Australia should be no worse, I expect.

I haven't yet seen reports from Niue, Tonga, Fiji, or other nearer island groups which were likely to be much worse affected (strength inverse to distance.)

#158 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 09:23 PM:

Pendrift @ 120 - damn, I think I would read every one of those! (The link to the automated version is especially good.)

#159 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 10:45 PM:

Michael I:

A crapped-up health care "reform" that makes things worse will kill momentum for future reform far more effectively than any fight the Republicans can put up at this point. And given the number of hands in the pot, and the sheer size and complexity of the system being reformed, it's much, much easier to crap the system up than to fix it.

#160 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 11:56 PM:

From the old open thread:

Carol Kimball "Wasn't that the tag from an old Warner Brothers cartoon? Daffy or Bugs bowing, arms outstretched, saying, "Salami, salami, baloney"?"

That's the American pronunciation. I was taught the French and Greek pronunciation was sal-o-MAY, and clearly so was my nurse, who had an accent I didn't recognize.

In the particle on ibuprofen: Not surprising, considering the level of damage it does to people who take it and aren't exercising.

#161 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 01:52 AM:

albatross @ #159, "A crapped-up health care "reform" that makes things worse will kill momentum"

More than that, it will cost a bunch of Democrats their seats in 2010. I don't think they really understand that the 70% of us who say we want a public option are serious about it, and will be pretty angry if we don't get it.

If it doesn't get done, we angry members of the base might just stay home from the polls in November 2010.

#162 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 02:35 AM:

joann @ 150--I admit to never having cooked chickpeas from scratch, but I'd like to, so I've done some puttering about online.

So far, I've found these suggestions:

1) soak the chickpeas for as much as 24 hours before cooking, putting the bowl in the fridge for longer-than-overnight soaks

2) avoid salting before or during cooking, as it toughens the skin to prevent softening (I've heard this about beans as well, but I seem to recall Cook's Illustrated testing this in the last year or so and finding salt did not cause tough skins, so...I dunno)

3) check the production date on the package, because old beans--"old" not being defined, but I'd guess more than a year or two would count--simply won't soften

4) if you live in an area with hard water, filter your water or run it though a water softener before using it to cook chickpeas

As I said, I've never used any of these methods, so I don't know if they'll work for you...but this may be a first step to a solution. Let us know how the next batch turns out!

#163 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 03:28 AM:

I was on IM with a friend in Auckland over the time when the crest was supposed to hit. He said it was "no big deal," so I gather the wave lost much of its force before it hit New Zealand.

The Beeb cites about 85 deaths and shows damage in Samoa and American Samoa.

#164 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:43 AM:

A warm thankyou to everyone who helped me out with @129

I have since found that a careful reading of the dictionary definition would have cleared that one up for me -

"22. something or someone of the kind just mentioned: The portraits are fine ones. Your teachers this semester seem to be good ones."

As a penance for insufficient rigour before asking the question, I have resolved to buy one of the style guides suggested. Of course, now I have to weigh the virtues of Fowler (original), Fowler (modern), or Merriam-Websters, each of which sound like excellent recommendations.

The relevant dialect is British English - would anyone else who has one or more of these like to chime in with an endorsement?

#165 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 08:43 AM:

Linkmeister #161:

Wait a minute. Are you saying that incumbent congressmen should sometimes lose their jobs for not doing what their constituents want? What the hell are you, some kinda Islamocommunist? Has the main purpose of several iterations of campaign finance "reform" and election law tuning and redistricting been lost on you?

Incumbents can't lose their jobs for failing to represent their constituents. That would be, like, having powerful people face consequences for their actions, which is simply un-American. Such a thing might somehow cause Congress to imagine it was working for the voters instead of campaign contributors and lobbyists. That's just not acceptable.

#166 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 08:53 AM:

Open threadiness; why I haven't been around at all lately:

#167 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 09:26 AM:

Wyman Cooke @166: Sending truckloads of good thoughts your way, and wishing you the very very best of luck.

#168 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 12:02 PM:

Wyman: Good luck good luck inspiration good luck good luck ....

#169 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Syd #162:

Suggestions sound good.

I'd soaked for about 16 hours; it appears an extra day might do the trick :-)

I was using canned vegetable stock, which has a certain amount of salt in it, and, halfway through, on the principle that if it makes onions soften faster it should do the same for beans, added a couple pinches kosher salt. Sounds like both of those were wrong. Ghu knows where I can find no-salt veggie stock, other than making it myself.

It is very difficult to check the package date on chickpeas bought in bulk, alas.

#170 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 01:21 PM:

Henry Troup @ #106 (& Epacris @ #108-9):
Thank you! I'd never have recognized that title. It must have been Seven Trips Through Time and Space that I read it in (I was wrong about it being the first story).

Well, that's one more thing I can add to my list of books read.

#171 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Wyman Cooke #166: May good fortune find you.

#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Wyman Cooke @ 166... Best wishes!

#173 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 02:44 PM:

albatross @ #165, Oh dear. Well, it's fun being an iconoclast.

I'm on record advocating redistricting commissions rather than the state incumbency protection plans racket currently in place, so I guess I'll have to live up to my words.

#174 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 02:51 PM:

I had a dream last night in which I and some friends were trapped in an episode of a chaotic TV show that was kind of a cross between The Mighty Boosh and H.R. Puff'n'Stff. (Or maybe Sigmund the Sea Monster.)

It was one of those dreams where you wake up for a while, realize it is a dream, and then sink right back into it.

I'm still twitching.

#175 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Wyman Cooke @166:

You'd mentioned earlier that you were at risk. I'm so sorry that it's come to this point.

From what my parents tell me about our bad old days (I was under six, and shielded as much as they could manage), the trials of such times are that they eat away at one's sense of self-worth. We peg our value so much on our productiveness and our success, particularly in American culture. When those things are absent, even temporarily, it can be very hard to find ways to hold firm to one's sense of self-worth.

Don't give up. Don't let it get to you. We, here, see in you a value that does not depend on where you sleep or whether you have work. The good wishes on this thread are a mere token of it.

Keep us posted as you may. There's a metaphorical candle in the figurative window awaiting your return.

#176 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 03:07 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 174: Much of my dreaming last night was explicitly from the ending of Clarke's Childhood's End, with me cast as the last human on Earth in the planet's last moments. Same pattern of semi-waking, identifying the story, and sinking back into it. Bleah. Why can't I do that with stories with happy endings?

#177 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 03:08 PM:

Wyman, LiveJournal is blocked from work, so I don't know the details, but from reading others' posts I gather you're in a bad situation. I wish you all the best, and hope your situation will improve drastically in the very near future.

#178 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 03:26 PM:

Good thoughts, Wyman. Hang in there. It's going around.

Monday night I helped move and store 12 boxes of stuff for a long-time friend who just got evicted after months of being unable to make rent. He has been so stressed out he had barely been able to make plans and pack the stuff he wanted to keep, and he had to give away many of his things or leave them behind. He's couch-surfing at a friend's now, and seems to be holding up.

We also took in his cat Soba; the poor thing has never been outside his apartment since she was a kitten, and is terrified of us, the new place, and our cats. We're keeping her in the bathroom until she gets a little more used to the place, but she spends the whole time hiding in the cat carrier or cat box and wailing and hissing at anyone who comes in. He came over last night to soothe her down a little and introduce her to the place, and with him around and holding her she was willing to settle and even let us hold and pet her for a bit, but that only lasted an hour after he left before she was back to terrified.

#179 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 03:42 PM:

Clifton @178: There are anti-anxiety medications for cats. Failing that, you can also try some catnip (either fresh or dried).

Wyman @ 166: I haven't looked at LJ, but you have my best wishes as well.

#180 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 04:26 PM:

Another of the formerly employed here....

The legal precedents which define corporations as persons, need exorcising....

And judges who don't understand that, deserving being made into "at will" employees subjected to separation and loss of income and all benefits.

That might effect some changes....

#181 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 04:57 PM:

Stefan Jones at 174:

Did they say "See you next week!" when you woke up?

#182 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 05:01 PM:

Wyman @ 166: bummer. Good thoughts from Indiana.

Open-threadiness: I have heat in the carriage house! Actually, lots of progress on the electrical front this week.

#183 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 05:12 PM:

Wyman Jones, sending you all good thoughts and echoing Fragano -- may good fortune find you.

Also, what abi said.

#184 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Clifton (#178) Whenever I've moved cats or distributed kittens, they've been accompanied by, at minimum, a familiar piece of material, with their and my scent, to snuggle into. (For kittens I put a batch of teatowels into their lair well beforehand, so there'll be something comforting to tuck each into, as well as a well-used 'toy' to take as they leave.)

So, does your friend have an unwashed blanket, shirt, towel, cushion, etc, that you could borrow for burrowing purposes? Assuming that hasn't been tried.

Wyman (#166) I'll repeat the support and good wishes of others here.
So far USA seems to be harder hit than Australia in this downturn. Or people are, whether the economy is statistically worse or not. Had a disagreement lately with someone saying "all change is good". My saying is "you might be able to sift platinum out of pigshit, but that doesn't make it a gourmet meal". So I'm hoping you come out of this in a better situation, though getting through it may be swimming in swine-poo.

#185 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Ginger: Doh! We have catnip in the freezer. I'll try some on her when I get home and see if it relaxes her.

I remember you told me a while back that (uhhh.. if I say the name it'll get held for moderation) a certain long popular anti-anxiety med starting with V is not considered safe for cats. If I stop by the vet at lunchtime, is there something I should ask for to give her, or should I just tell them the problem and see what they recommend?

#186 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 05:43 PM:

Pendrift et. al. re: public option

$125K raised in 24 hrs to run ads for public option in the states of those who voted against it yesterday.

Two progressive groups who launched a fundraising drive yesterday afternoon citing the defeat of both public option amendments tell me they’ve already pulled in $125,000. That’s in less than 24 hours.

The groups — the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America — are already running ads in the home states of Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe, demanding that they support the public option. As of yesterday, the groups had already raised $90,000 for the spots.
#187 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Wyman, my best wishes as well.

#188 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:11 PM:

OK, I know it's bragging but I have to. One of the bozos who wander through BoingBoing made the idiotic claim that the 10 Commandments are just "basic rules of life." I decided to shred them to make the point that they're specifically aimed at a community to which I do not belong and shouldn't have to to be considered American. Warning: Post contains tone and language I would never employ on Making Light...because the rules for THAT aren't universal either.

#189 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:13 PM:

The Old Stories

1. "You will bathe every day
in milk and rose petals," she said,
"If you convince your father to marry me."
The girl complied. After all,
the woman had been nice to her before
and it would be good to have a mother again.
And for a little while, it was milk and roses,
but soon enough it became cold water
and hard bread for breakfast.
The father believed the woman when she claimed
it was because the girl was spoiled.

Blood is thicker than water.
In that, some people find
the strength to lift them higher. Some
the chains that bind.

2. Two daughters sat on the well's edge.
The favored daughter had finely carded wool,
the unlucky, dirty flax. And when the thread broke,
as the mother knew it would,
she was thrown into the well as punishment.
In the magic land at the bottom, she spoke softly
and politely, and won favors and jewels for her courtesy.
Of course, she would never have dared otherwise at home.
Some coping strategies look like good breeding.

Blood is thicker than water.
In that, some people find
the strength to lift them higher. Some
the chains that bind.

3. When he found out her lies,
he threatened her, that she might give his children back.
She brought back the son, but
when she called for the daughter, she would not come,
preferring to spend the rest of her life as a mackerel
rather than allow her stepmother to change her again.
The wisdom or folly of that course
is known only to the mackerel.

Blood is thicker than water.
In that, some people find
the strength to lift them higher. Some,
the chains that bind.

4. Some variants of the tale
have the brothers changed back
after seven years' privation by their sister.
No smiles, no laughter, no speech.
At the end, she might have forgotten how to connect.
But in the old Irish tales, the swans are only changed back
after decades or centuries,
only to die of extreme old age.
Some hate resounds through the centuries.

Blood is thicker than water
trailing slowly down the page.
In the end, the truest stories are all
about blood.

#190 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:13 PM:

To accompany the 'Common Roman Polanski defenses, refuted' particle is the straight-to-the-point Broadsheet article Reminder: Roman Polanski raped a child.

#191 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:19 PM:

Wyman Cooke, #166, lots of good luck!

#192 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:19 PM:

Xopher, nice shred.

For clarification, the "covet" bit isn't about wanting, it's about envy, which is pretty corrosive (see "keeping up with the Joneses.") And probably a little bit of warning about jealousy too.

And on the "keep holy the Sabbath day," I've always thought it was nice of the Jews to come up with the concept of regular days off. :)

But that's besides the point, which is that you caught someone making a silly assumption and fulfilling the old saying about it.

#193 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:30 PM:

B., yeah, even those commandments have an upside. But even something as nasty as envy is a feeling, and telling people that feelings can be wrong is a problem for me. I see the point, I just don't agree.

#194 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:45 PM:

Wyman Cooke:

Good luck, I'll be thinking good thoughts at you. I know a little bit of how it feels; I'm in my 10th month of unemployment after being laid off, and the only reason I'm not homeless is because I am now living by liquidating investments I was originally planning to retire on last summer. Economic recovery, yeah, right.

#195 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 07:59 PM:

Wyman: Best of luck! There but for the grace of dedicated family go I.

Clifton Royston #178: I'd actually recommend valerian rather than catnip. Valerian is a sedative for cats as for humans, but for cats the scent works too. Catnip, as far as I can tell, is a feline hallucinogen, which seems Not The Thing for a scared kitty in an unfamiliar environment.

Me: My new computer > runs 15-20°C hotter when I'm playing Blob and Conquer....

#196 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 08:16 PM:

Wyman Cooke @ 166:

Good luck. I hope something pans out for you.

Clifton Royston @ 178:

The trick that worked for us when one cat didn't like vet smell on the other was to rub the smells-of-vet one with a slice of lunchmeat. Rubbing your cats with meat is probably too simplistic a solution for making things easier for a frightened, newly-displaced kitty, but it may give you ideas.

#197 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 08:55 PM:

Keith S @ #196, the lunchmeat remedy requires that John Scalzi's Cat & Bacon be mentioned.

#198 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 09:46 PM:

Clifton @185: if you call your vet and explain the situation, she should be able to help. Some of the newer anti-anxiety meds are more specific for anxiety, and not general tranquilizers like the V kind.

Mez's suggestion is also good, and one that I've used for my sick cats as well.

#199 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 10:02 PM:

[Curses, Linkmeister has preceded me. This here's a different link.]

KeithS (#196) - cats wearing meat? It's clearly a job for bacon!

#200 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 10:05 PM:

B. Durbin:
All of the poems you've posted here have been extremely powerful, both content and expression, and this one is also powerful. I haven't commented on every one, but I've been stunned by every one.

Consider me a fan.

#201 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 10:23 PM:

Too much of a hurry before — forgot to mention some just-broken news about a different Roman Emperor: Nero's rotating dining room uncovered.

And meanwhile after the earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and Tonga, Sumatra in Indonesia has been struck by a very nasty earthquake, leaving many dead. These on top of Typhoon Ketsana, which started off devastating parts of the Philippines before heading to the mainland and causing havoc in Vietnam and Cambodia, and is still threatening other areas. It's been an unhappy time for many over the last little while in this region of the globe.

#202 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2009, 11:26 PM:

today's Astronomy Picture: Saturn at equinox.

#203 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 12:01 AM:

Things said in Scott Wegener & Brian Clevinger's Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War...

"Leg stealin' fascist jerks!"


"So you're building a big dumb bomb to show everyone who the greatest scientist blah, blah, blah."
"No, that would be the pathetic work of an egomaniac. My bomb will kill everyone in the world. I was robbed of my place in History, so Humanity will be robbed of its Future."
"I am really going to enjoy stopping you."

#204 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 12:03 AM:

Mez: That is a good plan. In fact, we had brought over kitty's favorite cuddle and sleeping place, a natural sheepskin. Unfortunately, my wife appears to be even more allergic to that than to wool; she started wheezing very rapidly once I'd spread it out in the bathroom. We had to banish it from the house, which ruined the plan to have something familiar smelling.

#205 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 12:45 AM:

The news media has a worse perception of Polanski than of 2001-2008 Bill of Rights and Geneva Convention mass abrogators.... Polanski's actions were not laudable in any way, shape, or form. But he didn't cause the gratuitious deaths of tens to hundreds of thousands of people, didn't effect the destruction of thousand year old archive collections and of university libraries and governmental records and facilitate widescale looting, vandalism, wanton terrorist destruction and intimidation, looting of unguarded weapons and ammunitions dumps, sectarian violence, arson, theft, robbery, assault and battery, kidnapping, extortion, rape, and homicide by refusing to provide surveillance police patrolling in a country he had invaded and was occupying....

Where are the media reporting demands for kidnapping/extradiction of US Executive Branch 2001-2008 officials to the Hague for war crimes and Geneva Convention violations trials?

#206 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 07:12 AM:

Coming this Friday night on Turner Classic Movies...

Take a walk on the wild side as we present The Shack Out On 101 (1955), a nutty B-movie that uncovers Communist infiltration that extends to short-order cook Lee Marvin!

They will pry my greasy spoon from my cold dead fingers!

#207 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 08:21 AM:

Re: Catnip and stressed cats

We have given our cats catnip during moves, or major house changes, and it seems to help them a lot. The usual response is half an hour of running around batting at the air, followed by contented sleep and less stress upon waking. From the first effect, I assume that they are hallucinating, but it doesn't seem to frighten them.

Of course, your felines may vary.

#208 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 08:38 AM:

Rubbing your cats with meat is probably too simplistic a solution for making things easier for a frightened, newly-displaced kitty, but it may give you ideas

I'm not sure people should be given that sort of idea.

#209 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 09:13 AM:

Stressed cats? Not on Mount Olympuss...

#210 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 12:55 PM:

Good Luck and best wishes, Wyman Cooke.

#211 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 02:40 PM:

I sprinkled catnip on the floor for Soba kitty last night. She continued to cower back in her latest hiding place, growled and hissed, and didn't come out. My wife tried to toss some a little closer to her and got an impressive bleeding puncture on her thumb.

Later when Soba had moved to a more accessible hiding place (in between the inner and outer shower curtains) I did manage to get some to her; it did not calm her noticeably. She continued to do the same "Oh god they're coming through the walls they're all over me you're one of them get away aaaaaaaahhh" that she's been doing all along.

When I slept I dreamed that I and my wife were trying to rescue a particularly bloodthirsty vampire from an apartment tower. He wasn't cooperating well.

I'm starting to think this isn't going to work, but we'll give her a few more days and reassess.

#212 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Clifton @ 211: Soba may just need peace and quiet for about 7 days. I had one of those cats myself, and when she was Mad, she was not about to tolerate any handling by anyone. If you want to try the BT approach, just make sure she has food, water, and fresh litter in her box, and then leave her mainly alone.

Is Soba one of those cats who thinks you can't see her if you don't make eye contact? If so, you can pretend you don't see her, and she'll feel better.

The catnip will work its wonders for her, but not while you're present to remind her of why she's Mad.

The last time we moved house, I forgot about BT's needs, and boxed her last (out of the population of 6 cats at that time). She was climbing the drapes, screaming bloody murder, peeing, clawing, biting and generally carrying on to the point where my partner was totally freaked out by our normally quiet (and even "shy") cat. I was able to catch her, with only minimal bleeding on my part, and box her. Upon deboxing at the new house, she climbed into the ceiling* and stayed in hiding for at least a week, maybe longer. That was our last move, and thank goodness, because BT would have gone absolutely stark raving mad if we'd ever done that again.

*A really long story.

#213 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 04:45 PM:

B Durbin: Wow.

Wyman: Best of luck. I have been out of work, and just as abi says, it was horrible. I had not realized how much my sense of myself was tied to my job before that. FWIW, it took us several years, but we recovered financially from that time (which basically ate all our savings and used up a reasonably nice inheritance that we might have otherwise spent buying a house). Without those resources, my wife would have had to drop out of grad school without her MS, and we'd have ended up living with relatives.

#214 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 06:08 PM:

Ginger: Yes, that sounds exactly like her. If she thinks she is invisible, as when she was hiding in the shower, she doesn't seem to get so upset. The problem is that we need to use that bathroom and there are no unused rooms in the house to keep her in.

There is an outside storage room where she could be left alone, but I'm concerned that moving her there (and then needing to move back into the house) would add the negative effect of two more moves. We are planning to wait a week and see how she settles down.

#215 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 06:35 PM:

Russ @ 164:
As a penance for insufficient rigour before asking the question, I have resolved to buy one of the style guides suggested. Of course, now I have to weigh the virtues of Fowler (original), Fowler (modern), or Merriam-Websters, each of which sound like excellent recommendations.

The relevant dialect is British English - would anyone else who has one or more of these like to chime in with an endorsement?

My impression is that you should certainly avoid the original (1926) Fowler's, except possible for entertainment value (I have never read it, but some claim that it has an idiosyncratic charm). Advice based on late 19th Century English (Fowler was born in 1858!) is not what you really want.

There's a standard "third edition" of Fowler's (edited by Robert Burchfield in 1996) which is less dogmatic and probably more useful than the 1926 original. (I don't know anything about the second book you link to; it gives the impression of being yet another modern variation on the 1926 original.)

The various Fowler's books are written from a British perspective, although the Burchfield edition -- which I actually have, but rarely look at -- includes at least some remarks on American usage. (Though a quick check on "orient/orientate" shows that it fails to tell you that "orientate" is primarily a British usage, and very rare in the US.)

As for Merriam-Webster, it's an American book (which means that, yes, you'll have things like "center" instead of "centre"), but certainly has comparative notes for American vs British usage. You can look at a scanned-in version of the 1994 edition via Google Books here. (It correctly notes the US/British split over "orient/orientate", which I think is a good sign.)

And, if it helps at all, this Language Log post has entertainingly caustic comments by Geoff Pullum on both the 1926 and Burchfield versions of Fowler's:

I'm also seeing commenters say that the book you should really have is Henry Fowler's Modern English Usage! What the hell is going on here? Fowler's book dates from 1926. It's a third of a century older than Elements; and Fowler was a marked eccentric even then. Some of his articles are very scholarly (he was a man who really did know grammatical analysis), but some are completely quixotic. Others are pages and pages of weird raving about things he just happened to have bees in his bonnet about (he prattles on for a page about "Irrelevant allusion", for example). Some of it is very interesting for a serious English language scholar. But as a guide for writers in the 21st century? A book that was clearly in preparation more than a hundred years ago, by a man born in 1858? When Harper's and American Heritage and Merriam-Webster all have much better books out? What is this epidemic of nostalgia?

and as a reply to the first comment:

I hardly know how to break it to you that I don't have a high opinion of Burchfield's work. You'll think I'm some sort of universally negative curmudgeonly usage book smiter. But here is a nice exercise. In Burchfield's rewritten entry "Preposition at end" there are two examples cited where the preposition is not stranded — which would mean it is not a preposition at all under the traditional (and wrong) analysis, but rather an adverb. Can you find those two examples?

Practically speaking, I'd guess you probably can't go too wrong with "modern" versions of Fowler (e.g., Burchfield, or the maybe the one you linked to), though the Merriam-Webster book is probably a bit better overall.

#216 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 06:46 PM:

Saturn picture crashes my browser.

(and I am disappointed the Nero's Dining Room article had no picture)

#217 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 216:
Saturn picture crashes my browser.

Probably because it's about 7200 x 3800 pixels in size!

You can try this link instead, which starts off with a smaller version of the same image.

#218 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 08:53 PM:

B. Durbin #189 : Another "Wow" here...

#219 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Thanks, I couldn't find the link for that one, for some reason.

Today's picture is also good: the gas pillar/jet in Carina.

#220 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 09:31 PM:

Clifton @214: As long as you don't make any eye contact, and move carefully (without acting like you want to chase her), she can probably stay in that room while you use it.

I once had strangers in the house (yes! Delivering and installing a washer and dryer) and they were able to work in the very room where BT was "well-hidden" on a shelf, because they didn't look at her.

#221 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 09:32 PM:

Clifton Royston @214: We recently adopted a very shy cat. While she isn't quite as neurotic as Soba - she was okay with us being in the bathroom as long as we ignored her - she does seem to have many of the same issues. She was at the shelter because she hid (and got stuck) in an air duct at her last home.

Our current setup uses boxes and storage crates to block line of sight to the utility hallway, and all her stuff including her carrier is in there. We keep the hallway light off as much as possible. With that safe place to retreat to, she's getting a lot more comfortable with us.

Another thing to try is a Feliway plug-in. While the pheromone claims they make are probably bullshit, it does contain valerian, which has a similar-but-lesser effect on cats to catnip.

#222 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 09:49 PM:

Feliway is worth a try. It didn't seem to have any effect on BT and her sister, but it does seem to help Kedgie -- she doesn't overgroom herself so intensely now.

#223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 09:54 PM:

I have the TV on the jazz channel and, when they played Brubeck's "Take Five" a bit earlier, a caption informed me that he'd been in a service band under General Patton.

#224 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 01:18 AM:

With all the cat talk, now you can make your own paper ceiling cat.

#225 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 09:18 AM:

More cat talk: There's a new Simon's Cat video.

#226 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 10:38 AM:

Pendrift @225 -

Thanks for the heads up on the Simon's Cat vid -- I love those!

#227 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 11:21 AM:

It's that time of the year in Albuquerque. I overslept this morning, which means that when I took the bus to work, it was broad daulight. And there they were in the sky, some not far above houses. That reminded me of the one bright spot in my professionl life after I moved here 9 years ago, as one of them flew past my office window, on the 7th floor.

What are they?

Hot-air balloons.

#228 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 12:39 PM:

I have a job. Now to see if I can get an advance against the, guaranteed to be late, GI Bill payments due me.

It was a really good interview (I am pretty good at interviews, go figure). Not just my performance, but the interview itself. For a wide spectrum, special interest retail store (Sur le Table; part time, seasonal), the questions were about as suited (and well done) as might be imagined.

The kernel was these three:

"If I gave you a $500 limit, what would you buy here?"

"Ok, from that list, if you could only take one thing, what would it be"

"If a customer was interested in buying that, how would you sell it?"

I was impressed.

#229 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 12:46 PM:

The new Simon's Cat vid is something of a promo for the new Simon's Cat book, which is reasonably entertaining but doesn't have as much sporfle factor-- static drawings just don't have the elements of timing, motion, and sound effects. Some of the drawings are standalones, while others are linked together in sequence or theme; there are also certain bits that may be peculiarly Brit (hedgehogs in the garden and milk deliveries on the doorstep).

#230 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 01:01 PM:

Terry Karney @ 228... I have a job.


#231 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 01:08 PM:

Serge: thanks. It happens to be, sort of, perfect. More the temporary aspects, while I get some of the problems related to getting an on-campus job, or something with fewer hassles of scheduling.

I'd like a better hourly wage; and without the GI Bill I couldn't afford it (it's nominally 15 hours a week, and doesn't equal 20 hours per week of federal minimum wage, so I'm not eligible for food stamps).

I am getting ready to haul myself to Oakland to get an advance against the GI Bill, so things are looking better than they were a week ago (only a week, strange).

#232 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 01:58 PM:

Terry @228 - congrats. Those are good interview questions. I'm about to start trying to hire (programmers, .Net and/or SQL) again. I must cogitate.

#233 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 02:37 PM:

Terry: Woooo! Congrats! Sometimes it just feels good to be working again.

#234 ::: Deeply Offended ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 02:37 PM:


Re: Your Particle link to John Scalzi’s blog

I notice that you still give posters no clear warning that their comments here will be published in perpetuity (or at your will) without compensation (despite the fact that you derive an income from the comments made on your blog). I also note that you maintain that you have a right to such publication that supersedes any right the authors might have to withdraw their comments by asserting their copyright.

As a peripatetic poster on your website, I am not a public person and have never sought to be one (nor have I defamed anyone), so you have no claim to a “publication in the public interest” legal exemption in continuing to publish my words, nor do you have any right to use me as an exemplar. I note that you do not mention my initial request that all of my posts be disemvoweled, as a sop to your convenience.

If you seriously wished to understand my position, you have had ample time to contact me via e-mail.

Please contact me via e-mail at the address we used for our previous correspondence when you have made a good faith effort to remove your defamatory statements about me from Mr. Scalzi’s blog.. I have altered my identity for this post only because of your “read by all” e-mail grouping scheme, combined with your eagerness to publicize this issue; I have no doubt, reading your comments on Mr. Scalzi’s blog that you are quite aware of my real identity.

To Future Posters,

Theresa’s “gracious” eagerness to air a private disagreement so publicly by defaming a poster to her site, then to brag about it, should be a serious warning. She seems to feel that the Internet is somehow special, so ordinary copyright laws do not apply. Should your interests and hers diverge, please be aware that she is more than willing to publicly attack your reputation.

#235 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 02:48 PM:

Terry Karney @ 228:
Congratulations, and good luck with the GI Bill; my son managed to get through graduate school on it, but cash flow was a problem when the checks were delayed. The best strategy he found was to keep on top of them; if a check was even a day late, he'd contact the office to let them know about it. Sucks up some time, but not getting the money sucks even more.

B. Durbin:
Belated appreciation for that poem. I've been most impressed by your work here in general; that last one was especially poignant.

#236 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 02:51 PM:

Oooh. /me grabs popcorn.

I'd point Deeply Offended to the archives. Lots of comments in them thar archives. A cursory review suggests that the point of typing in the little box is to publish the comment on the site. You'd have a hard time convincing a judge that's not what you expect to have happen to your comment.

#237 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 02:53 PM:

Deeply Offended @ 234:

I'm curious: do you believe you own the copyright to a letter you send to a newspaper editor? If not, how is commenting on a blog different? If so, why?

#238 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 02:59 PM:

Theresa’s “gracious” eagerness to air a private disagreement so publicly by defaming a poster to her site, then to brag about it, should be a serious warning. She seems to feel that the Internet is somehow special, so ordinary copyright laws do not apply. Should your interests and hers diverge, please be aware that she is more than willing to publicly attack your reputation.

Yanno, if you're going to bitch someone out on her own blog, you might at least spell her name right.

Plus? Blog. What did you think was going to happen to your comments? Once you put it on the Internet, it's out there. There is no calling it back.

Last but not least, you do realize that no one would have had any idea who Teresa was talking about, if you hadn't piped up? It could've been me, for all the rest of the Net knows. Heck, we still don't know who you are, except in the broad sense of "that person has a particular style and is female".

#239 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Deeply Offended: Huh? Derives income how? Publically defamed? Really?

If she has no standing to claim a defense, then sue. For all that I appreciate the desire to right a wrong (and am willing to entertain the idea you have been wronged making an anonymous post, in a different forum, about an unknown harm; while saying this, in some way shows the owner of this blog, to be willing to do the same (i.e. Should your interests and hers diverge, please be aware that she is more than willing to publicly attack your reputation. without any corroboration, is silly.

It can't help your case.

As to the, "specialness" of the internet. If I sent something to a newspaper, magazine, etc., there is no way to, "unpublish it."

In which case the question is more on of, why should the internet be special. This is not your place. My Lj is not your place. Scalzi's blog is not your place (Boing Boing isn't Teresa's place, she just works there. If the owners can be convinced her moderation policies are wrong, she will have to change them, or find other work; which means that, should this be a dispute about a Boing Boing issue [which, to be honest isn't clear, one way, or the other] this venue, and this jury, are not the proper court).

You publish to any of those places you have published which puts it into the public sphere. In this regard the policies here, and and Boing Boing, and Whatever, are perfectly in keeping with the world as it is.

Those who want mulligans are those who are asking the internet to be different.

#240 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:08 PM:

I am also curious: since Scalzi has a public policy (the restating of which seems to be the genesis of this comment) that no comments will be deleted:

1: What is the point of Teresa asking to have them removed (i.e. do you think John Scalzi will make an exception to policy, and so himself a hypocrite; because you have demanded Teresa do the same)?

2: Assuming Scalzi will not remove the comment: what defines a good faith effort.

3: How does your effort here propose to further the cause of this?

#241 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:13 PM:

Deeply Offended: My apologies, going back to re-read the Scalzi comment, I see Teresa did mention a commenter at ML. I should not have said it might be about Boing Boing.

Which, I suppose, goes to show how much the minutae of the comment Teresa made affected me. I was looking at the meta issue of, "people want to have things they said in public removed from the record." It was unkind of me to lump you in with other people who have come here to vent about things in other fora.

Insomuch as the parent events took place here, you are justified in discussing it here, and I was wrong. I am sorry.

#242 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:26 PM:

I like the suggestion that people should get paid for commenting here. Let's see, who would get paid the most and what would it consist of?

#243 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:34 PM:

Serge and Xopher. And they get paid in puns.

#244 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:37 PM:

LDR: I think the theory is that page views give ad revenue, so Teresa and/or Patrick get paid for people having commented here (because the comments draw page views). Thus commenters, who create some of the draw, should be compensated.

Of course, I think we are, in personal satisfaction, but I'm impractical that way. :)

#245 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:41 PM:

I can see incremental improvement in Soba.

For one, she's getting bolder - she no longer instantly hides, growls and hisses when she sees us, she is instead more apt to hold her position on the counter or middle of the floor while growling and hissing. This is a nuisance for working around her, but clearly means she's considerably less fearful of us than she was. She'll also quiet down and stop threatening after a bit, if we stay at a safe distance and ignore her, which she wouldn't before.

This morning after she tried to slash my foot, I tried getting down on the floor a little out of reach, so I wasn't looming so high, and "purring" and trilling at her a bit, alternating with looking away and washing my face. Who knows whether primate attempts at imitating cat communication work, but she might have been a little calmer after. Once I was ignoring her again and shaving, she darted off to another "safe" corner.

We removed the cat carrier, because it was clearly making her bonkers that she could see out of it on all sides when trying to hide in it. She has a couple boxes now though she's not taking to them as yet.

Slowly, slowly.

#246 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:42 PM:

#243: Metric or English puns?

#247 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:45 PM:

Carrie: I figured it was something like that. Of course, "page views" also includes people who read the page, but don't comment. So we lurkers deserve compensation too!

Seriously, the education and entertainment to be found here are payment enough. And there's plenty to go around.

#248 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:48 PM:

Deeply Offended @234:

Until you posted, there were—to my knowledge at any rate—exactly five people on the planet who knew what Teresa was talking about. That's counting you. For everyone else, it was an untraceable event, not even worth the title of "mystery". Just one of those things that happens in the life of a website, like the time those kids used a dead comment thread to pass notes in class*.

Now, of course, it's a topic of conversation. That's unfortunate, if your goal was to vanish from the site. You have Teresa's email address if you wanted private communication with her. Having addressed the matter in public, here, though, you may get a public reply.

I'll bring the matter to her attention. She is, however, on the road at the moment, so don't expect a rapid answer by any medium.

* Actually, much less notable than that; when the kids stated using foul language we traced their school with their IP address and called the office.

#249 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:55 PM:

(forgot to add: what's the going rate for a sonnet?)

#250 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 03:56 PM:

By the way, I gather the page ads are to pay the server costs. I don't think Patrick and Teresa are exactly making a fortune on Making Light so they can treat science fiction publishing as a lifestyle business.

#251 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:01 PM:

Dheeply Ohffended: See, I think abi's too polite by half. I'm now going to try to figure out which commenter you are and tell everyone I know, so that if you comment here under that name again I'll know you're to be discounted, because anyone who thinks they can post comments on a blog and expect the blog owner to delete them on the poster's whim is seriously cracked in the head.

Which head, if you take my advice, you will boil at once.

#252 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:06 PM:

And I'm going to save a link to your comment above to use you as an exemplar of "bozo poster" and "copyright troll."

And in case you decide to get all "deeply offended" at me, I'd just like to state that I find your comment above pretty godsdamned offensive, and I hope Teresa bans your ass when she gets back.

#253 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Could someone please revise my last post to read groans instead of puns?


(not for the first time realizing that I totally missed a 50 point answer while playing a 10 point one)

#254 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:24 PM:

Ooo! I know! I'm going to go to BoingBoing and use Suggest A Link to suggest that they have a look at DO's comment above, and suggest the title "Bozo Copyright Troll." BB has a long-standing interest in copyright law, and people's false (and, as in this case, crazed) beliefs about it.

Gotta wait til I get home though, because for some reason the Suggest A Link page is blocked from here, even though BoingBoing in general is not.

#255 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:27 PM:

eric, I wondered why you essentially characterized Serge and me as sharecroppers. But we don't get paid in groans either; we never hear them. Occasionally someone posts a groany response, but usually nothing.

It's a pity, because I think our pun skills have groan (pun intended) over the years.

#256 ::: pnkrokhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:29 PM:

Oh, I just chuckle every time some fool posts a diatribe on the internets based on such a foolish idea of what constitutes "defamation."

#257 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:30 PM:

Xopher -- Good Hunting all, who head the Jungle Law!

Deeply Offended: In case you weren't aware of it, Making Light is a BLOG. That means when you comment on an article posted in that blog that comment is there forever, or as long as the blog exists on the Web, whichever comes first.

You want to discuss something with the owners of said blog Take It To Email; don't whine about it being part of the public record if you post here.

Mods, my apologies if I've overstepped the bounds, but this ... really bugged the hell out of me.

#258 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:38 PM:

Bah, that's "heed" not "head!"

Fingers are faster than eyes this afternoon...

#259 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:38 PM:

Widely-flaunted offendedness aside, we *do* take it for granted that copyright issues on blog comments won't be pressed. It's the same tacit assumption that goes back to Usenet, mailing lists, and zines: that submitting a message gives the receipient a license to copy, distribute, and publish it according to the accepted conventions of the forum.

(The same assumption that big companies make *non*-tacit when they say "All submissions become property of GalaxiCorp." Although of course there's room between "we own your comments" and "we have the right to display your comments".)

It may be worth adding a line to the Dire Legal Notice. Or the equivalent on boingboing. Slashdot has one, I see (in their considerably longer terms-of-service page). It's a matter that sites have to consider as they grow larger, I guess.

#260 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 04:39 PM:

pnkrokhockeymom, I wish I could chuckle. It just pisses me off. People pretending to knowledge they obviously don't have...they might as well be charlatan "psychic readers."

Lori, thanks. And if you've overstepped the bounds I've left them parsecs behind, so I sure hope you haven't!

#261 ::: Otherwise Offended ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:03 PM:

A different example, but related.

My local Paper of Record edited a sentence in my Letter to the Editor, changing its meaning to one I found deeply offensive. It would also make me look offensive to many readers.

Yes, they say at the start they may edit, mostly for length or libel. They didn't change its length, just moved words. If there is libel, they added it.

I wrote in protest. They neither printed the protest letter nor a correction. So my letter stands that way in the record. I may have mentioned it in my (vastly less prominent) blog - it was several years ago - but that's unlikely to register on anyone finding it either online or in real-paper archives.

In those circumstances, perhaps deleting, if it couldn't be corrected, might be preferable.

#262 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:05 PM:

"Philip K. Dick wrote this letter after seeing his first glimpse of Blade Runner in a television segment."


I am also reminded of words Gibson's Japanese guide said to him on seeing Shibuya's nightscape, "Bladerunner town, like Neuromancer". For me, Dick, "Bladerunner" & Gibson occupy the same mental real estate.

#263 ::: pnkrokhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:08 PM:

Xopher, in truth, my chuckle is rueful, but I am only so amused because our offended friend here has clearly bitten off much more than (s)he can chew with such a limited understanding of the legal framework and such a low, low threshold for outrage and self-righteousness. (S)he's clearly underestimated our hostess.

#264 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:09 PM:

Otherwise Offended, that's an entirely different thing. D'offended isn't complaining about someone falsifying her words; she's claiming the right to withdraw them because she doesn't like the words that appeared alongside them. Nobody altered her words or made it seem like she was saying anything other than what she actually said.

#265 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:17 PM:

Please note that this is not the Dysfunctional Families thread. Deliberate anonymity is...problematic, particularly in this conversation, though I can understand why Deeply Offended has chosen it in this case.

Note, Otherwise Offended, that no one's words have been altered, rearranged or cut in these circumstances. I'm sorry that the newspaper treated you poorly, but the stories are not parallel. Indeed, touching someone's words is precisely what we are refusing to do.

Xopher, and any others planning to go a-hunting, remember of your charity that many people make mistakes on the internet, and consider your actions in that mindfulness. Not only would it be dreadful if you were to guess wrong (and I, in full knowledge of the situation, am virtually certain that you would), but even if you guessed right, would you want such treatment meted out to yourself as you propose?

#266 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:27 PM:

Oh, abi, don't take me too seriously. I was mostly trying to make D'offended as angry as she made me. And I would not guess, for exactly the reasons you state. I would have to be certain before I went trumpeting the person's identity. And even then, in reality, I would hesitate, again for the reasons you state.

I expect D'offended now realizes what a bonehead move it was, posting as she did above. If not, she soon will, unless she's even more of a wacko than I think, which would be hard, since she apparently can still recognize a keyboard.

I guess I'm kind of hoping that Teresa will get mad enough to tell everyone who it is. That would be (mean, nasty) fun. <evil grin>

#267 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Xopher @ 255: "Occasionally someone posts a groany response . . . "

Which helps to Titus over, if (Gormen-) ghastly enough.

#268 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Changing tone completely -- recommendations for books and music to grieve with? I'm not looking for things to cheer me up, or self-help books about grieving, per se.

If it's any direction, 'I heard the owl call my name', and 'The Seduction of Claude Debussy: The Art of Noise' have been helpful.

#269 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:36 PM:

*returning to the land of the living*

Hello again, luminous factors! It's probably hideously boring to unload a health update on you, but this is an open thread so I think it's probably ok. If I'm being horrid, I'm happy to be disemvoweled...I suspect I'm just dull though (probably an even worse peril to our vigilant moderators! He's not offensive...but he's bl***y boring!) At any rate -

I'm happy to report that I'm basically recovered from my biking accident. My Orthopedic surgeon in Bad Tölz was outstanding (his English wasn't half bad either, although he spent half the exam goggling at my Sony reader...) I've no broken bones, and the soft tissue damage is healing rapidly. The bike was repaired with astonishing efficiency and quality. I was boggled, delighted and absolutely converted to a new customer by the shop my mate referred me to (props Jem!)

So, I'm happy to report the dreary, unexciting news that all is well and I'm on the mend. Many thanks to the luminous support I recieved from this group, and when I have more strength, I'll be happy to wade into more contentious waters.

(I've been reading Roger Ebert's blog today, and the comments have mildly traumatized me. Perhaps I've been living in idyllic Bayern too long...)

#270 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:39 PM:

Hooray for easy, speedy recoveries!

#271 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:41 PM:

xeger @268: I found Fauré (Cantique de Jean Racine, for example) helpful. Sending good thoughts your way.

#272 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:47 PM:

Vielen dank, Xopher! I've taken a lot of stick here for my insistence on helmet-wearing and proper signaling and strictly following the rules of the road (And if you're wondering -Jesus, what a geezer- I'm very slightly less than two hundred years less old than the Declaration of Independence *so there*) But I do think it saved my life in this case. When I was doing the police report, the cops were baffled that I was cogent (and vertical for that matter!)

I don't insist that other people follow my safety regimen when cycling, but I am F***ING glad that I did.

Incidentally...On my first post accident ride, i found a 5 euro note laying on the roadside. At current exchange rates, does this entitle me to approx. 2 years good luck?



#273 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 05:51 PM:

xeger, #268: I've heard a recommendation of the madrigals of John Dowling for that purpose, but cannot speak to how well it actually works from personal experience. My normal use of music along those lines is to work myself out of a bleak mood by playing high-energy techno, and I don't think that's what you want.

#274 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:00 PM:

xeger #268: I'm fond of Don Sakers' The Leaves of October.

dbowman76: Welcome back, it's good everything came out so well!

Deeply Offended #234: <grabs popcorn>

#275 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:13 PM:

xeger @ 268: (at the risk of outstaying my welcome) If you're seeking solace, I also suggest John Dowland (preferably played by Jordi Savall.) If you're seeking catharsis, then I suggest Alfred Schnittke (His Hiroshima symphony is all consuming and obliterating, leaving nothing but a scorched surface)

#276 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:13 PM:

dlbowman76 @269:

So glad to hear you're doing better, have been well cared for, and that your bike is fixed. You're not going to let this incident put you off cycling, are you?

#277 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:19 PM:

dlbowman76 @275:
at the risk of outstaying my welcome

You really must get over this notion that your welcome is conditional or limited.

#278 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:20 PM:

xeger, 268: 90% of my collection was written before 1800, which means it's heavily weighted to Christian stuff. But that also means it's in Latin so that might be OK.

Here is some Palestrina. (You should have another tab open so you can avoid the mawkish visuals.) And here is some Victoria. (With the score! it's a singalong!) And part of a Victoria requiem.

I have more of this kind of thing, if this is the kind of thing you like.

#279 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Abi, frankly, angry wolves (With hostile intent. And with revolvers. And Anne Coulter fan club membership cards.) Have *already* failed to keep me off my bike. My mum did her best though ("Do you want your daughter to grow up an orphan???" "Oh, mum, this was genuinely a weird occurence!" Yadda, yadda, yadda)

The shop in Tölz that did my bike was, check that, they were *sterling*. They replaced the back wheel, both tubes, the derailleur, rear brake cable, and gave the bike a proper tune-up - for less than 90 euro. When I rode it home, I thought they'd swapped it out for a new bike. Next time I pop in there, I'm definitely buying cycling stuff I don't necessarily need *GRIN*

All I need now is a working digital camera and I can't wait to photoblog my commute!

Keeping the faith,

#280 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:28 PM:

dlbowman76 @ 269... Welcome back!

#281 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:33 PM:

dbowman #269: Welcome back!!

#282 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:36 PM:

Many thanks, Serge!

Here's a question. My wife and I have recently been rereading Kindred, and we were wondering, what would it take to begin the process of initiating a Collected Works of Octavia Butler. She was a wonderful, important writer, and there should be an edition of her collected works. Is it all a legal impossibility because she's so recently gone? (A hurdle that should be overcome, IMHO.)


#283 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Eric #243: Which they have to carry away in punnets.

#284 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:47 PM:

Pendrift @ 271...
Thank you :)

Lee @ 273
No - I'm not in a bleak mood, for which I often employ the same remedy, and would find an easier solution.

David Harmon @ 274
Thank you -- I haven't run into that one before.

dlbowman76 @ 275
I'll look up Dowland - Hiroshima is too much.

TexAnne @ 278
Beauty is beauty, whether it's church music or no -- and the Victoria is lovely, thank you.

#285 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:49 PM:

#262: I'm so glad that Dick got to see that segment before he died. He was obviously thoroughly and happily jazzed.

#286 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:51 PM:

Fragano - not at all. We punt them down the road.

#287 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 06:52 PM:

Xeger: Seven Teares. For your heart, that it may be filled with sadness till it overflows, and spills out unto emptiness.

#288 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Punting works much better on a river than on a road.

#289 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:08 PM:

xeger #268: Music for grief? Babi Yar comes to mind.

#290 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:13 PM:

Anima vagula blandula

The soul of Hadrian yet lingered on
despite the body's final dying sigh:
for years it wandered paths at Tivoli,
before retreating to the Pantheon;
it flitted east to west along the Wall,
and set out to inspect the Rhine again;
it watched the whole of Antoninus' reign,
and tried to warn young Marcus of the Fall.
But all too often, to the Nile it found
itself returning, useless as it knew
its efforts were to bring the dead to life.
"Antinous", it called, and those around
who heard it knew the name it answered to:
an emperor who loved, but not his wife.

#291 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:19 PM:

dlbowman76 #282: Well, I've already seen collected volumes of at least two of Butlers' novel series. I suspect the issue is more about how widely scattered the rights to her shorter works are -- magazines, anthologies, 'zines, what-have-you.

#292 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:25 PM:

Clifton @245: Yes! Progress is being made!

#293 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:27 PM:

Xeger: Well in that case! Dowland, "Lachrymae antiquae." And Couperin's "Troisième leçon de Ténèbres." First part here. (I like the Hesperion XX version better, but the Youtube version I found is taken from Tous les matins du monde, and it's got Depardieu talking over it.)

Here's the first part of Vivaldi's Stabat mater.

I wish I could find Charpentier's "Reniement de Saint Pierre" online. The section where the choir says "flevit amare" (wept bitterly) breaks my heart every time.

#294 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:30 PM:

David Harmon @ 291: Hi David, David here (sorry, just dying to say that) I don't just want everything in print, although that would be a good start; I want a proper critical edition of her works. I'd like chronology, biography, critical reference: all that jazz. Octavia Butler was, frankly, one of the five (or so) most important SF writers of the twentieth century.

And yes, I *am* willing to back that up :)

#295 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:49 PM:

xeger: I second or third the Dowland recommendations, and would add Purcell's Music For The Funeral Of Queen Mary and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.

#296 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 07:54 PM:

Open-threadiness: a possible addition to the Troll Bingo card. If someone ends with this paragraph:

Just my thoughts.

...s/he probably does not have the health of the conversation in mind.

#297 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Xeger @ #268
If you want music that isn't classical, my two favorites when I'm very down are "Heroin" by Velvet Underground and "Horses" by Patti Smith. I guess they help because they remind me Things Could Be Worse. Also, "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones. And for reading, the poems of Baudelaire and Verlaine.

#298 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 08:43 PM:

Magenta Griffith @ 297 ...
If you're not aware, 'The Seduction of Claude Debussy: The Art of Noise' refers to Baudelaire, and is well worth a listen.

#299 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 08:47 PM:

So has anyone else been following Nate Silver's (of pursuit of Strategic Vision, LLC, a polling company with apparently dubious results? I ask because apparently they are not only a polling company, they're also in the literary publicity biz, which (when I saw that) made me wonder what the people here would make of them.

#300 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 08:54 PM:

(Above posted before I'd glanced at the sidebars).

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 08:59 PM:

I'm a Centerfold!!!

Now, before you start getting any naughty ideas... When I came home tonight, there was some mail for me. One was a Godzilla Christmas ornament a friend had sent me for my birthday. The other item was the latest issue of Locus, with a report on the worldcon and, in its center section, many photos, some from the masquerade. One of them is for "Twilight of the Gods" and you might recognize the tall person next to the red-garbed Egyptian divinity as yours truly. If you squint real hard.

#302 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 09:24 PM:

Tom at 300
Yours links to a thread of posts, rather than just the one - that's good, because I didn't want to spend a lot of time chasing them down.

#303 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 09:27 PM:

TexAnne @ 296: I don't know if I've ever said that in a blog comment, but I've said it in conversation with sincere and benign intent, as a way of making it clear that I'm open to disagreement.

#304 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 09:33 PM:

xeger @268: Suzanne Vega's self-titled debut and Bob Mould's recent effort "District Line" might suit your mood.

#305 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 09:43 PM:

I find some of Jackie Leven's songs very beautiful in dealing with grief and loss, though they may not apply directly to your grief. 'Universal Blue', 'The Sexual Loneliness of Jesus Christ' (which is not cheap blasphemy as one might guess from the title), 'Desolation Blues' but many more also...

Some Leonard Cohen songs as well, particularly 'Closing Time'.

#306 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Tim, 303: Ah, that expands my sample size. I've only seen it online, from people who came across 100% sniffy. Perhaps I've been misreading them, though I...don't think I have been.

#307 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 10:13 PM:

Amazon has settled with the student who sued it to the tune of $150000. That doesn't seem to shabby to me. Of course, since it's a settlement and not a court ruling, there's no precedent set.

#308 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 11:05 PM:

dlbowman76, #275: Dowland, thank you -- xeger, that was what I was remembering and typed it wrong.

Tim, #303: One commonality among many of the Troll Bingo lines is that they can be used in a benign and non-trollworthy manner. Context and tone matter strongly, as does the reputation within the community (if any) of the person making the comment.

#309 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2009, 11:19 PM:

dlbowman76 #294: Ah. I'd say that sort of analytical edition is going to take a few more years. I'm not sure about "top five" -- there is an awful lot of competition in the Century of Science Fiction -- but she's certainly pretty high up there.

More to the point, I'd agree that her work is deep enough to actually support close literary analysis, By comparison, I doubt you'd get too far delving into (most of) Heinlein and Asimov, much less someone like Niven (at least by himself). Those guys are great at narrative, but as literature, I think of them as pretty "flat".

#310 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 03:41 AM:

Lori@258: Actually it's neither "head" nor "heed", but "keep".

#311 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 03:57 AM:

candle @290:

Yes. That.

#312 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 12:31 PM:

To everybody, thanks for your good thoughts. I'm keeping my spirits up. I went to a job fair today and I got an interview, which not all of the people who applied recieved. I may be haunting Huntsville next week for a couple of call center jobs; my method is anything local or specific full-time jobs out of town.

Just to show that my spirits are up, here's a self[kitteh] portrait of myself:

Latin Kitteh is Latin

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 02:32 PM:

Wyman @ 312... I'm keeping my spirits up

Glad to hear that.

As for your link...
Goodness, that is one plump tree-inhabiting rodent!

#314 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 03:07 PM:

what's the going rate for a sonnet?)
Poems in general get paid for by the foot.

#315 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 03:28 PM:

The saddest song I can think of is My Mom by Chocolate Genius.

#316 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Bruce Cohen #314:

what's the going rate for a sonnet?)
Poems in general get paid for by the foot.

In Europe they are sold by the metre, of course.

#317 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 05:14 PM:

abi@311: Thanks.

I'm glad you like it, because I suspect it tends more towards your account of Hadrian (as in the main post) than mine. I've tended to think of him as a vain, frivolous emperor who liked to prove his aristocratic credentials rather more than he was interested in taking seriously the government of the empire.[*] And for some reason I seem to have decided that this was A Bad Thing.[**]

But having written the poem, I sympathise a bit more with your version. Funny how that happens. I have to teach on Hadrian in a few weeks, and I'll see if I incorporate some of the lessons.

[*] Rather like the young Henry VIII, it occurs to me.
[**] Mainly class prejudice, I suspect.

#318 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 06:20 PM:

John Houghton @316:
I think you meant 'Everywhere but the USA, Burma, and Libera'.

#319 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Pedantka, I think you meant Liberia.

#320 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 06:52 PM:

Serge #310:

I'd say he's fairly recognizable, from other photos. Looks ready to deliver ... a serge-ical strike.

#321 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 07:01 PM:

So I did, Xopher. Bit too much birthday mead on this end...

#322 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 07:12 PM:

You need to moderate your mead then. Or get someone to mediate your mead, so you drink a medium amount of mead. What's the median mead?

Also, remember that one man's mead is another man's poisson.

#323 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Xopher @ 322... Don't you mean it's another man's boisson? A fish is rather hard to drink unless you have a Bass-o-matic.

#324 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 07:19 PM:

Some men mistake mead for fish after too much of the former Serge. Don't get in the way of my puns, or I'll poisson you.

#325 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Serge, 323: I am stealing that right now.

#326 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 07:35 PM:


#327 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 07:54 PM:

Xopher/Pedantka: As with so many things in life, what is needed is to attain a happy meadium.

#328 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 08:18 PM:

Too much of the former Serge?
Have I been alevated to sainthood?

#329 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 09:45 PM:

Music for those living with grief: There's already many good recommendations. Some other short pieces, like Missing (originally, or most popularly by Anything but the Girl, covered by others), Dido's lament When I am laid in earth from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, done by very many singers, as St James Infirmary Blues has been. Between these, Siegfried's Funeral from Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Beethoven's Sonata No 8 in C minor (Op 13), surprisingly, some of Satie too, and I'll second Leonard Cohen.

In longer form, quite a bit of Philip Glass (Metamorphosis), such as from Mishima and Koyaanisqatsi, Bach's Cello Suite and Faure's Requiem. For a lushly romantic despair mood, there's Tchaikovsky's symphonies, especially 5th and Schubert's Winterreise songs.

These are thoughts without access to my CDs or the music on my last computer. Maybe I'm resistant to thinking back there at this time, my strength is focusing on surviving challenges right now. Trying Glinka (MP3) and natural ambient sounds with meditation, along with Bach, Mozart and more upbeat modern pieces.

Go Wyman! (#312) Hoping it works out.

Xopher ($324), so, is this like Python's fish-slapping dance?

#330 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 10:26 PM:

Re: #321

Too much Mead? Um, I'll be leaving now...

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 10:30 PM:

Hop back in, Melissa!

#332 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 10:39 PM:

You look to be in pretty stout shape.
(Yes, I recognized you in the picture.)

#333 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 10:42 PM:

PJ Evans @ 338... You were able to, in spite of the pitcher's grain? Wow.

#334 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2009, 10:49 PM:

Life isn't all skittles and beer. (Some of us really prefer chocolate instead of Skittles.)

#335 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 12:05 AM:

This evening I am holding a small hope in my heart: that when the person who created the iTunes interface dies it will turn out to be whoever created the bug in Apple Mail that lost me the last year's worth of e-mail (I managed to get about 8 year's worth back through some old backups.) so two different souls aren't frying in hell. Suffice it to say that my iPod was acting funny so I did a restore and synced the iPod again. So far everything has come through correctly...except for some podcasts from the BBC that refuse to sync back into the iPod. I'm sure there's a way to do this--but I can't find it and the last hour of prodding at the program make me want to toss the iPod, the Macbook Pro, and my cookies at the wall. This is freaking insane--I think next time I'll just let the iPod keep stuttering its way into a lump of plastic and metal.

Whoever decided to leave this off the main menus...well, if they were on fire I wouldn't bring out a camel to have it piss on them to kill the flames.

#336 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:53 AM:

Bruce at #314, Poets have been working with the metric system for ages, though it doesn't seem to matter if you want free verse.

#337 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 04:15 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @335:

In case you haven't done this yet, have you tried disabling Sync, then dragging and dropping the podcasts to your iPod?
I've disabled sync and managed my files manually ever since iTunes pulled a similar stunt. There's also Floola but it doesn't work on the iPod Touch or the iPhone.

#338 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 05:25 AM:

I'd always heard it that one man's Mede was another man's Persian.

#339 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 06:07 AM:

Serge @ #323

This moose prefers his Bass hand-pulled or delivered by gravity.

(And creamflow is something that should only involve dairy products.)


#340 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 06:09 AM:

Runnymede is neither a disease nor a drink.


#341 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 06:10 AM:

Hey, while we're on iPod/iPhone questions...

Back when polyphonic ringtones were the New Neat Thing, and I didn't have a phone that did them, I decided I'd go for a pre-polyphonic ringtone. So I programmed in Ave Maris Stella with the little internal musical thingie. (I like the piece, it's my kinda geeky, and it had the advantage that no one else had it.)

So I ended up with a very strong "reach for the mobile" reaction when I heard that particular music. I managed to carry it through various mobiles until we moved to NL, when I ended up with a phone that didn't program and wouldn't play back a recording. (My last UK phone wouldn't take in the music file—now lost—and couldn't be programmed with an internal music maker, so I recorded the ringtone from the previous one and used that.)

Now I have an iPhone, and I never answer the damn thing. None of its available ringtones ping the "Answer the phone!" portion of my brain, which appears to be exclusively programmed for Ave Maris Stella.*

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to get an instrumental recording of Ave Maris Stella onto my phone, or to record something in a piano app and use it as a ringtone? I'm not really sure how one goes about creating ringtones on the iPhone.

* It could be worse. My mother had much the same problem, minus international moves, but her trigger song was the Mexican Hat Dance.

#342 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 06:24 AM:

Alleviated to sainthood?

#343 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 07:41 AM:

Mobile phone ringtones are the work of Santa.

(Which reminds me: I must overhaul the old GPO 782 and take it into work again: it was fun having the only phone in the office with Real Bells....)

Next project: mate the GPO 300[1] to the Fixed Cellular Terminal that (a) supports pulse dialling, and (b) will run off a 6 volt battery.
This will give me an (albeit briefcase-sized) mobile with a rotary dial and Real Bells. (Generating the proper Strowger Purr dialtone is beyond the scope of this exercise.)

[1] ...because a candlestick is a bit too unwieldy (not to mention Very Expensive).

#344 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 08:35 AM:

abi @341 -- I don't have any idea if this would work with an iPhone (I have an HP IPAQ), but I used Audacity to edit an mp3 file of Fleetwood Mac's "Gypsy" and grab the guitar riff at the end for a ringtone, also saved as an mp3.

#345 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 09:47 AM:

abi @ 341:
This page might be helpful.

(I just tested it out on my system -- iTunes 9 on a Mac -- and it seems to work just fine, although since I don't have an iPhone [yet...] I can't personally verify that it works. But iTunes did in fact import the trimmed music clip into its Ringtones section.)

#346 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 09:54 AM:

Finally got the blasted files transferred. Didn't try disabling sync: will keep that in mind for the next time this sort of thing comes up.

#347 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 10:02 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ 339... This moose prefers his Bass hand-pulled or delivered by gravity

Coming soon, from Rankin-Bass!

#348 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 10:04 AM:

Teresa @ 342... Yes, especially if the path to sainthood was a be-lagered one.

#349 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 11:11 AM:

Abi @ 341 -

My wife and I just got iPhones, and one of the standard ringtones is an old-fashioned telephone ring. Not musical, but it sure as hell sounds like a telephone that needs answering. :-)

#350 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 11:27 AM:

Abi @341: If you don't see "Convert selection to AAC" or "Create AAC version" in the advanced menu, but are offered another format, you need to change your Import Settings (in Preferences > General) to import using the AAC encoder.

#351 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Along those lines, any suggestions on how I might best record the ring of my 500-series northern telecom rotary dial phone? I'm chuffed silly that rotary dial works via my VOIP provider, and enjoy the irony of having that particular line combination enough to consider moving the ring around.

#352 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 12:33 PM:

xeger: my "favorite" grieving song is "Yes it Was" by Toshi Reagon (written on the death of her father, but applicable to other cases), also covered by her mom's group, Sweet Honey in the Rock.

#353 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 01:07 PM:

It's pretty startling to be, for example, sitting on a train and hear that ringing-telephone sound. A lot of people seem to like it.

#354 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 01:07 PM:

Another grieving song, I think (without going so far as to play the CD and be sure): Jeff Buckley, "Corpus Christi Carol".

#355 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 01:14 PM:

In lieu of actual participation: a meditation upon quinces at my journal.

Yesterday was the finale of a series of weekend family events which have run in succession since the Fourth of July; I'm hoping that my ability to communicate for fun will be refreshed now that I'm past the necessity to be a good relative, which, since I'm fighting a childhood reputation of being a complete brat or screaming loonie, can be a chore.

#356 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 01:30 PM:

xeger @ 351... having that particular line combination enough to consider moving the ring around

Ring around the caller?

#357 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 01:34 PM:

Going back some time, there was a discussion of sieves and chinoises.
Territorial Seed ( currently has a chinois set, suitable for jelly-making, and also a book on pickles and preserves.

#358 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:05 PM:

Unfortunately, I don't have a sound file to work with for this. I've been looking for a free (one use!) piano synthesizer thing for either my Mac or my iPhone so I can pick out the notes* and record it, but so far, no luck.

I think it's too much of a pain for the very few phone calls I get.

* I have the sheet music, but it's in the original notation, so I'm going to have to sit and stew about it before I can play it on whatever keyboard system I find.

#359 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:09 PM:

#351 xeger ...

(I have a number of vintage 2500 sets. The built-in mic of my cell phone is so horrible that the obvious technique of recording directly there has never produced anything I like. I think it cuts off too much of the low end.)

Plugging any reasonable mic into the mic input of most sound cards will get you a wav file. (Windows Audio Recorder is quite adequate.) An MP3 can be created using freeware such as "Exact Audio Copy"

#360 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:22 PM:

Another song for grief - 'Tell it by Heart' by Jami Sieber from the Climb Against the Odds soundtrack. The entire soundtrack is good, but this particular instrumental is haunting and lovely.

#361 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:23 PM:

abi @358: If you have Garage Band (and I'm guessing you do), use the Musical Typing function (Window > Musical Typing) - it turns your keyboard into a virtual piano. Once you've saved the file, you can use the Share menu to send it to iTunes.

#362 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:41 PM:

Well, I don't have Garage Band (yet; Martin's birthday is coming up), but I did find the memory stick from the old phone!

That gave me the (tinny, remember it's been recorded once) ringtone file. I've dragged it through three file formats and two conversion routines, and now iTunes seems to think it's a ringtone. I'm synching the phone now.

Maybe now I'll be able to answer the two calls a month (average) that I receive!

#363 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:53 PM:

HaHA! Victory!

It's tinny as anything, but it's my ringtone.

Thank you for the help, guys.

#364 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:53 PM:

Cadbury Moose @ 343:

You could buy a tri-band rotary phone for only $200/£125, but that doesn't give you the satisfaction of doing it yourself. It has real bells and a dial tone, and you could probably fit quite a chunky battery in there.

abi @ 358:

If you find a recording on YouTube that you like, you can use Listen to YouTube to save an mp3, then clip out a snippet from it.

Speaking of mobile phones, I just got a new toy yesterday. If anyone has any Android apps that they think I shouldn't live without, I'm open to suggestions.

#365 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 02:57 PM:

abi @ 362/363: Yay!

#366 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 03:03 PM:

This ringtone talk just made me miss the one I programmed for my old (pre-Sony merger) Ericsson a1018s. I'd just started learning French; it was Piaf's Sous le ciel de Paris.

#367 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 03:16 PM:

To Hubble on its final repair:

We'll go no more repairing that keen eye
that's brought us views of farthest time and space.
Remaining life will be as long as grace
allows, to seize faint light from out the sky.
New cameras gather different light on high,
reaching deeply for the smallest trace
of eldritch beauty on Existence' face.
Those pictures make imagination fly.
Later 'scopes may bring us pictures from beyond
the distances that Hubble's gaze can pierce,
recording kinds of light unseen 'til then;
better built; still from this one were spawned,
that first went forth to fill a hunger fierce,
and push our sight once more beyond our ken.

#368 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 03:22 PM:

So, does anyone ever spend frivolous time on Second Life?

#369 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 03:43 PM:

Bruce @367:


The first line echoed Byron for me:

So we'll go no more a-scrying
So deep into the night
Though the comets still are flying
And the stars are still as bright.

For the software troubles grow
And the hardware fails on test
And the current halts its flow
And gyros come to rest.

Though the sky was made for flying
And the night has more to show
Still we'll go no more a-scrying
And fall once more below.

#370 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 03:57 PM:

Pendrift @ 366... Thanks for the link. It sure takes me back to the days of yore, when this was the normal fare on the radio. I wonder if I should load the soundtrack from Thunderbirds on my cell phone. That would be appropriate as my phone almost never goes off unless there's a problem at the office.

#371 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 03:58 PM:

Serge #348: Stout fellow!

#372 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 04:04 PM:

Faren @ #354, "Corpus Christi Carol" is indeed on "Grace," which I heard for the first time yesterday.

#373 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 04:06 PM:

Fragano @ 371... That's me. Mead of stern stuff. Always going against the grain, even when there's trouble brewing.

#374 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 05:27 PM:


They do say it's good for what ale's you. As long as you don't get too winey.

#375 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 05:44 PM:

Michael I @ 374... Your words leave me feeling as if vicious dogs had malt me.

#376 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Serge @ 373: That's me. Mead of stern stuff. Always going against the grain, even when there's trouble brewing.

How can you say that? Man, you're a pilsner of the community. You're the creme and treating yourself like a humble porter.

Helles bells, shape up!

#377 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 05:48 PM:

abi @ 369:

Very nice! Yeah, I was going for the resonance with Byron, but had some other things to say that didn't quite fit a pastiche of the whole poem. I'm glad I didn't, because if I had, you might not have.

#378 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 06:13 PM:

My iPhone story: last week, the battery on my old Motorola flip-phone deteriorated to a critical level where it wouldn't stay charged in listen mode all day, and I found that almost nobody carries batteries any more¹. Well, I decided to replace the phone; the front LCD display is cracked anyway. So I went to the AT&T website, told it I wanted to buy a new phone, with a new contract, and checked out the nearest equivalent to what I have now: a Motorola EM-330 flip-phone. They were giving it away with a new 2 year contract. The catch was that I would have to upgrade my rate: I have the lowest possible number of minutes, and they wanted me to add $8 per month, $200 over the life of the contract. On top of all that, the battery in my iPod Touch is starting to go; replacing it will cost about $70, assuming I don't want to chance a 3rd party component and do it myself.

Well, I've planned all along to buy an iPhone sometime next year to replace both the iPod and the phone, so I thought maybe I should just do that now. I drove over to the Apple Store to ask about transferring all my music, photos, and apps from the iPod to the iPhone, and they said, "No problem". At that point, even given the extra $30 per month for the data plan, and the cost of the iPhone, I lost my saving throw versus shiny and bought the iPod.

After a couple of days of buyer's remorse, I'm really happy about it. Getting my stuff, including phone numbers of contacts, on the iPhone was a easy as they said, and I found a 3rd party cable that connects my hearing aid cables and contains a mic and answer button² And now I've got 1 gadget to carry around instead of 2, and it's got my calendar and todo app on it, as well as a voice recorder and a reasonable camera.

And I've got a dog bark ringtone that comes standard! Didn't fool my dogs though.

1. At least 3 stores told me, "It's cheaper to buy a new phone." And the online stores wanted US $30 or more for a battery, I guess because supply is so short. They were about $20 last year.
2. The button doubles as a music player control.

#379 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 07:52 PM:

#368: Does anyone ever spend non-frivolous time on Second Life?

#380 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 08:27 PM:

I used to think that "Who Let The Dogs Out" by the Baha Men was a fun song, but it makes a really annoying ringtone. heh.

#381 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 08:37 PM:

I'm trying to figure out how to load a Robot Chicken ringtone. It may be common enough to be a cliche in the larger community, but among the people I actually hang out with, there's heavy use of what I guess could be best described as "Verizon's least annoying default ringtone."

#382 ::: Maribeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 08:56 PM:


For sheer solemn beauty, Arvo Part comes to mind, especially these: Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten, Tabula Rasa, Fratres. But all of his work is lovely; here's a link to a bit of it:

I'll second the Bach Cello Suites, and Dowland's "Lachrimae".

Also, for recording that phone ringer: the mic-into-soundcard should work - with one caveat: those ringers are *loud,* with a lot of "attack" in the waveform, and often cause distortion in either the mic or the audio electronics, or both. (I've been down this path before, in my days as a theatrical sound designer). If this is a problem, distance helps - try backing the mic off to ten feet away, and/or turning the mic away from the ringer.

#383 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 378: I finally crumbled about 2 weeks ago, and bought an iPhone. I'm adoring it to a ridiculous degree.

#384 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 10:02 PM:

Audiko lets you upload and cut ringtones from any mp3.

#385 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 10:24 PM:

Today I'm pronouncing damnation upon the makers of the Saw movies, especially Saw VI (the latest in that apparently, and unfortunately, unkillable horror series). The advertising they're using is extremely unfriendly to people who don't choose to watch horror movies.

It's like having an ad for a porn movie that "only" shows the naked foreplay. I'm not quite saying it shouldn't be allowed, but I hate them for it. Maybe a warning screen should be required.


#386 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2009, 10:35 PM:

JESR, "Verizon's least annoying ringtone" is how I chose mine. Since it stopped ringing if it wasn't set to vibrate and ring, though, I've gotten really good at hearing the vibrations. Even as an alarm clock.

#387 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 12:12 AM:

Verizon? The service is so crappy from one end of the grocery store to the other that, when on errands for my wife, I have had to say "Can you hear me now?"

#388 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 02:18 AM:

Hey, does anyone remember me talking on the "Works & Days of Hands" thread about the quilt my mother made for me? I finally got around to taking some pictures of it on the bed and putting them up on Flickr. Here's a link to the set.

#389 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 03:17 AM:

Apropos of another long ago open thread, someone was looking for vintage gas masks. American Science & Surplus has Russian ones, in child and adult sizes. (And many other weird and wonderful things!)

#390 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 04:11 AM:

Talking of masks, we must surely bow to the genius of Dr Elena Bodnar who has invented a brassiere that converts into two face masks.  Last week she was deservedly awarded an Ig Nobel Prize.

#391 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 06:29 AM:

Xopher, I can remember when naked foreplay would have been considered to be the porn movie.

I don't think the change has improved them as films.

#392 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 07:18 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 388... Very nice.

#393 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 07:22 AM:

John Stanning @ 390... I notice that Paul Krugman was there too. Didn't the Ig Nobels of a few years ago hadve as a guest, the Professor from Gilligan's Island? It might have been the same year that a Japanese scientist got the Prize for his research on necrophiliac ducks.

#394 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 07:33 AM:

David Goldfarb @388 -- what a lovely quilt, thanks for sharing. And your choice of ML thread is appropriate, too: the pattern on one side of the quilt reminds me strongly of the coffering in the Pantheon's dome.

#395 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 08:14 AM:


"The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009, for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase" is awarded to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, and Jack W. Szostak (Two woman, including one Aussie, our first female laureate. Bloke is a Brit. They're all working in USA now).

#396 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 08:59 AM:

Serge, it was a Dutch biologist, not Japanese (not too surprisingly – there are plenty of ducks in NL, with all those canals to swim on).  His research consisted of description of one, singular, duck which chanced to kill itself by flying into a window under his office, and of the ensuing... occurrence.  The extent of homosexual necrophilia in mallard ducks is, as scientists put it, not yet fully understood.

At the Ig Nobel prize awards they usually have some (real) Nobel prize winners on stage – Paul Krugman was there this year, and had a pink bra-mask put on him.

#397 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 09:10 AM:

John Stanning @ 396... Right, it was a Dutch with the Duck.

Hmmm... It seems like it's been some time since I received an issue of the Annals of Improbable Research in the mail. I'd better make sure that my sub didn't run out. In the meantime I'm still getting their electronic newsletter, in a recent issue of which I found the following mention:

"The Effect of Antibiotic Drugs on the Volume and Composition of Intestinal Gas From Beans," E.L. Murphy and D.H. Calloway, American Journal of Digestive Diseases, vol. 17, no. 7, July 1972, pp. 639-42. (Thanks to Joachim Rumigny for bringing this to our attention.) The study begins:

"Healthy men were confined to a metabolic unit and fed bean meals to stimulate intestinal gas formation while under antibiotic medication."

#398 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 10:06 AM:

Serge @ 313:

The link didn't go to the right picture. A better link can be found here: Latin Kitteh is Latin

#399 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 10:14 AM:

Serge again: So you have problems with your Verizon phone? I hate to say it, but I'm checking out employment at one of their call centers.

Exit, stage right, persued by a bear.

#400 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 10:26 AM:

Xopher @ 385, I saw the trailer for that in the theater (where, admittedly, I had gone to watch another horror movie, even if it was a horror comedy). I just want to know who keeps letting those people make those films. Surely there's a better use for the money -- kindling, for example, would at least keep someone warm.

#401 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 10:36 AM:


Unfortunately, moviegoers keep buying tickets for the Saw movies. Until that changes, they'll keep making more of them.

#402 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:02 AM:

abi (#362): there's always the "Mac Box Set" which includes iLife (Garageband et al), iWork (Keynote/Pages/Numbers), and the latest Mac OS X...for about US$11 more than the OS alone would normally be. (Significantly higher this time since 10.6 is US$29, though.)

Once you have Garageband you can create a "ringtone" project which lets you select a 40 sec or less loop, then just use the "Send ringtone to iTunes" menu item.

#403 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:14 AM:

Wyman Cooke @ 399... I hate to say it, but I'm checking out employment at one of their call centers. Exit, stage right, persued by a bear.

People used to be embarassed at admitting they worked for AOL. Is Verizon the new AOL? I'd have smashed Verizon's ohone with a sledgehammer a long time ago, but my employer is paying for the darn thing. The phone. Not the sledgehammer.

#404 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:19 AM:

Xopher #385:

I despise the way that nice, safe TV shows and networks will sometimes have these horrible ads shoved in. I'm watching the Food Network with my kids because I don't want them or me to be force-fed from the popular culture sewer. So, I don't want to see the ads for the latest chop-em-up movie, or the latest murder the screaming victim special. I don't want to know what awful thing Tony Soprano or Jack Bauer or that thuggish cop from The Shield is going to do this week[1]. I don't really even need the stupidly gratuitous sex references and innuendo that pass for comedy in most of the low-IQ sitcom ads.

It's almost like I have this weird thought that small children ought to be able to watch child-appropriate TV shows without being force-fed sex and violence in the commercials. Or like I ought to be able to use some small subset of my 100-odd cable-provided channels to decrease my level of stress.

[1] These references are almost certainly out of date, as I don't watch much TV, and none of that kind.

#405 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:20 AM:

I just think I shouldn't have to watch horror when I've tuned in for Stargate Universe. Or DILF movies (non-porn) on Logo (to be fair, usually Logo barely gets out of the New Amazing Abdominal Device! world*).

I'd like to take over the TVs of the people who made those movies and pop up hardcore gay porn (or straight porn if they're gay) when they're trying to watch football (or Project Runway or whatever). Or maybe the right target is the TV programming people who decide what commercials go with what programs. Either way, I hate them.
*Yes, it's a NAAD, NAAD, NAAD, NAAD world.

#406 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:22 AM:

Serge #393: Yup, I was at that one! By that time, the dude looked more like the Skipper, but he was funny and good-humored about the whole thing. I remember that year the Public Safety award was split between the guy who invented a windshield-projecting TV set, and the legislator who made it street-legal in his state.

#407 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:23 AM:

Serge #403: What's wrong with Verizon? They're not as bad as BellSouth/Cingular.

#409 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:38 AM:

I think this might be interesting to people here.
Warren Allen Smith, humanist-freethinker-scholar, is cleaning house and has lots of interesting memorabilia for sale, including letters from famous people etc., and a philosophy encyclopedia website he is the author of.

#410 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:46 AM:

Sharon M @ #389

Do _NOT_ wear (or roughly handle) any gasmask manufactured prior to (approximately) 1960.

The original filter material was made from esparto grass pulp and asbestos fibre, and was invented by the Germans, reverse engineered by the British, and further refined by the USA.

After umpteen years the paper filters will undoubtedly have degraded and started shedding asbestos fibre.

The WW2 British "Civilian" and "Civilian Duty" respirator filters contain Chrysotile (white) asbestos.

The WW2 British "General Service Respriator" contains 20% Crocidolite (blue) asbestos.

The USA developed "spun glass" HEPA filters in the 1950s to remove their dependence on imported asbestos and esparto grass.

This announcement brought to you by the Elves and their Safe Tea (because Elfin Safe Tea is very important in these difficult times).


#411 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 12:06 PM:

#396 John

(apologies in advance to Charlie...)

At the Ig Nobel prize awards they usually have some (real) Nobel prize winners on stage – Paul Krugman was there this year, and had a pink bra-mask put on him.

Is that a step up or a step down from him sharing a stage with Charlie Stross back in August?

#412 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 12:51 PM:

#234 Deeply Offended

Does Deeply Offended not quite understand
That a forum that's public that's here at hand
Is public not private in showing the posts
That people in comments leave here at the hosts.'

When posting to forums with public display,
The missive is public not hidden away
Acting like assholes in public view
There is no privacy for shielding you.

If you are not careful to watch what you say,
Away from the blogverse perhaps you stay.
For it if your did it or said it or wrote,
Demanding retraction you've missed the boat.

The timetravel needed to go to the past,
Isn't around yet and might not even last,
You wrote it, we read it and here it will stay
And even deleted there's memory play--

You wrote it, we read it, and we may recall,
Those words you wrote gone from the Cosmic All
Event deleted from here there would be
Membrance left still in the memory.

It's safer with records less like to mutate
Than human remembrance that change with the date
The memory's fallible ask in three years
And the answers are different and thoughts in arrear.

Asked, "What were you doing when Challenger died?"
The answers had changed with three years' tide!
The records showed lies if the literal's viewed,
The three-years' responses rather subdued--

The answers were reas'nable guesses to make
But many of them were just plain mistake
Recall is imperfect in most human brains
And so reconstruction get used to explain.

This get repetitous so anyway
Posting to blogs puts your words on display.
If you object to them publically read,
Then again-- you refrain from posting instead!

And this is my posting
I own copyright,
But I know I posted it
In public sight....

#413 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Fragano #407:

Telecom companies and political parties have a lot in common. Often their best possible advertising pitch is something along the lines of "we're not quite as awful as the other guys."

My experiences with Verizon were hellish. Comcast, so far, has been merely purgatorial. (Actually, our service has been fine so far, other than some trouble reaching competent people at the very beginning.)

#414 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 03:11 PM:

abi re iPhone rintones: Jon Singer made a ringtone by recording my guinea pigs' dinnertime chorus using his iPhone.

(The playback was hilarious: everyone else just chimed in, but Tiny was puzzled by why all those guinea pig voices were coming from over there?)

#415 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 03:23 PM:

albatross #413: That's sort of the reverse of my experience. Our experiences with Verizon have been moderately purgatorial (some dropped calls, one ghastly charge for ending service on a phone due to my mother-in-law's death, very swiftly removed when the reason was explained). On the other hand, we've had quite a bit of trouble with Comcast internet, leading to "it's Comcastic!" being used as a swear word by my wife and I.

#416 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 03:40 PM:

OMG *squeeeeee!!*

Just discovered there's a Vorkosigan saga book (Diplomatic Immunity) out I haven't read yet.

(How the hell did I miss it?)

#417 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 03:42 PM:

Oh, for the record, the non-Vorkosigan I read was Curse of Chalion.

#418 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 03:43 PM:

I have dismally low expectations of performance for all providers of connectivity; it helps keep me from constant disappointment.

#419 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 03:44 PM:

Jacque @416: That just means, lucky you, less time without a new Miles book until the next one comes out!

#420 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 04:36 PM:

Open-thready underreported Olympics story, which I'll link here rather than digging into the archives to revive a more caustically appropriate thread:

Did security theatre lose the Chicago bid?

#421 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Mark, #420: Well, DUH. Which leads to the annoying realization that the very people who are cheering Chicago's loss are the ones who made it inevitable in the first place.

#422 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 06:07 PM:

Is the Bible too subversively charitable for you? Do you sometimes get this creepy feeling that some of these horrible gross hippies might have a bit of a point when they say that some of their ideas are backed up by the Bible?

Well, help is on the way- soon, there'll be a more truly Christian rewrite of the Bible! Wait, what, did I say "rewrite"? Of course I meant "retranslation". But don't worry- all parts that are so feel-goody that they clearly have to be hippie inventions will be left out. And then you can call all those do-gooders blasphemous when they quote their fake Bibles at you!

#423 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 06:09 PM:

Dave Bell @ 368:
So, does anyone ever spend frivolous time on Second Life?

IBM tried: they set up a developers' meeting site and a sales rep meeting place on an island that they bought there. AFAIK the developer site wasn't successful (I sure wasn't very interested, and I visit their regular developer sites periodically); Ghu alone knows what the sales rep reaction was.

#424 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 07:15 PM:

Hmm, may be time for that remedial reading class: Dave Bell asked about frivolous time, and I answered as if he'd said non-frivolous. Reading comprehension, not so much.

#425 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 07:54 PM:

Raphael @ 422: I read your post. Then I went to the linked site. Then I went to ***shudders*** Conservapedia and read a bit more of the article.

Let's see...according to other info on the Web, the KJV was completed in 1611, but went through the usual round of revisions and editions until a standardized text was completed in 1769. Hmmm...

One of Conservapedia's complaints about the Bibles available today is the introduction of liberal bias. It gives as an example Luke 24:34 ("Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."), saying this verse doesn't show up in any other Gospel and claiming that some of the folks who arranged Jesus' crucifixion did so know what they were doing--thus the writer of the article judges this verse to be unfit for inclusion in a conservative Bible.

The point about the exemplar verse making a solo appearance in Luke isn't a valid argument, since it's pretty much established that Luke is just Matthew with Added Goodies, just as Matthew is itself just Mark with Added Goodies but Not as Many as Luke (or so I understand from other reading). For example, Matthew mentions John the Baptist, but I think only Luke says that John is Jesus' cousin, etc.

So I wonder...did the liberal bias creep in somewhere during the 158 years leading up to the 1769 standardized version? Or was it introduced by the translators for inclusion in the original 1611 edition?

I am, on the one hand, interested in the history of the Bible in editorial terms, and would quite enjoy reading a version based on those texts deemed most authentic by the textual critics; on the other hand, I boggle at the thought that maybe, just maybe, the author of the article thinks the concept of forgiveness is an example of liberal bias--and that s/he thinks other conservatives hold the same opinion; and on the gripping hand...great ghu, the whole idea makes my brain itch.

#426 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 08:31 PM:

David Goldfarb, #388, that looks great! I like the more controlled side better, but it's so cool that it's two-sided!

And for bikers that come near DC, there's now a new Bike Center at Union Station.

#427 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 09:09 PM:

So I would guess that Andrew Schlafly is not Catholic now? (His mom is, and apparently he was married in a Catholic ceremony.) His Bible project isn't the sort of thing that would ever get an imprimatur.

There have been a number of individual rewrite-the-Bible projects, including some from fairly well-known figures. See, for instance, Thomas Jefferson's version, which attempted to re-edit the Gospels into a single narrative with all the supernatural elements removed.

#428 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 10:02 PM:

The Conservapedia bible project appears to be a straight (worse-possible method) transliteration of 1611 AV into modern English. Plus the opinions of the transliterator. It's a bit of a train-wreck. The AV text isn't particularly well thought of today.

The NIV is pretty much based on the opinions of textual critics. For a probably theologically conservative read, J.I. Packer was involved in one recent project - see for nine 21st century editions! And that was just to 2005. has bunches of translations; there's also about a hundred at I have recently had flirtations with both Coverdale 1540 and J.B. Phillips The New Testament in Modern English and The Word on the Street - the latter formerly known as The Street Bible.

#429 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 10:16 PM:

Followup to my previous - looks like the "Holman Christian Standard Bible" is a Southern Baptist version with the same objectives as Conservapedia -

The biggest evidence of "liberal bias" in the NIV was the preparation of the inclusive language revision of the NIV.

#430 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 10:18 PM:

Okay... it's not quite dinosaurs and sodomy, but it's close, and certainly not worksafe.

#431 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2009, 11:44 PM:

JESR @418, Fragano Ledgister @ 415, et al, on the topic of cell phone service. I had Verizon for years, and my husband still has it, and we're quite happy with it. No trouble with dropped calls or poor sound quality with Verizon, or issues with billing. That's in Oregon, which might be relevant. I just switched to AT&T, but only due to the siren song of the iPhone. One of the reasons that it took so long for me to succumb to the iPhone was that I was reluctant to leave Verizon for AT&T.

#432 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 12:14 AM:

albatross: We like Food Network, and Gareth (sixteen months) LOVES the splash pages to dance to. He's also fond of the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives opening sequence. And yeah, I'd rather not see the ads for Lifestyle or stuff like that.

Noggin (Nickelodeon for pre-schoolers) has shows with no interior commercials and all of the commercials they do have are advertising their programming or Nickelodeon programming. Admittedly, many of the shows are sanitized pablum at best, but there's weird stuff like Yo Gabba Gabba. (Again, Gareth LOVES.)

#433 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 12:17 AM:

It's astonishing. This SERIOUSLY NSFW sculpture by Takashi Murakami sold for 13.5 million dollars.

Serious about the NSFW part. Seriously.

#434 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 12:30 AM:

Xopher, it's also kind of funny.

#435 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 12:36 AM:

Xopher @ 433:

All I'm going to say is that whoever buys it will have to have a big sheet to cover it over for when their mom comes to visit.

#436 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 01:59 AM:

Xopher, #433: I guess that really does prove that anime-fen will buy anything anime-related, no matter how loony and/or overpriced it is.

KeithS, #435: What makes you think his mom ever comes over to visit?

#437 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 02:55 AM:

I found the following on, regarding the Republican primary battle over one of Florida's Senate seats.

Karl Rove has chosen sides and -- quite literally -- put his money where his mouth is. Rove put his weight, and $1,000, behind Rubio
#438 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 06:01 AM:

Jumping off from the music sub-thread: anyone know of a professional recording of this Kyrie by Antonio Lotti?

#439 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 09:22 AM:

Interesting quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Narrative is the original CGI--it's hard to get the eyes right, to make the characters move as they though are human.
#440 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 09:42 AM:

Lee #436: You're misreading Keith. He's saying that whoever buys it will have to be discreet about if if their (the purchaser's) mother visits. That is, if I were to buy it, I might want to keep it out of my nai's sight.

#441 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 10:07 AM:

Keith @ 435: All I'm going to say is that whoever buys it will have to have a big sheet to cover it over for when their mom comes to visit.

That would make a stupendous MacGuffin for a French farce: "ZOMG, Mom's here and we forgot to cover that statue!!!" It's so expensive too. What if it got broken? Or it went missing, and one of the characters had to stand on the pedestal and imitate it?

#442 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 10:13 AM:

Xopher #433: Okay, that's just too f--king weird for words. It sort-of heads across Obscene street and ends up so far on the other side, it's basically just weirdly funny.

And yes, many a bad sitcom episode could ensue from attempts to hide it from the mother in law, or the PTA meeting, or....

#443 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 10:19 AM:

B Durbin:

Yeah, my 4 y.o. loves Yo Gabba Gabba, which is indeed both weird and oddly entertaining. And the whole family likes the Food Network, especially the 4 y.o., who currently plans to be a fireman and a chef when he grows up. (There may also be a teacher or doctor or policeman in there somewhere, depending on when you ask him. But chef and fireman are the main ones.)

OTOH, my 8 y.o. is interested in all kinds of very obnoxious stuff, of which Spongebob is the least annoying. (And the 4 y.o. loves Spongebob, too. Grmbl.)

#444 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 10:31 AM:

Andy Wilton @ 441... That would make a stupendous MacGuffin for a French farce

Starring Pierre Richard, with Gérard Depardieu as the no-good older brother, Louis de Funès & Alice Sapritch as their parents, and Bourvil as the goofy uncle.

#445 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 11:35 AM:

Serge @ 444: Louis de Funès would rock the reaction shots! You'd get minutes of laughs every time he saw the statue (or Pierre Richard pretending, because Depardieu's sold it to Terry-Thomas on the sly.)

#446 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 12:25 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 440:

I don't think Lee's misreading me, I think she's just saying that the type of person who buys that sort of thing may not be the type whose parents particularly want to visit in the first place.

I do like the farce and sitcom ideas.

#447 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 01:47 PM:

Oh, I definitely think it's funny! I sent pictures of it to a young (over 18) friend with a note saying "Oh look! Someone made a sculpture of you!"

#448 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 02:13 PM:

This is driving me nuts. I'm at work, and it seems like a poor idea to open something labeled "SERIOUSLY NSFW," but I really want to know what the sculpture looks like.

Without even seeing it, I like the French farce / sitcom idea. Maybe the MIL gave the sculpture to them as a present - she misread the number in the catalog when she bought it - and now she expects to see her gift prominently displayed.

#449 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 02:14 PM:

Xopher #433: OK, that is seriously bizarre. In a comic or even animation, it would be it would be an amusing joke. As a life-sized statue... I'm speechless.

#450 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 02:41 PM:

OtterB: Vg'f na navzr thl, jvgu fcvxl oybaq unve, anxrq naq znfgheongvat juvyr fgnaqvat; ur unf whfg rwnphyngrq, naq vf fbzrubj juveyvat gur cebqhpg (bs juvpu gurer'f dhvgr n ybg) nebhaq uvf urnq yvxr n ynffb.

Vg'f yvsr-fvmr.

Spoilered, for those who'd Prefer Not To.

#451 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Obama has done a number of things that disappointed me, but this is one thing he's getting right. Summary: Obama kicks lobbyists off government policy advisory boards; lobbyists are furious. I play the world's tiniest violin for them.

#452 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 03:07 PM:

albatross @ 442: I could certainly see it as an episode of 'Friends'. (With apologies for un-Americanisms...)

With a sudden influx of cash from a film role, Joey buys an unusual statue, but it creeps Chandler out.

CHANDLER: You know those paintings where the eyes seem to follow you round the room?

He persuades Monica to look after it. Later, Phoebe and Ross see it for the first time.

PHOEBE: (Smiles) Oh wow, I used to date a guy who did that!
ROSS: (Stares.) Really?
PHOEBE: Yeah. (Catches Ross's expression.) NO! He used to build sculptures of CARTOON CHARACTERS!

Later still, Rachel catches Monica with the statue and a feather duster.

MONICA: It just... doesn't feel clean in here, with him doing that.
RACHEL: (Leans nonchalantly on statue.) Sweetie, you can dust all you lke, it's always gonna be a dirty statue, you know that, right?

A loud snapping noise is heard.

MONICA: Oh my God, did you just break that? You broke that! You just broke a thirteen-and-a-half million dollar statue!
RACHEL: Oh my God! It came off in my hand!
MONICA: Right there? That's a half a million dollars you got there. (Takes a closer look.) Well, a coupla hundred grand, anyhow.

#453 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Fragano, #440: No, you misread me (or I was unclear); I can't imagine that anyone who would buy that statue would have a mother who came to visit.

And yes, farce.

#454 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 06:18 PM:

janetl @ 431:

I had Verizon for a number of years, then about 4 years ago I tried to upgrade my phone, and discovered that (without mentioning it in the specs) they'd crippled several of the features I'd bought it for. I got mad, sent back the new phone, and started looking for another provider. I found a phone I wanted with the features I wanted at Cingular, which was in the process of being absorbed by AT&T, and switched to them. They've been OK, no service problems.

However Verizon sealed their fate as far as I am concerned by losing the record of my returning my old phone, and trying to bill me for it for 6 months. I finally spent 45 minutes on the phone with a senior customer service rep who actually knew how to query a database. He discovered that their records showed not only that I'd returned the phone, but that it had been sold to someone else as a refurb.

Andy Wilton @ 452:

JOEY (entering room with leering grin on his face): What was your hand doing there?

And by the way, that's a pretty big McGuffin.

#455 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 06:55 PM:

Can we work it in so that the flatmate has to impersonate the statue, and somebody else has to impersonate the flatmate, in a reverse Charley's Aunt.

MiL (while blocking audience line-of-sight): Henry, it feels so real.

#456 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2009, 11:13 PM:

#435 a big sheet to cover it...

And what about the stains on the sheet?

#457 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 12:42 AM:

Atomic Robo and the Yonkers devil

"You don't just walk up to a monster. There's stealth and guile and --"
"Found it."

#458 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 09:11 AM:

Serge @203: Things said in Scott Wegener & Brian Clevinger's Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War...

It was one of the Free Comic Book Day's edition of one of those stories (the one you were quoting) which got me interested in the character.

#459 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 10:28 AM:

Raphael #422: And to go with your new Conservative Bible, a lovely painting of Jesus delivering the US Constitution. With alt-text!

#460 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 10:43 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 458... My introduction to the character was with "Atomic Robo and the Thing from Beyond Worldcon"

#461 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Did I miss a memo?

Over in the comment thread discussing Boing Boing's new redesign (general response seems to be "Not quite an EPIC FAIL, but definitely a FAIL"), somone asked why Teresa's name wasn't on the masthead.

Antinous, one of the moderators, responded that Teresa had left Boing Boing about six months ago.

Say what?

#462 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 04:26 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #431: Well, below that article, theres a link to their Moderation Policy... which is 404. Clearly somebody's pretty confused!

#463 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Re the ad thread: having gone real HDTV we now have a Qubo channel, which is sort-of-kind-of halfway between Nick Jr. and PBS: e.g. they run Book of Virtues, Jacob Two-Two, the bowdlerized-for-network-TV VeggieTales, Zula Patrol, etc. So it's mostly inoffensive-to-vaguely-uplifting elementary school age stuff-- except for the commercials, which are almost exclusively UHF-ready "but that's not all!" stuff.

#464 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 06:44 PM:

Bruce, Teresa stopped moderating there about that time. She left it to the Boingers to make some kind of announcement, and they never did. If that sounds like they quietly shuffled her out the door...well, it does to me too.

#465 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 06:48 PM:

I never bothered reading the comments at BB. With the redesign, I think I'll stop bothering to visit at all.


#466 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 07:27 PM:

Lee #453: My apologies. I must have misread you.

#467 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 10:15 PM:

Thanks for the link, Xopher. I'm in the minority who can see some artistic value to it. But I would still have the same problems everyone else has thought of:

  • Better things to do with $15,000,000.
  • Not enough room for it.
  • Have to cover it up for some visitors. Although here I'm not thinking so much of parents but of gentleman callers who might feel I was holding them up against impossible standards.

#468 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2009, 11:49 PM:

Lee @ 451: That is a very encouraging development. I fully support limiting the power of lobbyists. (I also support the elimination of addenda to bills that have nothing to do with the bills' intent, especially as regards to financial disbursements.)

#469 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 12:04 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 467... gentleman callers who might feel I was holding them up against impossible standards

It reminds me of a Fantastic Four story where Sue explains that one of the things she likes about her hubby Reed is how he stretches his... ah... intellect.

#470 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 02:34 AM:

Fragano, #466: Not to worry. I did use a pronoun with no clear-cut antecedent; I meant it one way, you took it the other. That's a failure of communication on my part.

Serge, #469: *snerk*

#471 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 04:51 AM:

It was 2 a.m., I had an earworm, saw the latest parlor game, eschewed my usual reluctance to join in, and somehow managed to zap the part about using setting as a theme. Oh well. So here it is in the open thread instead.

Golden firestone-eating queen
Firestone-eating queen
Golden firestone-eating queen
Firestone-eating queen

Riding on a dragon's back
Off to fight the thread
Riding on a dragon's back
Sitting at her head
Along came the wicked strands
Wicked burning rain
They fell down in lethal bands
Causing death and pain

But my golden firestone-eating queen
firestone-eating queen

Flew into the threaded sky
Swift and strong and lean
Flamed the thread and watched it die
Quickly went between

It's my golden firestone-eating queen
firestone-eating queen

#472 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 09:57 AM:

David @ 459:

Not to defend McNaughton, but the painting appears to be more symbolic of his view of America. I don't think it should be given a literal meaning.

#473 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 10:11 AM:

Open threadiness:

I may have some good news later on today. Fingers crossed. Hamster Prayer Wheels spinning.

#474 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 10:35 AM:

B.Durbin@468: Just what the "intent" of a bill is is an interesting question, which can lead to remarkable legal expenses :-). Minnesota has such a requirement, and we've had laws invalidated due to it. And lots of laws clearly MORE diverse in content than the ones invalidated that have not been challenged.

More to the point, if one did effectively ban it, I think one would have removed one of the important tools of cooperation and compromise. The process of legislative compromise tends to work on the "you can have x if I can have y" approach, and putting x and y in the same bill is the best way to make sure you both get what you agreed to.

#475 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 10:39 AM:


That's the plate of a car I saw a couple of days ago.
Not sure how to interpret its message.
If there IS a message.

#476 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 11:36 AM:


I thought it meant someone loved the color shown here.

#478 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 12:51 PM:

Nancy C Mittens... Jacque... I don't remember the car's color for sure, but you may be right. When I saw the plate, I first thought of the song that Eric Idle wrote when Michael Powell was in charge of the FCC, where 'FCC' was pronounced like the crude word that sounds like 'Puck'. I wasn't sure where the '666' fitted in there. I mentionned this to my wife and she thinks I'm weird. (Yes, we've been together for 24 years - does it show?)

#479 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 02:39 PM:

If you know about illustrations of Martian Tripods that are now in the public domain, would you mind passing on a link to me here? I've been thinking about getting business cards made for my own personal use, and their sporting a Tripod would be neat. The illustration would have to be reproducible at about the size of a LiveJournal icon.

#480 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 02:47 PM:

Fafblog is back. I mean really back.

Q: But they've been just months away from a bomb for years now. A: I know! Which means in terror years, Iran already has a bomb... in your child's precious brain! Q: But that's where she keeps her sugarplum dreams! A: That's why it's up to us to already have being stopped them!

Also, Death has a blog, and Amadis of Gaul is a blog.

#481 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 03:38 PM:

I have officially hit outrage fatigue. When you read about Oklahoma passing a law to collect and publish online personal info about women who've had abortions, and your response is to shake your head and wonder what the redneck assholes* will think up next time, it's time to take a break from the news...

* Note, please that these are two different categories, they just have some overlap.

#482 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 03:49 PM:

The Oklahoma legislature definitely qualifies as redneck assholes, by that fact alone. Not everyone in OK, of course. But enough. There's a state I won't be visiting any time soon.

#483 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 05:09 PM:

Re: the 'interesting' statue--I saw it in person some years ago at the Portland Art Museum. I'm fairly sure they had a warning up, but it still didn't prepare one for the bewilderment of being in the same room. It's quite, er, something, up close.

There was also a female companion piece of a similar theme in the same room. Also quite... something. Adjectives fail me.

The pair are an interesting artistic commentary, at any rate.

#484 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Carrie S #481: That's, well, that's just obscene.

#485 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 07:17 PM:

Open thready badness: Glenn Greenwald has a new column up, discussing the pattern of the Obama administration continuing to cover up for the crimes of the Bush administration.

Does anyone have any guesses about motives, here? I can see why Obama doesn't want to spent political capital on bringing prosecutions, but why suppress evidence and cover up for the previous administration's crimes? The best explanations I can come up with range from bad to horrifying.

#486 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 07:30 PM:

There are surely other reasons, some of them may be truly disgusting, but I would not be surprised if the primary reason weren't simply that Obama's administration has been very reluctant to rip out Bush appointees on a large scale and replace them, so a lot of the status quo is the result of the same people still being on the job.

I'm extremely upset by the administration's procrastination in cleaning house at DOJ, and outright refusal to replace the finance industry apologists in Treasury.

#487 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 07:57 PM:


Is there any evidence the Obama administration even wants to replace the finance industry apologists at Treasury?

I suspect that the administration is getting a big benefit from all that data from domestic spy operations--wiretapping, national security letters, etc.--and that the Republicans who might go down for torture or other scandals have threatened to disclose lots of details about those programs in their defense. And that's about the most positive bit of thinking I can manage on the whole thing.

#488 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 08:04 PM:

This just in: Scrooge was wrong. Mr. Potter, under a pseudonym, is living in Oak Brook, IL. Where, if I read events correctly, he's going to become a "Special Friend" (in the Yakko Warner way) to the Teamsters, the American Library Association, and anyone that dislikes adults who want to make sure that 11 year olds "lose sleep." Comparisons to C. Montgomery Burns are obvious, but don't seem fair to Mr. Burns. Odd that the town is still called Oak Brook rather than Pottertown...

#489 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 10:07 PM:

Coming back to this subject after rather a gap. Previously (#201).
I thought I'd posted this here, but couldn't find it when I went back to look, so here are some stories with pictures, as requested (Erik, #216, by implication), in case the people interested haven't tracked them down already.

Nero's rotating banquet hall unveiled in Rome (Yahoo, slideshow + video)

Yahoo! links disappear relatively quickly, so here are a selection of others with pictures, videos & background information.

Nero's rotating banquet hall unveiled in Rome (NPR. pix with captions + map)

VIDEO: Emperor Nero's Rotating Dining Room Unearthed (Post Chronicle. a video report and images of the ancient dining area)

  • NERO`S ROTATING DINING ROOM FOUND (Italy Online in English, only 1 picture, but more history)

    And a typical Daily Mail treatment (their headline for the new hominid fossil discovery, Ardi is "First ape woman suggests human ancestors may have started walking in pursuit of sex"), slavering at length over Nero's reported sex-and-sadism excesses before concluding with "We can only hope that this time it is not the setting for such unbridled horrors".
    Wine, women and slaughter: The truth behind Emperor Nero's pleasure palace

    Also found this story about another Roman excavation, an old port near Rome with some surprising features.
    Face in the sand: British team unearths Roman amphitheatre at ancient port

    Despite their relentless "UK! UK! UK! Oi! Oi! Oi!" (there were astronomy stories with UK links too) and tabloid sex, violence and sentiment slant, the Daily Mail at least seems to cover a fair bit of science with reasonable length and depth, by comparison with what I see in Australia (which retains the jingoism and other typical tabloid features) and the glimpses of popular press in the USA I get, anyway.

    #490 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 10:15 PM:

    Mez (#201), Erik (#216) Coming back to Nero (the emperor, not the detective) after rather a gap, with a comment I thought I'd posted here, but couldn't find.

    I think what happened was that I decided to put together the information for a post on my blog, and remembered posting that as putting it here as well.

    So you should see links to some stories with pictures, if you haven't tracked them down already. Currently in moderation because of the links.

    #491 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 10:35 PM:

    I'll play my chemobrain card here — it's getting a fair workout right now. Forgot to ask.

    Clifton, it's close on a week. Hoping for some good news on Soba. The fleece failure was disappointing.

    Umm. And somewhere I've got to put Good News about friend, linked to previous notes ...

    #492 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2009, 11:55 PM:

    Saturn at equinox:
    Is the equinox of the rings a separate event from the equinox of the planet?

    #493 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 01:07 AM:

    David Harmon @ 459: And to go with your new Conservative Bible, a lovely painting of Jesus delivering the US Constitution. With alt-text!

    The inevitable photoshop has arrived. Cthulhu ftaghn!

    #494 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 01:50 AM:

    Carrie, #481: That may come back to bite them in the ass. If it's not immediately challenged and struck down as a HIPAA violation (which seems very likely to me, but IANA medical professional), then I suspect there will be a lot of stories like these coming to light.

    #495 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 06:37 AM:

    Serge #475:


    The Federal Communications Commission is the anti-christ? There are people who seem to hold this opinion.

    #496 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 12:02 PM:

    TNH particle:

    With ibuprofen, I try to remember that it's an anti-inflammatory as well as a painkiller. So, if I'm dealing with something of that sort (swelling in particular) I may take ibuprofen even if it doesn't hurt, because it does reduce swelling and promote healing. That's a different kind of precautionary use than the "before exercise" stuff discussed in that article.

    On the other hand, just about all meds have tradeoffs. My doctor told me years ago not to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach, for the sake of my kidneys. So, at least a bite of something, or take it with milk, if I need it in the morning.

    I've recently been told that NSAIDs tend to increase blood pressure, something to watch out for if a person is trying to keep blood pressure down without other meds. (I don't know by how much, and if I had a real issue there I would do more research.)

    #497 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 12:27 PM:

    John Houghton @ 495... So I've heard. As for myself, I thought that, at least while Michael Powell was in charge (and possibly now too), it wasn't so much evil as it was extremely stupid. Its sense of priorities was quite misplaced, with people more upset by Janet Jackson's exposed bosom than by the whole affair being a simulated assault against a woman.

    #498 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 01:25 PM:

    The CBC's Ontario regional radio show, "Ontario Today", features a daily phone-in on a variety of subjects, with an expert in the studio to discuss matters or give advice to the callers. The gardening expert is there every Monday, the wine expert on the last Friday of each month, and so on.

    Today's expert was an art conservator, for people to consult on restoring furniture, collectibles, art, and so forth. So I called in to ask about putting my pysanka back together. He said that it would be very difficult and, at best, still probably wouldn't look very good -- that each tiny error with one bit would magnify the errors for all the next bits. If I could find a form of the right size, perhaps... but he agreed with my objection that there's so much variation in the shapes and sizes of eggs that that probably wouldn't help much.

    I mentioned Debbie's suggestion of making a flat mosaic from the bits, and the conservator thought that it was a possibility. "Sort of an orthographic projection of the egg", he said. But he agreed that trying to make a good projection of the egg shape to a flat surface might be tricky.

    Still, it's the best suggestion I've had, and when I'm feeling a bit more alert and creative, I'll probably give it a try. (It's probably not a project with a lot of scope for fixing mistakes, so I'll want to be in good form when I go for it.)

    (The call-in segment of the show is apparently already up in their audio archive, and should be there for a month.)

    #499 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 03:35 PM:

    Because AKICITF: Tuatha Dé Danann or Tuatha de Danaan? Tír na nÓg or Tir na Nog? Trying to set the "house style" for Mythlore...

    #500 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 04:20 PM:

    Vicki: My NSAID (etodolac) has a warning about not using it with blood pressure regulators, lest it cause a catastrophic drop in blood pressure.

    #501 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 04:22 PM:

    Janet Croft (499): IANAE, but I've always seen those as Tuatha De Dannan* and Tír na nÓg.

    *"people of the goddess Dannan"

    #502 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 04:39 PM:

    David Dyer-Bennet @ 474: To make things clear, I should perhaps state that I think a certain amount of governmental gridlock is a good thing.

    Insert snarky Mark Twain comment here. :D

    #503 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 05:14 PM:

    abi said in the Pastorale thread, "Albatross just happened to post his verse in italics."

    Is there a standard which directs under what circumstances verse should be posted in italics?

    #504 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 05:23 PM:

    Janet and Mary Aileen: I think the long mark belongs over the e in Dé as well as in Tír na nÓg. That's the way I've always pronounced it, anyway.

    #505 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 05:25 PM:

    Earl: Good heavens no! This is Patrick and Teresa's blog, not Strunk & White's!

    #506 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 05:57 PM:

    Xopher (504): I think you're right. I was just reacting to the capital/no capital 'D'.

    #507 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 07:33 PM:

    Xopher @ 505... This is Patrick and Teresa's blog, not Strunk & White's!

    I dunno.
    I kind of think that Strunk & White could have been a Seventies cop show starring Teresa & Patrick.
    Grammar cops, of course.

    #508 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 10:46 PM:

    Xopher #505: Earl: Good heavens no! This is Patrick and Teresa's blog, not Strunk & White's!

    I didn't mean specific to this blog, I meant it as a more general question about italicized poetry.

    #509 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 11:09 PM:

    Earl: Italicized poetry just tastes better. No one knows why. It's a mystery.

    #510 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 11:24 PM:

    Poetry should be italicized when it consists of mathematical variables, titles of books and periodicals, and emphasized words; there are probably other cases that I'm not recalling at the moment.

    This being the fluorosphere, I have some hope that someone will take that as a challenge.

    #511 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2009, 11:33 PM:

    This seems like yet another story out of the TV news in Robocop, somehow.

    #512 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 01:11 AM:

    Joel Polowin #498:

    Not sure if it's been suggested before but have you considered making the mosaic onto to an egg-shaped base? I was thinking of something like the ostrich egg mosaic shown here.

    #513 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 05:10 AM:

    My achievements for Friday, in spite of having had less than 4 hours of sleep over the last 44 hours...

    I figured out what the real bug was in my current Big Programming Project. Tonight, at the local SF club's meeting, I was nominated for the position of alternator(*), but lost to someone named Coyle, which prompted me to point out the electrical association between the position and the two nominees. Later, during the parlor game, I punned again, combining loquacious equines with scientists who do unholy transformative experiments on themselves.

    Doctor Jekyll and Mister Ed.


    (*) Meaning, a backup for the people in charge, not for appliances.

    #514 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 09:53 AM:

    Soon Lee @ 512: No, I hadn't had that suggestion before. It's a nice idea.

    I wonder if the dyes on the egg would be stable in plsatic resin? It would be interesting to attach the fragments to an egg-shaped transparent core, then set the entire thing in a clear block of plastic.

    #515 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 10:00 AM:

    I'm not a fan of italicized poetry. I've picked up that most of the time, italicized songs and poems in fiction don't matter all that much-- I can skim them and not miss anything but the things themselves. I try not to do it now, but my reflex is to skip or skim.

    #516 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 02:17 PM:

    Serge #513:



    So the club members have been vacillating?

    #517 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 02:44 PM:


    #518 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 02:56 PM:

    Just heard Defense Secretary Gates (on the radio) say "Look, I think the American tool box should contain something other than hammers."

    He got a round of applause for that, and I would have joined in had I been in the room.

    #519 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 03:22 PM:

    Soon Lee @ 516... Stable, actually.

    #520 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 03:24 PM:

    Xopher @ 518... He nailed that one.

    #521 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 03:36 PM:

    Serge, I saw what you did there.

    #522 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 03:38 PM:

    Mark @521:

    So did we awl, but there's no need to hammer him for it.

    #523 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 03:44 PM:

    You've got me pegged down.

    #524 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 03:59 PM:

    Serge, I find your approach riveting.

    #525 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 04:07 PM:

    Personally, I think that the slogan "The American tool box should contain something other than hammers" should be a plank of any Democratic political platform.

    #526 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 04:20 PM:

    We all know the drill: it's time to pick up the pace before one of us gets shoed away.

    #527 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 04:22 PM:

    We all know the drill: it's time to pick up the pace before one of us gets shoed away.

    #528 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 04:27 PM:

    Open Thread-ness:

    Kim Stanley Robinson on Olaf Stapledon and Virginia Woolf and Science Fiction and Historical Fiction.

    It may not be what you think it will be.

    Love, C.

    #529 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 04:55 PM:

    I think if our toolbox doesn't have anything other than hammers, we'll be screwed no matter who the driver is. Even if everyone knows the drill as mentioned above, we won't have a bit of credibility. I think there's an opportunity to take our relationship with other nations to a different plane, and smooth things out enormously.

    Gates' statement should be kept on file, even if it's delivered in a raspy tone.

    #530 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 05:06 PM:

    Xopher #529: Eventually it will become an old saw.

    #531 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 05:49 PM:


    Just what we need. More cutting remarks.

    #532 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 05:53 PM:

    Republican Representative Thaddeus McCotter from Michigan has introduced a tax deduction for pet owners. (Scroll down a bit.)

    #533 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 06:10 PM:

    Does anyone know a reliable and straightforward approach to getting rid of the VUNDO.H virus that doesn't involve installing Linux?

    #534 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 06:26 PM:

    I'm with Gates, the US needs to stop making an adze of itself, and stick to plane diplomacy, Mortise than force, and we shall be on a leveled playing field, so that the rest of the world will "plumb like us better".

    #535 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 06:52 PM:

    C. Wingate @ 533: There's some information about removal of a persistent VUNDO.H infection here, using MalwareBytes.

    #536 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 09:04 PM:

    The following came up on Comcast's site...

    President Barack Obama says he will end the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy.

    It doesn't say when.
    But it says it.

    #537 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2009, 10:26 PM:

    Mez (and others who've been wondering):

    Soba is finally settling in a bit. While she's still hiding a lot, in the last couple days she's pretty much stopped hissing at me and become friendly enough for me to have a couple brief petting sessions with her. She warmed up to the rest of the humans sooner; she's been coming up to them and sniffing and asking for pets for several days before that.

    We're still keeping her shut in the bathroom to keep her away from the other cats. (There was one fur-flying incident when I left the door open in the middle of the night.) We might start trying to introduce them one at a time, keeping an eye on the situation to see how it goes. Because she's never had a social life with other cats, it's possible she simply won't adapt. I think cats are not instinctively social as dogs are.

    We're still thinking in terms of finding her another home, but if it turns out she can get along with the other cats, it's possible she could stay. So far we haven't found anyone who was interested, except for one possible who wouldn't be back from a trip until November.

    #538 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 01:41 AM:

    Terry Karney... Say, how did the photos of the Gathering of Light turn out?

    #540 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 02:49 AM:

    Serge: I don't know yet. I've not emptied the camera yet. When I do know, any decent ones will be sent your way.

    #541 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 05:48 AM:

    Clifton, IANAZ* but cats don’t seem to be naturally social with other cats outside their family group – they are highly territorial and will usually fight with other cats that intrude in ‘their’ garden or yard – yet can become friends with other animals, including humans, depending on how those animals respond to them.  We had an old cat – maybe 10 – when our daughter, who’d grown up with that one, decided that she’d like a kitten.  Kitten duly arrived, and hissed and spat at everyone, including old cat who hissed and spat back, and though (after a few fights) came to tolerate kitten, was never friendly.  Tiny kitten also hissed and spat bravely at big flat-coated retriever, who took no notice at all and continued to wave tail amiably;  before long they were sharing a basket.  Both cats were always selective about which human family members they preferred and which visiting friends they would approach or sit on the lap of.

    * zoologist (ailurologist?)

    #542 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 09:01 AM:

    Clifton @537: Female cats are not social; they maintain a territory and do not like meeting strangers, except when in heat. Male cats are gregarious, and can socialize if there's no female to fight about. Indoors, that translates to a high probability that Soba will not get along with the existing female cats, and possibly not the male cats, although that's harder to predict. If you do rehome her, just be warned that she will go through the same period of hiding and hostility until she settles in. Now that she's decided to accept you, your house is becoming her territory.

    #543 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 09:38 AM:

    Terry Karney @ 540... Thanks. The decent ones, and especially the indecent ones.

    #544 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 09:43 AM:

    Ginger @ 542... As you can see here, Agatha the Cat Genius definitely maintains a territory. She even built a bodyguard with eyebeams that shoot death.

    #545 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 12:03 PM:

    Serge @544: You bring up an excellent point; geniuses like Agatha get along with everyone. Also, young cats are more easily socialized than older, grumpy, territorial cats.

    #546 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 12:22 PM:

    Ginger @ 545... older, grumpy, territorial cats

    The late Murphy (named after Robocop) definitely was one of those. I feel bad that she was always hiding because of the family's later canine and feline additions.

    #547 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 01:11 PM:

    My cat Gremlin got along fine with my rabbit (who I had first), but on a visit back to her prior home, she attacked her son George.

    #548 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 01:14 PM:

    David Harmon @ 547... Was George the bunny thus named because of Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"?

    #549 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 01:16 PM:

    Our friend's female feline, Mz M, not only shuns and dislikes other cats, she does not consider herself a cat.

    Have not yet figured out what she considers herself to be, other than Superior Being To You, of course.

    Love, C.

    #550 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 01:20 PM:

    I wish I'd been brave/stupid enough to lock the Catina and the least objectionable of the three dogs in the bathroom when I watched the dogs for a weekend. She's a hiss-and-retreat cat, even if the other animal doesn't do anything. The most successful night, I had Reggie, best dog, on the bed with me because he has to sleep with someone, and the other two locked away elsewhere. Patina the Catina jumped onto the bed, hissed, and jumped down. Had I locked them in the bathroom together, forced them to interact, maybe she'd have realized that Reggie is basically a very small benevolently senile cat in a bichon's body.

    #551 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 01:37 PM:

    Diatryma @ 550... Reggie is basically a very small benevolently senile cat in a bichon's body

    "Alive! It's alive, alive, alive!!!"

    #552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 01:43 PM:

    What do you know? Paw n' Fur is still on YouTube.

    #553 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 02:11 PM:

    Serge @ 548: Huh. I see that Hugo the Abominable Snowman -- "My own little bunny rabbit. I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him... " -- is apparently based on a character in Of Mice and Men. I would never have known this; I'm not familiar with the source.

    #554 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 02:29 PM:

    Joel Polowin @ 553...

    George: We're gonna get a little place.
    Lennie: Okay, yeah, we're gonna get a little place and w're gonna...
    George: We gonna...
    Lennie: ...have...
    George: [Lennie mouths what he says] We're gonna have a cow, and some pigs, and we're gonna have, maybe-maybe, a chicken. Down in the flat, we'll have a little field of...
    Lennie: Field of alfalfa for the rabbits.
    George: ...for the rabbits.
    Lennie: And I get to tend the rab...

    #555 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 03:47 PM:

    Me #539:

    More Open threadiness - a youtube clip showing high speed (million frames/sec) footage of bullets hitting various materials.. Looks like stones splashing into water and rather poetic.

    #556 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 04:59 PM:

    Serge #548: Actually, it's my cat Gremlin's son who's named George, but that was at least partly from the "hug him and squeeze him..." line -- at least, his owner does. She (the owner) also cited Mad King George, among other sources....

    #557 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 05:17 PM:

    David Harmon @ 556: ...which reminds me of how the US distributor of The Madness of King George III insisted on dropping the king's ordinal from the title, for fear that yanks would think it was a sequel.

    #558 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 06:18 PM:

    Yep, Mark, heard that too. "I didn't see part I or part II, so why should I see the IIIrd part?"

    #559 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 07:04 PM:

    If all we have in the bag is hammers then we'll be just as dumb.

    #560 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 07:14 PM:

    "If all we have is doorknobs, we see everything as an opening."

    #561 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2009, 11:07 PM:

    I have the opposite problem from territoriality. Spirit, who is 11 and has lived here that long, is afraid of the two new four-year-old cats -- one female, one male. She's become less afraid of Loki and will sometimes sit in the recliner with him and she let him lick her head, but she's really afraid of Junie. The big problem is that Spirit is going blind and she's afraid to head down the hall at night to the litterbox in case Junie is there. Junie will be sleeping with me, but Spirit doesn't know that because even with the hall light on, she can't see. She used the couch as a litterbox the last two nights, so she'll be shut in the guest bathroom tonight. I'm sorry to do it, but I have to, and I'll call the vet and see what she thinks might help.

    (Loki just joined her in the recliner.)

    #562 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 01:24 AM:

    1 million FPS seems a trifle unbelievable (I don't know of a digital sensor which is that fast, and I can't imagine a film camera able to keep the stock from being destroyed; that being something like 100,000 feet of film per second through the beast), to say nothing of loading the cannister; even if it was just a small chunk of time). I'd guess it's more like 200,000 fps (which is still serious work)

    But that's impressive video.

    I commend a different photographer, working on single frames:

    Alan Sailer

    #563 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 02:00 AM:

    Terry Karney #562:
    Given that it's a promotional tool, some hyperbole is not unexpected. I seriously doubt that all the sequences are at the maximal frame rate, though the site does claim to be able to achieve a million fps.

    The Alan Sailer images provide quite the contrast between the functional & the artistic.

    #564 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 02:04 AM:

    Terry: I too thought it unbelievable but google tells me otherwise. Here's one example it found.

    #565 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 04:42 AM:

    Hey, everyone. Don't know if anyone's noticed that I've been absent for the last week or so, but I've been traveling back to the SF Bay Area, where I had an excellent (if busy) time. I wrote some about it on my LJ. I had a ring made for me this last summer, and I finally get to wear it; and Patrick no longer has the right to refer to the "Tiny Revolution" blogger as "future David Goldfarb brother-in-law".

    #566 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 05:15 AM:

    Shimadzu has upgraded it. The beastie is not so much a "camera" as it is a charge-coupled device image sensor deployment platform.

    #567 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 05:37 AM:

    David Goldfarb @565:


    To both of you. Yay!

    #568 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 09:12 AM:

    Earl @ 566: The beastie is not so much a "camera" as it is a charge-coupled device image sensor deployment platform.
    And so's your m... sorry, so's my trusty Canon.1 Light goes in one end, images come out the other. It even has a standard Nikon F-type lens mount. Ain't no other word for it - that's a camera.

    1 CMOS actually, rather than CCD, but I love it just the same.

    #569 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 11:52 AM:

    UNICEF has named Frodo Orlando Bloom its goodwill ambassador in recognition of his commitment to children's rights around the world. [AP]

    #570 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:14 PM:

    David Goldfarb #565: Congratulations!!!!!!

    #571 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:14 PM:

    John, Orlando Bloom played Legolas, not Frodo; Frodo was played by Elijah Wood.

    #572 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:17 PM:

    Congratulations, David Goldfarb!

    #573 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:19 PM:

    @569: Ha! So!! Now we have yet more proof that the left-liberal Hollywood-Elvish-Jewish conspiracy (Mr Bloom/Legolas) is hand-in-glove with the UN!!!
    [And probably those Nobel people.... <mutter> ...]
    <wipes foam off mouth>

    David Goldfarb – Congratulations!

    #574 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:28 PM:

    re 535: Thanks for the info; there was some key information on the use of one of the fix programs which I had seen elsewhere but which gave me the confidence to set it loose. I think I finally managed to root the %(*#$&%*$( stuff out this morning, but it required three different fix programs and rebooting in several different combinations of safe mode and disabling services and start-up scripts, including turning Macafee on and off through the middle of this. Part of me wishes to transport the perpetrators of these things to the summit of Mt. Erebus, where they can stand in their skivvies until we feel like pitching them into the lava lake.

    #575 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:30 PM:

    Congratulations, David Goldfarb! It all sounds wonderful!

    #576 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:41 PM:

    #573 :  Even worse, this Bloom guy is British [pause for shock reaction] – and campaigned for Obama – he must be part of the global conspiracy for evil socialist commie-sympathizing non-profit health care!  (Dan Brown’s next airport-stall-filler will reveal all!)

    #577 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:48 PM:

    Paul Duncanson #568: Light goes in one end, images come out the other.

    Let me 'splain.


    No, there is too much. Let me sum up, from the other direction.

    The Shimadzu HyperVision HPV-2 is merely a camera in the same sort of way that the SR-71 Blackbird is merely an airplane. Do you see where I'm going with this?

    #578 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 12:52 PM:

    That shows how good I am at names/faces. The sad part is my not googling to check.

    #579 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 01:15 PM:

    David Goldfarb @565: Congratulations!

    #580 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 01:33 PM:

    John, the sad part is that I knew that WITHOUT Googling to check!

    #581 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 02:39 PM:

    David, #565: Congratulations to both of you! Now that you're not so busy with wedding plans, we should have dinner again sometime.

    Xopher, #580: That's not sad, that's normal! ;-)

    #582 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 02:59 PM:

    Xopher, moi aussi,   ;(   tres triste

    #583 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 03:04 PM:

    Earl Cooley: (@ 566/577) But you were the one who said "the beastie is not so much a "camera" (partitive quotation marks included).

    Now, the SR-71 may have been apotheosis of some aspects of the category "airplane" but I don't think saying "it isn't so much an "airplane" as a way to fly real high, and real fast."

    The SRr-71 is the same sort of airplane as the U2, it was a high altitude reconnaisance plane.

    This this is a high speed (really high speed), short duration (100 images) camera. At something on the order of a 1/4 million dollars, for a fraction of second, it's very special purpose, but so to is an SEM.

    #584 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 03:24 PM:

    David Goldfarb @ 565... Congratulations!

    "With a ring like that I could - dare I say it? - rule the world. "
    - Professor Foote in the Beatles's Help!

    #585 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 05:20 PM:

    Joel Polowin @498: I forget if the following has been suggested, so forgive me if this covers old ground:

    1. Lay all of the pieces out on a sheet of paper and take a photo with a ruler for scale. Print the photo 1/1 as a sample. (Might take a few tries and would be, of necessity, approximate.)

    3. Try using the copy to reassemble the pattern to get a sense of what size egg is needed.

    4. Make a Sculpey form of the appropriate size; try reassembling another copy of the print; repeat as necessary until you get a satisfactory result.

    5. Then (ta da!) reassemble the actual egg onto a Sculpey form.

    At the very least, you could try some things out without actually risking the original egg fragments.

    Also, have you considered using Krylon spray-sealant to stabilize the dyes? (I'd try it on a small piece first, just in case it doesn't work.)

    #586 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 06:05 PM:

    Congratulations, David Goldfarb!

    #587 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 06:13 PM:

    Re Teresa's suburbs-to-slums particle:
    Is anyone else reminded of the desperate slum "Belly Rave" (né housing development Belle Rêve) in Gladiator-At-Law? As so often, Pohl and Kornbluth were disquietingly prophetic.

    #588 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 06:15 PM:

    Mark #557:
    David Harmon @ 556: ...which reminds me of how the US distributor of The Madness of King George III insisted on dropping the king's ordinal from the title, for fear that yanks would think it was a sequel.

    I hear that this Shakespeare guy is pretty good, so I picked up copies of Richard II and Richard III. I've Googled, checked Netflix and Blockbuster, but I can't seem to find a copy of Richard I so I can start the series right. Any ideas?

    Yours Truly,

    #589 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 06:30 PM:

    Earl @577, you're the one who brought in the word "merely". The SR-71 is an extremely good airplane, and the Shimadzu HyperVision HPV-2 is an extremely good camera. But you'd get very strange looks if you insisted "no, no, the SR-71 isn't an airplane", and that's what you're getting here.

    If it makes you more willing to accept the term, I can point out that astronomers routinely call anything that makes an image, as opposed to a spectrum, a "camera". The new Wide Field Camera 3, for instance. This isn't just terminology used to explain things to people outside the field; it's actually what they're called.

    #590 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 06:58 PM:

    #587: I was about to post the same reference.

    As I recall, the reason the Levittown style burbs went to hell is that super-modern manufactured, automated homes made the old wood frame jobs seem pathetic.

    #591 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 07:06 PM:

    My co-workers and I saw an actual SR-71 last Wednesday. The camera was there too.

    After hearing the docents describe it, I'm tempted to say that the SR-71 wasn't a particular good airplane. It was a very, very performant one that did its job well, but was incredibly demanding. Like a thoroughbred race horse that needed brain simulation to start walking and had to be fed special food as it was being led to the starting line and another kind of food halfway around the track.

    #592 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 08:37 PM:

    Jacque @ 585: That's an interesting idea. But part of the problem is that there's significant variation in the shapes of eggs; it's not merely a size problem. And the fragments I've got are curved -- the largest two pieces are significant parts of the whole -- so trying to model the thing using flat photoreproductions will create other problems.

    I've thought about sealing the fragments with some kind of spray-on plastic, though I'm not sure what material is most likely to work.

    I suppose that with modern "solid printing" technology, I could scan the fragments to give accurate 3D models, assemble the fragment models to a virtual whole, then "print" the solid egg shape minus the modeled fragments. That would even give me line guides for positioning the real fragments onto the form.

    #593 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 08:42 PM:

    The analogy I use most is 'top fuel dragster'.

    #594 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 08:49 PM:

    Wish I was in Switzerland right about now for this Mervyn Peake exhibition.

    #595 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 09:32 PM:

    Re. 'Superfreaks' in the PNH sidebar:

    Aargh. This article makes me grind my teeth. (Disambiguation: I agree with the article. The book sounds like rubbish.)

    This just reinforces - as if it needed it - my conviction that self described contrarians are prone to being grandstanding jerks.

    #596 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 10:14 PM:

    Bleargh. Y'all'r being too analytical and not lyrical enough. I don't know why I bothered to defend the honor of Shimadzu; I don't own any stock in the company anyway.

    Come to think of it, I don't own any stock at all.

    #597 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 10:23 PM:

    There's nothing like coming back from a trip to the ER and, upon turning on the TV, you find yourself watching a fanfare of clowns being led across the Italian countryside by Marcello Mastroiani. (The next best thing was a few years ago, when I woke up extremely early, and found myself treated to the sight of Michael Dunn dressed as a gun-toting clown chasing Captain Crane aboard the deserted Seaview.)

    #598 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 10:54 PM:

    Earl Cooley II: I disagree.

    I like planes. Have been in love with them since I was a wee thing (the book I got as my souvenier from the Smithsonian, from a trip to DC for my eigth birthday, was about planes).

    I am also ga-ga for cameras. I love them. I have models which are obsolete (Polaroid no longer makes film for that model of land camera), and others which are only decorative (because repairing that Kodak collapsable field camera is just too pricey, for what it would do).

    They are romantic things, and the Shimazda is a splendid example of special purpose camera (like the huge digital one the guy has which takes minutes to collect an image, and produces interesting images on a sensor something like 24x36 inches across).

    Part of the wonder of all those things is that they are so specialised, and still members of the family.

    I am in awe that it can do what it does. I am thrilled that I own so many of it's relatives.

    #599 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 10:56 PM:

    #597: I had that dream too, only the clown had a chainsaw and it was an elementary school instead of the Seaview.

    #600 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 11:25 PM:

    @595: I flipped through Freakonomics in a bookstore, and put it down when it repeated the Lemonjello urban legend, unsourced, as fact. So this news rather confirms my prejudices.

    Maybe I am wrong about Freakonomics; maybe I rushed to judgment. But the Lemonjello thing just ticked me right off.

    #601 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2009, 11:41 PM:

    Stefan Jones @ 599... Are elementary schools that different from the Seaview?

    #602 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 12:48 AM:

    Terry, I am at a loss to figure out what we're disagreeing about. Since disagreeing with you is fairly unfamiliar territory for me, I'll just stop while I'm behind and acknowledge your superior subject matter expertise.

    #603 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 01:44 AM:

    The SR-71 "pushed the envelope." It was state of the art and then some for when it was designed nd built, and what the state of the art was. It also was one of the planes designed by Clarence Kelly, arguably the foremost aircraft designer in the world of his time.

    And, the people who flew on them, got astronaut wings...

    #604 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 08:14 AM:

    Re: cameras and aircraft. I'm sort of sorry I said anything... and yet, I'm with Terry on the love of cameras. For me, sites like are verging on porn. I would love to play with one of those ultra-fast things with a sound or infra-red beam trigger, some fragile items, and a largeish patch of concrete.

    On an unrelated note, there's a joke in my head that just isn't coming together involving the sidelight about 100 mile undersea snot blobs and a little-known sequel to Atlas Shrugged called Poseidon Sneezed (and maybe a conclusion to the trilogy called Prometheus Farted). Maybe someone else can do something with that. I know there needs to be a hundred page speech about how sometimes it's OK to be altruistic toward people if they have a really bad cold and why isn't there any aspirin in this damned gulch.

    #605 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 08:23 AM:

    Apologies if anyone has beat me to this, but OMG VEGETARIAN SPIDER named Bagheera kiplingi!

    #606 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 08:46 AM:

    Bruce, way back @ # 488: he sounds more like the early Andrew Kehoe than Mr. Potter. I hope he won't follow Kehoe's subsequent trajectory.

    #607 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 01:29 PM:

    OK, I just have to share the pain here. News item (intracompany, so no link) that says this one woman has participated in the Komen Run for the Cure three times. Then it says

    Once, many years ago in 2007, when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer and again this year.
    I was told not to raise it to anyone because "no one reads that stuff anyway." Well, why do we bother putting it up? I suggest Lorem Ipsum if comprehensibility isn't an issue.

    #608 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 01:46 PM:

    Paul Duncanson @#604:

    In the Illuminatus trilogy one character is the author of the book Telemachus Sneezed.

    #609 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 02:05 PM:

    Lila @ 605... Have you ever heard of the Strigiphilus Garylarsoni, a biting louse of a genus only found on owls?

    #610 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 02:10 PM:

    Xopher (607): After reading that several times, I'm guessing there's supposed to be a comma after 'ago'. (In which case the comma after 'once' should probably be removed.)

    #611 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 02:12 PM:

    John Houghton @588:

    Who was Richard I anyway - the Lionheart?

    Tim Walters @594:

    That Peake exhibition, and la Maison d'Ailleurs in general, look very cool.

    #612 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 02:18 PM:

    Mary Aileen, I think it should be punctuated like this:

    Once, many years ago; in 2007, when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer; and again this year.
    Come to think of it, some idiot may just have taken out the semicolons, being unfamiliar with the "complicated lists" rule on them. Even with them it's a bit awkward, but it's comprehensible. IF that's what the writer originally meant; part of the problem is that it's impossible to be certain.

    #613 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 02:44 PM:

    Joel Polowin @592: Yeah, the question of large-ish pieces was hovering in the back of my mind.

    If you have large sections (from which one could deduce curvature and cross-section), stereolithography would definitely be the way to go if you can find a service-bureau in your area. That almost seems like cheating, though. :)

    (I confess this problem provokes my Maker-nature. "Gimme pieces. Want to fix. Gimme.")

    #614 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 03:10 PM:

    Xopher (612): I agree. We're both parsing it the same way, but semicolons would make it clearer than an additional comma. Except that, as you say, it's impossible to be certain of the intended meaning.

    #615 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 04:47 PM:

    Serge @ #609: I had heard that Larson had an owl-louse named after him, but either hadn't heard or had forgotten the name.

    #616 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 04:48 PM:

    Yes, Richard Coeur de Lion was the First of that name to wear the crown.

    #617 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 06:01 PM:

    Found on, here is what U.S. District Judge Clay Land said to birther lawyer Orly Taitz...

    If he [the President] refused to admit publicly that he is older than the constitutional minimum age of thirty-five, should Ms. Taitz be allowed to file a lawsuit and have a court order him to produce his birth certificate? Or perhaps an eccentric citizen has become convinced that the President is an alien from Mars, and the courts should order DNA testing to enforce the Constitution.
    #618 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 06:41 PM:

    Terry - thanks for answering my question.

    #619 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 09:57 PM:

    In case you might be interested, on Thursday TCM will show O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and I Married A Monster from Outer Space.

    #620 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2009, 11:39 PM:

    Xopher and Mary Aileen (612 and previous) - Doesn't that add up to two, rather than three? I also can't quite parse 2007 as "many years ago." I think the writer means once "many years ago" (whatever that means), once in 2007, and once this year, which adds up to three.

    If I'm right, the author has more problems than punctuation.

    #621 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 12:35 AM:

    I'm reading Pratchett's new book. And, thanks to Teresa, I have "Vindaloo" playing in my head. This is not a happy result.

    #622 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:43 AM:

    So I've finished reading my first full-length book in Dutch. De brief voor de koning (The Letter for the King), by Tonke Dragt.

    It's a medieval-setting YA novel, very much in the Joseph Campbell Hero's Journey mode. It has all the tropes: young unproven character, wise mystical advisor in the mountains, cheeky sidekick. It was also well-written and structured, with lots of little themes and ideas to muse on. I think I'll read more of Dragt's stuff.

    It was interesting watching myself be able to follow the narrative in another language. I sped up noticeably as I went along, from about 10% my normal reading speed to more like 40%. I deliberately did not look words up unless I felt that I could not adequately get their meaning from etymology or context, which means that I missed quite a lot of subtlety. I found fight scenes particularly hard to follow; the only sentence I had to ask a Dutch speaker to translate was from one of them.

    One of the challenges is that novels are generally written in the past tense, so to look any verbs up, I had to be able to figure out the present stem. Dutch verbs have certain patterns to them, so even thinking about what verb that word I didn't quite recognize came from exercised my language muscles.

    Also interesting was feeling the Dutch dialog and descriptions knocking around in my head. Phrases and quotes from whatever I'm reading tend to echo in my thoughts for days afterward. But usually they're in English.

    I can see that, for the good of my Dutch (of course! it's all edumacational! Srsly!) I'm going to have to do more of this sort of thing. Next up (after some English stuff): either more Dragt or Kruistocht in spijkerbroek (Crusader in Blue Jeans—YA time travel).

    #623 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:04 AM:

    abi: Go you. I find Russian novels almost impenetrable. I should look to see if I can find some YA.

    #624 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:18 AM:

    The Baby Brothers Karamazov, lavishly illustrated in the style of the Baby Loony Toons (for children too young for YA, look for the coloring book edition, of course).

    #625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:14 AM:

    I'm reading Peter O'Donnell's I, Lucifer, and I can see why Neil Gaiman tried to make a movie out of that Modesty story. You have a psychic who thinks he is the titular character, and whose favorite enjoyment is a puppet show where a puppet man leads a puppet nun to perdition.

    #626 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:20 AM:

    I just read a comment on another blog from somebody who discovered, while talking to a teacher who was pursuing a postgraduate degree, that he had never heard of The Red Badge of Courage. Not just never read it, never heard of it. He had to put together a reading list about war for high school students and had no idea what to put on it.

    Are things really that bad in the U.S. school system these days?

    I graduated high school twenty years ago. I spent K-12 in the same ordinary public school system, back end of nowhere, no particular distinguishing features besides our sports teams. And by the time I had graduated, I was familiar with Crane, Dickens, Williams, Frost, Parker, cummings, Chaucer (unexpurgated), Lindsay, Shakespeare, Blake, Hopkins, Swift, Pope, Milton, Dickinson (revised and original), Alcott, Lovelace, Malory, Homer, Sappho, Shelley (both of them), Bronte (all of them), Hemingway, Pound, Fitzgerald, Hughes, O'Connor, Eliot, Keats, Yeats, Melville, Beowulf, and the Child Ballads. I had even taken part in a hilariously awful classroom read-through of Waiting for Godot. I had seen three professionally produced Shakespeare plays, as well as Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

    This wasn't all high school. We covered The Red Badge of Courage in sixth grade. We all read it, cover to cover, and those who wished to do so wrote a review. "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening," with assorted reviews and the author's response--that was fourth grade. The opening lines of Piers Plowman (modernized) as an example of well-crafted alliteration? Second grade.

    Do any public schools still do this kind of thing as regular classwork? I really hope so.

    #627 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:30 AM:

    Jenny Islander @ #626, Anecdotal data: My then-15-year-old or thereabouts niece was astonished to learn that the US had fought a war against Great Britain; she was even more astonished to learn we'd done it all again about 30 years later.

    #628 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 04:20 AM:

    Anyone who is interested in seeing some pictures of my wedding can look at this Flickr set.

    #629 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 07:48 AM:

    Serge #617:

    What I find amazing about the Judge Clay Land / birther lawyer Orly Taitz cage match, is that he fully expects her to continue her futile quest.
    Today a $20,000 sanction. Tomorrow jailed for contempt of court? One can only hope.

    #630 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:12 AM:

    Bruce @ #621, Squee!! Thank you. That one snuck up on me--I wasn't aware he had a new one out.

    #631 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:33 AM:

    Xopher @ 607: When I was in college my mum ran a small advertising agency and I worked summers in her graphics shop, mostly running the ancient Varityper (master of obsolete technology, I am). Not having samples of the traditional Lorem Ipsum on file, I would now and then have to produce blocks of nonsense filler text. Mum's expression on the occasion when she realized I had transcribed the Swedish Chef was priceless.

    #632 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:23 AM:

    Open-threadiness #1: The New Yorker tells us what technogeekery sounds like to the n00b (quite funny, and the advice to spray-feed your URL in niblets open-face to the skein is one we should all be following).

    #2: I had this stupid idea. As you know, Bob, I spent a small amount of money for a very large house this year, and I keep walking the dog past boatloads more. There's just no economic reason to buy them and preserve them (tho people repeatedly try, and flame out).

    The stupid idea: start a tech/maker retreat/incubator/whatever, a room-and-board-and-bandwidth residential fellowship deal for equity. Get some startup capital for *that* (it wouldn't take much!) and buy the house down the street for $9000, or the 23-unit apartment building for $109K, fix them up, put in WiFi, and let it run.

    I asked HNN (the forum for Y Combinator) and Metafilter to tell me why this was stupid, and got some halfway decent reasons, along with a lot of enthusiasm. Now I'd be interested in hearing what you fine folks think.

    #633 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:25 AM:

    John Houghton @ 629... By the way, both Clay and Taitz are wrong. Obama wasn't born on Earth or on Mars, but on Krypton. Obama said so himself here.

    #634 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:26 AM:

    #625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:14 AM:

    I'm reading Peter O'Donnell's I, Lucifer, and I can see why Neil Gaiman tried to make a movie out of that Modesty story. You have a psychic who thinks he is the titular character, and whose favorite enjoyment is a puppet show where a puppet man leads a puppet nun to perdition.

    Ah, the fantastic puppets and manipulation of them in Being John Malkovich! The DVD showed some of the work of the actual artist/puppeteer, and it was clear that his work for this movie was an order of magnitude above previous inspirations.

    #635 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:43 AM:

    Jenny@626: The Red Badge of Courage and The Scarlet Letter feature very prominently in the historical reasons why I sneer at literature so much. Forced to read them in school, and they were stupid and boring. Although not nearly as bad as The Horse's Mouth. I like Shakespeare, and Dickens pretty well, and have read Dante voluntarily for pleasure, though.

    I didn't much like reading books for school, because it interfered with my reading.

    #636 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:54 AM:

    Bruce E Durocher II @ 621:

    I remember when that was popular the first time around. I was rather fervently wishing it wasn't. On the other hand, it was easier to remember than the more official England song.

    (Three lions on the shirt. mumble mumble mumble Uh... Three lions on the shirt. Something like that, anyway.)

    abi @ 622:

    Yay! I remember you were apprehensive about how long it would take you to get through the book, so finishing it up now is great news. Even better that you understood and enjoyed it.

    #637 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:56 AM:

    Carol Kimball @ 634... Drat. Another DVD that I must add to our NetFlix queuuuuuuuuue.

    #638 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:12 AM:

    KeithS - how can you say that? I freaking love the Vindaloo song! Of course, it never reached saturation in Puerto Rico.

    #639 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:18 AM:

    Found today on

    ...the method that RedState's Erick Erickson came up with for protesting Snowe's decision is more than a little unusual. From a blog post in which Erickson explained the idea:
    Olympia Snowe has sold out the country. Having been banished to our world after Aslan chased her out of Narnia, Snowe is intent on corrupting this place too.

    So we should melt her.

    What melts snow? Rock salt.

    I’m going to ship [a] 5 pound bag of rock salt to her office in Maine. It’s only $3.00. You should join me.

    It is a visible demonstration of our contempt for her. First she votes for the stimulus. Now this .... It’s time to melt Snowe.

    So, Snowe is Tilda Swinton AND Margaret Hamilton?
    What a world!

    #640 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:50 AM:

    Juli Thompson (620): You're right. As written, it does add up to only twice, as well as indicating that 2007 is "many years ago". That's why Xopher and I want to put a comma or semicolon after 'ago', to make it make sense.

    #641 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 12:26 PM:

    Michael Roberts @ 632:

    Garrett Lisi and others have suggested something similar for scientists. I don't know if your neighborhood qualifies as a nice place to spend a few months/years on the international scale, but it's a way to pursue philanthropic support if the start-up incubator idea doesn't appeal.

    #642 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 12:45 PM:

    #604 Paul

    If you are ever in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area, go into the 77 Massachusetts Avenue entrance to MIT, walk straight forward through the Building 7 lobby into "the Infinite Corridor" and continue until you are in the Building 10 lobby (the south side is a glass and door wall overlooking the Killian Court and looking out to beyond the lawn to Memorial Drive, the Charles River, and a panorama of Boston). Turn left and go into the elevator lobby, taking one of the slow elevators to the fourth floor (I think that it is the fourth floor). Along the walls of that corridor is a permanent exhibition of EE "Doc" Edgerton's work in strobe photography along with mementoes such as Greek amphorae fished from the Mediterranean as part of the archaeological underwater expeditions he assisted in. He invented the strobe, and high speed photography....

    Note--I can't recall the facility ever being locked, at any hour of any day of the year...

    #643 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:14 PM:

    Carol at 634; Last year I re-read, in order, most of the Modesty Blaise books, until the stunning homophobia got to be too much for me. The relationship between Modesty and Willie still works, and is the best part of the books. Willie Garvin is a terrific character. But the stories themselves are repetitive. When I finished, I realized I would not do it again.

    #644 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:19 PM:

    For those who might be unfamiliar (as I was): Vindaloo. I found it rather charming, but I can see how it could get old fairly quickly if played on 10-minute rotation. OTOH, KeithS is dead right @ 636 -- the "Three Lions on the Shirt" song is flat-out insipid.

    abi, #622: Congratulations! I remember taking French Lit in college, where we read classics in the original, and how hard and discouraging that was for me. When you're used to breezing thru written material, having to spend 20 minutes over a single page is a PITA. Perhaps I should acquire some French-language YA books and try again...

    Serge, #633: Good for him! That's exactly the right approach to take.

    #645 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:26 PM:

    It is a source of mild guilt for me that I made it through multiple Spanish Lit classes in college and usually did the reading in three minutes before class, skimming and figuring I could BS my way through the discussion.

    It is a moderate source of resentment that this worked just about every time.

    I might dig up the Allende I've meant to read for four years now. I liked Allende; we only read short stories of hers, and only one or two, but they were simple enough that I didn't feel like I was cheating by discussing them. Most of the rest of what we read was Big Serious Spanish Literature (now with bonus magical realism!) and I feel like the classes would have been much improved by separating content and language.

    #646 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:38 PM:

    abi @ 622 and follow-on comments: abi, that was about my experience taking a French lit course in college, with the increase in reading speed as I went along. Since I was going to be tested on the assignments in that class I did look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary, though.

    I also recall the time, in senior English class in high school, when I had to read The Stranger in two days (this was my own fault; we'd had longer and I hadn't done it). My household owned it in both the original and the English translation prescribed for class. I kept my stamina going by switching from English to French every time I got bored, and then back to English when I got bored with translating the French.

    This led to trouble when I took the reading quiz, since the English translator had changed a few details that were on the quiz. (The quiz was an attempt to catch people who'd just read the Cliff Notes, by asking about details that wouldn't have been in the summary.)

    Luckily I was not the only person in the class to have read it in French, so the other guy and I banded together and got our grades on the quiz changed by citing chapter and verse (well, page and line) from the original.

    I really miss reading in French. I always found it fun. I should take it up again.

    #647 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:44 PM:

    Serge: The I, Lucifer script was supposed to be the second script filmed by Quinten Tarrentino, following Tarrentino's adaptation of A Taste for Death. Unfortunately, Tarrentino's script was delayed which was why the quickie movie we've discussed before was shot to give Miramax a chance to hold onto the rights. Now that Miramax is an entirely Disney operation I suspect it's going to take forever for the rights to clear or for a director to take over--I mean, outside of Jobs using his Disney stock as a 500lb bludgeon do you see Disney hiring Tarrentino and releasing any film he makes?

    #648 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:50 PM:

    Buce E Durocher II @ 647...

    A match made in Heaven?

    #649 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:53 PM:

    Jerusalem is becoming usual for England sporting teams. Yes, this song [YouTube]. The commentator heard at the end on that video, incidentally, is a gardener. Only the BBC...

    #650 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:04 PM:

    Oh, and there is always this.

    Just don't ask about the ukuleles.

    #651 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:14 PM:

    A match made in Heaven?

    One is a seemingly-endless source of films that range from the merely disgusting to the truly terrifying. The other directed Pulp Fiction.

    #652 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:41 PM:

    Michael Roberts @ 638:

    The Vindaloo song is fun once or twice. Repeatedly, because everyone's excited about the World Cup? Not so much.

    Lee @ 644:

    The last time this sort of thing came up, I was going to try reading the Tintin comics in the original French. I still haven't got around to it, but it's still a good suggestion.

    Dave Bell @ 649:

    Jerusalem? Really? Wow.

    #653 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:44 PM:

    Is there something wrong with my eyes, or my memory, or has the "Making Light" header graphic changed? I don't recall it being quite so . . . fluorescent.

    #654 ::: JCarson ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:51 PM:

    LDR, have you recently upgraded your browser or computer? I seem to remember that the header "glow" doesn't show up in older browsers, so you may be seeing it for the first time if you've recently upgraded.

    #655 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:22 PM:

    JCarson - I did recently upgrade Firefox, thanks for clearing that up!

    I thought it was a graphic but it's not. That's really cool.

    #656 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:30 PM:

    Jenny Islander: You have, in a nutshell, why I am probably going to homeschool.

    We also read The Red Badge of Courage in sixth grade and pretty much universally liked it, much to our teacher's surprise. (I think she expected more dissension.) There are a lot of the "classic classics" that I haven't read, but I've at least heard of them. Of course, I'm sure that a quick Google could get you to any number of standard reading lists— what was this teacher doing? Polling his friends?

    #657 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:35 PM:

    Serge @ 639: I can see that pleasantly backfiring. A bag of rock salt is actually a rather nice and considerate thing to give someone who lives in central Maine. I'm almost tempted to send one myself, with a note thanking her for letting the reform effort get some traction.

    #658 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 06:50 PM:

    Mark #657:

    This suggests an interesting kind of almost-protest, suitable for the black hat guy in XKCD: Start a movement to send some completely inexplicable and odd thing to someone as a statement. Like, "in order to express our feelings about the kind of job Harry Reid is doing, we should each send him one shoelace." Then, watch as the recipient scratches his head and questions the sanity of his supporters, while staring at a big pile of shoelaces in the trash can of his office.

    #659 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 06:53 PM:

    B. Durbin @656: I decided to homeschool my kids partly because of No Child Left Alone--I mean, Behind--which does nothing to serve the educational needs of children. I just hadn't realized that things were that bad. My girls are going to learn analogies and syllogisms in third grade just as I did. And study Euclid's theorems in fourth grade. And take an outdoor survival course in sixth grade.

    #660 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 07:03 PM:

    Time for today's computer whine: one of the reasons I haven't found time to respond to anything is because the main machine failed to boot this morning. I now find (courtesy of ERD commander) that the C: partition has some minimal stuff in it, and the D: partition contains the old C: partition. Does anyone have any idea how I get things back into a workable configuration?

    (XP, BTW)

    #661 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 07:23 PM:

    albatross @ 658: Instead of office chair, package contained bobcat. Would not buy again.

    The trick would be to come up with a random object that you'd have to be on serious, heavy drugs to connect with some meaningful symbolism. (Then, in an especially elegant proof of Poe's Law, watch the mad pundits of Right Blogsylvania explain how it makes perfect sense.)

    #662 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 08:54 PM:

    In one of Lois Mcmaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books there's a throwaway mention that net access is a basic human right on Beta Colony.

    At the time I read it it seemed nicely sfnal - a way of showing what a big bunch of hi-tech liberal softies the Betans were, in contrast to the Barrayarans.

    In recent years I've thought occasionally of how the sfnalicity [I nominate this as word of the month] of that idea has been eroded with the introduction of free net access at public libraries.

    Now today on Slashdot:

    "Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Finland is the world's first country to create laws guaranteeing broadband access. The Finnish people are also legally guaranteed a 100Mb broadband connection by the end of 2015."

    Science fiction is hard says Barbie.

    #663 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:56 PM:

    abi ($622), so 'brief' in Dutch is 'letter' (or document of some kind) in English? As in a legal brief, or what a briefcase is meant to hold.
    *grins in foolish way at new language-related learning*
    Sometimes this stuff is as good as science for fun new knowledge.

    That brings back memories of the strange mind-sensations I went through during our European trip (Italy - France - UK) when we crossed the Channel and after over a month I had to stop translating everything written and preparing-ahead to talk in simple, broken phrases with gestures and props.

    (Shoelaces, #658, it'd be good to pick something that'd be useful to someone if/when the politicians passed it on. Would those be useful in schools or homeless shelters?)

    #664 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:05 PM:

    Caroline @646 - if you need inspiration in your French reading list, I could forward you 39,000 words of hospital administration software specifications. That's always a fun way to start! (Sigh. But the pay is good.)

    Jenny I. & B. Durbin up there - what states did you go to school in? I can assure you that when I went to high school in Indiana (in the ahem early 80's, so not due to No Child Left) we didn't do much actual learning of literature. Certainly nothing like the list Jenny is quoting.

    Homeschooling is a pretty good choice, though. We enjoyed it immensely and our kids learned a lot. They're both in school this year; they both want more time with their peers. But our 15yo took her Chemistry SAT this summer (scored 640 and was disappointed; she was the best in her class at the University of Puerto Rico) and is now taking AP Calculus in 10th grade, and yes, if you followed the earlier thread on that matter, they quietly allowed her to stay in it and she is currently pulling a 98%.

    I honestly don't think institutional schooling would have prepared her to do so well. The Richmond high school has excellent support for advanced kids, so it's a good choice now, but I'm quite glad home schooling was also part of her education earlier.

    Our 10yo is attending a private Quaker school and is doing incredibly well both academically and socially. Again - I attribute it to home schooling; not so much that he learned more, but he's more self-assured than most kids his age, and when something challenges him (long division, for instance), *we* have the confidence to help him through it because we've worked with him so much before.

    Y'know, at the risk of needing to knock on wood, this year is the first year in a long time that doesn't feel like an existential crisis. The incurable diseases are in remission, the schools are going well, and my wife is even working - and in physics, even (teaching)!

    I'm sure something horrible will happen soon, but right now, life doesn't suck! Woo!

    #665 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 12:05 AM:

    #660 - you might be able to disable the current C: partition, and then the second partition would become C:. This looks like the like of oddity some vendor install systems leave behind; a very small bootstrap partition, then the real install. I speculate that your MBR got munged and the backup is from the initial build. I may be full of small green marbles, however. The article at offers some good-seeming advice. Download the trial Acronis DiskEditor to see the partition table for free; you may need to pay to actually change it.
    I probably don't need to remind you that caution is very important, you don't want to make it worse.

    #666 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 12:29 AM:

    Michael Roberts @ #664: I went to school in Alaska in the same school district where I live now. The curriculum has been gutted by the requirements of No Child Left Behind, but I can register my kids as full-time students and teach them at home, provided that they pass the standardized tests beginning in third grade. They actually like people to do this because children who are learning at home aren't putting more pressure on aging school facilities that aren't likely to be replaced any time soon. It's just a shame that I feel compelled to do this because I know I can provide a deeper and broader education at home, with a budget of less than $2,000 per year per child.

    #667 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 12:59 AM:

    Henry Troup @ 665:

    Your idea of what's wrong sounds reasonable. I'll add that it might be possible to fiddle with the partition table and set the little recovery partition back to hidden by booting from the Windows CD and playing with fdisk, but it's been too long since I had to do such a thing.

    Also, in case anyone was wondering, reconstructing one's partition table from memory because you accidentally blew it away doing stupid stuff is not fun.

    #668 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:07 AM:

    Mex @663:

    Yes, "brief" is "letter".

    #669 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 04:53 AM:

    It's the same word in German too (modulo capitalization).

    #670 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 09:08 AM:

    It looks as though I should be able to boot to either partition, but whichever one it uses when it boots for real doesn't work, so I'm thinking there is some fault that needs repairing. I can definitely see into the disks, so it isn't as though I have a totally dead disk; looking in the logs, however, discloses a string of occasional IDE faults going back as far as the logs go. That's the biggest problem at the moment with going forward: I have no idea why it won't boot.

    #671 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 09:59 AM:

    Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones & John Cleese were on Keith Olbermann's show last night. My favorite moment was when they talked about when Maggie Thatcher mentionned another political party's demise in a speech. Apparently her people had thought it'd be a good idea to base it on Monty Python's Dead Parrot skit.

    Yes, I too shudder to think of the very idea.

    #672 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 11:03 AM:

    Dave Bell @ 649 ...
    Jerusalem is becoming usual for England sporting teams. Yes, this song [YouTube]. The commentator heard at the end on that video, incidentally, is a gardener. Only the BBC...

    Only in the UK could you rely on a bunch of sports hooligans being able to spout Blake...

    #673 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 11:58 AM:

    #659 Jenny
    There appears to be no end to the vilenesses perpetrated by The Profit's Regime 2001-2008....

    The educational mythologies and misconceptions and purblindnesses are myriad. There are children raised in environments where "education" is held deeply in contempt--I remember an Arisia where someone from a rural Virginia area said that parents were actively opposed to their children getting too much education, lest their children stop fitting into the community/stop wanting to fit in the community/become part of a different culture and mindset.

    There are children who grow up inculcated with values that don't see literacy and numerateness as worthwhile, useful, beneficial, or relevant skills, and who therefore are very uninterested, if not outright resistant, to learning them. Or, there was "The Zoomies' [Air Force Academy cadets] attitude towards education: Why should I have to learn flight physics? I want to be a pilot, not an aeronautical engineer!" to which my literal college classmate the exasperated physics professor retorted, You don't want to be a pilot, you want to be a truck driver!

    The culture is anti-intellectual generally, with pockets of approbation for "literacy" and "education," and abominations such as No Child Left Behind, as eyewash lip service. There's a complete refusal to recognize that there are children who are totally uninterested in studying and that incarcerating them in schools for hours every day five days per week is cruel and unusual punishment to everyone involved except for masochists--they prevent other children from learning, taking up the attention and effort from teachers who instead of being able to spend their time effectively teaching students at least receptive to trying to learn, spend their time trying to maintain discipline and trying to persuade kids averse to formal education to be less unreceptive to it. There are children who are otherwise unmotivated, or who have learning issues, or for whom other types of teaching and learning work than being parked in a chair at a desk at lectured at....

    #674 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 12:40 PM:

    xeger #672: Contrary to what you may think you know, watching sports live does not make you a hooligan. Not even in England.

    #675 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:08 PM:

    Michael Roberts @632: I really like your "stupid idea." Set up a Paypal site, and I'll donate.

    (I'm having visions of slan-shacks. Too bad you're in the wrong part of the country.*)

    *(for me to participate)

    #676 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:43 PM:

    Yes, "brief" is "letter"

    Hrm. Hence, underwear is G-string?

    #677 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 02:39 PM:

    Bjorn #674: Contrary to what you may think you know, watching sports live does not make you a hooligan. Not even in England.

    Yeah, it's not really hooliganism unless there's rioting, vandalism, stampedes and a respectable body count in the hundreds. It's merely jock adulation instead of a lifestyle choice.

    #678 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:00 PM:

    Holy shit, we got BoingBoinged! It's going to be a busy couple of days -- the orders are coming in faster than he can get them packed.

    #679 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:06 PM:

    Lee @ 678:

    Congratulations! (I think.)

    #680 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:38 PM:

    Lee @ 678... Congratulations!

    #681 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 05:29 PM:

    John Houghton @ 629...

    No jail yet, according to

    In a post on her blog, headlined, "How mcuh criminal activity do they need to cover up, for them to attack me so viciously," Taitz wrote:
    In regards to Judge Clay Land, his outrageous decision to sanction me $20,000 for repeatedly bringing eligibility issue, shows how far this regime will go to harass and intimidate attorneys who dare to question Obama’s legitimacy.
    #683 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 06:07 PM:

    Never mind, news flash says he was found, alive, at the family home.

    #684 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 06:43 PM:

    Actually, it was Falcon's cyborg replicant that was found alive at home. Neighborhood pets and homeless folk will start disappearing any day now.

    The real kid is on his way to Zeta Reticuli (or possibly the Hollow Earth) for a thorough probing.

    #685 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:10 PM:

    Serge #681:
    We need to file as Amicus curiae with Judge Clay requesting permission to, just this once, run a popcorn concession in the courtroom.

    #686 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:21 PM:

    (PNH sidebar)

    That awful columnist who writes for DoubleX - obviously she's pond scum.

    But apart from her obvious vileness (and the vileness of the friends who abandoned the original letter writer) what gets me down is how many articles/columns/blog posts seem to be aiming for publicity by provocation. Parts of the internet are aspiring to the condition of talk radio.

    One of the things BoingBoing gets right is the concept of the Unicorn Chaser. I need one now.

    #687 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:38 PM:

    Bjorn @ 674 ...
    xeger #672: Contrary to what you may think you know, watching sports live does not make you a hooligan. Not even in England.

    Actually my thought was more along the lines of 'folk that are deeply interested in sports don't tend to be the sort of folk that are deeply interested in poetry', followed by 'Blake isn't drummed into schoolchildren's brains in most countries'.

    #688 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:45 PM:

    xeger @ 687:

    These are the saddest of possible words:
    "Tinker to Evers to Chance."
    Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
    Tinker and Evers and Chance.
    Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
    Making a Giant hit into a double --
    Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
    "Tinker to Evers to Chance."

    Franklin P. Adams, 1910.

    One of those guys got elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame on the basis of that damned poem. Certainly not for his accomplishments on the field.

    (Me? I'm anxiously awaiting the first pitch of the Dodgers-Phillies Game One of the NLCS in twenty minutes or so.)

    #690 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 11:16 PM:

    linkmeister @688, until your explanation, that poem had strayed from Pastorale thread: bear cubs, birds, giants, what- or where- ever gonfalon is ... obviously another fantasy work.

    #691 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 01:28 AM:

    Epacris @ #690, from the NYT, in a discussion of how one gets one's name into the NYT Crossword. He's discussing that very poem.

    "The word gonfalon has never appeared in a clue or as an answer in a Times crossword. It means a flag like you see hanging from crossbars in swashbuckling films, but in this case it’s a poetic reference to a baseball pennant."

    #692 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 04:51 AM:

    Steve Taylor #686: One of the things BoingBoing gets right is the concept of the Unicorn Chaser. I need one now.

    If you walked into a hyper-modern saloon (say, in Second Life, for example) and told the barkeep "I'd like a Toxic Meme with a Unicorn Chaser", what kind of drinks would one receive? Recipes?

    #693 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 09:20 AM:

    Just checking how many comments are paired with my old e-mail address. Nothing really to see here.

    #694 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 12:34 PM:

    Linkmeister @691, Thanks.
    Gonfalon fits into fantasy theme well, too: "a flag like you see hanging from crossbars in swashbuckling films".

    Forgot to say before. As names, Chance, Evers, & Tinker are not out of place as fantasy characters.

    NYT thread was fun, tho' largely incomprehensible w/o knowing Times Xword in detail & baseball culture.

    #695 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 01:23 PM:

    xeger@687: Indeed, and I was aware of that, but the 'hooligan' comment was quite uncalled for.
    As for Blake, now, I'm not English, but I do think 'Jerusalem' is quite well known in England, and if you go into the more subtle demographics of who watches which sports there, rugby union (which has taken Jerusalem to its heart) is very much a posh sport, being nominally amateur until about 15 years ago, with Oxbridge graduates common in the playing ranks and certainly in the stands. So quite a few of the crowd would be well aquainted with poetry.
    Earl Cooley III @677: Spectator sports are about so much more than jock adulation. A sense of belonging, for one.

    #696 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 02:17 PM:

    Bjorn #695: Spectator sports are about so much more than jock adulation. A sense of belonging, for one.

    I do not wish to feel a sense of belonging with people who indulge in jock adulation.

    #697 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 03:00 PM:

    ML to the rescue of distressed cats:

    One of our cats went to the vet today (yucky details deleted) and is wearing a jury-engineered soft harness to keep him from clawing his protective collar off. He was so upset and vocal that several other members of the household were in tears. Remembering recent posts here, he was given a little dish of catnip, which he ate. He's now at full stretch, purring, and zoned out of his little cat skull. We all thank you.

    #698 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 03:34 PM:

    Toxic Meme with a Unicorn Chaser

    Three parts Unicorn blood, one part Dragon saliva.

    In a Hello Kitty glass.

    Or did you intend a different meaning of "Unicorn Chaser"?

    #699 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 04:57 PM:

    I meant "chaser" in the mixology sense, a second drink consumed after a stronger first drink, served in two separate glasses. A classic example would be a shot of Jack Daniels and a mug of beer; a genre example would be Four-Eye Monongahela whiskey and Herzwesten Dark (although these two would likely be more safely consumed by the thimble-full).

    #700 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 05:58 PM:

    Earl 696: I do not wish to feel a sense of belonging with people who indulge in jock adulation.

    I dunno, I've adulated a jock or two in my time!

    #701 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 06:12 PM:

    How about jock adulteration? (to mix threads)

    #702 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 09:22 PM:

    Carol @697: Awww..poor baby. I'm glad he's feeling better after having catnip.

    #703 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 12:28 AM:

    Lee - congratulations!! I got BoingBoinged once, but it wasn't to an income generator (just an ego generator, which was also nice), so - go you!

    Jacque @675 - we're nowhere near accepting donations (we're not even a we yet; that's the royal usage), but if you want to participate in the thinking part, I've set up a focus site to start that process. Over the next week or two I'll post some pictures of the neighborhood and why I think it's special, and of course other thoughts, musings, and ideas. The more the merrier; participation in this stage would really be a help, and should also be fun, since there's no real work involved, just talk.

    I talked to the head of an incubator at my old alma mater Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute and wasn't laughed out of the room. He was very helpful, actually, and gave me some valuable tips and pointers. I think this is probably how something like this ends up actually happening. We shall see, shall we not?

    In other news, it's freaking cold and there's still a 3/4" gap under the carriage house door. So that's my focus for tomorrow. Winterization is a lengthy and detail-oriented process.

    #704 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 12:44 AM:

    Jock Adulation?
    ("Serge, don't even think of making that joke.")

    #705 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 04:13 AM:

    Michael @ 632:
    Could work, actually. I work in a company currently sited in a state-funded tech incubator building. This is a fancier more expensive version of what you're thinking of; there would be advantages to going cheap.

    You could approach it as a hopefully classier version of the classic VC model, where you take a small stake in each of the companies, expect 9 out of 10 or 19 out of 20 of your tenants will fail, and the last will end up paying off for all of them.

    One of the real virtues of this kind of start-small approach is that it could help give a chance to smart people who have good ideas but no funding at all. I think you've been through starting businesses, yes? For anything one can't run out of ones home, the overhead of office rent is a huge problem when getting started.

    Now does your city have the right people to fill it? That's the question, isn't it.

    If you were to set it up as an investment fund type deal, I'd certainly think about buying in for some amount. It's different and could be a more positive way to invest than most.

    #707 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 07:41 AM:

    Wyman Cooke @ 706... Congratulations!

    #708 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 09:15 AM:

    Wyman - Woo! Good news indeed!

    Clifton @705 - no, Richmond doesn't have the right people to fill it. The idea is getting some different people into Richmond. It worked in 1850, I don't see why it wouldn't work now.

    #709 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 10:08 AM:

    xeger@687 --

    Without even trying I can think of so many exceptions to your over-generalization that people who read poetry -- or by extension anything else for entertainment and / or for intellectual pursuit -- don't follow sports.

    I am not one of them, but loads of my friends are, starting with Kit Kerr, who reads much poetry in the ages of the bards and minstrals, and who has recently concluded several cycles of Celtic knot interbraided chronicles her fans call familiarly, "Deverry." She's a passionate baseball and football fan.

    She's not exceptional.

    When you expand the definition of sports beyond football, baseball and soccer, the numbers are even higher.

    I am not among those exceptions though. I generally loathe sport, unless they are working dog class trials.

    Love, C.

    #710 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 10:28 AM:

    Wyman Cooke @ 706: congratulations, and don't miss the Space & Rocket Center while you're down there!

    #711 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 02:36 PM:

    Lila @ 710---hopefully my browser won't split before I post.

    I've been to the Space Center a couple of times. What may happen is that I won't visit after I move down there. I hope I don't get that jaded.

    Have you been to Unclaimed Freight in Scottsboro? I check out the bookstore there every time I go down for Con*Stellation.

    #712 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 03:47 PM:

    albatross @ 658: This suggests an interesting kind of almost-protest, suitable for the black hat guy in XKCD: Start a movement to send some completely inexplicable and odd thing to someone as a statement. Like, "in order to express our feelings about the kind of job Harry Reid is doing, we should each send him one shoelace."

    This reminded me of an attack-by-mail from Oregon's past. Bud Clark is a thoroughly nice guy, who was a neighborhood association activist when he wasn't busy running his bar. He ran for mayor against the Republican incumbent, and won. He may not have been the most effective mayor, but you had to like him. He didn't do it for power or prestige, he just couldn't stand what was happening in his city, and stepped up. Not being a profession politician, he made the mistake of announcing that he wasn't running for re-election before paying off his campaign debt. Not running; no more donations. He was going to retire from politics with a $20,000-ish debt to pay off personally.

    It was suggested that people send a dollar bill to him. A lot did, addressed to his office in city hall. The envelopes were opened after normal business hours, but a Republican state-level politician objected, saying that city resources were being used for personal politics. A newspaper columnist urged everyone to each send one penny to the state politician, at his office. The cost of processing them would obviously exceed the value. I don't know how many people followed that suggestion, but I sure did. He stopped talking about prosecuting Bud.

    For a lovely photo of our former mayor, search for "bud clark expose yourself to art"

    #713 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 08:02 PM:

    janetl @ 717:
    He may not have been the most effective mayor

    Depends on who you compare him to. Portland has had some baaaad mayors. Bud at least had his heart in the right place (not in the police chief's hip pocket, for example). Also, he didn't have sex with a 14 year-old girl. All in all, a paragon of mayors.

    #714 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 08:13 PM:

    Wyman Cooke, #706, what great news!

    #715 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 08:22 PM:

    Congratulations, Wyman! Best of luck to you, and really hope things work out.

    #716 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 08:23 PM:

    Congratulations, Wyman! Best of luck to you, and really hope things work out.

    #717 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 09:23 PM:

    Wyman Cooke @ 706:

    Good news! I hope things continue to look up for you.

    #718 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 09:36 PM:

    Happy Diwali, to those who celebrate it.

    #719 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 10:20 PM:

    Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers)@ 713: I liked Bud, too. I don't think he was all that popular at the point that he decided not to run again. As I recall, the newspaper columnist who started the "send Bud a dollar" movement wasn't a fan. He just thought a someone who does public service shouldn't be stuck with debt.

    It was startling to remember that Bud upset a Republican mayor. I can't even imagine that in Portland today.

    #720 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 11:16 PM:

    Thirty Republicans.

    Am I the only one for whom this is evoking the end of an old horror story? "Thirty... pieces... of silver..."

    #721 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 12:45 AM:

    Computersaga continues: through various machinations I now have XP SP1 running on the vestigial partition. I have it set to boot off either partition and in XP recovery. The disk seems fine, and I've managed to scrape together 16G or so free space (I don't think it ever ran all the way down to zero), but I still have no idea why it won't boot off the main partition. How do I figure out what is going wrong?

    #722 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 12:55 AM:

    C. Wingate @ 721:

    If Henry Troup's guess above is correct, then a small recovery partition that some computer manufacturers like to use may have become unhidden or set as active or something like that. Unfortunately, I haven't played with Windows for quite a while, so someone else is going to have to take over from here. There should be a way of configuring the boot loader, or setting the small partition to hidden.

    If worst comes to worst, you could probably take it into your local PC repair place or have the neighborhood geek teenager play with it.

    #723 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 02:11 AM:

    Just saw A Serious Man, the new Coen Brothers ("Raising Arizona," "The Man Who Wasn't There", "O Brother Where Art Thou") movie.

    REALLY good but very unusual. It begins with a sort of ghost-story anecdote in an old Eastern European village, where a man accidentally invites a dybbuk (a ghost of sorts) into his home.

    Fast forward to 1967, in Minneapolis. Larry Gopnik, nebbishy jewish physics professor, haplessly watches as the world falls apart around him. An awkward Korean student bribes him for a good grade, his wife kicks him out of the house so she can take up with a smarmy family friend, his bigoted neighbor plans on building a boat shed over the property line, his son smokes pot instead of studying for his Bar Mitzvah, and his flaky asperger-ish brother spends his days scribbling incomprehensible equations.

    He consults rabbis to find the meaning of the mess and just gets more confused. One of these consultations leads to a funny and strange digression involving dental work and the kabbala.

    I'm having a hard time saying more, other than it is painfully funny and humorously painful. It is profoundly strange, and maybe profound. I have a theory as to what is going on, which I will hide below:

    Ng gur ortvaavat bs gur zbqrea-qnl cneg bs gur zbivr, Yneel vf frra yrpghevat nobhg Fpuebqvatre'f Png. Jvgubhg na bofreire gb ryvzvangr gur hapregnvagl, gur png va gur obbol-genccrq obk vf obgu nyvir naq qrnq.

    Yneel vf cbfrq jvgu n zbeny qvyrzzn fubegyl nsgrejneq. Na njxjneq Xberna fghqrag bssref uvz n uhtr oevor gb trg n cnffvat tenqr.

    Juvyr Yneel'f yvsr tbrf sebz onq gb jbefr, gbjneq gur raq gurer'f n uvag gung guvatf pbhyq trg orggre . . . ohg ur qrpvqrf gb npprcg gur oevor, naq guvatf vafgnagyl tb ubeevoyl, ubeevoyl onq.

    Punatvat gur tenqr vf gur rdhvinyrag bs bcravat gur png'f obk. Gurer'f ab zbeny nzovthvgl yrsg. Xnezn vafgnagyl gnxrf iratrnapr.

    #724 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 02:52 AM:

    C. Wingate:

    After you get your computer booted off the larger partition, open Program Menu -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Computer Management.

    Click on "Disk Management" under Storage, on the left pane.

    The top half of the right pane should now show all of the "Drives" (partitions) which can appear in the My Computer display, while the bottom half shows all physical drives in your computer and how each one is partitioned.

    The first row in the bottom half should be labeled "Disk 0" - that is your hard drive, and the right hand section shows all the partitions within it and how they are divided and configured. From the sound of it, you should have two partitions showing up here, both are "Basic" partitions (which you can confirm in the top half) and it is possible the smaller one (the recovery partition) is marked as "Active". Right click the larger one which you've reinstalled Windows to, and choose "Mark partition as Active". That might help solve your problems. Or might not.

    #725 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 03:46 AM:

    Constance @ 709 ...
    Without even trying I can think of so many exceptions to your over-generalization that people who read poetry -- or by extension anything else for entertainment and / or for intellectual pursuit -- don't follow sports.

    Neat! I'd have to say that's completely different from my experience. About the only folk I can think of that are vastly enthusiastic about sports and vastly enthusiastic about poetry are (some) SCA fighters.

    (I'm sorry to see that you've inferred a leap from "reads poetry" to "reads anything" though -- it certainly wouldn't occur to me that sports and reading (genre not specified) were in any way mutually exclusive.)

    #726 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 04:20 AM:

    xeger: It has been my experience that baseball fans are prone to being more prone to poetry (I offer myself as an example).

    It may be, as a poetic sort myself, that I am self-selecting, but that seems to be not quite the case when one looks at the nature of books/films about baseball (Bull Durham, with the long passage out of Leaves of Grass; the poetry wasn't out of place).

    #727 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 04:28 AM:

    Terry Karney @ 726 ...
    It being 04:20 when you posted, I'm now giddily wondering if you're prone to being prone while being prone to poetry ...

    #728 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 07:57 AM:

    I was at a CapClave panel yesterday titled "Why are Americans so Distrusting/Ignorant about Science?"

    One of the panelists remarked on the coverage of the recent "balloon boy" incident, saying that a simple calculation (specifically comparing the amount of lift that a balloon in that size range would provide compared to the weight of the boy.) would have shown that the boy could not possibly have been in the balloon. And that this calculation could and should have been made by one of the many reporters covering the story long before the balloon actually landed.

    So questions for the group.

    Has anyone here done (or seen) such a calculation? And was the panelist correct about the results of such a calculation?

    #729 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 08:16 AM:

    xeger @ 727... Better that than being prone to being chased by crones while on the Rhone in a boat filled with Rhodes scholars?

    #730 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 08:42 AM:

    We've been going thru our accumulation of this season's Leverage episodes and the one we watched last night had Nathan impersonate a stage magician. His going by the name 'Harry' was rather obvious, but when I saw that crazygirl Parker was his 'lovely assistant Clea', I burst out laughing.

    #731 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 01:50 PM:

    Michael I @728:

    I saw this calculation on Thursday, and I think I saw another instance of someone noting that the physics was problematic at best, but I can't recall where I'd have seen it

    #732 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 06:01 PM:

    Just something to keep the OT from being buried under an oversized sweatlodge: literal version of "Never Gonna Give You Up" (aka the Rickroll song).

    #733 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 06:15 PM:

    For those still following don't taze me bro issues a new Training Bulletin from the maker says what I hear the B&D folks have long known:
    a. Simplify targeting for all TASER systems to one easy to remember map, avoiding chest shots
    when possible and the risk of a head/eye shot in a
    dynamic situation, as is standard for impact munitions
    b. When possible, avoiding chest shots with ECDs avoids
    the controversy about whether ECDs do or do not affect the
    human heart.

    #734 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 06:20 PM:

    What the site proprietors humbly claim is "the largest baseball poetry and baseball songs collection on the Internet."

    Most of them are doggerel,it's true. But Roger Angell has written a lot of very literate baseball articles, and John Updike wrote a lyrical article at the time of Ted William's retirement called Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.

    #735 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 07:12 PM:

    Updike also wrote a really nifty appreciation of dinosaurs for National Geographic last year; clearly a man of many interests.

    #736 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 07:20 PM:

    More open threadiness:

    This is a little late off the mark, and anyone who follows BoingBoing should have picked it up last week, but if there are any more Mojo Nixon fans here... MP3 downloads of virtually every album Mojo Nixon has done are currently free on Amazon here. I'm not sure how much longer is left on the offer so if you're at all interested pick it up fast.

    If you've never heard anything of his and want to try out some all-American psychobilly with a very twisted sense of humor, I'd recommend Frenzy as a good starting place, Bo-day-shus and his first album Mojo and Skid as close follow-ups.

    #737 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 10:38 PM:

    Serge @ 730: Speaking of Leverage, did you see that there's going to be a convention? The URL is conthecon, and it's in Portland next March. There's not much info yet.

    #739 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 06:37 AM:

    Raphael (#738) What I don't like about those changes isn't the clothes. It's like the skinnier new draped lady for Columbia Pictures a few years back. Her legs are less shapely, hips much less curved, bosom almost non-existent.
    I suppose you could call it masculinization. It's more an unrealistic feminine ideal that nettles me.

    #740 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 10:06 AM:

    janetl @ 737... A Leverage con in Portland? Hmmm... Wait. It's in March? Then I'll have to pass. Drat.

    #741 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 01:40 PM:

    Michael I @ 728:

    I saw some mentions of the calculation, and was sceptical based on intuition when I heard the 11,000 feet altitude after seeing a picture of the baloon.

    Here's my go: wikipedia says Helium has a density (at 0C, sealevel) of 0.1786 g/L and air (at 25C, but never mind) 1.2 g/L. So the displaced mass of the balloon is about 1 g/L.

    (If you don't have a reference handy, the back-of-the-envelope version involves remembering gas at standard temperature and pressure always takes up 22 L per mol. Helium has a molecular weight of 4 vs 28 for N2 and 32 for O2 so 1/7th or so. Which you can just neglect. Vacuum balloons let you go higher, but don't generate significantly more lift at sea level.)

    If we assume a light six-year-old child, say 20 kg, we need 20000 litres just to get off the ground. 20000 L is 20 m3. A sphere of that volume would have a radius of (3*20/4π)^1/3 or 1.7 metres. So a sphere over three metres in diameter is a lower bound. The actual balloon was more like a flying saucer, though. A cylinder of that volume with a 4:1 aspect ratio needs to be 1.16 x 4.67 m.

    The question is, was the balloon in the picture more than 5 metres in diameter? I think it's hard to tell, but we're in the right ballpark. So I'm left with scepticism, but no obvious conclusion either way. That's the thing with volume; it's not so hard to estimate a linear dimension, but any error is cubed, so it's easy to be off by a factor an order of magnitude. If I go to an aquarium store and try to guess the tank capacities, I'm usually quite wrong.

    So maybe a reporter should have done that. But it wouldn't have been enough for a story paragraph when they finished; what they should have done is find out the actual dimensions of the balloon and work from there.* Presumedly the parents had some idea how big it was, having built it.

    That no journalist appears to have done that, even to say it was inconclusive, given all the attention the story got, and that so simple a calculation could only be reported as something done by experts and not writers does reflect on the accepted level of scientific literacy, of course.

    * All of this is on wikipedia now, btw. It says "authorities" did measure the balloon after it landed and determined it couldn't have carried the boy.

    #742 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 02:00 PM:

    I thought the MythBusters had done this... Kids and balloons...

    #743 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 02:38 PM:

    All Knowledge Is Contained in the Fluorosphere, OM. In this case, Unix geekery.

    I am stuck with Solaris 8 and its brain-damaged grep. Also, my knowledge of regexes is limited, and that's putting it charitably.

    I need to get all the lines in a file that contain EITHER the word 'Login' OR the word 'Account'. I have to have the two associated, because I'm trying to find the value of an account variable for the specific login IDs (i.e. running two different greps won't do). The trouble is, when I try to put together a regex with a | to OR them together, Solaris interprets the | as a pipe and throws an error. I've tried enclosing the regex in various ways and either still get an error, or get nothing (and I'm using a test file that has a line with each of those subexpressions).

    I'm 90% sure I'm just not doing the regex right. The other 10% is because Solaris 8 really is incredibly stupid, and just might not have any way of doing what I'm trying to do. I've tried googling, but though I learned some useful things about regexes, I can't find the answer to this question.

    Can anyone help?

    #744 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 02:45 PM:

    Xopher @ 743:

    Unless Solaris is truly brain-damaged, one of the following two should work:

    grep 'Login\|Account' <filename>

    egrep 'Login|Account' <filename>

    Yes, the single quotes and the backslash are important.

    #745 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 02:50 PM:

    re: 743 Xopher

    The trouble is, when I try to put together a regex with a | to OR them together, Solaris interprets the | as a pipe and throws an error. I've tried enclosing the regex in various ways and either still get an error, or get nothing (and I'm using a test file that has a line with each of those subexpressions).

    Show code! Does

    grep "Login|Account" yourFile


    [I don't speak Solaris, but in whatever Unix the double-quotes should quote the pipe-symbol. Single quotes too, but not back-quotes or brackets or boxes or braces, which all mean Other Magic.]

    #746 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 02:56 PM:

    Well, we don't have egrep, so I tried the grep version with the single quotes, escaping the vertical bar, and got nothing. No error, but it didn't output anything.

    grep Account filename

    gets me the account lines, and

    grep Login filename

    gets me the login lines, so it can find them. I guess maybe it really is truly brain damaged.

    #747 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 02:59 PM:

    hedgehog, I get nothing with that.

    #748 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:07 PM:

    Xopher -- got grep -E?

    grep -E 'Login|Account' filename

    (I must add, that this is the first time that I've seen egrep working for me. normally for halfway complex stuff, I just write perl or python)

    #749 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:08 PM:

    Xopher @ 746:

    I just found the man pages for Solaris 8. Wow, their default grep really is brain damaged.

    Try /usr/xpg4/bin/grep -E 'Login|Account' <filename>. You may need to escape the vertical bar with a backslash.

    #750 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:10 PM:

    eric - no, the crippled grep on Solaris 8 doesn't have an -E switch. It also doesn't have lookahead or lookbehind.

    At least I now know that it's SUPPOSED to be able to do that. Damn Solaris.

    #751 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:11 PM:

    Huh. I just got a server error, so was going to resubmit, but .....
    I checked first and OMG, I didn't have to double post. yay me.

    The | needs to be hidden from the shell, which would be either quotes or escaping. It should not be escaped from grep, because then you'd be searching for a literal | character.

    #752 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:14 PM:

    AHA!!!!! KeithS, you win the Internetz!!! Thank you!

    Geez, why do they keep the good grep hidden away and make you use the crappy one?!??

    Thanks to everyone who helped.

    Btw, KeithS, the man pages for everything were left out of our installation. They figured the mans were unnecessary.

    #753 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:23 PM:

    Xopher @ 752:

    Just in case you need any more reference material: Solaris 8 man pages. For added effect, you can print it all out and use it to bludgeon the person who thought that man pages were a waste of disk space.

    #754 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:38 PM:

    Xopher #752: They figured the mans were unnecessary.

    :-* "They" are total idiots. The only time you can blow off UNIX manpages is when you (1) are building a system that's not meant to be interactive, and also (2) you have the manuals someplace else, like your development machine. And amen to KeithS #753!

    #755 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:53 PM:

    And some open threadliness:

    I think it's a joke that got out of hand and turned into a business, but...

    #756 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 03:59 PM:

    I just noticed this morning that Ubuntu's Jeos (the stripped virtual server one) has no man pages. Not that I really need them on the appliances that I'm building, but ... It seems really wrong not to have them.

    #757 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 05:11 PM:

    The machines I do this on are servers, and they aren't supposed to be (mostly) interactive. If everything in all our systems worked right all the time and no one ever made any mistakes, they wouldn't need man pages.

    Also, I would be out of a job, since my job consists of cleaning up when something doesn't work and fixing other people's mistakes.

    It's an interesting doublethink they have there; they realize they need me, but don't think man pages are worth it so I can do what they want me to. The key to understanding it is that this is a corporation, and corporations are entirely based on blame. Since *I* (not they) will be blamed if I can't do my tasks, no one cares if there are man pages.

    Except me, of course. And I don't have the authority to make the decision.

    #758 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 05:28 PM:

    Xopher @ 750 ...
    eric - no, the crippled grep on Solaris 8 doesn't have an -E switch. It also doesn't have lookahead or lookbehind.

    s/crippled/other greps/

    ... since strictly speaking, it sounds like you're grousing about the difference between the Solaris 8 grep, the Solaris POSIX grep (/usr/xpg4/bin/grep, iirc) and gnu grep...

    #759 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 06:02 PM:

    Xopher, for future reference, possibly of interest... Years'n'years ago I wrote a text-filtering tool (imaginatively called 'filter') for searching the SCA's heraldry database. It allows one to specify moderately complex combinations of keywords, case sensitivity, etc. I still use it pretty frequently, whenever I'm looking at any 'grep'-like task that's more complex than a single term.

    The tool -- a zipped bundle with C source, docs, and a DOS executable which can run in a Windows command window -- is on my website at .

    #760 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 06:30 PM:

    xeger, I'm not sure I fully understand what you're saying. I was talking about the Solaris 8 default grep (the only Solaris 8 grep I knew about when I wrote that comment) lacking features I was familiar with in greps from other unices I'd used. I was "grousing" about not being able to do a task that I thought should have been easy.

    Joel, thanks. That sounds like it's rather useful.

    #761 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 07:13 PM:

    Can anyone with a little more financial research skills comment on how accurate this is? Because, it passes all the plausibility tests that I can throw at it, but it's also really baiting me in a direction that I'm leaning anyway.

    (Short summary of link: banks borrow at fed window, banks buy treasuries, pocket the spread. Banks pledge treasuries as collateral for more loans. Repeat to leverage limit)

    #762 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 07:18 PM:

    Clifton @736: Alas "Yay! Free stuff!" quickly gave way to disappointment: You must install the Amazon MP3 Downloader to purchase albums and Amazon MP3 Purchases are limited to U.S. customers.

    #763 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 07:26 PM:

    Xopher @ 760 ...
    I'm just being pedantic about greps -- the most common grep these days tends to be gnu grep, which has a spectacular number of additional features... Before that, you had the POSIX standard definition of grep, which Solaris (for reasons to do with history, BSD, and backwards compatibility I'd expect) sticks over at /usr/xpg4/bin/grep ...

    At any rate, Solaris 8 was released in February 2000 -- I'm not about to go digging right now, but given what else was current then, I'd be more inclined to call the default grep 'basic' rather than crippled; it's not as though Sun went out of their way to take a current grep, and remove features.

    That said, given how notably different the flags are, I'm not surprised that that particular version of grep persists -- it's deeply unfun[0] discovering that the gnu-equivalent utility of whatever you're using happens to assign utterly different meanings (or none at all) to the options you've chosen.

    (and now that I've meandered off pedantically in an utterly unhelpful way ... er ... time for lunch)

    [0] ... and annoyingly common

    #764 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 07:40 PM:

    Ah. I never gnu about gnu grep. It's gnus to me.

    I remember using grep on a Dec20 back in the mid 80s. But I remember because I had to complain that it was documented but not installed, and they installed it, so I must have been familiar with it before then.

    #765 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 08:44 PM:

    1) You can still "buy" MP3s one at a time without the downloader; it's a convenience.
    2) The significance of the US-only requirement depends on how strongly you feel about creating a fresh account with an unverifiable US address. It is dishonest; to me it seems dishonest in a "little white lie" way, but everybody feels differently about such things.

    I should have remembered to mention those points, though, because people were complaining about the same points on Boing-Boing.

    #766 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 08:50 PM:

    Has anyone else kept reading the Recent Comments as something like "$9,695 Chili-Dog Casserole kills 2, injures 19"?

    #767 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 08:59 PM:

    My memory of Solaris 8 is that egrep is supposed to be there. It was a completely different executable from the basic SVR4 version of grep. Are you sure it isn't there?

    #768 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 09:00 PM:

    My memory of Solaris 8 is that egrep is supposed to be there. It was a completely different executable from the basic SVR4 version of grep. Are you sure it isn't there?

    #769 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 09:43 PM:

    It might be tucked away in that other directory. Simply typing 'egrep' at the prompt gives an error message.

    #770 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2009, 09:49 PM:

    Since this is such a mind-blowingly, completely, absolutely, inconceivably fucking stupid move on the part of Toshiba, I have to share it with you all.

    In the process of buying a laptop from their website, they made me sign up with my email address and a password. Which they then emailed to me. Both of them. In the same email. In plain text. Highlighting that the email was the username, and the password was the password.

    I have already written to them to express my displeasure, but they really do need to be shamed publicly.

    #771 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 11:36 AM:

    There'a a query in the WL Writers’ Literary Agency / Strategic Book Group (#328) asking about a publisher called Booksurge.

    I was wondering if either anyone knew aught of them, or which of the writers' advisory sites one could use to best search out that kind of information?

    It's possible there might have been a private reply, but there's no sign of it there.

    #772 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 02:56 PM:

    I'd like to request a small design change in ML's main page: a permanent link near the top of the page to whatever the current Open Thread happens to be.

    #773 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 03:17 PM:

    Open threadiness... A nearby bulk-food store has started selling chipotle powder -- from the ingredients list, it's just powdered chipotle peppers with some silicon dioxide (which I assume is to prevent caking). Am I correct in thinking that this would be sort of like a medium cayenne with a strong smoke flavour? I can see using something like that to season an omelet, and a few other possibilities. It's fairly pricey stuff, though.

    #774 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 03:23 PM:

    A quick check of the prices at Penzey's shows them selling ground chipotle for a little more than twice the cost of ground cayenne, in case that helps decide whether your local store's price is reasonable.

    I love ground chipotle. Because it's hotter it's not quite as omni-useful as smoked paprika, but it's definitely one of the spices I turn to regularly.

    #775 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 04:02 PM:

    Clifton Royston @766 Has anyone else kept reading the Recent Comments as something like "$9,695 Chili-Dog Casserole kills 2, injures 19"?

    No, but I did find myself mixing the poutine discussion from the sweat-lodge thread with the chili-dog casserole thread. I had never heard of poutine. Wikipedia informed me that it contains fries, cheese curds, and gravy, and sometimes additional ingredients. Except I read that as sometimes actual ingredients.

    There is an old George Booth cartoon whose caption has passed into our family lexicon as "Artificial slop! Artificial glop!" You can, I think, see it here

    I also typed "child-dog casserole" while writing this message, but let's not go there.

    #776 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 04:48 PM:

    Say, apropos of absolutely nothing: is there a vegetable native to Japan that serves essentially the same culinary function that broccoli does in the U.S.? If so, what's its Japanese name? I'm looking for a dark leafy (though I realize broccoli isn't really leafy) green that has a similar nutritional profile as do the cruciferous vegetables.

    #777 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 05:18 PM:

    Jacque, my impression was that broccoli was only recently popular in the US, so it might be the same for Japan.

    #778 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 05:26 PM:

    Japanese Broccoli

    #779 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 05:27 PM:

    Over at Cafeteria Rusticana, a proposed synopsis for an opera about Oscar Wilde.

    #780 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 06:08 PM:

    Clifton Royston @ 765:

    Begad! Amazon has a reasonably intelligent interaction designer somewhere in the bowels of the order capture application group. I followed that Mojo Nixon link in Firefox, asked to download "Frenzy";then after downloading the Amazon MP3 installer and starting it, as requested, I got am Alert dialog that told me to shutdown Safari and click "Continue". Well, I gave a mental sneer at an installer that didn't know which browser I was using, and did what it asked, figuring I'd lost the context of my purchase request and would have to go back and start over in Safari.

    Not so! And I retract my sneer. The installer did its thing, restarted Safari, and the webpage it went to started the downloader and brought down the album I'd asked for without any action on my part. Of course, that's not a very hard bit of programming; it's all in the twist of the URL. But still, that they actually thought to do something so user-friendly ...

    #781 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 06:12 PM:

    Lexica @ 774: Thanks. My store's price for chipotle powder is slightly lower than Penzey's; their price for cayenne is much lower than Penzey's. This makes comparison a bit difficult. At any rate, I stopped in this afternoon and bought a bit, and I'll try it out sometime soon.

    #782 ::: Shinydan Howells ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 06:31 PM:

    I can't believe no-one's mentioned the wall yet. I wonder if the SNP will want to use it as the border again if they win their independence vote?

    #783 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 06:31 PM:

    Joel, it adds zip to a ranch dressing, IME. And as many fluorospherans discovered at WorldCon, to chocolate as well.

    #784 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 09:30 PM:

    Jacque @776: is there a vegetable native to Japan that serves essentially the same culinary function that broccoli does in the U.S.? If so, what's its Japanese name?

    Richard Hosking's A Dictionary of Japanese Food: Ingredients and Culture lists rapeseed bud shoots as nanohana, a common spring vegetable that looks like broccoli and is often made into pickles.

    The book is primarily in English; the main section is organized by the romaji names for everything in alphabetical (not kana or iroha) order, but each entry also shows the name in hiragana and kanji. There's also an index in the back matching up the alphabetized English terms to the corresponding romaji entry.

    #785 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 10:22 PM:

    Nanohana sounds like it means little tiny flowers.

    #786 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 11:00 PM:

    Some vegetables in the Asian grocery stores have no English word for them, and the translated label simply says "VEGETABLE"

    #787 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 11:28 PM:

    Erik Nelson: Oh yeah, that's particularly annoying with the pickled or tinned stuff. (Especially when it turns out to be close kin to mustard greens, which I loathe.) It's an issue with sauces and broth concentrates, too -- the ingredients are often unhelpful.

    #788 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 01:17 AM:

    Nanohana kinda are little tiny flowers, since the buds are about the same size as the ones on broccoli. Pix here of someone putting them through a traditional rice-bran pickling process.

    #789 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 01:56 AM:

    Today, I ran into another reminder of Time's Passage. One friend on Facebook was a 14-year-old teenager, and yours truly in his late twenties, when we first met. Today, she posted a sonogram of her first grandchild. Now, where did I put my cane?

    #790 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 05:08 AM:

    Speaking of canes, mine is made of walnut, and is almost 25 years old. I went looking for some kind of wood oil to deal with its somewhat scruffy appearance, but nothing at the local chain supergrocer seemed quite right. Can someone recommend a product for me? At this point, I'm willing to get something by mail order if need be.

    #791 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 08:06 AM:

    Xopher @ 785: "Nanohana sounds like it means little tiny flowers." - or little tiny Hawaiians.

    #792 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 09:18 AM:

    Earl Cooley III @ 790: I'd use raw linseed oil, because I already have some and because it's food safe (not that I think you chew on your cane, unless of course you happen to be watching cricket, but I find it makes handling and cleanup easier if I don't have to worry about toxicity).

    However the oily rags can spontaneously combust, which is Good Science but a Bad Thing, and raw linseed oil has a longer drying time than more modern varnishes or processed oils.

    #793 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 09:19 AM:

    Earl @ 790--The traditional wood treatment for fine furniture is lemon oil--and make sure that's what you get and not something with a lot of silicone in it.

    Other grocery options would include, in the salad section of more upscale stores, walnut oil (because like to like...) or another nut oil. Hardware store solutions would include linseed oil and tung oil; tung oil's supposed to have waterproofing capabilities, which might be useful in a cane.

    #794 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 09:51 AM:

    Shinydan Howells #782: That wall is located entirely in England, you might want to note.

    #795 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 10:09 AM:

    fidelio @ 793 -- Wouldn't using walnut oil make the cane non-kosher? Something about seething the mother in its kid's milk.

    #796 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 10:32 AM:

    I have taken a liberty. ("Lumicon" was already in use.) Anybody want to volunteer for modhood?

    #797 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 12:35 PM:

    I use mineral oil on my wooden cooking utensils. Does anyone know how well that stands up against the other options mentioned here?

    #798 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 12:43 PM:

    TexAnne @ 796... What does modhood entail? And if there is more than one of us, will that make us the Mod Squad?

    #799 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 12:56 PM:

    Serge, 798: I have no idea.

    #800 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 01:18 PM:

    TexAnne @ 799...

    Willie: You know how to fly, don't you?
    Indiana Jones: Um, no. Do you?

    #801 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 01:22 PM:

    Serge, 800: Not a clue. So I added you. :-D

    #802 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 01:37 PM:

    TexAnne @ 801...

    "Did your flying lessons get as far as landing?"
    "I was afraid you'd ask that. No."
    - Dale Arden to Flash Gordon

    #803 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 01:54 PM:

    Xopher@757: In multi-system (or virtual system) support environments you don't really need man pages on each box, though, just on one easily-identifiable system of each software level.

    By the standards of today, MAN pages don't take up much disk, but I can see a policy of justifying each package added to the build, and I can see how MAN pages could get left out of that in some environments. Worst case, build some virtual systems somewhere you control and put MAN pages on them, and look stuff up there.

    I certainly vehemently deny the position, which some bean-counters might well hold, that "experts" shouldn't need man pages.

    #804 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 02:17 PM:

    Last night, on Turner Classic Movies, I caught the end of William Castle's Straight-jacket, in which Joan Crawford plays a paroled ax murderer. When decapitated bodies start piling up around the neighborhood, guess who gets blamed. Diane Baker, as her daughter, gets to chew on the scenery in a style that must have made Joan proud. The crowning moment of this oeuvre of Cinema came after the ending credits, when, after a few moments of wondering what was wrong with the Columbia Studio logo, I realized what it was.

    Lady Columbia had no head.

    #805 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 02:31 PM:

    Well, I can't create any environments, but having an online link to the Solaris 8 man pages will do nicely, so I'm OK.

    I agree that there don't need to be man pages on every box, but the people in charge of the unix environments told me there are no man pages on any of the boxen. That seems silly, even for servers.

    BUT I'm decidedly not an expert, or I would have thought of looking for an alternate, less primitive version of grep. Or perhaps known for sure that my regular expression syntax was correct, and that the grep I was using did not support regexes. Or something.

    So they don't have an expert doing these tasks; they have me. And while they may have set up the boxen with the intention of having experts maintain them and do all interactive tasks, those people have all been laid off.

    #806 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 02:34 PM:

    David, #803: Part of being an expert is knowing how to interpret the documentation! Especially since it's frequently opaque to anyone of lesser expertise.

    One of the most damning indictments of my Job From Hell, lo these many years agone, was that they were too chintzy to buy a set of system manuals for the S/34. I spent 6 months at that job before I'd had enough, and the closest thing I had to system documentation was a Quick Reference pamphlet. And the only reason I had that was that the IBM maintenance guy took pity on me and gave me one.

    #807 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 02:40 PM:

    Xopher -- and I'm guessing that they don't have handy things like locate installed either.

    -- spouting--

    It's the rarely used and potentially destructive things that only experts should ever touch that need man pages the most. I'd say raid tools and the like are high up on that list. And given the packaged nature of things, the installed man pages are most likely to be appropriate to the version installed, and not some random thing googled off the internets. Cause you really want to know what your raid options are before you run the commands.

    #808 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 02:54 PM:

    Diatryma @777: Jacque, my impression was that broccoli was only recently popular in the US, so it might be the same for Japan.

    True, but I'll bet there's some indigenous vegetable that serves a similar culinary function.

    Earl Cooley III @778: Japanese Broccoli

    Ahem. I look over my eyeglasses at you.

    #809 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 03:43 PM:

    eric (#807): Indeed. One of my finely-honed sysadmin skills is the ability to very quickly find the details I'm looking for in a man page.

    After umpty-mumble years and a similar number of Unix variants, you get really good at checking what version of a utility you have and what arguments it takes.

    The classic example is the difference between the Solaris killall and the Linux killall.

    For those who haven't encountered the difference: Linux killall takes an argument that's used as a match pattern for processes to kill (killall dhcpd); Solaris killall ignores the argument and kills all the processes it can.

    The Linux man page for killall notes: "Be warned that typing killall name may not have the desired effect on non-Linux systems, especially when done by a privileged user." This is an understatement.

    #810 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 04:04 PM:

    Earl: I use jojoba oil for my whistles and fifes. I also use it for my jo, and my kneading board.

    It ought to be fine on your cane.

    Linseed will darken it. Mineral oil won't (no more than any oil), but it's a moderately heavy oil.

    The jojoba is lighter.

    #811 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 04:11 PM:

    Hmm, I wonder if Solaris killall source is in the OpenSolaris source archive? Seems like a change where it didn't go on its usual killing spree if given an argument would protect a lot of people, and wouldn't change its behavior in valid uses. I suppose somebody wrote scripts depending on that behavior to write comments for what they thought they were doing, though, or something equally brilliant.

    #812 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 05:17 PM:

    Oops. I just read the Recent Comments list as saying "Seasonal Poetry kills 2, injures 19". Time for a nap?

    #813 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 05:22 PM:

    Xopher @ 785:
    Nanohana sounds like it means little tiny flowers.

    Or like one of Mork's more esoteric curses.

    eric @ 807:

    I have a fixed policy of installing locate on every server I work on. The alternative is to use find, which is not as convenient, and doesn't work correctly (i.e., the way I expect it to) on Scientific Linux. It just doesn't make sense to run a system where you can't easily find the files you need to work on.

    #814 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 05:24 PM:

    About dangerous commands: sometimes a man page isn't enough.

    My favorite example is the DOS command RECOVER. It would take the current or argument-given disk, and demolish the directory structure, renaming all files on the disk to sequentially numbered "names" in the root directory, up to the maximum number of entries. Early versions didn't even have an "Are you sure?" warning....

    It was meant to be used when your filesystem was already hosed -- once you moved all those files elsewhere, the next invocation would retrieve the next batch of files. But Microsoft's lack of foresight in both naming it, and leaving it among the standard commands, effectively made it a nuke with a smiley-face on it.

    #815 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 05:41 PM:

    @814: That's an example of a command no one uses more than once.

    #816 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 06:00 PM:

    Lee @ #806, I never had that problem. We got paper updates about once a month for the S/34.

    Except for that 18-month period when we went without maintenance because we had other uses for the $350/month it cost. I attribute a certain percentage of my gray hair to that time.

    #817 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 06:06 PM:

    Jon Meltzer @ #815, as was "Format" in DOS 2.0 and possibly higher.

    I always thought there was a little gremlin in the OS who would sit in the background, gleefully murmuring "Oh, you didn't want your hard drive formatted? Why didn't you say so?"

    #819 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 08:52 PM:

    Mary Aileen @812: I just read the Recent Comments list as saying "Seasonal Poetry kills 2, injures 19". Time for a nap?

    I thought the thread on 'Sweaty Poetry' sounded interesting.

    #820 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 10:53 PM:

    Today's astronomically interesting picture. (This time I got the correct URL!) Also it's very artistic.

    #821 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 11:01 PM:

    Today I got around to trying out the pre-seasoned cast iron skillet that we got as a wedding gift. I'm impressed! It was easy to cook with, didn't overbrown the chicken (something I've had a lot of trouble with on our apartment's stove) and was easy to clean. Plus it has little spouts on the side to pour off the juices after deglazing. I see why people like this stuff.

    #822 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 11:33 PM:

    #790 Earl
    Do you know what the original finish is? If it was shellacked, take fine steel wool, denatured alcohola, and some clean rags. Rub the cane with the denatured alcohol and then with the rag--don't use oil. But that's if it's finished with shellac.

    #823 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 12:09 AM:

    #771 Mez

    Booksurge is I think the name of Amazon's Print On Demand arm.... I heard some stories about it printing and distributing unauthorized editions of books and when requested to cease and desist by the authors who found out Booksurge was publishing their work without permission and without contract to the author, Booksurge failed to be responsive in such things as immediately ceasing and desisting, and in paying anything to the authors....

    #824 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 01:51 AM:

    Paula (@823), Thanks. I'll check that out.

    grep: I was our grep guru for lo, many years. Then they switched from SCO Unix to Windows 2000 and it "all fell down". *sigh* I hear they've improved the search since. One day I should sit down & give it a thorough try out.

    #825 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 04:00 AM:

    Paula Lieberman @822, the cane is natural and apparently doesn't have anything coating it; I can see and feel the texture of the surface of the wood.

    Terry Karney's suggestion @810 of jojoba oil is interesting; it turns out that stuff has at least a dozen niche uses (like lip balm, for example).

    #826 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 06:43 AM:

    Calling the collective wisdom of Making Light - help, please.

    I have a friend who's become obsessed with the conspiracy theories of Alex Jones. It's quite a collection of crazy, and of course it's all wrapped up neatly in a package of "any evidence to the contrary is just what THEY want you to believe." Is there any way to make a chip in that armor?

    I wouldn't care too much, except that this is the "get a gun and shoot the president" sort of crazy, and I really think she'd be better out of it. (Of course I think everyone would be better out of it, but maybe she's someone I can help.)

    #827 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 07:08 AM:

    Earl Cooley: I might have missed it--has beeswax been suggested? It's traditional, if labor-intensive.

    #828 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 09:09 AM:

    Cat @ 826:

    I would point out to your friend the lack of humor on such conspiracy theory websites. I don't have the links at hand, but go to YouTube and see if video's of Penn and Teller's Bull***t are applicable. I know they tore into 9-11 conspiricies like a hot knife through butter.

    #829 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 09:09 AM:

    Cat Meadors #826: The first thing that struck me about that site was that AdBlock Plus completely failed to block any of the many ads on the site. (I dropped a bug report on ABP's forum.)

    The second thing is that many of the individual article blurbs looked superficially reasonable, while others were way out there....

    #830 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 09:17 AM:

    Mark @ 818: You're right! I missed that one.

    #831 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 09:29 AM:

    Paula Lieberman #823: Pretty ironic in light of their actions in KindleFAIL.

    #832 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 09:50 AM:

    David Harmon - that hadn't occurred to me, but you're right; one of the tacks I was considering taking was based on the frenzy he whips up vs. the products he's selling/advertising - which I wouldn't have noticed if ABP had been working.

    The mix of reasonable and wacky is a big part of the problem - the guy will start with something true and then draw some utterly insane conclusion from it, and assert that any really smart person would follow the same line of reasoning. You can't say the original fact is false, because it isn't - and you can't convince the believer that the conclusion is insane, because that just shows that you're not smart enough to understand the real situation. (And in the cases where the original fact *is* false, and you present proof, you only believe that proof is valid because you're gullible.)

    #833 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 10:45 AM:

    Cat Meadors @ 826/832:

    The approach I'd take is working on it from the standpoint of the logical inconsistencies. This sometimes means looking into the crazy fairly deeply and doing an awful lot of research, but other times you can tell just where the reasoning takes the wrong turn.

    Your friend probably won't be convinced by you immediately, but if you keep working you can plant doubts. This works much more slowly and is less satisfying, but hopefully you will be rewarded by the doubts taking root and your friend realizing that this belief system doesn't work.

    Wyman Cooke @ 828:

    The Penn and Teller approach might work, but Penn often comes off as rather abrasive, which can, although it shouldn't, lead to people dismissing his entire message. Also, sad to say, I put him in the same category as Bill Maher: he can be great when he's right, but he's a bit of a nut on other topics.

    #834 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 12:45 PM:

    Penn is very bright, but, like Maher, he's also a flaming asshole. It's a communication problem.

    #835 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 02:33 PM:

    A new link for an (semi-)old line: Way back in Open Thread 86, Patrick quoted Teresa: “you can respond appropriately to absolutely anything a hamster does by choosing the right inflection of the word ‘dude.’

    #837 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 02:44 PM:

    Jacque @ 836... Crowmmerce?

    #838 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 03:19 PM:

    Jacque: I wonder how one trains the crows in the first place. Perhaps the solution is to scatter some change around and let the crows see you picking it up and inserting it? They're certainly smart enough to figure that out, and once you have two or three who do it the rest will learn from them.

    #839 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 03:46 PM:

    This might be a good place for this question - I'm posting, among other things, a short story on my blog in an effort to raise money. But I'd also like to get eyeballs/feedback on the story itself, and it has occurred to me that I have no idea where to go to post something like that.

    Possibly relevant: Not fanfic, scifi/horror/zombies, I am otherwise unpublished for any rational value of published, and I'm willing to repost the story without the fundraising come-ons once it's all up.

    Does anyone here know a good place to start?

    #840 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 04:39 PM:

    Doesn't online self-publishing potentially interfere with the eventual sale of publication rights to conventional venues?

    #841 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 04:41 PM:

    Probably, but I'm effectively donating this story to charity :) That's probably why I can't think of venues offhand that aren't fanfic, though.

    #842 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 06:31 PM:

    I've been away from the Open Thread for a while, and I'm not really up to catching up right now, but I had a Making Light dream last night. In it, ML was distributed across time, and a batch of us were students at an English public school, wondering what it would be like to take English from one of the teachers, who was a regular poster on ML. We could access the blog through a book, but we couldn't pass information on that would affect what one of us would do "now" -- if it would, for some reason the poster wouldn't be able to connect until after we'd moved forward. Vague warnings were okay, but not specifics.

    One portion of the dream involved a batch of people exploring a ruined castle, where parts of it fell down shortly after we'd been standing on top of them.

    It was an exciting, interesting, non-scary dream. People noticed for sure in it: Teresa, David Goldfarb, Elise, a few others -- I'm quite sure you were there.

    #843 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 06:54 PM:

    Cat, your friend has probably got a damaged process for recognizing authoritative information sources, and this makes her vulnerable to the predations of conspiracists who often find ready and enthusiastic audiences among right-wing authoritarian (RWA) personalities.

    Before you go galavanting off to rescue somebody from their own psychological crisis, I recommend reviewing Sara Robinson's Cracks In The Wall series (parts one, two and three) for tips on dealing with RWA personalities. She talks about how people actually come out of that kind of wilderness. The bad news is there isn't a magic "red pill" you can offer them, and even if there were, you wouldn't be able to get them to swallow it until they felt betrayed by their own leaders. The good news is that you probably don't have to lose your friend unless you really want that.

    #844 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 07:06 PM:

    Tom: How neat!

    #845 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 07:48 PM:

    Tom, #842: How cool! I've had ML people show up in my dreams a few times, but I never can remember any details -- my dreams tend to fade within 5 minutes of waking up unless I make a specific effort to remember them. Mostly it's people I've actually met, but once or twice it's been someone who I just recognized in the dream as being ML Person X.

    #846 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 10:40 PM:

    I went grocery shopping while hungry (usually a mistake) and I picked up a bag of corn chips. They called themselves "polenta corn chips". On part of the bag was this:

    "Polenta can be traced back to ancient Rome, where early civilizations toasted corn over a hot fire and then ground it into a coarse meal."

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong: polenta (at least, polenta made from corn) can be traced back no further than the 16th Century, certainly not to ancient Rome.

    (Besides, I thought polenta was Northern Italian, and that Rome was far enough south to be pasta rather than polenta.)

    #847 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 11:11 PM:

    #846: "Corn" was once used to refer to some sorts of familiar-to-Europeans not-maize grain.

    But that's nitpicking. Whoever wrote that ad copy is an ignoramous.

    Hmmm. Well, Wikipedia notes:

    "Polenta is made with ground yellow or white cornmeal (ground maize) originally made with Chestnut meal in ancient times. It can be ground coarsely or finely depending on the region and the texture desired. As it is known today, polenta derives from earlier forms of grain mush (known as puls or pulmentum in Latin or more commonly as gruel or porridge) commonly eaten in Roman times and after."

    So there is a Roman connection.

    #848 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 11:11 PM:

    David @ 846
    The cornmeal version of polenta is recent, but I understand they used chestnut meal before that.

    #849 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 11:23 PM:

    Jeremy Preacher at 839, by 'feedback' do you mean comments and critiques? If so, then you're trying to do two mutually exclusive things-- either the stories are done, and thus beyond feedback, or they are not done, and thus not work donating for. If not, all I can think of is posting places like here, asking friends to spread the word, and so on. I don't know how such things work beyond the incredibly obvious.

    #850 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 01:10 AM:


    Do any of our resident experts on vanity presses know whether there are such things operating in other media? People who will make a movie for a gullible aspiring actor or author, for example?

    #851 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 02:25 AM:

    re crows: They are really bright, and they live a long time 30-40 years in the wild, as many as 70 in captivity.

    I am not surprised that one could teach them to collect coins. I commend, for anyone who has an interest, the book, "In the company of crows" which is about the corvids in general (magpies can count, some will know themselves in a mirror. There are Japanese crows who use people to crack nuts open for them, and others who have decided to play games with tennis balls at tennis courts; apparently because they saw people doing it, and it pleases them somehow).

    #852 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 02:36 AM:

    I am Vexed.

    I have a friend who has veered, from time to time, from cult to cult. He was a Hare Krishna when I met him—as a gay man, not an easy thing to be. I confess that I am still rude to Hare Krishnas on the street, after what his group did to him.

    He's now gone completely the other way and is planning to enter a Roman Catholic seminary next year. His target order is so traditionalist that it's just barely this side of the line of orthodoxy; they clove from the Society of St Pius X at the last break from Papal authority. And he's gone all in with them—his Twitter feed and Facebook updates are painfully smug and intolerant of anyone who, in his view, veers from orthodoxy. Add to that that he works in law enforcement, and has a similarly contemptuous attitude to tiresome things like human rights legislation and privacy.

    There is no charity in any of his communities, not church and not work, and he's becoming just like them. I have sent him one heartfelt email about the catholic nature of the Catholic Church and the values of charity and forgiveness. And I do comment on his Facebook entries from time to time, trying to haul back on the ropes a bit. But it's beginning to get me down.

    What do I do? Do I unfriend and unfollow, walk away? Do I bite my keyboard and wait in silence until it all explodes, as I fear that it will, and then pick up the pieces? Do I continue to remonstrate, knowing I'm probably pushing him toward his smug in-group? I know which is easiest, but which is right?

    #853 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 03:24 AM:

    abi @ #852, my first inclination would be Pogo's: "To each his dag nab own." But if he's in law enforcement, that's a little different. I guess I'd still lean toward Walt Kelly's advice and hope that nothing untoward happens before he enters the seminary.

    (How come I had to re-type my data in this box? It's been there for years without my having to do so. I haven't done anything to this machine, either.)

    #854 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 06:45 AM:

    Abi @ 852... I'd suggest waiting in silence. Not because it's the easiest, but because the non-silence hasn't worked. Keeping him friended at least leaves the door open for wheen he gets his senses back.

    #855 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 08:20 AM:

    I'm off to hiking, and thence to my birthday party (I'm 43 today.)

    #856 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 09:09 AM:

    Diatryma @849 - Well, the story is done insofar as I'm not embarrassed to show it in public, but critique is always valuable. I haven't written many short stories (I get very few short ideas) and I'd like to get better at the form.

    (The fundraising project I'm doing is just a post-a-day thing, anecdotes and the like, about the subjects our fundraiser is about. The short story is a one-off effort to get me three posts that I can queue up while I go to Renfest this weekend. Very casual. I'm hesitant to post the link here, because I don't want to give the impression that I'm asking y'all for money or indeed anything other than ideas on venues.)

    #857 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 09:26 AM:

    I wonder if my local crows could get their claws around a golf ball? I live across from a golf course, and have an evil grin on my face.

    "Roasted Peanuts! Roasted Peanuts automatically dispensed! Just one Golf Ball!"

    #858 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 09:44 AM:

    Erik @850:

    "Do any of our resident experts on vanity presses know whether there are such things operating in other media? People who will make a movie for a gullible aspiring actor or author, for example?"

    I was once emailed by someone who wanted to "hire" me for a talk radio program. On a little digging, I saw that it was basically a vanity press operation; what they didn't tell me up front is that you're expected to pay for your slot (and also buy or lease from them the equipment you'll need to produce the broadcasts). The primary "broadcast" was online streaming, though I think they might have also bought some paid programming blocks from obscure AM stations.

    Likewise, there are companies that will contact the parents of small children, and "offer" them work as a photo model, because they're so adorable looking. What they're really offering is the opportunity for the parents to pay for an expensive "modeling class" from the company, rather than a paying gig.

    I wouldn't at all be surprised if such schemes exist for other media as well, such as films. Caveat emptor.

    #859 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 11:31 AM:

    P J Evans @820: Beautiful pictures! And so reminiscent of canals. I'm trying to imagine how there could be a related phenomenon on a much larger scale.

    #860 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 11:46 AM:

    j h woodyatt #843: tips on dealing with RWA personalities

    A taser, bear mace, and the International Court of Justice in The Hague on speed dial?

    #861 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 12:04 PM:

    John Houghton -- That's evil. Bonus points if you can make it happen during a PGA event.

    #862 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 12:30 PM:

    John Houghton @ 857 Except the golf course people would start killing the crows, so it wouldn't be fair to the crows.

    #863 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 12:41 PM:

    John Houghton @ 857 -- And once the crows have learned that dropping a golf ball into the device will cause it to release food, you can proceed to make the apparatus more and more complex, a Rube-Goldbergian accretion of tubes and levers and ball launchers... and then charge admission for people to watch it in operation.

    #864 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 01:28 PM:

    Erik Nelson @ 850:

    Yes, there are.

    abi @ 852:

    In my experience, some people have a very strong urge to believe in something. What they believe in is immaterial and can change, but as long as they are into their current belief, absolutely nothing will shake them.

    Personally, I'd walk away and check back in later. I don't know if it's the right thing to do, but it is the least stressful for everyone.

    David Harmon @ 855:

    Happy birthday.

    John Houghton @ 857:

    The crows here are certainly large enough to pick up a golf ball. That is so very tempting.

    #865 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 02:10 PM:

    David Harmon @ 43... Harpy Birdday to You!

    #866 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 02:14 PM:

    Abi, this brings to mind the character (street panhandler? - it's been thirty years) from - Congress of Wonders? Firesign Theater? Child's Garden of Grass? (I can hear his inflections):

    "I used to be all fcked up on drugs."
    "Now I'm all fcked up on The Lord!"

    #867 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 02:21 PM:

    Joel Polowin #863:
    It would be more fun to teach the crows the more complex behaviors, like the folks who teach squirrels to run obstacle courses to get at the feeder. Drop ball here, coin pops out somewhere else, put that in slot and pull on rope... The mechanical parts would just be [necessary] decoration.

    #868 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 02:23 PM:

    Too little, too late category:
    Who else is going to be at MileHiCon this weekend?

    #869 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 02:44 PM:

    Carol Kimball @ 868... Not I, alas. But I will be going to a Halloween Party given by a local fan. She does it one week early because she'll be at the fantasy worldcon next weekend. In the Bay Area, and I can't be there either. Waugh!!!

    #870 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 03:06 PM:

    Happy Birthday, David, and have fun!

    #871 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 03:55 PM:

    KeithS, #864: Now I want to run a different kind of experiment. Set up the popcorn-for-change machine and the peanuts-for-golf-balls machine next to each other and survey crow consumer preferences!

    Carol, #868: You can find my partner running the Pegasus Publishing booth at MileHiCon. I'm at home getting ready for ICC next weekend.

    #872 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 04:16 PM:

    I'll be at World Fantasy Con, selling books and pushing next year's 4th Street Fantasy convention. Come say Hi!

    #873 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 04:26 PM:

    Lee - I'll be sure to say hi to her.

    #874 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 05:14 PM:

    A quicky before I head off to dinner:

    Re: The "Four simple questions" particle --

    Hank Fox has a rather different take on the Timothy Treadwell, including pointing out that at the time of his death, he'd been living with the bears for 12 summers, unhurt.

    #875 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 05:22 PM:

    Carol, #872: Quick correction: my partner is male. I use the term because we aren't married, and "boyfriend" seems a little juvenile for two 50-somethings. Also because it's gender-neutral, which is something I'm trying to encourage in my default word choices.

    #876 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 05:25 PM:

    Lee #871:

    "The victim states that he was mugged by a bunch of crows, who riffled through his pockets after they'd knocked him down and started pecking him. Two golf balls and $0.75 in change were taken. The crows remain at large."

    #877 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 05:34 PM:

    Albatross @ 875... "...The crows remain at large."

    How appropriate, as the French verb for 'stealing' is the same as the one for 'flying'.

    #878 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 05:50 PM:

    albatross @ 876:

    If ravens got in on the act, they'd probably just carry the poor sod away, never to be seen again.

    I think I may have posted this here before, but it seems relevant again. How crows have learned to crack nuts in Japan.

    #879 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 06:31 PM:

    Carol @ 868:
    I can hear that too, but I can't place it either! Pretty sure it's not Firesign though; not sure about Congress of Wonders. Maybe Cheech & Chong?

    #880 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 08:49 PM:

    Two golf balls, 75¢, and my good Leatherman tool.

    We're in big trouble now.

    #881 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 10:07 PM:

    Carrie @ 838: The details of how the crows are trained are available here.

    Coins and peanuts are provided together but crows have to move coins aside to get at peanuts on a feeder tray. Coins fall off tray into funnel in device. After a while, the initial offering is switched to only coins with peanuts dispensed when coins dropped into funnel. Later still, a few coins are scattered on the ground around the device. By this time, crows know that coins are needed to acquire peanuts and they go in search of them when the initial supply runs out.

    #882 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2009, 10:45 PM:

    "Fake AP stylebook" on Twitter

    #883 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 12:36 AM:

    Lee: oops, "him". Can it be seen as a credit to this group that the tone of posts here doesn't require carrying gender-typing for everybody? That sentence doesn't scan quite right. It's late, MileHiCon is off to a great start, and two more days coming.

    Clifton: yup, sounds like Tommy Chong. No idea from which bit, though.

    #884 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 01:27 AM:

    Definitely Congress of Wonders.

    #885 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 01:39 AM:

    Definitely Congress of Wonders.

    #886 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 02:13 AM:

    Guerrilla musical protest.

    I think somebody's been taking lessons from Improv Everywhere!

    #887 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 02:18 AM:

    Lee @ 886... Woot!

    #888 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 02:54 AM:

    Saw "Up" yesterday with the kids (in 3D). I got wildly homesick at the mention of Fenton's, then had to go home and Google to make sure they hadn't grown from my old local ice cream parlor to a national chain while my back was turned.

    Nope. The Pixar staff just like Fenton's ice cream that much. Can't say I blame them.

    Gotta walk down to Piedmont Avenue from my folks' place one evening and get some when we go back to California this summer.

    #889 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 03:08 AM:

    Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday, dear Ginger!
    Happy Birthday to you!
    And many morrrrrrrrre.

    #890 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 06:10 AM:

    John @858

    Wasn't Elvis Presley's first recording essentially a vanity disc, a one off he recorded as a gift for his mother?

    Streaming audio is bringing some really bad DJs out of the woodwork... Yes, there might be a signature song, as there were for live performers, but I've come across people who play the same stuff time after time. I suppose it might be a current hit, but...

    On the other hand, somebody did dig out a track from the Andrews Sisters. It was a pity that it had been played at the wrong speed when transferred to computer format. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" ro suit the Light Infantry?

    #891 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 08:51 AM:

    Happy B-Day Ginger!

    #892 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 09:32 AM:

    Happy Birthday, Ginger! (assuming that Serge is right and it is your birthday)

    #893 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 09:43 AM:

    Raphael @ 892...

    Well, I think I'm right.
    Facebook also says it's Ginger's birthday.

    #894 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 10:12 AM:

    Frank Langella's Dracula is on TV right now.
    The hair.
    The hair!!!

    #895 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 10:39 AM:


    I'm playing tonight (mostly bass guitar) at Different Skies in beautiful (and very sfnal) Arcosanti, Arizona. In the likely event that you can't make it in person, we're streaming the show over the web at Stillstream.


    #896 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 03:56 PM:

    I haven't had much time on the internet for the last couple of weeks. Thanks to all those upthread (way, way, upthread) who answered my question about the hours people keep in the Nero Wolfe books. (It's not all about Wolfe being eccentric. When Saul and the boys are tailing a suspect, they often report them doing things quite late.) The information about hours among the leisure classes, plus the variety of options in New York, clarifies things.

    Also, I think I had commented in other threads, and never got back to them. My apologies, it wasn't my intention to walk away from the conversation. (Not that I had much to say..)

    #897 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 04:27 PM:

    Happy birthday Ginger!

    Hmm...birthday...ginger...maybe I'll make chocolates.

    #898 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 04:53 PM:

    Hey, any other Dollhouse fans here? Was I the only one who was really, really glad that Fvreen fgnoorq gung encvat fuvgurnq Abyna va uvf jbeguyrff shpxvat urneg?

    I think more of us are probably glad to see Gbcure fubjvat n yvggyr uhznavgl, znetvany nf vg jnf. And Oblq'f onpxfgbel whfg tbg zhpu, zhpu zber vagrerfgvat!

    #899 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 05:18 PM:

    Xopher #897:

    ...maybe I'll make chocolates.

    What? You need an excuse* to make chocolates? Kids these days...

    *Now if it was inspiration to make chocolates, I'll understand. Especially if you make ginger chocolates in honor of Ginger's Birthday. And then send her some.

    #900 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 06:41 PM:

    Xopher, #897, I have dark chocolate covered ginger, which are quite good, considering I'm too far for yours!

    #901 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 08:51 PM:

    Xopher @ 898: I think everyone was glad. The question is, was the inclination to xvyy uvz jubyyl uref be fbzrguvat Gbcure nqqrq gb gur zvk?

    #902 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 09:14 PM:

    Paul, V guvax vg jnf frys-qrsrafr. Va ure onfr crefban, fur pbhyq oneryl rira qrsraq urefrys. Fur qvqa'g jnyx va gurer jvgu gur vagragvba bs xvyyvat uvz. Crefbanyyl V qba'g guvax fur qvq nalguvat jebat.

    #903 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 09:37 PM:

    Carol Kimball @ #866: "The only cure for dipsomania [alcoholism] is religiomania." --William James, Varieties of Religious Experience

    #904 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 09:49 PM:

    Replacing one Higher Power with another. I guess it could be argued that one is more reliable but the other is safer. (Hm, which relates to the "maybe you don't want the Supreme Being's attention" bit.)

    #905 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 10:33 AM:

    Re PNH's "When You Marry" particle: There's a complete copy of an earlier edition at the Internet Archive, for anyone who wants to see what it looked like ca. 1953.

    #906 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 11:23 AM:

    Open threadiness: This hasn't appeared on CakeWrecks yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did....

    #907 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 11:41 AM:

    Re: "When You Marry": I LOLed at "Creepiest snowglobe collection EVER!"

    #908 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 01:31 PM:

    Debbie @906 – OMG!! Gack! Which bit do they save for 1st Anniversary? Or which do guests save to put under their pillow (in small box, to not squash)?

    #909 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 01:51 PM:

    Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences: (from sidebar)

    This begs to be the source text of a statistical random text generator. The one I used selects a probable next letter based on statistical occurrences of the 3 letters just used. It came up with the following:

    (for some reason my program doesn't like hyphens and quotation marks, so I have substituted other weird punctuation instead to make it work.)

    The ropes Sauntails have of Professense, through the Da Vinci Code, certails a mometh bishours of pare policeded almost=paled turators,~ shaken divide eyes, chapter 32: Titless echoing of the Da Vinclose was brown his forsaken, callector Jacques in Deception 2000EX could War). It~s silhouette with the Da Vinci Code, chill almost himself lite of himsely had by a Fachecker 4: First Leonarried tra shouetter 17: Yanking blow13

    #910 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 02:16 PM:

    Epacris @908 -- indeed. And which bit do you cut first and feed to your spouse?

    #911 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 02:29 PM:

    You put the tauntaun's head in the freezer, hello.

    You feed Luke's head to the wife, and the tail to the husband.

    Honestly, there are conventions for these things! (Nf bs zl glcvat gur nobir, ng nal engr!)

    #912 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 02:44 PM:

    Lila @903: A friend of mine who was using a 12-step program to stay off drugs said that someone they'd met there said that he realized he was now addicted to meetings (every night), but that they were easier on his health and life than the drugs had been.

    #913 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 02:58 PM:

    Thanks, everyone! Also, happy birthday to David, as I didn't see that post before I left for the weekend. We met my parents in Baltimore and had a great time. If anyone ever needs a fantastic Turkish restaurant in B'more, I highly recommend Cazbar.

    Speaking of dark chocolate ginger, my dad mentioned getting this at Trader Joe, which he proclaimed "delicious". I suppose I'll just have to try it for myself. I do like dark chocolate.

    #914 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 03:16 PM:

    Sady Doyle takes on the Superfreakonomics of prostitution at the Guardian. Guess what she thinks of it!

    #915 ::: kathryn from sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 03:36 PM:

    Happy Birthday Ginger!

    #916 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 05:01 PM:

    Well, a week from now NaNoWriMo will have started, and I hope to be through the first couple of thousand words. I have some idea of what is going on, and I shall be telling more of Charlie and Helen, revealing something of Lady Carol(who is more than she seems), and delivering Charlie's son into the paws of his enemies.

    Charlie's son is a lad of great resource.

    Meanwhile, Sergeant Alberto Gonzales is on leave, in Spain, where he meets up with people such as Tom Wintringham, discusses the morality of war with a Spanish village priest, and finds himself caught in the conflict between his deep personal faith and the actions of the elected Republican government.

    I've got lots of story I can tell.

    And all these tales will converge in time and space, with sinister opponents who discover, the hard way, that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are in their philosophy.

    I think I might throw in a typhoon. There will be pirates and ninja, as well as the Nazis, the wanton native priestesses, and intrepid aviators.

    And there will be a scene involving a naked vixen with Browning HP-35. She's one of the aforementioned intrepid aviators.

    #917 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:15 PM:

    Xopher @ 898:

    V nterr nobhg gur pbfzbf arrqvat gung encvat CBF qrnq, naq gung vg jnf nyy Cevln'f vqrn, abg fbzrguvat Gbcure fghpx vagb ure urnq. Vs vg unq orra Gbcure, ur jbhyq abg unir orra fb furyy-fubpxrq jura ur sbhaq gur obql jvgu gur xavsr va vg.

    V ernyyl, ernyyl yvxrq guvf rcbfvqr¹. Bar guvat V'ir orra jbaqrevat vf ubj Wbff jnf tbvat gb xrrc gur fgbel pbzcryyvat nf uvf punenpgref tbg zber naq zber fbhy-fgnvarq ol gur guvatf gurl'er qbvat, naq jr tbg yrsg jvgu ab ernfba gb pner nobhg gurz. Ohg abj jr xabj: rira gur jbefg, nf va Gbcure gur frrzvat fbpvbcngu, znl jbex sbe gurve erqrzcgvba.

    Lrnu, Oblq unf ghearq sebz n zlfgrel vagb na ravtzn. Ur jnfa'g whfg n pbc orsber ur pnzr gb gur qbyyubhfr. Ubj znal pbcf xabj ubj gb qvffbyir n uhzna obql va U2FB4?

    1. Juvpu, sbe n yvggyr rkgen sevffba jnf gvgyrq "Orybatvat". Frag n puvyy qbja zl fcvar, gung qvq.

    #918 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:21 PM:

    Happy Birthday, Ginger!

    * Looks down at pocketwatch *

    Oh, I'm late, I'm late.

    * dives back down rabbithole *

    #919 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:23 PM:

    Xopher @ 911: Honestly, there are conventions for these things!

    Well, yeah, a con is where I'd most expect to see a wedding cake like that.

    #920 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 07:52 PM:

    Ginger #913: Thanks!

    And now, off to the new Open Thread....

    #921 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 08:30 PM:

    Bruce @ 917: Re: ...gung vg jnf nyy Cevln'f vqrn, abg fbzrguvat Gbcure fghpx vagb ure urnq. Vs vg unq orra Gbcure, ur jbhyq abg unir orra fb furyy-fubpxrq jura ur sbhaq gur obql jvgu gur xavsr va vg. (Latest Dollhouse episode spoilers)

    Naq lrg gur rcvfbqr ortvaf jvgu gur furyy-fubpxrq naq oybbql Gbcure ercrngvat "V jnf bayl gelvat gb uryc ure" whfg orsber gur svefg synfuonpx. V qba'g xabj jurgure gung zrnaf ur nqqrq fbzrguvat gb uryc gur sbezreyl qrsrafryrff Cevln xvpx Abyna'f nefr, abg rkcrpgvat vg gb tb gung sne be jurgure ur ybnqrq hc na hazbqvsvrq, bevtvany crefbanyvgl Cevln naq gbyq ure gur shyy fgbel orsber fraqvat ure bhg naq yrg entr qb gur erfg. V pna frr vg jbexvat rvgure jnl ohg jungrire unccrarq, Gbcure srryf erfcbafvoyr.

    #922 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 10:51 PM:

    Hope it's not too late to say 'Hippo Bathday'! to Ginger & 'Hoppy Birdie'! to David.

    #923 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 11:32 PM:

    Epacris #922: Thanks!

    #924 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:21 AM:

    Dollhouse: Gbcure xabjf ubj gb perngr npgvirf jvgu znq avawn fxvyym, ur'f qbar vg frireny gvzrf va gur cnfg. Cevln qvqa'g qrzbafgengr nal urer. V guvax ur whfg frag ure bhg jvgu ure onfryvar crefbanyvgl -- naq qvqa'g fgbc gb guvax nobhg jung jnf yvxryl gb unccra.

    #925 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:49 AM:

    Epacris @ 922: Bathday fishes are never too late.

    #926 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:50 AM:

    Epacris @ 922: Bathday fishes are never too late.

    #927 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:54 AM:

    Hm. That wasn't me..that was the internet connection. Oh, well, there's plenty of bathday fishes for anyone who needs more.

    #928 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 12:33 PM:


    Bruce Cohen @ 917: "Ubj znal pbcf xabj ubj gb qvffbyir n uhzna obql va U2FB4?"

    Jryy, cbffvoyl nal pbc jub unf rire jbexrq n pnfr gung ghearq bhg gb or n uvg. Fgvyy, ur vf n pbyq-oybbqrq FBO--V jbaqre...

    David Goldfarb @ 924: "Gbcure xabjf ubj gb perngr npgvirf jvgu znq avawn fxvyym, ur'f qbar vg frireny gvzrf va gur cnfg. Cevln qvqa'g qrzbafgengr nal urer. V guvax ur whfg frag ure bhg jvgu ure onfryvar crefbanyvgl -- naq qvqa'g fgbc gb guvax nobhg jung jnf yvxryl gb unccra."

    Ubarfgyl, V jnf xvaq bs cvffrq bss ng uvz sbe ABG tvivat ure avawn fxvyym. Vg jnf cher yhpx gung Abyna qvqa'g zheqre ure naq trg njnl fpbg-serr.

    #929 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 02:45 PM:

    Paul Duncanson @ 921:
    Gur jnl V haqrefgnaq vg, QrJvgg beqrerq Gbcure gb vafgnyy gur crefbanyvgl hfrq sbe ure ratntrzragf jvgu Xvaaneq va Fvreen: gur bar gung ybirq Xvaaneq naq jnagrq gb fgnl jvgu uvz, jvgu creuncf fbzr ghavat gb znxr fher vg jnf fgnoyr sbe creznarag vafgnyyngvba. Ohg Gbcure qvfborlrq, naq vafgnyyrq Cevln'f bevtvany crefbanyvgl. Onfrq ba jung Cevln fnvq orsber Xvaaneq nggnpxrq ure, V guvax Gbcure nyfb vafgnyyrq gur zrzbevrf bs ure ratntrzragf jvgu Xvaaneq.

    heresiarch @ 928:
    Oblq vf gur bayl punenpgre va gur qbyyubhfr uvrenepul (abg vapyhqvat gur npgvirf, bs pbhefr) jub unf n pbafvfgrag zbeny ntraqn. Ur frrf guvatf sebz gur ivrjcbvag bs n zvyvgnel havg pbzznaqre: uvf wbo vf gb nggnva uvf bowrpgvirf jvgu gur zvavzhz evfx gb gubfr haqre uvf pbzznaq. Ur unf n fgrnqsnfg yblnygl gb uvf gebbcf, naq bayl n pbaqvgvbany yblnygl gb uvf fhcrevbef naq bguref abg va uvf pbzznaq.

    Hc hagvy guvf rcvfbqr, Gbcure jnf pbafvfgrag gbb: nf QrJVgg gryyf uvz, "Lbh unir ab zbenyf." Ohg ur ybfg gung ol gelvat gb uryc Cevln.

    #930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:58 PM:

    Julie L. @784: Yes yes yes! That's exactly what I need. Thank you!! (Fluorosphere, FTW!)

    Xopher @785: No, Nanohana would be the techical term for Mini Miley.

    #931 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:14 PM:

    And my belated apologies to Julie L. for missing her entry on my previous ego-scan.

    #932 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:50 PM:

    Bruce Cohen@929


    V qb jbaqre jurgure QrJvgg rkcrpgrq (naq creuncf rira gevrq gb znavchyngr) Gbcure gb qvfborl.

    #934 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2013, 02:13 PM:

    Somewhat bizarre text, but clearly spam.

    Smaller type (our default)
    Larger type
    Even larger type, with serifs

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